Mini Breakthrough And Going It Alone

This week has sort of gone to plan except I missed training on Tuesday…I ended up staying late at work (my first year end experience working for an accountant is very different to just frantically submitting my own tax return at the 11th hour!) but on reflection it worked in my favour training wise because my legs were still a bit unhappy from Sunday’s efforts so I rested them and got a relatively early night.

Thursday was therefore my first run of the week and my first mini breakthrough since Christmas…my training plan has had ‘run to training, do 6 miles with the club, and run home’ on it for weeks but with one thing and another (lack of fitness and illness mainly) I hadn’t managed this before Thursday when I ran two miles there, 6ish with the club and then another two home. I would have been able to give an accurate distance and pace but the *insert swear word here* watch decided to cut out on me again.

However before this happened, I know I ran there in 9.5mm pace and started off at about 9mm pace with the club. Mistake number 1! Too fast! OK so the less than desirable monster hills didn’t help but I did drop to the back of the group about half way into the 6 miles, which wasn’t a problem for me as that ended up being a better pace for what I wanted but I do feel guilty about people having to drop back to keep me company and in true Hedgie style they refused to go on…probably sensible given how icy it was that night so thank you 🙂

So anyway, my first 10+ miler on a Thursday which did hurt more than I was happy with but a good slap brought me to accept that for now and move on to Sunday. The plan was to do 15 miles if Thursday went well so that was my goal but not without further dilemma of who to run with/at what pace.

My recently acquired run partner bailed on me because it was his birthday, which was rather inconsiderate 😉 so I had to decide whether to join one of the groups establishing on Facebook or go it alone. Clearly from the title of this blog it was the latter but this wasn’t a decision made until late Saturday evening.

I was a bit nervous about running alone today but I was pleased that I did. I needed some much needed head space to get back into the pace and rhythm that I not only enjoyed leading up to Bournemouth but that also worked well for me. This ultra training is already proving challenging and we’re still 6 months out so I have to get a grip of what it is I need to do over these next few months to have any hope of achieving what I want to…I am not going through this again to settle any scores so it has to be right first time!

It did seem to have a positive effect though as I was able to run much slower than I have done of late, and than I would have done if I had run with others, and I was able to walk the hills as planned and at other periodic points to take on nutrition without having to consider anyone else. Yup, sounds selfish but when training for a 12 hour solo race I’m learning that I need to be that sometimes. I also kept this in mind throughout the run, especially when I had the opportunity to cut out the odd corner, along with some ‘words of wisdom’ from the absent training partner in my head that there are no short cuts to success (hate it when he’s right!)

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I’ve never run more than 14 miles solo so today my challenge was to do 16 on my own. Miles 4-11 felt good (I always ignore the first 4!) but the last few were tough, especially the final two that I can only describe were like the last two of the Great South Run with biting cold (and what felt like) gale force winds except today I had hills too! I think it’s fair to say I walked more than ran that last bit but I didn’t care…the watch said 16 miles and that meant I did something I’ve never done before as a part of something I’ve never had before.

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This is the average pace I was aiming for but does include mainly walking for the last two miles due to the Arctic conditions so I do still need to slow down!

Overall I was pleased with my efforts today but I was so cold the second I stopped…I would normally have my recovery drink and stretch before a shower following a run like that but I was shivering so much I jumped straight in! Ouch…that stung! It did warm me up but I did keep asking myself what idiot enters two marathons and three ultras and then moves into a place with no bath.

Next week sees the return of Team Emlin training together for the first time since September in what will be a mammoth but no doubt fun training session…can’t wait!