Saturday, September 05, 2015

A Pilgrim's Choice - Pilgrimage Day 6

As I approach the end of my trip I'm starting to look a bit more closely at how exactly I'm going to make the airport to get home. This isn't quite as easy as it seems as there doesn't seem to be much in the way of accommodation near the airport.

As the Albergue in Aviles is meant to be excellent I wanted to stay there but as it is only 24km from Gijon I was going to end up short! I decided to leave the Camino Norte and follow the Camino Primitivo to Oviedo (a pilgrimage site in its own right) before tracking back up to Aviles. This meant that I'd have one day of 30km and another day of 44+km with a convenient rest point after 30km in Polo de Tiero on day 1 rather than carrying on the full 44km to Oviedo the most likely option although both had Albergues. Although my hotel was fantastic I wanted to get back among my fellow pilgrims.

A late start enjoying the hotel and trying to tease out the soreness behind my left knee led to me leaving around midday, my latest start yet. Amazingly for the first time all week the sun was out and it was a gorgeous day.

I was moving surprisingly well and went past Jean and Frank at about 16km. When I stopped at 21km to apply sunscreen and attach the "Saharan" flap to my sun hat I knew mentally I would be going the full 44km today. The Camelbak also made an appearance today although I'd still go for the coke bottles...

I passed through Solo del tiero in a flash stopping only to get my credencial stamped at the cheery and friendly looking Albergue. I should have stopped there...

The final 10 miles were whilst not brutal certainly not the straight road I was expecting.  Not helped by the final km being straight uphill. I went to the Albergue only to find it was closed. A helpful car driver (clearly used to pilgrims coming down this dead end) explained the location and I set off again to another location about a km away and straight up hill.

As I approached it I was wary. In contrast to the welcoming approach of most Albergues this one had a locked door and was a long walk up to the building which looked a bit like the community building at the end of last season of The Walking Dead or the compound in 28 days later or the prison in Resident Evil... okay I need to watch less zombie movies.

After being thoroughly investigated by the prison warden on guard (I'm being unfair, he was probably a volunteer) I paid the princely sum of 5€ and got led to my room... It stank. Mould was clearly growing on the walls. I hoped I could open the windows to let the stench out of my cell but they were bolted shut. The showers were clearly newly installed so I showered, packed my bags and left.  5€ seems fine for a shower and you would have had to pay me several times the amount I paid to get a hotel room in the booked out town to stay there. Spartan yes - I have in the last month been quite happy sleeping on a town hall floor with no sleeping bag and only a bag for a pillow. Filthy and mouldy no. Especially after running 28 miles.

The Cathedral in the town is beautiful and after finding a room I enjoyed another menu del dia. The menu del dia in Spain is fantastic where available. For 10-12€ you get bread, wine (often a bottle), a huge first course ( I always go for Fabada Asturiana - a hearty stew with white beans, bacon and black pudding sausage) which is a main meal in itself followed by a second course (usually pork or beef with chips for me ) and then desert or coffee. It's a heck of a deal.

So this blog is about choices - to take the Primitivo, to run past the nice Albergue,  to leave the bad one and also about my running.

As I've been going through the past few days I've been thinking about the events I should target. I think I owe it to myself to give an ultra event a real go at some point. I think my body may be more suited to multi day events. It's gone through this week with barely a squeak. "Injuries" have barely lasted a day. Maybe it's all the blood flow but I seem to be healing and c recovering faster than ever. My feet look immaculate and whilst I haven't been pushing the pace I can tell there's a lot more there if I need it.

Similarly I've been wondering about my training. It'll be interesting to see the effects of this week but I feel incredibly strong and powerful right now.  Maybe the odd ultra high mileage week will work. I'm also investigating ultra lightweight sleeping bags and camping kits... The idea of being totally self sufficient bar maybe food is enticing.

For another day perhaps.

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Bryn Running

Training diary and musings on running in general.