Another week gone and another positive one with regards to my marathon training. It’s been a tough week but I have been pleased with how my body, and my mind (!), has coped with these arduous sessions.
On Sunday, I ran the furthest distance I have ever run before. 18.5 miles!! When I first started running, I never envisaged I’d ever run this far. Ever. I still can’t quite believe it! I plotted out a route the night before. It was a figure of 8 route which incorporated most of the route that I’d done the previous week. Ali would be meeting me in Waverton, the 4 mile point, so that she could get a long run in too. As I set off at 8am, it was already warm but I was in good spirits. The miles ticked away and I made a real effort to keep to a 10 min/mile pace. Having Ali join me was a real boost and made the miles slip away that bit quicker. It proved to be a hilly route but there was no point where I felt that it was too much and I felt comfortable throughout the run. It was a real boost to my confidence as we passed the 18 mile point still feeling good. During Ali’s London marathon training, I’d really struggled during the 18 miler that I accompanied her on back in March. So, this run was good for eliminating that psychological 18 mile barrier.
During this run, I used one sachet of SiS Go Energy gel. I’ve experimented with a few different gels and this is the one that works best for me. It’s bulkier than some others, and just squeezes into my gel belt, but you don’t need to take water with it and the consistency and taste is very palatable. Unlike some of the thicker gels out there.
On Tuesday, I made the last minute decision to enter the Lambfoot Loop 10k which is organised by Derwent AC. My legs felt OK and it was an excuse to have an evening out with the other half while mum looked after the girls.
After registering, we made our way to the start and had plenty of time to prepare ourselves for what lay ahead. Or so we thought! I don’t think anything could have prepared us for the hill that awaited us just after mile 2!
It was a steady start and I soon settled into a comfortable pace. The first 1.5 miles saw a gradual climb but I managed to keep a decent pace (for me!). There then followed a blissful downhill before we turned left on to a single track road and hit *the* hill. And what a bloomin’ hill! I was determined to run the whole way and so I gritted my teeth and dug in, focusing only a few metres ahead. I kept plodding away, helped by the fact that I was part of a group who were all digging in determined to conquer this beast. Eventually, we made it. I couldn’t believe I’d run the whole way. It wasn’t quick and it certainly wasn’t pretty, but I did it!
The downhill to the finish was devine and I was relieved to still be able to feel my legs working away and ticking over nicely to the finish, even managing to pick up the pace from 400m out to finish strongly.
Rewarded with a pen and energy drink, I waited for the other half to finish.
It wasn’t long before Tristan came storming to the finish line. But he just kept going! I thought he was running off to find somewhere to be sick, so nasty was that hill! I later found out that he’d forgotten to start his watch and, determined to record a full 10k distance, he’d had to keep on running! It was a lovely evening and I love the fact that myself and the other half can share our enthusiasm for running. It’s great motivation!
The Lambfoot Loop was one of the toughest 10ks that I’ve done so far but the event was well organised and the marshalls were brilliantly encouraging.
On Thursday, another warm day. I went out to Carlisle for the club run. A gentle run round Carlisle would be a good way to shake off any tightness left over from Tuesday’s 10k. Unfortunately, the club run proved to be hill reps. And not just any hill reps, but continuous hills. This has got to be the hardest club session. It involves running up a hill as hard as you can for one minute and then getting back to the start within 90 seconds. It’s super tough because it’s such a short recovery. We had a 3 mile warm up to the hill and then we did 8 reps. It was so hard and, with it being so hot, it was really uncomfortable. However, my legs weren’t protesting as much as I thought they might and so I dug in. It really helps having the coaches shouting out and encouraging you as it makes you find that little extra within and push yourself out of the comfort zone.
After what seemed like eternity, the session was over and we had a 3 mile cool down run on lead-like legs.
After a tough week, I aim to ease up a bit next week. I’m planning on doing 20 miles on Sunday followed by two gentle 3-4 mile runs during the week. On the 9th June, I am taking part in the 22k Great Trail Challenge. This will help assess how my training’s going and increase my off-road mileage.
Overall, I’m feeling fitter and stronger than I have for a long time and I just hope I can make it to the start line in July injury free and as prepared as I can be. I am so excited at the prospect of completing the marathon but also hugely daunted by what lies ahead of me.
Last week I made it into the local paper. It was Dementia Awareness Week and so I was in describing the reasons as to why I’m undertaking the Lakeland Trails marathon. You can read the report here