Hello, hello! Right, this is it now. The last part – sorry if this has been a bit dull for some of you. But I wanted to do the recap justice as both Ben and I had such a brilliant time and we were were really grateful to have been able to have gone.
So after a very much needed sleep, we got up and had breakfast and headed to the meeting point for 9am for another interview-style talk.
The talk was with Liz Yelling (Martin’s Olympic marathon athlete wife and National Cross Country Championship winner four times) and Louise Damen who is an up and coming athlete aiming for the Olympics and also a National Cross Country Champion. Not bad!!
Tom Williams, from off-stage, started the ball rolling with asking them questions and then we got to ask them any questions. Again, like the Steve Way interview, it was fascinating.
Interesting bits from the interview:
- One of Liz’s ‘key’ marathon training runs is a 19 miler with marathon pace sandwiched either side of an interval session. *gulp*
- After a run Liz would refuel within 90 minutes with a balance of protein, carbs and fat. She said Martin would often make her scrambled eggs as soon as she walked in!
- Marathon pace at the beginning of training should be hard to maintain.
- Liz, a few years ago, saw a specialist who dissected her training and told her she was running hard all the time and so never properly recovering. Learning from this, Liz stressed having easy runs is just as important as hard runs as it gives your body time to adapt to the hard stuff which is essential for your training.
- Interestingly Liz says you should be, to some degree, dehydrated after a race. If you’re not then you’re carrying too much water.
- Louise does a lot of strength work to help with her posture and support her running, whereas Liz wouldn’t do as much.
Again the information was sometimes hard to grasp and get my head around. Clearly I won’t be doing that 19 mile session anytime soon – Jesus, just to run 19 miles would be great! But I mentally logged it for a few years time when hopefully I’m a more experienced marathon runner aiming for a better time.
After this we sorted out what groups we’d be running in our long run. I huddled in the 11 miler group and then between us we worked out paces. Unfortunately most people wanted to run 9.30-10min miles. I was aiming for 8-8.30min miles. Luckily a very nice chap called Carl was hoping for the same. So we hung together and then tagged on to a 16 miler group doing the same pace as the 11 miles was the same route as the 16.
We started off great: nice and easy and then got into it. It felt easy and I was happy running and chatting to the group. The wind was behind us and there were few hills. Martin flitted between our group and another which was nice. He took the below photo.
But then at mile five I started to struggle. The terrain started to become thick with mud and water. And suddenly a few more hills appeared. We had changed direction and the friendly wind was no longer that helpful. Yes I am making excuses – but I stand by them.
We then turned a corner and the wind was right in our faces. Our pace dropped significantly. As we continued on I started to lag behind. Oh sure this pace would have been fine and dandy pre-injury but in my current state of fitness, the terrain and wind rinsed me.
I felt my motivation drop and the demon on my shoulder got louder and louder: “Don’t bother keeping up, just have a nice run on your own”, “slow down”, “this is too hard for you”.
The guys were great and didn’t leave me behind and this made me preserve harder: I couldn’t let them or myself down. Between desperate gasps of breath I told them I didn’t usually struggle so much – I have a half marathon PB of 1:36:10!! They were very nice and said I’d be there again soon.
But seriously, my ego was demolished. It reminded me that I still have a way to go and not to get cocky thinking I was still as fast as I used to be. That long run put me in my place.
I practically crawled to the finish point. Carl was lovely and reassured me I hadn’t held him back (hmmm). But I was in pieces. That was not a long easy run. For me that felt like a tempo run. I staggered to our lodge, found I was the first one back, stripped my muddy wet clothes to my underwear and collapsed on the sofa with a glass of water. At that point I didn’t care who walked in!
Ben and our running club friend arrived about 20 mins later and we rushed to get showered and ready for our carvery which was at 1.30pm. Thankfully it had been pushed back to 2pm as so many people weren’t back (remember I only did 11miles). But we got ourselves a table and immediately inhaled the tiny bread roll everyone had at their place. Heaven.
Interestingly the average pace of my run was just under 9mins. In Ben’s group they were aiming for 9.30mins and averaged 10.30mins so I felt better that other people’s runs had been tough too. In fact the look on everyone’s face as they filtered in made it evident that people found it tough and they were shattered.
Then the food started coming. Beef roast. Not a usual meal for me, but bloody good.
Then Tom and Martin said they’d do a Q&A session on anything we wanted to know: running, training, show-related.
I can’t remember a lot of the questions that were asked. I think it was mainly focused on training. Oh an interesting point about the show that I didn’t know was that they don’t pay their guests. Apparently a few guests have asked for money but have always been fine when told there is no compensation.
I asked a question that had been bothering me. I said that as I was training for my first marathon every long run was essentially the longest I’ve ever done (well eventually anyway). Should I be thinking about marathon pace this, interval that, for those long runs? They reassured me that for your first marathon it is literally just running slowly and getting the body used to the time on the feet. When you become more experienced then you can jazz things up a bit. Tom said he felt exactly the same when he was training for his first and that I wasn’t to worry. Whew.
As we headed to leave I had to do that very sad and embarrassing thing of asking them for a photo. I just had to. And hey were so nice about it! They didn’t seem bothered at all or thought I was a weird creepy fan.
If they did another weekend I’d be there in a flash. I can’t recommend it enough. And if you don’t listen to Marathon Talk – start, because honestly it’s brilliant.
Obviously meeting Tom, Martin and Tony was amazing. But also being around a bunch of other people who you’ve never met before but all love running is just brilliant. You’re already on the same wave length. And seeing people do random stretches in normal clothes and people not thinking that’s weird made me smile!
I am proud to be a runner!
Do you listen to Marathon Talk? Or any other podcast? Any recommendations?
Have you ever met an athlete before?
What was your last hard run/workout?