Here is my weekly round up for last week – I started it on Sunday and fell asleep before I’d done much at all, I then did a bit more on Monday but once again couldn’t keep my eyes open so it’s got later and later and later!
Last week was quite a mixed week. I was fighting off a cold so not feeling 100% and my naughty knee was misbehaving so I was worrying about it holding up for the Larmer 20. It kept giving me gyp on the stairs and every time I turned over in bed so I was icing it at every opportunity and praying that it wasn’t about to give way on me.
When I did my Tuesday PT session I took the cardio very easy and avoided anything that put too much stress on my knee – this fitted in with feeling knackered though so wasn’t exactly an issue!
However, having said all that I was REALLY looking forward to doing the Larmer Tree 20. It was advertised in typical White Star Running fashion as a 20ish race, mostly off road and probably quite muddy! The photos that were appearing on their facebook page all week were certainly confirming the ‘mud’ forecast!
We were going en masse from Purbeck Runners with 5 people doing the full marathon, 12 doing the 20 and 2 only doing the half (we were being a bit mean about it – funny how a half can be an ‘only’!!)
I was hoping that a lazyish day on Saturday would mean that I was bright and breezy for Sunday but unfortunately I got very little sleep (almost definitely race nerves) so when the alarm went off at 6am I wasn’t sure at all why I’d thought that the race would be a good idea! However, a couple of cups of strong coffee and a granola bar later and my previous enthusiasm had returned and off I went!
Despite much conflab on Facebook the previous evening I still hadn’t really decided what to wear to run – the only certainties were my favourite race pants and my club vest! I put on long trousers, a long sleeved top over my vest and took my capris and a light (used to be waterproof) jacket in case I decided I needed them. I also couldn’t decide which shoes to wear. The shoes I use for off road (Ons!) are almost worn out and if there was more road than expected or hard trails then my knee wouldn’t thank me but if I wore road shoes then the mud would be even harder to get through…. decisions, decisions………..
Within minutes of leaving home I was very pleased that I’d packed my jacket as it started raining – not what was forecast – grrrrr! I picked up the Tish, Jenny and Cathy in Wareham and we headed towards Tollard Royal. By the time we got there it had stopped raining but it really hadn’t warmed up at all and didn’t look likely to given the low level cloud and wind so I decided on the knackered off roaders and the jacket over the long sleeved top. I could always throw it at a friendly supporter en route if necessary!
We did the obligatory portaloo stops (not too horrid!) and got sorted ready for the race briefing and before I knew it we were off! We hadn’t even got a mile when one of the marathon runners decided to have a walk and a cigarette!!!!!! It was on a narrow section through the woods so we all had to have a bit too. Very odd.
We had kind of planned to run in a big group but it wasn’t long before we’d all got a bit split up and Tish and I slowed right down to see if the girls behind would catch up but it was just too cold to actually stop and we didn’t fancy our Sunday tactic of looping as 20 miles was going to be quite hard enough! Before long Tish had to go on ahead of me as she was getting cold at my pace and I knew I wouldn’t get all the way round if I even attempted to run at hers! Add to the that the fact that for some reason I was feeling rather sick and the faster I went the more sick I felt. Weirdly this persisted all race on and off and only subsided each time I had a strong blackcurrant squash. I might have to get some of those little pouches of Robinsons concentrate to take on the marathon as the squash definitely saved me this time out.
I hung back a bit more to see if the others would catch up but they’d had to slow down as a another friend had hurt her knee on a downhill section so was really having to nurse it along gently (not easy on the hills!). By this point it was raining quite hard so I decided to just get my head down and get on with it. There were plenty of other runners around and it was a very friendly race so I had plenty of people to chat to on the occasions that I had enough breath! Not only that, a few of us had to come to a sudden stop in one woody section when about 20 deer decided to cross right in front of us. A definite moment to remember!
At around the 8 or 9 mile mark my knee really started to hurt and I was worried about whether it would last the distance. I stopped a couple of times and stretched my hamstrings and quads and it eased off, then about a mile later I realised that it had stopped hurting altogether so it must definitely be related to something tight in the thigh department!
I can’t remember where the marathoners had split off from the 20 milers but when they joined us again it was a really good boost as they all powered by offering encouragement! It amazes me how easily these guys can run so fast, they make it look like so little effort compared to my labouring along – although having said that at one point one of them said well done to me and told me that I’d looked very graceful picking my way along the muddy track – I can’t remember ever being called graceful before, let alone whilst running! I could do with bottling a bit of the springiness that I got in my step after that and taking it with me to London for mile 21!
It was definitely a lot easier in the second half of the race, the longest hills were out of the way and there was some nice long downhill sections. The best of which ended at the infamous ‘Love Station’!
This is an aid station like no other…..it was manned by Kevin Day (in a skirt!) and friends (a Poole parkrun volunteer extraordinaire!) and I was greeted with a huge and very welcome hug, then offered my choice of; vodka, blackberry vodka, cider, bucks fizz (especially for Mothers Day innit!) or boring old squash, coke and water. That isn’t to mention the huge array of food on offer. If I didn’t have to be so careful of my dicky runners tum I reckon I’d have been able to gain about a stone on the way round this race! I very boringly plumped for just the blackcurrant squash and a cheese and onion crisp and set off for the final few miles.
I thoroughly enjoyed the last stretch. I was managing to keep up a fairly steady pace and even caught a few runners and passed them (they’d probably done the marathon!) which always gives you a good boost. It was on a muddy path but it wasn’t sloppy mud and was actually quite nice and bouncy to run on so made it a lot easier on tired legs. The final half a mile was up the drive back to where we’d started and I was determined to run the whole section but the uphill got me and I got slower and slower and eventually started to walk but then one of the people I’d passed caught me up and I wasn’t having that so got myself going again and started to sprint (my kind of sprint anyway!) for the finish…only to have one of the marathon guys pass me which spurred me on to go a bit faster…just not quite fast enough to stop him passing me but it did mean that I finished with a huge smile on my face and earned me one of my favourite ever running pictures!
Instead of goody bags, White Star running had promised hot food in the rather posh ‘India Rooms’ and they didn’t disappoint. I’m never hungry at the end of a race and given that I’d felt sick for most of this race I didn’t fancy anything this time either. But then I went down to where the food was to get my car key and saw how appetising it looked! There were 4 ‘stations’ each of which with a different food and all with salad and coleslaw to go with your choice. There was a pasta, pizza, soup, burgers (fat and home made), sausages and bacon. I plumped for a burger to save for after my recovery shake. It was absolutely delicious, I only managed about half of it but it was very very welcome.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the race, and so did everyone else that I spoke to, I’ll definitely be back next year and I’m thinking that I might do the Ox marathon in May too……depending on how my legs feel after London!
What did I do this week?
Monday – A very welcome rest day! I didn’t even get in my usual lunchtime walk as I had to have an emergency dentist visit for a tooth that’s been hurting for a while but gradually getting worse. A nice injection, some next to the nerve drilling and a filling later I was all sorted (but very sore!)
Tuesday – A beautiful day so I headed along the prom for my walk. It was beautiful, although I think the chap on the beach with his top off was probably pushing it a bit! Did CXXX – Thunderstrike! in the evening. A full body HIIT session with lower body power moves. Struggled a bit today, not sure if it was my head or my body that was tired but I did feel better afterwards!
Wednesday – Running club – felt like I was really struggling all the way round tonight. Definitely one of those ‘legs in treacle’ runs. However, when I got back I realised that we’d done a hillier run than last week and finished up with a slightly higher average pace so it couldn’t have been that bad a run!
Thursday – Lunchtime walk – not very far as so busy with work but it was good to get out. I was due to do a Arms, Shoulders and Core HIIT session tonight but I went upstairs to get ready and my onesie ambushed me! After struggling all week and with a lot of mileage to get through at the weekend I thought it was probably best to listen to my onesie and take the night off. I then sat on the sofa feeling really guilty so got Mike to pour me a glass of wine so that I couldn’t change my mind (d’ya see what I did there!!!???)
Friday – Felt much better for my extra day’s rest and ready to go again. Again, didn’t manage much of a walk as had a full on work day but headed straight to Tri club after work. I warned the coach that I was planning to go easy on the interval session as I didn’t want to save a bit in the tank for Sunday. We did a nice gentle warm up, 20 mins of running drills and then a half hour interval session where I kept at around 10k pace rather than pushing it too hard. Clocked up 3 miles in total.
Saturday – An extra planned rest day much to Elliot’s disgust as he was desperate to go to parkrun! I had intended to be really lazy but ended up doing loads of housework in the morning before meeting my lovely Mum and Dad for lunch in the village cafe. I had an absolutely delicious Lamb Tagine with couscous which definitely ticked all the boxes for carb loading – the only problem was that it was so filling that I didn’t really fancy anything at all in the evening! However, I knew I’d need the fuel on Sunday so made a lovely leftovers omelette.
Sunday – The Larmer Tree 20 as already reported!