Today, I had possibly the most ridiculous yet rewarding run of my entire life.
I met Nic and Mallani at Yeronga State High School's grass oval, where I planned to do an easy four hours. I failed to realise that this is impossible when running shoulder to shoulder with Nic Moloney.
I felt pretty good to start with, despite yesterday's hard hilly run, discovering that Nic had put in about 24km in 1:40 on Saturday. Sheez.
Subconsciously racing each other, we managed 12.1km in the first hour. When we stopped, both of us were pretty overheated, and this probably wasn't going to change.
Rest, turn around, and repeat.
We had intended to go for 11km in the second, and 10km in the third. With 20 minutes gone, I decided to have a little bit of fun, and give Nic a bit of a thrashing, as I had started to feel pretty good. As a result, I turned it up to atleast 13kmph for about 10 minutes, and Nic seemed to be struggling; however, I doubted that I would drop him. As we kept going and going at over 12kmph, with about 20 minutes left in the second hour, we realised that 12km for this hour was almost certain. I was lacking mentally at this point, with alot of self doubt; "you don't have the endurance, you're not fast enough, you're not a good enough runner". Then, with about 12 minutes to go I asked myself what a Kenyan would do. Just run. So that's what I did, hanging on to finish another 12km in the second hour. This reaffirms my realisation that my greatest weakness, in hard running and possibly in life, is a lack of self confidence. Suprising for an egotistical teenager. The irony is that this may also be my greatest strength; my lack of confidence in my ability causes me to train as much as my body will allow (but not as fast as I should, it must be admitted) which helps me to become a better runner. Maybe, when I get to the start-line, I should remind myself that I have put in enough miles to get through it. A bit more speed-work would certainly help though.
Rest, turn around, and repeat.
I was optimistic after 10 more minutes, believing that we could hit 11km in this third hour; Nic, being the wise man that he is, proclaimed "maybe...We'll see". At one point, both of us had become so bored of the track, that we decided to do 80metre laps of a concrete car park adjacent to the fields. There are no errors in the intended meaning of that sentence, by the way. After that became boring, we headed back to the oval, where Mallani had been jogging with serious determination for a consistent two hours; quite incredible seeing as she had raced 56km the weekend before, and had run 20 the DAY before. Plus, she only had here I-pod and our gestures as we passed her, to keep her company.
Another ten-or-so minutes went by, and Nic thought we should mix it up again, taking us onto the concrete basketball/netball courts, and running various patterns along the side/third lines. Like I said, ridiculous.
I stuck to his back, as he had the garmin, and so would be recording our distance. We got a bit more variety when Nic decided to do a tour of the school grounds, running blissfully around the covered handball courts. Suprinsingly, my calf had bothered me very little, if at all, for the duration of the run, but I felt it slightly as we farewelled the original car park with a few extra laps. Back onto the thick grass; Nic picked it up when we got to 31km total, and slowly but surely dropped me, and then lapped me. I was highly relieved when I saw him sit down at the cooler, signifying that he had covered 35km. I proceeded to run my "bell lap" barefoot, and at about 80%, finishing of with a sprint and a gumby somersault. 35km in 3:05-net, 3:20-gross.
That was one of the most enjoyable runs of my entire life, simply for the amount of concrete that I had to eat in order to stay with Nic for the first two hours and 45 minutes. Mentally, I was able to put myself in a good place: the present. I was alive.
However, it has affirmed my beliefs about my current racing endurance. I can only withstand about two and a half hours at a hard 50km race pace, before I have to drop off and jog it in. This may be due to age, but I'm guessing that if I do more runs like this, I will be able to sustain the pace for longer. They will become a staple in my training diet.
Now, with my calf a bit sore, I will have to focus on getting through the Mount Barney all-nighter with Mike on Tuesday/Wednesday, resting up, and then getting some hard runs in at Kosciuszcko with Dad on the weekend. Then I know I will be ready for both Mount Glorious, and Caboolture Dusk to Dawn. Let's hit it.