The coffee shop beckons…

Posted: 14/07/2012 in Journal, Running

Bit of a crazy couple of days – and I’m a day behind in my marathon training (I think) – yesterday should have been a hard five mile run, but I was off shooting a wedding, so I didn’t have time to fit it in, getting home around 9:30pm and being knackered. Aslo, Mrs. Angrybees has trapped a nerve, leading to some exciting medication* and the need for a bit of care and attention. She was feeling mildly improved this morning, though still in pain and full of exciting drugs**, but was scheduled to meet a friend for a pre-holiday*** coffee. Given that I didn’t think she couldn’t be left to navigate the mean streets of Jesmond**** alone, I drove her over, escorted her across the road and arranged to pick her up a little later. Just later enough, in fact, to fit in a cheeky five miles in Jesmond Dene, the town’s premiere location for exercising tiny dogs.

I ran to the Dene through the mean streets, seeing down-and-out students swilling champagne in the back alleys and a number of shady deals going down for the purchase of venison. At times I feared for my Waitrose Card, but I made it out unscathed.

I dropped down the hill into the Dene to the sight of much kettle bell swinging on the grass – some kind of fitness session was underway, but none of the recipients seemed to be smiling. It’s a fun puzzle for me, why people would pay to get shouted at to do something they’re clearly not enjoying – I run because I love it, and because it makes me grin like I’ve just discovered I can poo gold***** and I just don’t think I would do it if I didn’t like it. I’m not saying it’s always easy, as even a casual read of the posts on this blog will show, but I love it nonetheless, and would have missed any of the knee-wrenching, leg-mangling minutes of it.

Anyhow, my petty gripes aside, I ran up through the Dene, which is a lovely hidden country park, designed by Lord Armstrong in the 1850s, when he took the existing Dene and planted a whole pile of trees in there – they really are quite spectacular. I’m sure he landscaped it as well, though my research hasn’t gone quite that deep as yet. There’s a rather fine house, not masquerading as a fish restaurant, a smaller house that has a coffee shop and an old mill that is suitably ramshackle. Running through the lot (not literally, perhaps ‘running by the lot’ would have been more accurate is a small river, and the path runs along the side of that. So, past the coffee shop (and Pet’s Corner, a collection of animals for chidden to be bitten by) and up the Dene, which goes uphill (as I’m going against the river direction). After a short while I go past the fish restaurant, then off up past the falls at the mill. This is about as far as I’ve ventured upriver****** before, but this running lark is all about discovery and adventure, right, so I keep going. The path continues, and goes under a bridge with a not-quite-fit-for-humans tunnel that forces me to adopt a running style that Gollum would be proud of, all hunched and stooped over. After that the path turns to mud, and I press on, in the hope that I might discover a new source of the Nile. No such luck but after a little longer I pop out onto the road by the Freeman Hospital, which would be useful if I had injured myself.

I turn around, and head back the way I came, through the mud and past the biting animals. Up onto the Armstrong Bridge, which I can’t believe he named after himself, that’s a bit rich, and over it into Jesmond again. Through the roads and back to the coffee shop for a well deserved soya hot chocolate.

Job done, five miles down and a step further towards marathon greatness.


  • Distance: 5.02 miles
  • Time: 51’03″73
  • Average pace: 10’10” – there were a lot of hills, and this is still within the target for a ‘fast’ run according to myAsics, so I’m happy with it.

*By which I mean enough different pain-killing tablets as could be called a ‘cocktail’.

**Drugs are bad, m’kay…

***The friend’s holiday, not ours, worse luck.

****For non-Newcastle-based readers, it’s the posh bit – by ‘mean’, read ‘one’s Range Rover was dinged by some oik high on caviar’.

*****I can’t poo gold, but it’s a great idea, don’t you think?

******I believe that’s the first time I’ve ever had the need to use the word ‘upriver’. I quite like it and might find more excuses to use it again.


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