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May 05 2013

60 miles in 30 hours

Week21Or 93.48 miles this week.

And that’s it!

The last of the long runs on this training programme is now complete. After 21 weeks of gradually and relentlessly building the distances, that’s it.

Today’s run was the longest single run I’ll do before the race in 20 days’ time. On the programme it should have been 32, but I just wanted to see what would happen if I squeezed it to 35 by adding an extra 10%.

It was a strange and almost surreal run. The consistency with which I drudged, sorry paced out, the miles was surprising – even for my uber-optimistic levels of self-confidence – and suggested that I maybe have done a lot right. A few times during the run my energy levels dipped, but shot bloks were absolutely brilliant. As were the four individually-wrapped peanut butter and jam sandwichs. When the last was consumed at mile 25 I was genuinely sad and wished I’d made more. Would it really have increased by backpack weight if I had made some more? Probably not.

But then my hyration pack weighted the most it’s ever done. The reservoir was filled to breaking point with 3l of water. [I will write-up my hydration pack experiences soon.] So when i set out of the front-door my shoulders were justifiably closer to the ground and each step required just that bit more energy. I seemed to get used to it after 6 to 7 miles as running in to Benson was the last time I noticed it. I did try to take a mouthful every 2-4 minutes, so i knew it would get lighter. One the brighter note, I did anticipate running through Sandford later in the route, so there was bound to be a small shop where I could stock up if I ran out.

I arrived at Sandford (mile 28) after about 4h45… and there was no shop. Lesson learnt.

I eventually ran out of water at mile 32 and that alone made the last 3 painful! Note to self – DON’T RUN OUT OF BLOODY WATER! Bouyed by the knowledge of nearing the finish was patently not enough to stop the feeling of the residual water leeching out as sweat, exacerbating the dearth of hydration. When I ran into the garden the dog’s water bowl was the first thing I saw… but thankfully the only thought I had on that front was “that’s good, the kids remembered to give Daisy water.”

Well here’s the route:

sixlocks35mile

and the stats:

The most surprising element of the run wasn’t actually the run itself. It was the recovery time. I flaked out in my office chair contemplating what to write on this blog and reclined into a near-horizonal position resting my head on the backrest. The kids subserviently supplied my with all the drinks I could consume (on the promise of a kit-kat when I eventually did get to my feet again). After 45 minutes perusing some more sites to bolster my insight on my perennial “stay-alive” race tactic, I stood up expecting the pain of muscular movement of any kind to race to my immediately. But it didn’t. It was really OK… very little strength-sapping fatigue, the knowledge of which chiselled a smile onto my face again.

That was something else I discovered on the run. Walking for 30 to 40 steps, as I took my hydration pack off and rearranged my diminishing supplies, breathed new life into my legs. Starting up again felt much easier as the comforting, but brief, rest period replenished my legs’ ability to keep me moving. I hadn’t expected that such a short period of rest would have such an effect. Maybe if things get tough on race day, I can just rest by the roadside and allow the same recuperative powers to wash over me… surely it’s worth a shot at least!

In all, I couldn’t be more pleased with my run and my physical ability. I’ll leave the psychological analysis for another day.

The final words… how am I going to shrink the same distance into 12 hours… and not 30?

 

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