Route planned and map printed out? Check!
Cats unimpressed by smell of Deep Heat? Check!
Compression calf guards stretched onto calves? Check!
Golf ball and foam roller used? Ow! (I mean Check!)
The weather was perfect, cool enough to need my lovely jacket but not so cold that I was worried about cold muscles. I set off feeling positive. The miles ticked off easily enough, the traffic was light and well behaved, and my shins were feeling fine.
After about 3 miles I could hear runners behind me. A pair of running ladies overtook me with a friendly ‘hello’. I resisted the urge to speed up, as I knew I still had a fair way to go. Shortly after that, another lady runner came towards me, and about 10 minutes after that there were another 2 lady runners just ahead of me. It was the day to be a lady runner – didn’t see a single man out running! All of the other ladies turned off before me, and I noticed none of them were carrying water so I presumed they were running for a much shorter distance than I had planned. Running to Lacock not only means running through a beautiful village, but the more practical advantage of a National Trust toilet on the route. Bet the Brighton Marathon course can’t boast that!
Up the canal towpath which was thankfully open this time, accompanied by a very muddy dog who seemed to be all on her own. She was running up and down, and barking, and I was just thinking I’d have to try and catch her to see if she had a number on her collar, when her owners finally caught up with her. I had to stop and consult my map as I headed back into town, as what I thought was a straight road into town turned out to be a small path that wiggled along between the backs of houses.
The rest of the run went well. The long hill up to the top of town felt hard, but I was expecting that. I started chewing some Shot Bloks after 9 miles. I had forgotten how hard it is to chew when you’re tired!
As I crossed the big road bridge I knew it was only 3 miles to get home. I even subconsciously picked the pace up a little. Maybe that was a mistake, because with 2 miles to go I got the most awful stitch. I tried running with an arm stretched up in the air to stretch it out, I tried pushing my fist in hard where it was sore, I tried ignoring it, but nothing helped. Made it home only to see I hadn’t quite made it to 16 miles so I had to run past the house and then back up again.
Finally made it home with just over 16 miles on the watch. So yet again, I have run the longest training run. I am tired, have a date with my golf ball and the foam roller, but I’m happy.