The result of all that plotting, undoing and re-plotting was this mighty loop around the Dengie. Surely it had everything I like in a local run, sea walls, sea, isolation, big skies and even views of an offshore wind farm! I'd also pass through three unconquered Fetch conquercise areas - brilliant.
Sunday morning was bright and pretty crispy so I was really really looking forward to it. Especially as before I left the house I put a nice leg of lamb in the oven to cook away and share with the in-laws later in the afternoon. Household chores out of the way I set off stocked up with jelly babies, 'sports' drinks and a banana.
The only bit of the run I was worried about was around 11 miles where I had to turn off the sea wall and start heading back for home. The first part of the run was certainly chilly, but there's plenty of wildlife and marshy goodness to enjoy and distract me from any niggles or negative thoughts. The first milestone was Bradwell marina which is about 4.5 miles in, after that its a quick hop through Waterside towards the old Power Station.
At Waterside theres a nice little sailing club that I always think looks really friendly and there sitting in their dinghy park was one of two 'soap dish'es. I'm not going to bore anyone with why this boat is so special but it is, and I was both really excited and sad to see it sitting there a bit unloved. For some reason I alway feel that boats have souls and need rescuing, so spent the next bit of the run thinking all about how I could - but most likely wouldn't. As much as it was a radical boat for its day it was also a bit of a dog.
Next stop and jelly baby point was St Peters on the wall which was the subject of an earlier post. At this point I think I upset a gaggle of bird watchers who were amassed looking south down the sea wall which was also my route home... After a bit of cursing and tutting they abandoned their 3 foot telescopic lenses for tea. I'm not sure whether that was because I scared off the birds or that they just didn't want a telescopic look at my lycra clad arse. Either way they I got the distinct impression they were not happy. I can understand that I guess.
I actually saw another runner at this point on the run. One of those ones thats all, heads down, and too cool to say hello or even acknowledge the presence of another human doing the same thing. There's a few like that in Maldon that I've come to recognise. For some reason I always get some weird satisfaction from combatting their unfriendliness with a really over enthusiastic, cheery wave and greeting. Would it be that hard just to nod? Anyway... I was making good progress, and was ticking along at round about 09:45 - 10min mile pace which was just fine. The next milestone was the right turn onto a public footpath. But sadly, the footpath was not in the slightest bit easy to find, or follow. So I merrily ran past my turning and then spent the next 20 mins trying to find a way to get back on track. Phoning my wife didnt really help as much as I had hoped. The conversation went something like this. Wife - 'What can you see?' Me - 'well , I can see a sea wall, a field and a drainage ditch'. Wife - 'Hmmm I'm not sure that helps there's 8 miles of that', Me - 'yeah I kind of thought that might be the case. See you in a few weeks then'. In the end I did find a farm track that led back inland and eventually to what any sane person would call the middle of nowhere. It was time to request a pick up before the in-laws turned up!
So it was a 16 miler in the end and frustratingly I still haven't broken the 20 mile mark.
On the plus side the shin didn't give me any grief. I have learnt exactly where the footpath IS for next time and where it rejoins the 'main' road. I found an old legend of a boat looking a bit sad in a dinghy park. I found that I can drink SIS sports drinks without any issues and I had a cracking bit of lamb in the afternoon.
Next time I do a run like that I'm not going to leave home without the OS map though. Oh and I ticked off a few more zones and am slowly reaching Dengie domination on Conquercise.