It was very grey and dull looking this morning but I had a target off 11 miles to reach.
I'd arranged to meet some running friends at 9.15 - we usually do 6ish miles together and then I tag a bit on the end to reach my long run total. Today we took a slightly different route, starting uphill instead of downhill - that was a shock to the system ! I still found I'm managing to run a lot further without walk breaks, helped by our friend Jim who is in his seventies and has run since he was seventeen. I've never been able to keep up with him in the past but on Thursday's club handicap, he said he couldn't keep up with me, so I knew I was improving. That meant I felt I needed too try and keep with him as much as possible today and I managed it, apart from having to stop a couple of times for another friend who was needing frequent pit-stops
In spite of the drizzle, it was still quite warm and I was running in a vest and shorts. The new route meant that we did 7 miles together and then I headed off on my own. I felt better at this stage than I did on my last long run and managed to keep running apart from a couple of really muddy bits, one of which I actually had to climb up. I strayed into some woodland that had clearly been used by motorbikes (I'll confess to having done it myself once before but was too paranoid about getting told off to do it again) - what with the rain, it made it quite slippery and there were some steep slopes, both uphill and downhill. I actually really enjoyed that section, dodging nettles and low branches and sliding in the muddy puddles.
When I got back I'd done 11.06 miles in the same time as my last long run of 10.46 miles. I was quite pleased with that, as that included the time for the pit-stops and also for me going into a shop for a drink of water. I'd meant to try out a High 5 energy drink today, to check it agreed with me, but although I mixed it all up ready I somehow managed to forget to take the bottle with me. That meant my 11 miles was done on an empty stomach with no fuel ! I still felt stronger at the end than I did on the last long run. I'd also put a bit of vaseline on the bit of my foot that has blistered on the last few long runs. I don't know if it was that or the fact it wasn't quite so hot that helped, but my foot got a lot less sore today.
As it was quite a hilly route and my half marathon (in two weeks time) is fairly flat (it follows alongside a canal) I think I should be ok on the day - just need to take care of my achilles tendons and not aggravate them too much over the next two weeks. I'm looking forward to it