Not that I actually run long distances you understand, more that the distances involved between the outings seems to be creeping up quietly, starting just over three weeks ago over in North Yorkshire with the excellent Hardmoors 55 race.
The following weekend I went up to the Lakes for a do organised by Marc Laithwaite, the Lakeland 100 race director, comprising some interesting talks on nutrition on the Saturday evening followed by a very sociable recce of three legs of the course on the Sunday. Good company and nice weather.
The next Saturday and up to Tyndrum for the MacPirates' party, not to be missed of course and great to meet again lots of people who I hadn't seen since last summer. On the Sunday morning a slight sensation of having drunk a beer or two the night before coupled with the unpromising looking weather put me off joining John K and team for even part of the way up to Fort William, and I scuttled off back to Cumbria to complete another couple of Lakeland 100 legs under a sky a lot bluer than the one I left in Scotland.
Then last week back over to Rotterdam for a few days where I lived for over 6 years some time ago. Jan and I enjoyed strolling the bulbfields, cruising on the river, visiting haunts that we remembered, but of course there was the matter of the marathon on Sunday morning. The fifth time I've run this one, a flat but interesting course and lots of local support. I had originally targeted around three and a half hours for the trip but I hadn't done any of the longer road runs usually required to prepare for this sort of thing and was fighting a cold which had got to the thick head plus remains of sore throat stage, so I had no real ambition other than to notch up another marathon and have a good training workout. Nevertheless the first half went well enough, but within two hours of the 11am start the temperature was in the mid twenties and patches of shade were hard to find - I wished I'd taken my hat! I first looked at my watch at 30k to find I was still a minute or so under three and a half hour pace but knew then that I couldn't keep it up. I normally drink a cup of water every 10k in a marathon, today I was drinking two cups at every 10k and an additional cup at every intermediate 5k and was still hot. First warm weather of the season I suppose, we're not used to it. It clearly didn't bother the winner, Kenyan Wilson Chebet, who came home in 2:05:27, the fastest marathon of the year to date. It took me somewhat longer and I finally jogged over the line in 3:36:27. Still, you can't win a coconut every time and it was a fine trip until the final 4 or 5 miles, which hurt more than I was expecting.
So, in all I find that over the past four weeks I've run just over two hundred miles but driven about 3000. I bought my car, an unglamorous but so far reliable Skoda, new just over five years ago; it now has 154,000 miles on the clock. The guys that tinker with it say it should be good for another hundred thousand or so but I don't think I can be too proud of my carbon footprint......