All week I'd been psyching myself for a long run. I hate waste and one thing that really gets me motivated is the thought that I might waste all the work I've put in over the last year to get up to half marathon distance. Plus, if I am serious about a marathon next year, I won't have time to start from scratch and I've got a lot to learn about how to fuel myself on a longer run, and I want to get started.
Ali was off being a parking attendant for the Topper Nationals for most of the day, the weather was set fair, so I blitzed the housework and then started getting ready. I applied plasters to potential sore bits. Got water, Jelly Babies and a gel. Then as I headed out - trouble - terminal sportsbra failure. Both hooks finally gave up the ghost. Thank goodness I'd the spare one at home. I got changed and just as I was heading out the door again, I felt an ominous ping - a hook on the replacement bra had gone.
I was one hook away from not being able to run, and me and the sportsbra were beginning to show the strain already. Should I take this as a warning not to run? Maybe, but I was all fired up and ready to go. So, out with the pliers, hammer, sewing kit and scissors (the sports bra is indeed a miracle of engineering). After a very tense half an hour I'd managed to strap myself in, I'd worry about getting out later. I was still on for a great run, despite the hiccups!
For some reason I decided to run out to Yellowcraigs along the John Muir Way rather than the beach. I soon realised this was not a good idea. The path had got overgrown since early June and soon I was covered in scratches and nettle stings. But hey, nothing serious, the endorphins took care of it. I went onto the beach, hit the wind and realised I'd made another stupid error - I'd worn short socks and the sand was starting to rub. Up the dunes, hit the nettles again and also took a few wrong paths that were dead ends. My run was turning into a farce. For some reason I was getting it all wrong. Maybe I should have stayed at home and done the ironing (not really!).
By the time I got back to North Berwick things began to get better. It was lovely running along the beach, jumping puddles and watching the little Toppers. I ran where I could get great views of the sea and avoiding the crowds, I just wanted to keep running in the glorious sunshine.
I stopped at the view point, finished off the water and ate my first Jelly Baby. My luck changed. As the sugar hit me, I decided not to head home just yet but to do a lap of the park. The Jelly Babies had worked their magic and my legs had energy again. I ate a couple more as I ran and I reckon got at least 3 more miles out of my legs and it would have been more if I'd kept my distances up and not got sand in my socks!
I ended up doing 11 miles, my longest run for several months. It was quite a bit slower than my usual pace, but I can work on that in the gym. My legs were very red and blotchy but my spirits were high and I really feel I've taken another step on the runners learning curve.
Next time I go out, I will check I am properly sock-ed - not just for avoiding blisters but the right sock for the terrain. I'll have a spare kit at all times, especially a spare sports bra and I will start experimenting with Jelly Babies.
I made so many wrong decisions yesterday it's ridiculous, but the decision I made to get out there and run was definitely the right one. Despite the niggles and nips, I had a great time and I've learnt a lot of things I really need to know. I'm planning the next run already.......
Hope you've had a good week and that the week ahead is a good one.