After some more careful rolling and a liberal amount of flailing my legs around in an uncoordinated fashion, I’ve felt brave enough to up my long run mileage and remind myself what it’s like to go a bit faster.
Thursday morning was supposed to see me bound out of bed and do a set of intervals. In fact, Thursday morning saw me peeling open one eye, peering at my alarm, pulling the duvet back over my head and swearing blind that I would go out on Friday. Not wanting to run on a Friday evening was incentive enough to haul me out of bed for a quick set of Audiofuel Intervals. It’s been weeks since I’ve felt confident enough to do intervals and if nothing else, I was reassured to find that I haven’t lost my knack of timing my sprints to coincide with any available inclines on the route. I have lost a bit of speed, but it was nice to remind my legs that they can go faster (despite what my head keeps telling them) and just enjoy belting along the road.
The rest of the day was spent sulking that Ginge and I weren’t doing our annual pilgrimage to Wembley for the rugby league Challenge Cup Final. Never mind running, the usual agenda on an August bank holiday Friday involves opening the first beer as we get on the M6 (about 15 minutes after setting off. Just after breakfast). Be reassured to know that neither of us are driving at the time. This time last year I was half-heartedly increasing my mileage so that I could attempt a half marathon (can you spot a recurring theme here?). I had reached an extremely effortful ten miles before the wheels fell off my training (coincidentally this occurred at the same time as Wembley weekend. I can’t imagine why) and the volume of my half marathon talk fell to a whisper. Clearly I need peer pressure to keep me going.
Instead of cracking open a beer and being generally Northern and uncouth on the streets of London, Saturday saw me I rise bright and early, have my muesli, pull on my running kit and procrastinate. It was the Met Office’s fault. I checked their app at 7am and it showed rain throughout the day, but a fluffy white cloud over my running time. I checked their app again an hour later and it showed rain before my run, rain after my run and an orange cloud with a fork of lightning (and rain) during my run. So I rolled my leg, debated jacket or no jacket, shared my jacket or no jacket conundrum with twitter, filled my water bottle, put Miles out to get a signal, found my shuffle, found the right playlist, fettled about with my earphones, tied my jacket around my waist, moved things around the kitchen, left the house, returned to the house to get my water bottle and eventually put one foot in front of the other and set off with the plan of doing 11 miles. Gulp.
The first couple of miles were uneventful, then it rained a bit so the jacket went on, then it brightened up a bit so the jacket came off and I tried not to focus on the black clouds looming above the direction that I was running in. Or the fact that I was trying to run 11 miles. I distracted myself by trying to break down the mileage into fractions, realised that I have lost a lot of maths skills since my grade B GCSE and then distracted myself further by trying not being too distressed by the fact that I did my GCSEs 16 years ago. Then I reached mile four. (By now you should realise why I should run with either tunes or company). I hate mile four. I can run more than four miles and yet it brings a feeling of weariness and I start doubting myself. Luckily, I was able to distract myself with the fact that it started belting down with rain. The clouds were not orange and there was no lightning, but the heavens truly opened. By this point, the jacket was having little effect at waterproofing, but did make me look less of an arse (as if I had intended to be out in the deluge, rather than simply being caught out in it).
I adopted my policy of grinning like a loon and soldiered on. The rain continued and by mile eight I had to abandon my tunes because my ears were too wet for my earphones to stay in. Mile ten must have been where the delirium set in, because I found myself thinking “Well my legs don’t feel too bad, I’m soaked anyway, it’s not too far past home if I tacked another mile on…”. I reached mile eleven…and ran past my house. And kept running. And then turned round and ran home with a huge smile on my chops. Twelve miles. Twelve bloody miles.
September is proving a little on the busy side, so it’s nice to know that even if I don’t do another long long run, I’m fairly confident that I can do thirteen miles. The remaining 25 days before Folkestone will be spent alternately trying to figure out how fast I can go. And rolling my leg (because I’ve slacked off a bit this weekend, I’m getting cocky).