Day 8. Market Harborough to Farthingstone
Day eight of this runpedition was such a contrast to the day before! Following the brilliant Brampton Valley Path, catching up with old friends whilst on the move, literally, and then cycle support from family for the last section to Farthingstone – made such a difference to the energy levels! I was almost in shock!
Setting out from the Travelodge in Market Harborough on Friday morning I was on the lookout for signs to the train station, from where I knew access to the Brampton Valley Path could be found. The Path is just one of the fantastic cycle ways that criss-cross England, and it had been brought to my attention by Pip, my Aunt, who had found it helpful in preparing for a marathon. And I can now understand why. When I reached the disused railway line turned bike path, with it’s slightly softer ground, it made an ideal alternative to the road route I had planned. So off I went. For the first few miles I was still employing a mix of run-walk-run, but eventually I found a running groove and the miles started to tick by. The Path does go through two long brick tunnels – the Overton and Kelmarsh Tunnels – which were dark enough for lights to be needed and I pulled my new LED Lenser headlamp – just incase there were any Gollums lurking around. At certain points the Path does cross main roads, where access points have car parks and picnic tables. Mum and I met up at a few of these points (noting a significant number of dog walking businesses using the area) and I also heard from my friend Jenni via text that she would be at the Brampton Halt pub, further down the line. This incentive really spurred me on – not the pub (well, maybe), but the chance to meet up with a friend who I once shared fish chopping duties with at BlueReef aquarium. But Jenni actually cycled out along the path with her daughter to accompany me for a few miles. It was a lovely surprise and we chatted away catching up on news. We did then grab a drink and some salty crisps at the pub, a welcome break but I didn’t want to stop moving for too long!
The next section of the day took in roads through farmland. The wind picked up but overall it was a rolling mix of sunny miles. My left calf muscle started to feel tight and then slightly strained by mid-afternoon, so I started walking up hills. I have been wearing some excellent Zensah ‘Ultra Sleeves’, which I feel very comfortable in and they have been helping with fatigue levels but I have a feeling due to the knees a few more imbalances might start creeping in now. The knees were becoming more of a background pain that I seem to be accepting and coping with. The odd anti-inflammatory was helping too.
I followed a couple of footpaths to try and break things up, but again the mud was defeating. Crossing under the M4 was a big hurdle for the afternoon since I knew it signalled that the day’s ending point of Farthingstone would be getting closer. But the hills suddenly seemed steeper and longer and the remaining villages further away. Then a cyclist appeared over the brow of a hill, looking very bundled up, yet silhouetted by the low afternoon sun. It was impossible to tell who it was but as the bike approached I realised it was my Aunt Pip so I stepped off the road – almost bowled over by the emotion of meeting yet another supporter so late in the day! It was great to see a familiar face, and one with supplies too! After munching on a much needed Powerbar, we set off for the final stretch through the village of Litchborough and then on to Farthingstone.
Once settled in Farthingstone, staying with Pip for the night, the run-recovery procedure began: eat cheese and peanut butter sandwich; drink chocolate recovery shake; get out of sweaty clothes and in to warmer gear; stretch; prepare (mentally) for cold/ice bath; sit in bath for 10-long-minutes with a cup of hot tea; warm shower; pull on compression gear and warm clothes again; drink water & take BioAstin; wash out Camelbak; eat dinner (pasta bake, garlic bread and salad followed by sticky toffee pudding); ice knees; chat and write notes on the day; sleep, deeply.
Tomorrow – Farthingstone to Bicester.