Running In Kent - Why I Was Fit As A Youngster
Drove down from Whitley Bay to my parent’s place in Kent on Friday night. We left late, after my daughter’s swimming lesson, so as to avoid the worst of the traffic on this 320 mile journey. So we didn’t get in ’till gone midnight, and to bed ’till 1:30.
But for some reason, I was WIDE AWAKE at 06:30. It felt just like jet lag. . . so much for my intended lay-in . . . after an hour of trying to go back to sleep (brain screaming “It’s MORNING, it’s MORNING” at me), I realised that staying in bed wasn’t an option.
So I got up, had some breakfast (hmmmm . . porridge & a really ripe banana . . .), and took the dog for a walk while this settled. When I got back, it was such a fantastic spring-like day that I just had to go for a run. Fortunately I’d come prepared, and set off for a slow amble around a 4 1/2 mile circuit I used to do when I was a student. If you want to follow the route, I can talk you through it - you’ll need to open the Google Map for this.
Starting at the “S” of Ballens Road, head West, and then South onto Lordswood Lane. You’ll see if you zoom in that there’s a wide grass verge to the road, with tarmac’d footpaths, rising gently for about 1/2 a mile. This is great for warming up, because it’s enough work to remind you that you’re out running, but not so hard that if you’re a bit tired, you’d take Boot Camp as the alternative next time.
At the roundabout, which is the junction with Albermarle Road, you head East, following the footpath along the edge of the wooded strip that’s adjacent to the road, before eventually coming out at the top of North Dane Way. This is quite a busy road, but yet again it’s got a footpath - one that’s in two lanes, with half of it for bike traffic (is that an oxymoron?) . Heading south for about 1 1/2 miles, it’s just like being out in the country (even though much of what was fields when I was a kid is now all houses. Jeeez - I sound just like Grandpaw), and you stay on this route until it reaches the top of Princes Avenue.
Turn left here, and follow the road as it drops into the valley. Keep going for about 1 1/4 miles (past the steep slopes on either side that were just the best for sledging when I was a kid) , until you get to Prince Charles Avenue, where you again turn left.
Now we get to the point of this whole post . . . Prince Charles Avenue goes straight up the side of the valley - if you look at it on the Ordnance Survey map (the arrow points at it), you can see the contours (the light orange lines), each 10m apart. This road climbs 60 metres in a little under a quarter mile.
When I used to cycle to school, this was the last part of the journey home, and I would often reach the bottom of the road at the same time as the school bus. Given a start of 50m or so, I could usually beat the bus to the top of the hill. I’m sure I could do that these days too . . . but I probably wouldn’t want to try just in case I couldn’t!.
Thankfully, from the top of Prince Charles Avenue, it’s level ground again for the last quarter mile - south on Lords Wood Lane and then east in Ballens Road.
The funny thing is . . . I don’t think I’m accustomed to running up this kind of hilly route any more. Sore legs on Sunday! Either that, or I’m not quite as fit as I like to think I am.