Remind me again why I think I like long runs?

on

Another horrendously bad long run over and done with.
On Saturday I completed just over 34k on trails out near Jells Park and it was hard work.

34k

I knew it would be tough, and tiring, and (let’s face it) probably more than a little boring but you know, that’s what I’d thought about the 28k and look how great that had turned out!

I started out nice and early amongst the fog and the bush turkeys, ibis, bluetails and finches at Jells Park.

Jells_Park_1jells-park

There were cyclists everywhere and couples walking along holding hands, a group of elderly Asians doing tai chi in the carpark and the panoramic views of Blind Creek Trail to look forward to:

blink creek trailblink ck trail sign

Just kidding – some of the scenery was really quite nice

In spite of promised rain it stayed dry but overcast, and not too cold. My gloves came off within the first half hour.

I felt all right, just…off at first. Not quite in the groove. Nothing hurt, I wasn’t out of breath, but I was tired. I felt low in energy.

Not allowing myself to even think of cutting this run short I continued on and began to perk up around the 8k mark. By my second gel I was feeling really good, and even coming back down into Jells Park at the 20k mark I was fine. A break for a wizz and a stretch gave me the energy to loop a few k’s further, back to my car, but from that point on it was a downhill slide into my pain cave.

pain_cave

You see, the 25k mark was where my car was. But I wanted to complete 34-35k today. Well actually, I wanted to go home. But I needed to complete more than 25k.
The internal struggle began.
You can see why I don’t allow myself to do loop courses very often.

As I saw it I had three choices:
1. Stop right now and hate myself forever.
2. Do one more pissy loop around the lake adding on a pointless 3k bringing my long run to 28k (i.e. the same length as the last long run) and hate myself forever.
3. Ignore my brain and keep going.

I chose option 3.

I was still running at the 27, 28 and 29k marks, but after that just finishing was all I cared about. I wanted to get as far away from the lake as possible, wait till my watch ticked over to 30k then head back to the car.

At 30k my sister texted me to complain about how badly her 12k had gone, and how difficult her last 2k had seemed, which – believe me – I totally got, and then tried to ring me when she realised I was having a hard time.

My mind had decided that it didn’t want to be distracted by talking (why brain? why?) so I texted her back the equivalent of a grunt, a ‘chat later’ and some swears and kept going. I wasn’t walking very fast by this point, but fiddling with my phone was slowing me down even more, so it had to stop.

Even now, looking back at the run I can’t figure out why it was so hard other than the bleeding obvious:
No matter how many times you train for a marathon, if you haven’t done a 35k run recently it is going to hurt.
So I won’t concentrate on what went wrong – if it even did – but what went right.
And a lot did go right. (Yes, I am a Pollyanna in real life too.)
My fuelling was perfect. I believe my race day nutrition is as good as it’s going to get.IMAG0759

Fuel taste test no. 2:
Lemon Sublime: Inoffensive but forgettable
Strawberry Banana: Nowhere near as disgusting as it sounded
Tri-Berry: Puketastic (blackcurrant flavour isn’t my favourite)
Chocolate cherry Clif Shot: Not bad at all now I’m comparing it to the above three
Plain: Really, really nice, possibly new fave flavour – it’s not ‘nothing flavour’ it’s more a hint of vanilla or possibly honey, veeery easy on the tum-tum.
Clif Bar – For immediately afterwards. Yummy, but my taste is always off after a run so this may have just been because I was hungry

I had NO niggles, no blisters and NO stomach squergles (that’s a mix of squeamishness and stomach gurgling, der).
I was full of energy afterwards.This last one is a real sign that my training is working, even if it sometimes seems it’s not.

Last year – hell, any year since I started! – after a 30k+ run I would have struggled to do anything either that night or the next day. Yet this time I managed to head out to dinner (excellent spaghetti marinara for moi, boring old chips and parma for the other two), then off to the movies:

gold class

Yay for Gold Class and wine (for the adults!) watching Maleficent with hubby and daughter

Drank plenty of champagne and more wine, then the next day went shopping for over 5 hours. Then ran almost 6k the next day. Not bad at all if you ask me!
I’ll just try and block out the memory of those last 5k and imagine I looked like this as I hobbled back to the car:

Woman-jogging-LP_e_b531446b815d841f

When I know I looked like this:

MAM 04 RK0029 05

Ah well, imagine the chafe from those shorts on a long run anyway…

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