How rubbish have I been at updating my journey to running a marathon? You really don’t need to answer, I know it already – completely rubbish. My last running update was week 1 of my training back in June. June!!! Four months ago!
Well I suppose I’ve saved you from my moanings and groanings along the way. The endless worrying about not being able to reach the finish line. The constant niggles. If it isn’t my ankle hurting, it’s my leg, knee or hamstring. You’re welcome!
All joking aside, training has gone well – touch wood quickly. The niggles I’ve experienced have not stopped me from running or strength training – which I hasten to add has probably been the key to not being injured.
Since I started with my lovely personal trainer Sophie, I have noticed a marked improvement in my strength and ability to recover quickly from runs and strength training. It doesn’t scare me anymore. Maybe that is one of the keys too.
The turning point for me was definitely after my 15 mile run in 28c heat. It was awful. I really don’t know why I continued with it. I ran out of Tailwind with 7km to go in an already dehydrated state. I felt awful for a few days afterwards and lost my confidence completely. Thankfully the following week was much cooler and I managed 17.5 miles feeling better than the previous week. I was absolutely fine for the rest of the day. Woohoo confidence returned – good job too!
My 20 mile run took place on the Sunday just gone. Before I signed up for New York Marathon, I had entered Oxford Half. Oxford Half 2015 was my first half marathon and I loved it. I couldn’t bare the thought of pulling out of it and running 20 lonely miles by myself. After a lot of discussion with my knowledgeable running friends, I decided to get up at 4:30am and run 7 miles on the treadmill before driving into Oxford and completing the race. The 7 miles on the treadmill were tough. I always find running on the treadmill slow and laborious. It felt like it took forever. I had a quick stretch, attempted to eat a bowl of porridge and off I went.
I had it in my head to aim to stick with the 2:30 pacer. On my recent long runs, my half times have been around 2:33 – way off my normal 1/2 times, but it didn’t matter. If I could stick with the 2:30 pacer and end the race feeling like I could carry on, I would be happy.
By the third mile, I had worryingly overtaken the 2:30 pacer. I felt OK though. Nothing was hurting, my breathing was good and I resisted the urge to look at my splits. I wanted to go by effort.
At about 8 miles, I saw a fellow runner in trouble, so ran with her for a bit. I know it sounds selfish, but I had to push on after a while. My legs were not liking the slower pace.
At the 10 mile point I had a little cry. I felt so strong and able. I knew I could push on a bit and maybe achieve a PB.
My last kilometre was my fastest.
I crossed the line and felt triumphant. My hamstring was pulling a bit, the bursitis in my knee was a little painful, but I felt good. And sure enough the time came through by text, knocking 3 seconds of my half marathon PB.
Yes the little doubter in my head says that it doesn’t count because I had a rest between the 7 miles and the half marathon. I don’t really care. I still ran 20 miles in a day – plus all the walking about in between and after. I think, with a little help from my new friend, Arnica Salve, I am ready for New York Marathon.
I’ve got Great South Run and possible my local Candleford Trot to finish before I fly out, but I feel confident that my body and mind are ready now.
Skye Hall, this is for you as always xxxx