Everything was in my favour:
- I hadn't run for 5 days so legs were well rested
- The distance was less than a mile further than last week's
- The pace would be 45s a mile slower than last week's
- I was wearing the new 2xu compression tights
- I was a pound or more lighter than the previous week
- I took a bottle of water and 2 gels
In the event it was a tough one both during and after.
The initial problem was the conditions - sheets of ice for longish stretches of towpath; mud and slush where there wasn't ice, thorny debris from where the bushes had been cut back for a 4 mile stretch and strong gusting wind.
I ran out and back and for the most part conditions were worse on the way out. On the way back there were periods with the wind behind me and some of the ice had begun to melt back to slush.
It was tough though. From mile 5 onwards my legs didn't feel remotely peppy and overall I felt fatigued - so I could tell it wasn't anything to do with the distance. At halfway I stopped for a couple of minutes for a gel and some water but within 10 minutes was finding it hard going again. I stopped again 4 miles later for the second gel and water and then once more at 12.75 for another drink. It felt a little like a taste of the wall as the desire to stop was strong.
Within 10 minutes of finishing I was home but felt weak as a kitten; everything south of my waist ached, as did my triceps for some reason and I began to wonder if I was coming down with a virus. I couldn't face the prospect of a cold bath and instead had a decaff coffee, half a bagel with peanut butter and a couple of amaretti biscuits. Shortly afterwards I had another decaff and a packet of crisps, ibuprofen, a shower and took to my bed.
I came round enough to go down to watch a DVD with Beth and propped my legs up, but still felt pretty ropey.
Since then I think I've worked out what the problem was.
At 3 miles, as is my habit, I headed into the bushes for a short pee but I felt no urge to go again during the run despite having 400ml of water en route. When I got in I had the 2 mugs of decaff coffee and produced a very brief trickle of extremely dark water. In the 5 hours since then I've had 660ml of diet sprite, 3 large mugs of roibos tea, 400ml of squash and 2 bowls of soup (well over 2 litres in total) yet I've only 'been' once more and then for another short and dark one.
I suspect that means I might have got rather dehydrated!
I'll need to drink a bit more as routine and especially check all is well in the 24hrs before long ones. Lesson learned.
Since late afternoon I feel a good deal better and, interestingly, the muscle fatigue and stiffness has largely gone since I've had a decent fluid intake. It may well return tomorrow as a slight touch of doms but I'm hopeful there's no lasting damage.