Well, it's been a while since I updated you all on the training progress for my 3 in 3 Weeks challenge.....so today we rang in the changes with a video. This morning was the last trail training session before Saturday's race, the Helly Hansen Beauty and The Beast trail half marathon! Check out the video to see what I got up to today :)
This is a picture I took on my training run while we were on holiday in Cornwall two weeks ago. I ran some of the Camel Trail and really enjoyed it. It was a grey day with a fine mist of rain falling almost constantly, which was heaven once I'd warmed up! Did a pretty good time too, according to the GPS. It makes such a different when the trail is (mostly) flat!
It was wonderful to smell the fresh briny sea air as I shuffled my way along the trail. One of the things I love about running is getting outside into nature and the fresh air, feeling all my senses come alive. Smell becomes particularly potent for me when I run. I love inhaling the earthy, grassy scents of the woods and trails near my home; the hay, dust and old wool smell of livestock; even the throat coating smokiness of a camp-fire. During high summer there was a patch of road where the fences were covered in honeysuckle and on a warm morning the smell was so heavenly I would deliberately slow down :) You can't get that kind of thing on a treadmill, eh?
My trail runs as a whole have been reasonable. As I said in the video, it has got easier and yet it hasn't got easier. Every time I go up there I come away with mixed feelings about whether I'm getting any fitter or improving! For the last little while I've been secretly afraid that Saturday is just going to be one big exercise in self humiliation. But today, about halfway through, I felt like things were finally coming together and that maybe I won't make a complete fool of myself!
The road runs likewise have been reasonable but overall a mixed bag these past few weeks. My last training run before Saturday is on Thursday and I've made the decision to do it on the road simply because of the distance I have to cover (8 x 1km fast/1km slow) and I didn't want to wear myself out too much by doing it on the trails so close to race day.
So far, the only thing that is keeping me sane is thinking about the race in 5km chunks, as per my usual race plan. I can run 5km. I can run 10km. I can even run 15km at a push most days. It's all good!
I think my confidence has been slightly chipped at because of the different fuelling strategy I've had this time around as well. I've not fuelled as much before my runs because I wanted to burn off some fat, which has been a lot harder. I've got fatigued a lot faster and been sore afterwards. That has not helped! But on the plus side, it seems to have had the desired effect. I got on Skype to my sister-in-law last night, having not seen her for six weeks, and the first thing she said was "you've lost some weight!". The other day too, while walking to meet some friends for dinner, I suddenly had a strange sensation around my stomach, like a blast of cold air. It took a few seconds for me to realise it was the gap between my jeans and stomach! Haven't felt that for a while ;) I was relieved that my indulgences in Cornwall didn't do too much damage!
Eating since I've been back from holiday has been as it was for the last month or so. Gluten free where possible, but I've enjoyed some nice loaves of bread (not all to myself, obviously!). Yoghurt is still my favourite food. I have salad with lunch and dinner where possible. I've stopped the second helpings and late night chocolate scoffing (for the most part, there has been the occasional Doubledecker!). But that's about it. I'm drinking more coffee, but that's probably because I bought myself a bag of Monmouth house espresso beans while I was in London last week and am now quite addicted.
I did heaps of yoga and core work while we were in Cornwall. Our cottage had a lovely garden and courtyard where I could set my mat up in the early morning sunshine. On a trail run last week while I was doing a rather gruelling downhill bit I actually felt my upper body and core lock as I ran down and felt all the pressure that had been on my knees and thighs travel up there, almost like magic. I felt so invincible and strong! But afterwards......so, so sore. I felt a dull ache all across my lower back most of that day. I got Tom to rub it with some Joint Ace gel and I also devised a yoga practice made up of poses that are best for lower back pain and they all really helped. Once again yoga seems to have helped me stave off injury :)
Despite not feeling as fit this time around I am really looking forward to Saturday. I love the atmosphere of a race. And conversations with fellow runners have me reassured that the usual adrenalin will kick in and that will get me through if nothing else!
Otherwise I'm being kept pretty busy - there's lots to tell you and catch you up on.....so, back to the pile :) More soon! xx