In the ever-increasing quest to increase mileage, this weekend’s Long Slow Run was down for nine miles. Because I haven’t made it onto the trails for a while, I figured the Rising Sun Country Park was the place to go, a circuit around the part is about 2.3 miles, so three and a bit of them would get me to my goal.
Today was a great day for running – bright, with a bit of cloud, a very slight breeze and not too hot (or not at 8:15 when I started). Yesterday’s lunch was pasta, as I experiment with carb-loading and the ever exciting research question that is “how much pasta can you consume without your bowel exploding?”. Turns out it’s quite a lot of pasta – to be fair I haven’t reached the event horizon on this piece of investigative nutrition. Whether it’s all in my tiny brain or not, it definitely helps when plodding off along the track.
The country park is a great place to run, well maintained paths, a nice hill, a bit of forest and as much dog-walking, Sunday running and horse-riding as you can shake a stick at.
First lap went well, I was feeling springy and groovy – a good combination, I’m sure you’l agree. Up the hill and it didn’t feel like a push. Down the other side, lots of quick-quick steps to avoid the impact on my knees. Back to the start, and that’s 2.5 miles down.
Second lap, and it’s the familiar mid-run feeling, lovely and frothy, muscles warms up, joints working well and a positive pleasure. Second time up the hill and the top of my right knee was a bit achy – figure that’s just the way things are sometimes, and it’ll pass. Back to the start and now I’m at 4.4 miles, if I remember. Not bad, and on track time-wise at a little under a ten minute mile.
Third time around, and my vision goes twang – in a good way. One of the things I’ve always found interesting about smoking (more on the giving up smoking timeline in another post, I reckon) is that a couple of tabs into the day and my vision springs into focus, the tunnel opens up and I’m alert. I’ve started noticing that running sometimes has the same effect – something that I mentioned in an earlier post. Well, it proper trumped it this time – if I had to try and describe it (which is clearly what I’m trying to do) it’s some kind of hyper-alertness, I see things I wouldn’t normally expect to notice (and not in a hallucinatory way, either), my distance vision is better, shapes are sharper and the world is brighter. It’s massively enjoyable, and happened around mile 7.
Third time up the hill was a bit harder, knee was wobbling again, but not in a particularly intense way. End of the third circuit and I need to decide – I can cut the circuit to length, and make a nine mile finish, or do the whole thing again and go over my target. What the heck, it’s a lovely day, the sun is out, the world is fabulous, let’s go for it, once more up the hill!
The fourth circuit was both easy and difficult – that sounds mad, I know, so let me explain. As the fourth time round, there’s the psychological high of knowing you’re nearly there, but the physiological tiredness of approaching what is, for me, a long distance. The hill was a proper slog this time, the feet didn’t want to know, and I could feel the site of last week’s blister heating up alarmingly. Luckily mind trumps body, so I forged ahead. Just as I’m about done, I run past a dog, it’s owner up ahead of me. It looked a bit too interested, and as I ran past and headed to the owner, I felt the dreaded sensation on the back of my right calf – I jumped about ten feet in the air, with a mild scream, but luckily it was just a small damp nose, rather than pointy teeth. The owner looked around as though I’d been sexually assaulting his dog (which I hadn’t, for the record), and I plodded by figuring that it takes all sorts.
Run done, all over bar the plod back to the car, though I felt very light afterwards – need to eat something. Got home with a funny sensation in my chest in the left nip area – for the first time ever (and maybe due to a new top) I’ve had a bit of nipple chafe – the poor fella’s bleeding and very tender. Hopefully this won’t happen again, but perhaps I’ll purchase and stick a pack of nip-o-lube in my bag… 🙂
- Distance: 9.38 miles
- Time: 1:32.12
- Average pace: 10’00 per mile – spot on!