This weekend was all about conquering the 17+ mark, all in preparation for the Manchester Marathon (which is under 8 WEEKS AWAY!)
For the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of running with lots of lovely ladies from Team Naturally Run. This has helped make the long runs feel more like a good old catch up with friends rather than a hard slog, pounding the pavement! The last few weeks has also given us bright and more importantly DRY running conditions…this week however, the BBC weather report was telling us it was rain, two raindrops to be precise!
So 7 of us TNR ladies, Charlie, Lissy, Leah, Laureen, Anne and Lucy set out at 8am in what appeared to be sunshine! With hopeful smiles on our faces we started on the north side of the river, heading out on our way to Greenwich! The Thames Path on the North of the river is a little higgledy piggledy with dead ends, hidden pathways, locked gates … all making the journey to Greenwich a bit of a guessing game! However, along the route we had the viewing pleasure of icons such as Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf and the Shard which looked like something out of the old Superman movies with the sun turning it into a beacon!
We also had managed to clock up a km or so in the Greenwich foot tunnel which was a nice little change of scenery and also brought us out at the pretty impressive Cutty Sark.
Now you notice at this point we are all smiling, happy runners steadily getting through what was going to go be our longest run.
HOWEVER, literally two minutes after this photo as we headed to tackle some hills in the gorgeous Greenwich Park the UK weather did what it does best … it changed! Lissy, Charlie and Lucy very cleverly left us at this point as they had other things to get to leaving Leah, Laureen, Anne and I to get through what I think I can safely say was the most challenging run we have all ever experienced.
Making our way back along the south side of the river we were confronted with gail force winds, torrential downpours and hail, actual hard, stinging HAIL. Now being a northern girl from a seaside town I have already had the pleasure of running in some pretty extreme conditions but this was grim. HOWEVER, instead the girls and I focused on something to get us through. FOOD. Cake for me in particular!
Anyone who knows me knows I have a serious sweet tooth and all this running gives me the perfect excuse to enjoy even more cake! After every long run I make sure I reward myself with a seriously hearty brunch and CAKE! So during the darkest part of this long run the girls and I spoke about exactly what we were looking forward to at our designated brunch spot (we always plan and book ahead – imagine a donkey and a carrot on a stick!) Now we each had different finishing experiences on this run and I would definitely recommend you go and check out the ladies’ blogs to hear their thoughts and feelings about it but for me … I finally passed that 17.5 mile marker and it felt AMAZING!
This was the most trying run I have ever experienced, also being a northern girl means I am pretty stubborn, particularly when it comes to physical challenges – I DON’T GIVE IN – but even I had thoughts about stopping and getting the tube when I couldn’t feel my hands, my feet were getting a little squelchy and I couldn’t look ahead as the rain and hail was so heavy. BUT I DID IT! And one by one the rest of the girls made it to Del A’ziz (full brunch report here) who I have to say looked after us incredibly well and provided us with the most gorgeous brunch whilst being extremely patient and understanding – we were a table of 15 as we all had plus ones joining and we all joined at very different times!
Now as mentioned if it wasn’t for the support of those ladies, seeing them powering through and the thoughts of food particularly deliciously, decadent cake I don’t know if I would have made it through those final miles which got me wondering what do you think of to get you through a difficult run? What’s your motivation when all you want to do is be back in a warm house on the sofa with a blanket and a cup of warm tea?
My fail safe motivation … CAKE!