“How many intervals did you have to do last week?”
“How am I supposed to do all this during the week AND do a long run? My legs are killing me.”
“What flavour is that recovery drink you got?”
These are the types of conversations that my Running Friend (RF) and I have. It is particularly bad now that we are both training for the marathon. We can and do talk about the most miniscule aspects of our running for hours. These are probably the top 5 topics:
5. Long runs
2. Going faster
1. The actual marathon and how are we ever going to do it??
It is great to have someone to talk about all this with. You have probably all fallen asleep reading that list, but if you are running and particularly training for something, I promise you these are all topics of immense interest. We both started running at the same time a few years ago and have seen each other progress so much from not being able to run for 5 minutes to being regular half-marathoners. In fact we probably have more faith in each other’s abilities sometimes than our own.
Now as we are more than halfway through our marathon training it was the perfect time to do a half-marathon as a bit of a test race.
We set off at the crack of dawn to give ourselves time to get there an hour in advance, plenty of time to do all those things you have to do before a race. Well, when we got there it transpired there was NO PARKING and everyone was having to drive back way, way out of the way, practically back at the entrance. It took us 20 minutes to do that and we could see that we were now at least a mile away from the race area. Doing any extra exercise at all on a race day is NOT HELPFUL.
Also, as we were creeping along looking for parking it became obvious that this was a very windy spot for a race. It was all very open and exposed, and everyone who was lucky enough to actually be walking to the race area was very bundled up in hats and coats and the trees were being bent over by the wind. Hmm, it was 10 degrees and mild at home!! Luckily we had our winter clothes with us but it was not a pleasant mile plus walk down to the race area. By the time we got there it was 20 minutes until race time and suddenly we were feeling rushed and having to queue up for various things. After all that, they decided to delay the race start time as everyone else was also having the same problem.
I won’t bore you with details of the actual race once we got going except to say it was all a little quiet and dull with hardly any spectators or atmosphere and the wind was terrible in places so it wasn’t the most fun race I’ve ever done. But we both beat our previous best times and RF even beat our ambitious timing goal so we were both very proud of ourselves. My race strategy was also better than it has been in some other races. I managed to eat and drink pretty much the right amount without becoming ill (I could still have drunk more – need to work on that). Mentally, I didn’t get rattled by people overtaking me and didn’t speed up to try and stop that happening. That can be quite deadly for your legs but it’s hard not to do it. I also didn’t do huge sprints to get around other people. My pacing was much more relaxed and consistent and in fact I did get overtake loads of people in a particularly slow, calm, and zen-like fashion!
Then we had the loooonnngg walk back to the car. Seemed even longer this time. And when we got there, would you believe RF’s car door opener gadget’s battery had died! It did seem like for a minute that we wouldn’t be able to get into the car at all. It’s pretty funny in hindsight and hysteria did set in once we were finally in the car, but somehow that would have been the perfect ending to a weird race.
Well, I’m still nervous about the big race and don’t know how I will do twice today’s distance. The good news is that I have improved as a racer and got a new best time despite quite miserable running conditions today. The race is being slated for its poor organisation and lack of atmosphere on the runner’s forums so it’s not just me complaining!
No more races for me now until the big one, but March’s training is going to make it the month from hell…if you’re still interested in reading about my running you can read more on my marathon training page.