This week I found out that I have a place at the London Marathon 2015. Initially, my first reaction wasn’t to scream with excitement but , instead, I felt full of fear. Next year, I’d have to be able to run over 26 miles. My running partner Dan was fully aware how terrified I was feeling so he put together a plan and has agreed to help me train. Today was the first session on the plan.
Using the Ordnance Survey Activity Maps, we decided to run number 16 that covers Vernham. It is a 23 mile route but there is a short cut version that fitted perfectly to my goal of 14 miles. The terrain of the route was quite a mixture of road and trail, so was pretty tough. Lots of hills and gravel paths but some beautiful views.
This is one of the first runs I have ever completed where, at the start, I have felt really good. Not just physically, but also mentally. I was really prepared for the run and full of smiles. I’ve been suffering from a bit of a calf problem so I knew it would take a few miles to get rid of the niggle. Once my legs had warmed up, they felt pretty solid for most of the distance.
I also wanted to try out some new kit I’ve recently purchased. The first one is my inov-8 race vest and the second is my new Salomon XR Visor . I always get really warm when I run and I find that caps keep me too warm but without them I get blinded by the sunshine. The visor was brilliant. It is super light and I barely felt it. Its definitely made it as part of my core running kit in sunny conditions.
Back to the course, the first 4/5 miles were pretty much uphill. It started with a gradual incline but then increased fairly dramatically. Once we made it to the top of this hill (in one, steady pace) we then had the fun part of a half a mile back down again. This route was turning out to be pretty good for training lots of areas and muscles.
The second hill was a bit tougher. Mostly because it was now 7 miles into the run but also because it was a lot steeper and shorter than the first. I had to stop once, just to catch my breath, before making it to the top.
Once we got to the top, the view was just as gorgeous.
From here, we knew that it was all downhill until the end. The terrain got a little tough after this, there were quite a few hard, gravel paths to run across and on tired legs they take their toll. By 11 miles I had a little moment where everything was hurting, especially from the downhills. Knee, calf, ankle, shoulder… it was all feeling tired.
After a short break and knowing that there were only about 3.5 miles to go we plodded on. We picked up the path we were on earlier so knew there wasn’t far to go. The final mile was a challenge; I should have mentioned that Dan has already run 4.5 miles before meeting me. The glutes were feeling tender and muscles were tight but we pushed on to the finish.
What a great run. Although it all hurts and Im pretty tired, it was a great training session.
Now I’ve only go to run another 12 for the big one next year.