Saturday, 26 January 2013

From Subtopia to Dystopia

The day started at 6.00am as I was summoned to the world from a deep sleep to get my kit on to meet Eleanor at the local train station to go to London Bridge station for a planned 18 mile run together from there to our respective homes.

Today was my Vibram Monkey Feet's big day out to try for a long run and by the end of the run they had traveled 20 miles (32 km). 

Tower Bridge before dawn
The plan was to run 12 miles to the the famous Woolwich Ferry which crosses the River Thames and then dip south to our local area another 6 miles away. Setting out we passed all the famous landmarks that people know in London. We were promised rain but for once the sky was clear and as the day went on we were blessed with warm sunshine although stubborn ice made us step with care in places.

Around us we saw the massive landmark buildings encroach and dominate the landscape making the Tower of London and its companion the bridge dwarfed to just tiny sand castle-like structures and from then on the sprawl of new builds the result of million pounds of investment in old dockland areas. However, on our side of the river the hidden path and roads meandered to and fro, hugging the river, once in a while we would pass a jogger and occasional worker but we were alone in a great city, I chattering continually about anything that came into my head, Eleanor expounding some erudite observation.

We soon left the subtopian inner city to watch the swans, rowers and occasional boat pass just after sunrise but still the pace went on and we ate up the miles towards the famous Greenwich and the beauty of the Cutty Sark clipper. To come to a landmark that I had only ever seen on a map, the Thames Flood Barrier, I was amazed it was protected by military grade defence structures, gates, razor wire , moats and huge earth mounds, incredible. Still the miles, the chat and the run continued to be met by a dystopian view, the Greenwich peninsula.

On the peninsula people around the world will know of the O2 arena or Millennium Dome as it was once known. I would have reported here as the North Greenwich Arena where I was a Doping Chaperone in the Olympics but this viewpoint from the Thames Path was an industrial wasteland of gravel, concrete and road hard core. Here Eleanor's imagination run wild and she told stories of the end of the world and giant dinosaurs in post apocalyptic land...jeez I though I was bad on long runs :)

Arriving at Woolwich we moved away from the relative flat of the riverside and my legs welcomed the hills as we ran at them having stepped off the pace to allow our transition from flat cadence running to new muscle groups

  The run finished too quickly, my legs feeling a little tight in the calves from the Monkey Feet but really, really happy that I had gone so far with them.

Saying our farewells I jogged the last 2kms gently to reach home elated but slightly perturbed that I had run 20 miles in minimalist shoes and only drunk 400mls of fluid. Today I have been ravenous.

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