Part of my incredible training strategy for the (insert name of sponsor)* London Marathon is to try to do more long runs. There is a little bit of sense tucked deep in the pockets of my madness; I need to up my distance quickly, but don’t want to jump more than a couple of miles up per run. So being lucky and not prone to injury (to date) I decided to add a midweek long run to enable this.
The other components of my campaign range from the mundane: swapping trainers every run to give my feet a break; to the sensible, using walk-run for my long runs. Having tried it twice this year, I have come to the conclusion that I really like 4.30 mins run and 30 secs walk. I am pretty certain that my fondness for it is 100% psychological. It isn’t a long time to run for, even if you are feeling immensely tired, and 30 seconds is a break but not long enough to get comfy.
So this afternoon’s run? I went in to work early and left at 4pm to run from work. I should have left at three but failed miserably (part prevarication, part trying to finish an email, talking to colleagues). It was a fantastic afternoon, all warm and sunny and springy. The birds rushing round like mad things, flowers coming out, the air is starting to smell nice again. I bravely set out down the Downslink, which I haven’t braved much of this winter. It has a tendency to get huge muddy puddles across the whole track when it rains, so I assumed it would be dire. However someone had thoughtfully taken a tractor down it and just scraped a layer of the worst bits off the top; even put down some more aggregate in places.
It really was a nice run, I didn’t feel too tired until the end. The only worry I had was that because I had left late, and was trying for 14 miles I would be pushed to get back in the light, and the last mile is up an unlit track which has a fallen oak across it and many potential things to fall over.
All was going swimmingly, until about a mile and a half from the office I really needed to go to the loo, so I popped behind a handy tree, as is traditional.
Afterwards I pottered off though the little woodland, down the dip, across the railway bridge, past the disinterested security guard on the office estate, and stood by the main road waiting to cross to go up the track. Felt in my pocket (one of those little ones that dangle on the inside of your waistband) to see if I had my keys and I didn’t. Now it was past 7 so all my colleagues would have been long gone. My car key was in the office, and I am 21 miles from home…So I turned back, past the security guard, who was mildly interested this time, over the railway bridge, up the dip, through the woodland, looking for a tree. Now luckily I had spent some time choosing the most concealing type of tree as my chosen full bladder moment had a challenging mixture of footpath and railway line proximity, so I knew roughly what it looked like.
I didn’t really want to feel around in the near dark, worried that I would find a still warm, wet patch. So I used my phone (which doesn’t have torch app) and hoped. And there they were, dry and glinting in the light. So I trotted slowly, in the very near dark back through the little woodland, down the dip, over the railway bridge, past the security guard who appeared to be texting his mate, and crossed the road. (If the worst came to the worst I could have rung Gillian and asked her to let me into the office).
It was actually quite fun going up the track the air was really clean and fresh and there was a fraction of a moon. I could only trot some of it though, I just couldn’t see what was on the ground, just patches of light and dark.
13.6 miles (the fault of some midges that I didn’t want to inhale at 6.75 miles, so I turned early) of fun with a little fear mixed in to make it memorable. I won’t be using that pocket again though.
* I will get bored of this, honest.