Yesterday, I finally made good on a long(ish)-term goal and ran through the countryside to a village that sits a little over 26.2 miles away from me. It was awesome. Ok, maybe not that awesome, but I did it.
Bearing in mind I'd been out for a small party the night before and woke up marginally hungover at about 8.30, by 12.00 I'd flushed a few pints of water through myself and was ready to run. A lot of my running so far has involved a certain amount of reading and research (a good deal of it with you fine chaps), but a whole lot of just making mistakes for myself and figuring it out as I go. This was never going to be anything different - starting from the basics up, I made sure I was carrying enough water, enough food (but not so much as to shred up my insides), I taped up my nipples (properly this time) and made sure I was layered enough for the bitter cold... all lessons I'd learned previously.
Lessons I was to learn on this run: However much you plan a route, it's difficult to tell whether a mapped 'road' actually leads through an impassable private farm, forcing you to add a few km to the journey. A shorter route will often turn out to be a muddy, rocky, steep incline that leaves you wishing for the longer, paved option. Some farm dogs are not friendly and will chase you a long way; being chased by a farm dog is a great adrenalin boost when you're starting to flag. You can never wear too many layers in early December.
Luckily, I also learned that I can run a marathon distance on my own as a training run. I learned that as long as I run, eat and drink right, I can do it and feel reasonably ok the day after; I also learned a bit more about what my own determination can make me do, which was kind of cool.
Although the first 10km or so were pretty flat, the rest of the route was nothing but hills and mud - including, apparently, two category five climbs. I got to the end in about 4:45, having anticipated about 4:30. On that note, this was also the first time that I'd been out running on my own for that long - weirdly, it didn't feel like a long time at all; there was always something to keep me in the moment. How very zen.
Anyhows, so that was my first marathon-length run. Eh, onwards and upwards!