Sunday 14th June 2009 – the day of this year’s St. Albans Half Marathon. Not that I did it – but worth mentioning anyway.
So with Running Fource on official business (above) I was left to my own devices and had a lie in. Finally hit the road at 7:45 with my quadriceps femoris feeling really tight (presumably a result of yesterday’s 20 mile bike ride). Hastily formulated a plan to head north on the Luton Road taking the first Slip End turning on the left, then left again once over the M1 onto Pepsal End Lane and home via Kinsbourne Green.
But I wasn’t paying attention. Instead of heading down Hollybush Lane I stayed on Ambrose Lane and like a sat nav recalculating after a missed turning I decide on a completely different route. The hill. Now as hills go it certainly isn’t the longest (just under half a mile) or the steepest (no select low gear now warnings for those heading the other way). But it has a constant hard gradient and goes straight (and I mean dead straight) up the side of the large hill that separates the Luton and Lower Luton roads. From the bottom by the East Hyde sewage treatment works it looks like it goes on forever. This is a hill goes for the psychological jugular. I love it of course.
Today, despite the beast unleashing a burning sun, I managed to keep the pace above 9:15 mins/mile. That’s good. I was happy. I even managed cheery waves at the drivers of the handful of cars also tackling the monster. They thought I was mad.
But all good things come to an end and all too soon I was descending. With more time I might have been tempted to try a detour into Luton Hoo. But the gates looked very closed and I needed to press on. So it was over the Luton Road and up the other side, staying high, and back into Harpenden’s northern fringes via Roundwood Lane.
Without Niall to slow me down I was able to keep the pace reasonable and not have to worry about being dropped in the last mile. So the eight and a half miles or so were completed at a not too bad 7:30 pace. It makes a change to do an entire Sunday run on-road. But I don’t get my GPS watch until next week and didn’t want the faff of plotting the route from the satellite map in Map My Run. Roll-on next week. Roll-on straight through processing.