Week 3 of 17 (less than 100 days left until the big event)
Not so much training, more an actual event this week. Another week of ‘do as I say not as I do’. Goal for fast marathon is MK Marathon but have a few other events to dispatch on the way so aiming to get fast and go longer at the same time. Coaches would probably say you can’t do both but what do they know eh (besides more than me)?
Monday – 10k with dog in 7:46 pace, her fastest yet and still didn’t look tired.
Tuesday – Staying away with work in Scotland so missing normal club run. Found a local club, Dunbar Running Club and messaged them asking if they had any runs and could I tag along. They said sure, what sort of pace was I likely to run. Not wanting to appear too fast or too slow I took a stab at 8min/miles. They advised they’d had a couple at that pace. Still unclear whether that meant the majority of their runners were faster or slower than that I turned up at a surprisingly warm Scottish evening (11degC in January?), was welcomed with open arms and went for a run. It quickly became clear they were fast. I hung on for a hilly 10k training run at 7:10 pace and was the last one home. They breed them tough up in Scotland. Must be the Iron Bru.
Wednesday – missed the usual 9 mile tempo at 5am so enjoyed a lie in and a gentle 5k around Dunbar to take in the sights again. With temp in double digits again it was tempting to paddle in the sea.
Thursday – 45 min spin class again and no run.
Friday – rest
Saturday – A marathon (no 88) that turned into an ultra.
After registering in a field at the gorgeous Ranscombe country park in Rochester I was ready to start the event. It’s organised by Saxons, Vikings & Normans Marathons who arrange a lot of small friendly events, mostly in the Kent area. They can be a bit of a drive from MK but this one was just over the Dartford bridge and a gorgeous setting. The event was a 8hr challenge with every runner completing as many 4.5mile laps as they want in the allotted time. 3 laps for a half marathon, 6 for a marathon. They’d be great for anyone nervous about a single loop marathon or coming back from injury as you can just run as many laps as you feel comfortable. As long as you finish one lap you get a medal so no pressure on a Did Not Finish (DNF) and most runners find they’re capable of far more than the expect. If having doubts take a break at the well stocked aid station, decide if you fancy another lap and out you go. Very good no pressure format.
I’d not run the course before and it was beautiful and frozen solid for the first couple of hours which helped keep the mud down. Despite a relatively light week of training I found all the hills a struggle from early on (MK is sometimes too flat) and realised I wouldn’t be getting a decent marathon time.
I decided to make the most of the great weather and run some extra laps for the ultra. Main advantage is on an ultra you’re expected to walk the hills so it gave me an excuse not to kill myself up the inclines “No I’m not rubbish at hills but thanks for asking. I’m actually doing the ultra.” Due to the varied nature of the course my splits were all over the place and on single laps I’d record sub 8 and well over 16 min/miles.
As the course warmed up the mud thawed out and sections varied from clinging clay that added inches to your height, to sloppy grip free mud that defeated attempts to gain traction. Hitting a HM in around 2hrs and a full marathon in around 4h10 I started to fade for the first of the ‘optional’ laps. I perked up a bit after some Coke (the liquid kind not the illicit sort) and knocked out two more to hit 39 miles in 6h55. The one stipulation on the event is you must start your final lap inside 7 hours so I could conceivably go out again. I was first to finish 9 laps and was briefly the distance winner until the next guy behind me went out for a 10th lap. I was sorely tempted to go after him but common sense prevailed and I retired at 2nd place on distance at 39 miles at average 10:38min/mile pace and a good training run for the SDW50 and SDW100 later in year.
For nerdy stats peoples I covered 4600ft of elevation against 5700ft for the SDW50 so pretty similar overall per mile.
Sunday – not here yet but other than a 2 mile recovery run it’s going to be a rest day!
Weekly total mileage – 56.7. Nothing like getting most of your week’s training done in one day.