Two weeks after running a sub 29 minute 5k for the first time, I decided to get all brave and push my best distance a little. I've run a few 10ks and about a month ago I ran 11for the first time, all of which have been achieved in the safe surroundings of my nearest country park. Because I get terminally bored running in circles, I knew that to go further I would have to hit the road. So, I plotted a route that would take me a on a loop between my Essex village and the nearest town for a total of 13.5k - that's about 8 and a bit miles. I must admit to being very nervous about it, but not only did I do the whole thing non-stop, I beat my 10k best by a full minute along the way. At an average pace of 6:58 per km it wasn't exactly rapid; I was deliberately taking it easy.
For those of you thinking about pushing on from 5k, I noticed two significant things. On the positive side, once I was past the initial start up pains, my breathing settled down and at no point was I struggling on that score. On the negative side, the very moment when my watch buzzed to tell me that I'd gone through 11k, I felt immediately tired and my legs turned to lead. I was suddenly running through treacle. In was in no pain, but there was a great dark cloud over my head. It was a completely crazy mental reaction to running into the unknown. After another 500m or so, I managed to to talk myself through it and my last km was one of the best.
Once again, it just goes to show that running is every bit as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. 13.5k it turns out, once you've worked your way up to it, is no more or less difficult that the very first steps of W1R1.
I have no idea what I might try next.....