Juneathon Day 5: Canal Adventure #9 – Burscough Bridge to Halsall

For starters, this Juneathon episode has me slightly twitchy because I have a standard format for my Juneathon post titles and a standard format for my canal running post titles. Today I have had to combine the two and I’m not convinced that it works as a title. Clunkiness aside, today was a good day. I had been out for lunch with my running friend (feeling slightly weird that I wasn’t wearing any kind of lycra or wicking fabrics) and had fuelled up on quiche (we both stared longingly at the pudding menu but resisted temptation) before going home and collecting Ginge for a drive out into the countryside and a spot of canal running.

We’ve been concentrating on going out eastwards towards Yorkshire, but we’re past day trips for that side now (we’ve got a few canal camping trips planned to get those done) so it’s back to West Lancashire to pick up where we left off in the sunshine at Bridge 28. Today was much more of a grey day, though it had stopped raining by the time we set off.

Bridge 28 - the start

The pub that we parked in had this in the beer garden. I think that it’s some kind of children’s plaything, possibly that’s been retrieved from a Communist state during the Cold War.

It's fun kids. No, really, it is.

Just yards after setting off, I pulled off one of my sudden stops that normally cause Ginge to nearly fall in the canal – it was well worth it to tiptoe past these sleeping ducks.

Sleepy ducks

The ducks were rapidly followed up by these chaps – nearly but not quite grown up coots (the waterfowl theme continues later in an oh so cute kind of way).

Teenage coots

As we were doing a there and back run, I didn’t take many photos on the way out and it gave us chance to get a nice pace going (stopping to take photos doesn’t help in getting into a rhythm) and soon enough we were at the halfway point (after a mild bit of heckling from a group of lads in a beer garden, who then thanked us politely as we stood to one side to let them pass on their bikes a few minutes later. Pah.

Bridge 21A - the turnaround point

There were lots of moorings along this stretch, but I think these were the two most interesting. Thor and The Pride of Sefton, the latter is is a barge converted to make the canal accessible for people with disabilities.

Thor

The Pride of Sefton

This area is still very agricultural and there probably hasn’t been that many changes over the years. For canal runners, the best thing about this is that there are few new bridges (and so there are few annoying As, Bs or anything elses between the round numbers), this combined with their even spacing and the canal’s straight route meant that the miles ticked quickly by.

The nicest bridge of the run

We passed this plaque marking the place where the building of the Leeds & Liverpool canal formally began and this is marked with an information board and sculpture just after.

Marking a little bit of history

Scupture

After we’d stopped to take a photo of this bird house…

A room with a view

…Ginge spotted these little lovelies – aren’t they cute?

All together now...Awwwwwwww.

And I realised just how close we are to the Liverpool end of this escapade.

Gulp.

Miles run = 8
Canal miles completed = 4
Total canal miles = 62.6/127*
Bridges = 28 to 21A

*So very nearly halfway!

 

Ducks, hens, bunnies

I’ve been holding off posting until I could post somthing positive. Positive and about running.

Following my last entry, I was bouncing with enthusiasm for a nice long(ish) Sunday run on one of my favourite routes along the canal – I was chilled about speed, distance, time, whatever, even taking my camera with me so that I could stop to smell the flowers and snap the sheep in the fields. I set off. I managed a quite literally staggering 2 minutes 45 seconds and couldn’t go any further – my arms and legs felt heavy and it was like running through treacle. I felt absolutely exhausted, but wasn’t going to give in. Ended up with a total of 2.55miles plodding and plod/walking, oh, and a lovely picture of some sleepy ducks.

Sleepy ducks

Sleepy ducks

This was followed by another 30minute morning run on Monday, which was still slow, but this time my hands didn’t swell up like bear paws so I called it a success. Unfortunately, this was followed by a week where I felt totally whacked and reminded me of glandular fever.

Clearly, these are not the positive things that I promised in the first sentence.

I have also been knitting for Easter, creating an army of fuzzy chicks and a pair of egg cosies from a pattern by the awesome Little Cotton Rabbits.

Bunnies

Bunnies

Hens

Hens

It doesn’t take a genius to workout that I more naturally inclined towards knitting (with its sitting down in the warm) than running (with its moving around outside).

However positive that it is, it’s not positive and about running (as promised in the first sentence).

I had 2 lovely runs on Good Friday and Saturday, followed by a Tuesday night club run. I’ll admit that I’ve been avoiding these a bit recently as the gulf between the plodders at the back (me) and the speedy gonzales at the front (everyone else) seemed to be getting wider and wider. Last night, I was lucky enough to run with one of the coaches who, as well as being the most scarily positive person in the world ever, gave me lots of advice and encouragement. As well as getting me round 4.23miles (the longest I’ve run in over a month), I averaged 11.07 minutes/mile. I know that these stats aren’t exactly world beating, but at the weekend I was chuffed enough with  2.7 miles at 11.06 minutes/mile and I now realise that I could either be going further or faster.

Suddenly, the glass feels half full and I can feel a bit of confidence creeping back. It’s a rather nice feeling.