After last week I was keen to get started again. The snow was melting and the training plan called for the longest week of the entire plan. That is, the greatest number of miles in the week of any week. Clearly this was going to be an important week in the plan. Even if I wasn’t 100%, it was time to pull on my big boy tights and get on with it.
That’s not a sentence I expect to write very often.
Anyway, Monday was – as usual – a rest day.
Tuesday called for five miles. The weather wasn’t great at lunchtime and I knew I was going to have to go to the gym in the evening, so once again I decided to use the treadmill. I had bought a fancy new running vest when I was in London, so I wore that. I don’t think that this photograph of me from the display of the treadmill really flatters me or the vest, but you can at least see that it’s blue!
After that, it was the Wednesday middle distance run. I had been in Aberdeen during the daytime, taking my daughter to a University visit. By the time I got home, unpacked the car, and got the house sorted out it was much later than I usually go for runs – but I managed to get out and had a little visit to the town centre in the rain!
Max elevation: 111 m
Min elevation: 23 m
For some reason that I can’t quite remember, it was even later on Thursday. I didn’t get out until almost 10pm, and decided to re-use part of the route I had taken the day before. Not much to say about this run, it was a straightforward five miles in the dark.
Max elevation: 111 m
Min elevation: 27 m
After a rest day on Friday, it was time for an eight mile medium distance run on Saturday. The training plan says that this should be run at training pace, not marathon pace. I guess that this is because it’s a long week. My route took me west along the canal to the Glen Burn, then I retraced my steps back as far as the Wallace Stone Brae. Up the hill, turn left and head for home.
The weather wasn’t great to start with, but when I was coming back along the canal, it really took a turn for the worse. I don’t know if it was hail or rain hitting me in the face, but it was nasty and it stung! It’s not often I would turn onto the Wallace Stone Brae and be glad for it, but this time I was!
Max elevation: 152 m
Min elevation: 74 m
And then the long one. Sunday. Eighteen miles.
I have memories of eighteen miles being my nemesis back when I was training last time. Eighteen miles is the point where I started to fall apart. Eighteen miles is where I fell apart during the marathon itself. I have baggage about eighteen miles.
Anyway, I drove to Stirling Uni, trying to get to my usual starting point – only to find that the road was blocked because there was some work being done on the aerial walkway between buildings. I parked in a different car park and found a loo where I could pee and change.
Not only that, but change into shorts! The weather, while still cool, was a lot better than yesterday!
My route was to be similar to the route I ran for the fifteen mile route I did a couple of weeks ago, but with an added lap of the Loch and a wee extra bit to make up the distance.
It was strange starting from a different part of the campus, but I set off round the loch, going down to the University entrance then swinging back up the route through the University that we will be taking on the day.
I had fuelled myself very carefully before leaving – porridge early in the morning, a nice burger roll and another tub of porridge at lunchtime. It was now about 1330 and my body wanted rid of some of that. So I had to stop at the public loos in Causewayhead park to do that.
After that, just straight out through Tullibody to Alloa. Where again I stopped at the loo, this time in the Leisure Bowl. I’m not gratuitously talking about bodily functions here; my point is that I need to get control of my bladder before this race.
At the other end of my body, I had a bit of a nutrition strategy on the go here. Checking the current Stirling route map, it appears that the rest stations are at miles 4, 7, 10, 13, 15.5, 19, 21 and 25. I plan to walk through each rest station, for a self-counted 30s. During that time I will take a gel and some water. I was practising the gel consumption today.
There were times through the route that I felt quite cold – I don’t know if that was down to the shorts. Maybe long tights would have been better. But the main point is that I never felt exhausted, and I never felt despairing. I was, perhaps, running a bit faster than I should have been, because I was frankly bored and wanted the run to be over!
When I got to the Uni I very deliberately added a few hundred yards – enough to get me over 18.5 miles. I wanted to prove to myself that I could go beyond 18 miles. So my final distance was 18.54 – maybe I should have gone on to 18.56 so I could round it up rather than down!
Anyway, I was very heartened by this training run. I was able to go as far as I wanted, and I wasn’t too tired to continue. I was never forced to stop (other than for the loo!) and my walking stretches at the pretend rest stations were all planned.
I’m beginning to have some confidence for this marathon. Not for my time – right now I cannot see how I can possibly manage round at 9 min/mile. But I do believe that I can finish it. So I’ll probably damage myself in the next few weeks and end up unable to compete!
If nothing else, I ran forty-five miles in a week – that is the most I have ever done (probably the most I shall ever do, too). So all in all, a good week!
Max elevation: 50 m
Min elevation: 4 m