After last week's crappy run, I really felt that I had to have a good run today. I have pretty much decided that the pants-ness of that run was down to; a. lack of sleep, and b. just one of those crappy runs. Things didn't look great yesterday, as I had a real pain in my left thigh, which came from a tough hills session on Wednesday, followed by a fast run on Friday. Then I got a text from my running partner Ianthe (who basically ensured that I finished last week's run) saying that she was ill and not running. Panic!
Never mind because I had a 'brilliant idea'. I invited Pete to join me for the last 3 miles or so of today's run! Pete is only an occasional runner, and we rarely run together because of the kids, but when we have, I must admit that he is somewhat slower than me. However, we had babysitters today, in the form of his parents who are here for the weekend, and I thought that after 13 miles, I wouldn't be too bothered about going slowly. After some Easter chocolate style persuasion, he agreed.
For the rest of the run (all 13.5 miles of it), I would have my trusty ipod. Rain was forecast, so I set off with my baseball cap at about 9.30am. Generally I prefer to listen to podcasts rather than music on a long run, as I like the company, and the illusion of being part of a conversation (with my invisible friends...). So I scrolled down and found my Marathon Talk podcasts. This is a great programme for anyone training for a marathon, or anyone interested in running. When I looked today, I saw they had a special 'Long Run Show', which was all about the long run, and had been designed as a longer version to listen to during the run. Perfect!
Listening to the general banter and an interview with a 'mental performance coach', I sailed though the first few miles. The fact that it was mostly downhill helped as well. It didn't rain, the sun came out, and I felt ok. So relaxed in fact, that at mile 8, I said hello to a few sheep. They are such lovely animals to run with - I wouldn't dream of running through a field of cows or horses, but sheep are great.
Anyway, around there I hit a big hill (where I killed my thighs on Weds hill session), but managed to run all the way up it. Around 10 miles, I got to a bendy road with no path, and there was quite a lot of traffic. I tried to keep close to the grass verges as a few rude drivers appeared to try to knock me over.
At 11 miles, the podcast finished, and I scrambled about with the ipod, trying to put some music on. My fingers were all cold and stiff and weak, so I just hit a few buttons, and ended up with Guns & Roses blasting into my ears - 80s rock - nice! That and Amy Winehouse pushed me up another steep hill, and then I arrived home. I took off the ipod and bum-bag, banged on the door about 3 times, and waited for Pete. My legs were just starting to seize up when he opened the door, and we set off again.
I was feeling pretty good at this point, and had about 13.5 miles on the Garmin. We were doing 10 + min/mile pace, which suited me fine. We chatted for a bit, but after a mile or so, I started to feel really tired. I didn't have much energy to chat, so Pete tried to think of all the things he wanted to get off his chest while I couldn't reply - haha! Luckily he couldn't think of anything, and we plodded on for the last few miles. Reaching mile 15, I felt really good because I'd had so much of a better run than last week. Then mile 16 was another boost because I've never been that far before.
As we got home again, the Garmin said 16.89 miles, so I jogged up the road and back again until it said 17. Yay! Made it! Hobbled up the stairs and plopped on the sofa.
So Thank Goodness for that. With a 17-mile run in the bank, I feel a lot more confident about completing the marathon. Next week I can aim for 18 before I attempt the big TWO-OH. Scary. Luckily the house is full of appropriate runners' nutrition, so I don't need to worry about my calorie intake. Happy Easter!