My plan was to get into 'marathon mode', to run long, run slow, forget about running fast and just relax enjoy the run and without being cheesy 'get into the zone' and really enjoy running.
I was taking my hydration pack out for its first spin in a while to get used to carrying it again ahead of hopefully completing a few marathons in the autumn.
I had planned out a proposed route of sorts, an ambitious there and back route of at least thirteen miles heading through some local parks and out onto the London Loop sections 22 and 23 towards Rainham.
In the end I only ended up completing about half the route, firstly as it was a lot longer than I anticipated, secondly I was more tired from yesterday's running then I though and thirdly last nights enchiladas had played havoc with my stomach, but the less said about that the better!
My adventure began after around 5k when I headed onto the first off-road trail section of the London Loop section 22. A quite little residential road leads downhill into a dark wooded area that looks like it should be the setting of a horror movie as it is so out of place at the end of this quiet suburban road.
The trail is great though and an enjoyable but technical route to run.
It soon opens up into a large meadow which was beautifully in flower in this early part of the summer.
Some more trails around some ploughed fields and through hound woodland and I was soon back into built up residential areas. A quick lap around the Upminster Bridge area including the start of the London Loop section 23 And I then started on my return journey taking much the same route.
A slightly different path took me past some some lovely pink flowers.
I also had a quick stop to chat with the resident pony that lives in a little small holding along the route.
After a quick chat and a few handfuls of grass, (for the pony not me!) I headed onto through the fields and along some nice green trails.
Soon enough I was heading for home and back into Pages Wood and then Harold Wood Park before less than 2kms back to home to round off an 18km run in a snip under 2 hours.
Once home I was quickly into a cold bath to aid my recovery as these form a key part of recovery strategy after longer runs.
All in all a really enjoyable run, some great sights to see and really what I wanted in terms of just running slowly and enjoying the scenery.
The London Loop is a network of pathways designed to provide a route encircling greater London, you can find out more about the London Loop on the TFL website here, the sections I partly ran were sections 22, Harold Wood to Upminster Bridge and section 23, Upminster Bridge to Rainham. I have previously ran these sections in their entirety and you can read about my experience doing that here. The best way to find out more about the routes make up the London Loop is by reading other peoples experiences, a quick google will bring up a plethora of pages. There are several pages by people who have walked, cycled or ran large parts and in some cases all of the London Loop, a particular blog I have enjoyed reading on this subject and many others is Diamond Geezer which is well worth a look, his post on section 22 can be read here.