Happy New Year! I’m going to skip the New Year’s Day formalities of reflection and goal setting, except to say that it has been a great year and I reckon 2015 will be even better. Starting with today.
I had planned a nice long slow run for this morning. I mean, what else am I going to do with a day off? It would be a shame to waste the whole day lounging around, watching TV and stuffing my face.
So, I headed out at about 9:30 am, a bit later than planned, but still early enough for a slow 24K. The plan was to use the usual 3:1 run/walk ratio but to try to keep the pace nice and slow – around 7:30 minutes per kilometre would bring me home at around the 3 hour mark. Just in time for lunch!
The original plan was to run along the seafront and take the coast road out beyond Saltdean and then back again. However, as I got closer to the seafront, I realised that the wind was pretty strong and that it might be better to stay a but further back from the sea itself.
So, I changed my plan and ran in the other direction, taking the road towards Shoreham instead. I was running against the wind, but it wasn’t too bad as there was a bit of shelter from some buildings along the route.
I reached Shoreham round about the one hour mark and decided to take a Power Gel. I’ve never used gels when running, but as this was going to be my longest run so far as part of my marathon training, I figured it would be a good idea to try them out – one at the one hour mark, and another at two hours.
I’m not really sure what I was expecting, but it didn’t taste as bad as I’d thought it would – nothing like real bananas and strawberries but not as synthetic tasting as some of the Power Bars I’ve used before. It actually tasted quite good and the consistency was fine too, so no problems there.
As I hadn’t really planned a route, I wasn’t sure which way to go once I reached Shoreham. I was only at around 8K, which was far too early to turn around and head back to Hove, so I decided to just follow my nose and then turn around again at 12K.
This made the run a lot more enjoyable as, apart from the fact that I was no longer running into the wind, I was running through streets I’d never seen before. But it didn’t take too long before I found myself on Old Shoreham Road, heading for Brighton and Hove. I really liked this stretch of the route as, despite having to stop for traffic occasionally, it has a few inclines to keep things interesting and challenging – even at my very slow pace. So I decided to keep going and complete a loop (of sorts) rather than my usual out-and-back approach.
Things were going well until around the 2 hour mark. I had just had my second gel and was jogging along nicely when I felt the twinge in my upper thigh get a bit tighter, followed by a sharp pain in my knee. I knew right away what it was. I’d had the same thing after my last long run.
I knew that stopping would make it seize up, so I slowed down, took lighter steps, and sure enough the pain eased off. The outside of my thigh was still tight, but I kept going, taking it easy and stretching it out when I had to stop for traffic. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to complete the 24K, so I decided to turn off the main road and back towards Hove, just in case it got any worse.
I don’t really like running around the streets because there is usually too much stopping and starting for traffic, but today it wasn’t too bad. I guess everyone was still recovering from last night’s festivities!
So, I kept going, stopping and starting at the traffic lights and then took in a lap of Hove Park and a turn around Hove Rec for good measure before completing the 24K in just over 3 hours. Not bad for a morning’s work.
When I got home, I stretched out my IT band right away and that seems to have done the trick. No real pain, just a few aches, but that’s not a problem as I intend to spend the rest of the day with my feet up, eating the entire contents of the fridge.
How was your New Year’s Day? Did you get a run in? Please share your thoughts and adventures in the comments.