Surprisingly, after the previous Sunday’s gruelling 12 mile run, my first three training runs this week (all easy four milers) went really well, even Thursday’s horrible one with lots of hills. I was going to run on Friday, but I forgot my socks (much to the amusement of my running colleagues). So I had to fit in a seven a.m. run on Saturday, the day we went to Cambridge for Mrs K’s deferred birthday shopping extravaganza. I was a bit worried about being on my feet all day as Sunday was my long run, a scary 15 miles. When I ran the Norwich Half Marathon last November, the day before I just stayed indoors and stuffed my face full of carbs. But I figured that I was a stronger runner now and a day on my feet plus the early four-miler wouldn’t be a problem. Plus we did have a huge afternoon tea and I had a big plate of pasta when we got home.
Still I had to admit I was anxious when I got up the next day. Setting off in a fog Sherlock Holmes would have felt at home in, I started steady as I ran the six miles into Norwich. I decided to reverse my planned route, making it longer before I headed back, but allowing me to tackle hills on the inward journey while I was still fresh. All was going well until fatigue reared its ugly head at mile nine, just before I began the homeward leg. I thought “Oh no, I’ve still got six miles yet!”, but I kept it steady and knowing I was heading back gave me a nice psychological boost. However, that boost had burst by mile 12, my threshold from last week. My running had become a stagger, my thoughts alternating between “I’ve got to stop” and “Keep going or you’ll never know if you can do it”. As I carried on the long straight road home, my stagger turned into a shuffle, but I still kept going. The last two miles were run on Jelly Babies and willpower. My sore back, hips and feet were all complaining loudly as I turned the corner on the last road. When I finally reached Castle Kirkendall, and fell through the front door, a red-faced pile of sweat held together by running tights, I imagined I could hear the sound of rapturous applause. But it wasn’t applause, it was the dishwasher.
Mrs K dispensed chocolate milk and glasses of water while I uploaded the run and tried very hard not to cry. It was easily the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and I’ve been to a Madonna concert.
PS. Incredibly, I actually ran my fastest 10k during this run.