The Last Really Long Run before the Great North Run!

That’s it. I’ve reached that point at which things start to wind down, giving my body time to build up resources for the Great North Run. In a way I’m already not looking forward to stepping right back; I’m already talking about trying a 15 mile run after the race and building it up to see how far this middle aged body will take me. I must be mad.

Yesterday I got my husband to take me into town and drop me off so that I could run home, rather than run to a point and back. They were roads I knew well, although the first part out of Dumfries I’d never run on before. The weather seemed perfect – not too hot, not to sunny and sporting a gentle breeze.

I’d tried to carb load, but I’m not good at it. I think too much about everyone else and cook what I think they’d like, rather than what I need. I really need to do something about that. I had tacos the night before, when I probably should have had pasta or rice, and breakfasted on boiled egg and toast, when I probably should have had porridge. With all this in mind I think I was almost certainly under fuelled for a long run. However…

I was dropped off at Castledykes Park and, after a quick visit to the loo, set off along the Glencaple Road. I started off trying to listen to my body and run at what felt like an easy pace. It turns out that my easy pace is around 10:30 min/mile pace as the first two miles came in at 10:34 and 10:11. I even stopped now and again to take photographs; I was feeling relaxed and happy. My left ankle was stiff to begin with but soon started to loosen off and that had been my main worry.

The River Nith heading out into the Solway.

As you can see from the photo it’d had started to heat up a bit. I’d left starting the run quite late, not helped by the fact that as I was ready to go my husband decided to do an online search for a new cooker hood to replace the one that has been broken for the last 3 years! Only mad dogs and English runners set off in the mid day sun!

It gradually got hotter and hotter and I could feel my pace slipping, despite me trying to maintain it. In the front of my mind though I was telling myself that only distance mattered today, not pace. I just wanted to do a long, slow 14 mile run. However I also realised that the slower I ran, the longer it would take!

My husband had promised to follow me along the road once he’d finished his cooker hood shopping and eventually caught up with me as I finished mile 7 and was reaching for my gel. I stopped to talk to him for a while before he drove home.

Caerlaverock Castle across the fields, subject of some of my paintings.

My splits tell the story:

The first three miles were on the button.
After that I started to feel the heat and slow up.
I took a gel at mile 7, which helped a little, but just felt as if I was crawling the last few miles.
These two last miles were pure torture.


I stopped slightly short of 14 miles because I’d reached the pub! My son is a bar man there, so I popped in to see him and get my water bottle refilled. After that I walked home as best I could after 14 tortuous miles! My husband met me as I walked up the road. He said he wasn’t worried, but just thought that it was time I was due home.

I knew that I was weak; I drank my recovery protein drink (a banana milk shake) as soon as I got in and went for a dip in the hot tub. I went hot and cold and hot again and lasted maybe 10 minutes before I started seeing stars. I had to get out. I quickly made myself a sandwich and forced myself to eat it, even though it was the very last thing I wanted. Quite quickly I started to feel better so I ran myself a cold bath and sat in that for 10 minutes. Once the initial shock had subsided, so long as I didn’t move, it actually felt good. My legs were still hot despite being in the cold water for 10 minutes.

After that I was just ravenous. We walked to the local pub and besides my favourite Guinness recovery drink I had to have a packet of crisps (US translation: chips) before ordering my veggie chilli supper! It’s not like me, but I had literally used up every reserve I had – I was running on empty!

Today I feel OK. I’m a little stiff, but not at all sore. My previously sore leg is feeling fine. I’m planning a gentle bike ride to help loosen things, but that’s all. I do have a bad case of sunburn though, highlighting just how hot it was yesterday.

On Wednesday I am booked into a 10k race in Dumfries, but I’m waiting to see how I feel about it. I won’t run if I think it’s going to spoil what I’ve worked up to so far. However, I think I’ll be OK although I won’t be aiming for a PB!



2 thoughts on “The Last Really Long Run before the Great North Run!

  1. Congrats! You are in the chute now!

    I am going to ratchet back my 14 miler this weekend to a 10 or 11 mile run to not overdo the ankle. Having done an 11, 12.5 and another 10 or 11 miler should be enough – I know I can do the distance so it’s just about maintaining long run fitness and staying healthy, right?

    Had a nice 3 mi “pace run” – 32:10 ~ 10:43/mi – all systems felt “OK” – only slight stiffness in the ankle, so I’m hopeful that with care and the taper I’ll be ready.

    Have fun on your 10K!


    1. Hey Eric!

      I felt as if I should be shot on Sunday, i.e. “chute” me now, but never mind. I did that one all wrong and I’ve learnt from it. Tonight I’ve got my kit all laid out for tomorrow’s race and I’ve been eating properly.

      I’ve no doubt that you’ll be fine with a 10/11 mile run. On the day the atmosphere will be worth a mile or so.

      Just take care!

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