well over a month since my last blog post and things have been ticking along nicely.
My laid back training programme for London has continued. Last time I wrote I think I was up to 22 minutes of running. It has been a little disconcerting seeing other people piling on the miles in their training programmes as I spent a long time building up VERY slowly. (although still more than the recommended 10% each week) but I have stuck to the plan. I built up to 30 minutes of running then switched to 2 or 3 runs a week; 3 miles, 3 miles, 5miles. Then each weekend I added 2 miles to my long slow run (as opposed to my short slow runs!)
With every run the idea was to stick to roughly 10 min miles and only run if my knee is not in pain. Well, I haven't stuck to the first rule really, I have been running somewhere between 9 and 9.5 min miles. BUT, the most important thing is that I have not run in pain at all. One run I did with Jenny once we stepped up the pace to sub 9 for a while and I felt the knee complaining so I slowed down.
Strangely my knee is in less pain when I run sometimes, what I have on a day to day basis feels a bit like I have arthritis in my knee; a general stiffness but no stabbing pain any more. I went to the hospital a couple of weeks ago and they showed me a scan of my knee that I swear they never showed me before. They said they think there may be a piece of my bone that has become detatched and is floating around in there which is causing me problems. Of course they told me off when I said I've been doing some 'light jogging', in fact they told me I should still avoid any running at all till they get the results of my next scan (now scheduled for the end of March) I expect you can guess by now that our relationship is not a truly honest one; basically I am going to carry on running and fully intend to run London unless I feel pain...
So today was the Wilmslow Half Marathon, my training programme required a 13 mile run and Jenny was booked onto this race so I decided to join. We told ourselves that we would try to stick to 9.30 min miles for as long as we could.
It was a beautiful sunny morning but with a chilly wind, pretty perfect conditions for a run. I was excited as this was to be my first race for over a year (also my longest run in that time). When we set off it felt good. Our first mile was 9.09, so was our second. But it felt comfortable. Jenny and I kept checking with each other as we ran and we were both happy. We didn't feel the need to slow down. We just assumed that we would slow down naturally as the race progressed so we decided to make hay while the sun shone.
This race is so well organised, with so many marshals along the way, all enthusiastically encouraging us as we went. The race is all on closed roads and I think there were about 5000 runners. Running along I felt so happy to just be there, next to Jenny, running like in the 'old days', this was something I had seriously doubted would ever happen again at different times in the last year. I felt relaxed and the running felt easy. Even when I had to stop for a loo break around mile 4, I had no trouble upping the pace after in order to catch up Jenny who had gone on ahead.
We passed half way around 59 minutes and this was the first time we discussed the thought that we were running a sub 2 hour pace. But we were beginning to slow a little now and the second half of the race was far more up-hill than the first.
But we were HAPPY.
Around 8 miles Jenny told me she thought I should go on ahead; she was slowing but not in trouble. After a couple of checks that she really meant it, I kicked off and for the rest of the race I was on my own. I felt great, I upped the pace a little and started over-taking people. I was doing roughly 9 min miles again. Then my left leg complained a little, (the bad knee is on the right) so I stopped and stretched out a bit. With two miles to go I was just under 18 minutes short of 2 hours. I knew I wouldn't make it and I didn't want to risk anything (I have got London to think of!) But my pace was increasing and I was passing a lot of people now, this felt GREAT! With one mile to go I thought I could see the 2 hour pacer in the distance so I thought 'Let's give it a go' My last mile was 8 minutes and I took over the pacer in the last 50 yards.
My time was 2.00.30. So I just missed the sub 2, but I really didn't care! My average pace was 9.09 but most importantly it felt comfotable and there was no pain in my knee (well at least not until I sat down afterwards!)
I LOVED this race, and it filled me with confidence for London; if I can run like this for London I will be a very happy man. Next week, 15 miles, BRING IT ON!
PS. Jenny had a great run too but I will let her tell you all about that...
Happy training everyone!
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