Solo Sunday Long Run

Sunday long run 1

I’ve seen a saying that goes “in the first half of your race don’t be an idiot, in the 2nd half don’t be a wimp” …. well for my Sunday long run today, I was both.

The Idiot 

Wound up and nervous that I was about to take my rotten Exercise Induced Asthmatic lungs out for a long run with trigger inducing temperatures “feeling like” -6, I set off out the door at a pretty speedy pace for me, which was clearly my first mistake. Finally settling into a nice rhythm and feeling relatively comfortable by the 5k mark, along came the first signs that all was not well …. yep you guessed it! “helllooooooo pins and needles”.  I had a sports massage last week and the physio thought there was a possibility that my glutes were too tight which might be causing the pins and needles, I went from being totally ecstatic at the joyous news I had tight buns for an old bird, to being gutted at the news that this is not good for someone who wants to plod. Anyhoo, I digress, the pins and needles were back and therein came my first walk / stretch break.

Picking my sorry ass off the floor, I decided this wasn’t going to beat me and the long plod continued and, in parts, felt really great. Onward and upwards I continued, dodging wayward kids on bikes, dogs who jumped up at me wanting to play, loved up couples holding hands, walking 2 abreast and not willing to squeeze a bit closer together to let a puffing, panting, red faced lunatic plodder through until finally, I’d got round the first lake and was heading back up Beacon Hill …. renowned for being long and brutal, and herein strikes disaster number 2. Where the hell had my breathe gone?! I couldn’t catch it, I couldn’t even find it. That hill, for the first time in a long time, had quite literally taken my breathe away. Now there are a number of things that take my breathe away; beautiful scenery, a lovely romantic candle-lit dinner, a gorgeous smile that reaches the eyes, a perfectly chilled bottle of vino – all of these things are worth having my breathe taken away for but a hill? FFS!!

The Wimp

This was the point my focus, concentration and head all ran off in opposite directions with me not knowing which one to chase down first. This was the moment, I started bargaining, almost pleading, with my legs to just get me through the next 8 miles and home in one piece. This was the moment it all fell apart.

I knew I had a decent 2 mile down hill stretch to come, so set myself on course, cranked up the tunes and headed in the direction of this beautiful down hill stretch, which was HORRIBLE!  Already tense from losing my breathe and finding it half a mile in front of me at the bottom of my inhaler, my legs decided they didn’t want to play anymore but my head decided to turn left and keep going with the 18 mile route I had spent a matter of minutes preparing the night before. At the end of those 2 miles, my head had finally had a decent conflab with my legs and between them decided they would stop at the pub on the next lake and call a cab home. I finally had to concede and agree with them after I nipped into the pub for a quick loo break and found it nigh on impossible to haul my sorry ass of the toilet without moaning, groaning and damn near pulling the loo roll holder I was using as leverage, off the toilet wall.

Lessons learned 

All in all, my “long run” was yet another half marathon distance and very much 5 miles short of what I wanted to achieve today, but I guess as with everything in life, there are lessons to be learned on these runs.

  • Don’t go out too quickly – it’s called a Long Slow Distance (LSD) run for a reason
  • Lower your expectations … lower…. a bit more …that’s it …… just a little bit more … yep, right about there and keep it there.
  • If you want to run fast, run alone. If you want to run far, run with others, and if you’ve got no one else to run with you’d better make sure you’ve got the grit, determination and stubbornness to see it through
  • Use a long run to practice your race nutrition. I took 4 gels with me, used 3 on the run and didn’t lose the contents of my stomach until an hour after I got home … lesson .. perhaps I took too many gels??
  • Listen to your body, if you can’t run through pain then stop running, the only person who is going to judge you is you.
  • Download an app that allows you to order a cab at the tap of a finger – invaluable when you ‘forget’ to listen to your body and find yourself 5 miles from home and no working legs to get you there.
  • If you’re going to download your local taxi service app, clearly you’ll need your phone, so don’t forget this.
  • If you decide to end your long run at a pub, always take some money with you for that all important glass of consolatory vino whilst waiting for your cab.

The good thing about modern technology is that, even if you don’t want your run to be uploaded onto Strava, the second you get inside and the wifi takes over while you’re slowly dying in the bath, it’s gonna be there for all to see. Clearly this is not a good thing to happen when you’ve had such a disappointing run, but on the positive side, whilst part of me thinks you’re only as good as your last run, the amount of support given is amazing.

Over dinner with the Devil Child and Terror Tot this evening I realised that, when they were both learning to walk they fell down a lot, they bruised their ego’s and grazed their knees but they never gave up trying until the day they achieved it.  So whilst I’m deflated, I’m not defeated.

Until next time

SM xx


3 thoughts on “Solo Sunday Long Run

  1. Hi Kerry,
    I know you are wanting to hit mileage and pace. But one of the most important things to remember is time on feet.
    CCK posted this sometime ago and I have applied it to my training.
    “One week you may complete 10 miles but the next week do another 10 but in an additional 10 minutes. Don’t worry about the distance you complete but how long you spend on your feet.
    At this stage you’re training your body to be on your feet for a long time. Your legs don’t know if it’s 10 or 12 miles but they definitely feel the strain your put them through each week.
    So if your plans says 14 miles but you only do 13, who cares!? You’ve just run 13 miles!!!
    Ensure you are consistently training and all the hard work will pay off on race day.
    Training pace is always slower than on race day too. You train to be able to perform the best you can and when you’re full of endorphins and a bit of nerves, this is when it’s time to shine.
    We all have bad runs from time to time, but once it’s settled in, have a think and take at least one positive from a run.”
    Very good words of advice.
    I see that you have learnt from this run. Well done. This is what training runs are all about.
    I am also learning from every run, and today’s was no exception.
    You are a very determined and amazing lady and you will achieve your goals.
    Steve.

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  2. I was just writing about lessons learned from running as well–I love yours. Especially the one about lowering expectations. I think my big thing is needing to adjust my expectations as the run/life happens. Sometimes I set the bar too high–sometimes too low–accepting where I’m at in that moment is key for me. Hope you keep plugging away at the long run–no doubt you’ll get where you want to be!

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    1. It’s always disappointing when you set your heart on a distance that you didn’t achieve, sometimes because your expectations are too high and sometimes because, as you say, life happens. I think the important thing, and the thing that makes us stronger, is the ability to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and keep moving forward. The ‘failed’ runs we have are runs we could only dream of a few months before. I look forward to reading the lessons you’ve learned xx

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