I finally made double digits last Sunday – I ran 10.10 miles, and only needed one gel. Progress! I’ve been trying really hard to move away from using gels and drinks etc. too much, as last year I became quite dependent on them and hit the wall much earlier on. This time round, I can go for an hour and a half before I need anything more than water, which makes things much simpler! For my long runs I’ve been opening a High5 gel at 10k, and taking it bit by bit over the second half, along with some High5 Zero electrolyte drink (I find the usual sports drinks to be too sugary, so this is a nice alternative – and the flavours are SO GOOD!) and it’s worked really well. The only issue I’ve really been having is a niggle in my ankle and hip, and tired legs. I had happily blocked out all memory of forgotten all of those little complaints that appear the further you run ..
On Friday I had a little adventure with a couple of my colleagues. Lots of the route didn’t even show on Google Maps, and as I forgot my Garmin, I had to try and figure out where we’d gone using the River Wey Navigation map and the two or three road names I remembered seeing, as well as judging roughly how far we ran based on the time we were out.
I think I found vaguely the right route in the end, and it turns out that our scheduled 2.5-3 miles ended up as 4.1. We were supposed to head back along the opposite river path as a sort of out-and-back thing, but missed a turning and ended up taking a bit (!) of a detour through Westfield. Whoops! I had a great time, but I don’t think the others appreciated having to run an extra mile – especially as one of them had never run more than 30 minutes in his life. (I don’t see our lunchtime run club lasting much longer ..) I felt kind of bad, but I also felt pretty hyper, so I found it hard to be sympathetic – though I did offer lots of praise and encouragement, and they seemed quite pleased to have run so far! And for the record, I didn’t choose the route. Yknow, just sayin’ ..
The pretty river, wide open countryside and deserted lanes, along with the perfectly cold, dry weather and light breeze were wonderful, and for the first time in a long time I felt like I could run forever. My breathing settled really early on, my cadence was nice and fast, and I felt relaxed. Brilliant!
But it has to be said, the long runs are really starting to feel long. I know that sounds like a really obvious and redundant statement, but up until now I’ve not really had to worry about the distance – I’ve only begun to feel uncomfortable towards the end. But today I felt quite uncomfy for a good couple of miles, and I know it’s only going to get further and further from here on in. I’m very steadily creeping towards my longest ever run – less than 10k away now, and then it’s all out of my comfort zone. Gulp.
Today the plan said 2hrs (I love that it measures sessions by time, rather than putting pressure on to reach a certain distance) and without measuring or timing my route I hit exactly 1:59:59 as I stopped my Garmin. Win! My splits looked really good, too. (For me, anyway!) This time last year I was averaging 11:00/mile, with my longest run at an 11:13 pace. Today I managed 3 of my 11 miles at under a 10:00 pace, which was awesome:
I may not be the speediest runner in the world, but I’m flipping pleased with my pace today, given the weather (which was MUCH LESS AWESOME). Today was torrential rain and 17mph winds, and with my out-and-back route (seemed like such a good plan at the time, and actually worked really well – I knew I’d feel fresh for the first half, and by the time I got to the turn-around point, I had no choice but to run home. Cruel, but effective!) I ended up running back into the wind for the last 6 miles, at what felt like a 45 degree angle! Boo.
I had quite a boost (and a giggle) at around mile 4 – I was heading through a little residential area, and a couple of guys were working on a car on their drive. As I passed them I heard them wolf whistle behind me! Definitely unexpected – and being such a wet and bedraggled mess, the only explanation I can come up with was that they reeeally liked my jacket. (Can’t blame them for that, it’s a pretty awesome jacket). Either way, it cheered me up – and check out the 9:50 mile 5! Result!
Hope everyone’s training is going well – here’s to some better weather next week! I think I’m going to need to bribe myself with chocolate to get through the foam rolling. My calves have been niggling all afternoon, and I know they’re not going to cooperate. I guess I just have to focus on how good they’ll feel afterwards!