I left off last week tired and a little annoyed at having bunched what was a string of fairly tough sessions together over four consecutive days, and it turned out that just one rest day wasn’t enough. Walking home from the station on Tuesday evening my legs felt odd. It was difficult to pinpoint a pain, and nowhere in particular felt as though it was suffering or sore, but they (right leg predominently) just felt weak. Coming up the hill I was sure I would end up going over on my knee, or that my shin would give way. Whatever it was, there was no way I was going out.
I tried some deep freeze and compression socks over night, and actually felt better in the morning. Wednesday evening rolled round though, and whilst not so bad as the night before, there was definitely something there. In a very sensible (OK, mildy sensible) decision I came to the conclusion that a tough hill set was out of the question but thought that I would head out for a few nice easy miles to see how I felt. On the whole I felt pretty comfortable with just the odd niggle. I was pretty happy with 10min/mi for about 3 miles whilst avg. HR kept really nice and low.
Thursday evening I set out on my steady run, although didn’t quite do the full 5 miles planned. A comfortable 4 & a bit in 35 minutes. Knee was a little iffy, but with a rest day on Friday I was unconcerned.
Roll on Saturday….
Alma picked me up to head off to Banstead Woods parkrun, having also convinced one of her twin boys to give it a go too. My plan for the morning really was just to see how everything felt and go by feel. I also took a little sneaky trick with me – I packed my headphones.
I don’t think I have ever raced with music. I enjoy being part of the atmosphere, and somewhere beautiful like the woods I don’t think you need music for inspiration. Now, when I am am running on my own I will always have MarathonTalk or (more recently) TalkUltra, these are especially important on my long runs as I find the conversation helps maintain my pace and also breaks up the monotony.
Anyway, Saturday morning I decided to see what The Offspring could bring me in terms of PB. The whole run felt great, I was working hard, but singing along in my head – saving me from thinking too much about my legs. All the while I was keeping an eye on Eduardo and the average pace (aiming for about 7:35min/mi for a PB).
I came into the last 200 meters overtaking another guy I had been swapping positions with over all of the last lap, and felt a slight surge took me clean past him and away.
I was going for home but was suddenly aware of someone coming up quick alongside me. I pushed a little harder, but he overtook me. The final 30 meters or so was an all out sprint finish, I was absolutely giving it all I could, I buried myself, but he had me on the line and took 48th place to my 49th.
It’s not often one can brag about chasing boys through the woods, but on Saturday morning I was outkicked by a JM14 kid from the Oxted School group who descend on parkrun every now and then :-(
What it did mean though, putting in that effort at the end of the run, that I stopped my watch at sub 23 minutes and had an agonising wait for the official text to inform me off my time and then suddenly, there it was:
22:59. First time ever below 23 minutes in a 5km run. I wouldn’t have dreamt that even possible not all that long ago. I was so chuffed.
As a nice little treat, it was a good morning for all involved. Shaun managed a 24 and change time for his first ever parkrun (damn those young whipper-snappers), and as we met Louise (Abradypus) at the start, she tagged along with Alma and helped her to achieve a new PB just a handful of seconds off sub 30. I am pretty sure when she gets somewhere a little flatter, that that 30 minute barrier will get smashed!!
Louise is a bit of a parkrunning phenomenon, having completed 60 something parkruns, at 50 something different venues including one in Iceland, and is off to Poland in a fortnight for one of their new runs.
I think the plan next weekend is for a little more parkrun tourism if we can work out the logistics and Louise, Alma, Sean and I head over to Bexley for the parkrun their hopefully meeting Zoe & Stephen too who are yet to do that one yet live closer than the rest of us.
Anyway, Saturday afternoon passed without too much pain or niggling from the legs as a result of the mornings exertion which was pleasing. So on sunday morning I set out for the long run. Having had something of an ‘easy’ week already as a result of injury the proposed 12 miles seemed to make even more sense, and I was keen to get outside as the weather looked absolutely perfect. And it was perfect: a clear blue sky with a big bright sun to warm the air enough to be comfortable in shorts and t-shirt, and no wind unlike last week. In all honesty, not much happened, it was simply a lovely run out, 12 miles felt comfortable and relaxed at an average of 9:36min/mi pace and I really enjoyed myself.
Again, once home, despite the odd pain if I sat awkwardly, my legs felt non-the-worse for having run the distance. I sat all afternoon whilst the various sporting endeavours were on the telly-box, wondering whether I could live with myself for having not made it to my Febulous total of 5 runs, therefore falling to 98% for the month. But then on the other hand – would I feel undeserving of the 100% if I did a measly 1 mile just to satisfy the criteria of having done a ‘run’. At about 8pm, I decided to see how much I’d run and discovered I was 2.76 miles off 25 for the week, did a quick calculation and decided that 1.38miles out and back meant that I would round the week off nicely and head into Marchvelous on top score. I spent the next hour still unsure about whether it was worth any damage it might have done or if I felt I could count it in my total, and at 9pm I headed out the door for 25 minutes. Clocked up my 2.76 miles, 25 for the week, 100% Febulous, 100% overall. And felt actually pretty damn pleased with myself that training and my attitude towards running is just so far ahead of anything I have ever experienced before. I LOVE IT!!!!
Training by numbers:
25 miles this week
216.7 miles this year
34.29 total hours of running
146 donuts burned
100% Febulous score
1663.3km remaining in 2012