Saturday 11th February 2012 – 10 Miles!

A week with out running

I woke up this morning full of excitement with a little bit of fear / concern thrown into the mix.

I was determined to crack the 10 mile barrier this morning, but due to the recent crap snow and ice I hadn’t been out for a run since last Sunday, so either A) the long rest would be a great help or B) the long rest meant I was a little out of practice and was going to struggle some what. I hoped it was option A.

I’d been keeping an eye on the conditions of the pavements and pathways, and they had been improving daily, but I wasn’t prepared to go out running in the dark on a still icey path. Today would be the day. I could feel it.

A touch of frost?

Running kit on, downstairs for a stretch and a warm up (feed the cat), check the weather outside…and low and behold it was clear, although it seemed we had been on the receiving end of a very heavy frost. Temperature check, minus 4. Crap.

The sun was just poking it’s nose over the horizon, the cockerel was making a row in the garden, time to hit the road!

Setting a pace

Something happened as soon as I started running this morning; on the opposite side of the road was another bloke running, from the village up the road into our village, nothing odd in that, in fact nothign odd at all, but he was properly running. Not jogging slowly or quickly. Full on running.

Well that was me ruined. Instead of settling into a nice pace to start off with, seeing as I wanted to push myself that little bit further this morning, I wanted to catch up with him. Not only did I want to catch up with him, I wanted to over-take him.

I did neither. He was way too fast. A hardened pro no doubt. After 150 yards or so I realised 2 things; Firstly I was not going to catch him, and secondly my legs were fricking stinging! Bollocks.

I needed to concentrate on the job in hand!

The first two miles flew by, albeit I was bored, and my pace quickened a little, I wanted to get the first 4 miles out of the way, and into the meaty bit.

What a fool I am.

Having torn through the first couple of miles at about an 8m30s pace, I got a stitch at 4 miles, this lasted until mid 6 to 7. I was struggling. The stitch was really pissing me off, I couldnt shake it, but was glad to be at 7 miles, and new that I had plenty in me to keep going.

The stitch, and not my pace or technique, had been my point of focus and I needed to get back into my stride…which took me about half a mile.

Home straight

At 8 miles I knew I had 2 miles or perhaps more to go, the home straight is 2 miles long give or take a few yards.

Down a hill, up the other side, a mile of flat straight, chuck a left up a short hill and back down, at this point my right calf was cramping a little, no time to worry about it, I was almost home. Left again, half a mile to go. Pace quickened again, running full out for the last few hundred yards…

10 mile barrier…BROKEN!

I’d done it. It had taken me a couple of months to achieve it slowly, but surely.

Very pleased. I am now ready to book in for some 10 mile runs, and 10K runs.

You can see my route and times here

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Setting goals

Setting a goal.

Every now and then I try to set myself a new goal when it comes to running.

Not necessarily a major goal, just something that will enable me to push myself a little further, it stops me from becoming too complacent.

This may be trying to beat a certain time, or adding a few hundred yards to a run, or even going for a run in the freezing snow (done that before!).

Well this week I decided to push myself a little further. I wanted to run a greater distance than I had previously run, I have run 10K a few times, this is about 6.2 miles and the furthest I had run to date.

My next run would be something harder, it needed to be. I needed something to get the blood pumping.

Pushing the boundaries

So on Friday I mapped myself a new run. I have some local routes around this village and the next one, but I had not yet run across to the other village…and back. I had driven there. Of course I had, no more than half a dozen times though.

I knew it was through open fields, past farms, the odd cow, duck and pheasant, I knew the lanes were narrow and probably a little muddy, more a dirt track than a road, and I knew there were going to be a few hills to climb. I love running up hills, not so keen on running down them (that’s a story for another blog another time). I’d mapped out a 7.2 mile route. This would be tough.

Just planning the route was exciting. Taking on a route for the first time is exciting. I couldn’t wait.

Running at it head on

I had set the alarm for 06:30am this morning, and when the alarm went off, I thought about the run and the cold weather and then realised it was still dark. Taking on a new, practically unknown route in the dark was not a wise move, there would be absolutely no street lights, and very narrow lanes. Pretty much suicide.

I rolled over and went back to sleep.

Instead I would head out late morning, once I had got up and done a few things. Wifey and the boys went out around 11:00am, so I threw my kit on, did my stretches and hit the road.

My running playlist was sending happy tunes to my ears, the beat was good and I set off at a good pace…downhill to start with (wasn’t overly happy about that).

It got easier.

The first 2.5 miles had me beat. There I’ve said it, I thought I would be OK, but the wind was whipping across the fields and I was running straight into it, it was taking my breath away, and I was struggling. My legs ached after the first mile and I wondered what the hell I was going to do for the rest of the route. I had planned 7.2 miles remember?

At 3.5 miles I turned right and the wind eased off, my breathing became easier, and I was beginning to enjoy the run, I was beginning to enjoy it a lot, and was looking forward to the next 4 or so miles. Regardless of the hills.

I circled back on myself, and as I almost reached the 5 mile mark the wind was now behind me. I was running at a steady pace, smiling and not aching.

Final push

At 6.75 miles I turned back on to the main road, and had about half a mile to go to home, and it was all uphill.

I ran. I dug deep and bloody well ran up that hill. My legs were pumping, my heart was banging against my chest, and I kept saying to myself “you are going to do this, keep running”.

I finished at 7.35 miles. I was back at where I started. If you are interested you can see the route, splits and graphs here. I was very happy, I knew I could do it, but whilst running my mind was questioning my ability, my mental state wasn’t good, failure crossed my mind once or twice, at just under 2 miles I wanted to stop, turn around and walk home.

But I couldn’t give up.

I need to run that route again. Perhaps make it a regular route, who knows, but I need to do it again just to prove to myself that I can.

And I will do.