This was the week of The Big One – the longest run in my training Plan. After this we’re into a taper period to ensure legs and feet are in tip top condition.
For my Tuesday run, I did my consecutive-dog trick again. This means I can exercise both dogs, one after the other, and still get my requisite half an hour in. The weather was glorious – almost too hot – and I think the dogs enjoyed it as much as I did.
I was planning another run on Thursday evening, but my stomach had reacted badly to something I’d eaten, and I spent the evening just curled on the sofa. I felt very guilty about missing a run, but it’s better to err on the side of caution.
Saturday’s ParkRun was bathed in that elusive sunshine, but sadly I discovered as I was leaving the house that my iPod was flat. So I had to run without music. This would be a good test – does music help me run faster or not? I found the sounds interesting as I ran – Mini’s wheezing as she galloped along beside me, my own odd 2 in-3 out breathing rhythm, the slap-slap of my trainers. But what I discovered was that the real benefit of music is that it drowns out the negative voice in your head – I was still battling with the urge to stop, give up, just quit. I tried giving my brain something else to do, so I started composing rhymes for my fellow runners;
Girl in purple, girl in blue, How to catch them, what to do?
Two young lads all dressed in white, Look like they could run all night
Passed by bloke all clad in yellow, He’s a very speedy fellow!
And the result? 28:44. So I didn’t beat last week’s PB of 28:16, but I wasn’t far off! To me, a sub-30 run is still a good result.
So Sunday dawned, still sunny. I wanted to get out early in the day before the heat built up, and I was aiming to run 12 miles. This was the longest of the training runs, and it would be my lifetime longest run. I’d carb-loaded with spelt pasta the night before, spelt toast for breakfast, and ensured I’d been to the bathroom before leaving. No dogs, and in the clothes I was intending to run in. I started off running to the leisure centre, where the race will begin. I followed the 10k course, keeping the Sprucefield ariel in my sights. I’ve loved the way my runs have always been in the shadow of this iconic landmark – when I lived abroad, and was flying home via Dublin, passing the Sprucefield mast was always a sign that I was nearly home. My charged-up shuffle was in good form, and gave me the beautiful 100 years by Five For Fighting, which reminded me of my old room-mate Anne-Marie, and made me smile.
Running along Blaris Rd, I felt the need for a bathroom, so I took a small detour off my planned route to McDonalds to use the facilities. Better that than trying to carry on for the rest of the run in discomfort. A short sharp uphill section on Ravernet Road, to omit the race section on the dual carriageway, and I was back at Waterloo Road. This is a bit of a slog, but I’ve run it 4 or 5 times now, and I know where the tricky hills are. Some fabulous views, though! From there, it’s a lovely long downhill stretch of Ballynahinch Road, and other small hill at Altona Industrial Estate, and from there I just ran home. Just under 12 miles, in 2 hrs 18 mins.
My new KSwiss trainers are pretty good – I’ve had no shin splints since I changed to them. But they have a velcro-like attraction to bits of gravel, so I had to stop now and then to hoke these out of my soles. And I was glad I was dog-less – there were lots of bikes about, Max’s nemesis, and more than a few runners, no doubt like me doing their long run before the race.
When I got home, I found that my lovely husband had posted a link on Facebook to my Fundraising page. I want to publicly say how much his support has meant to me – he’s never complained about the time I spend running, or how the dairy changes to accommodate my runs, and he’s always keen to hear about my pace, and concerned about my safety when I run. Had a great week fundraising, and a huge thank-you to my Scottish Dancing class who donated over £100. The grand total is now around £300.
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