Saturday 6th September, some people will remember it as the day they ran the Scottish Half marathon, some will remember it as the day before they ran the Great North Run. I however will remember it as the day before my 22 mile run.
But Owain, you are training for a marathon, how is this different to any other long Sunday run?
A very good question. It shouldn't be any different. However, on Saturday evening it was the Edinburgh AC Endurance squad's night out. This was going to be my first night out with Edinburgh AC and I thought it would be a good chance to socialise with my fellow club mates. Usually I see them on a Tuesday on the track and maybe in passing on the roads during the week and again on Sunday mornings, but always in running attire.
The agenda was simple, meet at Deacon Brodies pub on the Royal mile for a couple of pre-dinner drinks, then head to Hanam's which was also BYOB, then depending on time etc, head back to Deacon Brodies to meet others who couldn't make the meal but still wanted a bit of a social.
Can you see how this is panning out?
Got to the pub and ordered a pint of Deuchars, which I thought was a sensible option since it has a reasonably low alcohol (3.8%) content compared with some of the other Cask Ales on the tap that night. One pint turned in to a couple more than expected and I finally got home at about 1:30am! No idea where the time went but I had said on the way out the pub "I'll see you all at Craiglockhart for the long run".
Fast forward to 7:30am, 6 hours sleep and a stinking headache, I got up, pulled on my running kit, had some breakfast - a bowl of cocopops - and headed out the door at 8:15.
Before anyone panics, no I wasn't driving to Craiglockhart today. Two reasons for this, one I don't think I would have been legal to drive and the second was I had figured I could get there from the flat within 5 miles.
If I was to run to Craiglockhart then do the 12 mile route and then run home, it would get me my 22 miles for the day which was on my schedule.
The first 2 miles weren't enjoyable at all, every foot strike on the pavement went straight through me. It didn't help that I had to go uphill for most of the 5 miles either! This wasn't a good idea!
It's never a going to be a good run when the first thing you think about before you leave the house is, have I put £1.50 in my pocket so that I can get a bus home if needed.
I got to Craiglockhart with about 10 minutes to spare which was fine and by the time I actually got there I was starting to feel much better. The headache had almost gone and the legs were starting to wake up.
We headed off at 9 and there were 4 of us planning on doing the 12, no-one took on the 16, so I guess I wasn't the only one feeling a bit fragile.
The miles clicked by and with every step I felt better and better, by the time the 12 had finished I was looking forward to the final 5 on the way home. Not something I usually enjoy.
A couple of times before I've ran the 16 mile route and then had to tag on 2 or 3 miles at the end to make up the distance and I always struggle with motivation, not today.
I headed back down the canal and down Lothian road with a small spring in my step. Got home and thought I could have happily gone on for another couple of miles.
I wouldn't want to do this on a regular basis - go out the night before and do a 22 mile run - but I am glad that I had arranged to meet up with others at 9am because if I hadn't, I think I would have just pulled the covers over my head and went back to sleep and probably not done my run at all.
It's not something I will be putting on my 'recommended things to do' list!
Monday I woke up wondering if I had actually done the 22. Legs felt fresh and the 4 easy miles in the evening were really comfortable, despite the fact that I had to run 4 miles to pick up the car from the garage, which was only 1 mile away! The things you do when you need to get the mileage in.
As I said, Monday was an easy 4, yesterday (Tuesday) was meant to be a track session of 9 miles but unfortunately stuff got in the way and I took it as a day off. Today I headed out at lunch time for 7 miles, it was hot but 7 miles is better than no miles.
I'm not sure how the miles will go for the rest of the week. My brother-in-law's wife is due her first sprogg today or tomorrow so I will need to head over to Glasgow to see the new bairn. My Mum is also coming over to visit before she jets off to Thailand for 6 months so really I might need to just grab some miles when I can. Out of all of the runs this week, I would like to get my marathon paced run in but we shall see.
Sunday is a 24 mile run and then a week on Sunday is the longest run of my training schedule, 26 miles! I'm really looking forward to this run because the plan is to jump the train out to Falkirk and then run back to Edinburgh along the canal path. Fingers crossed for good weather!