Last week my total mileage passed the 30 miles mark for the first time. I started Tuesday with 8 1/2 miles of hills: The route was decided on the hop, the one goal to go up as many hills as I could find around Glasgow’s West End (there is no shortage). It poured with rain, it was knackering and I loved it.
I woke up in the small hours of Wednesday morning with a throbbing right hip flexor, I couldn’t get comfortable and ended up retrieving the ice pack and going back to sleep with it clamped to my thigh (I’m not sure how I managed that either), my fingers crossed that it was delayed muscle soreness and not anything more sinister. It had mostly gone by Thursday, but I decided to miss the club run in case hill repeats were sprung on me, so headed out straight after work for an easy, flat 5 miles in sunshine. I think I absorbed more Vitamin D in that run than I have in the past 5 months.
Saturday was another wet Victoria parkrun, with the skies clearing mid afternoon. I checked the forecast for my Sunday long run and was promised, promised a dry morning, before the rain set in for the afternoon. Of course it was raining within 10 minutes of me leaving the house at 9am. I don’t really mind running in the rain, though I find it easier to get out of the house if it’s not actually raining as I do.
My plan was 13 miles and to try a slightly different route for once. I headed for the Forth and Clyde Canal, with a mostly circular route, except for one short 1.75 mile section that was out and back. That was at mile 8 by which time my right ITB was niggling and I felt like the run would never end. The doubts started to creep in – how on earth could I ever run this distance faster than I was just then? My pace goal, re-set last week after a fantastic tempo session was looking like a deluded dream.
I got home, got warm, got fed and things started to look up: The Edinburgh Half Marathon is still 6 weeks away and I won’t be running it at the end of my highest ever mileage week.
I spent the afternoon watching the coverage of the London Marathon not ever having done so before. I was surprised at how emotional it was: 89 year old men running their 20 something race, people who have survived cancer, or who are running to remember loved ones; and then aerial shots of the huge volume of people crossing the start line then passing the landmarks of London.
It was awe inspiring and not a little daunting: 26.2 miles is a long, long way, and there are many, many variables that mean a PB is never guaranteed. In preparing for my own first marathon, Loch Ness in September, I need to be mindful to keep my goals realistic, and not put too much pressure on myself. Just finishing will be one hell of an achievement.
This pearl of wisdom may also be true for my half marathon in May and should possibly be repeated to me at every opportunity!