Today was my first 20 mile run which is a big milestone as it’s the furthest distance I will run in training from now on. The next few weeks will be a mixture of short, medium and long runs as I approach the first marathon event towards the end of Jan.
Actually, today’s run was 21.06 miles to be exact – I’d had to take a couple of minor detours from the calculated route and all the fences at road junctions that force you to go a little way up the road to the crossing all added up. Hence my Garmin clocked up 20 miles on Victoria Embankment just as the top of Tower Bridge was coming into view but the bridge was my goal so I pushed on and went the extra mile to get there – also, I had the added incentive of deliberately specifying Tower Hill station as my Oyster top-up point when I renewed it on-line the night before, so no matter what I had to run to the end in order to get home!! The actual GPS track along with timings and stats is on my Garmin Connect page if you are interested and according to that I burned up around 3,100 calories too so a couple of beers this evening felt well earned 🙂
I’ve been getting a bit bored with big loops around my local area lately so I thought that a point-to-point would make this a bit more interesting. Apart from getting over the big hump that is Stanmore Hill which is unavoidably in the first 4 miles of the route, this was overall a descent to sea level from a starting altitude of 287 feet – though it didn’t feel like it in places! However, as you crest Stanmore Hill at 4 miles (on a clear day) you can see the London Skyline including the Eye, the Telecom Tower and some of the City which is a great sight and gives you a sense of scale of the next 16 miles…
I thought this would certainly be the time I would find out if the so called “wall” was as bad as everyone says but to be honest, I’ve either still not hit it yet or it came & went! Having said that, I was starting to struggle a little bit as I was passing 18 miles and so I had one of the SiS Smart-1 Energy Gels that contains a serious shot of caffeine with the carbohydrates & stuff and I think it probably gave me the push I needed. After 19 miles it all went away and suddenly I was running like I was back around mile 5 but that could have been the fact that I knew it wasn’t far to go! Most of the Embankment is pretty flat but I made the mistake of staying close to the river and as I approached TB I started to come up against all the little wharfs and inlets that require a sudden stair climb to get around – which wasn’t what I wanted at 20 miles plus but running onto the riverbank courtyard of the Tower of London opposite the bridge was a fantastic sight at the end.
My next long run is in 2 weeks time – Boxing Day to be exact! Fortunately it’s only 16 miles but I’m sure it’ll feel like more. The next three sessions are all 7 mile easy runs (no speedwork this week) so aside from Monday’s which will probably be tough after today I should have a nice easy week.
Thanks for reading