I woke up this morning at 4:45 am. It was sunny but I could see through the window that the streetlights were still on. I lay there, and I thought "No no no no I do not want to do this". Then I got up, found my running gear and got dressed. I was so anxious not to wake anyone I could only find odd socks!
I ate 2 jelly babies with some water and stuffed 4 more in my pocket with my key. I set off, as the church bell struck 5 times. My aim today was to run 10 miles at a pace of about 10 min/mile.
The first 2 miles were fast. I was enjoying the silence and the slight cooling breeze. Then I started to tire because I'd set off too fast, so the next 2 miles were a pain. But, as I descended into Letchworth, the sun shone and people started to appear and I began to feel good.
As I ran past the UK's first roundabout I realised I was halfway through my run. I was starting to feel tired again, so I hunted for my jelly babies. The Runners World half marathon newsletter this week reminded me that I would need to take something for energy after an hour of running (I forgot last week), and jelly babies are ideal. I've not used energy gels or drinks while running; I've heard they can make you need the loo or cause wind, and that's the last thing I want to deal with on a long run. After unsticking 2 sweets from my house key (not my best idea putting them in the same pocket!) I immediately felt better (psychological?) and the next few miles were good.
At about mile 8 I was thinking about getting home and going back to bed, so I sped up! I was really aware of my hair, which I had cut yesterday and is a lot shorter than it was. I could feel it bouncing on my shoulders and it was annoying!
I started to look at my Garmin and calculate my route; did I need to stay on the road or could I cut onto the Greenway? I decided to cut onto the Greenway for a bit of interest (and the hills are a bit easier!). Loads of rabbits were about, so many birds too. I love running through the fields and spotting wildlife.
I realised at mile 9 that I was going to end up running 10.5 miles (slight route calculation fail!) so I decided I might as well run 11 miles. I was feeling OK, my hips were a bit sore but otherwise I wasn't labouring for breath and I had energy to run. I ran the last 2 miles at some speed, and ended by climbing over a fence because the footpath that runs along my estate was closed partway down!
And so I finished my long run in 1 hour and 47 mins (average pace 9:52 min/mile). I tried to sneak into the house but as soon as I walked through the door the kids were shouting for their breakfast! Fortunately, my husband dealt with them and I managed to grab an hour in bed. Hurrah for husbands :)
So, 6 weeks before my half marathon, I'm now able to run 11 miles. I'm confident I can finish the race in 2 hours 15 mins, which was my original aim. My husband thinks I can do it in 2 hours! What do you all think?