Injury check: All clear.
I didn't have a training buddy today, which was a little bit daunting. This was going to be a long run and I knew it was going to be harder doing it on my own. Still, it was a nice day to try: there was blue sky above me and the sun even had some heat in it.
I made a good start, through town and out down the picturesque trail towards Harpenden. I was running a 10mins20/mile pace and actually quite enjoying it all. And while there was no-one around I was singing silently along to my music without a care in the world. At the 4 mile mark I turned around and headed back the way I'd came, and then on around a loop past the airport and towards home.
I was doing pretty well all the way up to 7 miles. At which point I faced a good deal of Bad Gradient. Whereas last week I carefully planned the route to avoid uphills, this week I didn't. There was only really one proper uphill. But it was a nasty one:
|Yep, that one right there. I did not enjoy that.|
The good lessons from today: I can make it around 10.5 miles, even on my own. And although I slowed down from the fast early pace - especially on the hills - I still made a pretty good time. I was hoping to scrape in under 2 hours, but the slow slog after the hill (and having to repeatedly stop to stretch out a stitch) stole those minutes from me and I just didn't have enough left in the tank to claw them back.
However, one of the worst things about running on your own is that it's so much easier to stop! Not even the Super Running Tunes I'd specifically picked for the end of my playlist could inspire me enough past mile 9, as my legs began to ache and tiredness crept up on me, and I did walk for a few metres here and there.
I mapped the run surprisingly well, finishing only twenty metres from my doorstep. By then I was definitely worn out but I wasn't suffering as much as I did last week. I think the energy gels and the isotonic drink I'd taken instead of water probably helped, as did the fact that the wind chill wasn't so bad today. I also made sure I ate some good recovery snacks while I was cooling down and stretching: a microwaved sausage roll followed by a banana and honey sandwich. Yum.
So, it was hard work. But I ran 10.5 miles in two hours. Ergo: I'm writing this one up as a win.