21 Mar 2013

Breaking through the 20 mile barrier

So this morning I woke up at 4am, a time usually reserved for milkmen and repeats of Hollyoaks for the deaf, for a 20 mile run before work. With only a month (today) until the London Marathon I decided that I needed to fit in one final long run before the big day, so opted for a 20 mile run, which is to date the furthest I've ran so far. I thought that reaching 20 miles would be a massive physical and psychological boost before the 21st April as you know after that it is just a 10k and that's easy, I do them all the time ;).

The idea of getting up at 4am was daunting to say the least, however with working a 9 - 5(ish) job it meant that I would fit the run in either before or after work as the weekends were out of the question due to having a race (almost) every weekend. I very much relied on guilt and peer pressure to ensure I got out at bed at 4am. I told everyone I knew my plans for Thursday morning so I felt pressured into making sure I went through with them rather than dealing with the shame on bailing out at the last second. Despite this I still managed to ignore my first three alarms and wake up panicked at half 4.

Thankfully I had gathered together most of my things the previous night so after wolfing down a bowl of porridge I was on my bike and off to work to drop my things off. When I arrived I found some rather 'interesting' words of encouragement from my colleagues. As I was sorting out my things and getting ready to leave I realised that I had left my gels at home, thankfully I had a bag of Jelly Babies on me so it wasn't a complete disaster, but it was far from ideal.

The run itself was surprisingly comfortable given that I barely felt like I had really woken up. I have a crazy dream of running the London Marathon in under 3:30, which given that it will be my first marathon will be a big ask, so today I was aiming to keep my average pace around 8 minute miles. The first 10 miles of the run strangely felt less comfortable than the second 10 miles, whether it was down to my body slowly waking up or the fact that pretty much dead on 10 miles I had to stop for a toilet break I'm not sure. All I know is that my 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th mile were much slower than my 10th, 11th and 12th. For some strange reason I also found a burst of pace around miles 16 - 18. When I arrived back at work I checked my watch and saw that I had run 20.2 miles in 2:42, leaving 48 minutes to run the remaining 6 miles in hopefully better circumstances. My dream is still alive.

When I got back to my office I found the above waiting for me on my desk. One of the guys from work said that he would buy me a cake if I actually went out and ran 20 miles before work but I wasn't quite expecting one this big. Whilst it would have been an interesting way to get back the ~2700 calories I burnt off common sense took over and I only opted for two pieces before sharing it out.

Yesterday I found out that the Nottingham Marathon appears to be going a head thankfully after being cancelled last year and there being a lack of official information around whether it would return. So I now have the London Marathon, North Norfolk Marathon, Spires & Steeples Challenge (Marathon), Nottingham Marathon, Yorkshire Marathon and potentially the first day of the Liverbird Double Marathon lined up this year, meaning I have found the 6 marathons I need to run to reach my 1000km.

For this weekend though it is just the matter of the Rother Valley 10k.

For those interested here is the route from my run today.

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