With just 3 weeks to go until Barcelona Marathon, I had one more big challenge to conquer before I could settle in to the lovely taper: my last and longest training run.
As I peaked at 18 miles for my last 2 marathons, and I’ve been struggling with a niggly tendon through a lot of my training this year, I hesitantly aimed for 18-20 miles. The route itself was 20, but I wasn’t at all confident that I could finish it.
I like seeing this route on the map – it looks super far and makes me feel a bit awesome. The splodge at Weybridge was where I got lost and ran around in circles for a while. That was a little less awesome.
Despite the doubts, I was up at 6h00 on Saturday morning and on a train to Hampton Court by 7am. My logic was that if I stranded myself 20 miles away, I would have no choice but to run home. Also, I figured I could treat it like a day out, and that the navigation would take my mind off the miles.
It actually kind of worked!
Without further ado, here’s my 20 (!!) mile run summed up in 20 thoughts that popped into my head along the way 😉
1 This is going to be SO MUCH FUN. I totally don’t want to get back on the train and go home. Though there iiis one leaving in about 6 minutes. NO. Bad Lucy.
2 Wow, that’s a strong headwind. And I’ve really cleverly picked a route that has me running in the exact same direction for 20 miles. The wind has got to change at some point, right? It’ll totally change direction.
3 Oooh, 2 people have said good morning now! People are so friendly around here! I’m going to see how many more I can get!
4 Ok, 2 people have ignored me now. That game was fun while it lasted.
5 It’s actually quite muddy along here. Maybe I should have worn my trail shoes. The river is preeetty close. I’ll just make sure I slip left. I do NOT want to fall in.
6 Yes! I found my way off the Thames path! I am a navigational genius! Now it’s just a quick detour through Weybridge to the Wey river path…
7 Ok, I’m not a navigational genius. In fact, I’m lost. How hard can it be to find a flipping big blue RIVER?
8 Phew! I found it! I’ll be in Woking before I know it!
9 Ok, the Wey path is longer than I remember. I’m pretty sure I was meant to come off and into Woking around 13 miles. Did I miss the turning?
10 Ah. I seem to have added 1.5 miles somewhere. I should probably let my friend know I’ll be late. Scratch that, I’m already late. I wonder how long it’ll take to get to Woking station now? Where am I?
11 Woking station! And company! And a banana I just remembered I had in my bag! I’m going to be completely spontaneous and eat this now. Training is all about trial and error, and besides, I only have 6 miles left to go. What could possibly go wrong?
12 I bet my friend’s legs are feeling way fresher than mine right now. But I’m not jealous. My legs are STEEL. I can do this! I am a machine!
13 Ouch, ok, note to self: you can’t sprint across roads after 16 miles. Slow-motion hobble-sprinting only. Turns out, that’s a thing.
14 I’m going to walk this big hill. It’ll be a nice treat. Pft, yeah – heading up a hill, in the rain and wind, after 18 miles of running. Some treat, Lucy! Plus, the hill is taking too long. I’m going to run up the rest of it.
15 I could totally stop right now. I’ve already passed 18 miles, so it’s officially my longest training run. But my house is still miles away. I should probably keep going. It’s too cold to walk that far. And why is there still a headwind!? I hate you, England.
16 Traffic lights, DON’T YOU DARE TURN RED! If you stay green, I can stop and stretch and I can pretend I’m just waiting for the lights. NO! YOU TRAITORS! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME!?
17 Whatever. I didn’t want to stretch anyway…
18 .2 miles to go. I’ve got this. No more walking. Hm, I think my Garmin is broken. Maybe I’m actually at 20 miles now, and it just hasn’t updated?
19 Nope, that now says .1. Maybe it’s delayed. Is that a thing? Then again, that fence over there doesn’t seem to be getting any closer. Am I moving? I’m definitely still moving forwards, right?
20 IT SAYS 20 MILES! Take THAT, legs! I WIN! But wait a second… I’m still 1.5 miles from home. Looks like I’m going to be getting a warm-down walk. I can totally just tell people I planned this…
The lovely @Pandy_Cakes met me at
13 14.5 miles and whooped and cheered me through the rain and the wind to the finish. When she would totally have rather had a lie in. She’s an absolute legend. Thanks Amanda!
In summary, I surprised myself. My energy levels were pretty constant, I was cheery for almost the entire thing, and I felt like I had something left in the tank at the end. My legs ached, but I felt good. Yay!
And to make things even more awesome, according to my Garmin stats, I’m still on track for my sub-5!
… Which makes my face do this:
20 miles DONE, and 7 minutes faster than my 3h45 target!
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How was your weekend? 🙂