Sunday, 29 April 2012

The come back runs

My last half marathon was 1 April. I created a plan to get me back into training for the marathon on 6 May but an infection in Paris put that to one side. I was on antibiotics, prescription pain killers and repairing my body from the two days when I couldn't walk properly. 

I had tried to run a couple of times when on the drugs and felt sluggish or was sluggish even when I felt I was doing fine. Two kms was the maximum. Then I went to Asics run club with no drugs to see if I could be dragged around 5km and I felt fine. We did 6km and I chatted through it and felt like I could keep going. Yes the pace was easy but finishing the distance was the point. I realised how much easier it was when there was someone to talk to so I decided that my 13 mile pre marathon run would be easier if I had company. 

A quick shout out on twitter and Neil (madebyelves) came to the rescue. We planned to take a lap of the Kingston Breakfast Run 8 mile route then go forward three, and back two to make 13. I needed precisely 13.1 to stay in the Nike Half Marathon a Month Challenge as my 1 April race clocked only 20.6kms. Grrr. 

Neil is a much faster runner than me and even doing London Marathon 5 days earlier hadn't slowed him down. But he kindly ran at my pace and perhaps I won some respect points for being in a tshirt and shorts in the cold and wet while he was fully layered up. All that Arctic training paid off! 

It was still a faster pace than I would run a half at and my lungs burnt a bit. My ITB had a niggle moment early on maybe about 5 miles in, and I had to stop and rearrange my leg. My right knee has been dislocated so many times it will turn any way you don't want it. With a right big toe also veering off one direction and a lazy right glute, that whole leg requires some serious telling off to hold itself together. So I took a moment to literally untwist my calf muscle and associated tendons so it's a bit more on track. 

The rain and wind was intermittent - it could have been much worse. The scenery was quite nice, lovely houses along the river and I recognised I am sure some of it as the Ultra route (we ran from Richmond to Barnes along a similar stretch). There were police horses, rabbits and leafy stuff given it a rural feel. I must admit, I wasn't looking at the scenery too much just trying to keep it together for conversation while dodging the puddles. About 10 miles, and I forgot about both the conversation and the puddles. Neil was good in keeping chatty and upbeat. At about 12 miles I just wanted to get home and felt a good rhythm but it just didn't last the full 1.1 mile needed and Neil had to coax me that last few hundred metres. It did help when he turned a post into the finishing line; having something to aim for gets that sprint finish going and without it my legs were just whimpering "stop stop". 

I was so pleased to have finished and it was a decent time for me let alone without any training. The new Sauconys held up well albiet their beauty was now masked by mud and horse poo. My arches had hurt a little and I wasn't sure if that was from more or less midfoot striking. I felt completely knackered but my ITB was not as bad as I had thought it might be, in fact the errant right toe had taken more of a brunt -pointing to more fore foot striking than usual. [TWO DAYS LATER: My feet are all bruised in the arches and toes so I need to work out what I was doing] 

I really felt like I could not have done this run without Neil so I am truly grateful once again for the twitter community and that the people on it are decent, fun and supportive. Now who wants to run a marathon with me this Sunday?!

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