Today is my fasting day and I’ve just returned from the gym where I did an upper body and core workout designed by my fabulous personal trainer Renee at Falcon Anytime Fitness. It was a great workout but when combined with the fatigue I’m still experiencing from yesterday’s long run, I’m finding it difficult to keep my arms in position to type. Lifting up my water bottle is a challenge.
That aside, this post is about yesterday’s long run. It was my first 10+ km run now that I’m back in summer weather. In Lake Clifton, I knocked off a couple of 21 km runs and did them in a good time and fairly comfortably. Yesterday’s run was quite different.
I had put three energy gels into the freezer after my last run and the unpleasant ‘hot salty banana juice’ experience of midway through the previous training session. I had a bunch of podcasts lined up on my phone to listen to and I was really looking forward to going out and hitting the pavement for a couple of hours of running.
Due to the heat, I’ve been running in the evenings. As I planned to run 22 kms, I knew it would take me a couple of hours so I didn’t want to wait too long but I also wanted to watch the West Coast Eagles game as I suspected it might be the last one we would win this season. The game was planned to finish about 6pm so I was going to be out the door by then and back by 8:30pm which wasn’t too late. In the end, I didn’t leave until after 6:30pm as mum rang to discuss the game. She expressed her concern about me running at night but clearly wasn’t anxious enough to get off the phone so I could get going and get back at a reasonable hour!
The run started off great. It was still light when I started so I ran down to the park behind Sankeien Gardens then back up Honmoku dori. At about the 7km mark, I took the first of my energy gels and it was still cool and almost pleasant to taste. It gave me a boost and I ran up Hospital Hill to the bluff. By now it was dark but there were a lot of people out and about enjoying the warm summer evening so I was never in trouble.
By this time I was very sweaty and I could feel that my brand new sports bra that hadn’t caused me any problems whilst running in the winter climate the week before, was starting to slide around a bit. Still it wasn’t hurting me and I kept going.
After about 10km I need to take a pit stop. I don’t think this was because of the gel but merely because I hadn’t gone earlier in the day. Luckily I was running by the Red Brick Warehouse and the quite excellent public facilities that are located there. I used the disabled toilet because although I wasn’t that tired yet, I was still grateful for something to hang on to on the way down.
At the 14 km mark, I was ready to take my next energy gel and I was starting to look forward to a good long sit down. Although starting to feel pretty tired, I was still confident that I would complete the run. My RunKeeper app reminded me to begin running at a faster pace for the next 6 kms but I decided to ignore it. My aim for this run was just to finish and I was already feeling it despite running slower than in previous weeks.
With just a handful of kilometres to go, I took my last energy gel at Yamashita Park. A few minutes later, I really started to struggle as the stomach cramps began. These were the type of cramps I was familiar with from my time in Ghana where I had leant the hard way never to trust a fart. Despite my best efforts though, fart I did but mercifully that is all I did!
By now I’m more waddling than running. I feel a bit nauseous and any left over energy is being channelled into keeping my butt cheeks clenched. With my apartment building in sight, my RunKeeper app speaks the two most beautiful words in the English language – ‘workout completed’.
It had just past 9:30 pm. I was exhausted. When I g0t home, I took off my running gear to assess the damage. I have four chafe spots on my chest and two on my back from my sports bra that made showering a very painful exercise. My feet have begun to look pretty gnarly with old and new blisters, callouses and peeling skin.
Although I’ve run this distance before, this is the longest it has taken me to do so. In three weeks, I’m running the same distance in a race on a mountain. If the race was in wintery Lake Clifton, I think I could have a crack at doing it in 120 minutes but running is harder now that I’m back in Japan!