Time for a Change of Pace – Again!

I’ve kept myself busy over the last few months. Made some decisions about plans for next year and still managed to fit in one more kidney infection for this year – here’s hoping it’s the last!!

Dunstable Marathon – 04.09.2016 – marathon number 67 completed in 6hrs 10mins

It wasn’t going to be an easy bimble in the countryside, I knew that. I know the course well, I know each of the hills very well yet somehow, I still can’t get my head around the distance and it fills me with dread.  The fact that I’m going to be tackling hills on repeat for 27 miles.  Urgh!  I’m as prepared as I’m ever going to be – this is when I have the thought that I really need to sort myself out.  This year has been rubbish, I’ve done my best and it feels like I’m at the bottom of the mountain looking up at all those who are climbing to the top with ease!  Not for want of trying though.  Starting the year with intense pain and then getting the kidney infection from hell was definitely a tough time.  I’ve completed the Dunstable marathon 3 times, each time I’ve dreaded the start, relaxed into the event and pushed myself to breaking point for the finish.  The navigation is easy – even if I do add on the occasional half mile at the golf course!! This year was no different.  I was definitely stronger at the start but it still took everything out of me in the first 3 miles leaving me with nothing in the tank to use for the rest of the event.  So I HAVE to relax and chill out and just enjoy the scenery because the alternative is repeated close inspection of the gravel path or trail path as I lose consciousness!! I keep moving forward and gradually collect fuel along the way to keep myself moving.  Thankfully the route is beautiful so enjoying the scenery is easy.  20 miles in – as usual – I’m starting to feel like I just want to sit down and go to sleep.  Small bottle of cola comes to the rescue, I have no idea why this works but it does.  21 miles in and my pace starts to improve, my mood lightens, I’m starting to annoy the people I’m running with because I was struggling to keep up and now I’m skipping around like I’ve only run 6 miles or so.  It’s still a struggle but I don’t feel like going to sleep anymore.  I finish feeling pretty strong and felt pretty good afterwards whilst I wait at the finish for friends to finish.  Maybe it’s not so bad after all.  It’s only a marathon!!!!

Thetford Iceni Marathon – 11.09.16 – marathon number 68 completed in 7hrs 3mins

This was a last minute decision to join a running club friend and enjoy a bimble around Thetford. I truly had a blast, forgot about pushing myself for a time and kept moving forward at an enjoyable pace.  It was a lovely day out.

Ponton Plod – 18.09.16 – marathon number 69 completed in 7hrs 18mins

I’m sure Lincolnshire is mainly flat! Or is it?  Well, Ponton Plod was thoroughly an entertaining day out on the trails that included a minor detour due to missing some signage! It all worked out fine in the end.  I felt a bit wrecked at the end, this really needs to be addressed!!

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Some unusual steps from Ponton Plod.  These were a struggle haha!

Dunstable marathon was where I decided I needed to get back into shape. I’ve seen a close friend improve her performance and strength time and time again and as her coach is able to cope with her, ehem personality! I decide to have a chat with said coach.  I want to get stronger, I want to feel less wrecked and I want to achieve a goal of a 100 mile event.  I know I need to get faster but just focusing on speed breaks me all over again.  A nice warm ear phone call later and I’m all set to start training.  A review of the events I’ve entered – some are kept, some are left as they are.  I start my new plan for getting stronger/faster…..coaching starts…..26.09.16

Would you believe it? Another Kidney infection!!! 11.10.16  I’m super sensible this time – no running and complete rest.  This is getting a bit silly!!

I have a week of gentle training before tackling the next marathon – Snowdonia! Oh hell.  Oh well haha!  I’m feeling good, strong and fairly fit.  Apart from falling flat on my face there’s not much that’s going to stop me finishing that race.

Snowdonia marathon (29.10.16 – 70) completed in 5hrs 40mins

Last minute checking of my running pack and I realise I’ve left my inhaler at home! Stupid move!  I change my plan that I had in my head to one of preserve lungs at all costs!! Keep everything super easy and after 14 miles do not push hard at all.  Well, that was the plan!

The start was damp with low cloud with lots of club friends and many happy faces waiting to get started. The first hill is within the first five miles of the course.  It’s a fairly gentle start, the first mile ticks by and I’ve run nearly a 9 minute mile in the first mile.  Errrr!!  Well it felt easy so just keep going!  I kept up with and chatting with friends until THE HILL CLIMB started.  They sped off up the hill and I settled into a run/walk affair.  I was fairly pleased to keep them in sight though considering I was taking walking breaks going up the hill.  The downhill on the other side was amazingly fast! Another two miles at 9 minute mile pace.  That was the last time I saw that speed though haha! The rest of the race was filled with frog hopping other runners as I ran for as long as I could then took a walking break on the hills and sometimes the flats.  My feet occasionally felt blistered, then they felt fine.  My lungs stayed good all the way around the course, which was a big relief. My pace stayed pretty even until around 20 miles and I had the usual wanting to sit down and go to sleep feeling.  Bottle of mini cola and I’m storming up the last hill as though it’s not really that steep at all.  I couldn’t quite believe how strong I felt stomping uphill.  I didn’t even stop for a quick rest, it was tough but much easier than I remembered last year.  A quick jog along the rocky heath path at the top and then the tricky/rocky descent into Llanberis.  As soon as I reach the tarmac path I let my weight carry me downhill and I’m not planning on stopping until I get to the finish!  I round the last corner and I put everything into sprinting to the finish!  Thoroughly impressed that I knocked off 45 minutes from my last attempt at this course which was 6 hours 24 minutes in 2015.

I paid for the good time though. I hurt ALL OVER!! Everything hurt!  Haha!! No pain, no gain eh!! A very nice recovery hot bath then a hot meal afterwards and I’m feeling a bit more human.  Stairs?  Hmmmmmm, slow but manageable!

The magical view of Snowdon the following day.

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Now it’s time to get back to training/resting/training/resting/training…….

Happy running

🙂

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