Friday's 20 miler was never going to be swift or easy. I had been plodding through the week's runs, getting them all in, but at no great speed. Friday arrived as a real autumn day, windy and overcast and cold so you can imagine my enthousiasm about the task in hand.. Anyway. It was an endurance run. It took me a long time, I got really tired and contemplated giving up quite a few times. At about 17 miles I stopped at a point in the woods and seriously contemplated just lying down on the path - of all the things in the world, that's what I wanted to do - but I knew I just wouldn't get up again. So I plodded on. On top of everything, my iPod sensor is not working so well on my new shoes. I wonder whether the fact that they have newer, bouncier soles means it's not picking up every step, because I ran with my Polar footpod on as well (which I've calibrated over the years and which has proved accurate in every race I've run) and, even though I'd calibrated the Nike+ with it this summer, the Nike+ was off by .8 of a mile over the 20. Not a great deal, but enough when you're struggling through the 20 miler I can tell you. So I stopped when my Polar said 20.4 and my Nike said 19.62. It took me 3 hours and 41 minutes which wasn't terrible - especially given the walk breaks and the moan breaks and the self-pity breaks..
And really - it wasn't too bad. All along I kept thinking "I'm training for endurance this run. I'm training myself to cope with a bad run, with a slow run, with a run where my legs are just worn out". My expectations of my performance were not high but I just forced myself to see it through.
Highlights? Well, I really experimented with the gels and I am able to suck down the chocolate ones even at 18 miles. Usually by 15 miles I am unable to take anything on so that's good. Also - my dear husband came out and joined me for 3 miles which I SO needed at that point. Just someone else to talk to as I trudged round my circuit made a huge difference. Another great highlight was my discovery of Podrunner mixes which I know MarathonChris and Charles use - that certainly helped to keep me going.
And when it was over I did lie down and feel SO relieved to have it done with.
And amazingly - I managed to run 8 with my friend Sally yesterday. It wasn't fast but still - again I told myself I was training myself to run with tired legs.. I seem to be putting in a fair few of those training runs at the moment.
There's a mild temptation to put in 6.89 miles this morning so I can bring my monthly total up to 170 miles but there's no two ways about it - Charles has won this month's Nike+ challenge! And I think I probably need a rest day after this week - my legs are aching and tired even when sitting at my desk..
So let the taper begin. 3 weeks till D-day..