Monday 19 April 2010

The big Two-Oh!

After a reasonably ok 18-miles last week, today (now yesterday) was the day to attempt a big one – 20 miles. The weather has been pretty great recently, around 14 degrees and sunny, but looking out of the window this morning, it was drizzly and overcast. So I put on my trusty baseball cap to keep the rain off, didn’t even consider a jacket or gloves and off I went. It was freeeezing! After about 5 minutes, I was really feeling the cold and my fingers were completely numb. I thought I’d soon warm up, but it kept raining and it was windy, and even after 13 miles, I was still wishing I’d brought my gloves. It only improved towards the end when the rain stopped. As I shivered away, I thought about the people I know who were doing the Edinburgh half marathon today and what a shame the weather was.

Anyway, enough moaning about the weather. The first part of the route took me towards the airport on some long main roads, but listening to another marathon talk podcast kept me entertained and distracted. I’ve read a lot recently about how important it is to start slowly and try to keep pacing consistent rather than start too fast and run out of steam. My first mile was about 9.30, then the second was 9.45, but I kept trying to keep it slower, and after that they were all over 10 mins.

However, when I got to 11-12 miles, I realised my overall time was really slow, and tried to speed up a bit – I just couldn’t help myself. Just after 13 miles, I met my running partner Ianthe, who was coming to support me in the hardest final miles! We settled into a slower, steady pace, and I was able to chat comfortably without getting out of breath. This part was mainly on a country path which is a great route, but it ended with a long steep hill. It didn’t kill me though, and as I got to the top at 18 miles, I knew I could keep going.

Just a short loop to do to make up the last 2 miles. My legs were really aching, and my right calf was starting to cramp up. Just after 19 miles, Ianthe headed home. I realised that I felt ok, and decided to up my speed a bit. I knew that last few miles had been over 11 mins each, so I kicked off, and managed to do the last one in less than 11. As I got home and stopped the Garmin, it read 20.1 miles. Woo-hoo!

I hobbled up the stairs, and as I stopped moving, my leg totally cramped and I started shouting in pain. Pete got me to lie on the bed and he pushed my foot back which eased it. The kids joined in, and eventually it started to feel better. I felt like a fine athletic specimen as I lay there collapsed in a heap.

Despite my sorry state after the run, I felt fairly strong during the last couple of miles, so I suppose that slowing my pace earlier was quite effective. There is such a strong instinct to go faster if you feel good near the start, but my goal is to finish this marathon, and if I can feel ok towards the end of it, it’ll be worth holding back at the start.

Total miles - 20.1; Time 3h33m24s; Average pace 10.37 min/mile.

For the rest of the day, I was aching so much I could hardly move, but so what, I ran 20 miles!! Whoop!!