Another day another run but I’d been dreading this one, the 20 miler!
Now previous posts will show that in the course of this training I’ve already surpassed my pb’s in terms of distance with the last one being 16 miles. So I basically had to top that by another 4 miles. To say I was shitting myself wouldn’t be too far from the truth!
Despite it being the Easter school break and us going away for the weekend I’d managed to keep my training up by using the holiday site’s gym to do my intervals in.
Big thanks to the wife for putting up with me for this.
But an extra 4 fucking miles! And it was going to be mid afternoon when I got to do it because my wife was at work that day so I had to wait until she got back home which I didn’t mind, it just meant I was dwelling on it more than I’d like to.
Right up until a few minutes before I started the run I was debating whether to do an out and back on a relatively straightforward, flattish/gently changing incline/decline albeit this would include a path/trail I’d never ran before so was unsure of its suitability or whether to do a haphazard compass style run that I’d devised near me.
I chose the latter as it meant that should I bail out or get injured, etc then I was never really that far from home and I could pass my house twice and use it as an aid station to fill up my water bottles and gels, etc.
I set off and did the first 5 miles ok before turning into the next branch which changed to a trail run involving some incline. I managed to nip this off and headed for my first fly by of home. I managed to ring my wife and asked her if she could take my bottles off me, refill them and leave them out for my return trip to pick up to which she agreed because she’s a good’un like that. I saw her waiting along with our little boy who was cheering me on and said that he wanted to come with me. Now given I still had about 11 miles left to do I told him that it maybe wasn’t such a good idea and he should go run me an ice bath instead. Cue the tears from him, bless him, and I then spent the next few miles with his upset face in my mind. The thing was earlier that day he’d ridden his bike without stabilisers for the first time and we were so proud of him, he’d shown me that anything is possible if you try hard enough so I used that thought to carry on.
I cracked on round the fields admiring the views, eating the swarms of flies that had appeared due to the slightly warmer weather and was glad to get back to road running at the 13 mile mark so that I didn’t have to watch my tired footing so much.
Then mile 15 came and the first point where I had to walk for a few seconds. I downed a gel, swore at myself and pushed on. This happened a few more times but I kept going whenever I could. I even had to stop myself from chasing other runners like I normally do by looking down so that I couldn’t see them as I knew that otherwise I’d just subconsciously pick the pace up and burn out even quicker.
Eventually mile 20 came and I was so relieved, not only because I’d made it but because I’d also managed to do it within the 3 hour maximum time limit that I’d set myself for it.
I look back and whilst I’m disheartened that I had to walk a few times I draw strength (how corny does that sound and I’m the one writing this shit) from the fact that I was to complete it, in my time limit, despite also making it (unnecessarily) harder on myself by including the trail sections but like the old saying goes “train hard, fight easy”.
The ice bath was most welcome at the end as always as was the recovery shake and roast dinner to pile the calories back in.
As for our son and his desire to run with me well we did that today when we ran to the park and back which he seemed to enjoy even if I did run like Forest Gump in his callipers.
Ps if you look closely you’ll be able to chart the pain and agony across my face during the course of the run. Great days and all that.