The Final Countdown (the penultimate week)

So, here we are, this time next week I hope to be sat at home with a cracking great smile on my face after a brilliant run (and maybe a nice big beer in my hand). Who knows what London might bring, I just hope it’s better than the last time in 2011.

The taper is in full swing now and I have enjoyed a great final week of the Easter holidays. We started the week still in the North East, and with a decent weather forecast on the cards we headed further north to the Gateshead/Washington area to go to the wetlands centre there, or as Lyndsey calls it, the “Duck Factory”. It was so much fun spotting the various different birds that were there and we were also lucky that they were celebrating a Lego-themed event which meant searching for giant models of some of the birds and animals that are resident.

I felt I had done enough walking around the wetlands area, so I took very little convincing to not bother going on my easy run. Ooops.

Our weather window really did not last very long at all and after a soggy morning in the local town of Guisborough (not all that soggy really as I was in the coffee shop reading my book) I finally laced up my shoes to head to the track at the leisure centre. I knew what the Gees would be doing at the Spectrum, but I started early as I wanted to be at the track for 5pm so as to be finished before the running club show up in force. I shared the red tartan with a group of girls jumping over hurdles and a small group practising their relay drills. The session on offer was eight 800s off 1 minute recovery. Not an easy one by any stretch, and certainly not when running solo. And that makes me even more pleased with the fact that all of the eight reps only varied in time by a total of 6 seconds, from 3:04 to 3:10. The fog was creeping ever closer by the end, and indeed this  scene from a Stephen King novel confronted me on the way back to the house.

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Wednesday’s rest day was easy enough to complete as we simply drove home, stopping only at Giltbrook near Nottingham for a Nandos lunch and some shopping at Decathlon.

Thursday can generally only mean one thing: threshold day. Obviously only a fairly short one at this stage, so it was a simple four mile loop that I have carved out locally, which I covered at 7:15 pace. I finished the run feeling fine, but after an afternoon in the village wandering around, my calf/achilles started aching in a funny way. It was a hard feeling to describe and to replicate – indeed much of the ‘pain’ (for want of a better word, as it wasn’t exactly painful) occurred when raising the foot off the floor rather than under weight-bearing. I mentioned it to the Sports Therapist when I saw her in the afternoon and she took a look at my achilles but was happy that it looked perfectly normal so was likely to be more muscular than tendon based. She worked her magic and I floated out of the practice on a fresh pair of legs. Friday kept flaring my calf a little, but we had precious little to do so I was able to rest it quite well.

I was a little nervous about Saturday’s run. I had contemplated an easy jaunt around Cranleigh parkrun but decided the mud could do me an injury that I really didn’t need. Instead I aimed to complete a steady five miles and keep a keen eye on the state of my calf. The run went without a hitch – no pain or problems whatsoever. In fact I would never have guessed it was causing me concern beforehand if I hadn’t known. Almost as soon as I stopped, however, I could feel it tightening right back up again. So whenever I could I made myself make use of the foam roller. I hate that thing.

The same again happened this morning really. Well almost the same. Yesterday was wet, this morning was absolutely glorious. I had to stop at one point, not long into the run, to admire the bluebells and take a picture of the carpet in the woodland. Then at about five miles I was running alongside a field when I noticed a rather large bird overhead. I stopped and hopped onto the verge to watch for a while as it circled effortlessly on the thermals. Then I realised that a second bird was gliding around on the next thermal layer up in the sky, and then a third was higher still. By the time I got my phone out to take a picture they were basically dots on the landscape, but my rudimentary memory of how they looked suggests they were kites – but they might be buzzards instead.

 

There was no issues from my calf during the run, and actually I think I may have narrowed it down during my stretches afterwards, so I will work on the bits that feel sore and hopefully see it off sooner rather than later.

 

I looked back at my blog written at about this stage in 2011. I am not quite so worried this time. I know I am far better prepared, and actually I am really excited about it. The atmosphere in London is second to none and I can’t wait to get to the blue start and get going.

I am hosting a ‘Guess My Time‘ competition, and I would love for you to take part. If you have sponsored me then you can stand to win £20 (whether you donate £1 or £100), but if you don’t want to or can’t sponsor me, then just play along for fun; it’s dead easy! If you would like to sponsor me, then you can do so HERE. Thank you all so much for your support!

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