Sunday, 2 February 2014

Hitting the wall on my attempted 20 mile run

69 days until the London marathon.


My plan for today's 20-miler, the first in this training cycle, was to run my "town" loop of 5.4 miles three times (16.2 miles), and then do a smaller 3.8 mile loop to get to 20.

The first loop was ok. Midway through, I bumped into a friend, J., who was out for a long run as well. I joined him on his loop, and then we completed mine. J. is fast, and his pace on the long run was a touch faster than mine. So, the first loop was ok, and with the additional bit, came in at around 7.5 miles.

On our second loop we met another friend, D., who was also out for a long run. He joined us. I was tiring on this loop, but it was great to run with others for a change.

There was a gusty wind for half the loop, and it started to sprinkle.

We completed the loop, and I took a sip of water from my stashed water bottle, and a bite from a snickers bar. 12.9 miles in the bag.

I began to flag on the third loop. J. pulled off, as he'd completed the time that he wanted, and D. pulled off a bit later to head home. I pushed on through town, but my pace dropped dramatically.

I took a 30 second walk break. I resumed running. The wind was gusting, and the rain was soaking through my gloves. My plan was to stop at the store at the end of the run to pick up a newspaper and butter (for mashed potatoes), but the store was near, and I was almost at a shuffle. I probably could have pushed on for 20 miles, but it would have cost me dearly. I didn't think there'd be a dramatic training benefit from running to exhaustion.

At 17 miles, I stopped at the store. My hands were stiff, and I couldn't get my gloves off. Finally, I tugged one off with my teeth. I gathered a newspaper, butter, and some chocolate chip cookies and headed to the check-out. The next challenge was to get out my cash, which was in my zippered back pocket. The colors in the store were brighter than usual. I couldn't get my hands to undo the zipper. I held my running trousers with one hand, and then pulled the zipper with the other. I got the wrinkled bill out and smoothed it out for the cashier.

I started running again, and shuffled the last mile to make it 18.


At home, I was spent. I drank a coke, and had a few chips. The house smelled of roasting chicken. I basted the chicken, had a hot shower, and then cooked the mash potatoes. My wife, daughter, and son arrived after a bit, and we had a welcome hot meal.


For the last two miles of the run today I was at the wall. Perhaps I'd gone a little too fast; perhaps I'd done too many miles this week. (Though my running time for the week, 6:40, was down on last week, all the miles were on the road and track). At the moment, I'm not too worried about one tired run - I always seem to have at least one or two of these every training cycle.

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