Road to London

Week 8

The road to London Marathon...

Week 8

Miles ran - 44
Things ran into - 0
Red wine drunk - 2 bottles
Weight - Monday 170lbs - Sunday 170lbs

Monday 20th Feb

As always the week starts with a gym session and a day off from running.

So I thought I'd use today's entry to do one of those swirly flashback scenes to talk about marathons, this is at the request of Jim because the story makes him laugh. It doesn't make me laugh .

London will not be my first marathon, it will actually be my second although I don't count the first one, mainly because I hated every single bloody minute of it.

In 2019 I entered Kielder Dark Skies, I will say there was some bullying here by 'others' who told me I needed to do a marathon.  So I entered and I persuaded my coaching partner Graham to enter with me.  After a few weeks Graham made the absolute correct decision and decided it wasn't for him and stopped training for it.

I didn't.

I kept slogging away at training.  I had no structure to what I was doing, I hate hills and I hate trails and an offroad hilly marathon in the dark was undoubtedly one of the stupidest ideas I've ever had. I hated training for it, on a long run I'd stop constantly to take photos of trees, the ground, anything that gave me a tiny excuse to stop running.  I'd run via shops so I could go in and buy a bottle of coke and some haribo and then walk for a bit eating and drinking.  The whole process was bloody awful.

On the day of the marathon, I stood on the startline with the 2 Paul's and Paddy, and off we went.  A few others from the Poly were there, Colin and I think Ivor but I've buried these memories deep, deep down. So the Paul's, Paddy and me ran together for around 6 miles ticking off 8:00-9:00 min miles.  Only problem with this was I hadn't trained to run at that pace, I had trained to run slower and to stop lots and take photos of trees and mud.

So they left me, I had 20 miles to run by myself in the dark around Kielder.  

In my head I pictured the whole course being busy with people, but nope it wasn't like that.  It was dark, I was alone, I was cold and I didn't want to be there.  At one point I phoned my daughter at home to tell her how much I hated it and I wanted to come home, she told me I was doing great and to keep going.  I wasn't doing great, I was doing 11 min miles and walking a lot and constantly working out how long I had left to go. I stopped at every drink station and drank 4 or 5 drinks and ate all the sweets they would give me.

At one point you weave up a hill that switches back left and right, a bloke just behind me tried to make a joke about it and engage me in conversation.  I turned to him with sweaty salt marks all over my face and the residue of gel on my chin, scowled at him and politely but firmly said 'please don't f'ing talk to me' and then I walked up the hill staring at the floor in absolute silence with him right behind me.

Anyway, I finished after 4:31:21.

That's 4 hours, 31 minutes and 21 seconds of complete and utter misery that I endured.  At the end you go into a hut with all the happy marathoners happily chatting and eating the tasty meal they had pre-ordered and it's all lovely and happy and upbeat.

I stood by the coffee urn eating the crumbed remnants of the free biscuits the greedy bastards had all polished off.  Didn't even have a quid for a coffee so stole some blokes who turned round to get his pre-ordered meal. I have zero guilt about this.

Went home with the fellas who had all smashed it well over half an hour ahead of me.  I got home and I stunk, my running tights and shoes were filthy and dusty, I had sweaty salt marks all over my clothes and face, sticky energy gel remnants on my face and down my top, I was still wearing a sweaty buff on my head, my gloves and my hydration vest.

I trudged upstairs and climbed into bed wearing all of it, I stunk and I lay there in bed next to my wife in that disgusting state.  I recall her walking up later and telling me I stunk.  She was right, I did and I didn't care.

I titled my Strava run that day as 'marathon 1of1 done & box ticked, you can stick your marathons up your arse'.  So, what's the moral of this story?

It's don't be looking to me for life advice.

I'm an idiot.

Tuesday 21st Feb

In and out the bays at the club.

Legs felt heavy but I like this session, started well and then Simmo and Phil just lifted the pace and yet again the group just became strung out whilst everyone tried desperately to cling on.

It was bloody hard work and glad when it was over.

We've also drifted into these sessions now being 15 mins and turn and come back.  When me and Graham took over the group they were 12 mins, then they went to 13 and sat there for a long time and now we seemed to have drifted out to 15 mins.  I blame Graham.

Next plan I'm bumping it up to 18 minutes and blaming Ben.

Ben wasn't at the club tonight, but I can't go a blog without mentioning him.  


Bloody Ben.

Wednesday 22nd Feb

Easy miles on Wednesday, 4 along the coast and that's it.

I'm on a recovery week this week, next 4 week block starts on Monday and mileage bumps up again so I'm enjoying this week of shorter sessions and lots of recovery.

I'll probably eat some cheese today.

Also I'm 3 days in and haven't ran into anything yet, reckon I'll make it right through the week no bother this time.

I had some cheese.  Cheese on toast. Had a cheese sandwich whilst I cooked my cheese on toast.

Actually I had two cheese sandwiches whilst I cooked my cheese on toast.

Thursday 23rd Feb

Thursday is threshold day and today is 4 X 15 mins at threshold pace with 3 min jogs between each.

Will be trying out the alphaflys again today to try and get my feet used to them.

Have I told you just how bright and very orange they are ? 

First 15 min interval a little fast, second one a little faster, third one faster again and final one stupidly faster.  First time I've worn the Alphaflys and really liked them for the full session, they're just so damn bouncy and soft and orange, have I mentioned the orangeness yet?

Next week the threshold sessions switch to 3 mile reps building up over the 4 weeks, kind of looking forward to them.

Friday 24th Feb

Friday easy 4 miles along the coast listening to Jamie T, I'm in a Jamie T phase.

I almost forgot to mention about the 2 bottles of red wine I found on Thursday, what a day!

Drink them on Friday night.

Parkrun tomorrow.

Saturday 25th Feb

Woke with a hangover.

Plan today was to race parkrun, it was stupidly windy and my head hurt so decided to Threshold it instead which seemed way more sensible.

First lap along the prom the wind was awful and I spotted a little group 30m ahead and decided I'd put a spurt on and hide from the wind behind them for the rest of the run. Turns out Ben was just ahead and thinking the same thing, so I picked up the pace to follow Ben and then we caught the little group at the same time.

Then Ben unexpectedly dropped onto the road and suddenly picked the pace up massively and shot past the entire group at sub 6 minute mile pace, so obviously I just followed him whilst complaining to him about it.  Of course I could have stayed where I was but it's Ben isn't it and you've got to do a 'Ben' when the chance arises.

We started the second lap and the wind on the lower prom was still awful and Ben somehow cheated and made himself run a bit faster than me.

All in all a fun run which achieved absolutely none of its intended goals but it was all Ben's fault.

Sunday 26th Feb

Planned on no booze last night and a good meal and then today looking at 14-15 miles at 8:00-8:10 mile pace.

I drank some wine and eat some sweets.

Decided today's run would have 2 goals, firstly to recreate the monotony of a marathon and secondly to accept a bit of a beating by the weather and try and stick to pace.

The plan was up and down the coast to Tynemouth and back, over and over again.

So I headed up the coast to Tynemouth, looped round the clock back to Whitley, looped round the dome and back to Tynemouth, looped round the clock and back to Whitley, round the dome and this time just to Cullercoats and then back again.

It was windy, it was raining and I just couldn't be bothered with going all the way to Tynemouth again so cut it short at around 14 miles and went home. 

It was a recovery week after all.

Glad it was over and glad I wasn't doing 20 miles today.  Home, shower, breakfast, coffee, more coffee and a final coffee.

And finally, and this is important.  This week I have not run into a single thing, not a tree, not a fence, not a bin and not even a lady that looked a little bit like a lamppost.

That's a good week in my book.

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