19 Days 12 Hours 26 Minutes And Counting

Posted on: 23 Mar 2015

Where do the weeks go? Less than three weeks to Paris now! The French skiing trip seems so long ago now. Have to say I was rather more blasé about skiing this year than last year. But I survived the bumps, the alcohol, the impromptu game of charades, the hot chocolate and the darts, and returned home unscathed. I figured that a week's skiing would still be decent marathon training. Week 12 of the plan was thus split. Follow the plan Monday to Friday, ski for a week, return to the plan Saturday to Sunday. So on the second Saturday it was up at 5AM, return to Gatwick, drive home, arrive about 14:30, doze off, and at some point go out running. And then Sunday's run would be the inaugural Weymouth Half Marathon.


Well I eventually got out at about half six Saturday evening and headed over to Portland and back. Have to say I felt like a coiled spring – or maybe a caged lion released back into the wild! And I set a (for me) cracking pace, all the time wondering what effect it would have on the next day's half marathon. After all my half marathon PB was set at Bath during marathon training last year.

Sunday morning and the slightly surreal feeling that I could actually walk to the start of a half marathon. The start time had been brought forward to 8:30. I was up in good time. But, as they say, "to procrastinate or not to procrastinate – that is the question". Before I knew it, it was after eight. Better set off. But you're a runner and run I did. You won't have to warm up for this half marathon! Arriving at the baggage drop at the Weymouth Pavilion with about 5 minutes to spare, I bumped into three ladies. They somehow guessed I was a runner, informed me that the baggage drop was shut, but suggested that if I strip off, all would be OK. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth I obliged, they took my bag (wondered if I'd ever see it again) and I set off for the start, arriving with about two minutes to spare, where I bumped into sometime marathon training partner Hayley.


IMHO starting from the back is not a bad thing. It certainly ensures you do not set off too fast, and I reckon, once it clears a bit, overtaking people, rather than being overtaken, probably pulls you around faster. It was not such an easy run as Bath last year. It was a bit hillier and there was a nasty off road bit across to Portland, where you seriously have to watch your step or risk being injured (and after surviving the blackest runs that Alpe D'Huez could throw at me I really wouldn't want that). And coming back along the Rodwell trail and into town I certainly didn't feel the same buzz. And certainly, despite the best efforts of good friends Mr and Mrs Fudge and Mr and Mrs Sycamore, who seemed to pop up all over the place, there was nothing like the same level of fantastic inspirational support.


But when the results were published, I had finished in 1hr 52mins 30secs, 44 secs less than Bath last year. Now according to Garmin this was the shortest of the six half marathons I've run to date, coming in at 21.17 km, as opposed to Bath at 21.39, and the longest of all, Bournemouth, at 21.42. But then Garmin is clearly not an exact science. Notwithstanding any of this, I'm therefore not ashamed to claim Weymouth as a new half marathon PB :-)


So on to this week – the most miles of the entire plan. Wednesday in particular was tough, a ten mile run with the eight miles in the middle being a series of "Yassos" – 800 metres at the mins:secs equivalent time to the hours:mins time that you expect to run the marathon in if that makes any sense (e.g. run 800 metres in 3mins 56 secs) followed by 800 metres recovery.


And then the climax of the week – the longest Sunday run of all before Paris – the twenty-two miler. My initial planned route was amended on account of an unscheduled comfort stop. After that I ran rather faster than the plan said. But somehow I seemed to find it easier to run at that pace. I can't say twenty-two miles isn't tough but there are some nice moments. I listened to the Les Mis 25th Anniversary concert (again!). Running along Weymouth's Stone Pier, in the shadow of the Nothe Fort can be inspirational. "I dreamed a dream" as I was reminded of my daughters performing that wonderful show live at the fort, in the rain, one summer. And towards the end a loop of the Granby Industrial Estate where I do the day job. And my first attempts at running, just two years ago – home from work – run – walk – run – walk – run – walk – a few more paces running – a few less paces walking. And now I look at Garmin, there's already 30km on the clock and there will be no walking today.


Oh and finally got around to some more "virtual busking" on youtube. Check out my full frontal assault on the Kinks classic Lola here.





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