54 days until the London Marathon. I ran for 6:30 this week.
My Sunday long run this week was a struggle, yet encouraging.
My schedule - Pete Pftizinger's 55-mile plan - called for a 14 mile long run this week.
This wasn't too daunting. However, I'd run a tough hill race (the Carnethy 5)the day before. The race was only six miles, but included 5 hills, and lots of wind, snow, and mud. It's the first big race in the Scottish hill running calendar, and a piper leads the ~ 500 runners to the start.
After the race, in the evening, an unexpected opportunity to go to the pub arose. My children were both invited to a sleep over at their friends' house. We rarely have a night to ourselves, so were eager to go out. It was great to settle in the pub for a chat on a February night. But it was a later, more beery night than is usual for me.
So Sunday came, and I wasn't in any rush to run in the morning. I went to the grocery store, cooked a chicken, and played with the children (both were back).
And then it was time to run.
A canal runs through our town, and on its bank is a packed gravel tow-path. This runs for miles in both directions, and is a good, traffic-free place to get in some distance. Also, it's flat. After the hill race, I wanted some easy miles.
I measured and out-and-back distance on Google maps, and then headed out the door. On the canal, I listened to Steve Runner's Intervals podcast. When it finished, the battery in my shuffle finished as well. I was a half hour in.
Still, I felt good. I reached my turn around point at 1:04, and by now it was getting dark.
I picked up the pace a bit, as I was eager to get home. I was carrying water with me, and had a drink.
By mile 10, it was quite dark. Also, I was slowing. Why hadn't I brought a candy bar? I could really have gone for a banana Power Bar, something I'd been given in last year's triathlon. Was this what it feels like when your body switches from burning glucose to burning fat?
The puddles on the tow-path were annoying. They were getting difficult to see, and avoiding them was tiresome. It was a clear night, and the temperature had dropped. Even with gloves on my hands were cold.
I started thinking about the last two miles of the marathon. I'd be tired, just like I was at this point. Could I muster the strength to run strong?
I tried to run evenly, like I want to do at the end of the marathon. I reached mile 12 of the run. Just two miles to go - one mile of canal, and then one mile of road back to my house.
Then, I started to feel ok. At mile 13 I picked up the pace, and ran strong back to the house.
I was tired, but instead of crumbling when the fatigue hit, I was able to run through it. So, maybe, the fitness is slowly coming.