“What is that smell? It’s vile.” A delightful morning greeting to receive from your wife. Nice to see you too, darling!
But she had a point. My choice of cologne for the day was Eau de Deep Heat and it isn’t a particularly pleasant or attractive scent.
Still, a necessary evil because something odd happened last week during my medium run early on Thursday morning. I was seven miles in with just one to go and as I rounded a corner I had to dodge a couple of other runners coming the other way (at quite a lick, it has to be said).
I don’t remember it hurting at the time but I must have twisted or pulled something as I leapt aside because as soon as I tried to climb the stairs back at the office a shooting pain went up my right leg and thigh.
I can’t get too mad or have a bout of runner’s rage though. The other runners were local legend ‘Blind Dave’ Heeley and his sight guide Tony. If you haven’t heard of Blind Dave (and yes, he is completely blind, plus the nickname is of his own choosing) then I urge you to Google him when you have a spare few minutes.
Dave has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity over the years running, cycling, trekking and goodness knows what else. He’s done seven marathons in seven days across seven different countries, completed the Marathon Des Sables and this year is taking part in every single Great Run event.
So I’ll forgive him for a) running at a serious pace and b) not seeing me coming. Because he quite literally couldn’t. And he’s a fantastic guy who I’ve been privileged to meet and interview through my job.
Back to my muscle strain and things had eased the following day, but I was still getting sharp twinges when I bent down or used stairs. I was due a speedwork session, but decided against doing any fast miles. I did go out and complete my allotted distance (five miles), but took things pretty easy and everything was OK.
A few more applications of Deep Heat and ibuprofen gel (quite a concoction there) and then at least I had a rest day ahead of me, save for some core and upper body work.
I was nervous about Sunday’s long run. I’ve come this far and with only six weeks to go until Manchester I’m desperate to avoid any injuries. My alarm went off very early…5:30am to be precise. I wanted to be done and back in time for my daughter’s swimming lesson, so that means hitting the road first thing and being home for around nine.
Some stretches reassured me that my niggly thigh muscle was behaving and once I got moving it left me pretty much untroubled. What a relief.
Better still it was a really solid run – 16.2 miles in 2hrs15, which equates to 8:23 average mile pace. I need to dial that down a bit as I aim for 18 and then 20 miles over the next two weekends, but the good thing is that the pace wasn’t all up-front in the opening stint. My 16th mile, for example, was actually an 8:20, so still a decent slug of energy left in the tank.
How nice was it to have some warmer weather too? The first long run in short sleeves this year, from memory. There were lots of other runners about, even at such an early hour, and a few nods and waves exchanged.
So all in all a positive week clocking 34 more training miles, despite my almost literal brush with a local hero and questionable choice of fragrance. I’ve always said I’ll do whatever it takes to crack the four hour marathon, however “vile” it may smell!
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