To borrow a phrase from the Trail Monsters "the road to hell is paved, run trails." I really wasn't looking forward to the weekend's running. I was trying to get Michael G to lead me astray and off into the hills but he had an appointment with a hangover in Sheffield. And I knew I had to knuckle down and do some road miles. I have 2 large road runs fast approaching and want to make a decent job of them. There was nothing for it but grit the teeth and do it.
me to NB
The wind was travelling West on Saturday and so I caught the train to NB and ran back. At least I wouldn't have a 30 min train ride in wet kit but would finish at my flat and shower. I set off at 6.20+ish pace and found it was not a breeze. I had earmarked 6.30 as marathon pace and thought it would be pretty straight forward to keep this up for a lot of the run. It wasn't.
Well it was okay to begin but I felt my new shoes getting pretty hot. The first few miles flew by but the shoes got hotter. I had bought them the night before online and they unfortunately arrived Saturday morning. They were to encourage me to do a few fast road miles but it was a bit of a mistake and by Gullane I was looking for (praying for) a chemist selling blister plasters.
My prayers were answered and less than five miles in I stopped, bought some Compeed plasters and applied them to both large toes at the knuckle, where the shoes weren't quite broken in. I had forgotten this tendency with new Hokas and I could feel I wasn't going to survive 20 miles if I couldn't address the hot spots. Compeed are fantastic and worked a treat, although I could feel my soles gradually separating from the landmass of my feet as I continued.
new shoesNormally I'd buy Hokas from Run and Become but they only had (red and yellow) shocking colour-ways and not all the sizes last time I was there. By the way if you are buying at Ultramarathon Running Store try putting LDWA into the discount code box when buying them and you should get 10% discount.
I tried running along the road out of Aberlady but the proximity to speeding cars was desperate and I opted for the trail on the other side of the wall. It slowed things down a bit but felt much safer.
Then the pretty awful unpavemented section past the Bents. Again, unpleasant.
After getting back onto pavement at Puerto Setonio things improved although I noticed the miles were nearer 7 than six minutes. Through the Pans and onward.
By Musselburgh I was struggling. I had been making deals with myself the whole way and had refined it down to "run till 20 then jog". As Bernie remarked the following day that number 26 bus looks awful tempting.
I was counting the yards till 20miles and they passed very slowly. I'm still not sure why I felt so awful. Probably started too quickly, and had forgotten all the road running tricks: like vaseline, and lots of it. Around Joppa I passed Paul E who looked twice and asked if I was ok.
I saw this kite above the beach and felt the absurdness of a flying pirate ship was akin to way I was running.
Angus was out as well.
20 miles and burst.
It took about half an hour to "run" the 2.5 miles home from here.
Well I had thought it would be bad but it was considerably worse. Along the way I had promised I would diet / train harder / start slower / never wear new shoes again EVER, and various other forgotten bargaining to the running gods. I was also forming a plan to run with Bert's Sunday group (if my flayed feet would allow.) Because I knew I wouldn't manage 13 miles on my own the following day. When I got home I had 2 paracetamol and went to bed for 3 hours. Later when I got up it felt as if I had been in a car wreck.
Bert's Sunday Best
My feet were a little tender right enough but as a bit of punishment for yesterday's disgraceful performance I thought 13 miles sounded about right.
This is one of Bert's regular runs - the cycle path from Longniddry to Haddington. Pretty much like this for 4 miles; a gradual rise for 3 then slightly downhill for 1, making for a fast return.
Then Alan Aitch, who seemed in good form, led us around the outskirts of Haddington, returning to the path at 9.1miles - meaning we would run exactly a half marathon. David had seemed to raise the pace as we approached the path and I wondered if this was the beginning of the inevitable race to the line started. However he dropped back. Bert, myself and Craig found ourselves pushing on and ran the last four progressively faster as the path dropped back down to Longniddry. David only realised we were making a break for it too late and surprisingly (given his sub17 parkrun the day before) didn't catch us in time. Last mile: 5.49. Which was a boost to flagging morale.
Thanks to Andrew for the lift there and back.