Today was long run day. I really wasn’t in the mood. Given the choice to do any kind of run I’d have chosen an easy treadmill run, with Forest Gump playing on my tablet. Outside did not look appealing. But I needed a long run, so that was that.
When running long runs, I prefer to alternate between full long runs, where I (hope to) increase distance, and shorter long runs of about eight to ten miles. At 52, and a couple of stones overweight, this is kinder to my joints. Although this week should have been a short week, I decided to aim for sixteen miles, because next weekend I’ll be away and might not manage a long run at all.
As I arrived at Steart Marshes with my daughter Sophia, I still felt very lacking in motivation. Eventually I dragged my lazy self out of the car and got going. Sophia ran on ahead while I wasted a bit more time visiting the toilet – then I finally got going.
It was chilly, but not too cold. As I ran alongside the river and warmed up, I began to feel better about the run. If a little daunted by the idea of sixteen miles. Perhaps the trick is to not think about the number, so I tried to think about the run in terms of the route – just a trip down the road to Cannington, back to Steart, then up and down the paths where I’ve ran many times before. Not far at all, really.
On the return from Cannington, the weather looked like it was brightening up, and I was enjoying myself. I passed lots of friendly people out enjoying the morning.
After the run to Cannington, I returned to the car for a pit stop, picked up another gel, dropped off my hoodie, and set off with another 7.5 miles to go.
As I approached the end of the path at around eleven miles, I saw Sophia returning the other way. She said she felt unwell, and was heading back to the car, which was a smart choice.
I thought I’d probably cut my run slightly short too, to avoid Sophia having to wait too long for me and getting chilled.
While I was considering what to do, a sudden, nasty change in the weather made my mind up for me. Out of nowhere, the wind picked up, bringing with it icy horizontal rain. I really regretted leaving my hoodie back at the car. The rain stung my face, my arms, my legs. I’m usually too warm once I get running, whatever the weather. This was the coldest I’ve felt mid-run. Fortunately, my last gel had kicked in, and I was able to pick up the pace to get back quickly.
As suddenly as it came, the rain passed, just as I approached the car park. I felt okay, if cold and wet, so I ran for a few minutes just to round up to fourteen miles. Then back to the car. I was tempted to keep going, as I felt generally pretty good. But I wanted to get back to Sophia, and to get some dry clothes on.
The run didn’t go quite to plan but I was pleased with how I felt over the fourteen miles. I know I could have coped with more, and it’s good to finish with something left in the tank. Sophia was disappointed with herself, but I think managing a 13.5 mile run when feeling unwell is pretty impressive.
Adjusting the plan when we need to hopefully means that we can stay strong and healthy – and make up for it next time.