I was out of the door and half way across the car park before it hit me. Hmmm, thinks I, this is a bit chilly. I turned around and ran back into the house. Another layer is needed. Buttoning a shirt over my running top. and donning a pair of gloves I emerged back into this frosty Sunday morning now suitably attired.
This is my second long run since signing up for the 50k Race To The Stones next year. I’ve been thinking about the terrain and the type of running involved in this endeavour. For today’s training run I am using a rucksack and have put a water bottle in it. Race To The Stones looks very well supported but I will definitely need water (it will take place in July after all) and having a tendency to lose a lot of salt the legs soon start cramping. This also means I shall require a handy supply of these mysterious and magical whatchamacallits of which I know so little.
I say I know little about magical thingummies but some Internet research was done prior to this training run, and enlightenment has settled upon me like falling snow (must write it down before it melts and drifts away). It seems that electrolytes are a bunch of stuff that helps your body work smoothly.
A brief diversion as we try to figure out these electrolyte thingies
Calcium – strong bones and help with clotting
Potassium – this is the one that interests me most of all as it should help counteract those diabolical cramps. Bananas are a favourite source for this and before and after the run today I tried salted potatoes. Seemed to help a bit and tasted delicious. I got the cramps but not for as long.
Sodium – something about regulating body fluid volumes. I’m not entirely sure what that means.
Chloride – similar to Sodium – not sure what’s going on with these guys.
Magnesium – is like the bus that other electrolytes use to get them to where they need to be. Hurrah for Magnesium. This is another one that you’ll find in bananas.
Back to the run
Another consideration for this run was to find some uneven ground and possibly changes of gradient. I found both of these on the other side of the Cam running through the fields towards Fen Ditton. The ground was most definitely uneven and running on the bits where there was no track soon became a significant trial. My brain flipped out a little as I glanced over toward the track. Every fibre of my being cried out that I should be running on the easier bit. Look, it seemed to yell, other people have already walked or run there and made it flat and easy for you. What kind of fool would ignore those advantages? I veered a little but managed to stay off the track until at least the other side of the field. Isn’t it just astounding how hard wired we are for efficiency?
It’s a steady incline (albeit gentle) all the way up into Fen Ditton but then levels out as you pass by the church. There’s a beautiful tree-lined path along here and then a right turn across the common heading in the direction of Cambridge. Passing by a chap smoking here the deliciously sweet scent of cannabis wafts through the air. I considered following him for a while just to enjoy the smell for a little longer but decided that might possibly be a little too weird.
A quick wiggle through the streets and then I pop out onto Coldhams Common. A new parkrun began here just a few weeks ago and I’ve considered popping along to give it a try. Unfortunately Coldhams Common, being so desperately flat and empty holds little attraction for me as a running destination. I may give it a try though, as part of trying to increase my mileage, by running there, doing the parkrun and running back.
My body had warmed up now so I was able to pop my gloves and hat into the rucksack while grabbing a drink and a Shotblock. It’s good to carry your supplies with you, although I suspect the rucksack will be a lot more irritating to wear in the heat of July.
I circle around Jesus Green, back through Midsummer Common and along the river to cross over by the Green Dragon. From there it’s only a stagger, totter and topple until I’m back in Milton.
Looking at my phone I see the distance covered so far is 19km. I turn off into Milton Country Park to add on those vital two kilometres to make it a half marathon. Finally I arrive home feeling that this was a good morning’s work.
It feels good to complete 21K as a training run. My weekly run distance had dropped down to between 10 and 15km. After kicking off my smelly shoes I stretch out for as long as I possibly can before becoming too bored to continue (stretching is an astoundingly dull activity). Then it’s time to do some lounging about in the bath.
I feel that my training is on track and vaguely wonder whether to jump up to the 100km distance for Race To The Stones. I consider this for a moment and then tell myself not to be so silly.
A running watch
My phone would probably not last for the many hours it would take me to complete the 50km of Race To The Stones so I am considering getting a running watch. My wife, mum and brother are all clubbing together to help me purchase one. Favourite at the moment looks to be the Garmin Forerunner 35. It reckons to be able to operate while using GPS for 13 hours. Surely even I can finish 50K in under 13 hours…