The Scribbler

11 September 2011

The readiness is all

Filed under: Great North Run,run — The Scribbler @ 17:22
My Great North Run 2011 number - 19650

Watch out for this number next Sunday.

After a practically perfect, couldn’t have run it any better, 10 mile preparation race last weekend, it’s almost inevitable that I’ve felt a bit flat this week. While I was congratulating myself on how well I felt after the race in terms of aches and pains, Tuesday’s interval session showed it had taken it out of me.

First of all I needed my sleep, so despite an early night I couldn’t face a pre-work run and settled for a lunchtime outing instead. With the wind playing tricks on me, I knew it would be tough to keep a pace going on the roads around work, but I jogged on out and battled against the gusts that danced behind, in front and around me.

My legs, particularly my quads were stiff and heavy, but I told myself that interval pace is meant to feel hard so that race pace feels easier. I managed a couple of reps quietly pleased at my pace but really struggled on the return stretch uphill and into the wind. At one point I stopped my watch and took a longer recovery to cross a busy road and in the last rep I abandoned any thoughts of speed and just convinced myself that any kind of running counted.

I’ve dropped nearly all my cross training now to ease down for the last two weeks before race day, although I still have the option of a swim if I want it. But cautious and careful I’m fearful of getting a cold. On a packed Metro, I moved away from the coughing woman.

Thursday was my last PT session before the Great North Run and Ian had a plan to take it slow and easy. Some balance and weight exercises to give me a workout, but nothing that risked pushing me too far. Still I was almost beaten by one combination and curiously missed the usual adrenaline buzz at the end of the session. In fact, so much so, that I felt rather down and mopey by the time I got to work. A bit of a break in the ‘good eating’ plan with some biscuits and a smoothie just about brought me round, and a good nights sleep combined with a Friday day off lie in finished the job.

So rested, porridged up and out for 6 miles on Friday morning. A free run with no timetable to keep but my own. And it was okay. I did what I set out to, but it wasn’t easy. That nice, easy flow I’ve felt on a couple of long runs recently wasn’t there. But it’s all training and really there’s not much more I can do.

This time last year I was still pushing it for this race. Still trying to eke out every ounce of training. My last long run a week before race day was a 2 hour session in which I covered over 12 miles. This weekend I set out to do 9 and called it a day at 8.

I went for a sports massage on Friday afternoon and had the lovely compliment from the lady doing it that it was a treat for her to look after such fit legs. We found a couple of wrinkles which she got to work on, exactly where I would have expected them to be on my outer quads, but nothing that made me yelp or highlighted an area of concern.

Still I felt the recovering muscles on my run today and being warm and windy it was a bit of a toughie. So many runners out today. The sense of anticipation is palpable. The sign is on the Tyne bridge and the marquees are going up at the finish. Next Saturday the streets will be bereft of runners. We are all getting ready for the Great North Run.

So my last long run and trying to pick the perfect pace again proved tricky. My first mile looked a little urgent until the end, my second about right and my third picking up again. I’d made it easy on myself, an out and back route that’s familiar and largely flat. But as I turned just after 4 miles into the full force of the wind I began to grind, rather than ease the miles out.

For a mile I smiled at it, battling on, never minding that I was being slowed down. But my legs were beginning to ache too and it was feeling harder than this distance should do at this stage. I began to do deals with myself. Anything over 6 would count as a long run. I just had to push when the wind dropped and disregard the pace.

At 7 miles my quads were pulling again. I pushed on through telling myself that my run would come back to me, and for times the pace did. But the wind was too strong and as I saw 9:20s on the pace I knew I was just about done. So at 8 miles and close enough to home, I called it a day, rather than pushing on for another meaningless mile. Stopping and stretching, the aches subsided quickly. Plenty of rest and recovery planned for next week.

I still have the same muscles, heart, lungs and mental focus that carried me through that 10 mile race last week. I have the best support crew anyone could ask for. And I do have confidence in myself that I can do this. I can run the Great North Run in less than 120 minutes.

But I’ve done just about all I can now and I have to accept that beyond training well, eating well and resting well just about everything else is out of my control. I cannot take charge of the weather. I cannot control other people. I have one more run planned next week and to be honest I’ll listen and see what my body says about that one. I think I’ll still do it, but really now, the training is done.

And for once I’m not dreading the taper. I feel like I’ll appreciate the rest. Hopefully it will leave me chomping at the bit to run with fresh and rested legs on race day. We’ll see.

I know it won’t be a lonely run. There will be thousands around me. And a smaller group of precious people in my heart. Some may be running on the same roads. Others may not. But I know you’ll be there with me in my mind. And there will be times I’ll think of everyone who has shared this journey with me. But this will be my run, my race and whatever I do or don’t do is up to me.

I’ll make decisions on the day, from moment to moment on how I’m running, how I feel. And no matter how much I know I am capable of running a particular time I will not let that determine whether or not this is a good race. It will be a good race no matter what, because I am ready to enjoy an amazing day.

Oggy, oggy, oggy!

1 Comment »

  1. Hey! Why did I not realise that you had a blog on WordPress before?! Well now I’m a follower. HUGS


    Comment by Bad Wabbit — 11 September 2011 @ 22:48 | Reply

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