Double figures

These past few weeks I've been seriously doubting if the half marathon distance (13.1 miles) is going to be possible for me. It seems like such a very long way to run. The logical part of my brain is telling me I have three and a half months left to train for it and that three and a half months ago I was over the moon about running my first 10km (6.2 miles) so the half is totally achievable.

Yesterday, I set out to do the 8.5 mile run that was on my training plan but as I was approaching the turnaround halfway mark (4.25 miles) I decided to run a bit further so that if I wanted to round up to 9 miles, or even 10, I could. Yesterday was very humid and the air was so thick but the sun wasn't out so I was semi-comfortable. But at mile 6, someone switched the sun on and turned it up quite high. I had my hydration vest on so I was good for water but running in the heat is such hard work. I think it's because your body uses energy to regulate your core temperature so you've got slightly less energy to power your running. (I'm only a Holby City-watching qualified doctor, though, so that might be complete gufftwaddle.) Anyway, by the 7.5 mile mark I was drenched in sweat and I could feel that my whole head and face was the colour of the poppies I kept running past. I told myself that I only had a mile to go and then that would be the planned run done.

When I reached the 8.5 mile point, I was feeling alright. I usually run with the average pace/heart rate/heart rate zone screen on my Garmin display so I can keep an eye on what my heart is doing, as opposed to what speed I'm going at or what the time is. I mentioned in my last post that my mum died very suddenly; this was due to a heart attack. I have no reason to think that I have a heart problem myself and I've not had any heart-related symptoms on any of my runs, but it's always in the back of my mind, so I like to keep myself out of heart rate zone five. Because of this I'm probably holding myself back a bit but I shall work through this paranoia in my own time and in my own way. But yes, at 8.5 miles, my heart was happily beating away at a steady 153 bpm so I decided to keep going and make it 9 miles. At that point I slowed to a fast walk for a minute while I slurped some water and I thought "Ah come on, let's do this!" and so I continued to run for one more mile to make it up to ten.

I stopped my watch and burst into tears. Happy ones. Ten miles. Double figures. Ten miles in warm, humid conditions. Ten miles of music. Ten miles of convincing my brain to convince my legs that it was possible. Ten miles that when I started this running lark I never ever dreamed I'd be able to do. TEN MILES.

The most important thing about those ten miles is that they've shown me that the half marathon is absolutely doable. The half is ten miles plus a parkrun and now I know that I can do this, both mentally and physically.

Talking of parkrun, I actually ran one on Saturday, as opposed to volunteering. This was my third parkrun and I hadn't run one since Christmas time. Again, it was muggy as heck, and in true Cambridge parkrun style there were some big muddy puddles (will I ever run one without it being muddy?) but I just sloshed straight through the middle of them in my trail shoes. I got wet and muddy but having marshalled thoughout the winter, I have learned that running through the puddles, as opposed to tiptoe-running around the edges of them, is the safest and most sensible option. I did my parkrun in 31:56 which is a parkrun PB.

Running Tune of the Week
Rosanna by Weezer