I train slightly differently. I have no training plan so I can choose to run whenever and for as long or short as I want. This week I knew I wanted a long run at the weekend so ran a 10k on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as easy warmups and then took Thursday and Friday off.
The only plan for today’s run was to get to 30k and see how I felt. I knew that I would be passing close to a few Superstores and a few smaller shops I’ve used before so I knew that extra water and food would be easily available. I started with 2 litres of Tailwind in my backpack, it just works for me, and headed off. The weather was calm and the sun was just rising as I headed off. I rarely see any other runners on my morning runs and I didn’t expected that to change, at least not in the first 2-3 hours, maybe as I got further into the morning and headed into areas with more housing I might encountered other exercisers.
At 15k I entered my first aid station. I knew this had to be a quick stop and I was in and out within 5 minutes, orange juice, water and a bag of crisps. The guys inside knew I was rushing and helped me out finding things.
At 22k I felt a hot spot forming and, knowing how quickly they can develop into a blister, I immediately stopped to change socks and use a Compeed plaster. This was the moment that I realised that I hadn’t repacked my backpack after washing it this week. No plasters, no spare socks, no spare buffs, no spare gloves, nothing at all, not even toilet paper. So I readjusted my socks and thought I’d be okay as long as it didn’t rain.
Then it started raining. I did have my waterproof with me so that went on pretty quickly and off I headed again knowing my next aid station was at 30k so I could check again then. I always thought my waterproof jacket was in fact waterproof but it seems not at least not in that amount of rain. I do have another one but it’s not quite as light. Sometimes running in the rain is refreshing but at other times, like today, it’s as much I could do not to drown while running. Of course shorts get wet in the rain and thoughts automatically turn to the possibility of chaffing. I do use Body Glide and I always use what I think is enough and then put more on but today was the first heavy rain test, it just about passed the test.
Again at the 2nd Aid Station everything went like clockwork and again I was out within 10 minutes. The rain continued to pour down but my feet felt okay so I decided to continue. Up to this point I had been using a run/walk program and it did become a bit more walk/run at this point. Because I’m not in training for a marathon my thoughts are always monitoring my body to make sure I’m not expending too much energy too early. There’s no point me finishing a marathon distance with no energy left when I’ll normally have at least one or more marathons still to go. That’s when the mental stage of my running comes in I think.
So a marathon run, my feet came out unscathed, I have now repacked my backpack, schoolboy error, I’ll now have to do some runs in a new waterproof jacket but it’s nice to know that mentally at least I am ready to run some long distances again.
Great North Run in 3 weeks time, it’s a long way to travel for a half but it seems to be more of a fun carnival run, so I just plan to go up and enjoy it, no racing just to have fun.