Week 8 – Pushing the envelope

Primary 6 school report card – ‘Well she’s certainly tenacious’. I didn’t know what that meant when I was what, 10? I thought I was in trouble.

Determination and a bit of stubborness was required this week. Being face-slapped by freezing headwinds on Wednesday would test even the hardiest of souls. Thankfully, I had Emily C with me to help push through a particularly brutal section of run. We saw the funny side later.

Training Schedule – Week 8

  • Mon – 4 miles easy
  • Tues – Rest
  • Wed – 7 miles easy
  • Thurs – 4 miles easy
  • Fri – Rest
  • Sat – 15 miles long (slow)
  • Sun – Rest/Cross Train

The week started with a cyclonic weather bomb (aka Storm Brendan). Great. Winter training seemed such a good idea at the time…..

Monday morning was actually okay weather wise. I had planned to do a running club activity in the evening, but decided instead to hedge my bets and go out before the storm. Half asleep, I plodded around the beach on my own, making a work to-do list in my head. The storm later that evening certainly delivered. Dodged a bullet there.

It was STILL windy on Wednesday but I went ahead anyway. Chummed by Emily C, we went out around the beach before heading to Kinnaber to make up the 7 miles. On the way out, helped along by a tailwind, we chatted happily, passing through some nice wooded and trail sections. We had to battle our way back into town though, at one point barely able to talk, or hear each other. Madness really. We chose to do this, we enjoyed our run, we decided what great resistance training it was! Haha, runners are oddballs.

On Thursday night, mercifully, the wind had abated. I ran with the running club to Ferryden, with a healthy dose of hill running thrown in. Elaine K and I chatted for most of the route, both managing to make it up the hill in one go, which was decent. I also had a good chat with Moira about changing up my long run route at the weekend. I’m getting a wee bit bored of the repetitiveness of local routes. Great because they are door to door, but really fancied a change.

Something else I’ve noticed this week is my appetite, which is verging on ravenous some days. I’ve been pretty good at managing to eat at regular times. Lots of pasta, rice, couscous and tatties….alongside veg, fish, pulses, cheese and the occasional sweetie or chocolate. I get by fine on that, my weight has stayed much the same for a few months now. I don’t eat before running, I can’t stomach it. I don’t feel especially hungry after running normally. This week though, I could eat aaaall the food….and at random times too (10.30am – is it time for second breakfast yet?). You should see the state of my feet, perhaps I am turning into a hobbit?

On Saturday morning, the weather was actually lovely. Cold, crisp and sunny. I decided to go ahead and try a new route. I’ve always wanted to go across the Tay Road Bridge on foot, never have, despite living in the vicinity of Dundee for years. I was surprised to discover it’s actually only 1.4 miles long. It does have a slight gradient (downhill towards Dundee) and there is good pedestrian access from both sides. There’s a newish memorial for the Tay Rail Bridge Disaster on the south side, about 5 miles from Olympia car park (£3 for the day on a Saturday) so I headed there via the road bridge. I ran through Newport on Tay, on to Wormit, then after faffing about with Google maps for a bit, found the memorial.

With 5 miles of good running in the bank, I headed back towards Dundee. Knowing that the bridge was slightly downhill, I couldn’t resist upping the pace for the return leg. I did regret it slightly for the last five miles though…clearly the muscle memory didn’t want to fade and I found it quite hard to get back to a slow, easy pace along Riverside then back to town via Perth Road (except for the hill past the Botanic Gardens – that was tough going).

15 miles done with lots of scenery to enjoy made the trip worthwhile. But I was annoyed with myself. My average pace was 9:19/mile – which is pretty nippy for me. Certainly not the long, slow pace recommended in my plan. So I did something naughty. I went out again on Sunday with my running buddies Lesley and Anya, who are the queens of conversational pace running. I messaged Lesley on Sunday morning to see if she would be doing one of her Red January runs that I could tag along on, thinking maybe a 3 or 4 mile run? She messaged me back saying that would be great, we’re heading round the basin! I went anyway, and it was perfect. Zone 2 pace and HR all the way!

Photos by Lesley Strachan

I am writing this with a massive caveat for anyone thinking it’s perfectly okay to go on an 11 mile run the day after your longest run…it really isn’t recommended I’m sure. The truth is, I felt recovered enough to go, and I was well aware of the risk of injury if I hadn’t recovered sufficiently. I won’t be making a habit of it. The benefit will in time outweigh the risk, I really did learn a lot from my pacing dream team!

The Gent Marathon organisers released their route map this weekend. It looks an amazing way to see the city, with some nice out of town canal paths and countryside making up the 42.2km route. Their video shows just how far that is! I’m sticking with mile laps for now, 42 laps vs 26 laps – hmmmm – wwyd?

I heard today that the Angus Coastal Ultra has been postponed until next year. Not sure if I should feel disappointed or relieved. It will mean I’m free to do this instead 🙂

Thanks for reading, looking forward to a easier week 9!

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