On Saturday, I ran from home (London, Hammersmith) to Mommas' Palace (Guildford). That's a nice 60km run along the Thames from London to Weybridge, then along the Wey River up to Guildford.

Given Mommas' aura, several pilgrimages have already been carried out. When he lived in Weybridge, we walked from Hyde Park by the Thames Path and Richmond Park (30km - see Original ultra feeling). Then Mommas decided to make it harder and moved to Guildford; we walked from Surbiton (36km) (*). This time Mommas gave me the force to run the whole way at once. The target was set to 6 hours.

When I left at about 8am, the clouds were threatening and I expected some rain on the way. But I didn't even get a tiny drizzle. The temperature was perfect: about 10°C. From the beginning I used the so-called Cyrano method: I walked 1 minute every 10. These micro-breaks allow to rest the muscles and potentially reduce the speed decay and avoid injuries. Moreover, they can be used to eat and drink at regular times. Hammersmith, Mortlake, Kew, Richmond, Kingston-upon-Tames, Walton-on-Thames, Weybridge: the section along the Thames went quite smoothly. I knew most of the path, except the swing around Hampton Court Park. Just before that, in Kingston, a runner tried to trick me and told me the tow path was following the South Bank. Fred and I have been there: no Thames Path on the South ! I trusted my map and my experience and crossed to the North Bank. Good choice ! Strangely I got some blisters and frictions at various places, but as often in ultra-running, those disappeared quickly. After 3h15, I was in Weybridge (35km).

At Weybridge, I left the Thames to follow the Wey tow path. This path is actually part of the E2 European Long Distance Path, which follows the GR5 in France. I didn't run quite as far as Nice, though :) The Thames was rather high, and so was the Wey. When I walked it with Fred, the Wey was just a small stream on the side of the Wey Navigation (a canal seconding the Wey). This time, not only the Wey Navigation was filled in to the top, but the Wey was a powerful river occupying all its bed. In fact the locks were not in use because of the flood. Last time, it was recommended to use them economically due to the drought!
From this point, the sun started to shine unexpectedly. That also means more water consumption, and I had to stop at a pub (The Anchor) to get some drink. I don't know why I did that, but I ordered a pint of ice-cold coke that I drank in less than a minute. Objectively, the best way to throw up, but it went surprisingly well ! The path was quite muddy and some sections in the riparian fields were really squelchy, difficult to run ... The Wey was on the way (**). I progressively started to feel stiff. Ache in my right hip and in my left ankle reminded me old injuries. I also experienced a novel form of pain: a sudden, intense, sharp, localised pain in my right calf. I think it's actually a sort of cramp. After 50-55km I had to walk every 7.5 minutes and even every 5 minutes. But when I was running I was still quite fast. That's the Cyrano effect. To make things a bit harder, Mommas obviously doesn't live nearby the river, but on a hill ... I planned to walk this last ascent, but surprisingly while approaching Guildford I felt much better and could run continuously even uphill. It's again a proof that pain, cold, and other unpleasant feelings are just a conception of mind. When you know you're about to arrive, the psychic removes all the pain.

Arrived after 6h05, mission accomplished ! Bredele, mulled wine and crêpes for replenishment :)

Ultra pilgrimage.

(*) This paragraph really looks like a short literature review (related work) at the beginning of a publication... I'm writing all day lately!
(**) I really needed to do this joke, sorry...