Yesterday I was on a running high. Very pleased with the miles I'd done this year, happy with my parkrun yesterday, and feeling pretty gung-ho about life and running in general. I planned to run 10 miles this morning, around the route of the Alton 10. I love this route, I have run it, and sections of it, on a regular basis since I started running. It is not a route that many people like. Something to do with the fact that there isn't a single bit of level ground in the whole 10 miles. Yes it is challenging, but for every uphill you get a corresponding downhill, you get to run through peaceful country lanes, obviously not so peaceful on race day, and the views are simply stunning.
I got up late today, the last lie in of the holiday, ate some porridge and got ready to go. I wore my new compression tights, and a lurid pink, fog defying t-shirt. I borrowed Husbando's gloves because mine had, as normal, done a vanishing act. Apart from the fog, it was a lovely day, reasonably mild with no wind. It should have been a lovely run. I'd been looking forward to it all week, it was one of my favourite runs and my last daylight run until next weekend. What could possibly go wrong?
The first 2.5 miles from my house are predominantly uphill. Not a huge, steep, steep hill, but pretty consistently uphill (with a wee short downhill to add interest). So long as you take it steady it is fine, in fact when I started running I didn't even think of it as a hill at all, it was just where I preferred to run because it was prettier than running through the town. Today it was a real struggle. By the time I got to Binsted my legs felt massively heavy and I seriously contemplated turning round, but for some reason I didn't. I kept thinking 'It'll get better, there's that lovely downhill soon.' My mood wasn't helped by having to stop for frequent phone calls and texts from the children.
I plodded on. And on. As I did I tried to cheer myself up by remembering better runs of this route: The lovely marshall at 5 miles with fruit pastilles, getting to 6 miles (on race day) and realising that I was running at the same pace I'd done my last 10k at and still feeling really strong - but it wasn't really working. I stopped a few times, using passing cars as an excuse, but stopping for longer than strictly necessary.
At some point I realised that the same car had passed me at least twice. It passed me a third time, and when I got round a corner it was stationary in the middle of the road. I stopped about 100m away and fiddled with my watch, dug out an energy sweet, and eventually he moved on. Only to have him pass me again - in the same direction (he'd obviously gone round the loop again) a few minutes later. I was, for the first time ever on a run, a tad concerned about my safety. I sent a text with the registration number to Husbando, and was very relieved when I got to a section of the run which seemed to be more densely populated with walkers and cyclists.
I was running slowly, I decided that, if I wanted to make it to lunch, I better curtail the run at 8.5 miles. It had taken me 1hr 21minutes to cover the distance - it only took me 5 minutes more to run the whole 10 miles last time I raced the Alton 10. Still, there are good days and bad days, and at least I was out their running.
I suspect that, having got carried away with the exuberance of running every day and often more than once a day this year, I was just too tired. Next Sunday's long slow run is in London, I am hoping for better things.