So next Sunday I’ll be running the Manchester Marathon.
As I’ve only just run the Barcelona Marathon a few weeks ago I didn’t really need to do any crazy long running but I did want to do a kind of top-up run. So my plan was to do a 16 miler two weeks out, and then 13 or so miles the week before (which is usually what I normally do in a marathon lead-up).
The Eastleigh 10k was the Sunday of my planned 16 miler and in usual Anna fashion I decided to tag on some extra miles onto it (10 lol) to make it into 16. God forbid I actually try racing a 10k eh 😉
Kyle was also down to run it and was going to give it a good blast as he much prefers the shorter stuff, but unfortunately he got struck down with what I had the week before so was barely in a fit shape to plod it let alone race it. He was still keen to run it though – men, eh!
The day before, Saturday, I went to Netley to celebrate my friend Mike’s 200th parkrun. OK not strictly speaking a “real” milestone for those parkrun sticklers but still a good reason to have cake. Kyle sensibly stayed in bed while I headed out. It was a shame for him not to join but realistically it was for the best.
At parkrun it was the “Marmite course”, which is basically five laps around a cricket field because of a caravan event on the normal course area. I groaned inwardly when I realised… this was going to be dull.
The day before I’d done quite a tough legs day so I wasn’t feeling a fast run – which really is the only thing that makes the Marmite course somewhat bearable.
Happily Mike wasn’t thinking of a fast run either, having fully beasted himself the weekend before in getting a new half PB. So we decided to run together and have a nice catch-up.
The weather was lovely but it was dull running.
I was glad to have Mike there because running around in circles on my own would have been utterly boring.
My time was 22:46. I’m happy with that! Little bit of a blast on the final mile but nothing crazy.
And then it was time to clear down the course and enjoy some cake. As there were a few people celebrating different events (Mike’s 200th, my other friend Sheryl’s 300th and another guy’s 200th) there was A LOT of cake.
Mike had made a few batches – one for handing out straight after parkrun and a secret batch for people who went to the cafe, excellent idea!
Of course I did need a little something while I helped clear down… a Rolo blondie. Delicious!
And then of course some salted caramel brownies, jam flapjacks and Sheryl’s delicious carrot cake.
Washed down with a cup of tea and a good natter. A lovely (albeit sadly Kyle-less) parkrun morning.
The next day Kyle decided he felt somewhat better to do Eastleigh 10k. He wasn’t going to race it however, which was sensible. I was going to get up a bit earlier, drive a few miles up the road and park my car, then run the rest of the way (10 miles) to the start and then meet Kyle and my dad there.
Surprisingly the plan went perfectly. I managed to make it to the start area with about 10 minutes to go. There was a somewhat precarious moment (which brought me flashbacks of when I tried to run to Eastleigh parkrun and got terribly lost and arrived 10 minutes later having run two extra miles) but I managed to tag along to someone else running that way. Whew! Never depend on your half brain Anna, I think is the moral of these stories.
My dad and Kyle had brought my Hedge End Running Club vest so I could swap tops and then I was ready to go.
We decided to position ourselves between the 45 minute and 50 minute pacer (who incidentally was Mike). There were lots of friendly faces from my own club and other clubs who I knew which was nice. Eastleigh is a very popular race because it’s so flat and usually part of the HRRL league. I’ve never actually done it though.
Kyle was feeling a little better and I told him if he wanted to go ahead that was fine by me. I wasn’t feeling it in my legs to go fast having just run there. Kyle was actually pushing the pace slightly too fast for my liking and I was relieved when he pushed off. Not because I didn’t want to run with him but because I didn’t want to either hold him back or feel pressured to run faster (he wouldn’t pressure me of course but I’d feel the need to keep up).
He disappeared into the distance and I relaxed into a pace where I could just turn my brain off and just enjoy the miles. I wasn’t listening to music or anything and it was nice to literally watch the world go by.
The support on the course was excellent. So many people out in force shouting and cheering, and of course my dad got himself to different areas. It was really nice for him to be there.
The course is indeed very flat and fast. I mean Eastleigh itself isn’t exactly the greatest place to run round in terms of scenery but it’s a great race if you’re looking for a fast time.
It was lovely weather as well which certainly helped. There was a tricky moment with one of the roads still being open to cars and we had to navigate through some traffic which I thought was a bit odd, and one short incline, but otherwise it was a good race. I was getting stronger and faster by each mile and marveled at just how quickly 10ks flew by (of course).
On the final mile there was a rather annoying man cycling along cheering people on. Well, I say cheering, it really wasn’t “cheering”. It was more like coaching. He was shouting – really shouting – things like “keep your arms swinging”, “keep breathing”, “get your legs turning over”. As he was cycling slowly next to us I couldn’t get away and it was actually really annoying.
I don’t mind people trying to push you along but this was full-on “how to run 101”. On the final section of a race it’s not exactly what you need. I muttered “oh please go away” in frustration and several people around me agreed. Not the time for this!
Anyway, the final sprint was through a park area and almost like a tunnel of people, which was a huge boost. I finished in 47:18 with an almost royal flush negative split.
Damn that 5th mile!
Kyle finished in the very stellar time 45:46.
He pushed himself a bit, but not overly considering he was still ill.
So a successful 16 miler for me. A nice plod to begin with in the 10 miles and then a bit of a push for the 10k. I love doing long runs like that. It breaks it up so nicely and you do tend to push yourself more than you would if you were just running the entire thing on your own.
Have you ever run while ill?
Do you enjoy tagging a race on to the end of a long run?
What milestones do you celebrate at parkrun?