Monday, 25 May 2009

Support Debut

This is our new support vehicle! My new Mazda 2 TD, 3 weeks old and never been to the Highlands!

Apologies again to John M who got a lift back from FW to Tyndrum and was forced to have his (very muddy :-)) shoes (attached to his feet) placed on newspaper ...
I guess in 4 weeks time at the WHWR this will not be my priority any more! :-)
The trip up to Lundavra was rather exciting, maybe I should have gone for a 4x4?

Anyway, back to the run. I was supporting Thomas on his last long training run, the "Devil". I was able to catch up with quite a few people along the way, runners and supporters, and enjoyed the day. Here are some photos.

My problem was that I did not feel too good throughout the day and I realized that 2 weeks on I am still not 100% recovered. In fact it felt as if I was getting worse again. I tried to run quite a bit last week to have some mileage to taper down from and I ran 12M on Saturday and got soaked. Probably not the best idea ...

So then where does this leave me in 6 days' time? I have no idea really, but I have changed my goal from a sub4 hour marathon to just completing it. This is only my 2nd marathon so I guess getting round the whole distance in one piece is a good goal. Trying to beat my 1st time of 4:23 would also be good. And getting anywhere near to 4hrs would be great. Sub4 hours was possible 2 weeks ago, I doubt I will be able to do this at the moment.
In fact I have missed the 2 long training runs that I am told are important not to hit the wall etc, so I fully expect to struggle towards the end. And to be honest I have to wait and see how the week goes to decide if it is sensible to start at all...

The Edinburgh Marathon is a huge club outing with a full bus going with supporters, runners and 2 relay teams. The evening will be rounded off with a meal at a local Indian. So it would be great to run and have a PB to celebrate ... Still dreaming.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

No running and a DNS

Today is the Cateran Trail Race where Thomas was due to start. This time it is a DNS for him which probably would have been a DNF if we had not cancelled our trip to Glenspittal.
He has not been 100% for the past 10 days with headaches, increased heart rate etc. I was struck by "the virus" 2 days after the Dunfermline HM. Only I have been in bed for the past 3 days and can't remember when I have felt this ill. There was not even any thought of running, but I am now getting concerned as the Edinburgh Marathon is only 2 weeks away!
Anyway, on Friday morning when Thomas woke up yet again with headaches, dizziness and "not feeling right" we decided that it was probably not a good idea to attempt a 55M race, not even as a training run. So we called it off. A shame really as he had spent hours to prepare his route maps the day before and we had been looking forward to exploring an area of Scotland we had not visited before. But a very sensible decision to give us both the chance to fully recover and be ready for the weeks ahead.
My training plan has now fallen to pieces and I am getting worried about EDI. I should be doing my last long run tomorrow, 32K. If I can walk 6K I will be happy! But there is not much I can do just now. If I recover by Monday and get back to work I can maybe start running again. I should be able to finish the marathon even if it is not in my goal time of sub 4H. So I'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Dunfermline City Half Marathon

To cut a long story short: No PB for me today. I finished in 1:52:07. This is 30sec slower than my PB from Inverness in March and over 2 min out of my goal to get under 1:50.
Thomas ran with me to try and help me get under 1:50. He has not been feeling too well after the Fling and his return from Germany, probably a virus, (Swineflu he thinks, but as we have been briefed in detail I could just stop him from alerting NHS 24 and raising the swine flu alarm! :-) Men ...) so he offered to keep me company.
What on earth made me think that the Dunfermline Half was a good course to pick for an attempt at 1:50?? Maybe because it is called "City" HM and it is the Scottish National HM Championships where I thought you would pick a flat course? But no, wrong and wrong again! If I called Inverness HM "hilly" I do apologize now as this seemed a walk in the park in hindsight! Please see above course profile! Maybe lame excuses, I know, but I did feel I had a sub 1:50 in me before I started the race today!
The course consists of 2 laps starting and finishing in the lovely Pittencrieff Park. We started with a 5min delay as the major had a rather long speech prepared which kept on going and going. After over enthusiastic applause when everyone thought she had finished, she continued and the crowd got rather restless listening to the problems of the economic downturn and the withdrawal of sponsors! Is this what you want to hear just before a race??
Anyway, we got on our way hitting the first steep incline not far from the start. The sun was shining and it was rather hot. After 2-3M it became obvious for me that this was not my PB course. I felt really low at that point, sweating and panting away on the inclines and managing to hiss out a few swear words. Luckily only Thomas could hear them! I was so disappointed that I am sure I would not have tried to continue as strong as I could under these circumstances if Thomas hadn't been there. He kept saying don't worry this is only a training run, and a very good and hard one indeed, that will set you up nicely for Edinburgh etc. When the first water station came I was desperate for water and Thomas poured the good Highland Spring (still water this time!) right over my head! Ah, that felt great.
I kept working away and eventually we approached the park again after yet another even steeper incline. I just thought to myself how will you get up this one at the end of your next lap? I was sure I was going to walk it.
Somehow finishing the 1st lap and knowing what lay ahead helped me to focus (even though I knew it was not getting any flatter). I had also resigned myself to the fact that there was no way I could beat the 1:50 today and I just wondered if I would stay under 1:55. So the 2nd lap felt better psychologically and Thomas was pleased that I kept working at a steady effort even if the pace changed depending on the steepness of the inclines. The downhills were not helping too much as some of them were so steep that my legs just could not turn over any faster to make good use of them. But from mile 10 onwards I started to overtake a few runners on all these inclines. When I approached "Mount Everest" as one runner called it before he changed into walking mode I did think about walking too. But when I mentioned it to Thomas he just gave me a look that made me continue in my running mode. So another club runner left behind and I felt good about it! The last mile was a bit faster again as we came back into the park to the finish. I even highfived 3 kids as by then I was not bothered too much about the time and was so glad that the end was insight!
I am still right on schedule for my sub-4hour marathon which "demanded" a 1:53 HM, but as I was faster in March before I even started my marathon training I had set myself a different target. So considering the course (and the heat) I am actually quite pleased with this as a hard training run. How glad was I that Thomas had decided to coach me along anyway. Though I usually am quite happy running alone and can't chat in races anyway, his comments and support really helped me focusing. I would probably still be walking along the route now!
The race as such was in fact one of the best organized races I have done so far. It was such a friendly event with the park pavilion providing ample changing facilities, a drop bag service, a cafe and friendly marshalls along the way. A nice medal, T-Shirt, Mars bar, wine gums and water at the end were all appreciated. And as it was so warm and sunny we just sat in the park for an hour after the race enjoying a coffee and chatting to other runners. So all in all a great race as long as you know what to expect on the course!