I spent the morning in bed, plotting long distance scenic routes on mapmyrun. By the time I’d settled on one it had just tipped over to the afternoon and I felt suitably shamed into getting up and assembling the running gear and oyster card.
An hour later I was spinning round in circles at Clapham Junction station, wondering what had happened to platforms 5&6 – the ones that would deposit me on the banks of the Thames in the Mortlake region.
Whole swathes of the London hinterland had been isolated by weekend rail works and my morning’s plans had been wasted. I faced a departure board stacking up with choice destinations but shied away from adventure and jumped on the one heading back towards Wimbledon.
I was looking to squeeze 10 miles out of today’s run which was entirely possible with a chunk of Wimbledon common tagged onto a full loop of Richmond Park. I struggle with Wimbledon Common though. I think it has a fluctuating magnetic field. I get horribly, panicky lost in it. Regularly.
Today was no exception.
I was aiming for a short trog in Wimbledon Common, taking me direct to Robin Hood Gate where I could commence the full loop of RP. I started well, with my mental map and compass telling me to skirt the edge of the common and then head left directly into Richmond Park.
I found a hitherto unexplored region of Wimbledon Common. That should have been warning enough but it was a beautiful board-walked nature reserve with bluebells so I continued with my skirt and head left instructions.
When I popped out into suburbia, I was in the middle of unknown territory. Fairly posh but still unknown territory.
I started crossing roads, huge fast roads without proper crossings. I felt a bit tense and got into a battle with a 4×4 who clipped my heel.
I wasn’t hurt but I took an emotional beating. I found myself on the A3, a depressing dual carriageway carving a line between the two parks. I had to run along it for 2 miles before I reached the pedestrian crossing.
I finally made it into Richmond Park but I was sagging. I made it as far as Kingston gate before my body quit on me.
I was now at the furthest point from my planned pick up point back at Wimbledon Common and I was broken. The final 6k were sloooow and I may have weeped a bit.
I wasn’t the only one.
Lynn was driving the getaway car, and should technically have been waiting for me at the Windmill Caff, cursing because I was still limping my way across the wrong park but she’d been stuck in the traffic jam from hell, crawling along the Broadway at a pace of around 10 metres per hour. That made her marginally slower than me and I actually beat her to the cafe and was able to hide the remains of an apple shortbread slice before she arrived.