With less than 5 weeks to go, I’m well into marathon training. It hasn’t all been plain sailing. This is the hardest thing I have done, so far.
I started training in July after my holiday. It all started swimmingly, I had a reasonable plan and even managed to include some other activities.
I slowly built up the miles and then went away for a weekend with Mr B. As usual I went along to a nearby parkrun, Boston (Lincolnshire not USA). The parkrun was 3 laps of slightly different lengths through trees and along the side of a river. It was quite nice and scenic, Mr B posted himself along various points to take pictures of me getting redder and less smiley. There was a fancy dress event and a lot of people arrived wearing grass skirts and leys, obviously a Hawaiian theme. I felt a bit under-dressed in my running kit.
This was definitely an undulating course, nothing too taxing. I plodded along as usual and when my watch buzzed at mile 1 I was stunned to see that I had done a sub 11 minute mile. I was expecting to slow down for mile 2 and 3 but, much to my surprise, I did another 2 sub 11 minute miles. My official time was 33:36, my best ever time. My previous best was in Wroclaw, Poland on 27th February 2016 with a time of 34:29. I was so excited, the marathon training was doing some good.
Then I did the daftest thing ever. Messing about, I jumped up a grass banking and felt a pop in my calf. I could barely walk for the rest of that day. Bizarrely, I could walk downhill ok but flat and uphill were agony. Well, bang goes the marathon training. Or not. I went to a prehab/rehab class run by a local friendly sports therapist and she taught me some cool moves http://www.clinicsportstherapy.co.uk. I practiced them at home and went to play on the cross trainer at the gym. After a couple of weeks I ventured back to running club and did OK. That was a relief.
The plan needed some tweaking due to having a couple of weeks off. I needed to catch up with my long run plan so I ran to parkrun to cheer on the couch to 5k graduates. I had 11 more miles to complete after parkrun to get the miles in. Cross Flatts parkrun is at the top of the hill so the rest was mostly downhill. That didn’t make it any easier though. I walked the last half mile or so, I could not run another step. But, I did it.
Midway through 15 miler
The following long run I had cycle back up, provided by Mr B. He rode ahead and waiting patiently with water. My route was on road to start, about 8 miles, mostly uphill. I planned carefully based on previous runs. 2 miles running and 5 minutes walking worked very well.
The route included a loop of St Aiden’s nature reserve and I had planned the route on Garmin and sent it to my watch. In true Binnsy style, I took the wrong path and ended up doing extra miles. I then headed out along the river back towards home. I looked at the side of the path and spotted a Yorkshire Pudding on the floor, what a waste! On closer inspection I discovered that it was actually a mushroom. I did consider having a taste to see if it would make me fly but decided the risk of dying was a bit too high so just took a picture instead.
Is it a Yorkshire pudding?No, it’s a mushroom!
8ish miles in.St Aiden’s
At mile 12 I bumped into a fellow Laker, we stopped for a hug and a selfie (of course) and carried on our merry way.
I was nicely plodding along admiring the wildlife and nibbling my energy bars and then at mile 15 I hit “the wall”. I really, really wanted to walk. So I did, for about 10 seconds until I heard a voice behind me! Bloody Lakers everywhere, it was Paul on his return journey. He pushed and cajoled me into running the next mile or so until we found Mr B waiting on a bridge, I abused and threatened him with every single step. Anyone that has ever run with me will know that pushing me will result in a barrage of bad language and threats to kill, rapidly followed by hugs and apologies once the torture is over.
The rest of the route was pretty uneventful. I arrived home and had actually run 17.7 miles. Furthest ever. I was rewarded with beer and food which of course, is the real reason that I run.
Beer.More beer.Super strong legs.Slightly disappointing food.