Week 7 – Uncharted territory

OK, that’s a bit dramatic. My first ‘longest ever’ run was this week, by about 1/4 of a mile. Nonetheless, it’s a psychological and physical milestone, and I was a bit anxious if I’m honest. I remember reaching the end of my last longest run (Glen Clova Half Marathon in Nov) and thinking there was no way I could have continued running. Nope. Dead legs, ragged breathing, finished, done. Add to that a fairly punishing midweek mileage increase, poor weather and a niggly right ankle, it could have all ended in tears.

It didn’t, and here’s why;

The training plan is very clever. I have faith in it. It has become my mentor and friend. It gently boosts my confidence by pushing me along outside my comfort zone, then cajoling me back with a week of easier running. It is flexible, I can switch days if necessary, I can stop anytime I have a concern of injury (I have also run further than the plan dictates on occasion). It’s simple. Just running, easy paced.

I have a huge amount of support from friends, family and fellow runners. During this particularly hard week, I had both Jane and Caroline join me on training runs. I was late for Montrose Flyers Monday social run after volunteering with the C25K group (which was really well delivered to a group of slightly terrified looking new runners – well done Emily C). I still managed to do my miles afterwards on lap 2 of the group run with Colleen and Elaine K then with Emily C and Sarah R. I have had amazing support from Strava followers too – so many taking time to leave helpful and positive comments on both runs and blog posts. At no point during this training have I felt on my own. You are all amazing!!

Training Schedule – Week 7

  • Mon – 4 miles easy
  • Tues – Rest
  • Wed – 7 miles easy
  • Thurs – 4 miles easy
  • Fri – Rest
  • Sat – 14 miles long Weather so bad, they cancelled parkrun
  • Sun – 14 Miles long

So yeah, quite a jump then. I’ve not once moaned about the runs being too short this week. Monday and Thursday were easy enough, and as mentioned, I had company so really didn’t notice the miles.

Wednesday was a longer midweek run than I’m used to and I didn’t think I needed it for the distance, but I should have brought water. I also took a grass verge with a little too much enthusiasm, went over my ankle a teensy bit, but kept running as it felt fine. It was also fine on Thursday. On Friday, I was limping up stairs (only upstairs, not down, and not on the flat). Out came the compression socks and plans made to wait and see before running 14 miles on Saturday.

By Friday night, the decision to swap my long run to Sunday was made for me….the weather forecast for Saturday was shocking. High winds, rain, yuck. No chance was I going to attempt 14 miles in that!

With a night off on the cards and a lie in on Saturday for once, I caught up with a couple of documentaries recommended by Colleen earlier in the week. Turns out during that conversation I had managed to mix up Nicky Spinks with Fiona Oakes. Nicky is a farmer, Fiona runs an animal sanctuary (not the other way around). Both are incredible female ultra runners. I often mix up things when I run…brain oxygen diverted to my legs, I expect 😀

I found both documentaries completely fascinating. Mind-boggling distances. Put my mere marathon into perspective anyway! There’s an ultra marathon happening close to where I live this summer. I’m so tempted to enter. I’m going to. I may not run it, but then again, I might.

I woke up really early on Sunday. It was still dark. My ankle had miraculously healed. No pain. It was on then….14 miles!

I’m not sure why I decided to go for a route with hills and some coastal paths. I mean, it would have been easy to just stick with something flat and predictable. As the sun came up, I saw that there was going to be amazing light and views over the North Sea, and to get to some of the best viewpoints would mean a bit of a hike. I had made a plan to meet Caroline for part of the route and it made sense to do the bulk of the distance first, then run the last 5 miles together. I got my views, the hills were ok and I really, really enjoyed the run. It seemed to transcend the level of effort I was expecting. Just bumbling along deserted country roads and dramatic cliff tops, not thinking about the miles ahead, but the mile I was running at that time. How Zen.

I passed various folk including my neighbours and fellow Flyer Karen A on my way back from the lighthouse. I then passed them again (with Caroline), which was highly amusing (or confusing). Caroline is training for her first triathlon, and I quote, has a love-hate relationship with running. We completed our first 10K together, and our first 10K race, and she has been running consistently since the start of the year. So she was delighted to be dragged out to the lighthouse on a Sunday morning. Just kidding, we had a fine chat, and despite some brisk (freezing) headwinds on the way home, kept a steady pace. I felt fairly comfortable towards the end, a little stiff in the legs, but no ankle pain, and I felt I could have kept going further. Which I didn’t. Sensible.

Next week I’m up to 15 miles. I’ve recently discovered a great community on Facebook called Run Mummy Run. I was discussing long run distances with some other ladies training for spring marathons and one commented how they’d soon be saying ‘just nipping out for a cheeky half-marathon’. Haha!

Thanks for reading!

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