Weeks Seven and Eight… Racing Demons

So this is the first of what I expect will be a few two week combined posts… I just didn’t get round to writing about week seven in time to post it on Sunday, so I figured I’d combine these two weeks as really they’re fairly similar as both end with a race on the Sunday.

In brief, week seven saw 30 miles of running in 3:45, 2:35 on the turbo and 8800m (2:15) of swimming.

Monday and Tuesday were fairly uneventful, and saw a run, a swim and a turbo session… Wednesday came round and by the afternoon I was absolutely exhausted after having managed a 3300m swim before work I missed track in the evening and took myself to bed at around 8:30! I slept solidly all night and woke up feeling refreshed on Thursday morning. Another swim before work and Thursday evening turbo session before hitting the hay. Friday morning I got up early to get my third turbo session of the week done as I knew I wouldn’t be able to cycle on Saturday and wanted to stick to the 3, 3, 3 I’ve been trying to stand by! Friday evening I headed out for an easy 4 miles to loosen off my legs, before we headed out for dinner in Newbury with our friends Beth and Nick, also Ironmen, which inevitably involved a lot of triathlon chat!

     

 Saturday was a very lazy day, Simon went off with Tom to do a 58 mile sportive in the freezing cold and pouring rain- on this occasion I wasn’t jealous at all! I had a rest day, which involved a lot of sitting on the sofa chilling, and eating!  

On Sunday I was up bright and early, oooh the excitement of Valentine’s day! Haha not really, we took Zeus for a walk and then set off for Bramley, near Reading, to run in our running club’s annual 20/10 mile road race.   

I entered the 20 mile race last year and had plodded round in 2:46 (8:16min/mi average), and I’d set my sights on running a 7:50min/mi this year which would have resulted in a 2:26. After queuing and then re-joining the queue for the portaloos it was time to join the masses at the start line. At 10:30, we were off!

I took the first few miles steady and consciously tried to slow myself down, and ran a 7:25, 7:30, 7:22, 7:29, 7:18, 7:23, 7:29 and then suddenly something seemed to click and my legs moved quicker and quicker and I felt like I was flying… I ran through 10 miles in just under 1:15, running past the start line where Simon was standing. He commented ‘sticking to the game plan then?!’ and I replied ‘nope, feeling fantastic!’ I spotted a girl from another running club I’ve been close to in a lot of the cross country races over the winter, and I follow her on Strava and Instagram and knew that she was going to be a few minutes quicker than me… But I decided to try and catch up with her over the second 10 miles and see whether I could beat her…. I caught up with her just after 11 miles… And ran past. And ran on, and didn’t see her again until I had crossed the finish line and picked up my bag, got dressed and wandered back to the finish. Mission accomplished! Oh and I crossed the finish line in 2:26… A whole 20 MINUTES off last year’s time!!!!!   

 Absolutely overwhelmed, over the moon, shocked and amazed pretty much summed up how I was feeling! And to top it off, I was the third lady in from Reading Roadrunners, meaning we won the ladies team prize!! Exciting 🙂 My friend Izzy and her boyfriend Mark were also running so we caught up with them for a coffee afterwards which was nice before heading home.

The rest of Sunday was rather lazy, Simon cooked a big roast beef with all the trimmings, and I pretty much just died on the sofa!  

On Monday after an early night, I decided to get up early and hit the pool to try and ease my legs… 3,100m later I was feeling pretty good 🙂 After work I met my friend Caroline for a coffee before heading home and hitting a 4 mile very easy recovery run. My quads have never screamed so much in my life… Every step hurt! In hindsight it probably wasn’t the most sensible thing to do…

Tuesday morning I was back in the pool with Rick and Tom, this time 3000m with a couple of sub 6 minute 400’s 😉 And Tuesday evening I jumped on the turbo for a solid 1 hour Z2 spin… My legs were so sore to begin with and it was a real struggle, one of those sessions that really hurts to begin with and then about 30 minutes in it starts to feel OK. Needless to say I was ready to get off by the end of it! We went out for dinner with our other tri friends Corinne and Liam, again a lot of tri and Ironman chat, but a lovely evening, with a little too much wine for me!

On Wednesday I had every intention of going to track in the evening, but after a long meeting at work my right hip flexor had started to give me a bit of jip, knowing that Wokingham Half Marathon is on Sunday was incentive enough to have my first rest day after Sunday’s hard race. It felt good to just chill out and have a proper rest, I wasn’t even jealous of Simon heading off to swim in the evening!

On Thursday morning I felt more like myself again and headed off to the pool, an absolute cracker of a session which saw my fastest ever 1000m- 14:36! Un.believable! It didn’t even feel as though I was swimming as hard as I could, which was awesome. Thursday evening I was back on the bike again, a solid hour and a bit (20miles) but my legs just didn’t feel great, it was a bit disappointing to be honest!

On Friday evening I headed out for a relatively easy 6 miler, a 7:28/ mile average… Oops! It felt pretty good though, and I headed out for a girlie dinner and catch up with my friend Nikita afterwards, pizza and ice cream at Pizza Express 🙂

Saturday morning was spent cleaning the house, and getting my car cleaned, before heading up to London for a bridesmaid dress fitting for my friend Clare’s wedding, relatively busy for a rest day but enjoyable all the same!

Sunday morning came round after a fairly rubbish night’s sleep, after breakfast and that all important coffee we headed off to the start line of Wokingham Half Marathon, a 10 minute walk from home. Simon has been injured with an Achilles problem for the past few weeks so not able to run, but after a Physio appointment on Thursday that had given the go ahead to run again he said he would pace me round to try and beat my PB (1:37). We lined up with our friend Liam, as well as some other friends who were also running aiming for different times, and at 10am we set off. Simon had said let’s aim for 1:30, so we set out with a goal of 6:55-7:00/ mile… I was so dubious about this and totally didn’t think I had it in me, but as the miles went by and we passed a number of fellow club mates I felt pretty good and kept a relatively consistent pace.   

There were loads of Reading Roadrunners out marshaling and supporting so it was great to see some familiar faces and hear our names called as we ran past. We got to about 10 miles before I started to feel pretty tired… But pushed on, and ran past a couple of other ‘targets’ before plodding over the finish line in 1:28:55… A whole 9 minutes off my PB!   

I was overwhelmed, shocked, exhausted and amazed! I literally would not have been able to do that without Simon by my side, he dragged me round and it felt amazing!!!!   

I’d also beaten a couple of other Roadrunners I’d never thought I would be anywhere near to! When we crossed the line we saw some runners from a fellow running club and I was told my time would get me a championship place for the London marathon next year- amazing!!!!

After watching all our friends come in, we headed home for a shower etc before heading out for a huge roast dinner at a pub nearby. The rest of the afternoon was spent gorging on sweets and chocolate watching movies on the sofa, heaven!

So my new training plan starts tomorrow with my new coach, it starts with a rest day- thank god! Fingers crossed the coaching will help bring my bike up to where my swim and run is currently… Here’s to some hard work over the next few months 🙂 I’m excited to see what I am capable of after the last couple of weeks races, I never in a million years thought I would be a sub 90 minute half marathon runner!

Thanks for reading!

A very satisfied, shocked and weary triathlete x  

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