I did manage to maintain a fairly positive attitude for 9 miles (even when I got blown to a standstill several times on the main road) because there were enough twists and turns in the route that I wasn't always running directly into the wind. I felt okay about running 30 seconds per mile slower than my target pace and even coped with not being able to listen to my iPod (because the wind was so fierce that there was no way that I could hear anything through the headphones).
With the benefit of hindsight, my plan to run miles 9 to 15 along the Cromarty road was wrong wrong wrong. This is an exposed coastal road and I would be running directly into the wind the entire way. Somehow in my head though I thought that the 5 miles on the way home, when the wind would be at my back, would be worth the slog on the way out. And I didn't think that it would be that much of a slog anyway, since I had managed okay on the first 9 miles.
So deluded...I tried to remain upbeat during miles 9 to 12. I told myself that running into the wind was good for my eventual endurance in the marathon, that it was fine to go slow, and that it was fine to alternate running with walking. I started to snivel during mile 12 after coming to yet another standstill in yet another gust of wind. My pace had dropped by another 30 sec/mile, my legs were exhausted, and I still had another 9 miles to go.
|I suppose it could have been worse.|
At mile 14, there was a bend in the road through some sparse trees which was enough to give me a bit of respite but the rest of the way into Cromarty was horrendous. I surprised myself, though; by the time I reached the village, I had decided to finish the run. I stopped for 10 minutes or so, had half of a Clif bar (which, unlike last week, my stomach tolerated just fine), some Lucozade and some water, and stretched. And then I resolutely turned my back to the wind and...well, I didn't run. My legs didn't have enough left for that. But I did at least manage a more consistent jog/walk for the next 6 miles. I still snivelled a bit, though.
I finished the run - to use the term loosely - almost 30 minutes slower than I had planned. My morale was rock bottom and still hasn't entirely recovered. It feels like the last two long runs have just trained me to jog/walk the marathon and, in fact, have trained me to give up and walk when I get tired.
I know all of the positive things that I could and should be saying to myself, and I can and will say them at a later date. For now though, the only good things that I can find to say about yesterday is that 1) it's over and 2) my blisters didn't hurt at all. And for those, I am very very grateful.