This Sunday marks 3 weeks to the marathon, and that means it should be the date of my last long run before cutting back on mileage. However, life is complicated, and this weekend we are going away for my 'Grandma-in-law's' 90th birthday party. There's no way I could fit a long run in tomorrow or Sunday, so I decided to go this morning instead.
I arranged for the childminder to look after the kids, and set off as soon as I could, at about 10.30am. It was fine and sunny, and I had the rare pleasure of bare arms in a t-shirt! The first 7 miles or so got me to the coastline, and the esplanade where I ran last week. I ran along feeling pretty good, then turned around and abruptly realised I had been helped by a tailwind, which was now blasting in my face. Then the heavens opened.
I am well-used to getting rained on, but this was so heavy, and I wasn't dressed for it - no trusty baseball cap! My arms and hands got cold, and I couldn't see a thing out of my glasses. My eyes were stinging too - I think it must have been moisturiser being washed into them! It was really unpleasant, and a fellow runner came alongside for a short chat about crap weather and her injury.
Anyway, about 15 mins later, the sun came out again. Just when I started to feel a bit drier and enjoy the scenery, it poured down again. I got soaked, and even stood under a bus-stop for half a minute to drink and eat some jelly babies. So it went on - sun, shower, sun, shower...
As I got to 17 miles or so, I was feeling pretty tired. I started watching the Garmin and counting off every 10th of a mile. Then I decided to pop into the public loos for a quick pee. I'm not sure I really needed to, it was more a chance to sit down. It was tough to get going again, and eventually I decided to cut off a corner of my route, taking 22 miles down to 20.
I plodded on around 11.30 min/mile pace now, and even walked up a very steep bit of hill. Then I forced myself to run the last mile, and as I got home it was 20.4 miles. This week there was no chance of adding a bit more on - I was totally exhausted.
I'm a bit disappointed, as that was my last chance to do a long run, and I wanted to try a bit further. But at least I have now done 3 runs of 20-miles, so hopefully that should be enough. Next weekend, according to the plan I'll be aiming for about 10 miles, which should be a bit easier!
I'll miss the sense of achievement that comes from these long runs, and the challenge of pushing myself as far as I can. But Thank God we get our weekends back now - popping out for nearly 4 hours for a run, and then not being able to walk for the rest of the day is something of a pain in the backside. Literally.
Things I could not have done my long runs without:
1. Lucozade Sport. I chose this drink as it will be provided at the marathon, and luckily, I really like the taste. I haven't had any upset tummies with it either.
2. 'Bum-Bag'. Quite comfortable strapped round my waist, this has been a great way to carry fuel, music and keys. Not room for much more than that though.
3. Bottle. I put the Lucozade in this and it's really easy to carry because it just fits over my hand without me having to grip it. I just wish it held more liquid.
4. Ipod. Podcasts kept me company, music made me go faster. Essential.
5. Jelly Babies. Supposedly a good source of energy and carbohydrate. Not sure how much effect they had on my running, but they are yum yum yummy!