I've been MIA for the last few days, as I spent some a few days in Singapore for work. That's a post unto itself, but before I get into a detailed work/holiday post, I wanted to write about two runs I've done recently, that were epic in a quite different way to some of the other runs I've blogged about recently.
The first of these two runs was last Saturday, a day all Welly runners will remember (at least those who ventured out, instead of hiding inside and keeping the long runs for Sunday). A strong steady wind, with gusts of over 120 kph. I've moaned about the wind here before, I know. This was SERIOUS wind. And accompanied by sand, sharp cold rain showers, and the ever present threat of a decent storm. Y'know, that ominous storm feeling. I was running with my phone, since I was alone, P was riding and I wasn't sure how long I'd be out for, and a look through some texts I sent along the way showed considerable profanity, and frequent resort to the phrase "mother f---". I had to constantly work at ensuring I was travelling in a straight line, and not hitting bollards, falling off curbs or running into traffic. I had to stop a couple of times on Cobham Drive to steady myself. Anyhoo, it was windy. I explored a great new trail and had a blast for an hour, then got tired and sore, sick of the wind, sick of the rain, sick of climbing hills (with no respite from the wind- it got everywhere). I kept going for 2 hours and eight minutes after the first thought of wanting to die, and it never got better. Sure- I was slow (veeery slow), but I kept at it, and even added a fairly decent climb. Score one for perseverance and mental toughness.
The next run was the opposite of the first. Singapore. Hot, humid, flat (not necessarily by, say Tennessee standards, but for ME). No shelter in the shade- the humidity follows you everywhere (here I find it's usually the glare of the sun that's worst). I set out for 2 hours and as soon as I started, felt like I was at the halfway point of a marathon. My legs were stuffed from 3 days of walking every moment I wasn't in the office, and my belly was stuffed from 3 days of sub standard hydration and horrific "holiday" eating. I only ended up doing 1:40, and I'm fine with that. It was taking advantage of a convenient moment, rather than giving in, and it was one of my tougher, slower, more depressing 1:40s I've ever done. When I stopped, I felt about the same way as I felt after the epic 20+ miler with A the other week. After deciding to throw myself into traffic at 35 minutes, I kept at it for another hour. Man I was slimy when I got back!
The point of these is not so much to show mental toughness or my preparedness for the next marathon, but to remind us that these slow, tedious, horrible runs are as important for our endurance training as those awesome, everything-comes-together, hurts-but-in-a-good way, runs we love. At mile 22 when I want to die, I'll remember these two runs. I actually do not think that the last 4 miles in Auckland will be as sucky as the overwhelming humidity or having sand blown into me for miles on end. And if it is? Been there, done that.