This weekend was a weekend of two halves I feel, weather-wise. Saturday was beautiful and then Sunday… ehhh less so.
On Saturday morning Kyle and I headed to Winchester to meet up with the lovely Emma. We’ve become good friends since I met her when I went to New York last year.
She’s also going to Chicago and doing the marathon this year. So we headed to do Winchester parkrun with her and then have some brunch. Happily parkrun was actually on this time as the last time we tried to do this it was cancelled.
It was a beautifully sunny day. I’ve done Winchester parkrun before, but at the end of running there from Hedge End with a group of my running club and we managed 18 miles in the end. So I wasn’t quite as fresh!
The course is a two lapper, which is always good, and mostly on grass. It’s flat and scenic and the loops not too sharp – if you were aiming for a good time it’s a good course to go for.
As I was planning a long run the next day I wasn’t aiming for anything more than a gentle plod. I haven’t run twice in a row for many weeks now, but as I was feeling so much better and my runs were going well I decided it was time to get back into my usual routine.
We saw Emma, listened to the run briefing (which was so hard to hear over the crowd of people and the woman just using her voice) and then headed to the start.
Kyle, not being quite as fragile as me right now, decided to go a bit faster so headed closer to the front. As we started I remember just how much I enjoyed parkruns when I wasn’t blasting out for a time. I mean it’s the story of my running life to be honest, anything short and fast is just not my thing.
It was really confident boosting though to realise that running around 8 minute miles felt like a breeze. My breathing was easy, I felt strong in my legs and like I could run for miles. As much as I was tempted to speed up significantly at the end (which I’m sure would not have felt easy or quite as enjoyable!) I managed to just sail through to the finish, unbothered by anyone zooming past me in a sprint finish. Control, Anna, CONTROL.
Kyle managed just over 21 minutes (holding himself back a little as he was conscious of his own long run the next day) and I got 23:30. Then we headed for brunch at Josie’s.
Kyle and I have been to Josie’s in Bishop Waltham before but not this one. It was a 20 minute wait for a table, which was fine. It just showed how popular it was! My stomach definitely kicked into gear though watching all the food coming out.
I managed to avoid the temptation of a fry-up and ordered mushrooms, egg and feta on toast instead. I’m glad I went for a change because this was so tasty! And super filling, surprisingly.
I mean it did also help that I shared a stack of maple pancakes with egg, sausage and bacon with Kyle as well. Details, details.
The pancakes here are super sweet, thick and incredible tasty. I’m not personally a huge pancake fan but sharing a portion hit the spot (I can only share food if I know I have more than enough!).
After having a lovely catch up with Emma we parted ways.
The next morning Kyle and I were up at 8.30am to head out for a long run. My plan was to run 15 miles and Kyle was to run 12. I was fully prepared to run less miles though if things felt off. I’m being suuuuuper cautious. We walked Alfie first and I started feeling nervous.
I always feel so nervous now before running. It’s ridiculous I know, but the memory of the injury and the fear of it coming back definitely haunts my running at the moment. But I needn’t have worried because as soon as I started running I felt it all slot into place and I was feeling good.
It was tipping it down though so we were wet pretty much from the get out. To be honest, I didn’t really mind though. It was fairly warm and it kept us nice and cool. The only annoying moments were if you stepped in a big puddle and soaked your trainer and my pony tail sticking to my back. But otherwise it was a lovely pleasant run. We did feel like quite the super heroes running with people looking at us like we were mad.
We passed a couple of other runners and swapped smug knowing nods – we are no fair weather runners. We are warriors.
We got to eight miles, where Kyle was to head back, making up his 12 miles, and I was to head onwards further to get my 15 miles. We stopped briefly for a quick photo and I waved goodbye and popped my podcast in.
As much as I love running with Kyle I do really enjoy running on my own. Just managing my pace however I fancy, zoning out and listening to a podcast. I will never get sick of it. I just love it so much.
The rain came and went a bit and I found myself getting stronger as the run carried on. There was an annoying long road that I ran down where cars hurtled through puddles, splashing me time and time again, but really I was so wet by then it didn’t matter.
My hamstring did niggle a bit towards the end, but manageably so, so nothing to worry about. I felt like this run was a lot more controlled and not quite as tough as the week’s before 15 miles. I sensibly didn’t blast the final miles which helped! So when I finished I didn’t feel quite as drained or broken.
The hot shower at home was so good. And the hot porridge and cup of tea went down a treat. Some things will never get old for me. Long running, porridge, tea… it just makes me a very content Anna!
So three weeks until Chicago now. I feel good… I mean of course I wish I had a few more week’s training under my Flipbelt and I hope the hamstring niggle eventually goes away completely but beggars can’t be choosers.
If I’m sensible in the lead-up and sensible on the day, I should be OK (TOUCH WOOD!!). I have no plans to blast the run or push myself too hard. I have nothing to gain from that. I want to be running after Chicago too and I don’t want to reignite any issues. I just want to gently and quietly tick this marathon off and then continue to run without issue afterwards. That to me sounds like perfection.
Do you enjoy running in the rain?
What’s your favourite pancake topper?