The problem with having favourite routes is that when it comes to trying to stretch yourself and add some extra distance, it can be quite tricky to manage. I’ve found that psychologically, when I get to my usual central point, my legs take on the demeanour of a dog who knows when it’s time to start going home from its walk, and start to pull on their metaphorical lead and resist further progress.
Tonight, conscious of my need to really stretch myself and cover some more ground less than three weeks before the Great North Run (gulp), I decided to try and hoodwink my legs, on the assumption that they’re as stupid as the rest of me and likely to fall for a simple grift.
Instead of heading straight down to my beloved Quayside route after parking the car, I did a warm-up lap of Newcastle Business Park, taking in a bit of Scotswood Road (oh, me lads), so I was already a mile deep by the time I arrived at my usual start point.
I was hoping my auto-pilot instincts were strong enough to take me past the usual landmarks on the way out and back in without recognising that my muscles had absorbed an extra (secret) mile.
It worked pretty well. By the time I got to my usual turning point, the Pitcher and Piano, a pub replete with people who consider a fiver a reasonable price for a pint, and who have precious little desire to GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY WAY as I’m running past, I was 3.5 miles in, rather than 2.5 and still feeling okay.
I was reasonably comfortable hitting the home stretch (ok, my left knee and right thigh were typically sore, but bearably so), and I felt fantastic at the end to have covered 6 miles.
Now I guess I just need to find a way to trick my legs into doing two miles without thinking about it next time out. If you speak to them, don’t give the game away, okay?
Music: Idlewild – 100 Broken Windows