Marathon training plan is still relentless, mid way through week 12 of 20, with lots of hills sessions, which have proved really good for building my base strength and endurance. The fast running, threshold stuff has been OK but I prefer the hills as something I can actually “attack” , then mix road sessions with cross country races, for my club in the Southern XC League (7 rounds of circa 5 mile XC races which seemed to have got hillier and harder with each round!). In the mix are Pilates and swimming too, and I will ramp up the cycling from now on as well.
Long-easy runs have not featured as much as you’d expect, often due to XC races, and perhaps not enough as there has only been a 12, a 14 and had to abandon a 16 at 13 miles having been taken ill. Couldn’t work out what was going on as I got colder and colder and slower and slower as my run buddy, Amy, got more worried and convinced me (“…can’t stop yet, need to do the miles…” and other such helpful comments from me!!!) to stop early calling my partner, Debs, out to collect us. Nearly passed out on the run, in the car and actually did go for 1.5 mins at home…unhelpfully, in the bath! Turned out to be gastric flu and I was actually soooooo pleased to realise I was ILL! Not a problem with nutrition, hydration, sleep or over training. A few days off work, and an actual rest from any training seemed to do me the world of good and I’m now nicely back on training plan without trying to “catch up”.
Few “long miles” meant that I was more than nervous in the run up to the Bramley 10-20 where I was doing the 20 mile race, having never run beyond 16 miles before. More than nervous means, for the first time in 2 years of running, I was just plain scared. Would I survive to finish? Could I do the distance? What pace can I do? Will I get preparation, nutrition and hydration right? So, a tough prep but once we got going I absolutely loved it, treating each mile as its own little race, in lovely weather, chatting to some great people and being oblivious to the overall time and daunting distance. It was great, I did it, and did it just 6 secs a mile average outside my (current) marathon target pace. Sorry Ben (at Full Potential), I didn’t go the first 12 miles as an “easy” but did all 20 at marathon pace!!
It worked, I learnt a lot on hydration (not quite enough) and nutrition (gels every 45 mins after a good, porridge breakfast) and I really don’t like a well known brands’ elite jellybeans. Getting nutrition right is vitally important so that my body can work well and I get the best marathon experience and time. For training and race preparation I am always looking at fitness and nutrition products and would be delighted to try any in exchange for a product review. Overall, Bramley has given me massive confidence and renewed enthusiasm for the challenge.
Why renewed? Because I got massively de-motivated. To be able to do what I am planning to do with running in 2015 I have had to change things in my life as there just isn’t time for everything with a very demanding job:
1. Stopped racing karts with Club100 as my feet and legs now have too much invested in them to risk a silly crash.
2. Went “dry” in January and, by and large, that continued into Feb with just a couple of drinks in the month. April will certainly be “dry”
3. The big and emotional change…the de-motivator! Two years ago my partner and I started a running club which has grown to nearly 80 runners registered with England Athletics and is mostly made up of great, positive and friendly people. In any group like this you always get negativity, moaners and lack of volunteers. I’ve held it all together as Chairman, Secretary, Membership Sec and kit-man, with 1-2 others, for so long that it just became a massive boulder that I was pushing up an increasingly steep hill. Lots of people had been saying for ages that I should step away from all the negativity and concentrate on training, racing and my “awesome year”. Hard to do when so much time, effort, hard work and emotion have gone in but I’ve done it and, hopefully, the club will move on to a stronger place.
Whilst, in many ways, this has been a positive step it drained me emotionally and running just had many negative feelings attached it. If it hadn’t been for the London Marathon and raising money to help Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research fight and beat blood cancers then I would have stopped running altogether! It has take an few, fantastic, trusted people and some enjoyable runs like cross country races and my training plan to get me mentally back on track. Totally out of character, in running terms it is now all about me and doing the best job round the streets of London, and raising that money.
So, a bit of a roller-coaster, but now really positive. I know what I enjoy with running, I know what I want to achieve for others and me and I know who I can trust and who gives me great support…like Debs, Amy, Libby, some great guys from the Club, Full Potential, L&LR and my brill sports physio, Vicki, from The Body Reset Clinic.
Just eight weeks to go to VMLM2015, and I absolutely can’t wait!