#Juneathon 2015 Day 4

Good evening, today is my birthday.

I could spend a few thousand words explaining why that’s a bold statement which I almost never utter aloud but I’m not going to… I am both a little disappointed and overwhelmingly happy with today. Today, I intended to take my own advice. Whenever it’s been another runner’s birthday, I have always suggested that they go for run as many miles long as years they are old.

My initial thought was to run a stint on the Thames. My dear wife had offered to drop me somewhere so I could run home. Whitchurch to Oxford is approximately 30 miles and includes my favourite fun woodland stretch through Hartslock Wood from my intended starting point along to Streatley. It’s pretty much the only bit of the Thames Path with a hill to speak of. Oxford back to Yarnton is about another 4½ miles, which would have given me enough mileage to hit my mark.

In the end, I thought that I was under prepared to run solo and without support without running (pun intended) myself into the ground. I wanted the mileage and thought that I’d be happy if I was able to clock a cumulative total equal to that of my initial proposal.

Morning came and I opted to start in the same spot that I started yesterday, having taken the wonder pup out for a romp around Stratfield Brake. I headed over to the canal and followed it north to ‘three fields’ (yes, ‘three fields’ is now a real thing – I’ve coined it) but instead of beelining towards home, I continued onwards to Begbroke. At Begbroke, I opted not to follow the path that I normally would do and took advantage of the recent dry weather, crossing over some dry fields, which reminded me of the North Downs Way, back towards the main road. Well, this was progress … instead of taking a plan of some description and following it to its conclusion, deciding that I shouldn’t push myself for fear of breaking myself, I was feeling good and decided that if I was feeling good, why shouldn’t I carry on and see where my legs would take me? I mean, god, we’re not talking mega miles but so far as my mindset has been concerned of late, the openness to push some more has been quite a scarce thing. For a long time, I’ve been coasting along on little to no training and expecting far better results in races than I should have realistically been expecting of myself. Anyway, my newly rediscovered sense of freedom led me up and over Spring Hill along a dirt track back down into Yarnton.

When I finished, I’d completed just over 5½ miles, leaving me with another 28½ miles to chalk up before the day is out. Well, it’s now gone 10.00pm and I’ve not run another mile, which is where the disappointment comes in. My ambition was lofty today but not unreachable. On the other hand, the silver lining is that I started, which, whenever I’ve had this silly target over the last four years, is something that I’ve always failed to do. Why am I happy? Aside from having attempted to hit my mileage, it’s my birthday, my wife bought me a very nice cooked breakfast, I caught up with my grandmother, who bought me cake, and I had a lovely dinner at home with my wife and parents this evening.

Ok, so I’m short of the mileage but it’s been a bloody good day.

ps I didn’t take any pics today while out running, so today’s offering is one from the archives. It’s a shot of Port Meadow, taken one Saturday morning en route to Parkrun in Abingdon.

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