Distance: 15 miles
Time: 2 hours 10 mins
Total ascent: 945 feet
Snooty cyclists: 0
Friendly cyclists: Lost count at 6
Other runners: 1
Poo stops: 1
Pee stops: 1
Time to marathon: 2 weeks and 2 days
Yesterday's run was fantastic and probably the most critical run in my disjointed training. In trying to bounce back from two weeks rest from running, I am having to get the balance right between pushing myself a little and at the same time avoiding an injury through over-doing it. So far so good.
After my unplanned rest, my strategy has had to change from beating last year's time to one of getting around the 26.2 miles - and it's looking better all the time. So, short of any unforeseen banana skins I'm feeling very optimistic. As blog reader H puts it, mental stamina is important alongside physical stamina in these situations and I think he's right.
Okay, so to yesterdays runI thoroughly enjoyed it. As so often happens these days, I seem to take longer to warm up and the first 2 or 3 miles were the hardest. I felt stiff and ran awkwardly. So after a few miles I was aware my 'form' was improving and my stride was becoming more natural - that's the thing about running - because it's a simple thing it is easy to become 'in tune' with your body and appreciate how it's working. I kept to a fairly flat-ish course and probably 98% was on roads. I did this because I was wanting to cover a good distance and not do any hill training as my cardiovascular capacity is good but my legs need to get used to the longer distances.
My legs and ankles felt just a little achey yesterday after the run. That's the whole point of training - push yourself and allow your body time to heal and rebuild itself a little stronger each time.
Things that caught my eye
It was an early morning run - bloomin' cold when I set out. Looking down in a valley I could see clouds gradually clearing, just like the above photograph. It was nice, wish I'd had a camera as there were some stunning views with the sun's rays shining through the trees.
All the cyclists I saw were road types on decent looking bikes and dressed for a serious ride. Perhaps it was the lovely weather as each of them greeted me in a friendly way! I did feel for the one other runner I saw. I spotted him walking up a hill and he started to run a little when he saw me coming down towards him. He was a bit red faced, tired looking and over dressed. We said "hi" as we passed. I could see myself being like that just a few years ago.
Seeing the countryside coming into life is lovely. Trees and hedgerows are now showing signs of springing into life, farmers are clearly busy, birds are nesting and it feels so great. We have had another horrible winter (which I have moaned about many times recently) and slowly things are looking brighter. That fills me with real positive optimism which much to look forward to.
I think I ended up running at my normal pace, although I was intending to go long-and-slow. Some of you might be saying it was a short-and-very-slow run! I suspect I'll need to concentrate and maintain a slightly slower pace to have an enjoyable consistent run in the marathon but it's hard when you're being swept along by the atmosphere and on a fast, flat course.
I was thinking about a marathon runner I heard being interviewed on the radio recently - she is 85 and has run over 20 marathons, having started at the age of 54. That was struck me as being impressive. Listening to her on the radio was inspirational as she didn't sound anywhere near 85 and so I hope I'll be in a similar situation when I'm 85!
Amazing how quickly the 2 hours 11 minutes went!
My favourite running shoes are feeling a bit flat and past their best. I had lost track of how old they are and worked out they're over a year and will have pounded well over 500 miles. I need some more and will get something sorted soon. Just in case you're puzzled, 500 miles is the norm for a pair of running shoes even though they will look as if there's plenty of miles left in them.