I decided to run a half marathon today, Sunday. Note run......... not race. There was only me involved.
It was a late decision; made after 5 miles into a run of indeterminate length. You know , one of those days when you decide to "just see how it's going".
One of those days when it's not going great so perhaps paradoxically you go for quantity rather than quality!
Running out and back on the canal with wind and rain breaking through the tree lined towpath to my right it was tempting to turn back after 4, but I plodded on to 5 .......poor miles of 9.32 9.28 8.49 8.48 and 8.48....but then I thought, " no today I need to notch up the long run!" so decided to carry on to 5 Rise Locks which would give me 12 then add 1.1 to give me the half marathon distance.
Having committed to a target the pace actually picked up quite respectably. Racing at approx. 7/mile pace I would regard 8.30/ mile on a run like this as Ok and managed to return an average of 8.28 for the last 8. Satisfactory. But the sluggish first 5 meant that a total return of 1: 54 for the half distance.
A mere 46 minutes slower than P.B. But that was a long time ago.....and racing is racing!
Talking of P.Bs, somewhat "tongue in cheek" I wrote last week that Pat and I had recorded PBs for 7K last week ; basically because we had never run 7K before! But, not unexpectedly, blog reader Malcolm W. correctly pointed out that I would have gone through 7K faster than last week's race time of 30.32 in many of my marathons. He's right of course, at best about 24 minutes which would have been good enough for top 3 at Debdale with 35k to go.
Those were the days; true PBs very much a thing of the past.
The knowledge that improvement in race times is a thing of the past is something that many runners just can't get their heads around and see an end to their racing; which is a shame. It seems as well that the higher the athlete goes so the harder it is to keep racing. I was never more than county standard at best, never regarded myself as having anything of a big reputation to live up to so no big deal.
It seems to be harder for the ladies. Several local heroes in this area who can't face a return to racing in case the wins don't come again. It's easier to leave a reputation intact. But I think when you've not raced for a while you just have put yourself on the line and see how fit or unfit you are. Braver runners do just that of course and commit to racing their back to the top. Suffering and accepting places down the field on the way.
So, going back, that 13.1 gave me 53 for the week. The extra mile giving me my biggest mileage week of the year. But after Sunday's race it's been hard work and not quite to plan.
I arrived at the track on Friday to find that several hundred primary age children had beaten me to it...again!!
Firmly ensconced trackside with their lunch boxes on their laps, ready to watch or participate in an afternoon of fun and games. How could they!
3 mile warm up ..... 3 miles just above race pace..with 2 to close. The last one for which I switched to try another new shoe....more later.
Hard work then in the Friday's noon day sunshine. So hot that for the first time since who knows when that I actually trained in a vest./singlet!
Could it last for the weekend...no chance.
Yesterday and today the weather flipped. It as back to rainwear but at least we weren't trying to play links golf or climb a col on a bike in the Pyrenees.
Saturday's 7 mile trail run on the Strid was a slog in heavy rain throughout . No doubt taking the edge off today's pace. A miserable morning. Tired from Friday's tempo run, the conditions made the run a real chore.
I ended it feeling wet and weary and cursing the weather. Feeling really sorry for myself.
I talked to teenagers who had trudged the whole morning in the torrid conditions with huge heavy backpacks on. Duke Of Edinburgh Award and all that!
They too must have been cursing the English weather with it's severe contrasts.....let's see what this week brings.
Hopefully better, ......but don't hold your breath.