The skies were leaden with nimbostratus clouds as I left home and the brisk westerly wind thinned and thickened the cloud to change the colours from charcoal to light aluminium and back to battleship as I followed a fairly standard route from my repertoire – a loop edging the Heath, passing Charlton House before dropping down through Maryon Wilson Park to the Thames Barrier, following the River and then heading home back up the escarpment through Westcombe Park.
It was just over six months since I had run the route, the sky had been almost azure that morning and the colours intense in the winter sun – the two pictures of Angerstein Wharf tell a tale.
Today was an important milestone though, it was the first time post-accident that I had ventured more than a couple of miles away from home or from my car. The pace for the 8.2 miles may have been slower than last time – 3.4 times faster than a British spring (around 9:15 pace), compared with a pre-accident speed of 3.8 times faster (8:15 pace). The speed will come back eventually though – today was just about getting back to normal.
Yesterday’s run along the Thames from Woolwich to Greenwich is a standard one in my ‘repertoire’, but it was made all the more special due to the light created by the bright winter sun that had emerged from the gloom as I reached the Thames Barrier. The light and shadows along the aggregate jetty at Angerstein Wharf were almost perfect.
I have been running variants of the route for around 18 years, when I first ran in the area there was no path around where the O2 Arena is now and there was a tortuous trek across the ‘peninsula’. The Doomesday reloaded maps comparing the 1986 and 2011 ‘peninsula’ highlight the changes well.
Industry has all but disappeared upstream of Angerstein Wharf with little more than the aggregate wharves at Victoria Deep Water remaining with most of the rest having been cleared. The flattened wharves, factories and docks will no doubt suffer the same fate as most of the sites upstream and be turned into riverside apartments, many of which will be bought by investors and speculators. The Thames should be a transport and industrial hub rather than a backdrop for expensive housing but is rapidly losing that potential.
As for the running, it was a comfortable 10 miles or so which saw no after effects of the tightness in the peroneus longus tendon (in the ankle) which stopped me running for a week over Christmas.