Good weekend

It’s been a good weekend.

On Saturday it was Lloyd parkrun’s 4th Anniversary party. All went well and everyone appeared to be having a good time. The regular Lloyd parkrunners had clubbed together to get gifts for those of us on the core team, together with a huge card which many of them had signed. They are all amazing and the messages in the card were heartwarming. It’s a real honour to be the Event Director and I get out much more than I put in. Watching people’s development is extremely rewarding.

As usual I wore a witch’s costume. However this year I had to RUN wearing it and I’ll admit I ditched the long skirt in favour of full-length black running tights. The academic gown was rather heavy and warm to run in, particularly in the unseasonably mild weather, and the pointed hat wouldn’t stay on unless I held it, but it was great fun! However warm I was I realised that Colin, wearing a gorilla suit (with his running club vest over the top!), had to be much hotter.

Sunday was the first of my running club’s marathon training runs. Striders of Croydon puts on a series of these every year from November to the big spring marathons (London, Paris, Brighton etc.). This one was supposed to be about 10.6 miles, heading into Beckenham and back, via South Norwood Country Park, Cator Park and Kelsey Park. I ran to and from the club; including looping this made it into about a 17.5 mile run. It’s traditional in our club that periodically those at the front of each group loop back behind those at the back, so nobody gets left behind and no runner is at the back all the time.

It was a good run with pleasant company, although I did miss the woodland trail sections of Striders’ usual Sunday runs. Heading into Beckenham meant that it was rather flatter than most club runs. Thankfully the rain mostly held off until near the end and when drizzle strengthened into proper rain I was only a mile or so from home, so I arrived back soaking wet but not chilled.

I’d also decided it was time to start getting used to wearing a running backpack again so I took my Salomon pack with about 700 mL water in the bladder plus my windproof running trousers and jacket, my waterproof running jacket and the usual odds and ends I always carry when on long runs (emergency food, sticking plasters, a little tin of Vaseline, tissues, mobile phone etc.).

I didn’t actually drink any water until we got back to the club, and then only a few mouthfuls, and I didn’t eat at all. Retraining up the distances has been hard work and I’m still nowhere near back to my previous speed, but it’s nice to discover that at least some of the adaptations for long distance running have stayed with me. When I first started running distances further than half marathon, three years ago, there’s no way I’d have managed a seventeen-mile run without eating a handful of jelly beans or a few pieces of Kendal mint cake, and without drinking more than a few sips of water.

I considered running six miles or so today to start back towards back-to-back long runs but decided not to push things. My legs feel okay today so I’ll try for a run with a bit of speed work tomorrow.

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