Friday 8th July
What’s your idea of a big night out? Tonight was a big night out in Bristol with two guys that I coached many years ago with the Loughborough Student Hockey – Richie Dawson-Smith and Stu Loughrey. I left work with trepidation, knowing that these two pro field hockey players had the legs to really drag me through some turmoil tonight. My hope was that they’d burn up as the night went on but no such luck. We set out into a beautiful summer’s evening, all in matching outfits for a themed night out on the town. Just to be clear this wasn’t quad-vods in Echos or 3 for 1 deals at Wild, this was 21.1km of running in the heat!
Tonight we did an out and back route to Blaise Castle, near Westbury-on-Trym. I had not run it before so the route was always going to be a little improvised. 4 miles out to the park, we took a shortcut and transitioned from road running to forest. Textbook. Standing in a field with paths in every direction we were quickly lost.
“Which way shall we go?”
“Try going up, what’s the worst that can happen….”.
The worst that can happen is that you hit a seemingly never ending 30% scramble for the
next 5 minutes. The boys each assumed a running gait that brought memories of Bradgate Park time trials and early morning interval sessions flooding back. The ascent was like an unexpected punch in the gut and we hit the summit gasping for air and [if I’m honest] a little offended by what had just assaulted us at just 8km in to the 21.1km course! Disorientated we stumbled onto the Blaise Castle Golf course, taking directions from a random player we plodded on. We looped around the faux medieval Blaise Castle and headed home. At 16km the inevitable happened, Richie lifted the pace and the two athletes gently pulled away from me. I later explained to them that I had refined a very specific ability to plod at 13km/hr. Their acceleration fell outside of this window and I couldn’t respond.
We made it back, cracked open the beers and reminisced about the great characters of our period of Loughborough Students’ Hockey, who was where and what they were doing now. Chilli-con-carne and Tour De France highlights with a coffee capped the big night out in Bristol. Call me old and boring but I’d take this over a night out in Loughborough any day of the week…