It's fair to say the preparation for my long run on Sunday wasn't exactly textbook, a beer festival, junk food, late nights. That aside I had an 8 miles on my to do list, and it wasn't a time for excuses as I've still weeks of this to go.
Now this run was completely new ground for me, over the past year or so I've been running variations on the same few local routes, anywhere between 2 and 6 miles 2 or 3 times a week. Once I did a seven and a bit mile run, but I've never really had the inclination to stray further as at the speeds I was running I'd always end up a wreck around mile 5.
I decided as I'd got further to run than I'd ever run before I should also pick a new destination and maybe mix in some of my usual routes, so a quick look at a map, I decided Mickleover looked far enough away, and I had a plan in mind. I set off in the direction of Clemson's Park, followed by a loop of Heatherton,back to the foot of Pastures Hill then up the gentle rise of Haven Baulk Lane through Mickleover, then to the hospital, followed by my nemesis - the hill on Manor Road. I hate that hill, but I also like the reward of jogging down Warwick Avenue and Stenson Road after it's out of the way... and that was my route sorted.
I really had no idea how I'd fare trying to run the extra distance, but I have to trust in the plan, so far it's worked out well. Off I went, the first couple of miles disappeared in no time, it was then I came to the sudden realisation with all that thinking about routes I should have gone to the loo before I left home, and perhaps not had that extra cup of tea.. Oh well with 6 miles or so left to go I had no choice but to make an alfresco pit-stop the wrong side of the stinging nettles and off into the bushes. (Not sure why I'm sharing this, but I guess it's one of those running moments everyone has at some point.) Let's just chalk that up to a new running experience and move on shall we? Okaaay.
Anyway, on I went. Run, breathe. run breathe. Apart from taking in the scenery I pretty much ignored everything else. 4 miles or so in and it finally all seemed to click into place, the slowing down to build up distance concept is a Revelation, at my fast pace I'd be a bit of a mess by about halfway through, but this way I seemed to have energy when I needed it, and each mile just came and went, fairly uneventfully. It wasn't long before I was tackling Manor Road, I wasn't wheezy, I was probably even a fairly normal shade for a human, the hill didn't seem so big and I didn't feel so tired. Turns out it was my fastest mile.. Who'd have thought?
Another few miles and I was back home, the whole run turned out to be a bit longer than I'd expected, and by the last mile I'd picked up a few aches in places I don't usually ache, but I'd done it, 9 miles all pretty much on the right kind of pace. That felt good.
Total Distance 9.29mi
Duration 1:31:44 (Spilt times 9:52, 10:27 (inc break), 9:42, 9:52, 10:11, 9:59, 9:09, 9:28, 10:18)
Avg Pace 9:52