I hadn't intended doing 14.2 miles. Even though Niall had said the plan was to do about 13 miles (i.e. at least 13 miles) I still had it in my head I'd turn back early and do about 10 miles. And even when Kenny headed up Beason End Lane to cut the run a mile or two short I didn't join him. I guess I must have been enjoying myself - or something like that.
The weather forecast for 7am on Sunday morning was five degrees Celsius - and it wasn't wrong. The previous evening I dug out my cold weather gear and so was fully prepared including the all important hat and gloves. So all togged up I trotted out at one minute to seven to find four runners ready and waiting - and that didn't include Kenny. We met up with Kenny on Cowper Road and then headed out across the common towards St. Albans. On the Harpenden Road as we approached Childwickbury the group split. The A team (David and Simon) surged ahead keen to cover their 20 miles at 7 minute mile pace. The B team (Niall, Kenny and me) plodded on, while John decided to call it a day and turned back for home (maybe I should have joined him).
The A team didn't speed off into the distance as expected and thanks to a few canny route 'optimisations' were still within shouting distance as we rounded the southern perimeter of The Lake in Verulamium Park. The route back was almost entirely off-road and saw some quite slow miles due to rutted, and in one case ploughed up, footpaths. We also lost some time when Niall ran into a tree (don't ask!) and came out the other side looking like he'd been attacked by a swarm of brown prickly things. The last time I laughed so hard was when Kenny assumed his sprint starting position for the 2 mile intervals a couple of weeks ago (no we're not going to forget that one anytime soon). As previously mentioned Kenny headed home via Beeson End Lane, which probably only shortened the route by out about a mile, while Niall and I, with ever more weary legs, did our best to keep the pace honest as we took the Nicky Line home.
Anyway back to these 14.2 miles. What was that rule of thumb again? Don't increase your long run by more than 10% each week. So let's see: longest run so far this month 10K. OK how about September 9.4 miles. Hmm. August 11.5 miles - that's more like it. July 10.2 miles. June 11.6 miles. May 11 miles... Right, so just how many times this year have I actually completed a run of 14 miles or more?? Ahh yes, found it. 6th March and 21st Feb 15 miles. So good to see I'm not risking injury by overdoing it.
Oh yes - did I mention Niall ran into a tree?