I did it, I went long this afternoon, actually slightly longer than I thought. The plan was 18km but due to some building work on the riverbank up towards Nerima-ku I missed the 28km marker and after going on and checking the time it was taking I decided to turn round anyway and then found the marker on the way back. The extra bit took almost exactly 4 minutes, which at normal pace is about 800m (I'm running almost clockwork 5 minute kilometres up to about 12k, then the pace starts to drop a little).
So anyway, I think I did about 18.8km in the not too shabby time of 1hr 41m 00s, although this was less about the time and more about being able to do it without stopping, which I did bar two water breaks, where I didn't have much choice as the water fountains don't move. This keeps me in line for a sub-4 hour marathon time, which as I've said before I'm not aiming for (sub-5 will be ok with me), but would make me extremely happy (or more likely extremely dead).
Pain wise I can really feel today's run in my calf, which is resting on an ice pack as I type. Actually I felt the calf almost all the way on the run, which is not great news, I was hoping my enforced lay-off due to flu would have repaired stresses and strains, but perhaps not. Then again it wasn't bad enough to make me stop so that's good. Also good is the knee, which seems, touch wood, to have found a groove that it likes and so is feeling pretty good at the moment.
On this run, as it was long, I took one of those energy jelly packs to see if it would help as I ran. I think I took it too late, at the 11km mark, as the period from then until the 14km mark I felt a bit crap and the old mental state started to disintegrate a little (the right calf also started hurting), but then, suddenly, there was a sort of epiphany and a 'bugger this slowing down for a lark' moment and suddenly the pace lifted, the right calf was fine, the left felt better and we were back up to a proper running rhythm. I think it took those 3km for the energy to start being delivered to the bits of my body that needed it, and I think the bit that needed it most was my brain.
I know 'they' say that sport is mostly mental and this week I have begun to realise why. Firstly I've needed to psych myself up for running as far as I did today (lots of 'can I do it?' and 'yes you can' but it was 4km longer than my longest to date, which made me worry), and then secondly with the whole 'pull yourself together' moment going under Kawaguchi ohashi (that'll be 'bridge' for those who don't know). Sure, the energy jelly helped, but I think the biggest help was to my state of mind rather than my legs or lungs.
So that done means next weekend will be a shorter one and we're still on course for the half-marathon before Christmas.