Thursday, 21 January 2010

Day 265 - Twelve in the sun

Type - Steady run

Distance - 12 miles

Time - 1 hour 38 minutes and 14 seconds

The Sunday long run element to my training is starting to stretch back to distances I haven't properly run since I injured myself completing a too soon half marathon back in June. This week it was twelve miles, which means next week will be back into half marathon territory and the week after into untried realm of mid then high teen mileage per week.

I decided to run from home, using a slightly modified route from last week's eleven mile run which would add an additional mile loop by taking in St Paul's Cathedral (map). After weeks of running in the dark, over ice, through snow and blistering frozen winds today was an almost spring-like delight. The sun was shining, the temperature nudged double figures and and all snow and ice had long since melted away. It was perfect running weather.

The first few miles were fairly standard, heading at a steady pace through Stoke Newington down to Highbury and down to Islington. The strange thing about the early miles is just thinking about how much further you have to go - when you've done one or two miles, it still means you have eleven or ten miles left to go. This is obviously something to get use to as it will be significantly more daunting in the marathon.

I came strong down into Holborn, running past Holborn Bars and my office before heading down to Fleet Street and along to St Paul's. The sight of the glistening white cathedral shining in the mid-winter sun was heartening at mile six, but even such an arresting sight doesn't occupy too much of your mind when you are running. It is almost a perfect way to clear your mind as everything else just falls out other than putting one foot in front of the other and getting round the allotted route in a decent time.

As I finished the loop and headed north along Leather Lane a more difficult section was about to begin. The problem (and, ultimately, training advantage) with running from home is that it starts to incorporate longer hills - in this case the unavoidable 'summit' of the Angel. At the beginning there is a slight climb from home to this Islington high point, and then a steeper decline into Finsbury and Holborn. But that is easily overcome on fresher legs. By mile 8, just past Mount Pleasant, you still have a bit of a climb to the Angel, and then more of a climb along Liverpool Road. Depending on the route there can then be more climbing up Highbury Hill.

I was starting to feel the burn in the usual places - the lower groin / top quads on my left leg and my Achille's Heel on my right foot. Any more grumbles from these two trouble spots and I'll have to revisit my physio, but for now it wasn't too bad. I think I suffered from having compressed my training in to Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
By the end of the run my upper left leg was hurting a touch, but, reassuringly, this faded almost instantly on finished and had disappeared within minutes. It should be something that I can stretch away and should overcome with further training.

Onwards and upwards.

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