Training re-cap for week ending 22nd August: Monday – stopped half way through, Tuesday – did it! 45 minutes at Bolton Abbey, Wednesday – rest, Thursday – got less than 50 metres before calf muscle twinge, icepack, Friday – more icepack, Saturday 9 MILES.
Yes that’s right. 9 whole miles, 14.48 km. That is the longest distance I have ever run. Oh actually no it’s not, there was the half marathon 3 years ago but when we trained for that we never got past 10km. So it’s the longest training run I’ve ever done and I almost certainly ran far more of the 9 miles today than I did of the half marathon. Apart from 2 little glitches we managed to stick to running intervals of two and a half minutes with a 30 second walk rest. The glitches involved starting the walk break a little early. The 9 miles took us 1hr 56 mins and 10 secs with an average pace of 12minutes 55 seconds per mile. I am really happy with that for such a long distance. I also think that if we stick to the Jeff Galloway training plan we’ve been following, I will be able to keep going at that pace for much longer which means I can probably stop panicking about the minimum pace required at the Disney World Marathon which is 16 minutes per mile.
Anyway, the run. We got the train out to Skipton and ran back home. The entire route is along the canal and you can get onto the canal just opposite the station car park. No navigation required – just keep running next to the canal. There is quite a lot of info on the Leeds Liverpool Canal online and the section we covered today is detailed on the Skipton to Stockbridge section of a website all about it. There area lot of pictures so you can see where I was running. I do have to keep reminding myself that we are pretty lucky to be able to run in this part of the world!
I was a little concerned about this run, not just because of the distance but also because of my calf muscle twinges and slightly creaky knees over the last week. The first three miles were ok actually. I settled into running quite quickly and I enjoyed being out and being by the canal with its colourful canal boats (some with brilliant names like Soggy Bottom), its dog walkers, its ducks, swans and moorhens. My legs felt ok. I started to struggle at roughly half way, I was feeling tired and struggling to focus on enjoying it and it all just felt a bit like plodding. I do wonder if I need to think about eating something at roughly 5 miles, I may try that on the next long run. Anyway I desperately tried to hang on to why we are doing this and tried to focus on how much progress I had already made. I took a slightly longer walk break somewhere just before 6 miles (not that I knew that) and then Kath told me we had gone past 6 miles. We’d done two thirds! Then I really just kept plodding, my thighs and hips were tight (but not my calf!) and it seemed a huge effort but I never felt like I wanted or needed to stop the run. I needed another longer walk break because I just couldn’t get my legs to move but shortly after that we were in familiar running territory and running along a section of the canal we have done before. I couldn’t take the walk breaks out but I did keep going to the end. It was so good to have done it. I was surprised to have done it at what is for me a very decent pace over the distance. It didn’t feel at all comfortable but I’ve sort of forgotten that now. I remember a field full of calves lounging about in the sun. I remember the heron (not one of our ‘usual’ herons, it was smaller and lighter in colour, maybe a young one), the miserable looking cyclists and the happy ones, the rabbits in fields and the just being outside.
We finished the run and then had to walk home from the canal. It took a very long time and as we got to the top of the golf course I actually felt quite poorly. Kath had taken her backpack with hydration system. I had ignored it for most of the run but I did then take time to drink some water. The walk route took us past Kath’s mum’s house and Kath stopped off and grabbed me a banana. A bite of that and I felt much better.
Once home I did some stretches (actually I spent a long time in Child’s pose and lying on my back with my knees to my chest but I did stretch too) and had some icelandic yoghurt with fruit and then a cool bath. My legs are tired, my knees are a bit grumpy but not much actually hurts. The exception to not hurting is both middle toes which seem to have taken a battering and which are bruising under the nail. I’ll do some yoga and stretching later and we’ll see how bad it all is tomorrow
A good run with lots to learn – I need to drink more during the longer distances, I should probably eat something for enegery too and, perhaps most importantly, however hard and horrible it gets, a few hours later I really just remember having done it and a few of the nice things seen along the way