Week 2 started out okay; My legs felt like bricks but I sailed through my Monday 4-miler, killed my post-work Tuesday 8-miler on roads (and hills) around Harrow and spent Wednesday resting and spending time with my son.
Thursday’s 6-mile easy run was tough. I struggled through it but felt horrendous; my shins started flaring up, my legs felt heavy and I struggled to get any momentum going – none of those 6 miles felt easy – I got 5 miles in and needed to use the toilet, panicked, sprinted to the toilet and then got told (upon my return to the real world) that the hill on which I have been doing the majority of my training was no longer available to me.
Harrow School’s grounds are brilliant; open space, marked public pathways, winding trails, and the only practical usable hill routes within a 10-mile radius. I love the HHXC Lap 2 segment on Strava and have been working that route for nearly a year as I have prepped my body for the hills and hard running that will inevitably come my way in the 2nd half of this year. As I descended the hill on the 3rd of my proposed 5 laps, I was confronted by a security guard. He told me that I was, in fact, using private property and would have to stick to the (much flatter, more boring) public paths in the future. Damn. More to come on that, I’m sure. I emailed the head of the sports facilities management team – we’ll see what happens.
My 10 mile Friday run was long, terribly painful and extremely boring as I stuck to the pathways as instructed.
The trouble came when I attempted to do the first of my really long runs – 24 mile epic on Saturday. With a training run of this length I am faced with two major problems; running a route that will enable me to refuel and use a toilet, and having 3-4 hours of spare time on a ‘childcare’ day. In order to fulfill both of these needs I decided to do a 7.7mile loop 3x and to begin my run at 5am. The early start doesn’t really worry me – I got up at 4:30, went to the toilet and got dressed, but once I was out the door at 5:05, that’s when the trouble started…
- I packed a small bag that I stashed outside my front door containing a drink, some energy gels, Clif bars, banana, etc. but forgot my house keys so I was unable to use the house for mid-run toilet stops.
- I started out listening to a podcast (The True Geordie – hilarious) but my phone died about 30 minutes in – firstly, I have a charger case so that should never happen, and secondly, 30 minutes away from home is the farthest point away from my house. Great.
- My legs, again, felt horrible (8 minute miles felt tough).
- At mile 7 (just 0.7 miles from home) I suddenly needed to use the toilet.
- With what happened on my Thursday run I was NOT prepared to risk going out on another loop without using the toilet.
- The toilets at McDonald’s were open but someone was taking up residence in the men’s stall – I debating using the ladies toilet but was sure that I would leave an unwelcome smell in the ladies room, not polite.
- I got back to the house (with no keys) are debating pooping in my front drive, or walking to my parents house and waking them up (at 6am) but eventually decided to wake my 30-week-pregnant wife up to come and let me in. With a dead phone in hard, knocking on the door was the only option – this also woke my 2-year-old up and caused a near-divorce-level domestic at 6:30am!
By the time I had sorted myself out, I was no longer in the mood to do that loop twice more. I called it a day, stopped my watch, and took it on the chin – one run not completed.
Onto week three. Determined to kill the 24-miler on Saturday.