7 miles – mostly awesome with a little bit of awful

I am actually sort of sticking to our training plan at the moment. Not always exactly but I am getting the runs in, I am stretching fairly consistently and I’ve done the strength exercises several times this last week. Today’s run was to be 7 miles. Well, I haven’t run 7 miles in one go since last September at the Disneyland Paris half marathon. I have run more than 7 miles in a day three times since then I think but split into several runs (like at Endure 24). I am a bugger for avoiding hills so my instinct is always to go for my long runs along the canal. Kath, sensibly, has other ideas. Running on the flat will not prepare me for the Lakeland Trails events! I need to do some undulations at least. With that in mind we headed to Bolton Abbey for the 7 miles today.

It was nice running weather, not too warm but not cold and it stayed dry. The recent rain means that there was a lot of river coming down the river (as it were) and the noise from the Wharfe was quite deafening in places and sat in contrast to the still sections we passed later on where the dominant sound was birdsong. We walked up the first slope to get going and then set off. We’d agreed to go for intervals and while my default has been 2 minute runs with 1 minute walks for ages I know that I can do better than that and have just fallen into the habit of having 1 minute walk breaks. We therefore settled on 30 seconds walks. That was absolutely fine and in spite of hills I felt strong until just after 4 miles when I began to feel it a little. At just before mile 5 there was a short sharp downhill that is steep. It’s also concrete rather than the gravel-y path you find in most places there and it felt slippery. I went into wimp mode and walked very tentatively (idiot!), then I slipped slightly and panicked and froze completely. I physically couldn’t move. Kath had to come back and manoeuvre me onto the verge where my trail shoes could do their thing. Safely down and somewhat calmer we continued our run/walk (with a bit of extra ‘walk’) until just about 6 miles. The last mile we ran non-stop. We looped round the car park a couple of times to get to the 7 miles but it felt good to finish strong. Even though my legs were tired at the end they’ve recovered well throughout the day and I am looking forward to our 1 hour run tomorrow.

I was tuned into sound today rather than anything else. Kath saw the back end of a deer disappear into the wood, I missed it. I also missed other things she saw but I seemed to spend most of the loop listening the changing sounds coming from the river. The stillness in some sections, the gentle lapping of little waves in others and the thunder of the choppy sections. I was obviously in listening rather than seeing mode.

I ran on empty this morning. I did take a little water bottle and a porridge bar just in case but didn’t feel like I needed either. So 7 miles on empty is fine (I did eat sensibly and hydrate quite well yesterday I think). Anyway, good running day which we followed with good pub grub and cake for Mum’s birthday!

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