It’s been a while since I updated you on my Berlin Marathon training, mostly because I’ve been struggling. It’s not been an easy month or two and included in that is a massive wobble about doing the race at all – more about that later.

Last update was from week 7, just when I had taken a week off to let my Achilles recover.

Week 8

Only two runs, still testing the Achilles as it didn’t feel perfect. I went to run Chase the Sun at the Olympic Park as my first run back and I really surprised myself. I had a good run, felt great and didn’t

disgrace myself with my time either.

Thursday was Backpackers with Chevy leading but we did mostly breathing and technique so not actually much running.

I was invited to a PR run event on the Saturday with giffgaff to do a 5k around Shoreditch Park (including inflatable obstacle – I can’t do inflatables). It was short of 5k, I only went through the inflatable once and ran, well, walked the last lap with someone who was struggling. I planned to run from there back to Vauxhall but I wasn’t feeling it and was pretty tired after the 5k for some reason, so another red mark on the plan.

2/5 run & 7/23 miles completed

Week 9

I was back on track. Monday I went out to do a Progressive 10k at lunchtime and I felt good and really enjoyed it – mostly as I met Susie Chan and Emily half way round. I could see Susie in the distance and was preparing myself to say hi, until Susie spotted me and screamed my name from about 200yards away. I was really pleased to get that done and made it progressive the whole way, even if the last kilo was a massive struggle.

Back to CTS on Wednesday at Victoria Park, got there early, did my mile warm up and mile cool down (ok walk to the pub with crew), finally I had a decent run at Victoria Park. That place is my nemesis but this time I actually enjoyed it – mostly as I ran a lap and a half with Ruth and then joined by Lilly, Ian and Daz for the last section and ran all the way.

Then I had an 8miler in for Friday and 16 for Sunday. However I bailed after 5k on the Friday after a few twinges in my foot – lots of lonesome looks over the Thames.

Sunday was Wimbledon Half Marathon + 5k. I did a 5k pre-race, however I managed to get my feet absolutely soaked walking to the start, I tried to make it home to change socks but I knew I wouldn’t make it back in time.

I got to the start, changed into Road shoes and set off about 15mins ahead of the main pack. Well, I was in a rush, I was stressed and just not in the right headspace for it. I got onto Parkside and I was slipping everywhere, including one point where a woman behind me screamed as she thought I was going down – fortunately I didn’t. I wasn’t enjoying it, my mind wasn’t on game and I gave up after only 4miles.

3/5 runs – 17/37 miles completed

Weeks 10 – 13

Interesting few weeks so let’s just group these together shall we. One thing to note, I started Ministry Classes this week and running took a bit of a hit.

Wk 10 – First week of Ministry does Fitness (4 sessions), hated running this week, fell over at MABAC, hated running round Crystal Palace in the mud and rain, finished the week off with a 10k at Battersea Park which I did enjoy mainly focusing on people who were waiting for me at the finish.

2.5/3 runs – 21.5/38 miles completed.

Wk 11 – 5k Recovery (although I didn’t have anything to recovery from after switching 16miler for 10k).

Wimbledon Chase the Sun I hated and was thoroughly miserable as I got stung by a nettle and the puddle were up to my knees, skipped Thursday 10k, but…..

I did do my 17mile long run on the Saturday. I took it as an opportunity to practice my marathon pacing and quite enjoyed it. Yes I took some breaks, yes I struggled towards the end but I put that down to knowing where I was going to finish and my insoles having worn down to feel like cheese-graters.  17Miles done, not enough to feel confident for Berlin, but definitely going into Cakeathon with some confidence.

3/4 runs – 23 / 23 miles completed

Wk 12 & 13 – Return of Achilles injury, not too severe but not feeling amazing, only ran Chase the Sun at Finsbury Park and Olympic Park, was still doing Ministry Classes, struggling to get out and run.

Apart from CTS races I didn’t do anything else.

3/9 runs – 18/32 miles completed

Wk 14 – I’d been looking forward to this week. Total miles should total 40miles – my biggest week from the whole plan. I kicked the week off with Cakeathon on Bank Holiday Monday, I wasn’t expecting the route to be so tough. I was expecting trails, but not hills and trekking across fields. Marathon practice pacing wasn’t possible so it was all about time on feet and getting a good distance in. You can read the Cakeathon Blog here -> https://bigcarlrunning.com/2017/08/29/cakeathon-race-review

Just three weeks to go now – it’s come round so quick, and no, I don’t feel ready, but feel well enough to know I can get round the distance.

So on that point…..

I know I can do the distance, or at least I’m fairly sure I can. If this was London I wouldn’t be questioning this – VLM has an 8hr cutoff which wouldn’t be a problem at all. For those of you that don’t know, Berlin has a cut off of 6.15 – which starts after the last runner has crossed the start. I expect it will take me about 7hrs to complete – even with a rough few miles at 17/18min/mile that I’ve built into my spreadsheet as a buffer.

However it’s the sweeper bus that worries me. If I was the last runner over the line I wouldn’t get a mile in before I was caught, 15mins ahead & I’d get to 15miles, 30mins, 22miles and 45mins I’d finish. According to what I’ve read it takes about 45mins from the elites setting off to the last runner – I’ve joked about lining up with the Kenyans but that obviously isn’t going to happen.

My thought is, do I want my first marathon experience to be a negative one?, potentially a DNF – if I get caught by the sweeper I cant see myself being able to do 11+ miles on the pavement. If it’s 22miles then I can probably get round.

If you’re after the sweeper btw they have said you can have a medal if there are any left and if there are volunteers still there to give them out.

I can’t decide whether to just go & see how far I get, you never know the last runner might be in the loo for an hour and I might be worrying for nothing.

Alternatively, I don’t want it to be a negative experience, I don’t want to let all the people that have sponsored me down & that’s making my decision that I should defer and maybe come back next year with a fighting chance of getting round on my own terms!

Unfortunately, I don’t think that Berlin will be doing this for the last runner!

At the moment this may come down to a flip of a coin and see how I feel with the result….