The weeks are flying by right now, it doesn’t seem like two minutes since I wrote my first Berlin update – https://bigcarlrunning.com/2017/06/23/berlin-marathon-training-update-weeks-1-3/
It’s been full of ups and down but i’ll let you read on.
Week 4 was the one that I knew was coming, but was also trying to ignore a little bit. The furthest distance I’ve ever done in one go is Half Marathon – 13.1miles, so seeing 14miles stuck on the end of my week was a bit unnerving seeing as I’d struggled to get over 13.1 in training on a few occasions before – but then, this was the whole reason I got myself a coach.
So week 4 kicked off with a steady 2mile/30mins recovery run after Shrewsbury Half. I’ve found I really end up enjoying my recovery runs and I’m always amazed how good I feel during and afterwards.
Tuesday was a well-earned (in my opinion rest) and Wednesday was due to be Brixton Chase the Sun, Thursday a sneaky backpackers and Friday would be 7miles. However RunThrough put a CTS race in at Greenwich Park on the Friday and I didn’t fancy doing 7miles around Greenwich Park.
The idea was that I’d switch it up and do my 7miles Tuesday during CTS at Brixton. I’d run to Brockwell Park from Brixton Station and then do the 10k. Well, while running over to the park my Achilies was not in great shape, I hobbled there and decided I’d just walk the 5k if I had to.
Plus it was hot, humid and the course was hilly. I set off with the 5k group and by the 1km mark I was dying for a drink. Some of the 10k runners came past and as the middle field runners came through it was evident lots of people were struggling and already walking only a few km in. I was quite glad in the end I dropped down as I didn’t want to be one of the people treated by a medic post-race or do myself injury with other runs to come during the week.
Thursday was Backpackers (yay!) and we did a nice 2mile loop up to Regent’s Park to take selfies, back to the store and we all went out for dinner at Whole Foods – best idea ever! Keep an eye out for us in Runners World this month too!!!
Friday was Greenwich Park – these RunThrough guys really don’t choose the easiest places to get to. But this was a slow and steady one and I ran all the way with IG friend Lilly. We had a blast, chatted and flew (ok stumbled) up the hill again and finished feeling pretty good. I was a little disappointed with my time, but I since discovered the new course was a little longer than 5k.
Saturday was marked as the day for my long run, purely so I can add a Parkrun either in the middle or the end. However I fussed about at home for a while and by the time I went out I thought I’d only manage to get 10k maximum in before Parkrun. So I headed out, went up Wimbledon Hill Road and before long I felt really nauseous and tired, and didn’t have much running in my legs – I guess to be expected when you’ve run for the previous 3 days and they weren’t easy runs.
Sunday, I got up early, planned my route, stuck some flapjacks and Maoam in my rucksack, switched on my Aftershokz and headed out the door. I decided I’d use Edge Hill as the warm up and I’d start my run properly once I’d got to the top (it’s called Edge Hill for a reason).
I felt fantastic – in fact for the first 2½ I was having to tell myself to stop and walk and keep my pace under check. Just going on to the drop down to Beverley Brook I was stopped by someone I assume was going to be asking for directions. I was surprised when I was asked if my Instagram is BigCarlRunning – it is if you don’t already follow me. My IG account isn’t that big about 650 followers so I was amazed that at 8am on a deadly silent Common that someone spotted me – I swear I will never get used to that.
It was a nice opportunity to have a chat about running before I headed off down to the Brook and over into Richmond Park. I know Richmond Park really well, especially after doing the 10 miler a few weeks ago and I’d follow the same route. My plan was to split the run up into manageable chunks: it was 10k to Pembroke Lodge, 4miles to Robin Hood Gate and then 3 mile back home. I didn’t concentrate on doing 14miles, I concentrated on doing a 10k, then a 4miler, then a 3miler.
The only thing that stood between me and 10k was Sawyers Hill – yep, there’s the H-word again! But I got over it, easier than during the London 10 Mile and I concentrated on getting to the lodge.
I was really chilled out and actually enjoying it a lot – I stopped to take pictures and selfies etc and really enjoyed the experience. Once I got to Pembroke Lodge I stopped for the loo and filled up my water bottles then uploaded a few selfies and videos to my Instagram story. I met some people from my club who were doing a long run as well as Sharon who I’d met at Wimbledon Chase the Sun a few weeks before and her friend Jo.
Next stop was Robin Hood Gate, 4miles and another b*****d of a hill to get over. I climbed up Broomfield Road but it never seemed to go down, I was sure during the race it was straight up, then straight down, but the decline wasn’t coming – probably because I was following the trail not the road – oh yeah, this was all off-road too!
Eventually it did come and I trotted down and practically ended up sprinting to RBG as I knew I’d really cracked it when I got to there. Ice cream van selfie then it was a case of just getting home. I ran (I couldn’t believe I was still able to pick my feet up to run at this stage) along Beverley Brook again and got to the bottom of the hill that would take my back up to the top of the Common. Well that killed me – I got to the top after keeping a steady pace and I hung myself over a white gate at the top – that had taken a lot out, but once I’d gathered myself I managed to run between the road humps and down Wimbledon Hill Road but not much more running afterwards.
A quick loop of my house and my watch finally ticked over to 14miles – boom, my longest run ever, done. The rest of the day was sit and rest, but I was pleasantly surprised how good I felt the next two days, even without a recovery run on Monday. I was pleased with the run itself, I enjoyed it and felt good for most of the run, especially when you see the elevation chart and how tough of a route I chose – especially being on trail too.
Week 4 – 6/4 runs completed (no that’s not a typo) = 27.8 miles (29 projected)
Week 5 started with two very nice rest days and that is what I did. Rest days for me normally end up including swimming or strength training but I really felt like I needed the rest after my longest run & enjoyed a couple of chilled days.
Wednesday was Chase the Sun at Victoria Park – fast & flat so everyone tends to love it, well not everyone. I always have bad runs here, back in Feb myself and Darren (@RunnersKnees) went for a PB attempt only my Hamstring was not happy after Brighton Half and I got in 1:28:30 – still not bad considering. Then last week, I was late for my start, I was still pinning my number on as the 5k group went (plan was to potentially do the 10k but I could start with the 5k). I joined the 10k start and took it very gentle out of the blocks but before 1km my shins went hard as rock. I stopped, stretched and walked a bit and it went. However before 2k I got stitch “are you kidding me” so I dropped my arms and walked a bit again. From then on I couldn’t get into a good rhythm so I took to standing at the bottom of the course cheering a few people through, ripped my chip off my shoe and waddled around the rest of the course. I was so tempted to make a bee-line for the finish but I could at least walk the last 2k. I stopped a few times and chatted with James & Louise and Becca and went along until Lucy, who was an absolute star and must have seen me struggling, appeared next to me for the final 400 metres and we had a good little run and chat together – I did ask if I could borrow her for the whole 10k next time!
Thursday was Backpackers (my favourite run of the week) and we did a Treasure Hunt – we were hunting for blue plaques (the ones that say a famous person lived/die/ate dinner here). It was almost like a mini interval session – spot a blue plaque on the map, sprint to it, stop, take selfie, repeat…. It was awesome fun and I really enjoyed mixing up the running a bit and essentially making it FUN!!!!! We do this running thing because we enjoy it right?
Saturday was a rest day again in preparation for Great Newham London 10k on the Sunday. I wasn’t expecting a lot, I had been putting in the miles but I can say I was fairly pleased to get under 1:30 and to run negative splits. If you want the full low down on the event, read here ->>>> https://bigcarlrunning.com/2017/07/05/great-run-newham-london-10k/
Week 5 – 4/3 runs completed = 18.6miles (17 projected)
Now then, this was another ‘up’ week – i.e. I’d be increasing mileage by 10% on my last long week.
Tuesday was a struggle straight off the bat. I planned to do 8miles – two loops of Regent’s Park and a bit more, however I was really tired by 4mile – I don’t know whether I’d gone out a bit too quick as I was feeling ok to start and then I failed badly and only got to 10k after walking for at least the last mile and a half. I put it down to ‘one of those runs’. I guess doing loops and having the get out of heading back to Warren St didn’t help either. One reason I love run commuting is because you have to get there, one way or another, you’re either getting home or not (or calling an uber but don’t tell my brain that).
Wednesday was, guess what….no go on guess…..yeah another Chase the Sun. This time is very hot & sunny Clapham (my 5k PB course actually). Well, I missed my start again ooops.. I had underestimated how long it would take me and chatted on the way out of the office and was literally just pinning my number on as the 5k left. Fortunately, there was a big gap between the 5k and 10k so Matt let me sneak across the line. The plan said to run progressive, but my Garmin messed up at the start saying I was running at sub-11min/mile – pfft yeah right.
I always try to run the whole of a 5k now, shouldn’t really have any excuses for not doing but after 1km, the legs felt heavy, and I convinced myself to stop running. When I do that, the negative side of my brain takes over and wins, then it just becomes a downward spiral of why are you doing this, you’re dreadful, if you can’t do this how are you going to do Berlin….etc. And in truth by the second lap I was phoning Prostate Cancer UK and deferring until 2018 and emailing sponsors to tell them – silly thoughts really during a bad run.
I was overtaken by a guy wearing very long shorts, thinking he was just walking round the Common. It turned out whilst I was having a massive sulk he was actually in the race and that woke something up inside and I was determined to catch him before the finish. Ooh look I can run again. In truth I found it difficult after walking for so long to get running again but I got closer and closer and then took him. I was then aiming for the next lady in front – the lovely Penny who does all the Chase the Sun races, often last but really doesn’t give a damn and enjoys the experience.
As I caught Penny we said hi to each other and we ran the last 400m chatting and crossed the line together.
It was nice to have lots of my Instagram family around and we had a good natter post-race before joining up with Darren, Ciara, Will, Mike and Frank for Pizza and some beers. Anything to take my mind of it. I think I even got a bit of a pep talk from Ciara!.
Thursday I was supposed to head to Virgin Sport HQ for pacers briefing and drinks in prep for Sunday, but that got cancelled last minute so I headed down to Backpackers to say hello, but not run due to lack of kit.
The plan originally said rest Friday, 15miles Saturday and then 10k (British 10k) Sunday. However because I thought I was pacing 1:35 I decided to move the 15miler to Friday.
I planned a route from work to Putney and so I set off from work and did a lap of Regents Park at what should’ve been Joggier Pace. I spotted for selfies with Katherine Ryan, Mel (from Bake off) and the Welsh one from the One Show and took off down Regent St. My goodness – dodging flipping tourists all the way. I really found my running and felt great through parts of the run. However I got to the Mall and I lost it, I was convinced my legs were hurting me, my foot definitely was but only due to the positioning of my insole and could’ve been sorted out. I bailed after convincing myself I couldn’t get to Putney and stood on Westminster Bridge staring out along the Thames in a bit of a low point wondering why the heck i was doing this. In the end I think I did about 5.5miles – well short of the original target.
Sunday couldn’t have been much more different. The British10k, my first time pacing and my 2yr runiversary – and what an experience. You can read all about it hear (https://bigcarlrunning.com/2017/07/11/virgin-sport-british-10k/) but it couldn’t have been move different from the rest of the week, albeit it very very slow.
Originally this blog was going to be Weeks 4-6 but I’ve added in Week 7 because I’ve been a bit late at writing this and Week 7 is a quick win = zero miles.
Monday was a rest day, but I hobbled out of the office with my right hip feeling awful and barely being able to walk properly. However, by the time i got off the train at Wimbledon it was fine, a bit tender but not a big issue. Although, Tuesday morning I couldn’t get out of bed – usually a problem but for a different reason this time. My back was in pieces, I struggled to stand, walk, even put my pants on. I even took an Uber into work and then saw the same Osteo that Mike and Darren see (conveniently directly across from work). Mon sorted me out and I was definitely walking better post but even today (Saturday) I still don’t feel like I can run. I managed a walk into town and once I’d warmed up I felt ok-ish. Ideally I’d love to be back running for Chase The Sun on Wednesday – I’ve been promised the most awesome Chicken Wings by Ciara.
Week 7 – 0/5 runs completed = 0miles (34 projected)
I’ll have a catch up with Michelle this week, once she has recovered from Race to the Stones and we’ll adjust the plan a bit where needed and try not to miss out on too much time off. If I get to Berlin with only having one week off due to injury I’ll be pretty happy to be honest.
I am now only £85 away from my Charity target for Prostate Cancer UK – please donate if you can.