Thanks for the comments that have been coming in regarding my ever spiralling descent into running depression and thoughts of failure regarding my abilities to run 26 miles in what I consider a decent time.
Thursday saw a new low in that I got home after a day on a windswept site, getting wetter every second, only to have a wind and showers to contend with for my 5 miler. So depressed did I get that after a mile I simply couldn’t be bothered to push on so I looped around and finished after 2.5. Talk of haircuts, giving up running and sore legs were bandied about, Cathy took all my moaning very well considering, and I couldn’t even be bothered to blog.
The combination of more bad weather, cold winds and rain is still worrying me for the race but equally I hope it isn’t hot like last year – after no running warmth all year, I’ll simply sulk!
So plans were made for today’s run. Plans weren’t stuck to, though, as I did my poorest brickwork ever yesterday to completely mess up my greenhouse plinth (rain after the first course washing all the mortar over the brick faces was the final straw) as well as be bent over most of the day, resulting in waking this morning to very sore hamstrings and lower back. Oh, goody!
My own fault, though. So I stuck to my plan today of the worst run I could configure for 20 miles. Basically, a torturously dull out and back. No escape routes. No loops close to home in case of injury. I’d do 20 miles at whatever pace I could manage.
So I did a loop around the south of town and found myself, just over 4 miles in, at the junction with the A20. The London Road. Before the M20 opened, everything between Dover and Maidstone made it’s way up here if it wasn’t heading for the M1. And even if it was if the A2 was blocked. My history on it includes racing the old (1978) Mini past everything that overtook me on the motorway either near Maidstone or from Folkestone through the late ’80’s before the link of the M20 was finished, through using it as a fast link on the motorbike from ’88 to now because motorways are boring on two wheels.
It’s a fast, dull road but it has a footpath just about continuously on the north side. And it goes away from home perfectly to threaten me with a long walk if I fuck up.
So, every pace up to 10 miles took me further from home. It rolls up and down a bit without any proper hills but isn’t so straight that it looks as though you aren’t getting anywhere.
I was surprised to pass a runner in the opposite direction at about 7 miles, right between Hothfield and Charing, but otherwise it was a dull run out – basically watching the clouds rolling in and thickening, battling a crosswind and counting cars. But I felt fresh enough (apart from the hamstrings!) and the miles clicked in. Charing was a relief and saw 9 miles, so I left the village past what used to be the Little Chef and ran further away.
10 miles came not a moment too soon. The turnaround saw the wind become slightly behind me and, back at Charing, the opportunity to amuse the policeman who’d just set up a speed trap wasn’t missed as I asked if I was indeed doing my targeted 7 miles an hour. His amusement was, unfortunately, too enthusiastic in a pitying manner, so I think i’ll stick to construction as a career.
I’d been eating a jelly fruit every 2 miles as energy and waited for 13 miles before eating my banana. It was horrible, took 2 miles to eat, but did boost flagging energy.
My last climb at 15 miles also made visible the end of the A20. My plan to convince my brain that there was no escape (instead of my usual create escapes in case of injury which plays with my mind as my legs start screaming for me to stop) seemed to be working as I knew I had 5 miles left in me, but my fondness of a mathematical calculation still told me how late i’d be home if I started walking and I couldn’t banish the walking thought.
Having eaten the banana on the trot, I was determined not to ease up at all and the last 2 miles were, to be honest, horrible. It was again on the routes I seem to have trodden a million times despite being here only 3 months. But the time was looking to be what I wanted, so I ploughed on.
And got home, 20.02 miles, in 2.48.52. 8 minute 25 second average miles, or thereabouts. Exactly what i’d set the Garmin to as I left. Only now I had a massive blister on my left foot and no energy at all with which to spend the day.
Since getting back, i’ve eaten, gone shopping and hoovered half the house. I intend finishing the hoovering but don’t know if i’ve the energy to either cut in another socket to the conservatory or build the greenhouse to the next stage. I’ll try but can make no promises – i’m merely blogging for lack of energy.
But it’s 20 miles in the bag. My last long run. The first5 miles average was exactly the same as miles 10 – 15. Miles 5 – 10 was identical to miles 15 – 20 overall. Very strange figures but consistent enough even if the times were seperated by 15 seconds. I thought i’d slowed considerably for the last 5 miles so it all goes to show how odd the brain is when it can’t use a virtual partner (rain at 11 and 14 – 16 miles made me lock the Garmin off so it didn’t go loopy).
I’m pleased it’s over. I can now get older on Monday in peace and look forward to two weeks with easier running before I bury myself in an attempt to put in a reasonable showing.
ps. My toenail has, for reasons it’ll keep private, decided to go all black and funny. That’ll be interesting over 26 miles when it’s deciding what to do with itself, i’m sure. Combined with my first blister for two years, maybe I got my sock choice wrong this morning!