So, I went for a training run on Sunday aiming to do around 20 Miles and things started badly from the start. I tried to go the morning before, but my head torch ran out of power after about 45 minuets, so I had to turn back (Lesson One - ALWAYS CHARGE YOUR TORCH even if you are sure that it must still be charged)!
So I set off early on Sunday morning on a new trail that was as much cross country as possible. I had not been feeling well over the week before, but I had a schedule to keep to (Lesson Two - DON'T BE AN IDIOT. If you are not well, don't think you are immune to the effects of your illness and push on anyway. Depending on what's wrong with you, you will either not perform very well, or you will be fine, but your recovery will take longer). I got about 5 miles into my run and noticed that I had a small blister forming on my heel. I had read the advise online to not run with a blister without sorting it as it would get worse, but what does the whole running community know? Surly I know better. (Lesson Three - I REALLY DO NOT KNOW BETTER)! So, ignoring the advise, I pushed on. Well, I still had 15 more miles to go after all.
The next 10 miles very very painful. I was wincing every time I took a step, but was determined to carry on. After 15 miles the pain went and I could feel nothing, although I was not sure if this was a good or a bad thing!
During this run I seemed to find a footpath that probably had not been used since it was first designated. Its no fun running through waist high stinging nettles and brambles for miles on end. This footpath went through several fields with the biggest cows in that had ever seen. Most were quiet and unassuming until I came across 2 that were blocking my way. No amount of negotiating, or gentle prodding would help to clear my way. (Lesson Three - COWS ARE A LOT BIGGER THAN US! If they do not want to move, they won't). The only option was to trudge through some swamp type mud that I'm sure was 90% cow urine.
The next issue was navigational. It was a route that I had not done before and combined with the relentless pain from my foot, the stench of cow wee from my shoes and the stinging and torn legs from the brambles I took a wrong turn. (Lesson Four - PAY ATTENTION no matter what else is going through your mind). That one wrong turn put me through more urine swamps and tough hills until I reached a dead end a mile or so later - not a good morale booster when you are having such a bad morning.
I do my early morning runs on an empty stomach as I am starting the process in training my body to use fat more than carbs as fuel, but with these hold ups I was starting to get pretty hungry (Lesson Five - TAKE FOOD on a long run in case of emergency). I resorted to snacking on some blackberries washed in water from my camelback to tide me over which were actually really nice, but I was lucky to be out at the time of year that they were easy to find. Would I have starved if I did not eat them? No, but they made everything a little better and I cold concentrate on running, not eating. By this site time, at least my for had gone numb and I could not longer feel it.
With five miles to go I pushed on and finished my 21 miles with over 3,000 ft of ascent in just under 3 1/2 hours. Not as fast as I was planning, but not too bad considering what an eventful morning it had been. Now to check out the foot damage...
So what started as a small blister had become a lot bigger with another 15 miles of use. It had come up to bigger than a 50p and was full of fluid. I drained a mixture of fluid and blood from this and hoped it would be better in the morning.
The next day the blister was drained again (this became 5 times in 24 hours). I am writing this blog 3 days later and I can still not even put shoes on yet alone consider gong for a run. Because of my ignoring of the advice that I have read I have put myself several days behind on my training plan and been in pain for days on end. I have since learned options to prepare your feet for long distance runs before you set off.
Lesson Six - PREPARE YOURSELF. It has been recommended for me to tape up my feet before long distance running to try and prevent a blister forming. Failing this, if I feel one developing, I will make sure I have dry socks and dressings with me (Lesson Seven) so that I can treat them before they get to this stage.
So, was it a terrible run? Definitely one of the worst I have had so far. Am I glad that I did it? Absolutely! I have learnt so many important lessons (some of which I have highlighted on this post) and I have proved to myself that if I am in pain, but really need to push on, I have the ability to do just that. I just wish that the Lesson was not such a painful one!