After a couple of light-ish knee-related weeks I wanted to do a long run today, and accordingly got the other half to drive me out to Banchory so I could run back along the Deeside Way (the first time I've ever done the whole thing). I'd figured out that Banchory to my house would be about 14.5 miles, so had formulated a half-baked plan to extend the run a bit and make it up to around 17, given that the longest run of my marathon training so far has been 15. This didn't happen.
I'd been listening to Jeff Galloway extolling the magical virtues of walk breaks on Marathon Talk (he made them sound like the best thing ever in the history of the world, bar nothing), and although I wasn't entirely convinced, given the weather today (HOT) I thought it might be a good opportunity to give it a try, so decided that from the start I'd try walking for one minute in every mile. I suspect this may be less than Mr Galloway recommends, but it seemed worth a try. I kept this up for the first few miles (using the walk breaks to drink some water and scoff a couple of jelly beans) but from about mile 6 I started to struggle with the heat and the lack of shade (though to be fair, there was at least a slightly cooling breeze much of the time) and found myself wanting to walk more often I also probably set off too quick for a long run and suffered for it later (though on a cooler day that pace would have been more maintainable).
This route is most of the return leg of the D33 ultra which I was entertaining romantic notions about running next year, and I still might, but after running a bit less than half of it today I'm certainly under no illusions about the difficulty. Not that it's a difficult route - it's largely flat, with a nice bit of variety of terrain - but 33 miles out and back.... well, hats off to those who've done it
There were LOADS of people out along the path today, mainly cyclists (including a group of elderly people who were cycling barely faster than I was running) and several points where I had to dodge cyclists/walkers/dogs all converging on me. First time this year I have seen lots of people out in shorts/t-shirts/strappy tops (female)/no tops (male). Hardly any other runners, though. (Although I did see a shirtless one [male] at one point.) Was slightly annoyed by the people who walk three or four abreast on a not-that-wide path and show no signs of moving over just a little bit to allow me through. Not that I think I have right of way or anything, but it seems a bit rude to not even bother to acknowledge the approaching person.
I did get lots of smiles and nods from other cyclists/pedestrians though, probably amused by my bright red face and general air of knackeredness.
By the time I got to the familiar territory of "within a few miles of my house" I was feeling pretty wrecked, running out of water and finding it hard to get going again after the walk breaks (my knee seemed to stiffen up slightly while walking) and basically there was no way I was going to keep going for another 3 miles or so, so 14-and-a-bit it had to be. Will definitely do the 17 next week, though, as Edinburgh is starting to feel perilously close...
Distance: 14.19 miles
Average pace: 10:45