Sorry it’s been so long since the last update. I guess a part of me wanted to keep the piece on Josh at the top of the page, and I’d like to thank all of you who have taken the time to read it and donate. I’m a bit overwhelmed by the response so far and amazingly, I’m only just over £150 from the target with five weeks still to go until I actually have to run the thing. I’m chuffed to bits, so thank you.
I’ve also found it hard to get the time to actually sit down and write a new entry. I’ve started one more than once, and by the time I’ve sat down to finish it, the original point is no longer relevant, or it doesn’t make sense. And not just because I can’t write properly. That’s probably only a part of it. Possibly. But finding a bit of time to sit down and write a few hundred words, when working full time, then having to run eight miles upwards most weeknights, is bloody hard. And last weekend I was in London (and subsequently not training) so that was no good either.
I had a great idea centred around the fact that I was due to run 18 miles (another new record) a couple of Sundays ago. The number 18 was very specific to the intended piece, I should add. But in the end, I didn’t actually run 18 miles because I couldn’t. I physically couldn’t. I managed 17, but the last mile barely counted as I was probably about 0.001% faster than actually walking. I had started to feel a bit tired around 14 miles, which wasn’t surprising as it was the furthest I had ever run, but I was not expecting what was to come. I steadily became more and more fatigued, and once I’d got up the hill into Fallowfield I was feeling utterly drained. I staggered on for a bit, but in the end I had to call it a day with a mile still to go, and from there could barely walk the last part back to my flat, let alone run it. What had gone wrong?
I had made a few mistakes admittedly, such as not pacing myself properly at the start or having enough water with me. It was another warm day and I had, yet again, found myself running into the hottest part of it. But it seems the biggest mistake was the fact that I’d apparently “bonked”. Or to give it its more coventional term (and one which is less likely to be blocked by Google SafeSearch), I’d hit the wall. I’d run out of energy, completely, and ended up feeling like the best idea in the world would be to have a nice sleep on the roadside and hope that everything would be okay. I suppose it would have been to an extent, until I woke up covered in dog piss with my shoes, keys and mobile phone missing.
Since then, I’ve been looking a bit more into longer distance running and the effects that it has on the body. Before starting all this marathon faff, I’d just assumed that you go out and run for an extended period of time, until it was time to stop and go to the pub. After a shower, obviously. But as the mileages have crept up, from the initial eight miles that felt like it nearly killed me at the beginning of July, from the gentle five/six mile Wednesday sessions along the River Mersey, all the way up to the interval sessions with mileage running into double figures and then last week’s failed 18 miles in the sun, so has the need to make sure that I’ve got enough in the tank to actually finish the job. And this has meant a bit of planning before some of the big runs from here on in, which is good as I have quite a few of those still to come. Today in fact, a run which I had been looking towards with some trepidation: 20 miles.
Before last week’s failure I would probably have just attempted a gigantic 20 mile course in one go, run out of water, got hungry, got tired and then probably collapsed about five miles before the end. But this week, with the benefit of hindsight, I picked a ten mile course which I ran twice, nipping past my flat at the end of the first lap to pick up bottles of water I’d stashed in my front garden. I carried a few sachets of some carbohydrate gel muck in my pocket to munch every half hour or so, and I did my best to pace myself from the very first mile. And you know what? It bloody worked. I got round the 20 miles in less than two and a half hours, at an average pace of 7:24 per mile. Most importantly, I got round it. The whole thing, 20 miles, another new record, and the furthest I will run now until The Big Day. I didn’t stop, I didn’t finish early, and most importantly, I didn’t bonk. I suppose the next thing is to see how it pans out in five weeks time with an extra 10k to run on top of it…