I had a day off work. It looked like a nice morning for a little jog.
So, I went out for a little jog. Which turned into a longer jog. Which turned into a bit of an epic.
I did set out with the idea of going for a longish run. I set off with plenty of water, because even though I started fairly early, it’s a pretty hot day. And I made my way down the towpath, and headed up into Leigh Woods.
I was feeling fine when I got up the big hill into the woods themselves. I figured that if I wanted to run a bit extra, I’d do it in the woods, rather than out of them, because the sun was pretty fierce and tree cover was nice. So I did a couple of loops of the “purple” path in the woods, which added about 5K to my planned journey.
I stopped at 10K to have an energy bar thing — and I can vastly recommend Mule Bars over those bloody gel energy pack things I tried before. Mule Bars actually taste like they’ve been made from actual food by a human, rather than cooked up in a lab my a crazed robot scientist.
While I was stopped, I asked Twitter to remind me how far a half marathon was. 21km, came the reply, give or take a decimal place here or there.
Okay. So I wasn’t even halfway. Nevertheless, I headed back into the woods to come out at the Beggar Bush Lane exit and head over the Clifton Suspension Bridge to the Downs, and started a long loop of Clifton Down and Durdham Down.
It was at this point — just after the nasty little hill that gets you onto the Downs at the junction with Bridge Valley Road — that I started having problems. It was hot. I was hot. I reined in my pace a bit, and enjoyed a bit of breeze by Sea Wall. But fundamentally, I was being pretty unlucky with the cloud cover; it was fairly direct blazing sunshine and there’s not a lot of shade on the Downs.
But I kept on going. And I kept on going. I stopped to change from podcasts to music, after I ran out of podcasts. I kept on going.
Eventually, I pretty much ran out of run, somewhere around 16km, though I was mildly perked up by the thought that I’d now run further than I’d ever run before, and kept up a slow jog for a while.
At 19km, I completely ran out of juice. Don’t know how much was the heat, how much was the hills, and how much was just because I’d run much further than I have in ages. But I ran out of running.
So, bloody-minded to the end, I walked a further 2 kilometres, pretty much exactly, to get myself to 21km. At which point I gave a little cheer, stopped RunKeeper, and realised that I had another half a kilometre to walk to get back to Clifton Village anyway. So I kept on walking.
It took me more than three-and-a-quarter hours, and I was walking for two kilometres of it, but I think I can fairly lay claim to having run a half-marathon in training.
And I’m not so scared of doing it on the day, now. Because, for starters, the Bristol half marathon is in September, and shouldn’t be quite so warm, and it’s also pretty much flat. It’s certainly a pancake compared to what I did today — RunKeeper reckons there was a total elevation of 372m over my undulating course, and I can believe it. There was a lot of up and down…
So, big pat on the back, I think. I don’t feel too bad, having had a nice lunch and a large latte in Boston Tea Party, followed by a Very Long Bath Indeed. I don’t think I’ll be running for a few days, but I don’t appear to have developed much in the way of aches, pains or problems.
So, to summarise: Win! Yay!