Bloody hell. I thought this day would never come. It’s not even the half marathon and I am rejoicing BUT it’s taken me a long time to beat the 10K barrier and now I’ve finally pushed my distance to new limits.
I have been training for this half marathon (I’m running my first one on 5th October for Crohn’s and Colitis UK) for what seems like ages but in fact it’s probably only really been six months. Although that might sound a lot to some, it’s been a much needed training period for me. If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts you’ll know I couldn’t run 3K at the beginning of this training so every mile I gain is a big, big achievement.
It still seems 5K is my comfortable zone and I really have struggled to push past that and gain more mileage. But, with 13.1 miles facing me in just over a month, I knew I had to when I went out for my weekly long run last week.
A few days before I had conquered the 10K barrier, managing to make it to 12K which was a big mental stumbling block. Although I ached for days after doing it I was so glad I did the run. I’ve heard a lot of half marathon training programmes deterring people from running too far too regularly and whilst I think you need to keep injury at bay and avoid too many miles, I felt like I needed to do this at least a few times to believe I could actually do the half marathon.
So last week I set a new playlist (made up of tracks from This Is House the album) and set off on my run. The hardest thing I find about trying to plan long runs is actually planning them! I find it tough to find a suitable route that will keep me motivated and also cover the miles. So this time I decided to pick my favourite 5K circuit and repeat it…three times. It might sound crazy as I am well aware this was probably going to get VERY repetitive but I thought it was the easiest way to get the distance in without having to plan too much.
The first circuit was OK – I ran the entire distance and came in just under 30 minutes. Halfway round the second circuit I had to slow down to walking pace for a few minutes to re-think my pace and catch my breath. This was probably the toughest point of the run – the sun was beating down, the town centre was full of people and I was having to weave in and out of crowds – sometimes taking to the busy roads to avoid them. It was shortly after this that I thought about giving up. But with the half marathon firmly in mind I powered on and faced the circuit one more time.
The third time was noticeably slower and my feet were really beginning to suffer – at about 8K my toes seem to seize up and I find it uncomfortable to run. I’m wearing new specialised trainers but I think I may need to invest in better socks (note to self: visit the running store asap). Regardless of the pain, I hobbled along but I dread to think what some of the passers-by thought of my hobbling techniques! I sort of looked like I had wet myself, my legs crossing over each other with every pounding of the pavement and my back slowly arching forward to alleviate my feet. Attractive.
But I finished the run! I did a 15.1K in a time of 1hr 40 which I wasn’t disgusted by – I’m aiming for a half marathon time of 2hr 30 so this puts me in the time frame for that. And as long as I can avoid the hobbling on the day I should even beat this time!
My next mission is to attempt 16K although first things first, a trip down the running store is needed.