Week 7 of 48 : Racing with Eddie in my head ….

So last week was a bit of a mess really. Blankie bound with a snotty head put me at only 14 miles for the week when the plan had me at 28 It didn’t really fill me with confidence for this week as I was pretty convinced I’d be back at square one. What does that actually mean? I never started in a square with a number on it. Do you think it’s related to hopscotch or something. One day I’m going to be in a pub quiz and that is soooo going to be a question.

Anyway, I digress. As normal Monday was a rest day (with strength *sigh*).

Then we get to Tuesday and the curveball called a ‘progression run’. Basically I had to start at a 11.30 minute mile pace, hold it for half a mile and then pick up the pace by 30 seconds for the next 1/2 mile and so on until I was at 9 minute mile. Equates to a 3 mile run and then a mile cool down jog. Now I know to most this sounds piss easy but those of you who don’t fall asleep when reading this will already know that I’ve been struggling to understand what different paces feel like and struggling to have any real consistency. Well, I’m telling you right now 1/2 mile progressions are the way to go. Each segment was long enough for me to concentrate on it. Felt what my breathing was like, how my legs felt etc. It was a bit tricky at first as I had to keep looking at the Garmin but once I’d get to the pace I’d then chant to the count of 8 in time with my pace over and over in my head. It might have actually been out loud a couple of times but this is London. Craziness blends. So result is I really bloody enjoyed this session. Genuinely. It made me stop thinking about how fast could I do 3 miles, made me not worry about what it would look like on Strava and made me start thinking about Saturdays marathon. I was feeling so good that as soon as I got home I messaged Eddie to tell her my secret wish for my time for Saturday. I’m a slowpoke. My fastest marathon is 5:44 and I confessed to Eddie I wanted a sub 5:30 (remember that) so not too incredibly ambitious but probably still a stupid move to voice a goal. Bloody jinxed myself for sure and I couldn’t get it out of my head.

Eddie brought me back to reality the next day and sent me an email with some suggested tactics to get through the marathon while still enjoying it. Main tactic is using it as a nutrition training run. I get to basically practice eating for 26 miles. Love this running malarky.

Putting the above wishful thinking aside it was suddenly Wednesday and a 5 mile easy run at 10:30 pace. Funny how I’m ok with that being called easy when 2 months ago I would have viewed that as a Mo Farrah sprint. Now bearing in mind my previous posts comments about major traffic lights causing a fair bit of delay (and welcome sneaky stop breaks) I have decided to do this session in loops in close vicinity to home as that way I can avoid most major intersections and work on consistent pace. Almost sounds like I’ve got a clue doesn’t it. Anyway, the 5 miles went nicely. Kept my pace between 10:15 and 10:30 but the best part is that this is the first time in over a year I’ve run 5 miles without a walk or stop break! I know I’ve got a long way (pun intended) to go but I really do think it’s starting to make sense. What doesn’t make sense is the guy at the bus stop shouting at the tree. London innit.

Thursday should have been a rest day with a 3 mile ‘easy easy run’ on Friday. I had forgotten to tell Eddie I’d be heading up to Milton Keynes on the Friday after work as recently Fridays have been rest days. So I did the run on Thursday instead. I’m really loving that I’m starting to feel out my pace. A nice run at 10:24 average pace. Again, main thing is that I stayed consistent. However once I got home I started panicking. What if Eddie had a reason for me doing 3 miles instead of a rest day the day before a marathon. Crap. What if I’ve messed up. After all, look how far she’s already got me. 18 marathons or longer under my belt but not a clue how to train until Eddie.

Saturday. Marathon day. 7 and a bit laps around Caldecotte Lake up in Milton Keynes. Cold. Icy. Cold. I won’t give a lap by lap breakdown. I’ll sum it up with steady pacing, ice, 2 diversions into the pub to use the toilet (shouldn’t have had onion rings the night before), ice, ran totally by myself yet never got lonely, ice, lots of time to think and smile about life, ice, lots of geese shit and then at mile 17 thanks to a patch of ice I went face first. It hurt. My boobs saved my face. I didn’t get to practice nutrition and the whole race was fuelled by one Mars Bar as I was too scared to eat due to nothing staying in me. I did drink though and I didn’t actually feel hunger pangs until the last lap and by then I was on a mission. Eddie and her advice was with me the whole way. I even had a conversation with her at one point. She never answered me. How very rude!

My time. *drum roll*

5:26

One happy Nici right now.

Sunday was all about my mate Vicky. She has done 56 marathons this year for charity and her body is tired. More importantly her mind is tired. She had helped me when I wanted to quit at one back in the summer so today was my turn to give a little something back. The plan was to do couple of laps of the lake with her but she woke up and calmly said she wasn’t running as her heart wasn’t in it and she didn’t want to get so close to the end of her challenge and hate it. So she’s going to rest up for a week and enjoy Portsmouth next week. One truly class act.

My learning points for this week? Don’t steal onion rings. Karma bites.

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Week 6 of 48 : The week that almost wasn’t …..

Dear faithful readers (both of you) you may recall my dramatics of last week whereby I declared I was dying. Obviously I wasn’t and didn’t but the head cold won and on instructions from Eddie I took a few days off. I was quite worried about it affecting the good work we’d started but her words are wise.

“JUST REST. There is no point flogging yourself we have weeks of training ahead and for a few days rest you will be back running again by the weekend and we can alter your plan then. Just let body get better. Listen to what it is saying and don’t punish it, its doing jolly well so far!”

Monday was a rest day anyway but upon the above advice I also spent the rest of the week wrapped up warm on the sofa.  Normally this would be good face stuffing time but as everything tastes like cardboard it wasn’t worth it.

Saturday morning I had already made plans to go down to the South Downs with my running buddy, Jacqui.  I still felt a bit crap but didn’t want to let her down so off we went with maps, compass and an evil grin. Hers.

I haven’t touched a compass in over 20 years and I really want to understand how to get myself back on track if things go wrong.  All the gps devices are great and I Iove mine but after a scary few moments up on Fairfield Horseshoe in thick clag I decided I needed some old school skills.  I was handed instructions which included grid refs and pictures of places I needed to find. It was a fab if slow day.  I was only off course once.  Just under 12 miles.  Lungs hurt from the cold air or maybe a bit of the cold left over.  Either way, a good day.  Bonus was at the end putting my feet up in the pub next to train station drinking cider.  All training sessions should end in such a way.

Sunday I procrastinated all day and finally got out of the door at 5:30pm.  I have no idea why.  I wasn’t dreading the session.  I got caught up on the sofa watching stuff on Netflix and that is my only excuse.  Anyway, out the door for a 3 mile easy jog.  First two miles felt really comfy at just under 10 minute miles and then the bloody stomach cramps showed up.  I honestly only have myself to blame this time because I fell face first into pizza on Saturday night.  So mile 3 was over 12 minutes due to lots of enforced walking.  Made it home with 3.3 miles and when going in to update plan saw with horror I was meant to do 4 miles!! FFS. Double strength session as a penance it is then.

Learning for this week is that you need to listen to your body and your coach.  They both know best.  You also need to stay away from pizza.  Fact.

I’ve had a peek at next weeks plan and as I have a marathon on Saturday I assumed the week would be easy.  There’s something called a ‘progression run’ on tuesday.  Erm ok.  Also the Sgt has taken the Sunday marathon off the plan (yes, I had originally planned on a double next weekend).  At first I though I would still go ahead and do both as she’ll never know right.  Then I sat and verbally berated myself.  What’s the point in paying good money for a coach if you’re just going to ignore the advice, experience and instructions.  So Sunday I will be supporting my good mate Vicky.  I may even dress as a cheerleader.  Watch this space.

Nici x

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