Sunday, 9 March 2014

Sunday Training (A "slow" 20 mile Thames Path road run)

The alarm went off at 6:30am.  Ridiculous as I was still awake at nearly 1am.  I felt like rubbish.  I didnt quite get out of bed then though and eventually made my way to the kitchen for breakfast just before 7am.  One bowl of porridge and a glass of water.  20 mins later, I still felt hungry, so I had another bowl.  Was tempted to only eat half of it but hunger got the better of me.

Now originally the plan was to meet my old cycling buddy Joanne at 7:30am as she's started running with Cambridge Harriers and they had a group going out on a 18 mile run that morning, so she asked if I'd like to tag along.  No problem, until I realised what I had in store on Saturday.

So I text Jo to say I wasnt coming but about 7:45, as I was slowly getting myself together (I was already changed by that point), she phoned to say they were running past my flat in about 10 mins, so I should get my skates (shoes) on and join them.

Without a second thought, I rushed around to visit the bathroom, fill my water bottles, open my packet of Jelly Babies and just as I was about to open my front door, she phoned to say they were at the foot of Shooters Hill.  It appeared they'd run straight past and were already 600 yards up the road.  No problem, I had a quick stretch and I started out after them.

Now bearing in mind I had to run a 400ft hill, I really didnt expect to catch them in around 2 miles.  It was great to see Jo again but I quickly realised the pace was going to be much slower than I was used to.  I'm a stickler for training at my pace and this wasnt going to be fun but at the end of the day, it was time to catch up with a mate.

The first 10 miles (just short of 10) flew by. Over Shooters Hill, out to Blackheath, through Greenwich Park and down to the Thames and then all along the Thames Path, past the Thames Barrier to the Woolwich Ferry. The pace was drastically slow. 10:07 min/mile, way under my 9:30 slowest marathon pace but hey, I felt damn good. I actually felt like I hadnt done anything. However, one thing had started to bug me. Stomach cramps. They were getting more and more frequent and the rumblings were getting stronger and stronger. I didnt want to cut the run short as I'd miss a valuable opportunity to get some miles in but I could end up in serious trouble.

Talking to the Cambridge Harriers ladies, their plan was to come off the Thames Path at Thamesmead then make their way to Brampton Road. I used this as my opportunity to break from them and run at least the last 7-8 miles at nearer my own pace. A quick phone call to check with Mum that I'd be ok for a lift home later, done, so I said my farewells and off I went towards Erith and then on to Bexleyheath.

The next 50 mins was fine. Pretty much dead on correct pace, sun was shining. A couple of stomach rumbles but all seemed to have settled down. As I meandered around the Thames, Erith came into view and bang, the stomach rumble of all tremmers. Jeez, I was going to be in serious trouble if I couldnt get to a toilet in super quick time. I had to stop. I had to stop, let the body settle down for a minute, a quick quiet prayer then off again. I had to stop again 200 yards up the road. This wasnt good. Where could I go? I had to go? Oh sh*t! Almost literally. Body settled down again so off I went. Thankfully I managed to held on for another mile and never have I been more relief to see the golden arches of McDonald's staring back at me.

Do you remember the scene in Dumb & Dumber?

Holy mother of God.  The relief.  The eyes were watering I can tell you.

Thank heavens for McDonalds.

I got going again and got the last 4 miles in to take me to just short of 21 miles.

Considering the stomach troubles I'd gone through, the legs felt absolutely fantastic by the time I got to my parents house.  As I explained to them, my knees felt a little tender but the leg muscles really didnt feel like I'd done that much.  Nothing more than a normal 10k run.  How good was that.

Thankfully, my brother lent me some clothes for the afternoon, I had a shower and Mum served me up some Roast Lamb.  Spent the afternoon chilling out with my brother watching the football and Mum gave me a lift back home around 6pm.  Nice way to spend a Sunday in the end.

I enjoyed the run but realistically, it was far too slow for me.  I'm capable of much more than that but on this occasion, I dont think it will hurt me too much in terms of preparation time as I'm running the Surrey Spitfire 20 next Sunday as my final long run before Paris.  Was nice to catch up with Jo again after so long.

Edit:  the stomach cramps are a common trait of distance runners, as some of my friends will confirm.  I have resorted to taking Imodium before running but it does make me feel very sicky and then I suffer with bloating for 48hrs afterwards.  However, I feel I've got no choice when I take on Paris in a few weeks.

I took one tablet before I left on Sunday so if my body will react like that with the medication, then its bound to be worse without.  I just have to make sure I eat plenty of time before running and not eating too late the night before to make sure I can get as much out of my system as possible.

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