I am in my last three weeks of training, which means I am now tapering.
I ran (ha!) my last long run of 20 miles on Saturday: getting up and out by 7:30am to try and avoid the heat that was due to hit us.
It didn’t work. It was hot. I went out in a lightweight but long-sleeved top and immediately regretted it. I thought about turning back, but went on to complete a 5.5 mile loop that ended up at home. I changed my top, washed my face, gulped some water and went back out again on to the off-road route which I thought would help keep my knees working, as well as being a bit breezier to help with the heat.
That was another 6 miles and I got back to the house with still another 8.5 miles to go. I changed shoes this time as I felt my trail shoes start to rub, filled up the water, grabbed another gel and energy bar and headed out.
I was a mess. I ran when I could, but often found that after 200m I needed to walk. I stopped to buy a drink and just couldn’t get going after that. I walked a lot from then on.
I found the uni campus to be shady and cooler than the roads so ran a few laps of that before just wanting to be heading back home even though I knew I would still have to cover more distance. So I went home and just lapped the block walking, the last with Adam who had managed 19 miler himself (his longest run in 6 months since his last marathon).
I finished, hot and sweaty and not proud of myself at all, like I thought I might be. Just worried about the time – I would have to manage a 10k PB at the end if I repeat that performance on race day. Adam tried to tell me that it was all down to the heat, but what is to stop it being like that on the day!? I have been reliably informed by someone who has completed the same race that it is always breezy up there, so there is hope at least that it will be cooler than it could be.
I had such high hopes for this run. I had completed the 18mile run two weeks prior and this was just another couple of miles. I probably felt better about this long run before it than any of the others, which was probably why I felt so bothered about this going wrong and I haven’t felt pleased at all about completing this mammoth distance and finishing the training.
My ABCs for this run were:
A – complete in 4:20
B – complete without crying (as previous runs)
C – complete
I may have been way over on the time, and I may have nearly cried twice, but I got to B.
Tapering weeks (I have been told – these are my first!) are the time to completely freak out and try and fix everything you believe you have done wrong in training – not covered enough miles, not eaten well enough, not put enough speed work or strength training (I haven’t done any of this at all!). I have not yet freaked out. I know I haven’t done enough. I know I can’t speed up. I know I should have lost some weight.
But this is my first marathon attempt. I will do what I can, get it done and improve on the next one (if there is one).
Oh, and I haven’t mentioned that I am running this marathon for Cancer Research UK – not officially, but am asking for sponsorship for the marathon on top of the Gillingham Race for Life 5k the weekend before and Harvel5 the weekend after. 34+ miles raced in less than 2 weeks. I hoped to raise £262 (£10/mile for the marathon) but am already over £430!
–> If I can’t get nice feelings from running then I will get them from money raised for charity 🙂