Friday morning and I set off bright and early for my riverside walk. The plan was to walk ten miles but with the cold still hanging around it was by no means a certainty. It was thinking about raining when I left just before eight and I wasn’t sure if I was going to stay dry for the whole walk but I had my hooded coat and my beret in my bag, just in case.
Because I struggled with my shoulder on the last couple of long walks, particularly the right one for some reason, I decided to spread the sandbag weight today. Some of the bags went in my rucksack and some went in a big, jogger’s bum bag that I got a couple of weeks ago. It also has two special stretchy straps to carry water bottles, which will be good for the Moonwalk.
Even at that time of the morning there were a few joggers and dog walkers at the park and even a couple of hardy fishermen. Close to the bridge there were a huge group of swans with three cygnets in their midst, grey, speckled with white. This made me wonder if I would see my cygnets when I got past Woodmill to the part of the river where they live. When I got there though there were no swans at all, just lots and lots of ducks of all different kinds.
On I went, over Mansbridge, towards the airport. Although I planned to walk ten miles, I also had a parcel to pick up so I needed to reach the four and a half mile mark before I turned round and walked back. Once I passed the Ford factory, the airport and the little bridge that marks three and a half miles, it was on towards Eastleigh into new territory. I made it almost to the end of the first lot of houses before I turned. Maybe next week I’ll make it to the Swan Centre where there are loos and coffee.
On my way back I saw a big wedge of swans, flying in V formation directly overhead. Maybe they were off to warmer climes? This started me thinking about my little swan family again as I walked back towards the river. When I came to Mansbridge a man and a woman were leaning over the side throwing flowers into the water. I wonder what that was all about?
By this time my shoulder was beginning to feel a little uncomfortable again so I decided to make for the nearest bench and rearrange my sand bags. A two pound bag came out of the rucksack and went into the bum bag and I stopped for a moment to give my shoulder a little rub. As I looked up from my bum bag I saw my two parent swans emerge from a little clearing on the other side of the river followed by one cygnet. They stood on the bank and the cygnet got into the water and started diving down for food. Perhaps they have a nest in the clearing and that’s why they weren’t there last time. Hopefully the other four cygnets were just sleeping in today.
My tummy was beginning to rumble when I got to Cobden Bridge and I wished I’d put one of my fibre bars in the bum bag along with the sand. At this point I still had about two miles left but on my way to the parcel office I popped into the petrol station and grabbed a tracker bar. It certainly hit the spot and gave me a real energy boost too. When I reached home I had 10.35 miles under my belt. My shoulder wasn’t too bad so the bum bag idea is a keeper.
In the afternoon I did have a little trip up the Big Hill after a quick coffee and a rest so my final mile total for the day ended at 13.13. Yet another half marathon Friday under my belt.