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.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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)
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. I went for the large fry-up but subbed my hash browns for more bacon (a superior swap I think).
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.
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 😉 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?