Well this week I went down to hilly Devon to visit my Mum and Dad and took the opportunity for a couple of runs with my Dad. My Dad has been running for a while too but where he lives there are hills in every direction so it has been hard for him. On Monday we went out for a run together. It was very strange for me for a number of reasons. Firstly, although we only did 8 miles it was extremely hilly and I found it very hard work considering I am used to flatish runs with the occasion uphill gradiant. Well in Devon there are proper hills! Lung busting, calf stretching hills but very good practice. Secondly we STARTED the run, on a hill! I'm used to easing myself into a run on a nice straight, flat surface but no, not in Devon. Out of the door and straight away a big hill. Thirdly I ran without music in my ears for the first time. I could hear my breathing and my feet pounding on the road, which was very strange. Finally, I ran with someone else (My Dad). This again is the first time I have ever ran with anyone else. So all in all, a new running experience. Towards the end of the run I got into my stride but it took me a long time to get into it properly.
On Wednesday we went out again. We did 9 miles so only 1 mile further but that 1 mile included 3 new BIG hills. I was a lot more prepared for it this time and I found it a lot easier although it was still very tough. I was really pleased with how well I coped with the big hills and this gave me a lot of confidence with the strength in my legs. I was very impressed with my Dad. The 9 miles was the furthest he had ever done. He was very good for an old man! Ha ha. (I know he will read this). On a flat route he could definitely do a 10 mile run and indeed, I think he could do a half marathon.
Today I was out again. Today is my birthday! As a birthday present I decided to treat myself to my final long run. What a present! Ha ha. It's either dedication or madness. Possibly a bit of both. I went out and felt really good. I was flying along with a real spring in my step. Perhaps it was the birthday spirit or the confidence from those hill runs. However by about 14 miles it suddenly got very hard and my hamstrings were cramping up. I had to slow right down and indeed towards the end of my run I had to walk. In the end I managed 22.5 miles but as I said I had to walk the last few.
So for a last long run it was very disappointing and a bit of a failure really. However I'm banking on all the hard work and training I've put in for well over a year, will see me through. I remember in my last driving lesson I did a kind of mock driving test and everything that could go wrong, did! Then 3 days later I had my real driving test and I flew through it and passed first time. This has been the case for other things where the practice has been terrible but the real thing has gone really well. Therefore I'm hoping the same will be case with the marathon. Positive thinking.
The next few days I'm taking a rest from running and concentrating on strength exercises for my back, arms and torso. My next runs next week are just going to be shorter runs to keep me ticking over.
Well, it's a bottle of wine for me tonight. Not exactly the best recovery plan but hey, it's my birthday!
I hope everyone's training has gone well this week.
Not long to go. Two weeks and counting!!!!!
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