Since last Saturday, I have only enjoyed one day of rest.
I ran the third race in the Surrey Cross Country league on Saturday afternoon. Mitcham is a god forsaken place, and parking is a nightmare. However, it was the scene of my very first ever cross country race, and my first in the green and black of Guildford and Godalming AC. Conditions appeared to be similar to that day in 2013 when I ran the course in 38:38; if I remember rightly, there was some standing water that day, whereas last week was a little more churned up mud.
It was cold but there was no wind, and it was dry; after a little mild confusion about where the start was we were off. I pushed as hard as I could from the start, and although by the third lap I felt like I was slowing I was actually going pretty well throughout. When others who had raced at the same time as me were basically staying still, or slightly slower than before, I can’t believe that I ran this course in 36:57 – a full 100 seconds faster than last time.
I followed this run with 13 miles on Sunday which felt like hard work on tired legs. In fact, it was nice to ease the legs out a little on Monday with a short recovery run. I was time pressured with meetings at work, but three miles is better than nothing.
Tuesday was a mammoth session at the track. As temperatures plummeted I couldn’t believe that the track was not slippery – there can’t have been any moisture in the air. As it was, we were tasked with running three sets of 2000m, with two minutes recovery. A group of four or five of us seemed to band together, and we worked really well together to hit 7:43 for each of the reps. Immediately afterwards I did a bonus mile at 7:00 pace. After the previous effort this seemed quite easy.
I ran home on Wednesday. I was aiming for five steady miles, but this turned into 4.6 door-to-door, in 7:45 because I needed to be home for Delilah’s bath night! Almost immediately though, it seemed like Thursday morning had popped round again. I made breakfast for the little one and headed out the door to run back to work. The plan called for more 7 minute miles – six to be exact. Running up the gradient towards where I work made this a tough task, and sadly I was only able to average 7:10. I gave it my all, and doing it all having only topped up on water and an energy bar, I suppose I can be happy with that!
At long last, Friday was a rest day. I made the most of it. I spent the day wearing my new toy :
Saturday was, as usual, parkrun day. This weekend, the course was firmer underfoot than I have enjoyed recently, but still a bit sticky. At the end of the first lap I was feeling the week’s exertions and just about ready to give in. Caroline was pulling away from me at a good rate, but there was one guy in front that I was able to catch, and that just about kept me pushing on. I was pleased to finish, and my splits suggest it was probably for the best!
Today I went out with my girls to see the incredible butterflies at the Wisley Greenhouse. They were incredible.
Once we got back, Delilah was put in her cot for a nap and I went about preparing for the run I had been nervous about all day. A 12 mile run shouldn’t offer too much to worry about, but when it’s a progression run there is always something to be cautious of.
3 miles at 8:00/mile
3 miles at 7:45/mile
3 miles at 7:30/mile
3 miles at 7:00/mile
I was a little bit sick in the second loop (I was doing 3 mile loops which were basically flat) but I persevered throughout, and as the final loop kicked in I reminded myself that I only had 21 minutes to go and I pushed on. I nailed it. So much easier than Thursday morning! Boom!
It has been a pretty tough week really, but I came through it. What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger!