The Canals of Manchester

If you tell somebody in Manchester that you're going to be running in their town, they'll likely tell you to run along the canals. Canals, after all, are filled with water and when people tell other people where to run, they like to tell them to run in places in close proximity to water, be it the ocean, a lake, a river, etc.

It's worth noting that because most people don't run, when they tell you where you should run, they're not really telling you where they have run, but rather where they would run if they did run, which they don't. At best, they might have walked where they think you should run, but more likely they've only seen it from a a tram or a car.

While these are decent vantage points, there are many things a non-runner won't notice. In the case of the Manchester canals, for instance, a non-runner won't notice the following:

*The terrain includes a multitude of cobble-stone and brick pathways.
*The parts that aren't cobble-stone or brick are very much single-track.
*Given the fact that the canals are often below street level, Garmin reception can be wonky.
*Those who walk the canals do so with iPods turned up very loud. When they notice you, they are very polite (being British), but that's when they notice you.

All of that being said, the canals give you a nice view of the underbelly of many 200 year old buildings and it's a great way to see the city. Mind you, my six miler today was at an 8:33/pace - too fast for my ankles on the damn cobblestones and too slow for it to be anymore than a recovery run aerobic-wise, but it was still a nice way to start the day today.

Whether or not I'll manage a good tempo run this week is hard to say. I'm still struggling with the time change, but more important: I have a lot of trouble running fast when I'm lost and all of my runs contain a certain element of being very much lost in this city (though it's infinitely easier to navigate than London). I've pretty much decided that if I can manage a decent week of aerobic mileage and survive for a 17 miler upon my return this weekend, I'll call it a good week. But that's still quite a few days from now.


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