I’ve been lax in my posts much to my own frustration and the two words that best describe my past few weeks have been agony and ecstasy!! The reasons I started blogging about my runs has been the things that have stopped me writing my entries…here starts the agony. As I entered into the 14 the week of my marathon training I started to feel something I hadn’t up until this point and that’s negativity. I started to dread runs, I was close to talking myself out of runs, I battled my mind on distances I was running and considered cutting the runs short. All these came out of no where and considering I’ve been training well plus racing well they knocked me sideways. As I am now three week out from my first marathon of 3 this year I’ve had no choice to tell myself to man up and shake the negativity.
As I start to see the end of this training cycle most of my training runs are merging into one and when I head out I’m happy, it’s just the getting out that’s the hard thing at times. Last week was less mileage heavy as it was meant to finish with a 22 mile run however I’d entered the Vitality Liverpool half marathon so that replaced my training run. For this race I decided I was going to practice my race conditions/hydration/nutrition/marathon pace however as per usual with me things didn’t quite go to plan. I knew the course as I had run the race last year in torrential rain however I still managed to get a PB time of 1:38:05 from it. The weather in Liverpool last Sunday was beautiful, ideal conditions for running and that nice I made the decision when we arrived at the start to ditch the tights and base layer and go with just the best and shorts…I felt naked and free!!
3 weeks before Liverpool I had ran Blackpool half marathon, in gale force winds, achieving a PB of 1:37:39, a time I didn’t think I’d get near for a while. As the start got closer and I was stood in with the 1:45:00 runners my mind was drifting towards the potential of today…
The weather is perfect
I know the course and the biggest hill is around a mile in, easy!
This really is PB potential and as the gun went the masses plodded off towards upper parliament street which is where my first problem arose, trying to sort my phone/music out. After setting my Strava off, starting my playlist I had to mess about putting my phone in the waist band I am wearing in for the marathon. This frustrated me and for what felt an age I was trying to zip up pockets and get sorted but I need to get used to wearing my waist band for the marathon…nothing new or unfamiliar for that run!! Once sorted and my first half half mile clocking at 3:26 I had a decision to make…push on or be disciplined, naturally I chose the 1st option and got my head into the task in hand. Recently I’ve passed a plateau and seemed to have kicked on in my pacing. My 7:30 minute miles now feel like my 8 minute miles used to and this is a strange feeling, I confuse easily, however it tells me whatever I’ve been doing has had some effect. However pleasing this is it is also slightly worrying as I now struggle to gage my pace at times, Liverpool was a prime example of this. I do though know when my body feels comfortable and in this race I felt very comfortable. The first 4 miles passed in a fast time averaging 6:45 per mile and I felt good however this is where I first encountered a pet hate of mine…runners who lack awareness. As I began to climb a hill of about 500 meters up to Sefton park a ‘kind’ lad decided that without looking he’d cut down the kerb nearly taking me out. I hate my stride being altered especially when I’ve been in it for a few miles and running well and to my dismay this guy was to plague me throughout the rest of the race. Selfish and clueless is the clean description I had of him, good job he wasn’t a mind reader.
After my little encounter the 10k mark arose and I began to realise a new PB on the cards but not by a few seconds more like minutes I just had to keep going. As I decended onto otterspool prom from the park and hit 9 miles I messaged my wife, who had gone for some breakfast –
“9 miles PB on. Xxxx be 28 mins”
My spilts were good only miles 2 and 7 of the first 10 miles were over 7 minutes (only slightly) I was flying and feeling really good.
As I hit 11 miles the ground became uneven and on cobbles but I had to push on it was here I got a second wind, gonna fly now came on my playlist and yes It was right I was feeling strong. I decided that 12.5 miles was my point to push to turn on the after burners and hit that home stretch, I always leave a bit in reserve to finish strong. As I looked at my watch and 12.5 miles clicked over my sense of achievement and pride began to grow I’d nearly done it and as I passed the masses of spectators in he finishing 400 yards I was hitting it hard just a final corner to negotiate. It was at this point again where my ‘Kind’ friend from before decided he wanted to run in my vest!!! Grrrr… A slight shuffle to the right and the way was clear. I spotted my wife cheering me on but I also spotted the finishing line and clock 1:31:30…the 3 week old PB isn’t just going to get beaten it’s getting obliterated. I passed the finishing line roaring in delight at my achievement and the moment was captured superbly by the official camera man…1:31:36 and a huge 6 minutes 4 seconds off my last PB. I’ll allow myself the roar (here is the ecstasy) for a job well done.
Overall I’d been ill Disciplined but I’d hydrated well, refilled well and smashed my PB so race conditions helped. Although I didn’t get the 22 miles in my legs this week it’s there as I’ve covered that distance recently. Sunday’s race was ideal, I enjoyed it and it blew away some of the negativity I’d been feeling.
The next few weeks would be tapering, mileage cut backs as Vienna is getting ever closer. I have an aim for Vienna and feel I’ve done all I can mileage wise to be prepared well for it. I’ve got my gear I’m wearing shoes etc are all known and well worn in as changing anything 4 weeks out from a marathon would be running suicide. All that’s left for me to ponder is whether my marathon PB of 3:50:24 will be broken and become my 4 personal best of the year in my 4th race. I’ve got less than 3 weeks to wait to find out so fingers crossed and who knows…