Back in the game

Morning, morning. I am pleased to say that I am back in the marathon running game!

OK to be fair (and I imagine you’re used to this now if you’re a long-time reader) I was probably being my usual paranoid runner self about my shin…which actually worked in my favour as I was very cautious and didn’t do my 16 miler long run, nor my Tuesday run. So by Thursday my shin had calmed down hugely and felt absolutely fine. I think the moral of the story for me is not to go crazy with calf raises and tighten up my calf. Oh, and rest is best!

This meant I could join in with a club-organised long run at the weekend, happy days! A few of us decided to make things interesting by doing 17 miles and then doing a parkrun to top it up to 20 miles. The appeal was a faster finish long run, a nice way to break up an otherwise laborious load of miles and also to get in some parkrun tourism. Most of us had never been to Winchester parkrun (which is about 30 minutes away) so it was quite nice to do something different.

The downside, however, was realising that to get the miles in before parkrun meant a very early start. 5.15am alarm for Saturday morning… ooof. This meant Friday night was technically a school night with sensible food and an early night. I made sure to lay my things out the night before ready to make it easy in the morning.

IMG_3910ย Decided to wear my Steve Way “Don’t Be Sh*T” top to get me in the zone ๐Ÿ˜‰

I slept so badly as I kept panicking about my alarm and just generally feeling nervous about the run. I woke up at 4.30am and was pleased that I had another 45 minutes to sleep. But then a while later I jolted awake thinking I’d missed my alarm. Well, my alarm was going off all right but it was on silent!! I was so lucky that it was only 5.20am. All thoughts of how tired I felt were gone as I leapt out of bed and got ready in a panic thinking I’d be late.Early morning long run I ate a Trek (Original Oat) protein bar as I walked Alfiea fter I got dressed. Probably not a great idea as it was so crumbly and it was so dark outside I was getting it everywhere. I had the world’s smallest coffee and was good to go! Despite my late getting up, I arrived at the local train station before everyone else. The plan was to leave our cars there, run to Winchester, eat something, then get the train back to our cars.

IMG_3921 The beginning crew ready to run

We were going to meet another friend, Matt, half way there as he thought it best to not run the entire 20 miles as he was recovering from the dreaded plantar fasciitis, and then we’d meet another friend, Kate, at the parkrun as she was running a half marathon the next day.Long run scenery The route was lovely! All along Itchen River and a fair bit off the main road – which is such a relief when running so many miles. Though it did rain on and off, it was a lovely temperature. I really enjoyed chatting away to the guys as we ran – the time flew by. I do like doing long runs on my own when I zone out and listen to podcasts, but there is something truly enjoyable about running with others, especially for such a long way. Long runs can get very lonely.Long run 2 We made it to Winchester parkrun with about five minutes to spare which was cutting it close. I didn’t want to have to run again after the parkrun and was about 0.5 away from 17 miles so did a lap around the course just before we started. This helped minimise the break between the two runs as well.

Winchester parkrun is very flat and is basically three laps around a field – though apparently we did a slight variation of the usual course doing a weird diagonal run across a field. My first mile was a bit panicked and rushed because after they finished the briefing I thought we’d be starting somewhere else but the guy just said “get ready, go!” and I realised I was quite far at the back and had to do a lot of over-taking and dodging around people. I did have a chuckle though when I saw a man who was running with a dog get yanked back as the dog decided to do his business there and then come what may. The guy had to stop and pick up the poo…a parkrun poo, tee hee.

The second lap was tough. My legs felt very heavy and it just felt hard. My pace dropped and I felt myself flagging. The third mile was easier because I knew it was the last, but my legs (understandably) still felt tired. I got 23:29 which I was over the moon with though. But it did make me think long and hard about what I could achieve at Bournemouth. I just don’t feel mentally ready to push the pace at that marathon and I don’t think my training as been as good as Liverpool had been. I also don’t feel the hunger to get a faster time like I did with Liverpool and I really don’t want to put pressure on myself and potentially have a horrible experience.IMG_3931

We all agreed that it was a tough parkrun because of the miles beforehand but were really proud of ourselves. And though Kate didn’t run the 20 miles, she still smashed out a great parkrun and got first lady! So we all felt pretty chuffed.

(Ave. pace 8:37min/miles)

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Then it was off to Whetherspoons for breakfast. We all sort of stumbled there slowly and collapsed at a table. Most of us had a fry-up. Fry-up post long runI went for the large fry-up but subbed my hash browns for more bacon (a superior swap I think).

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It was delicious! I also ordered a diet coke, a glass of water and a coffee. Hitting all bases.

We got a lift back with Kate which was great as well. I’m so pleased how well the run went. It was definitely the confident boost I needed for the marathon. Though I ran Cheddar Gorge marathon recently, it was still a good few weeks past now and having missed last week’s long run I was feeling a little worried. But during the 20 miles I felt strong and like I could have gone on and on. The pace was slower than my usual long run which is probably a good thing as 20 miles at my usual pace would probably make the next few weeks hard in terms of recovering and being fresh. Though I’m happy I got to pick the pace up at the end to push through.

After getting back I had this mad surge of energy. Instead of usually feeling exhausted I was on fire with housework, walking Alfie and getting stuff done. Though I didn’t feel hungry again until 4pm! (To be fair, that breakfast was HUGE so I’m not surprised).

The next day I decided to have a rest day. My legs felt good, no niggles or twinges, but I felt a general sense of tiredness. Remembering how injury-prone I am and that I’m not the fastest at recovering, I thought it best to forgo any exercise other than some lovely long walks with Alfie. <– Can we just marvel out how sensible that sentence is for me. I’ve come a long way!

Later on I saw Ben’s mum again this weekend for afternoon tea. We were meant to do afternoon tea last weekend but we left it too late so we decided to try again. We headed to a place I’ve been before but not for a while, Lilly’s in Wickham.

Lilly's WickhamWe both went for a slice of red velvet cake, a fruit scone with jam and cream and I had ham and onion marmalade sandwiches.

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It was divine. Though I do prefer to have crusts on my sandwiches they were very dainty!

So all in all, a pretty good weekend. Cake and running – things are back to my kind of normal ๐Ÿ˜‰ And now time to taper!

How was your weekend?

What’s your ideal long run? A training run at a race, running solo, running with others?

Crust or no crusts on your sandwiches?

18 thoughts on “Back in the game

  1. Fab run! Some of our runners occasionally get a lift up to our local parkrun and then run back along the river afterwards which is about 15 miles, so just over 18 in total. I’m not sure I’d ever be able to persuade any of them to get up early and slot the long run in first though, although that’s probably the best way round to do it!
    I would have swapped the bacon for hash browns afterwards. I’m not the biggest bacon fan.
    I vary what I prefer on my long runs. I used to religiously run them on my own, but I do enjoy finding a race to ‘run’ rather than race as it means I don’t have to worry about my nutrition or drinks on the way round. 20 (hilly!) miles yesterday for me at the Dunstable Downs 20m race.
    And always the crusts for me! ๐Ÿ˜›
    Mary recently posted…Chatty parkrun and cakeMy Profile

    • I don’t think we’ll do this run too often (though we did enjoy it and someone did say it should become an annual marathon training run…). It was very early! But a lot of the guys at the club like to get out early to get the long run done so they can get back to their families without anyone grumbling. I’m not that keen at meeting them at 7.15am for their usual long runs!! I tend to get up at 8am and run at 9am if I run on my own haha.
      Sometimes I like to run to my local parkrun (about 4 miles), do parkrun and then run home to make it 11 miles which is a nice run.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Rants and Raves #19My Profile

  2. Yippee!

    That breakfast looks good. I think we should have aimed for that after Sunday’s efforts. We didn’t have enough brains for that!

    It was odd being in such a friendly race – really nice, and so much better than the massive half marathons I’ve done before now. I like chatting as I slowly overtake and get overtaken (I’m OK on uphill, but lots of people are faster than me downhill).
    Jane recently posted…Note to selfMy Profile

  3. Hey girl!
    Good job on the rest, and congrats on getting back to the running! I’ve been having some hip issues so I’ve had to down scale my lifts, but it really is SO much better for our bodies! Glad to hear you are back up and running (pun totally intended!) ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Kat recently posted…Ch-Ch-Changes!My Profile

  4. Awesome stuff well done! And well done also for being sensible the next day too ๐Ÿ™‚
    I always like a rest day after a long run because as well as feeling stiff, I just get very tired so generally there is no point in me running.
    I did a long run after parkrun once- my dad came to get me, we did parkrun together (well actually, he is always faster) and then I ran the long way home, and he drove home. It was good but I can’t imagine running there first- for me that would mean leaving at 5am to get there in time- the downside of being slower! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I would have crusts too- they seem more wholesome and filling that way.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Parkrun- dream vs realityMy Profile

  5. Yay – glad to hear you’re back in the game ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s better to be paranoid than to live in denial until something becomes so serious that you can’t walk. Not that I’d know anything about that, of course *shifty eyes*.

    I wouldn’t judge what you’re capable of by that run – it was after a break and also at an insane time of the morning. You’ll be so much more well-rested for the marathon.

    I always love to run solo and I don’t think that will ever change. I’m scared of doing proper long runs now though…it feels as though it’s been ages since I’ve done one :/
    Jess recently posted…Finallyโ€ฆA Vegan Quest Bar! Introducing Ds Naturals.My Profile

    • Oh we’ve all been in denial a few times I think! I’m very guilty of this…
      But you’re running is going well so maybe shorter runs are best for the moment? Though I do feel your sadness about not doing them, there is something so freeing and relaxing about a good long run.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Rants and Raves #19My Profile

  6. My weekend was AWESOME, first half done!! ๐Ÿ™‚ even got sunburnt in Newcastle haha.
    Maybe I’ll make it to 20 miles sometime ๐Ÿ˜‰ sounds like you did really well getting back into the swing of things. I always find workouts a little harder after some time off so I think that’s to be expected. Like you say, just enjoy Bournemouth. Because otherwise, what is the point? I realised halfway through GNR that I’d started to put unnecessary pressure on myself again and felt so much better once I ditched it.
    Pip {Cherries & Chisme} recently posted…My First Half Marathon – Great North Run 2015My Profile

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