Monday 21st October 2013

Workout Soundtrack: Shining – ‘Redefining Darkness’ and John Digweed – ‘Fabric: 20’

21.28km 1:40:36 (Pisa Marathon, session 20)

I’m not entirely sure how I ended up doing my longest run for quite some time today! I was lacking in motivation about half an hour before I got it together, pulled on my shorts and Asics and headed out for what at the time I thought would be a mixed 10km trail and road run.

About 5km in I was not enjoying the run at all – that is an odd sensation for me because I enjoy pretty much every run I do even if it results in injury! At this point Scott Jurek’s “Sometimes you just do things” mantra popped into my head and, instead of turning around for an out and back I just kept on running. At first I thought I’d turn it around at 7km but that soon passed by and from then on I began to run fluidly and with a smile on my face. I’ve never ran the route I was on and it was pleasant to be running on a fairly hard packed dirt/mud track through fields and marshes – I saw one mountain biker and one hiker during my time on the trail! It was wonderful to be surrounded by nature and to feel at peace with the solitude. I’m not sure at what point the trail ended but I found myself abruptly put onto a road, and a fairly busy one at that. My mind was not ready for that and it turns out my legs weren’t too impressed either! I ran along for a short while looking for another entry point onto a trail or a canal path and thankfully I was rewarded with the latter after about 500m.

I had a vague idea that this particular canal path would lead me about 4 miles back towards the way I had come and that I would end up in a park somewhere along the way which would indicate I had about 7km to go before reaching home and, consequently, completing a half marathon. The canal path was a treasure to run on – it was large mud and loose bits of rubble type material so it presented a different challenge to the hard packed trail and road sections I’d been on! When I came to the turn off for the park I had been heading to I was tempted to skip it and carry on because I was enjoying myself so much – the friendly waves of the canal barge folk, the lack of foot traffic and the trees and birds that accompanied me for the 6km I had traveled since leaving the road felt like a lot to give up! However, my mind told me at this point that I had not come equipped for running longer that 21km – in fact, at this point my mind told me I hadn’t come equipped to run anything over 8 miles as I had no water and no source of energy food/gel. Needless to say, this little bit of sudden mental awareness really effected me as I turned off on to the 2km footpath leading through the park and back into civilisation! I began to wonder if I might not just head into the town, stop at a pub or cafe, and ask for a glass or two of water.

Well, I did not stop at the nearest town! As I popped out at the top of the park I found myself on a main road with people everywhere and I resolved to get home to my bubble of peace as quickly as I could muster. It felt odd to feel people looking at my mud splattered, very sweaty self, running along the road! Thankfully the odd sensation made me switch off again and I stopped thinking about dehydration and calorie deficits and just focused on the road ahead – head up, heels up, keep on keeping on! My final 6km were all done on the road and boy did my legs feel it – thankfully I had to stop for a few seconds on a couple of occassions due to having to cross busy roads and this gave me enough time to suck some wind and keep my mind focused. When I finally reached home and stopped my legs began to shake and, lo and behold, when I walked a few steps my left knee almost locked out thanks to my L3 realising what I’d just put it through! I really didn’t care though – I was smiling from ear to ear and now I know, without doubt, that on December 16th I will be running the Pisa Marathon and I will be running it strong. Heck, if I hadn’t have had to take a couple of stops for traffic along with way I would have beaten my Half Marathon PB!

I’m sitting here now, still smiling, having just had a fifteen minute ice bath followed by a 45 minute Epsom salt bath. I’ve had a pint of fresh orange, ginger, carrot, celery and apple juice and devoured a peanut butter and banana sandwich – calorie deficit and dehydration resolved! My left knee still feels a little tight but that will settle down after some lumbar extensions and a good night of sleep. I’m so pleased to have got the injury monkey off my back and to have stopped limiting myself – Scott Jurek is right: “Sometimes you just do things!”

Peace & Blessings x

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