Final week of biggish miles before I start to taper for the 100. This week the long weekend run was helping to pace a club mate (the frankly ridiculous Chris Brookman) on his way along the Grand Union Canal Race. It’s a mere 145 mile race with a cut off of 45 hours but he was planning on being considerably faster. When they cut off time is approaching days rather than hours you know it’s getting serious.
Monday – 6.1 mile morning loop of Caldecotte – 8:06 pace. After the abysmal mess up of a long run on Sunday I was pleased to actually get the legs turning over.
Tuesday – 5.4 mile run with Bella, 8:27 pace. Took in some of the Grand Union Canal as practice for Sunday. There was one dodgy moment where a swan refused to move and I had to carry the dog past it. I’m wondering if I need to do the same with Chris during the race.
Also Tuesday Again – 6.3 miles at 7:34 pace. A Lakeside Meet and Greet run – runners pair up in opposite order of speed (fastest with slowest) and run off opposing directions around the lake, high-five on the other side and run back. In theory all finish the same time as faster runners have to cover more ground. A good way of mixing up the training and adding some fun into it. Good to finish the day on 15 miles.
Wednesday – No silly extra laps this week as mileage is dropping a little so just the normal 9 mile loop. Felt better than I have for ages and maintained a 7:30 average for the whole run, a course PB despite previous day mileage.
Thursday – Bow Brickhill club run – running there and back totalled 13.1 at 8:24 pace.
Friday – Rest Day
Saturday (and some of Sunday) – Pacing Chris at the GUCR.
Running is such an exotic sport and hanging around a canal in the dark ready to run along a swan poop I nfested canal is a high point. Considering I can’t pace myself it’s always worrying to be given the responsibility of pacing someone else.
Saturday is a gorgeous day for BBQs and sitting in pub gardens. Less so for running 145 miles. Sadly runners struggled with the heat and food issues and was behind plan so his support crew had to re-arrange schedule.
Originally I would be running from Watford in towards Little Venice in London, taking the responsibility for 24 miles before handing over to another pacer (or buddy as the race rules term them) for the final 6.
Unfortunately with the pace slipping this schedule would see me likely miss a Sunday flight so with accommodation of other pacers we moved about and eventually I was stood 95 miles into the race at Slapton Lock near Leighton Buzzard ready to steer him onwards. Chris looked good and after some food and a short walk to settle we set off well.
Running went well for a time but eventually the walk breaks expanded and we had to use a regimented run 5 minute, walk 1 approach. Unfortunately whilst the pace was improving his knee wasn’t and eventually walked in the final few miles to aid station near Watford at 116 miles having covered nearly 21 miles and ran through the darkest section of the night and watched the sun rise over the M25 as we passed under.
After some tense discussions Chris set off on his next leg with a new pacer but was visibly limping and at 118 miles retired. Plenty of time left on the clock to hobble the final 30 miles in but not worth aggravating the injury. Hard to see but right decision as he has other races to go.
From a selfish point I got to test my headtorch and other kit over a night and appreciate how much slower and colder night sections can be. And I got attacked by a swan which was interesting.
Sunday – Rest day (what was left of it)
Weekly Mileage – 65.3 miles. Last big week done. Now to ease back before the big event.