The comprehension and reality of following a proper marathon training schedule is now fully ingrained in my mind and it seems my muscles; effort session, tempo run and long run. I am trying for the first time to follow a structured training plan that only has 3 runs per week and then adding to this swimming training, a RPM class and some strength and core work. I am on week 9 and so far so good! The plan is achievable, apart from when snow and the lurgy create havoc, and I am actually enjoying it. Most unexpectedly I am really relishing the structure and with it each week I am seeing improvement, even if it’s just a few seconds. Not running back to back marathons does make a difference it seems, who’d have thought! I am nowhere close speed wise to where I was 6 years ago but with being older and changes in health it’s just good to be running, and that is sometimes what I need to remind myself of when I get frustrated, on occasion, with my pace. So what’s happened so far in 2019 post Kerala adventure?!
I decided to add into my training schedule all the off-road races that I used to run when I was training properly for a marathon as this seemed to work, so first race of the season was Rough ‘n’ Tumble 10 miler which is described as ‘one of the toughest multi terrain races in Wiltshire!’. This race is not for the fainthearted with 1,400ft of elevation gain including one hill which requires you to near enough crawl up on all fours! But the plus side of so many hills is that you get to appreciate the stunning views of the Wiltshire countryside and I had a wonderful enjoyable sociable run with Kirsty-Ann and Kevin.
My next race was meant to be Watford Half Marathon which I had last run in 2010 and had thoroughly enjoyed, even though at the time I recall it being very undulating! I hadn’t been back mainly due to timing but this year the date worked perfectly; I could see where I was pace wise and also out of interest find out if my idea of undulating in 2010 differed to now as back then I did everything to avoid running up any incline! Alas I will have to wait another year to find out as snow stopped play and the race was cancelled on the Saturday afternoon as the roads were deemed too treacherous.
I was staying with my parents at the time so on the Sunday morning I donned my off-road trainers and ran, slipped, slid and crawled my way along a 13.1 mile route around the country roads there. With 1,111ft of elevation gain I nearly did get stuck on some hills due to black ice but managed to crawl my way out and make it home in time for Sunday lunch!
Even though I was disappointed that Watford was cancelled I was also in fact mightily relieved that the snow had happened then as the following weekend was our annual Chippenham Harriers running jolly, this year to Barcelona. Last year snow stopped play and our flights were cancelled so our trip to Benidorm ended up being rerouted to Chippenham, not quite the same! This year no such problems and 22 of us safely arrived in Barcelona on time! As always I used Running Crazy to organise the Barcelona end which includes among many things; being met at the airport, the hotel, race entry and numbers collected, pre-race pasta party and post-race-party. We arrived in Barcelona mid-morning so we had the rest of the day to enjoy. We didn’t want to walk too much so after a lovely Paella lunch sat outside in the sunshine we took a trip across the bay on the cable car which provided stunning views over all of Barcelona.
Race day arrived and because of the close proximity of the hotel to the race start/finish we only had to leave the comfort of the hotel facilities 30 minutes before the race started. Barcelona half marathon is an A-class race with an impressive field among the 19,000 runners and with what you would expect from such a race the start was flawless. The course also never felt too crowded, even with this amount of runners, as all the roads the half marathon starts along are 3-lane boulevards which are all closed to traffic.
I was just running to feel, not a specific pace as to be honest I had no idea what I could do, I was just going to see what happened. Well what happened was that the first 10km felt comfortable and I ran this in a steady 57 minutes and then I didn’t feel so great! I crossed the 10km timing mat and then everything seemed to feel wrong; I needed a comfort break, I needed my asthma inhaler and my feet felt even more uncomfortable than usual! Looking back at my splits I kept a steady pace for all the miles I didn’t have to stop for one of these issues so that’s a positive, and I did manage to combine the feet issue with taking my inhaler! I eventually crossed the finish line in 2 hrs 8 mins and when I say eventually I also mean because you have to run under at least 6 inflatable gantries before you actually run under the finishing one; the Spanish love an inflatable gantry! Looking back I think tiredness was an issue but with the horrendous foot pain I had the same problem in Palma last October so I’m blaming Spanish tarmac! Now there’s a new one! However I did love the race and would certainly go back for another try and would thoroughly recommend Barcelona half marathon and of course Running Crazy. As for the rest of the trip; what goes on tour stays on tour!
So I have a few races coming up which I have built into my training plan; The Terminator, Newport Half Marathon, Larmer Tree Marathon (entered before I won a VLM place!) and Fission 20/20 so I’ll be back Blogging anew! Watch this space!
Laters and happy running!
PS If you like a bit of competition why not guess my VLM finishing time, more information here! https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/libbylaird
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