Saturday, 14 March 2009

Inverness Half Marathon and more long runs

So I went down South for the first weekend in March to take part in the Mad March 20 in Dorset with Paris marathon buddie Julia. This would be one of our only training runs together, as up until now we've only been 'virtual' training buddies. I'd had a tough week of training in the preceding week, and had started getting a little niggle in my left hip flexor. I decided to try a little run on the Saturday to see how it was fairing, only to find I could only manage 2 miles until the pain became too much. After much thought, I decided to do the sensible thing and pull out of the 20 mile 'race'. I went along to support Julia and Marc (who was running the 10 mile race) and we had a good day, they both ran really well. The following week I cut the miles back a little and I think the rest did me good, because come the weekend and the Inverness Half Marathon I was ready and raring to go!!

The weather was pretty changeable in Inverness. Wind and rain the night before, snow and sleet in the morning, then sunshine, then more snow!! I'd gone up with several other club members so there was a good atmosphere at the start, despite having to be pushed out into the sleet to the start line! The course was really nice. It started along the banks of the river Ness, we then crossed over, past the Inverness Castle and then along the river. The rest of the race is a mixture of woodland, roads, housing estates, but the race finishes back along the river and into the athletics stadium where we ran a loop of the track before crossing the line. I was aiming for a personal best if I could, particularly wanting to run under 1hr40mins. That would mean an average of 7:35 per mile. I set of with Gillian, although after a few hundred metres I looked down at my watch and realised we were doing 6:30 per mile. A bit quicker than I was planning!! I knew I wouldn't stay with her for long, so I dropped down the pace. The quicker first mile paid off though, as there were some toughy hillier ones to come. I felt strong round the whole course, the marathon training from the last 3 months was definately paying off. The last mile was back into a headwind, at which point the sleet shower was setting off again, making it all the more painful. I entered the stadium on 1hr38... would I make it!! I crossed the line in 1hr39:19. A new personal best. I was very pleased!!

Since then this week has involved a speed session with the club, a longish run (very painful), followed by a massage (even more painful!), and a tempo run. Today I set off early in the morning with fellow marathon runners Dean and Gillian to do a 20 mile run. This is my furthest run of the training program, as I'm back down to 18 next weekend! We set off at 8:30am. The sun was shining, and the first half was mostly flat and downhill, with the wind in our backs. We ran down to Musselburgh along the coast and beyond. At some points we decided we would just run 20 miles and get the bus back, to avoid the hills and very strong headwind on the way back. However, we realised there would be no buses that went back to Edinburgh if we carried on for 20 miles, so we had no choice but to turn round and head back. The second half was tough to say the least!! But we made it - just over 20 miles in 3hours and 1 minute!!

Just one more week of tough training and then I begin my 2 week taper to the Paris marathon...

1 comment:

Julia said...

Your training is really paying off, you did a great half marathon! I'm starting to get excited about Paris!! x