Week 2: My worst run... EVER.
I always run my longest run of the week on a Sunday. There's something nice about starting out in the morning - and then spending the entire afternoon post-run, eating roast potatoes and drinking a couple of Belgian beers.
(Also - if anyone knows how to get a roast to make itself whilst I'm running... tips are welcome!)
Anyway, I'd targeted myself to do another 11 mile run this Sunday. After a week with two five mile runs and 11 miles the previous Sunday, I was already sitting at a 21 mile week... and I wasn't feeling particularly excited to get out there.
I figured that I'd feel better once I got out (and cranked up my favourite Spotify playlist; currently Heart Beats if you're interested), threw on my trainers and headed for the door.
It was about four degrees when I set out (this info is important for later ;) ) so I was geared up in my layers - and headed out to hit a nice hilly route.
About four miles in, I realised that I was NOT having a good running day. For whatever reason, I just couldn't seem to find a rhythm and instead of enjoying being out in the sun... I was just getting hacked off at how much my legs hurt.
(Yes - I was in a whiney mood.)
I should probably have gone home at that point... but that's not really my style. If I say that I'm going to do something- I'm going to do it. So I gritted my teeth and figured that it was time to learn the mental skills I'd need for the marathon this October.
I'll be honest, as someone who has always intensely disliked running... the mental wall still surprised me when it hit properly. Around mile 8, my brain felt like it was screaming; "GO HOME AND CRY YOU COMPLETE AND UTTER RUNNING FAILURE".
Top that off with my legs being on fire and a lovely (if slightly over-enthusiastic and out of control) Boxer Dog, jumping up and me and stacking it in front of a park full of people and I honestly just wanted to sit down and never run again.
Luckily I didn't have any money for a bus - otherwise I might have seriously contemplated that option (!) I kept going though and reminded myself of two things.
1. It's just one more step. It was in fact, just over 3.5 miles of steps left... but I kept focusing on putting one foot in front of the other - and reminding myself that the pain WOULD eventually end. And that when I got home, I could have a mars bar.
2. 'Run an extra 200m more than you think you can" One of my awesome sponsors, Julie Dennis gave me that top tip a couple of weeks ago. And it really stuck in during this particular run. I'd set out to run 11 miles... and it was already absolute SHITE. But I was going to run that extra 200m because I know that come marathon day, the last mile or so is going to be HARD.
I eventually made it home with my longest 11 mile run ever (over 2 hours... eurgh.) in warm weather. In the time I'd been out, the sun had suddenly reappeared in the UK, ratcheting the temperature up from 4 degrees to 13. So when I got back, I was hot, hacked off and covered in (cute) paw prints.
But I was also pretty proud of myself. I'd KEPT GOING when it was hard and horrible... and if I'm honest, that's been my biggest fear about running the marathon previously.
What if I have a horrible running day and have to stop? What if I FAIL?
Whilst Sunday was deeply, deeply unpleasant... it also reminded me that my thoughts above?
I'm not (and never have been,) a quitter.
And whilst my legs might be incredibly unhappy, I'm always going to have the mental strength to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
That's what I'm going to focus on.
That and not wearing so many flipping layers now that it's starting to heat up again!
So if you're reading this and you've donated? Thank you. I honestly DO appreciate it. And those donations keep me going through the tough miles.
Next week, I'll be heading for a longer 'long run'... so expect a chirpier update on reaching 12 miles (and the sports stuff I'll be wearing to make it round in the sunshine!)
PS. It wasn't ALL bad. I did also run my fastest mile this week (08:57 #Woohoo) and other runners now regularly wave at me. I've become part of the gang... :D
PPS. If you've somehow landed on this page and think 'God, that sounds like a naff way to spend a Sunday', you're not wrong. But if you could bring yourself to make a donation - any size is appreciated - then you would be my hero for next week's run :)