Sometimes, when you run really very hard indeed, for a significant distance, you feel great. Perhaps it's a race, perhaps it's training, but you just feel absolutely great doing it. Legs are scarcely clearing the lactates, heartrate is sky high, lungs are bursting - and you are revelling in it - enjoying every stride- knowing you are running fast, running well, possibly as well as you ever have - and you don't want it to end - you just want to keep running - run even harder....
Then, other times when you run really hard it's not so good.
Yesterday was one of the 'other times'
Plucky suggested 8miles at 6:15 pace. I had thought of doing 10miles inside 63mins so his plan was close enough to mine. Along with Darren we set off apace and immediately I could tell this was going to be fast. The first mile is mainly uphill and usually ran in 6:30 - 7:00, depending on our target pace. We ran it in 6:21. I suggested to plucky that we would end up inside 6:05 at this rate and might want to slow a bit. He said he would be happy if it was inside the 6:15 but didn't think we would do 6:05. On we pressed with Plucky setting the pace, me behind and sometimes alongside and Darren always immediately behind.
If the start was hard then the middle was even harder. At the 5mile point I seriously considered packing in and jogging a shorter route to the finish. I even persuaded myself that a funny feeling in my knee warranted stopping, lest it turn into an injury. Only pride made me continue. Pride and the stubborn belief that these two lads ARE NOT BETTER RUNNERS THAN ME. I could manage this pace and I damn well would.
With about one mile to go I felt for the first time that I was able to take up the lead and stay there. Plucky, struggling to speak, shouted that he would be stopping immediately when Darrens garmin beeped for the 8th time. I was only too happy to stop the very minute I too heard that beep.
We ran 5:57 pace for 8 miles, the fastest I have achieved for many years. If I had been forcing the pace all night then I would have been elated. If we had ran 6:05 pace and I had managed comfortably then I would have been delighted. But because I struggled throughout I felt a bit downbeat about the run. Crazy. Some people are never happy.