Distance: 12.09 miles
Mile 1 - 9m40s
Mile 2 - 9m48s
Mile 3 - 10m08s
Mile 4 - 10m10s
Mile 5 - 10m25s
Mile 6 - 9m45s
Mile 7 - 9m57s
Mile 8 - 9m57s
Mile 9 - 9m54s
Mile 10 - 9m48s
Mile 11 - 9m49s
Mile 12 - 9m47s
0.09m - 0m53s
"Let him who hath understanding reckon the neighbour of the beast for it is a human number, its number is Six hundred and sixty eight"
Today is the last of the "long" runs. By long I mean a run in two digits. The next time I run more than 10 miles - I'll be in Rotherhithe, heading for Bermondsey. Originally I'd planned to get running today at 9.45am so was hoping to be up by 8am for my ready brek. When my alarm failed to go off at 7.47am I decided that I was too tired to get up just then (even though I'd coincidentally woken up within 5 minutes of the time the alarm didn't go off), and rolled over and went back to sleep for an hour. Ok, I'm up by 10am and down for my kids porridge with a chopped up banana. I get showered, sort out my lucozade sport (500ml), carbo gels (2), and water (330ml). Front door key wrapped up in the toe of an old sock (to stop it rubbing in my pocket). Garmin on wrist, phone in back pocket too. I'm ready aren't I? Um... oh yes I was going to try out the Tesco own-brand "imodium" today. Not that I've needed it, but it's a hot tip for the day to take one before the marathon in order to stop any unwanted delays en route. And NEVER try out anything new on the day of the marathon.
One of these days I'll get myself organised properly. Perhaps in 2 weeks? My downfall today was that I stayed up to "watch" Match of the Day. But after the Chelsea game (that was too close!) my concentration had wandered. I should have called it a day then and salvaged the remnants of the early night I'd promised myself. Anyway I eventually hit the road (well pavement) at 12.30pm. Not long after I left, my brother-in-law shouted out words of encouragement to me from his upstairs window. I'd like to think they were encouraging words, as I couldn't actually make out a word he said.
What's the plan today? 12 miles in 120 minutes. Easy, eh? Having run 3½ hours last Sunday (was that only a week ago?), just the 2 hours today should be comfortable. And I feel good, having taken it relatively easy this week, my legs are barely aching at all when I set off. Normally there's at least an echo of whatever niggle I've had the week before. Ooh, hold on, here's one. My left glute barks at me. I think it's complaining about my water bottle bouncing against it, as it's clipped into the back of my shorts. I move it round to the right hand side, and my glute shuts up. I hope that's the last I'll hear from it today.
The weather's not fantastic, but whatever rain we've had has been and gone. It's quiet and calm, even if not sunny. The sky above is wet and grey. So begins another weary run. I hope it won't get worse. I hope it won't rain. Actually I think perhaps it should. Perhaps I should be prepared for how it feels again to be soaked through. But I don't really want to feel miserable. Mile 1 flies by without incident, and when I turn out of Gainfield approaching Mile 2 I'm hit with a sudden sense of quiet. All I can hear is my breathing and my feets (sic) as they hit the ground. The occasional car in the distance. The odd bird tweeting in the hedgerow. The far off hoot of a pheasant in the nearby copse. The rustle of an Easter bunny hopping about in the verge. This is why I like running on a Sunday. It's just so very peaceful.
Mile 3 and I'm content - I'm a quarter of the way through the run now. I take a swig of Lucozade (I never drink before Mile 3, getting myself used to the position of the first water station on the marathon route). In Charney Bassett I see another runner out for a walk. At least I think he's a runner. He's wearing running shoes (not just trainers). As I pass him I wonder if he looks at my back with a sense of ... admiration? Who knows, I can't see his face. I hope so. I'm wearing my madasaboxoffrogs London Marathon 2009 t-shirt today. In the hope that any passers by will see why I'm out running. Again. In the last 9 weeks I've run 10 miles or more 10 times.
Mile 4 and I take my first gel. I'm heading out of Charney Bassett towards Lyford. I've done a third of today's run, but there still seems to be a big chunk of run to do. As I approach Mile 5 it crosses my mind that if I turn right through Lyford I'm only 5 miles from home. But that's not the plan today. I kick it up a notch and head on towards Hanney. As I turn right at the cross roads, I know I'm nearing the half way point. No whoop of joy today, as I'm not out on a new personal best run. It's just another training run. I take it steady, but I can feel I'm running a little faster again now. (Note to self, remember to whoop for joy when I pass Poplar in 2 weeks' time. Then I can celebrate running further than I ever have before!)
Mile 7 and I'm in West Hanney. Only 5 miles to go now. That doesn't feel so bad. I'm up on the pavement where I normally feel something in one of my legs tell me that it's tired and it's had enough. Not today. My legs don't feel great, but at least they aren't hurting. Keep plodding on then. I don't get the zen-like sense of peace that I've had on previous runs, where my legs switch onto autopilot and I'm away in a far off place with my thoughts. But then I'm not getting bogged down with the struggle against tiring legs, nor the pains and niggles either. Some runs are good. Some runs are bad. Some runs are, well, just a bit nondescript.
Mile 8 and I pass the Lyford turn. Pleased with myself that I didn't succumb to the temptation (howsoever small) to cut the run short today. I wait until I turn the corner to take my second gel, as I'll be on a longish straight section of road then, and can more easily concentrate on squirting the sachet of sugary gloop into my mouth, and juggling my bottles to wash it down with water. Having read somewhere of the importance of drinking water with a gel and not a sports drink, as it makes it much more efficient for the body to consume. I look down at my feet plodding away. I decide they are worthy of a picture. Or three.
Mile 9 and I'm feeling good again. I'm now 75% of the way through the run. I clock up 1½ hours on the road. Only 30 minutes to go now. Though I don't have the energy to kick it up a gear (like I did at the Silverstone Half Marathon), I do have the reserves to keep up a steady pace. At least I'm not flagging like last week. I turn the corner into Park Lane and know I'm on the home stretch now. Although it's amusing to think that I wouldn't have even reached the halfway point on last week's run. Mile 11 seems to drag. This road, which I've run over a dozen times now, seems longer than before. But I'm not slowing, I'm keeping up a very steady pace, as I have been for the last few miles now. Not long to go, and I can look forward to a nice relaxing hot bath. No sports massage to look forward to today though, as my sports therapist is away for Easter. Still, since I've only run a relatively short 12 miles today, I shouldn't be quite so knotted up as usual.
Then I'm out on the main road, heading back to Stanford in the Vale. Trying to judge where the 12 miles will arrive. Which road do I take back to the house to make sure I get the distance correct? The short one I think. As I round the corner I realise I'll be a couple of hundred yards too short, so I cross the road, circumnavigate the green and head into the churchyard. Round past the village hall and blip, there's mile 12. I haven't yet clocked up 2 hours, and that I should do by my house... but I miss that by 6 seconds. What's that in terms of a margin for error in a 120 minute run? Dunno, I'm too tired to do the math. Maths. Whatever. I turn around and wander back through the churchyard to warm down, then head in for stretches, a hot hot bath, and a slap up plate of liver & onions. And pasta.
I upload my data, and realise I've now clocked up 668 miles in the 18 months that I've been running.
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