Training: Week 7

This week was a combination Reality Check and dispelling the Delusions of Grandeur that I had started to have!

Last week I wrote about what pace it might be nice to try and run at. This weekend I found out that just getting to the end is the only thing that matters, pace is insignificant compared to actually just getting round!

I was still suffering from a cold for most of the week, and as I sit and write this it has not gone away 100%. This lead to me skipping the cross training and the cycle I normally do later in the week. I did the two midweek runs of 4 miles and 8 miles. The battery went on my Garmin watch on the 8m after only 5 minutes so had to rely on Runkeeper for the details.

Then we came to the weekend. I was looking forward to it as I had worked out the paces I had to run, and after not doing so well on the last big weekend of 7&14m runs I was eager to get this week under my belt to prove I could run back to back without a problem.

The plan was to run 8m on Saturday and 16m on Sunday, as it turned out I managed less than 3 on Saturday. There were extenuating circumstances; mainly my son (Max) was ill and we were up with him until about 2:30am and I was meant to be getting up at 4 to run, so I turned off the alarm, and thought I would just run in the evening. I woke up about 6 and decided I better go out because, although I could run Saturday night, I couldn’t do the 16m on Sunday night as we were having a party for Max turning 6 months which was going to involve BBQ and drink on Sunday afternoon. I quickly got ready, ate a banana and set off. I felt OK for approximately 1 mile and then things went wrong. I was trying to run at 8:30 pace and I managed it for 2 miles, but the sun was up by then and the temperature was into the 90’s. Couple that to a lack of sleep and the effects of a head cold and I was walking  before 3m and had to quit the run at that point.

Whilst at the time I thought I should carry on and make it round the best I could, I am glad I phoned Sarah to come and pick me up, as I have no recollection of getting from 2 miles to where she picked me up. I remember stopping and phoning her, but how I actually got there I am in the dark so to speak!

So that was a bit of a disaster, I was not exactly confident of making it round 16m on Sunday. As it turned out my fears were justified, but as with Saturday, there were extenuating circumstances. I actually had a good nights sleep as the whole family was asleep by 8pm after the night before, so I felt not too bad when I set off at 4:45am. The plan was to throw the pace calculations out of the window and just go slowly (approx. 10min/mile) and see if I could manage that.That plan worked a treat until 7 miles when I started to get stomach cramps. I was a bit confused as I had eaten well the day before, and had had my usual breakfast before setting off. I would have expected something like that after 12m but not after 7! This lead to me having to walk, funnily enough, at exactly the same point on the road as I had on Saturday. I was contemplating turning back and walking the 3 miles home (I figured I couldn’t phone for a lift before 6AM!). Because of the failure of the day before I decided I had to at least try and go a bit further, and because I was doing 2 laps of an 8 mile course I was nearly at the turn anyway and then I would have to go back past the house to carry on so I might as well see where I ended up. After a short walk I felt a bit better and managed to run the next mile or so until I came to some public toilets that had just been opened, so I was the first visitor of the day! After a brief rest I felt an awful lot better, the stomach cramps were gone and I felt lighter, so I set off again. I basically walk/ran the last 7 miles from the loo stop and took nearly 3 hours in total to do it, but I made it all the way round.

I finished quite fast over the last mile, and I could have run a lot further than I did, but once you walk, you loose a bit of the mental edge and it is a lot easier to just stop and walk again, which is what happened to me. But as I said, I made it round the whole way and felt good about it. It had taken a long time, and had been a battle, but it was almost like being in the race itself. I was working out how I could get myself around the course and still finish. It was a challenge, and I enjoyed it.

So whilst I might not be able to get round in the times I was calculating last week, I am pretty confident now that I will be able to get myself round, and that is the main goal.

Now, I found out the reason for the stomach problems. It turned out to be some moldy cream cheese on my bagel before I set off. As I was trying to not put many lights on and wake up the whole house at 4am, I made my breakfast in the dark and didn’t see that the cheese had gone green. It was only when I got  back and went to have another bagel I realised what had happened. In my defence the cheese didn’t taste any different, so there was no way to tell!

So not the best weeks training, but there were still some positives to take from it.

One thing it has made me realise is that, although I did well to go from 0-13 miles in a short space of time, asking your body to go past that is another matter entirely. I think I was able to push my body to its limits over the first few weeks, but at some point I was going to go past what it could do, and I am right at that point now. It is tough to accept that you cannot do the things you think you should be able to. As a comparison in the same time I did 16m this weekend, last year I managed 20m. If all I was training for was a marathon I would be pretty confident of running the whole thing and doing a reasonable time. I think this Goofy Challenge is just asking a bit much from the starting point I have come from. I will still be competing, and I will be doing the very best that I can, but my goal is now just to cover the 39.3 miles, it doesn’t matter what the time is, just make it to the end. One good thing about it being at Disney is, that I can take it easy and enjoy the parks, take some photos, post a few Tweets, and then run between the parks if I don’t think I can run the whole way round.

I am going to change my training around slightly this week. The longish midweek runs that I was doing on Thursday nights are now going to Wednesday morning. This is because I think running that kind of distance on a Thursday night and then going out Saturday morning is too short a recovery time, it is only about 36 hours, and with a big run to follow this all up with on Sunday I need more rest in between. So I will go back to how the original training plan was laid out and do the longer midweek run on the Wednesday, and then I will have a shorter cycle on the Thursday so I can recover for the big weekends.

8m & 17m this weekend, so we will see how we go!