This week I have actually managed to stick with the training schedule, albeit there were only three runs on it.
Again, I changed my long run from Sunday to Tuesday because Sunday I was doing the Boddington 10K. Got up early to avoid the heat of the day, unfortunately that means an increase in traffic, pretty much whichever route I take. The training plan called for 9-11 miles, the furthest I’ve ever run before in one go was last weeks long run of 8.5 miles. Feeling optimistic I decided to aim for 11, but be happy if I only made the 9. First mile was tough, as always, getting everything moving and for some stupid reason I decided to take the route where the first mile is uphill. Wasn’t too bad until mile 8 after which it became a battle between my legs wanting to stop and my mind determined to make at least the 9 miles. The mind won – woohoo! Final mileage 10.82 miles. I know, I should have done that little bit extra to get to 11, but I was at our front gate and the legs were having none of it.
Second session on the plan was 4-5 miles fartlek. If you’re not sure what that means (like me) it’s a Swedish word that means varying pace or intervals. So with heavy legs I headed to the gym. Still being new to this running lark, I find varying pace difficult. As far as I’m concerned I have one pace which is the one I happen to be doing at any given time. So trying to do intervals, I find it much easier to do it on the treadmill. Using the 2-speed interval programme I set the low speed to 6.0 (10:00 mins/km) which is a brisk walking pace for me, and the high speed at 11.0 (roughly 5:27 mins/km) faster than I could sustain for any period of time. I did 400m runs followed by 200m walks, fourteen times, with a short warm up and cool down, managing 5.3 miles. Sounds boring, but I quite like watching the line go round the running track – you know what they say about little things amusing little minds. I felt surprisingly good when I’d finished, though my legs certainly felt it. I find it funny how you can feel really up for going for a run and have a terrible time, and other times not want to go at all and find it easy and enjoyable. The mind/body connection is a complicated thing.
This week’s tempo (race pace) run was covered by Boddington 10K on Sunday. I was supposed to do my first half marathon back in January (before I was injured), but they had to change the date due to some road works. I couldn’t make the new date because of other commitments and so they offered us entry into an alternative race, and this was the one we had chosen.
The weather forecast for the morning looked horrendous with heavy rain, thunder and lightning. Luckily, the BBC weather app was proving as inaccurate as usual and as we headed up the M5 the sun was trying to shine through. After parking in a field next to the church, we collected our numbers from Race HQ (a small gazebo in the field) and headed to the start, a brisk kilometre and half away. It was only a small event of 64 runners, starting in a narrow lane by a man wielding a red plastic siren.
The route was 2.5 laps of a 3.537km loop on rural country lanes that were pretty flat, with just under a kilometre added on a different lane to the finish. The roads weren’t closed, but in such a small community I don’t think it really caused many problems either to the runners or the few residents who live there. The first lap was surprisingly good seeing as I always find the first mile or so hard going. There were a few little raindrops along the way and I had hoped that they might be a bit more substantial as it was warm and humid, but they stopped before they really even got started. The second lap seemed to be longer than I remembered the first lap being, but once we turned for the third time onto the main road back into the village I was nearly there – or so I thought. That last little bit that went to the finish seemed to be going on forever. Each time I turned a corner, surely I would be able to see it. Why were those runners that had finished and were walking back to their cars lying to me? Telling me I was nearly there, when clearly the finish was nowhere in sight.
Suddenly, to my relief it appeared, almost abruptly, and I had finished in 1:01:25 hours. I still have a little way to go to get back to my PB, but I was happy, it was faster than I had expected it to be.
This was a very well organised event, the route was well signed and had marshals at all the main junction points. There was a water station on the main lap just north of the start and just round from there, portaloos, toilets always being a concern when you’ve had four children and are about to spend the next hour jumping up and down. The marshals were all very friendly and supportive, as were the other runners. After the 10K there were marathon and 50K events on the same route, but with 11 and 14 laps respectively. Two laps were OK, but I think I would have struggled doing that many, especially with the roads not being closed headphones were not allowed, so nothing to distract from the repetitiveness. Nevertheless, a good 10K, with a small field, definitely one I would try again.
Anyone enjoy poetry? As part of the Skidrow Marathon screening, nursing student and poet Molly Case interviewed the runners about what running meant to them and used their answers to write the poem ‘I Run On‘. It’s a great piece which you can find by clicking the link. There are some other great pieces on there including “Nursing the Nation’ about nursing in the NHS and ‘Women’s Work’ as part of the First World War Centenary.
I have a couple of busy weeks coming up, so hopefully I will be able to fit the training in. Not long now until my first half.
Have a good week everyone.