I kind of shot myself in the foot last week, by slacking on my training until Saturday. Yeeeah, you read that right – Saturday. You can tell I’m a first-time marathoner. I did go to Pilates on Monday, which was good, though I discovered that my core strength is pretty much non-existent .. I guess I started at a good time!
As for running, Prezzo won over my short run on Tuesday, and I’m not sure what happened the rest of the week (well ok, rain and cold on Friday meant I chickened out of my medium run). I hauled myself to the gym on Saturday for my 8-miler, and it went ok. It didn’t feel great, not surprising given that I hadn’t run in about a week, but I finished it. It reminded me how much I hate running in the gym – it’s always so hot and stuffy!
Sunday, it was time for my 16.5 mile long run. I was pretty nervous beforehand, given my lack of training the week before, but I was determined to give it a go. I set out at about half 10, and it was fairly cold and cloudy but dry. By mile 4 I had warmed up and was feeling quite good – this run took me on a new route through a couple of nearby villages that I hadn’t visited before, and included some woodland, which was really lovely and took my mind off the distance. I ran a 7-mile figure of 8, with a loop of the park added to the end, which meant that I could cut my run into roughly 4-mile segments. I stopped off as I passed home at 7 miles, to refill my bottle with some sports drink, take a gel, and put some extra vaseline on a couple of my toes (yeah, blisters, fun times). It was at this point that I noticed a sharp pain in my lower back – it was tender to touch, and I couldn’t bend forwards very far. The muscle was extremely tight and sore.
The second half was much tougher than the first. The temperature was dropping, the wind was picking up, and the previous day’s 8-miler meant my legs really struggled on the hills. My energy was ok, but I was hurting. By 12 miles, my left knee started to niggle – this started during my 14-miler, but healed in the weeks since – and it got more and more painful over the last few miles. By 14 miles, my left foot, right ankle, and right hip decided to join the fun. My lower back was now in constant pain. When I hit 14.5 miles and went into the unknown, I was feeling quite negative. I hobbled up a particularly long (but shallow) hill, and a small boy and his Mum (and what I assumed was his brother) were coming towards me. As they passed, the young boy loudly exclaimed ‘GOD, how SLOW are you running!?’ Needless to say, in the state I was in at this point, I took that comment pretty hard. It was with great difficulty that I refrained from throwing my half-empty gel at his face. I did give him a glare, as well as his Mum, who said nothing to him! What is wrong with some people!?
Unfortunately, from then on I was unable to focus on the fact that I was running further than I had ever managed before – instead, all I could think was ‘Why on earth am I bothering? I’m clearly rubbish, and I hurt, and I’m cold, and I’m tired, and I’m never going to get to 26.2 miles. Ever.’ For the last two miles I was on the verge of tears, though I couldn’t give just one reason for it. I think it was a mixture of the fatigue, the pain, the discomfort, and a severe blow to my confidence.
(Man, you can tell where the hills and the pain kicked in!)
I finally got home, finishing 16.17 miles in 3h02 (including walking breaks, which I didn’t pause my band for – my 14.3 miler averaged a slower pace than this, and I paused the band during the walking breaks, so that’s progress!) and after a hot shower, a long stretch, lots of water (including a really cool Hi5 hydration tablet that dissolved in water and bubbled everywhere, turning the water pink .. and tasted like Refreshers!!) I was feeling a lot better. Looking at the stats, I felt really good. Despite a number of walking breaks, and niggles, I averaged an 11:13 pace, putting me on track for a sub-5hr marathon. This is assuming I run the marathon faster, which I think I will – the course is flat, I’ve got another month of training to go, the weather should be better, and I won’t have run 8 miles the day before!
So my weekly mileage, spread very unwisely over just 2 consecutive days, was 24.1 miles. I won’t be slacking again – this weekend calls for an 18.5 mile run, whilst the following weekend will be 20 miles. Given how painful 16.1 miles was, I don’t know how I’m going to add an extra 10 miles on top .. I guess I’ll find out.
Total weekly mileage: 24.1
Weeks to go until Brighton: 5 (!!!)