Yep - the big one is over. The book I have suggests a 16 mile run as the longest single run in the training process, and we overcame that and had a bit to spare... well - now that people think I'm double-hard I'll tell it as it actually happened...
Sunday morning. Marlow. Amazing sunshine. I put on the pasta and chicken whilst Rory tidies up the remains of the night before... wine, beers, food. Not great preparation. Of course as soon as the pasta is finished it starts raining. Heavily. And not only that, but there was thunder and lightning too.
Situations like this, I've found, are a real test of willpower. Putting on shorts and running in the rain isn't really a pleasant experience. But, it's a necessity. If it's raining on May 18th I'll still be running - so it's a case of stopping yourself looking for excuses and just bally well doing it, as George would say from Blackadder goes forth.
So we ran out into the torrential rain. Our revised plan was to run for at least 90 minutes. That, we figured, would be a good 10 miles or so, and even though it's not 16, it's still a fair stretch and to be honest we don't want a cold at this stage of training. (Even though I've had one for a week - but that's no excuse either.) After about 10 minutes the rain eased and from then on it was sunshine. As beautiful as that sounds - we were still very wet and chafing was the order of the day. I'd forgotten to bring the vaseline. An email I got from Rory the next day read:
I'm ill. That run wasn't good for us. My nipples and arse hurt. My right foot is ruined, huge blister and a really painful outstep. I'm walking like an extra from Cocoon. My lungs simply don't exist, my pectorals/breasts hurt and I'm full of snot. And i cant stop eating pasta/chicken/potatoes. Attractive.
This made me laugh, and happy in a sadistic sense. I've been using vaseline in... erm... sensitive areas and he's always mocked me for it. No more of that me thinks. Looking on it after the event - it was hardcore. We ran to Henley and back. Here's the route:
We seriously covered some distance and I can genuinely say that for the first 2/3 of it I enjoyed it immensely. We had a couple of energy gels each that kept us going and they were a great help. Unfortunately in our infinite wisdom we didn't take any money out with us. This led to two sweaty, portly bald men crouching under a public tap near one of the locks swearing lots and exclaiming that Marlow public tap water was the best water known to humanity. For the last third we both struggled a bit. I pushed Rory on and he pushed me on. We hit the wall. I think that's the first time I've had that feeling since childhood when I used to play football 14 hours a day. That feeling where you literally feel like you cannot take another step. But we got through it, got back, drank lots of water, swore some more and felt energised due to hitting our target and some more.
The training tapers off a bit now. I've still got to do 3 or 4 runs a week of about 6 miles each, and we're running a 12 miler this weekend but as for distance that's the longest until the big day. I'm looking forward to it now - well - the first 16 miles or so. After that I know it's going to get really tough. Still, I'm loving most of the training, I feel good for it, and all the money from sponsorship is for a good cause... go on - get your cash out!