Week 14 – Maranoia

Finally, a use for an image I made back in 2010

Will I make it to the finish line? Will I get injured again? What if a family member becomes ill? What if my dog is sick? What if I GET ILL? Can you run with Coronavirus? If they cancel flights, is there a boat to mainland Europe? Will COVID-19 sweep Europe and cause all marathons to be cancelled?


This is where my head is at this week. Utterly self-obsessed, selfish and in the grand scheme of things, a little narcissistic.

Social media is awash with speculation, fear-mongering and maranoia. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I think of is ‘have they announced any more cancellations?!’ (at time of writing Tokyo Marathon was cancelled, Paris Half-Marathon caput, the Health Secretary is non-committal, but not ruling out cancellation of the VML marathon). I have friends training for Manchester and London, both in April, and they are very much sailing precariously into the same state of hysteria aboard the fear boat.

I reached out to the organisers of Gent. It took them a couple of days (they are probably inundated) but I got this reply….

Dear Wendy,

We, as organisation, are in continuous consultation with the Department of Health and we are following their advice. At this moment, there is no reason for drastic changes in the planning and continued preparations for the event now. As soon as anything changes, the organisation will inform all participants about any required measures. If circumstances do not change between now and the time of the event, all the obvious and logical health measures will be taken on site, the same as the ones that are recommended for daily public life now. Best regards

Basically, we don’t know? We will let you know, when we know, but meh, we don’t know.

So. Nothing else for it. Continue as planned and hope that a 50μm virus doesn’t scupper the whole gig.

Training Schedule – Week 14

  • Mon – 5 miles easy
  • Tues – Rest
  • Wed – 8 miles easy
  • Thurs – 5 miles easy
  • Fri – Rest
  • Sat – Rest
  • Sun – 12 Miles Long Slow

At least the running was good this week. Monday’s run with Flyers (in the new pacing group format) was a little faster than planned but I found myself oddly energised, despite the 20 miler the day before. Apologies to my running group buddies for informing them all just how ‘fine my legs felt’. Nobody likes a show-off.

On Wednesday, I went out with Emily C and Jane, did 8 miles and my legs felt like lead. Haha – karma is a bitch. Still did it though. Thanks to both of them for putting up with my constant moaning about how hard going it felt.

On Thursday night, suitably recovered, it was the return of the Flyers 5K Lion Run series. By this point, run four of four, I knew there was little chance of beating the time I got back in November. However, that didn’t mean I couldn’t have a little bit of sprinty fun. I decided to go for a 1 mile PB instead. I shot off, lungs burning, with a bit of a tailwind and a downhill towards the end of the first mile. Got a 7:20 min/mile PB and a 4:21 min/km PB, which was nice.

On Saturday, it was a rare event in parkrun universe. Once every 28 years, 29th Feb falls on a parkrunday. To mark the occasion, my local parkrun arranged for us to run backwards (the route that is, not actually running backwards). I ran (forwards) with Jo and Tasha, chatting and avoiding all the massive puddles along the route. Good muddy fun was had by all the runners and I caught up with a real life leapling at the end – Scott M celebrating his 12th ‘official’ birthday! He explained that on a non leap year, his birthday defaults to the 28th. So now you know.

Sunday’s long run was a 10 mile race organised by another great local running club, the Arbroath Footers. The Smokies 10 mile ladies race has been going since 1988. This isn’t a race report – but there is a brilliant and comprehensive report for 2019 written by a proper runner, Pauline B, here if you’re interested.

Pre race Flyers ladies L-R clockwise : Brenda, Moira, Karen, Anya, Lesley, Jacqui, Jane, Jillian C and Moi

Firstly, it was lovely to meet up for a race indoors for a change. Normally, I’m standing about chittering and chattering outside for at least half an hour before a race begins. Arbroath Sports Centre was a veritable haven of warmth and excitement, with lots of familiar running friends from both Montrose Flyers and St Cyrus Solos to catch up with (and endless selfie opportunities…oh, and loos!). It was just as well because although no-one was talking about it, the weather forecast for the outward part of the run was pretty ghastly…40 mph headwind, rain, and possibly sleet too. Did I mention the first 5 miles are uphill too? Good Lord, what was I thinking when I signed up? I had intended to do a mile warm up and cool down bookending my 10 miles…but it was so nice and warm, and, I reasoned, I’d done an extra 3 miles at parkrun yesterday.

Before long, the race briefing complete…we filed out the hall and headed to the start line. Then we were off. It was spitting but bunched together, we headed up Keptie Road and it didn’t feel too windy. I ran alongside Anya, Lesley, Karen and Jacqui until we were headed out of town, along Arbirlot Road. Then we broke off into our own pace zones. The wind picked up, and the rain started to feel like icy needles on my face, and the first proper hill loomed. I’m not ashamed to admit I just couldn’t be bothered with those hills making my heart rate spike, so I walked some parts. My pace was marathon pace anyway, so I was once again pushing the long/slow definition of my training run.

It was pretty hard to put on a smile for the cameras. A note to the lovely and talented Pete Bracegirdle who did a technically fab job photographing all the ladies at the halfway point – perhaps photographing women, digging deep, at the top of a 5 mile climb, bedraggled by the wind and rain, is not the kindest way to capture them!

Once the hilliest, windiest part of the route was over, I started to actually enjoy the run, settling into a nice 9-9.30 min/mile pace for the return. The thought of warm coffee and home baking at the end was absolutely a motivating factor. As were the fab support crews dotted around the course (Barrie M, Val T, Andrea & Pete and Jo & Tasha near the end) – thanks so much to all of you!!

Goody bag and t shirt. Top notch.

Thanks for reading and if you have even an inkling of a sniff or sneeze, don’t be offended if I back away from you for the next few weeks – haha!

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