My goal today was to run a half marathon, to check that I could do one, and see in what time. I also wanted to try a nutrition idea, as well as try the Royal Parks Half energy drink (Orange Powerade).
I had a quick look before the run with Google Maps Pedometer to plot a 21km run, and was pretty happy with the result - I’ve basically found a new expandable route that I’ll be able to do again and again.
My route today started in the usual place for me - the south side of Hammersmith Bridge. It even headed in a fairly usual direction, towards Barnes Bridge. Carrying on, as with previous runs, I passed Chiswick Bridge and then Kew rail bridge, before reaching Kew road bridge. This was my turnaround point last week for what turned out to be a 14km run but today I carried on, as planned, along the path that skirts the outside of Kew Gardens.
It was at this point that I tried my nutrition, jelly beans. Big mistake - jelly beans appear to need a lot of moisture to eat, something in short supply when running! It didn’t stop me, just annoying really - it’s possible that I might get away with them in the race if I treat them like Gels, and have them just before a water stop, but I won’t bother. I carried on, past the Old Deer Park, then past Richmond Lock, Twickenham rail bridge and Twickenham road bridge. At Richmond bridge, I left the river to head up Richmond Hill, stopping at the start of the hill to buy some Powerade Orange. The theory here was that I’d be walking most of the hill anyway, so it was a good time to get some liquid down. However, Richmond Hill seems to have become a lot flatter in the last few years (or perhaps somehow I got fitter by stopping smoking and starting running, one of the two), and I was able to run up most of the hill, breaking in to a walk when I wanted some more drink. It was only later that I remembered the handy nipple-type thing on the top of the bottle to allow me to run and drink! So, at the top of the Hill, along the Terrace, passing the gorgeous view of the river below, and then into the Park
I basically ran along Sawyer’s Hill, the road that runs across the top side of the Park. One of my favourite things about this road is that it’s not at all rare to see deer - today I saw a gorgeous lone stag standing across the road to my right, and later to my left, large numbers of deers lying in the sun, looking magnificent. The cyclists going down Sawyers Hill looked like they were having a great time, those going up, not so much. I was mostly heading downwards now, past the junction that leads to Sheen Gate, towards Roehampton Gate. From there, it was follow the cyclepath, past The Priory, then to Barnes Station. From there, I decided I couldn’t quite take the quickest route home and make it 21km, so I headed towards Barnes Bridge Station, across Barnes Bridge, and then along my by now well known run haunts of Dukes Meadow, Corney Reach, past the Fuller’s Brewery along Chiswick Mall, passing the Eyot to the right. It’s then pub central as I pass the Black Lion followed by the Old Ship, into Lower Mall and then the Dove, Furnivall Gardens where the Rutland and Blue Anchor are in easy reach. Today, I made my target of 22.1km (I wasn’t counting my 1km warm up run) in Furnivall Gardens themselves, which I was pleased with!
All in all, a spectacular run, helped by today’s gorgeous weather, and the timing where I had the sun low over the river at Kew, but still enough light to just get me home in daylight!