Sunday was 'long run' day for me as I am sure it was for lots of other people.
Earlier in the week I'd agreed to run with a work colleague (and friends) who were also training for the Great Bentley Half in February. That was fantastic news as it meant there was no bailing out and finding the Sunday sofa a bit too comfortable. As good a plan that was, I also needed to get a few more miles done than the 8.5 miles my running chums had planned. My perfectly simple solution was to go off and run another 7 or 8 miles after trotting around the first bit. The first part of the run was a pleasure, with people to talk to and encouragement flowing in all directions. The sun was out, there was not too much breeze, it was without doubt a crispy, winters day and in my mind, perfect running weather.
One of our conversations was about how psychological running is. One day you can feel like you're gliding along with efficiency, grace and a spring in your step. On another day you feel like you're dragging a tyre around your waist and one behind you and your trainers are filled with lead. Despite having 11 odd miles in my legs from my Friday run I felt good, happy and confident that the next 7 would be a breeze.
So I left my running friends and set off for my second 'lap'. The first few miles were great, they weren't fast but I felt okay until the running demons came out. They started telling me I hurt, my legs suddenly filled with cement and my spring was replaced with flat footed plodding. The voices started to tell me things like 'run/walking is perfectly acceptable' and 'see that gate, stop there'. It was tough going and somehow managed to experience the spring and the plod all in the space of a few hours.
I've been running long enough to know that you need long runs for very good reasons, but this was my first one after a such a tough running week. Still, if I actually want to get around that Milton Keynes course in a decent time I'm going to have to get used to that kind of hurting. My four mile recovery run today certainly hurt. Hopefully it did its job though as its a 8 mile Fartlek session tomorrow. Gulp.