View from the Thames path. Hours later, Fulham got hammered 4-1 by Sunderland.
With Elliot away in Leeds, I dragged my belly out of bed to attempt my first real 'long run' since the half marathon we did last October. I say real 'long run' as this seem to be how runs over 10 miles are referred to in all marathon training plans. I still count 5 miles as 'long').
I decided I'd set out to run slowly but steadily and see how I went. I remember only too well how making the error of racing out the blocks at the half marathon meant I was burst by the 6 or 7 mile mark. This time I wanted to just go slow but, hopefully, far.
My target was to do 12 miles. It was a decent morning so I decided I'd head for the Thames. I felt like a change of scenery from the south east London streets and parks. I went from East Dulwich, over Vauxhall Bridge and along the north bank of the river. I ran down there to Albert Bridge, over to Battersea park and then found the Thames Path.
I'd never heard of the Thames Path before. It's a brilliant stretch that seems to go all the way from Battersea Park down to Richmond (it may well go further). Running with the water at your side is brilliant. It's nicely distracting from the pain in your legs and feet.
I kept going on the path down to Putney. I remember at this point thinking I could turn back and do a loop or carry on down the path. I opted to carry on - the one thing I hate about 'loop' runs is that you know exactly how far you have to go to home. For me, that can really sap your morale and energy. So the new plan was to go as far as the 12 mile mark and then I'd hop on a train home.
The plan backfired. I got to Barnes. I thought it'd be perfect. It was 12 miles in and I knew trains went to Clapham Junction where I could pick up the overground home. I was all set for a nice sit on a couple of warm trains, irritating passengers with a combination of horrendous B.O from my sweating and that horrible smug look that running bastards get when they've done a decent shift. After seeing SO many of those smug bastards on my run (particularly along the Putney stretch) I felt I'd earned the right to be one. I got up to the train platform to find out that trains to Clapham Junction weren't running.
So I was stranded in Barnes and needed to get to Clapham Junction. I looked it up on my phone - 4.5 miles. Transport for London said it'd take about half an hour or 40 minutes on a rail replacement bus. I decided to stretch the legs and run it.
This portion of the run was hard. But I really noticed the difference in how my legs felt compared to when I'd finished the half marathon. Today, they felt sore and slow but, unlike October, they weren't destroyed. I think this is mainly to do with the fact I'd taken such a slow pace along the route. I ran a lot slower than my half marathon but the difference is that this time I continually ran for 12 miles rather than stopping for bursts of walking.
When I reached Clapham Junction it was fecking brilliant until I realised I'd forgotten my Oyster card. I'd packed a few quid to buy water along the way and thankfully managed to scrape together enough for a banana and a water from Lidl (about 60p) and a bus ticket home (£2.40).
All in all it was a good run. It terrifies me that the 16 miles today's run ended up as is still almost a half marathon short of what we're taking on in Paris. But at this point it's all about miles on the board and I have to keep reminding myself that I'm in a lot less pain than I was after that October half.
Distance: 16.5 miles/ 26.5km
Time: A long time (at least 3 and a half hours).
Total Distance (Andy): 34.1 miles/ 44.7km