Saturday, 17 September 2011

Wall Broken...

...more like smashed for this run, Hurrah!.  Pace was faster and more consistent throughout; around 11 min/mile, I didn't get any stitches and I ran for the full 12 miles!

Firstly, the rest of the week.  Good runs on Sunday and Monday but the pressure was always going to be on yesterdays long run.  Completed a cross training activity of swimming on Wednesday in a manky local public swimming pool.  Don’t thnk I will be making a return visit any time soon - there's nothing worse then stepping into a dingy, dark, crowded and warm pool.

The route I ran yesterday was much flatter than the last long run I did.  I walked up the first hill and then started running from the top (12 miles continuous running from that point).  The conditions were good for most of the run (started earlier in the day so it was cooler to begin with) and I felt that my energy levels were OK as I didn't start taking on fluids until about 40 minutes in.  The run though was far from easy though as I expected; it was as hard in some places as the infamous run as there was more pressure on me to succeed this time around.  

The run was fairly enjoyable up until I passed the wall and my longest run completed prior (7 and 8.4 miles respectively) but from then onwards my will power / motivation rapidly deteriorated and it became very challenging and exhausting to keep my mind and body on the task at hand.

It helped that I passed through some lovely countryside in this run, especially at the start and through a country park at about the 9-10 mile point which helped to distract my mind from the noises my groaning legs were making up until the aroma of the sewage treatment plant hit my nostrils and I became back to reality with a thud knowing that I was still 3 miles away from the finish and back on to familiar running routes which turned my mind back to boredom and the motivational difficulties started up again.  

At this point I was concerned that any pauses/breaks in my running rhythm i.e. to cross the upcoming busy roads would mean the end of my run and up until the last few hundred metres this Blog could still have been titled 'Failed Again' but seeing the finish line helped my mind to focus and allow me to finish the run in style with my fastest mile of the day!  

Now that I've finished and my body is aching (thighs mainly) I'm not sure whether I enjoy the longer runs as much as the shorter distances due to the issues of motivation/boredom and the feelings they leave me with afterwards.  When I finished yesterday I felt really rubbish for a good hour afterwards; dizziness, light-headedness, seeing stars, etc. were the norm especially the first 10 minutes after I had stopped running.

I need to look into avoiding these issues in the future; pre and run food/fluid consumption could be to blame.  Pre run, I had breakfast as normal, I choose grape nuts as I thought it would give me more energy but I'm never going to eat them again, they were disgusting and although they stated they were naturally sweet I couldn't tell!  Then in work at around 7.30-8.00 I had a cereal bar followed by an apple and then about 30 minutes before my run I had about a pint of squash.  I went out at about 9.30 with about 600ml of water containing a sports drink tablet.  Post run I had a normal lunch straight away (sandwich, crisps, cereal bar and apple), about 3-4 pints of squash and a birthday donut from someone in the office.  After about an hour sweating despite a refreshing shower in my seat I started to feel better......until the aches that I'm really feeling today started to creep in anyway!

The end is now in sight for this running programme which I am determined to finish.  No more runs over 6 miles until race day (now booked) which is about 3 weeks away, so until then I will be on taper weeks to reduce my mileage to allow my body to fully recover and prepare for the race and final run of the programme.   
One plus on race day is that I won't have to lug around water with me as there will be water stations so it will be interesting to see what affect that has on my running.  After today's consistent pacing and result I will be looking to run at a similar pace during the race, aiming to complete the 1/2 marathon in under 2 hours 30 minutes.

However, unless I have a good run and I manage to find more motivation from somewhere at the latter stages of the race to help keep my mind on track I intend to switch back to shorter distances (less than 10 miles) for the foreseeable future as I seem to be able to cope better, enjoy these runs more and recover from them faster.

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