Can you believe it?!
Had an amazing long run on Sunday, with my new tunes Tom bought me - it really does make a difference having some new music to listen to! When you've had the same playlist for weeks, you know which song is coming next which kind of makes you feel like you're going through the motions a bit. It was great not knowing what was coming next, kept the 5 laps of the park interesting :P I really recommend this compilation if you prefer rock to run to, rather than dance music!
Prior to that, I'd done another long run on Friday which, including warm up, had taken me the best part of 3 hours to do and I was really feeling it that day. I've had some sucky experiences lately running from one point to another on pavements and having to cross roads (altercations with cyclists, a street sweeper backfiring into my face - I looked like Dick van Dyke from Mary Poppins!) so I decided for my own sanity the best thing is to just do laps of the park - it's a bit boring, and there are still idiots in there but it's far more manageable! I'm just doing whatever makes things easier at this stage in the game my friends!
So Friday's run was intervals - 1km slow, 1km fast. For 16km. At first it was kind of easy and I enjoyed it, and thought I managed the pace well, but it started getting painful. And when I say painful, I just mean uncomfortable. I laboured through the middle intervals, wondering why after everything I've done over the past 10 weeks it wasn't easier, and why couldn't I just run at a steady pace for the whole 16km? While I was mulling over this, gritting my teeth, I thought about something I had read in The London Marathon: The History of the Greatest Race on Earth about how pain is an inevitable part of this race. If you do it right, it's going to hurt. "What is pain and discomfort to a relatively inexperienced runner is merely information to the elite runner". I had to stop fighting the pain, and manage it. I need to be prepared for it on the day, I need to be able to manage pain and discomfort on the day, and there will be plenty of it. So these intervals were actually very clever on my coach's part! But reading about "hitting the wall" in this book was not the best bedtime reading, I must say ;)
I was exhausted at the end of these intervals, and was running the last kilometre back home, trying to keep the pace (as this was meant to be a fast km!) and all of a sudden I felt like I was flying. And then this song came on my iPod:
It's quite possibly my most favourite piece of music in the world - definitely my favourite song to write to, and now I can run to it too! I read somewhere that when you're thinking about rhythm in your running, think of it as a waltz rather than a march. This song was perfect for my final finish, I was running alongside the Thames, the sky was cloudy and grey but streaked with sun trying to get through, the banks clotted with daffodils swaying in the breeze......
When I got home I had an ice bath, in which I lasted about 60 seconds! Yowzers! But I really recommend them - I have next to no soreness at all. My lower back occasionally feels tight but I'm managing that with lots of yoga stretches.
This was my first weekend without a race to go to since February! We were determined to make the most of it! We slept in, did a bit of shopping in Piccadilly - including paying a king's ransom for tickets back to Australia for Christmas, whoo hoo! - saw a few houses, and then before I knew it, it was Sunday and time for my next long run! I was getting a bit fed up and really didn't feel like heading out when I just wanted to veg out with hubby....meh! I said to him on the way out "once this is over, I'm going to just run when I want to!"
Well, I thought about it and prior to January, "when I want to" was about once a week! I thought about it a bit more while I ran and realised that the reason this has worked, the reason I am now fit enough to even consider running a marathon, the reason I've lost the extra rolls and bulges on the physique, the reason I feel fantastic, is not only because of Coach Julia's amazing program but because I do it even when it is the last thing I feel like doing. Even when there are a million other things I would rather be doing. That was how I lost those pesky 30 odd kilos a five years ago, and that's why things are going well now. Because I was disciplined, committed, but having fun at the same time. Yeah, getting up at 6am is a drag and I hate it, but this is what I have to do to get what I want. I try not to even think about it any more. It's just What I Do.
Not to mention that I always feel amazing afterwards! I powered through my 16km on Sunday, it was fantastic! I came back for my ice bath (shudder!), wolfed down some brunch (I had been thinking about a spinach omelette and toast for the last 4km!) and then I treated Tom to a movie as a thank you for getting up at 6am every Sunday for the last few weeks and coming with me to all my races. I thought it was high time we had a Sunday that was all about him (well, after I'd finished running! Ha ha!). We walked in the gorgeous balmy spring sunshine to the cinema, where we saw Source Code and I got my salt fix with a bucket of popcorn! Mmm!
I had a great recovery run this morning, including strides, but tapering has started! I'm looking forward to my last relatively calm week - I have a feeling next week is going to be a blur of nerves and excitement! I'm almost looking forward to it being over, but at the same time I don't want it to end........
".....step out and show London that in the marathon the impossible is possible. (You) end up exhausted, depleted, but exhiliarated, for the marathon makes profound demands of anyone who dares to go the 26 miles. But no one loses, and no one who has ever run a marathon can be quite the same again. Everyone who finishes finds out just a little bit of how it feels to grow and be a hero. Out there on the road you'll discover for yourself what it means to face otherwise unimaginable mental and physical challenges - what life can be like when you dare to go the distance."
Hope you all have a lovely week! xx