167.7 KM Means Little To Me

To the majority of the world, running 167 km would be hardly any more significant than had you run 155 km or 175 km. However, to members of the imperial world, of whom I am one, any distance over 160.93 km is hugely symbolic and for the first time ever this week I covered more than that distance in one seven day period.

The 100 mile + training week is something I’ve always been wanting to run but lack of talent and time has seen me fall well short. Until recently anything over 70 miles was big mileage. In recent months, the record mileage week has crept up to over 80 – 82, then 84, then 86. Thanks to being unwell over the previous weekend it meant my 24 mile long run was delayed until Monday. The cold continuing to hamper me on high speed running and working night shifts taking away any desire to do speed work, the shift fell quite naturally to easy paced long runs day after day.

By Saturday I’d covered 87 miles, already a personal record. It meant that with my planned 16 mile run on the Sunday I was going to shatter that best and jump into a pantheon of the serious runners club. Ignoring any pain in my legs on Sunday I went out and ran those 16 miles, allowing a little metaphorical tear of joy (or was it beads of sweat?) to fall when 12.2 miles was covered – the moment I past 100 miles. It may be considered ironic that 12.2 miles was at the exact steepest point of the hill on Casthorpe Road, meaning I was closer to walking than running. But I was still moving and I continued to move on for another 4.2 miles past 100.

I doubt I’ll ever run this kind of mileage again – not unless I see my race times magically improve by minutes because the body breached the mythical 100 miles a week barrier. It may be that this excess of miles may come to bite me down the road. But, honestly, I’ll take the pain. It was one of those goals I thought I’d never attain and I have. And it felt hard….

The goal has been reached!
The goal has been reached!
Proof of mileage!
Proof of mileage!
The reason behind the high mileage - no long run  last Sunday
The reason behind the high mileage – no long run last Sunday

Day 90 – The Newton’s Fraction Half Marathon (Five Hours Too Late)

It was quite a race day.  With something of a lie-in, not needing to be up until 4am to cover the Australian GP, it meant that I was thrown right in – working flat out non-stop until just a few minutes before 3pm. If you want to know how the race went, I’m probably not the best person to ask. Head down, working away, only really know the skeleton details of what went on.

No sooner had the work ended then I was donning the running kit ready for the last run of a long old week. To my chagrin working on the Australian GP meant I was unable to take part in the Newton’s Fraction Half Marathon, which is Grantham’s main (maybe its only) road race of the year. In 2013 I took part on a bitterly cold, windy, snowy day. I had a bad race, hampered with injury, but ended up finishing sixth. Had I taken part this year, looking at the results I would have surely finished second and, who knows, depending on how this year’s training has gone, maybe come within a sniff of victory.

In stark contrast to the conditions in 2013, the weather today was simply gorgeous, sunny, pleasantly warm with only a relatively stiff breeze spoiling the idyll. From the off the legs felt better than yesterday. Stiff, but the calves much less tight. Whether that was helped by the decision to wear compression socks we’ll never know as I refused to take part in a one leg long sock, one leg short placebo experiment.

What was continuing to ache though was the left hip / left upper thigh. I’m sure this is stemming from the back but the net result is discomfort in the upper thigh that feels a little like a dead leg. It’s not really slowing – indeed after the opening uphill miles, I was comfortably into sub seven minute miles, but it is annoying and not the kind of problem I want to be racing with.

The scenery over the half marathon course is in places simply gorgeous, especially the run on the canal path towards Woolsthorpe.  A quick pit stop at the pub and I was back into my running. The first of two steep hills I made relatively swift work of and I was running faster as the headwind became a tailwind for much of the remainder of the run.  The miles went by quickly enough as the sun began to slowly set. The second hill into Barrowby was a killer, but I knew that once tackled it was all gently downhill back to home.

I  went though 13.1 miles in 1:31, not a bad effort considering by then I’d already covered 100 miles for the week. The am I losing my pace doubts are in full swing at the moment; I should look at the facts that I am running just outside 3 hour marathon pace after a 100 mile week covered when I have been getting up to work, on average, at 2:30am. With proper tapering and the smoothing away of any niggles, hopefully I will fly.

The run was over after 16.4 miles. Shattered and stiff, at least I could relax for the rest of the evening safe in the knowledge there should be no early wake up call for Monday morning.