Monday 29 February 2016

Many miles, three medals and a plate

My preparation for the Viking Way is really going well and I'm just loving running at the moment.

In the last two weeks, I've added a fair weight of bling to my collection, completing two marathons and an ultra. I ran my fastest marathon for 4 years (a negative-split 4:06) at the 100 Marathon Club's AGM Marathon, ran 5 laps of the Deal seawall at the Marathon Day Marathon and finished as 2nd Lady at yesterday's St Peter's Way 45 miler which runs cross country along an ancient pilgrimage route through Essex. I've racked up over 150 miles during the fortnight, and apart from an Achilles niggle over the weekend, my legs are feeling surprisingly good. Whether this is the right way of preparing for a non-stop 147 mile race I don't really know, but we shall soon see!

Marathon Day Marathon medal
100 Marathon Club's AGM Marathon medal

St Peter's Way medal & 2nd Lady trophy

I've surprised myself by really enjoying some commute runs through London, accompanied by some beautiful sunsets, and have managed to fit in some much longer mid-week runs than I would usually find the time for. Changing from running at 10pm to getting out straight after work has made a really big difference and, with Francis being very understanding about my later arrival time at home after work, it's has made fitting in training much easier.

The Thames!
This photo didn't nearly capture how beautiful sunset was

Yesterday's St. Peter's Way race, put on by Challenge Running, is one of my favourites, and this year was my fourth running of it. We were lucky with the weather and underfoot conditions - it's usually ridiculously muddy - and although there was no course record, it lent itself to a faster than usual day out. Everyone gets a bit lost on this race, although I'm always surprised at how easily some manage it. I only missed one gate this year but luckily realised and didn't add on any extra miles - it was surprising though how much of the route I didn't remember. You really need to pay attention to the route instructions on this race!

I finished over 40 minutes faster than last year, in 8:03, which I'm incredibly pleased with, especially as I ran without a watch, just on feel. If I had been clocking my time, I think I could have probably got a sub-8, but not to worry - I'm more than happy with what I achieved and how I felt throughout the race. I'll be back again next year for my 5th go - maybe I'll train up specifically for that one (and not tack it onto the end of my biggest mileage week for months) so I can try and get to the top step of the podium!

Next up though, is the excitement of my first international race in Cyprus, which is this weekend. It's my 90th marathon/ultra, and I'm really looking forward to it. Although the trip is focused on the marathon, we're extending our visit and spending a week out there for a mini-holiday, so lots of sunny runs by the sea await me next week. Just a few days at work to get out of the way first...

Thursday 11 February 2016

My new tattoo...with 7 weeks to go until the Viking Way!

There are 50 days left until I take on my toughest race so far...the 147 miles of the muddy, cross country, self-nav, no GPS, tight 50 and 100 mile cut off, 40 hour time limit, Viking Way Ultra.

But you know what, I'm really looking forward to it.

I know there's going to be lots of pain, it's going to be hard, and all of those bad things, but the positives of being involved in this race really outweigh all of that. Truth be told I can't wait.

Training has been going well since Country to Capital, and I have a realistic plan to get me through these last 7 weeks. I've been losing some weight, had some wonderful training runs that I really enjoyed, and yesterday I got my tattoo finished by Julia at the King of Hearts studio in New Cross, London.

Am very pleased with it, and although it means a few days of enforced rest (can't get sweaty for a while!) I'm ok with that. Here she is...taken just minutes after the tattoo was finished.