It started with an off-the-cuff Facebook comment; late yesterday I expressed admiration that my running friends were doing a 3 hour 10 minute run this morning. This led to one of my friends telling me to join them. I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to make the distance but was told just to try. So I did.
I was nervous as I mingled around outside the bakery waiting to head off. I haven’t run 30km in one hit before. Sure, I’ve done two half marathons and ran/walked a 45km ultra but that was totally different to running 30km straight on the road. It was dark and cool at 4:30am but I quickly warmed up as we ran. I had to stop to peel my jumper off after 15 minutes and was sweating soon after.
The first 25 minutes were tough. I struggled to find a rhythm because I was gripped by anxiety about the run ahead. My legs were tight, especially my right ITB. I thought about turning around but told myself to keep moving forward; I knew that I would eventually settle into a rhythm. So I kept going.
I dropped to the back of the group and focused on finding my own rhythm. The group was moving quite quickly but I knew that if I spent some time finding my own pace I would relax enough to catch up. It worked and by 35 minutes into the run I was feeling wonderful trundling along at a respectable pace. By the time I caught back up the group had also split as the three faster runners took off out the front, leaving five of us behind to run together at our slower pace.
We ran all the way from Victoria Point to Cleveland Point. If someone had told me 12 months ago that I’d be running this route I would have laughed in their face. But here I was, running comfortably chatting with my friends as we made our way through the darkness. By the time we reached Cleveland Point I felt like I could keep going all day long; particularly with the sun starting to rise out over the islands. I even stopped to take a photo.
Unfortunately, one of our friends rolled her ankle on the way back to the bakery at Victoria Point. She had made it all the way to Cleveland in darkness only to step in a hole once the sun’s light was shining. Our friend tried to run but it was soon apparent that it was more sensible to call it a day so we phoned our other club mates who were finishing their 5km time trial down at Victoria Point to ask them to come collect our injured friend. She sent us on ahead so that we could complete our training.
Now that I had found my rhythm, I was running comfortably and enjoyed the run back to the bakery. It was fantastic. I talked with my friends, and kept my stride light and smooth. I am so glad that I was encouraged to come along this morning because the sense of achievement I now feel is priceless.
I now know that I can just keep going. I just have to believe in myself and have patience to get through the first few anxious kilometres. And, in time, that confidence will mean those first few kilometres will become easier too.
I can’t believe that I’ve only been training for just over 10 months and that I just ran a 30km training session. I felt strong during and after the run. Now I just need to make sure I eat well today to refuel before I head into the garden to nurture my vegetable patch.
Total: 30.66km @ 6:23 pace and average heart rate 150 bpm (81% max – though I am starting to believe that my max is actually higher than the mathematical max because I was able to talk comfortably the whole run). Average temperature 16.4’C.