Yesterday had been forecast as a fine, sunny day, so imagine my grumpiness when I looked out of the window at rain rain rain. Not funny. I changed my sleeveless vest for a t-shirt and jacket, and headed off. Just down the road I ran past a couple of women who were absolutely drenched, and we all smiled at each other as if to say 'yes we are all as mad as each other...'. Apart from that, there was hardly anyone about. Ran downhill for about a mile to meet my cheerleading running partner Ianthe, who was to accompany me on her bike. Unfortunately she had a problem with her brakes, and was stuck in the pouring rain trying to fix it. I was getting soaked and starting to get cold, so I ran off and she caught me up later. The front brake was still not working, but I generously offered to keep the pace nice and slow, just so there wouldn't be a problem. How kind of me!
I had planned an out-and-back route that went down a cycle path to an esplanade by the sea, along it and back again. It was a nice route, but I forgot to check the directions before I left, and we accidentally cut off a big chunk of it. After about an hour it stopped raining, and the temperature was surprisingly warm. Suddenly there were lots more people about on the esplanade - a few other runners and cyclists, and loads of children on bikes and trikes. I don't know how they all got out so fast - it was as if they had all been waiting in the car park for the rain to stop, and then they all jumped out to play.
When we turned round to head back, I realised that we hadn't done enough miles and I would probably have to add a bit on at the end. Ianthe was helping me keep going, saying I didn't look tired yet, and in fact I felt fine up until about 14 - 15 miles. Then I started to get tired. On the way back we had a few uphills, and I really slowed down on some of them. Every time we passed another mile, my Garmin bleeped, and Ianthe rang her bell each time as a mini-celebration! It seemed that the gap between each mile was getting longer and longer though (of course that's because it was, in terms of time anyway).
We got back to less than a mile from my house, and we had only done just over 17 miles. So we added on a bit of a loop, and as we did it, we talked about whether I would do the whole planned 20 miles or not. I reasoned that my original training plan called for an 18-miler at this point and I'd only decided to do another 20 because training had been going well. I also thought that stopping at 18 miles would leave me in better condition for attempting 22 next weekend. So Ianthe headed home, and so did I.
But as I plodded on, I started to feel a bit better, and gave myself a mental kick up the bottom. I knew I could run 20 miles because I did it last week, so I turned right instead of left to add on a bit more. I was feeling very tired, and it was quite tough, but I was determined to complete the 20 miles now. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and I can be quite anal about certain things, and finishing with the Garmin saying '19.9 miles' would really annoy me.
It was really frustrating though - I got near my house and it was still only 19.4, so I kept turning off up little roads and adding bits on. Eventually - thank goodness - 20 miles done! What a relief.
I suppose it was harder this week because it was the second 20-mile run in my legs, and they're not recovered from last Sunday yet. Whatever the reason, it was only 3 mins slower than last week, which wasn't too bad considering how knackered I felt.
A hot bath later, and I took Pete and the kids out for lunch. I had a massive burger and chips, it was great! The weekly post-long-run lunch out has been a marathon expense that I hadn't foreseen. Who wants to cook after running 20 miles though? One more big one to go before taper time - watch this space...!
After the run. The damp mangy-looking animal on my shoulder is actually my ponytail. Yuck.