Diary of an aspiring half - marathon runner week four

My targets for this week:
1. Run at least twice.
2. Cover at least 13 miles combined.
3. Longer run target = 8 miles.

This week, on the first training session I picked up my very first running injury!  A chafing injury no less!! 
Is it wrong to be secretly proud of it do you think? I’m sort of treating it somewhat like a war wound or a badge of honour – something that says that I’ve now crossed over into the territory of being a proper runner!  Finally when others talk about different injuries and pitfalls they’ve come across as a runner, I’ll have something to bring to the table! 

Chafing aside, a pretty good first session overall covering just over 5 miles in warm & muggy conditions – it was particularly sweaty which probably contributed to the injury so I’ll have to think for some protective or preventative measures before the longer run so I don’t make it worse!

I couldn’t make the SLJ Saturday session this week so I made arrangements to run on Sunday morning instead which happily fitted in well with some of my running buddies who also had other commitments on the Saturday.  We’d enjoyed the lavender run a few weeks back at Lullingstone, but the lavender itself hadn’t really put in an appearance at the time so we decided to go back for another look!  

Sunday dawned nice & sunny and it was already a very warm 24-degrees at 8.30am so goodness knows whatit rose to during our run, but it had to be in the high 20’s! Our decision to take a route through the lavender fields again paid off as it was out in full force & the colour was absolutely glorious! 

No “extra loops” needed today as we were on our own, setting our own pace and running our own route taking in not only the beautiful lavender fields, but the lovely village of Shoreham, the golf course, parts of Otford, not forgetting Lullingstone Castle itself and even venturing out as far as Eynesford to give us the 8 miles needed to hit target.

8 miles. That’s quite a distance. Don’t be silly – its only a mile more than last week. One tiny mile, that’s all – you’ve run further before! Huh – once, and only half a mile more and I felt about ready to collapse into a heap at the end! … was the argument going on in my head as we drove out to Lullingstone today. 

Truth is – until today, the distances I’d been doing hadn’t really overly worried me – I’ve done several 10K’s and had a few 7 mile runs under my belt from training for those last year so I already knew I could do them – that’s not to say I was expecting to find it easy of course, but I was mentally prepared because I’d done it before – and if I’d done it before, I could again.  But today was crossing over into newer territory and that was an exciting but also scary prospect. 

I’ve only ever run further than 7 miles one single time before - it was earlier this year as part of the “increase your distance” course with SLJ.  The aim of the course was to get you to 10 miles – but for a variety of reasons I really struggled with it – despite this I was determined to at least increase my distance beyond 7 miles before calling it a day, and I (just about) managed it just that once - 8.5 miles and it literally killed me!  After that I told myself that I wasn’t made to run long distances and happily returned to the normal Saturday sessions.

So today was not only going to be a physical challenge, but a mental one too. Physically, it was really tough – the heat alone made it exhausting, although we tried to run in the shade as much as possible.  I got through both my bottles of water by the end (I rarely even get halfway through one normally) and I looked (and felt) like a lobster at the end - not through sunburn as I’d sensibly slathered on factor 50 before leaving the house this morning, but through sheer exertion. Mentally, it was even tougher if that’s possible – that last mile seemed never-ending (not helped by the fact I’d forgotten to press “go” on my watch after a brief water stop, only noticing a while later – so I needed to go an extra 0.4 miles than necessary for the watch to actually register the all-important 8 miles (although I would have actually run 8.4). Finally when I felt I could barely take another step I felt a vibration on my wrist and heard the buzz in the air – nope, not a wasp!  It was my watch, announcing 8 miles - it was over! I’d done it!

Mentally – I fear the battle is far from over.  We’ll be holding at 8 miles for a few weeks now (although I will be on holiday during that time) but beyond that I will be into totally unknown territory – whilst I am looking forward to clocking up some new PB’s as far as distances go, I am worried that if anything is going to let me down, it will be my body.

Physically, straight after the run I felt fine.  A little tired of course, and my legs were aching a little but nothing major. By Sunday evening on the other hand I felt like I’d been hit by a bus and then trampled by an elephant or two! I ached everywhere and my right hip was so stiff I was struggling with stairs and could barely put any weight on it.  A nice long bath & a good night’s sleep seem to have done the world of good so fingers crossed it was only temporary!

I’m on holiday now so hopefully a bit of rest will do me some good & I’ll be back on form when I get back!(don’t worry – you’ll still get a blog next week, something I prepared for just such an occasion!)