Phew is all I can say. I still didn't manage to digest brekkie and get my act together before 12 on Saturday but I do need to start trying to get used to the heat (is how I rationalised setting off into the warmest part of the day to myself), in the event the heavens opened as I broke into a run anyway!
Route planned to take in some lanes and new stuff and get to the Marshes at the other side of Longton - 9 miles out and 9 miles via a different configuration of lanes on the way back. I printed a map off Memory Map and marked the route in highlighter to take any decision making out of the navigation process. Packed water only, gels, arm warmers etc and set off.
I have to say I was pleased about the rain, it was quite warm really and it stopped me overheating. I felt like a completely different person to last week thankfully. The plan for this run was 18 miles at 9:35 mm pace, I wanted to go for consistent pacing throughout. After the first couple of miles I started having to hold myself back, which I did successfully. At the regular map checks I stretched and rotated my hips a lot.
It was a really enjoyable run outwards, nice lanes I've never been on before. The sun had come back out and it had warmed up quite a bit. At about 8 miles in, almost at the heading back point I started to think about going for 20 miles, "get whilst the getting's good" as it were. This would mean I could step back to 13 miles next weekend before doing the last really long one around the 10th of May. I don't think really long runs on consecutive weekends is a good idea for me really.
Heading back through Longton the empty stomach feeling started to I zoomed in Booths and picked up a pack of jelly babies and ate five or six. I wasn't bothered by empty stomach again so these will be added to my marathon plan. I had also been taking regular gels in and frequent drinks, I definitely prefer plain water whilst running.
Back over the A59 and I decide to definitely go for the 20, which meant a change of route but I knew where I was now - this meant the map checks stopped and the stretching to an extent. I kept the same pace, drinking little and often. As I passed Penwortham Booths I thought about nipping in to get more water but discounted this, which wasn't the best decision.
Down towards Avenham Park and I'm still going ok, lots of little twinges but nothing stupidly bad, I had run out of water though and was feeling quite thirsty. I headed along the river bank then out to the Capitol Centre to take the little woodsy path. It was nice and shady in the woods but I had forgotten about the hill! It is one of those that is deceptively steep at the bottom but eases off, I was almost 18 miles in and did briefly think about walking up it but then decided to have a go. I ran it surprisingly well and as I crested the top I passed the 18 mile mark, so I stopped and had a self congratulatory dance (shake the legs and hips out). Longest run ever!
I continue on and I realise I'm going to have to turn away from home to make sure I get 20. That was hard, particularly as my legs were now feeling fed up of running. The last mile was definitely the most difficult, being out of water I had a really dry mouth and I had to stop twice to cross the road, it was agony getting running again but I got to 20 just before arriving at my front door.
Straight in the house, slowly bend down to take shoes off, have recovery drink then straight into shower, out of shower and into compression tights and claim space on sofa whilst deciding what I was going to eat once I had cooled down a bit.
20 Miles at 9:27 pace so reasonably close to goal and a shorter but hopefully faster run next weekend before slowing it down again for another long one the weekend after, though now I know how much its going to hurt I may have to crowbar myself out of the door!
Rest day today where I mainly faffed about the house, though very productive as I baked a chocolate ginger cake and made some vanilla fudge ice-cream, both of which needed extensive quality testing.