Day 78 – Monday 19th March
Rest Day! This is strange. I’m used to doing a recovery run; but I welcome this with open arms. The weather was bitter and the wind made it feel even colder. I was glad not to be running today. I went along to my usual Monday morning yoga class and spent the rest of the day working on client training plans and content for my blog. I took the evening off and went to the cinema with James. I think this was my first Monday off of work for over a year! Ready to take on the week ahead. My diary was full on and I had a lot of work planned out so knew I would need to have an evening off in preparation.
Weekly Mileage Total – 0 miles
Day 79 – Tuesday 20th March
I LOVED today’s session. I started my mile warm up and my legs felt good from having a rest yesterday. I then had 3 sets of intervals to complete. Each set I got quicker on and I managed to hit target pace or was quicker than needed to be! The last set was tough but the last interval was much quicker than it should have been – so that may have been why 😉 I finished with a mile cool down and lapped up the endorphins. Once I uploaded my run to Strava, the run was made even more sweeter when I realised I had won a segment too. Woo!
Weekly Mileage Total – 5.75 miles
Day 80 – Wednesday 21st March
An hour easy recovery run. I met up with Maria for a run from the Dons Stadium and we headed up to Furzton Lake and headed back after 30 minutes for a nice out and back route. We chatted for the whole 60 minutes about marathons, tactics, races and just general running stuff. It was nice to have some company so I was really thankful for this. 7.15 miles done and dusted.
Weekly Mileage Total – 12.9 miles
Day 81 – Thursday 22nd March
5 miles aiming for 7:15 pace today. This was my half marathon target pace last September so I was hoping that this would feel OK. I went up to Willen Lake – three lakes in three days and completed a half mile warm to wake my legs up. I forgot in warmer temperatures that the lake has the small midges flying about. I think I may have swallowed a couple urgghh.
Mile 1 – 7:21
Mile 2 – 7:21
Mile 3 – 7:17
Mile 4 – 7:16
Mile 5 – 7:09
Not a bad effort I’d say. I can’t admit it felt comfortable, my legs felt heavy and tired after teaching double core class last night. But it felt relatively OK. The miles seemed to tick by nicely. Another half mile cool down brought me up to 6 miles for the day.
Weekly Mileage Total – 18.9 miles
Day 82 – Friday 23rd March
Rest Day. A full on day in the studio and an early start meant I will still active throughout the day. My best friend got the keys to her new house so I went over to see it and also help to begin stripping some of the walls. That was enough of a workout in itself!! I was feeling the effects today of four 5am starts in a row.
Weekly Mileage Total – 18.9 miles
Day 83 – Saturday 24th March
Today was meant to be another day of rest, however, James wanted to check out the new parkrun close to his brothers house. Sixfields Upton in Northampton. I was going to take this easy, but on the start line, James told me not to allow his brother to beat me. I love a bit of competition so of course could not allow this to happen.
The start is on a narrow path so I found it difficult to get a good pace to begin with. I soon realised there were no other females around me so tried to kick on to get a good position. Half a mile in I found Matt and was able to keep the pace and chat to him. 1 mile flew by in 6:36. I was impressed with the time to decided to put in a surge and see if Matt would follow me. He didn’t. So I carried on and got progressively quicker. Finishing in 20:19, 9th place and 1st lady. Mad to think that this time last year I only just about beat 23 minutes after a year of trying, but today could run 20 minutes and feel strong!!
We had a chilled evening ahead of the race and carb loaded well on a delicious roast dinner (perks of a boyfriend who is a chef). An early night ahead of the big day tomorrow.
Weekly Mileage Total – 23.4 miles
Day 84 – Sunday 25th March
This was the first race of its kind and I was looking forward to this after Oakley being cancelled last weekend. We headed over to Bedford around arrived around 50 minutes before the start, but the lack of toilets meant we spent most of this time queuing for the loos. If it wasn’t a training run, I would have panicked. But my plan was to go easy for 15 miles and then try and increase the pace for the last 5. We made it to the start line in time and were soon off.
My fuel plan was a gel at every 5 miles, so 5, 10 and 15 and knew that my amazing Sue would have a bag of red jelly babies at Mile 12 waiting for me to retrieve, to see me through to the end.
On a Sunday club run, my easy pace is around 8:20 – 8:40 and I run anywhere between 8:10 – 8:30 on easier mid week training runs so the plan was to be around 8:20s. The first mile clocked at 7:53, oops, a little faster than planned. I tried to hold back but just couldn’t and felt really good. My thoughts were to keep to this rhythm and see how I get on. ‘If you blow up later, it’s your own fault, but at least give it a go’. It was nice to see a few familiar faces on the course and the first few miles ticked by nicely.
3.5 miles in, it was time for water stop one and my hug with Sue!! I stopped for water (plastic cups!!!) and then continued on. Mile 5 ticked by nicely and I took my first gel. At mile 6 I was told by one of the marshals that James had dropped out. I started to panic and my thoughts were hoping he was OK. He had been unwell the night before so in hindsight on a normal day wouldn’t run, but marathons make us do mad things, right? I thought to myself, ‘what would James want me to do in this situation?’. I immediately knew he would not want me to worry and to focus on my own run. So that’s what I did and deep down knew he would be OK. Mile 8 passed and I thought I was starting to flag, but we had hit a muddier part of the course by this point, so could have been that taking it out of my legs. Just under 10 miles in, we went through the start line and there was James with many other Redway to cheer us on. I got a huge boost and surge of energy knowing he wasn’t injured or hurt. Half way point and feeling good.
By mile 11 I had caught up with Charlie, who trains with James on Tuesday evenings. I have met Charlie a few times before at previous races so we got chatting away about the London Marathon and some crazy adventure he’s attempting – something like 100 miles in 5 days. Mad! We passed Sue again and I was handed my red jelly babies – sugar rush woo!
After this point we ran past some of the other runners going in the opposite direction, so this was great to wave and cheer on others, many from the club too.
Mile 15 and the next water stop. I saw one of my clients Debs and gave her a big kiss and hug. Michelle (MGB) then taunted me for snogging people and to stop messing about and carry on with my run. I stopped for water and tried to make a joke of it (in front of an audience!!) saying ‘it’s alright, I’ve already been with Sue twice today’. Unbeknown to me, James was waiting a few metres away and had caught me doing all of this!!!! I yelled ‘Oh Sh*t, coach is watching’. This also got a few laughs from other spectators. This gave me another boost and it was now game time to kick on. Charlie gave me the go ahead and to continue without him at this point. I was also about to get progressively quicker too; 7:24, 7:28, 7:15, 7:01, 7:07 and 0.35 at 6:51. Must admit, I didn’t stop off for any hugs, kisses or water at this point 😉 Mission accomplished, easy 15 and kicking on for the last 5 miles! Bossed it.
I couldn’t believe how strong I felt and I even managed a huge sprint finish. BUZZING. The race couldn’t have gone any better for me and is such a confidence boosting run ahead of London.
I would highly recommend this event to anyone training for a Spring Marathon. A bit muddy in places, but a flat course and the support was amazing. A nice T-Shirt and medal at the end too.
Time for tapering to begin yessssss.
Weekly Mileage Total – 43.8 miles
Total Training Mileage – 505 miles