On Saturday I ran 21 miles. It’s the furthest I’ve ran so far, and I really wanted to break the ‘final 6 miles’ – loads of people have told me how tough that final 6 are, so now at least I know how one of them feels.
After the 18 miles, I was prepared for a challenge, but I wasn’t looking forward to it. On Friday I chatted with Gilly, who said that it will be hard, but that it will also prove that I could do it. I treated myself to a sleep in on Saturday because – thanks to jet lag – it felt like I had woken up at 3am every morning last week. And by 11am I was off.
In Aussie, 11am would be a ridiculous time to start a 21 mile run. Perhaps even in London. God bless the North East with it’s lack-lustre temperatures, making for flexible running.
Mentally I broke the run down into 5 mile chunks, as that’s when I had an isotonic gel. And it helped. I could run at a pace of 8:45-9min miles without feeling like I was pushing myself too much. In fact, when I was at mile 12 I started running 7:30-8min miles and had to make an effort to slow down for the last bit. So…. at around mile 15 I was feeling a lot more confident about this whole thing.
I finished in 3:05. That’s a long time running, and you don’t go through something like that without learning a thing or two:
- Cola isotonic and caffeine gels aren’t a good choice. They taste like vodka and coke. No one wants to be reminded of those one-too-many-vodka-and-coke-student-nights when they are in mile 15 of a marathon.
- Chafing!! I knew about chafing already thanks to my sports bra. But my bellybutton bar against my belly button? My arm against…. what? The shirt that I wear all the time???? Vaseline will be my new best friend for the next three weeks.
- A running belt would be nice. Usually I stuff my gels down my sports bra (which might explain the point above), but it gets a bit ridiculous when you have 4 smashed in there, all vying for space. Plus, others might think I
am a mutantam…. unusual.
- My left foot is destroyed at the end. By the time I finished, I had two angry blood blisters (my little toe looked like one giant bruise), and a ginormous normal blister covering my big toe. After a night of dreaming they would burst in the bed and I’d wake up to a scene from a horror movie (or something a little less dramatic), I burst them this morning. It’s glamorous stuff, this marathon training!
- I need a super play list to take me to the finish line. For the first 1:45 I had Beyonce for company, and then Mumford and Sons. But all my awesome running tunes were required for the last bit. So I’ll create a special playlist for the final hour on the day to kick my butt to the end.
The last 5 miles were tough. The blisters affected my tread, and I think I was getting pretty dehydrated (who goes out on a long run without liquids? Idiots, that’s who). But at the end, could I imagine going for another 45 mins? Yes. The Edinburgh route will also be much flatter than D-Town, so that will (hopefully) work in my favour.