Today was a milestone for me - I have finally conquered 10 miles! 17.5 km in one sitting (or rather one running) was a real eye-opener. The weather was ideal, and I had great fun clocking the looks of the walking couple who I passed three times in the space of one and a half hours.
I first had to battle through hoards of people either on their way to the massive car boot sale near my house, or on their way back to the car, four-abreast, carrying piles of stools (the seating variety, I hasten to add), blankets, car parts and other paraphernalia that had been fobbed off on them by the local footie club mafia.
Off I scooted, leaving way too fast as I ran down the middle of the road to attain a bit of tarmac with no people on it. Then I settled into my run, up to the next village, with a little prowl around the finishing line for a 90km ride that my nutty neighbour was taking part in. Didn't see her family waiting though so plodded off on the next stage of my carefully planned itinerary. I was doing very well thank you, and grandiosely told Gary that he could can it because I was a mean, lean running machine and I would rock this HM, so he could jolly well shove his useless negativity where the gremlin sun doesn't shine, because I was f**king fantastic, so there.
However when I got to 14 km, half way up a hill en route for the final 3.5 km through hilly and secluded terrain, my body told me to get stuffed. Gary pulled his Y-fronts out of his bum, grinned and sang, "I toooold you so" before victoriously popping the top on a beer and asking with a malicious glint in his eye, "So, are we going home now, then?"
Various flashing warning lights and buzzers started going off, and I realised that 1) my breakfast was a long way behind me and that my pain au chocolat, bravely hunted down by Calculus at the break of dawn, had probably been pretty inadequate fuel for a run of more than 10km, 2) that my lips were dry, 3) that I was 24 hours into a course of antibiotics with sinuses full of snot, and 4) that I was starting to feel woozy on my way to relatively quiet and unfrequented terrain inhabited by not much other than small mammals and the occasional vineyard worker.
My biggest fear when running, as I have already said, is keeling over into a ditch and being found dead and frozen in a thick shell of sweat with my mouth wide one and my hand on my phone by a local hunter the following day. This scares me even more than the spectre of being abducted by The Man In the White Van, being taken for an over-sized boar by a local hunter after a glass of Pastis too many, or even tripping over one of those extendable dog leads. So I turned round and headed back to the route where I could faint and be found. Gary was informed that this was in no way, shape or form 'giving up' and we were going to finish this run as we had started it, and if I didn't finish it then my teenagers would roll their eyes and read me the riot act, so he buckled up and sulked.
The last 3.5 km were gentle. I passed a garden where people were drinking the apéritif, and realised with delight that once I had drunk my own body weight in water, a bottle of beer would be a very pleasant reward for my effort. I ran though the flea market people again, in circles, because I was now hell-bent on finishing the crazy mission that My Asics had asked me to do. (My Asics called it a "comfortable 17.5 km". I don't think they have ever heard of the term "oxymoron", maybe they should look it up.) As I blasted past the pizza guy for the final straight, he cheered me on. I felt like a super star. Result of the run: 2 hours for 17.5 km. And one delightfully refreshing bottle of beer in the garden.
Sorry it's so long. The gob on a stick is now going to John Wayne-it to the fridge for another beer. Happy running, folks.