I did it – I got up early and I simply got on with it – my longest ever run at 10 miles or 16.10 kilometres.
To be honest I wasn’t sure how I would find a route quite so long but I simply headed in a general direction and decided I would turn back at the half way point.
This caused me some confusion mid run as I was tired and I kept telling myself I was running 18K when in fact my mid way point was 8k! Thankfully I was awake enough to not make that mistake!
To put things into perspective the mass of land in the middle of todays loop is Colchester town centre!
I headed out on the same route I did yesterday with my bike and decided to keep going until the other Avenue of Remembrance (there are two) and then decided mid route I would head past Tesco and onto the large B&Q and the University quarter of the town.
I have only ever been there by car and as I passed B&Q I decided to try my luck down by King Edward Quay.
I found the running to be going well and managed to find my pace ok. I struggled at the beginning as it was very damp and drizzly which caused me to want to stop and clear my throat etc a couple of times. As usual once I got past this I was fine – I just need to give my body chance to warm up.
I managed to get quite a way down the river path taking in views I hadn’t seen before, following the river and enjoying the peace and quiet.
I stopped to take a Nectar energy gel which I found to be very sweet and warm and at first it started to mess with my stomach – I was feeling queasy and not best pleased that I could have made myself ill by taking it but, after a swig of my drink and a slower pace my stomach settled and I was able to continue.
It was at this point that I passed Colchesters’ famous Lightship which is now the permanent home of the Sea Cadets. I also passed a very large pole with what looked like a striking statue of a Cormorant with its wings expanded. On closed inspection it was a real Cormorant and it was as interested in watching me as I was in the watching it!
Heading back from the river into town I made the mistake of having to conquer Hythe Hill but in Colchester you are never too far from any major hill. I was sensible and slowed to run up most of it but did walk a few metres so that I could catch my breath and have another drink.
Heading back into town I decided to cut through the town centre and into Castle Park.
As I was climbing the hill to the park I started to get a twinge in my right knee which worried me. I tried to run through it but concerned that my right knee has never given me any problems before, I decided to slow down and walked fast up the hill. By the time I had reached the entrance to Castle Park I was feeling better.
I had to stop though to capture an image of the topiary display that the park currently has by the entrance which depicts pandas and is a celebration to the 50th Anniversary of Colchester Zoo.
I ran through an eerily quiet park and a sight of devastation as we had an almighty downpour through yesterday which continued over night (which kept me awake). This weekend is Colchester Free Festival and a lot of the tents and marquees hadn’t survived the heavy conditions. I felt sorry for the organisers who were struggling to get it all straight for todays festivities.
Heading down to the bottom of the park, around the weir (where it was apparent how much rain we had yesterday due to the river being very swollen) and back into town I started on my home stretch.
I had paced the run quiet well and was pleased that heading back I had a little over 5K left to do. It should have been left but I managed to soak up the odd KM at home where I added in a loop.
Coming through the park I had convinced myself that I was hungry and knew (for the first time), that I had a mini packet of Haribo in my y-fumble. I was determined that I was hungry and needed a push so I opened the pack nearing the station (which was a bloody nightmare with sweaty hands) and had a couple of sweets). It felt odd at first to eat and run but they seemed to fill a gap. Sadly thee sweets were sour Fangtastics which made me more thirsty than ever! I cannot complain though as they were a freebie from my last order via Wiggle.
I made it into New Braiswick Park feeling tired but happy I was nearing the end of the run and kept the momentum up. I had to slow before the final km as I was hungry again so finished off the final Haribo.
I pushed on through the run and it was only around the 14K mark that I realised that my legs were starting to tire. My feet seemed fine though and my Lunarglides seemed to be doing an excellent job of keeping me stable.
I was both relieved and pleased to hit the 16.10KM mark and slow to a fast walk knowing that I had done it. This was my longest ever run at 10 miles and was the longest I had ever been out running as I was on my feet for just over two hours.
I am sure with this pace I can complete the half marathon in under 2:30 which is my goal. I am also confident that I can complete it and still feel comfortable at the end. (i.e. I am not going to peg out!).
With this run in the bag I am confident of my ability to run the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October, I simply have to keep this up and ensure I have the strength to continue.
I am especially pleased with todays efforts as I realised as I was finishing the run that I have not completed a long run in a couple of weeks due to having guests staying or the problems with my ankle. That’s all passed now and my ankle didn’t cause me any problems whatsoever. If I can churn out this race having had such a gap I am sure I can continue the training as planned and have enough training in the bank so that I am good to go on our return from Canada.
Returning home I had a lovely surprise as I left Richard finishing off the painting of the woodwork in the bedroom. I wasn’t sure how far Richard would get but in the two hours I was out running he had finished the painting and had put the bedroom back together.
Our choice of 1978 Purple was a bold one (especially as the bedroom was completely white before we started) but we are both very pleased with the colour choice.
We only painted one wall purple and repainted the white in the bedroom – I think it looks quite luxurious and really gives the room some character.
That’s the last room we are decorating this year and we only have one more to paint – the study. Who knows what scheme we’ll pick in there!
All in all a great day so far (and it’s only lunch time).
I have learnt quite a bit on this half marathon journey and am pleased that I can tell myself when to slow down, when to get my breath and not to beat myself up if I need to. Ultimately I can continue to pick up the pace and run and feel comfortable with the long distances.
10 miles is the longest run within my training and I will aim to run another one when we get back from Canada. I shall start to taper off now as per the plan (as I adjusted the plan for Canada not for the race). I am confident I can do this and dead chuffed once again.
Remember all this effort is not for nothing! I am trying to raise as much as I can for the British Heart Foundation. I really want to be able to send them a decent cheque and I want people to appreciate just how much effort I am putting into my training. Times are hard and loads of people are raising money for excellent causes so I know this is a big ask… Please, please sponsor me whatever you can as any amount will make a big different to the British Heart Foundation and every penny incentivizes me to push harder and harder.