Sunday, 8 March 2015

Finchley20 - A 20-Mile Race....

The plan for this race was simple. This was my first 20-mile run in this training cycle so I had no intention of "racing". I planned to just get out there and run it easy at 10 minutes/mile. So that was the plan: 20 miles in 3hrs 20 minutes.
I only entered the race because it coincided with the 20-mile run on my training plan. And secondly I did not feel like doing my usual 4am run alone in the dark.
This turned out to be one of those races you know you'll keep relieving in your head for a long time to come.
I woke up early, had a big breakfast - a big bowl of oats, two slices of toast and cup of coffee - and set out early. I had to, every Londoner knows how notoriously unreliable trains can be to the Ruislip and Uxbridge on a Sunday morning. So I took the bus and Thankfully I got there on time, registered and waited, shivering in the cold. The forecast had predicted a little bit of warmth so I settled on shorts and long sleeve top. Mistake: the cold still got to me. But not to worry I did not have to wait for long.
The race started on time at 9:02 and we were off. It was an undulating route. The uphill parts didn't feel so bad at first but three laps later it was a whole different story! Phew!
Mile 1 flew past in 9:47. At that point it felt too slow - like I was crawling so I picked up the pace thinking let's see how this goes. Miles 2 - 5 I kept the pace between 9:15 and 9:18. Mile 6 - 11 the pace crept up to 9:01 - 9:10. Legs felt good and strong at this point. I broke out the first gel at 9 miles and one every 5 miles thereafter. I drank water to thirst.
I was enjoying myself. The last 9 miles I allowed the pace to creep up to 8:50 - 9:00 and held it there till the end.
I guess it does say a lot for the effectiveness of the marathon training plan I am following (The ASICS Plan for those targeting a sub 4-hr marathon) and also the state of fitness it has brought me to.
Finally I want to say a big thanks to Hillingdon AC for a brilliant race - great organisation. The marshals were absolutely brilliant. On my last lap I made sure I said thank you to as much of them as I could.
It was a great race and I had a great run.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Fears Of The Long Run.....

There was a time I did not think twice about doing a long run. No matter the distance or pace my attitude was bring it on. Lately I find myself obsessing over the long run. Will I complete that distance, can I hold that pace for that long, drinks or gels, are among the myriad questions that I ask myself.
Take today's run for example. I've been thinking about it all week. The plan called for 170 minutes run - the first 90 minutes @ 10 min/mile and the last 80 minutes @ 9min/miles. Tough one. And the questions have been flying thick and thin through my mind. Amazingly though it never crossed my mind to forgo the run. So 5:00am I'm on the road taking tentative steps in what would turn out to be a great run for me. I ran it a tad faster than planned - did the first 90 minutes@ about 9:51 and the last 80 minutes @ about 8:47. I was able to hold the pace. Legs felt strong; I just knuckled down and got on with it. The strategy for taking in gels and drinking (Lucozade sports drink) on the run went well. I had a gel after the first hour and one every 45 minutes thereafter. I drank to thirst.
There was one thing though that really got me going. After the first few miles a thought dropped into my mind that changed my attitude and got me going. The thought: "You will never know what you can or cannot do until you try!"
Like a friend of mine on dailymile commented after this run - I will file this one away as a huge confidence booster! I will remember this one!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Road or Trail

I'm awake. Normally the next thing would be to get into my gear and hit the road for my run. Not today. And that is because I am conflicted. Should I get out there now and run on road or should I wait for daybreak and then go out to the trails.
It's been a long time since I went out to the trails and truthfully it's been because I couldn't stand the thought of wading through mud, puddles and all. And let's not forget the hills. I didn't feel like tackling them. And lately it's been raining quite a lot. Mmmmm.... So what is it going to be - road (comfort zone) or trail (urghhhh...) and I can hear it raining outside.
I've got free time this morning so I'm dawdling. In the end the trail wins so I take myself out to Epping Forest for a slow easy run in the rain wading through puddles, stamping through mud, weaving through wet vegetation, dashing up hills ( I must be fitter than I thought!) And the irony? I loved every minute!