T’was the week before Christmas

And all I seem to be doing is eating junk and drinking to celebrate finally finishing work for the year.

On Sunday night, in my weekly roundup from Marc he asked how the hamstring was. I didn’t lie – I told him it was fine. I neglected to tell him that I was sat in agony on the sofa having tweaked something in my chest whilst drying Delilah’s hair after her bath. I woke up not feeling much better, but still went out for my Monday recovery run as I felt a little better by then, and figured that the exercise might help ease any lingering issues. I was a little time poor, so only managed three miles, but they were good miles and I felt OK in the end.

I headed to the track with no hesitation on Tuesday, and set about completing the session of four times 1000m, 600m, with 1 min rest between each rep. I averaged about 6:20 pace for the kms and 6:04 on the 600s. It was hard work, and as my chest started catching up with me a little the last couple of reps were painful.

Wednesday offered no excitement whatsoever to share with you lovely folks, so onwards to Thursday. I was up early, got Delilah’s porridge made, the washing up done, and my running kit on. I set off out the door at a little after 7:30 am, heading for work. The first mile was easy, but for the following five I was aiming for 7:30 pace.

I’ve done this a few times this year in the course of my marathon training, but Thursday just felt ten times better. It barely took me any time to settle into the pace, and once I was there I felt far more comfortable for much longer than ever before. Hooray for improvements.

And that got, rather shockingly, celebrated on Thursday evening at the GGAC Christmas dinner and annual awards. I was amazed when Gav described some of my issues and performances over the last couple of years, and when he finally called my name out I beamed from ear to ear.

GGAC Annual Award - Most Improved Runner of the Year 2015 - Chris Mercer
GGAC Annual Award – Most Improved Runner of the Year 2015

I had not prepared a speech; I am not a public speaker. So I said thanks – I joked about my negative split thanks to a wee-stop, and I sat down again sharpish.

I think we all had a fantastic night, I certainly enjoyed a few courses of lovely food, and any desert that comes swimming in a puddle of marmalade is a winner with me!!

Friday finally came, 15 weeks after starting this term we were eventually ending it. My boss even got me a hilarious christmas pressie; it is very apt.

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I drank a few drinks to celebrate the term ending, but I think I paid for that on Saturday as I rocked up to parkrun with just a few moments to spare having gone a little further on my warm up than I might have otherwise planned. Adam came up alongside me as we started, and said he hoped to keep on my shoulder. I think I told him not to bother, I really wasn’t feeling it. He didn’t. I wasn’t.

8th place in 22:44. But my legs felt horrific.

I was asked by salomon to share some photos of my fun in the mud in my new Speedcross Pros.

I am glad to have gotten a few more miles into these as I think I am going to wear them for the Hardmoors 15 on new Years Day, and it seems from my warm up that they hold up fine for a portion of time on tarmac too.

Today, after an awful nights’ sleep thanks to darling daughter, I knocked out nine miles at a steady pace with the pack that I borrowed from Martin to use on the Hardmoors. I had breakfasted hours earlier, and not drunk any water, so I felt pretty crappy all the way round. Held it together nicely though. Just as I was thinking that I couldn’t believe how blooming mild it is in mid December and that I was running in t-shirt and shorts and feeling quite toasty, the heavens opened and cooled me down considerably.

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Only 14 miles to go past the 2013 total. And just over 40 for 1400 in total – I wonder if I can make it that far in the next 10 days.

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