I had scheduled in a long run this morning and, as usual, Pop came with me. To date, her longest run has been 19 miles which she did with M two years ago. It's the one and only time we've ever know her properly tired! I've kept her to 17 with me over the summer, and when it was really hot she did 4-10, depending on the temperature. Now it's cooler, and we've had rain so all the puddles, ditches and streams are full, so it seemed safe to let her do a long one.
We set off, not particularly fast as it's only two and half weeks since I did the marathon, and Pop was as she usually is, in front, ears flying, galloping along, loving being out running. We were doing laps around home so every few miles I had the opportunity to drop her home if it got too hot or if she was tiring. At thirteen miles I needed a pee, so we popped home, she had a drink and something to eat and a chat with Ted who sniffed her all over in a where have you been?! kind of way, and by the time I was ready to go again there she was by the front door, tail wagging and a fierce don't you dare leave me at home look on her face. I gave Ted a well done for guarding the house fish square (which in no way is a bribe to keep him quiet as we leave) and Pop and I set off again.
I was trying out Tailwind, a powdered form of endurance nutrition which you add to water and sip as you're running. It basically has everything your body needs to keep going. It's essentially sugars (carbs) and salts. I'd gone for the natural flavour (ie unflavoured). On recent long runs I've got a bit fed up eating sandwiches every six miles and been unable to eat them at all after 18, and then I've got sick of all the sweets I've had to consume to make up the carbs, so if this worked it would be fab. I've read lots of good things about Tailwind and was curious to see what it would be like. I usually find I'm mainlining sugar by the time I hit 17-18 miles, but on today's run those miles passed with ease. I just kept sipping my water with the mix in it and carried on running, feeling strong and really enjoying it. I even stopped to give directions at 17 miles and was coherent and able to think straight (do you remember those women last time?!).
Five miles on and I had two more to go to get to twenty. I was deliberating whether Pop should stop there. I suggested it as we approached our gate and she set off up the lane instead. She's a very determined woman, our Pop. I walked so she could have a breather up the hill (she didn't need it) and then we ran the last mile and a half together. Twenty miles. I couldn't quite believe she'd done it. She is an amazing little dog.
Anyway, we finished, went home, had a stretch, Ted sniffed us both all over this time (where have you BOTH been??) and Poppy had a drink from the disgusting water in the garden trough even though she has perfectly lovely, fresh, clean water in her bowl. For once I wasn't feeling yuk from eating handfuls of sweets. The Tailwind appears to have been a huge success. I will try it again before the next marathon and if I get positive responses on the next long run I'll switch to it as my training and marathon nutrition.
I barely had time to jump in the shower before I had to rush out and collect L from the bus. I treated myself to some waitrose beans and pasta salads and some salted caramel ice cream (yum), and then the dogs and I went out into the fields blackberrying for tonight's pud, blackberry and apple crumble with hazelnut topping. Poppy leapt and raced and zoomed about in the fields as if she'd had her paws up all day.
I feel remarkably good: slightly stiff and achy and a little bit tired in a nice, I've had proper exercise way and I expect I shall sleep well tonight. Pop has finally succumbed to her bed and is snoozing beside Ted, who is exhausted from all the guarding duty and is gently snoring as I type.
I'll leave you with some more photos of the silver sparrows- it's perhaps easier to see how different they are to the normal coloured sparrows when they are side-by-side....