I had a first ever experience on Sunday morning - I met fellow Real Buzzers! After my husband and I arrived (on time - a miracle for us) at Boxmoor Cricket Club and were queuing up to register and get our little ribbons the lovely Jane and Gaelle popped over asking if I was Runner Barbie - needless to say my husband found this hilarious and I had a whole day of jokes at my expense as to my Real Buzz nickname. Hmph.
It was a lovely morning and there was a lovely atmosphere as for most people it was their last "long run" until their respective marathon. After my hubby sped off at the start I settled in running the canal part with Jane and Gaelle. They were aiming to do 10:30 minute miles - which is just a little slower than my long runs have been. After some general chit chat and Paris marathon tips (thank you ladies) I then showed my real colours to Jane - tripping up over my own feet on the canal path and nearly ending my 20 miler less than a mile in. I saved it but spent the rest of that stretch concentrating hard.
As we turned up to do the first hill I stretched away from Jane and Gaelle and glanced down at the Garmin to see I was doing 10 minute miles. It felt very easy so I pressed on and thought I would probably see them both later when I exploded at mile 17 and they would overtake a crawling creature in pink.
I trotted onwards and relaxed a bit more now I was on tarmac with nice things to look at. So nice to be out in the countryside for a change and not trekking along the Thames in the City. I also got to play my favourite game of “Which massive country house will I live in when I win the Lottery/husband becomes self-made-millionaire?”. Of course I relaxed a bit too much and as I approached some marshalls, I tripped up over my own feet again and went flailing into some poor marshall guy. The whole thing received a cheer from some fellow runners/Sunday morning passersby and I had to shuffle on with a red face thinking I will now be infamous with the Harriers Running Club as the girl who either fancied the marshall and did some awful "woops I just tripped and fell into your arms, romantic comedy style" or that girl is so special she just tripped over her own feet on smooth flat tarmac. Not sure which is worse - let's go with the second.
I didn't look at my garmin for a long stretch of the run, trying to go on how I felt (thanks RB tips!). With all the hills it was difficult to maintain a steady pace and I could see around 9:30 flashing up for bits on downhills and flats and 10:30 for bits which were uphill. So thought it all looked about right. I munched on some jelly babies around mile 9 and felt remarkably good still. Around mile 12 I thought, just get to mile 15 and then it's only 5 miles. The miles kept ticking by and soon I was at mile 17 collecting my jelly babies for a final push. I glanced at my watch and saw I was going to beat my time from three years ago which gave me an extra boost to keep going strong. In the last couple of miles I seemed to overtake a lot of people and soon enough I was back on the canal with the finish in sight. Stopped the watch to clock a time of 3:14 – 13 minutes faster than last time and what’s even more amazing is average splits of 9:38!
I have put my speedy time down to a few things:
- Not having to stop at traffic lights/cross roads etc
- Not having to slow down for tourists
- We always run faster when surrounded by other runners – even though this wasn’t a race I think mentally you just push yourself a bit harder when surrounded by others?
I felt good after the race and definitely felt like I could have carried on – another 6 miles at 9:38 minute miles? Not sure but what a boost to the old running confidence! My race plan for Paris has now been cemented in that I will go out starting with 10 minute miles and then if I can go quicker at the half way point/towards the end, to speed it up.
By the time we got home and had some lunch; it was decided that due to the mornings exertions it was socially acceptable to spend the rest of the day in our pyjamas on the sofa. Bliss! And now it is taper time! Very excited at the prospect of this weekend “only” having to do 13 miles. Lucky too as we have a birthday party on Friday night, squeeze in the 13 miler Saturday morning, then family 60th birthday lunch Saturday, then mother and sister in law coming to stay Saturday night and Sunday. Phew – another 20 miler may be less tiring!
Happy running! xxx
PS. I want to start including more photos so here is a selfie of moi after the run about to munch on the free cake:
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