I was up early (the neighbours were erecting scaffolding) but the fog was lying pretty heavy and the route I planned to take is used by a lot of cyclists to commute into town so I waited until they should have all got to work before heading out on my ‘long’ run (fully high-vized up). A nice easy 8km out and back along the railway path, easing back towrads a full training schedule. Booked my place for the Bristol half marathon in September when I got back and worked myself up a plan for the 10k in May.
A sunny pre-breakfast run today, out before the UPS guys delivered my new macbook pro. Had to get the sunglasses on as I trudged the usual Monday route (with no interruptions). Computer arrived just after I had finished showering, so re-instated everything from my most recent back-up, ran updates, gathered data that was stored online but hadn’t been backed up (only one image lost, but I decided not to use it online so can’t have been any good) and then uploaded all of the runs from my GPS from the last week (and updated by blog posts to include them).
Today was supposed to be a t-shirt run, banking my 49th parkrun towards my 50 t-shirt. Given that I ran a half marathon just under a week ago (with a pb), I’m not sure how it happened that I ran just under 24 minutes, which I think is the first time I’ve been under 24 minutes in 2014. It slightly blows my Jantastic time target out of the water though which I had at 24:20, but I may well go slower in the following weeks 🙂 Emma took 10m out of me from the turn up onto the plateau which was impressive, but I managed to stay ahead and took a point or two out of her in the points table (she’s 109 points ahead of me though, so I’d need her to miss a week that I attended in order to pass her).
I finished 91st out of 282, 11th lady and 4th in my age category.
Well what do you know, the app didn’t freeze up on me. Maybe it likes Scaramanga Six better than Muse. A nice gentle 8km for my long run of the week (it seems ridiculous to have a long run of 8km after the half marathon training), finishing in the rain.
I’ve ditched all of my other exercise classes this week to focus on recover and am just running. So instead of a Body Pump Express class, a dynamic yoga class and a run it was just a run. A little bit faster than yesterday, but not full speed yet.
A shambling slow recovery run today after the exertions of Sunday. I wasn’t even sure I would be able to run. App crashed out on me just before the denouement of the mission, and no GPS results from the Garmin until I get a new computer (my old one died yesterday).
The Bath half was the proverbial tale of two halves.
It had already started raining when I got off the train and pootled over to the runner’s village, so I was worrying that my last minute decision to leave my lightweight running jacket and gloves at home so that I could take a recovery shake was going to bite me in the arse (it turned out that by the time the precipitation really started coming in I would have been too hot in a jacket and gloves anyway, though I didn’t end up drinking the shake after all). I’d brought along the hoodie that my roofer had left behind a couple of years ago and failed to pick up, paying it forwards to someone else after I discarded it at the start (they are collected for recycling). I also managed to weave myself quite a long way up in my starting pen (green, the second pen, so not that far from the start line).
It was the usual melee going across the start line with surprise barriers funnelling us away from the side of the road and over the timing mats. It was over 2 and a half minutes after the start that I finally crossed the line at a gentle jog (which is good for a mass start to a race if you’re not an elite athlete). The first kilometre or so is along quite a wide road and slightly downhill, so for once I found myself flying rather than stop-starting and having to duck and weave for space (which can be very tiring on the legs). Unfortunately I just couldn’t stop running at that speed. I was going far too fast, almost a minute per km faster than my target pace for the time I was aiming for (1 hr 50 minutes). But it felt good, and the road was clear with lots of supporters along the side (sorry Poggy, didn’t see you any of the times I went past the train station) and I was worried my GPS was looking a little low on battery power, so decided to see how long I could carry on at that sort of pace before aiming to drop back to my target pace.
I came through the 10k split at 51mins 25secs (my 10k pb is 47mins 57secs). I’d taken on a gel just beforehand in line with the fuelling strategy I had practised, but I had deviated from the fuelling plan a little by taking on some sports drink at around 7km as I’d not been able to pick up water from the previous station and it came before the next water station. The sports drink and gel didn’t play well and acted as a distraction for the rest of the race until my left glutei and ankle started vying for attention in the last 2 miles. I will stick to water next time if I am using gels – I know that works for me.
My back also started giving me some grief but I put on my big girl panties and zipped up my wo-man suit and set myself small targets to get through those last couple of miles. People were streaming past me at this stage (doing to ‘right’ thing and running a negative split, speeding up towards the end), and I knew that even if I went down to my easy pace that I should make it round in about my Bristol half time. So I found someone going at a similar pace to me and tried to keep with them. I told myself I’d just get to that next speed limit sign or traffic lights before I eased up. I kept high-fiving the little kids along the side of the road (the least you can do – standing out in the rain for three hours isn’t my kind of fun). I counted down the time left: 2 miles, well that’s 20 minutes tops I can last that long; 1 mile, only another 10 minutes; 1km, only 6 minutes max.
I didn’t notice the incline back up to the finish line (it has nothing on Ashton Court’s hill), but really hoped we were turning at the roundabout and not at Holbourne Museum. Alas it was not the case and the finish line looked a really long way away. I didn’t feel like a sprint finish as I had in Bristol, but there were a couple of guys about 20m ahead of me whipping up the crowd and they carried me home and over the line. The clock said 1:52:02, but my GPS said 1:49:22 and the official chip time was 1:49:24. So I made my target, but damn it hurt. I wouldn’t recommend going about it the way I did.
It was a long and slow procession back to the runner’s village, chatting with other runners. I got my photo taken and then headed over for ‘de-chipping’, going right down to the end of the line to the last lonely de-chippers, crouched on their stools in their rain ponchos, clipping off the wire ties that had attached the timing chips. Then it was off to retrieve my bag, get changed into some dry clothes and head back to the train station to stand on a platform, then stand on a train, then suffer the horrors of having to go down a flight of stairs then up another one to exit the station. Home for a very welcome hot shower, panda onesie and (later) pizza.
So yay, more bling, but done the hard way. At the end of the Bristol half marathon I wanted to do it again, at the end of the Bath half I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. Donations as always gratefully received for Cancer Research: Donate here.
Final run before the Bath Half on Sunday (sponsor me here http://www.justgiving.com/fak). I hid the GPS and ran at what felt like 90-95% race pace whilst firing up the half marathon playlist. If I maintain that speed on Sunday I’ll come round in around 1 hr 55 (so pretty much what I did last time in September), though I shouldn’t be having to stop to cross roads and restart apps. Hopefully the race day buzz and my own pride (and all of the carbs) will push me on to run just that little bit faster and to maintain it all of the way around.
App crashed out on me again, but that coincided with getting an email from one of my VIPs, so I’m going to put it down to that. Came home and tweaked my playlist slightly, adding in a couple of tracks to my warm up to get me pumped before I cross the line, and making sure my shuffle was fully charged up (and I can remember how to get to a playlist on it).
A nice little pootle along the river and back to remind the legs that they are supposed to run. I managed to get through a mission without having to stop and resume it too. Slow and steady and injury free.
The weather window opened up for us again and I was slightly regretting not wearing my sunglasses as I was blinded coming down the hill in the final km. Not too soggy underfoot and I took to the grass on the plateau for a slightly softer run (I don’t want to get injured before next week). Probably my last hard run before the half, though I may do a reasonably intense speedwork session midweek, it depends on how I feel.
Remarkably I passed Marie at one point in the final km, but she passed me back again almost immediately – I must work on a stronger finish. I also took a single point out of Emma. Volunteering next week will give me a nice 100 points though for the points table.
I finished 78th out of 269, was 12th lady and 3rd in my age category.