Eight weeks in and, spurred on by my 8-mile long run last Sunday, I decided early on that I’d have a crack at running 10-miles this week. The mid week runs were a three miler and two 4 milers and all were relatively slow paced which was annoyed me a little as I feel like I should be capable of running a little faster on the shorter runs by now.
With a party to attend on Saturday evening I decided to attempt the 10-miles on Saturday rather than Sunday. The thought of trying to run my longest distance yet with a hangover was not enticing! Saturday would also be my first alcohol since October having agreed to join a friend in a month of abstinence, so the beer was likely to have more effect than normal (and it did!).
The first hurdle was a sore back. I’d pulled a muscle on Friday, something that happens occasionally. I have a metal frame around my lower spine, the result of breaking a vertebrae many years back, which keeps everything where it needs to be. But whenever I pull my back I’m normally left unable to stand up straight with some pain for a day or two. I spent Friday like someone with Tourettes, the pulled muscles kept spasming causing me to cry out which my wife and daughter think hilarious. I tried to make sure I kept keep moving and, although I had a fitful nights sleep, I awoke early on Saturday determined to try and run.
So how did it go? Well, I managed it, that’s the most important news. I set off well wrapped against the cold and once I was moving the back pain wasn’t as bad although I did have the occasional twinge (which triggered the Tourettes expletives once or twice!). Armed with my bottle of gel/water mix and completed the planned 10-mile course in 1hr 58mins. The first 4 miles felt great but the middle two were hard for a couple of reasons. Firstly, that part of the route has a very poorly maintained pavement with loads of uneven surfaces, missing tarmac, cambers and numerous side roads which have the combined effect of sapping energy. Indeed that section of the route is the main part of my earlier 4-mile runs so perhaps that is part of the reason for the slower pace I mentioned earlier?
At 5 miles I turned around to head home and once back on the much newer and better maintained estate footpaths I felt much better. As I passed mile 8 I had some soreness in the sole of my left foot which I haven’t had before and my legs started to feel very tired so I finished off the remaining drink to get a boost. I also had my first experience of joggers nipple start at this point, ouch. Must make a mental note to prepare for that on the next run although the new running shirt I was wearing may have been the culprit here, they get softer with a few washes.
But hey, I did it. It’s huge achievement for me given as I couldn’t run 100yards earlier this year and the longest I’d run was 3 miles as recently as September. Knowing that a half marathon is only a couple of miles more has encouraged me, I might just be able to do this after all!
I’m running the 2013 London Marathon in support of the National Autistic Society. See my fundraising page here.