Some big lessons learned on Saturday, but first to Friday night…..
On Friday night Kate and I went to see the wonderful Cabbage (the tile of this blog is taken from the compilation of the EP’s that they realised in 2016) at EBGB’s in Liverpool. For the uninitiated Cabbage are the most exciting new punk rock band in the country with a reputation for raucous live shows.
Friday was no different, a wild crowd in a venue not entirely suitable for this band, as the above picture shows. For some reason, whether it be the atmosphere, the raucousness or whatever the sensible couple of beers turned in to quite a lot more.
When Kate and I got outside of the venue we got well and truly fresh air snipered, resulting in us being very drunk for the ride home (thanks and apologies Ted!).
So, a great gig by a great band (despite the venue), but not ideal preparation for the 17.5mile long run I had planned for the day after. I’m not sure it was worth it. It is definitely worth listening to Cabbage though:
Waking up early and very hungover on Saturday I headed up to Victoria Park to volunteer as a marshal for parkrun. This is the first time I’ve done this (you could say about time too after taking part in 29 park runs before), and I really enjoyed it. The bracing cold helped clear up my hangover a bit and it was good seeing the run from a different perspective and seeing people of all ages and abilities taking part.
Marshalling duties completed I headed down to McDonalds for a pre-run fuelling session consisting of a large fries. Far from ideal.
After messing and moping around and generally feeling a bit sorry for myself I heading down to Sweat to meet up with my training partner Helen (Stu our other marathon training partner couldn’t make it this week – I forgot his excuse).
After a quick warm up we headed out (only 30 minutes later than we planned!) up past the MegaTesco and heading down in to West Bank and over the Widnes-Runcorn bridge and through Runcorn old town, having a healthy pace of around 9 minute miles.
Once through Runcorn Old town we passed though some Astmoor Industrial Estate where we got right up close to some of the bridge roadworks, cutting through a closed road and under one of the new fly overs. The views of the different pieces of the bridge coming together was one of the features of this route, especially for a civil engineering nerd.
Other that the views of the new bridge there was little else of interest through Runcorn Old Town and Astmoor, but picking up the trail around Haddocks Wood made the route a bit more interesting but as we got in to this area a guy on a scrambler shot past us, then as we went got round the corner we seen that he’d churned up much of the playing fields from doing doughnuts on his bike. A strongly worded email to the Widnes & Runcorn Weekly World “signed Angry and Disappointed from Widnes” might be in order.
We ran up towards Norton Priory and headed back down towards Sandymoor. I must admit there was a few times from Runcorn Old Town through Sandymoor where a quick pause was necessary to check the route map. Other than these pauses we were still going strongly at this point, with my hangover not having any real impact on my running.
Once through Sandymoor and Keckwick we got up to the Daresbury Laboratories with its iconic tower we then picked up the path running along the Bridgewater Canal. A nice, flat fast section and very scenic section we both really enjoyed running here, so much so we over shot where was suppose the leave the trail and almost ran through to Walton Gardens.
Once back on the road we had another rather uninspiring stretch heading back to wards Warrington and getting hit by some wind and rain. The whole route was gloves on, gloves off, gloves on again. It was a really cold day, fine when your running, but awful when stopped.
The route headed up to Bridgefoot traffic island in Warrington, passing the Village hotel where Kate and I were due to stay that night (we were going to a party that evening) and although I still felt ok at that point I did feel a little bit fed up that I still had 6 miles to run home just to come straight back to this point.
Once through Warrington we had another quick stop at the Pink Eye to allow me to take care of some chaffage (you don’t want to know, but I always take a little tin of Vaseline out on a long run just in case), this allowed me to have a quick breather as I was starting to feel a bit tired now. I took on a sachet of almond butter I had took out to try as some fuel. This was an abject failure and just stuck to the roof of my mouth. I also used up the last of my water trying to get rid of the stuff.
We got on the move again (ouch! it hurts getting going again – its ok when you’re going, but starting again is painful) heading down the old Liverpool Road and picking up the path next to the Sankey Canal. This should now be plain sailing. The last 4.5 miles, all flat on a nice trail path. The home straight. However, somewhere between 13 and 14 miles I just tanked. No energy. Nothing.
It was so much hard work, and very very stop start. I was out of water, out of food and totally out of energy. This last 3 or 4 miles or so was the toughest I’ve ever “ran”. In this bit I was in a bit of a bad way, feeling very dizzy, pretty ill and was chucking up and went down hill pretty fast.
I am extremely grateful to Helen for helping along here. I was in a bit of a state and I was frustrating myself for my continual stopping though Helen was far too nice to be getting annoyed with me instead sharing her drink with me and feeding me dates and jelly babies (though some of this come back up). Helen even tried some daft games to try to take my mine off the task, like going through the alphabet animal game but I couldn’t even remember the letters of the alphabet. Those last three miles were really hell. I was telling myself things like “It’s only a Parkrun” or “Its only 20 minutes of your life”.
Finally after LOTS of encouragement and help the small bridge came in to view back over the canal (I did have to stop one last time) we got the road back up to Sweat.
After a quick “rest” (literally just having to lie down on the gym floor) I got a drink from the gym and said my thanks and goodbyes to Helen (Stu was in the gym, its just as well he didn’t join us as my stopping would of made him late for an appointment) I headed home.
By the time I got home I was in one hell of a state. Very very dehydrated, and once stopped running got very cold very quickly. I got in to the living room and I was shivering pretty much uncontrollably. I think I was displaying some mild hypothermia symptoms. I had to quickly get out of my wet clothes, get wrapped up in a blanket and get in front of the fire.
I felt awful, still felt sick was having stomach cramps and then my legs started cramping up. I was lucky to have Kate on hand to look after, getting me hot drinks, dioralyte, taking care of me and helping me out with my legs cramps.
After 30 minutes or so I began to feel a lot better, but this was a valuable lesson learned. I was very stupid to drink as much booze as I did before a long run of this nature. I addition to this I had not hydrated myself enough ahead or the run, nor had I fuelled up enough pre-run (a bag of cheese and onion crisps and some maccies fries just does not cut it).
So, being Old, Stupid and Full of Booze is not good preparation for a long run. This will not happen again, and I owe a big thanks to Helen for the food, drink and encouragement in getting back off the run, and a big thanks to Kate for looking after me and sorting me out when I got home.
Big lesson learned.
Peace and love.
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