This week we’ve stayed with Stewart’s family in the area of Lincolnshire in the East Midlands of England. As I write this we’re curled up inside watching the soft warm rain come down – and I for one am enjoying it. Up until yesterday we’d been lucky with sunny skies and warm (but not too hot) temperatures and we’ve fit a lot in on this visit… trips to castles, cathedrals, historic villages, tea rooms and antique shops. Not to mention getting a few good runs in. However, today I feel like I am seeing the area in its “natural habitat” with the gentle drizzle and grey clouds – I feel as though we’re in a Jane Austen novel!
This area definitely has a military vibe to it. We are situated next door to RAF (Royal Air Force) Coningsby and have been lucky enough to see Spitfires, Dakotas and the only remaining airworthy Avro Lancaster Bomber in England fly right over our heads on our runs!!! There are also war memorials scattered throughout the towns we’ve run in, which have provided timely reminders of why we are training for this run.
Our training-runs themselves have been an enjoyable and refreshing variety of locations, views, running surfaces and topography! We’ve run through narrow streets (that I can not believe are two-way!) and on skinny pathways dodging postmen on bikes. We’ve negotiated trails through farmers’ fields dodging cows. We’ve circled cathedrals and castles that were erected hundreds of years before Confederation.
But my favourite run so far, I must admit, did not involve my feet touching the ground. You see, I have been lucky enough while visiting Stewart’s family to have been offered the use of a lovely and energetic horse to ride through the countryside. While I am starting to get the hang of this distance running caper, as an equestrian, I will always choose a ride over a run. Seeing as Stewart was due for a long run that day, as I tacked up my trusty steed Spi, Stewart suggested he come along on this 10 mile hack through fields and along country roads. What ensued was a highly competitive game of cat and mouse that saw many switches in poll position but that finished with Stewart crossing the finish line ahead of Spi and euphoric in his win. While I would never be a sore loser, I must point out the uneven effect of passing tractors hauling rattling farming equipment and flatbed trucks loaded with hay along narrow roads, felt more by horse and rider than by runner! Also, I would never ride my horse hard and put it away wet. Had points been given for the state of the competitor when crossing the finish line, there would have clearly been a different “winner”!
Having said that, I must commend Stewart on a strongly run “race” and a clear and decisive win. It would appear at this stage that the change to a strict diet of fish and chips, scones, cheese, ale and chocolate biscuits has clearly paid off – for how long that lasts we will see.
Tomorrow we are off again to London and to the Grand Finale of this vacation. It has been incredible so far, and I can’t wait for the musicals and beer gardens of ol’ London town… but I am also looking forward to some yoga, granola, spirulina smoothies and seawall runs this time next week!
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