The final countdown

There are just two (and a bit) weeks to go before the Great North Run. Two (and a bit) short weeks. That’s not very long at all. At this point in two (and a bit) weeks, I’ll either be floating on a euphoric clouds of post-run bliss or weeping exhausted tears from post-run achiness.

The latter is what I’m doing most of the time at the moment. Except not the weeping. I ache pretty much all of time, with my left shin and right hip being the main culprits. Oh and my second toenails (are they my index toes?) are going black. It’s not pretty but at least you don’t have to look at them.

After 10 minutes of extensive Googling, I decided that I need bigger running shoes because my feet swell when I run. Sadly, new running shoes cost more money than I have spare at the moment so it’s not an option. I’m instead encasing my toes in plasters before I run, thereby giving my poor nails a bit of a cushion and making sure they don’t fall off.

They just have to last three more weeks.

The week after the York 10K, I developed an absolute stinker of a cold. I was off work and running was just out of the question. Aside from all the usual snotty attributes of a cold, I was also as weak as a kitten. I started running again on the Thursday after the York 10K and that was probably too soon. I felt I had no choice though, with the GNR looming and all the running forums (yes, I went there) saying that you can’t miss your long runs within 6 weeks of an ultimate run or you lose your double-combo bonus. Something along those lines anyway.

So I ended up cramming all my postponed runs into just one week. And I did it. They’re on Strava, so you can have a look. Actually the 8 miles run is missing, because I went to Scotland on the train and my watch turned on in my bag at York Station. It tracked my progress for 8 hours and then gave up, exhausted. But know that I did do it.

It was actually a pretty lovely run. I ran 8 miles along the Clyde from Partick to Glasgow Green and back. It was drizzly, grey and made me happy. A heart-warming jog down memory lane, if you will. It also meant that I could indulge in a full Scottish breakfast without feeling guilty. It’s important to eat after running to replenish the muscle glycogen stores. Oh yes, I know what I’m talking about. Most of the time.

I’m learning more about myself as I run further. Little gems of knowledge such as sticking my toenails onto my toes so they don’t come off inside my too-small trainers, how to distract myself after mile 6 so I don’t focus on how awful I feel, and how to anticipate an energy crash so I don’t go white and shakey, and scare the bejesus out of whoever is with me. That last one is a work in progress.

I’m getting there, though! I have good days and bad days, but so does everyone. After I ran 10 miles, I finally felt like I can do this half marathon. It won’t be fun, it won’t be pretty, but I’m going to make it to the finish line. Possibly without my toenails, but I wasn’t that fond of them anyway.

I’m going to run 12 miles on Saturday and that will be my longest run before the day. It’ll be fine. I know it will be fine. I can handle this.

I’ve actually got some exciting runs coming up in the next couple of weeks. I’m heading to Lake Garda on Sunday, so Monday’s run will be a gentle 4 miles along blue waters, soaring mountain tops and…other Italian scenery. Oh and it will be as early as possible because Accuweather tells me it’ll be 28° by 10am. I don’t cope well with high temperatures.

A week on Sunday is the Tholthorpe 10K. The idea when I entered was that I’d run it in under an hour and get an official PB. However, all these mega-runs are taking their toll on my poor legs and I’m not as speedy as I once was. Less gazelle, more Shetland pony. We’ll see what happens.

I’ve also put together a couple of posts called things like “Top 10 Tips for Running a Half-Marathon” and “My Half Marathon Run Plan” which are drawn from my own meandering experience and I wish I’d had them when I started. I hope you like them.

Caitlin x

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