My plan to train like a demon to get into some kind of form for the Brampton to Carlisle 10 has been thwarted somewhat by being so bloody knackered from racing that I have still been training much less than usual.
The run with Plucky has to be through the town now its dark by 5pm and consequently we have to take a little extra care at junctions, with pedestrians and at road crossings etc. Doesn't matter though - the effort is still the same ( brisk to hard) and we have no measured route or way of knowing our pace anyway so its all about the effort for the given time. I cant remember if I ran the next day but if I did it would just have been a slow jog.
No such trouble remembering what happened last Thursday. I went down to the track to train with the Harriers who were doing 800metre reps. Now 800s are OK for me. Its the shortest distance I would usually run (apart from an occasional 400 as part of a pyramid session), but I would usually do 6 of them - the session set by the club coach was for 8!!
As we began I found myself leading the second group (first group is ridiculously fast even for the first half a lap to ever consider running with). I knew there was no way I was a fast enough runner to be leading some of those lads and sure enough at the bell, when the coach called out 74 seconds, they are buzzed past me and I trailed in at 2:31. The recovery seemed ludicrously long at 800m jogging, but I saw little point in doing my 'own thing' and stuck with the program. AS i settled into the session I was knocking out 2:29s consistently and even managed a 2:25 for my sixth. I paid for that one though as my seventh and final efforts were both just inside 2:40. Still, 6 by 800 metres at inside 5 minute miling average pace is my best for perhaps 5 years. Later that evening I felt the most tired I have felt since marathon training earlier this year - a good kind of tired.
Friday I saw little point in running and instead I walked Scamp for extra time. Saturday, the day prior to a race I popped down to Glenridding and enjoyed a fellwalk (with a little jogging included) with Scamp, and my camera taking some shots of runners in a big trailrunning event being held in the valleys.
Sunday morning saw the city shrouded in a heavy mist but as I drove South I left the mist behind and witnessed the most magnificent views I've seen in a good long while (this would be an ideal opportunity to include a couple of photos had I stopped to take any). By the time I got to Keswick I was feeling on top of the world and looking forward to running in the spectacular surroundings. Having walked Scamp or 60 minutes earlier, I then took him for another short walk in Keswick before he had to sit in the van for a couple of hours while I raced. I think now that this was possibly just a tad too much time on my feet to then race well, but no matter, this was only to be the precursor race to Brampton, two weeks later.
The gun sounded and we were off. A big contingent from Border Harriers were present. Way ahead was James Douglas (winner in 2010 and eventual 3rd 2011) and just a head was George Thompson (vet 55 from January). Then I was in a group containing Harry Earl, Chris Neil, Jason Holmes and Plucky (plucky NOT in Border any more - hey maybe he wants to join Eden Runners?). At three miles we were on exactly 17 minutes, at four we had gained another 15 seconds over "evens" and I figured this would give a sub hour result as long as everything held together on the much hillier second half. At about 5 miles myself and Harry had caught George and left Chris, Jason and Plucky behind. George rallied though and took Harry with him. I was isolated and by six miles Jason caught and passed me. At 8 miles Chris also caught me but at 9 there was only 20 metres between the three of us. I had 6 minutes 15 seconds available to run 58:59 and saw little point in going flat out to beat the other two lads. So they both beat me, which is a bit galling, but my time of 58:30 means I ran a 5:45 final mile and importantly DIDN'T crucify myself to be, say 18th instead of 21st.
I had said for ages that I wanted to run sub 60 for the race but I knew I had a 58 in me and with the conditions near perfect I am really very pleased with my performance. At no point in the race did I feel like I was actually racing though - In a good racing race I will be pushing myself rock hard and enjoying it and knowing I am running well and forcing the pace and getting absolutely everything available from my body out via my heart and lungs, through my legs and onto the tarmac. Here it was more a case of running hard but not flat out - heart and lungs working hard but unable to push to the maximum due to leg muscles being so tired and unresponsive and brain frightened of something going wrong and having to drastically slow down. At Brampton I will go to pains to ensure my legs are in good shape. I will NOT be going on a long walk prior and I will be be adopting a do or die attitude. If Jason and Chris want to take me on they need to be prepared for a MUCH harder time than last Sunday. I may overdo it and crawl home from 7 miles but if I get it right I will run sub 56 minutes.
Bring it on - I cant bloody wait.
The day after the Derwent race I met up with Milly and Gareth and enjoyed a very easy 50 minute jog with loads of craic about the race and catching up in general. Poor Gareth has been out injured for weeks and wasnt as involved with the craic and more involved in trying to keep up with us.
Tonight I joined Plucky again for the 50 minute pacey run. After a two mile jog to meet up approx halfway between our homes we launch into a brisk tempo. Darren was also present. Strange lad Darren in that he could keep up with me and Plucky tonight (even though at one point Plucky was dropped by a few metres) yet in races he is always well behind us (61 mins at Derwent 10). As we neared the point when we part company I suggested it would be funny if we both then slowed down as the pressure to keep up the high pace was gone once we were alone. Plucky said he WOULD be slowing down - in other words he was finding it too hard to continue. I saw this as an opportunity to gain over him by ensuring I ran as hard as I could all the way home. So I did. Darren has a Garmin and it showed 6:12 pace when we went our separate ways - thats not bad considering its through town and the varoius obstructions to free running as I described earlier.
Track again coming up Thursday - dont know what Ill do tomorrow.