…And a not so good one.

So after Saturday’s success, I was all buoyed up for my four miles with Kasia on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday is the endurance run for the week, in that it’s designed to get the body used to running much longer distances. As this was the first week of training, this extending run was only actually four miles, one mile longer than run on Saturday.
Well, it started bad, and got worse from there. Bravado got the better of me, as it often does, and seeing Kasia run ahead without warming up or stretching made me think I could do the same. A few hundred metres down the road, and I realised that I didn’t actually know the route. We were running close to where Kasia lives, and although we had discussed the route beforehand, actually running it was different in practice.
I waited patiently for Kasia to catch up. She runs at a much slower, but more measured and constant pace, whereas I tend to run intervals over long distance. My overall times are much faster, but I’d love to be able to run smooth for 26.2 miles come September…
Kasia directed me across the main road, and in the right direction. I knew where I was headed again, and took off at great speed, and Kasia was soon far behind me. Sorry Kash. That was my biggest mistake.
Knowing that the bulk of the run was a path around the park, before heading back the same route, I saw the park up ahead. This isn’t a park I’m familiar with, it has to be said, and the gate that I had expected to see wasn’t there. So instead, I ended up running AROUND the outside of the park, a much greater distance. And I still couldn’t see Kasia. A panic started to set in as my diaphragm locked up. I should have stretched. Now, I couldn’t breathe, felt like I was going to puke, and was somewhat lost as to where I was supposed to be.
I slowed to a walk. My legs, still heavy from the previous days efforts refused to start up again straight away. I jogged about ten metres, then slowed again. The pain in my midsection was severe. I took a swig of water, couldn’t swallow and spat it to the ground. I stretched a little, and the pain seemed to go. I tried running again, and this time found that my legs also agreed, and was soon back up to my normal pace.
A rear entrance to the park was in front of me, and I was soon back on track. Literally. Even an unexpected funfair straddling the route didn’t faze me, and I ran around it (lengthening my route once again).
And there, some way behind me, was Kasia. I ran off ahead again, but then soon ground to a halt. The pain in my midsection came back with a vengeance. And I lost it. Afer that, I could barely walk. I stood and waited for Kasia, who was closing in.
There was some concern on her face, and in her word, but I assured her that it was just down to not stretching. I ran alongside her for a while, out of the park, and back down the side roads we had run on the way in.
Knowing my route now, I took off again at speed, only to pull up a minute or two later, my legs burning from using short paces at Kasia’s side for so long and could do nothing but walk (and shrug) as Kasia, with her measured pace swiftly ran past, even chatting to a couple of passers-by without breaking her stride. I hung my head as I walked past them.
I ran again, and passed Kasia as we reached the main road. As we got into the last stretch, I forwent the pavement, and took to the middle of the road. I felt a sudden burst of clarity in my middle, like the cramp was finally gone, I broke into a sprint over the last few hundred metres. Finishing strong seemed to dissipate the sense of failure that had dogged me the last couple of miles.
As we sat on the sofa, and I surveyed the ruins of my blister (I mentioned it a few posts back. It’s really not pretty now), I analysed the run over and over in my head.
Too much too soon? Was I that unfit? Can I really run a marathon?
And then I realised.

It was all because I didn’t stretch properly. Lesson learned.
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