Today was the day of the longest pre-marathon training run. My mission, run for 3 and a half hours. To cut a long story short, that's what I did, the actual distance run was bang on 17.5 miles. After so much time running this morning, time reflecting as the miles passed, you'd think I'd have lots to say. Plenty happened that I thought I would put on the blog entry tonight, but now it seems a distant memory.
One thing I do know is I went newly kitted with various accessories thanks to a Saturday afternoon jaunt to the running shop. I had a giant 1 litre water bottle, eight sachets of energy gels, some kind of bat utility belt to hold aforementioned gels, and some brand new poncey running socks, all new.
The energy gels are supposed to give me a boost of energy (obviously) and be taken every 25 minutes or so. Long running is all about mental challenges too and turning negatives into positives. So as I ran round the ring road my first sachet fell onto the ground behind me. The positive - I was 25 minutes into my run, perfect timing even if I did have to stop abruptly in my tracks! Struggled a little with the gels, fairly vile things but just about palatable, and though I did keep taking them all the way through I don't know if more ended up on my hands and face as all did seem very sticky by the end.
I won't bore you with every mile and every village - the summary would just be that I tried to run steady even pace and really felt that I was struggling a litte. Today was hard work from the start. I feel so slow, and though I don't try to, I feel I can't speed up. So it just starts slow, and goes slower. My pace and final marathon time isn't really important to me, except that if I run for 5hrs 30 instead of 5hrs, the thought of running an extra half an hour fills me with dread! Today I ran 3.5 hours and couldn't have managed another step, it would be nice to think I at least ran 70% of the way but 17.5 out of 26.2 miles suggests otherwise.
I'll miss out the bit about the religious parade with 25 religious nutters, a crucifix and a morris dancer. I'll miss out being nearly run off the road by a tractor, and I'll miss out the bit about being convinced I'd seen a dead horse. None of them fascinating stories, but the only three incidents of note.
Back to the positives - the longest run I have ever done by some distance, successfully negotiated. Body nursed back in one piece, no aches and pains apart from the inevitable stiffness, unless you count an incredibly sore and bloodied left nipple. I guess we all suffer for our art! Another positive is that I am over 80% of my fundraising total which is the best incentive there is. A big thank you to those who are reading who have also contributed. If you haven't, and are thinking about it, wanting to motivate me to go the full distance, allow me a weary plug ... http://www.justgiving.com/neilrichards1