From Here to Eternity

My latest longest run ever (LRE) was today’s 14 miler. I am sitting here typing to stop myself from falling asleep before teatime! Tired? I could sleep standing up…if I could stand up that is!

It’s not actually that bad; I’ve had a lovely long, bubbly bath and half a tube of Ibuprofen gel rubbed into my hips and knees, the dodgy bits! I can actually stand, walk, bend – all normal things. So far so good!

I set off having left an hour after having had a couple of slices of toast and Marmite (for extra strength) with water and a few remaining veggie Gummibears. My idea was to run my 5 mile loop 3 and a bit times to get my 14 miles, allowing me to refuel at home after each circuit. I was rewarded for setting off early with a sight of my friend Mr Fox at Ruthwell Station (no longer a station, but the name remains for the hamlet). His long bushy tail is so amazing to watch as it steers him along. It made me smile, which was a good thing as I had a mile of climb ahead of me.

It was raining softly when I set off. It also must have been raining for some time last night because once I reached Twathats Farm (I kid ye not) the road was totally flooded. I had no choice but to take to the farm wall and go through the farmyard, but not before I had soaked my shoes. Wet feet at 2 miles in, not ideal.

I got a bit further on and lo and behold the road was flooded again. Even taking to the extreme verge it was still soaking wet (the water was running off the fields either side of the road) and I just couldn’t avoid another soaking.

3 miles in 33 minutes. 

I decided at this point that I should change my route. Running this twice more would be silly, with this amount of water on the road, not to mention the mud at every farm I passed. I know that it can’t be helped; these roads are rarely used so there isn’t the traffic to disperse the mud and water.

I ran home, filled up my water bottle with sports drink and popped my gel into my back pocket (new tights, with pockets!) My plan was to run back through the village and down on the Bankend road to Bankend itself and then back. It’s a better road, not busy but in better condition than the loop. The only problem was what would I do when I ran out of juice? As I left the house it started to pour down. I was grateful that I’d had the sense to change my long-sleeved top for a vest (as well as change my socks for some dry ones!)

It was easier running on the flat; it’s not perfectly flat, don’t get me wrong, but it’s less hilly than the loop I do.

6 miles in 67 minutes.

The only problem with the Bankend Road is that it’s a bit boring with long straight stretches. It seems to take forever for the bend in the road to arrive. I countered this by looking in the fields, saying hello to all the animals and nebbing in the cottage windows at  the locals watching TV as I ran past. Who is the daft one I wonder?

By mile 9 things were starting to hurt. My groin especially was tightening up and I spent the walking intervals taking huge strides to try and work through it. Goodness knows what people think when they see me. Apart from that it was just my hips (a little bit) and my lower back that was getting sore.

I reached 10 miles and Bankend village in 1 hour 56 minutes. 

At this point I stopped and decided it was time to try this gel I had to hopefully power me enough for the last 4 miles. I also rang Grant and asked if he’d bring me some water or juice as I was getting low. I’d been looking for a tap somewhere on route (sometimes farmers have taps on the fences to fill animal troughs) but there were none and, short of knocking on someone’s door, I was running the risk of dehydration if I didn’t get some water at least. The gel was not unpleasant, but wasn’t the nicest thing I’ve ever tried. It was a banana and strawberry mix and I wasn’t going to try and down it whilst running, or even walking!

When I set off I did feel re-energised. I think that was probably in my head because before I knew it my legs were starting to wobble. I ran on, waiting to see Grant’s van turning the corner any minute now and couldn’t work out why it was taking him as long. Then I remembered the lorry that had whizzed by me and started to worry that it’d put him off the road. It certainly stopped me from worrying about how I was feeling! Instead I had pictures of my husband and his wee blue van upside down in a ditch, wheels spinning in the air.

And then I saw him.

Cycling along with a plastic bag hanging off the handle bars, presumably containing my drink! I was very relieved to see that he had both sets of arms and legs and a head still on his body!! We refilled my bottle and, once he’d put the chain back on his bike, set off for the last 2 miles.

By this time I just wanted to stop and the only way to make that happen was to run faster. So I did. From running 11 and 12 minute mile pace I suddenly started running 10 minute mile pace. Not quite negative splits, but not far off it.

13 miles in 2 hours 33

My ambition has been to run a half in 2 and a half hours. I think I can do that.

14.1 miles in 2:45:35

I have to admit that for the last mile I was clock watching and counting down the tenths of a mile until the magic number 14 appeared. When it did I stopped, cheered, waved my hands in the air (yes, Mr Corsa driver, that was me!) 14 miles. 14 of the longest miles in the world. All mine. I own you 14 miles. You are mine!

Today I ran from Here to Eternity.

At least that’s how it felt.

I came home and followed Danny Dreyer‘s advice and had a hot bath. Danny says that taking a cold bath doesn’t allow the toxins to escape as the blood flow is being inhibited in order to reduce inflammation. Instead a hot bath opens up the muscles and allows the blood to flow and take toxins away. He says that you can follow a hot bath with a cold one, but I thought some anti-inflammatory gel, such as Ibuprofen, would do the trick. So that’s what I’ve done. I’m up and mobile, cleaned out the chucks, made lunch and done some household chores. Tomorrow might be a different story, but I have my magic gel!

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