It’s amazing how your life can change direction so suddenly and without warning, the last 7 weeks have certainly been a roller-coaster of emotions but as they say worse things happen at sea so it’s time to get back on track and Blog again!
My last Blog was my tail of woe of my DNF at Brighton! 6 weeks on I still know at the time I made the right decision and have no regrets. I also proved something that we all know; it doesn’t matter how much marathon training you do beforehand and how many miles you run you cannot solely rely on this come race day, your mind and heart has to be in the right place too.
The day after Brighton I had a marathon itch that still needed to be scratched so to speak. I’d done the training and I had to prove to myself that I was still capable of running a marathon and that I hadn’t lost my nerve; hello Milton Keynes Marathon 3 weeks later! Training wasn’t ideal as it wasn’t possible to get another long run in and taper effectively so instead I followed the last 3 weeks of my previous training plan.
What can I say about Milton Keynes Marathon; well I would thoroughly recommend it! I had no expectations but I must say it is one of the best organised marathons I have taken part in. The race HQ is at the stadium so the facilities, space and organisation were faultless, the race course is actually interesting; plus there are no queues for the toilets which is a massive point to note! Running Milton Keynes was never going to be about time it was all about me finishing and getting my confidence back. My plan was to run at my originally targeted marathon pace for as long as possible and then just hold on to the end! At the halfway point my pace started to falter and slow, initially I was disappointed but when I looked back and realised my last long run had been 6 weeks before I was thrilled to still be out there and running! Inevitably there were a few walking breaks but fortunately I was back running again when I saw ahead two people jumping up and down shouting my name. At 24 miles eye sight and rational is lessened so I was confused to why anyone could be shouting my name as I was there on my own and my name was not printed on my number nor my shirt; logical deduction was that I must know them! I did; my fabulous coach Claire and my bestie Kirsty-Ann had made a surprise trip to the roundabout capital of the world to support me! They ran the next 2 miles with me until we hit the stadium, words cannot express how grateful I was for them to be there with me. The run into the stadium was epic and I crossed the line arms aloft and grinning; demons smashed and finishing time irrelevant (for those interested my time was way off my PB but a respectable 4:17 with a training schedule that was shot!).
So what’s the next challenge?! Well last year we had entered the Long Course Weekend which takes place in July this year. For those not in the know this event is meant to be Wales’ biggest festival of sport! It takes place over 3 days; on Friday there is a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile cycle on Saturday, a 26.2 mile marathon on Sunday and taking place in Tenby the only event which is going to be flat is the swim! I was absolutely determined that I was still going to tackle all three disciplines however cycling is my weakest by far. With changes in circumstances my original cycling plan had to be scrapped, then running Milton Keynes delayed getting in the early long rides and finally my holiday in Turkey halted cycling training for another week; not a great start! On return from holiday I was back out on my bike, in cleats and I must admit not entirely successfully; two falls from the stationary position on my last two bike rides didn’t bode well! Bruised and bloodied elbows, knees and legs was not the look I was going for! I was also lonely out on my bike rides plus I wasn’t entirely enjoying the experience either as I am neither, as yet, a competent nor a confident cyclist. Hence the Blog title, it was time to reassess and re-evaluate; why put myself through this? With recent events it made me reflect that you never know what is going to happen in life; why was I doing this, what was I trying to prove, why make myself miserable for the next 6 weeks? So after a long chat with my coach Claire last night I came to the conclusion that even with all the will in the world and even with Claire's experience and coaching I was never going to have a realistic chance of finishing the bike ride. My training time had effectively run out! Claire gave me an idea of what my training plan would have to be for the next 6 weeks to achieve the goal and it was just too immense for me; multiple 60, 80 and 100 mile bike rides was just too daunting at this stage. It was time to re-evaluate that the swimming and running is important to me and cycling isn’t, well for the time being. So for me at the Long Course Weekend I will now be doing the swim and run only and that is my focus for the next 6 weeks. I have re-grouped! I still want to become a competent, confident and happy cyclist but for now the pressure to achieve that is off. The LCW is not about everyone doing every discipline you can pick and choose and that’s what I’ve done!
So for the next 6 weeks it will be either running gear and trainers or wetsuit and goggles! Firstly though it’s Dorchester Marathon this weekend, you know me there’s normally another marathon on the horizon!
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