Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

How to Break Your Knees and Other Stories

on 28 May 2015


Ok, so I didn’t break my knees. Let’s just own up to that little fib right now. And there are no other stories. You were brought here under false pretences. Whatcha gonna do. Have a cup of tea and a banana bread muffin. Maybe watch the birdies. We could play scrabble or monopoly!

Anyway! I wanted to do another double-figure mileage run before Liverpool in a fortnight – and this was probably my last week to do so. I was feeling pretty good this morning so off I went in my shiny trainers to pootle along the Derwent Walk. I decided this time instead of taking the car to the pub at the start, I would try running down from the church and past the Dene and try and drop onto it from there as this is likely the route I would take if I were cycling home (if and when I ever decide to risk this! I have obtained a cycle helmet, but as of yet have not sat on a bike for many years).

Firstly, I would like to note this is a horrible hill – it’s ok going down but it’s long and drops right down to the top of Ebchester – and having done it in both directions, it is no fun at all coming back up! It was sunny and slightly windy on my way out the door, but knowing I wouldn’t be walking for long at the start and the Derwent Walk is very sheltered, I didn’t bother taking any windproofs or long sleeves or other such paraphenalia. I’d nosied on the interwebs and seen that if I followed the path until I hit about 10.6km, I’d be at a nice big viaduct and could then turn round and go back – the full distance being a half marathon. I knew it was unlikely I’d jog any of the hill at the end – but I wanted to see how far I could get.

I was paying more attention to my nutrition tactics for this one than I normally do – my usual approach is ‘shove some food and drink in your face at some point along the route’ and go from there…but it’s unusual I do more than about 10-12km and today I was looking for anywhere between 16 and 20km. I wasn’t going to mess around with gels again for this one – at some point I might try a different flavour or type, but for now I wanted to concentrate on running and not trying not to bring up my breakfast into the bushes. That lemon and lime SIS one did not agree with me at all, so I stuck with a pack of blackcurrant dextrose tablets – a full pack instead of my normal 4-5 tablets. I’d also taken the Lucozade Lite bottle with me that I got in a previous race goody bag (Manchester I think?) thinking I’d try that instead of my usual water or squash – turns out, it’s lemon and lime flavour and tastes nearly the same as that gel! I am ok with the drink though so I guess it must be the texture I have a problem with on the gels – the flavour just really didn’t help.

Anyway, really waffley tonight, I took 2 dextrose tablets every 3km, and after the 5km mark had a few mouthfuls of the Lucozade every 2.5km. It seemed to be working well and I made my halfway point in good time – it turns out it was the same viaduct I was crossing on the George Ogle Memorial Race last night! It certainly wasn’t my quickest – 1h13m ish to do 10.8km according to the MapMyRun graphs, but I really wasn’t pushing the pace knowing the distance I was intending to do. I need to start pushing my pace again, but I think we’ll save that for the 5km at Washington on Sunday to start with!

Not long after this, nature started to make itself known – the bumbag round my waist not helping at all, and no facilities for miles… I wasn’t sure at the time if it was possibly that I was drinking more than normal, or the sugar I was nomming down in larger quantities, but now I’m home I’m inclined to blame the Lucozade…with it being the low/no sugar version, the sweeteners in such things can have a laxative effect and it says on their website that it’s “the ideal choice for training and exercise under 60 minutes”…versus my expected 2 hr session…I was thinking of getting a case for running with but I think I’ll stick to my squash and water for now!

Needless to say (which people often say when they’re going to tell you anyway), my pace was someone disrupted by these developments and I was dropping down to walk stretches regularly from the 13.5km mark. Initially I was hoping to make it back to the bottom of the hill which would have put me at 19.2km – a new furthest record and in a much better mental place for the 21km of the half marathon distance. As it was I pushed myself to keep going at the very minimum to 16km (10 miles) and then onwards to 18km so I would hit my current best distance again. It took me 2hrs 8mins to reach 18km, unlike last time when I was following J down to Newburn and hit 1hr 57mins, but I was not so afflicted then!

Stopping for the first walking break really broke my pace – and I never got it back, the occasional dips and climbs when crossing the roads were too much for my knees and I walked them – and then walked back home after hitting 18km – a further 2 miles, most of it uphill. I had nothing left in the tank at all after hitting the 18km mark, but considering that the only fuel between this run and the one last night was a bag of popcorn last night, a bagel this morning and whatever I’d shoved in my face on the way round that’s hardly surprising! I shall make sure I have a good dinner and breakfast before Liverpool and no running the night before!

Just as I was leaving the Derwent Walk to take the path back up, a deer crossed the road ahead of me and we both stood and watched each other for about 30 seconds. As it didn’t seem inclined to move I just walked up the far side of the road from it and it just watched me go! It must have been about 3m from me – the things you see when you don’t have a camera! That’s two deer in two days, though I got a better look at this one than the one that shot past last night.

The wind, which had not been such an issue on the way down the hill as I was jogging and the sun was out, was bitter on the way back up – I had got myself all sweaty and smelly, and the sky had become more overcast and when the wind blew it was freezing. I actually asked P to meet me on route with a jumper it was that cold, and being the sweetie he is he found the warmest hoody he could in the house before trotting down the road to find me. Straight into a very hot bath for me – last of the bubble bath gone! It’s been on the shopping list for the last 2-3 trips and I always miss it…even when it’s written down in front of me! A good excuse to raid one of the Metrocentre shops for bath bombs if J will tell me if they’re any good. 😉

I feel better knowing I’ve done another long run – it’s been a month or more since my last one, and this is the last >13km run I’ll do before the half marathon. Really feeling it in my legs today! Just trying to keep gently moving and loose, and fingers crossed they’re back to normal tomorrow 🙂 It’ll be good as a repair/build exercise – and I suspect if I’d tried to go straight from 10-12km up to the full 21km without doing what I have today I would have been in real trouble for an injury on the day!

Will try my dextrose tablets again on a 10km, but NO MORE LUCOZADE LITE FOR ME! Just you watch, it’ll turn out to be the dextrose now 😛 I also think I’m going to start packing a space blanket in my bumbag for any runs longer than 13km or where I may have to walk stretches at the end so I don’t have to carry jackets about, but have something windproof and warm if I do get stuck somewhere.



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