Fair Havens

Do you go running on holiday?  I guess the answer depends on whether you are a runner or not and secondly, if the answer to the first question is “yes”, what kind of runner.  Maybe I am some kind of head-case but wherever I go, be it on business or for pleasure, I find myself sizing up the local neighbourhood for runing routes and when packing, I always include a set of running gear.  Do you think I am mad? Maybe so, but maybe you also have that runners blood flowing through your veins.

This year for our holiday we returned to the same place for the third time (unheard of for us before now) and certainly packed our running gear.  On arrival in Crete our holiday company representative gave us the mandatory talk including dire warnings for people not used to the warmer climate.  The advice is to drink plenty of water (and then some more) and use industrial quantities of sun lotion and insect repellant.   When we told her we were going to get up at 6 AM to go for a run along the coast, we were expecting her to think we were stark raving mad so we were taken aback when she said it was a brilliant plan and we then had one of those runner to runner conversations that are probably completely unintelligible to the rest of the population.

In England we think that any temperature above around 20 degrees celcius is a warm day.  Anything above that is cause for complaint and the whole national infrastructure shuts down in the same way it does if there is an inch of snow.  This time last year we spent a week in the Slovenian Alps where the temperature reached the dizzy heights of 27 degrees and yet we managed the epic run up the Vršič Pass (see Passing Out).  Here in Agios Nikolaos in Crete, a thermometer on a bus I was in yesterday claimed it was 37 degrees and I could beleive it, so here we have quite a different climate.

The town of Agios Nikolaos is spread along three bays.  One has the marina (and a beach), the second is another beach and the third is the harbour area that sometimes docs some serious cruise ships.  It also has an inlet to a little fresh water lake which is famed to be bottomless!  If you run from our hotel (the Miramare Resort and Spa) along the coast to the main harbour, it is around 1.5 miles so is a great route for a 3 mile out and back.  At 6 AM, just before dawn it is about 24 degrees and so still quite a warm run but you had better not leave it any later because when the sun comes up (and it comes up really fast),  it’s hot.  We are not the only ones because we saw two other runners out this morning and another out in the midday sun and that is madness.

“We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭27:7-8‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬


You cannot be serious!

As a runner, coming back from injury can be quite traumatic. I find that when you start running again you can feel ultra sensitive to any slight twinge in the affected area and sometimes I find I can be over cautious.

This week I had booked two races. On Tuesday was the Jane Tomlinson Canal run and on Friday the East Leeds 10K, both of these races being scenic off-road flat courses around the canals and lakes. I had seen the physio on the Friday before and he suggested a gradual easing back into running so I cancelled my Canal Run entry and marshalled instead. It was an amazing evening because two of the women from my running club won prizes! I had decided not to run the 10K on Friday but after going out for a few trial runs in the week, the little devil on my left shoulder said “oh go on what the hell!”.

So it was with a few nerves I parked up near the RSPB visitor centre at the St Aidan’s nature reserve on Friday at about 6 PM. It gave me a huge sense of pride to, as one of our club’s captains, award the trophies to our two prize winners from the Canal run on Tuesday: Jen and Jo-Anne (since they were not able to collect them on the night), so that lessened the nerves slightly.

I had set myself one simple objective, to get round. It wouldn’t matter how fast or slow I went and that to run-walk around would be totally acceptable. It was with this thought that I gently jogged out from the start. I felt OK because my fitness obviously hadn’t gone back that much and my feet were pain free and by half way I still felt good. At half way, just before a beautiful causeway that crosses one of St Aidan’s lakes, there was a drink station so I stopped (yes really stopped) to have a proper drink of water (it was a warm evening). I then got going again.

With about 2 miles to go I could see two of my club  members ahead and I thought it might be a good idea to catch them. Therefore, because I still felt pretty good I decided to “go for it” in the last two miles. With about a mile to go, I caught up with Louise and this was a moment which made me feel good about my run and raised a smile. Another of our runners (Richard) was about 25 yards ahead and I asked Louise if she was gaining on him. When she said “no”  I said that I would go ahead and catch him. Someone running alongside Louise said with astonishment (something like) “is he serious?” and I know it was a very small thing but I knew then that I was back!

I did manage to pass Richard and afterwards, I think I had got away with it and not made my injury worse. I also managed a steady parkrun this morning so it’s now time to take a rest. Marathon in October, can I be serious? Who knows, only time will tell.

“Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.”

‭‭Proverbs ‭4:26‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬