Coast to Canterbury


I've been meaning to dust this route off for a while and at the weekend the perfect opportunity presented itself. The wife mentioned on Saturday night that she needed to do some shopping in Canterbury which set the cogs whirring. Did I need to be present for said shopping I gently enquired? And before you know it I was packing my pack like an excited backpacker.

Sunday morning, after a quick coffee & flapjack I was all kitted up and out the door around 8.30. Things started badly. Firstly I'd filled my inov-8 waist pack to capacity with 1.5l of water - I didn't want to be caught short over the expected 3+ hours. This meant it was not so flexible and a bit bulky & bouncy. I solved this by tightening the belt really hard and also spitting out a bit of water.

Secondly, I turned straight out the house, down the public footpath and straight into a tangled mess of waist high stinging nettles! I hesitated, I really did nearly have one of those "fuck it" moments and considered cancelling the mission and heading back. I knew that a lot of the route followed fields which could be just as bad.
I wavered. I took a step, got stung, swore and ploughed on. Decision made.

After that it was really quite pleasant. The sky was blue, the fields were yellow, the trail quiet. I felt pretty good and ran all the hills. I had a gel after an hour and another small flapjack after 2 hours.

The last couple of miles are tarmac and I felt strong. I located my wifes car after 19 miles and 3h20. Now all I had to do was wait for her to finish shopping. Not too much of a hardship - she'd remembered to leave my cold chocolate milk in a cool bag. :)

Looking back in garmin connect I see have have logged this route 3 times before, all in 2012. Previous times were 3h35, 3h35 & 3h37. So although I wasn't even thinking about pace I've taken off 15 minutes. More interestingly my average HR on Sunday was 146 vs an average of 157 in 2012.

The last time I ran this route was a couple of weeks before my last 50 mile race. And by chance, this is a couple of weeks before the NDW50. The apparent increased fitness is a welcome confidence boost!






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