7 days. 168 hours. 10,080 minutes. This is a summary of my running week. Ups and downs. Aches and pains. Feelings and emotions.
Distance: 27.41 miles | Time on my feet: 4:01.17 | Races: 0 | PBs: 0
Now that the cold looks like it’s going to be around for a while, it’s time to wrap up, knuckle down and get some solid miles in the bank but with two parties looming at the end of the week there was a real chance of having to drop my mileage…and that wasn’t something I wanted to do in a hurry.
Tuesday 13 December
Club run with strides. 7.59 miles. 1:04.50 (8:36/mile)
The cold wind gave extra impetus to throw in a couple of strides on Tuesday, not least to keep warm and get out of the cold quicker. The first stride came 3 miles in once the joints had been loosened up a bit and was almost exactly one a mile long. Helpfully one of the guys from the club threw down the gauntlet and lead the charge giving me something to aim for as he slowly pulled away. By setting a strong pace throughout, however, I was able to not only catch him but with an extra push overtake him just before the end of the road. These bursts of speed really are fantastic for when you then drop back, and the following 8:10 pace felt like a crawl in comparison. Another mile later and Derrick (the aforementioned pace-setter) challenged me to another burst, this time over half a mile with me leading and him giving chase. Of course I accepted, and easily enlisted Darren, another one of our posse, into joining in the fun as well. As we upped the speed Darren was off like a stabbed rat and soon Derrick was overtaking me and now chasing Darren. Although it was tempting to get drawn in, I maintained a reasonable pace until the last quarter, where I really dug in and got down to 5:37 pace (10.6mph) to not only catch and overtake Derrick again (sorry!) but also catch Darren – at least until he realised I was hot on his heels and pushed hard himself with 50yds to go. I had no idea how fast I was going on that second stride until I got home and checked my watch data and I am really pleased to be able to turn that kind of speed on as part of a 7.5 mile run. If nothing else, this gives me extra confidence for the next 5k race where hopefully I can kick even earlier and be confident that I can hold it for at least half a mile.
Very happy with the session and very grateful for the guys for giving me a target to chase 🙂
Thursday 15 December
Club run. 6.44 miles. 57:45 (8:58/mile)
One of the seldom discussed curses that many runners suffer is that which is merely referred to as “runner’s trots”. Now it doesn’t take a PhD or too much imagination to work out the gist of what this may be, but, avoiding any temptation for further graphic description, suffice to say I succumbed to this particular affliction about 3 miles into the run and as a result the second half of the evening was an interesting and uncomfortable game of “how soon can I get back to the club?”. I once read that “runner’s trots” was the body’s natural reaction to the “fight or flight” mechanism. Despite the fact that consciously you know full well that you are running for recreation, subconsciously the mind thinks running = you’re being chased by a tiger, and so makes every effort to jettison any excess ballast that would otherwise slow you down and jeopardise your chances of survival. Thanks very much, subconscious. The upshot of my uncontrollable survival instinct was that I had to unavoidably slow down and cut my run short and ended up doing half a mile less than I really wanted to. Not to worry – in the scheme of things everything worked out well.
Enough said about Thursday’s shenanigans methinks. <ahem> Moving swiftly on…
Saturday 17 December
Long run. 13.38 miles. 1:57:12 (8:46/mile)
Friday night was my work’s do and, with Saturday night reserved for a few sherbets with the Clee AC folks, as the week progressed I was beginning to wonder how/if I was going to fit in a run at all. Although I was convinced I’d taken things very sensibly on Friday night, the fact that I didn’t surface until 11am and in combination with my new-found inability to open both eyes at once told a very different story (did I really go all-in on my last game of Blackjack and hit a 1:21 natural..?) and all of a sudden both the Saturday night out and any chance of a run seemed like a little bit much to ask. Since starting my fitness regime I’ve become a real lightweight when it comes to alcohol. In fact an innocent, carvery-lubricating bitter-shandy is usually enough to make me want to take a nap. So, as the haze started to clear I left it as late as I dare before downloading a couple of tracks from the excellent Podrunner and headed out as dusk started to fall…
Amazingly, my head soon cleared and before the first mile was out I was trotting along at my marathon pace; 8:35/mile. I’d not run on my own for some time and it felt odd to run with music, but I soon settled into things and it was actually good to be able to let my mind wander off. As the miles passed I realised that I was maintaining the pace without any issue and so I decided to aim to complete the run as near to my target marathon pace as possible. My final time, and subsequent average 8:46 pace, included the inevitable brief pauses to navigate roads, crossings etc. so all said I managed to pretty much keep to pace for the whole 13+ miles. Towards the end, I was acutely aware of the fact that I’d fuelled my day on not much more than half a cup of tea and 3/4 of a cornish pasty and cometh the final straight I was more than ready for home and my customary Monkey Bath and pot of tea 🙂
Saturday night was fantastic too, by the way. Great night with great company – had a thoroughly enjoyable time and felt surprisingly good on Sunday morning. 2 nights out in a row…that’s me done for another year! 😉
118 days 10 hours 51 minutes to go…
Training well and truly firmly on track and feeling good. One more week and I think it’s time to review what has been a truly fantastic year!!