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.....some days are stone

After 8km, a few hills were a little harder than I had anticipated
Although I knew it would be hard work, I planned to try and run 36.5km this morning on the Round the Bay course here on the Central Coast.  I'm unhappy with my fitness and long runs have always been a relatively quick route back to form for me.  I knew I wasn't fit enough to be worrying at all about the time I would run.  Instead, I just wanted to complete the first two-thirds of the roughly triangular course without getting too tired, and then make my way to the finish as best I could.  Perhaps unwisely, after another late night, I chose not to get up early and set out around 8:45am on another warm sunny day along roads busy with morning peak hour traffic.

The early kilometres passed comfortably enough, with neither my right Achilles tendon nor my right arch injuries causing me excessive pain.  After 8km, a few hills were a little harder than I had anticipated, confirming that this was going to be a hard run.  By 15km, under a relentless sun, I couldn't stop thinking about how good it was going to be to stop, and kept telling myself to run efficiently.

By 15km, under a relentless sun, I couldn't stop thinking
about how good it was going to be to stop
By 24km I was really struggling to maintain a reasonable pace and the minor climb into East Gosford around 27km pretty much finished off any pretence of good running form.  I was just shambling along, uncertain of how I would manage another 10km.  Ultimately, I decided to run to the intersection at 29.5km and then walk the remaining 7km back to my car.  I regretted not carrying a $20 note with me for emergency use, but was mollified by the thought that walking the last 7km might be an appropriate of punishment for not running the whole way.  I have walked when running this course before, but only once that I can remember, and on that occasion I was unfit, over-weight and it was warm and humid.  Although it was warm, I would have expected to do better today.  Only a week ago I had managed the 32km Orchard Run in reasonable form, so maybe I am still labouring with some minor ailment.

As I walked along the sun-soaked footpath I was very tempted to lie down and close my eyes for just a couple of minutes in the shade of a tree in one of the small grassy parks I passed, or maybe on the bench in one of the bus shelters.  This was a tell-tale sign of exhaustion, just as the longing for a Mars Bar is a sign that I have exhausted my glycogen stores and am burning fats.

With about 4.5km to go, I passed a car parked by the footpath and heard my name called.  It was a fellow Terrigal Trotter, Alison, who had driven passed me and returned, wondering whether I needed help.  I gratefully accepted her offer of a lift to where my car was parked, and my ordeal was over.

Although I had managed to run about 30km, it was demoralising not to finish the run as planned.  At the time I injured my arch, just over two months ago, I had run the same course reasonably easily in a satisfactory time.  It's hard to accept that, despite having resumed training more than a month ago, I'm still not back to where I was.  I do hope that it's just the last vestiges of an ailment slowing me down and that normal service will shortly be resumed.  However, as Alison said, at least we are running.  She is running after missing more than a year with injury.