Monday, 19 October 2015

Exeter's Great West Run


Well what a weekend that was!

It was all looking very gloomy as I'd committed the cardinal sin of doing a different workout to usual when I did my weights on Wednesday. I don't usually do squats and lunges as I know they can cause strange niggles and pains but for some strange reason I decided to do both and then do a tempo session later in the day. Stupid woman! What on earth was I thinking? So by Thursday I had very a very painful left hamstring/glute thing going on which was worse on Friday.

I tried to remedy the pain and niggles with some thorough yoga on the Friday and luckily it did the trick (although not until the Saturday morning) but in the meantime I went down with an absolutely stonking cold. And a bit of a niggly pain in a wisdom tooth which I put down to have a head stuffed full of snot. Friday evening I texted my brother to say I didn't think I'd make it down for the race as I was feeling so rough and went to bed early. Being an optimist (yes, I am one of those. Sometimes.) I pack my bag and race kit anyway and set my alarm for a 4.30am get up just in case.

Wake up, get out of bed about 4.45am and don't feel too bad. My glute & hamstring are pain free and I'm not full of snuffles. A horrid cough, but actually I feel ok so after caffeinating I get in the car and drive. -At this point can I recommend embarking on long drives wearing compression tights. I find them very helpful in reducing discomfort when driving. I still get tight muscles and niggles but not nearly as bad.- By 10am I'm by the sea in Westward Ho! chilling out at my parents. A little tiny 2 mile run along the seafront just to check my legs actually work then lots more tea, then it's time to get down to my bro in Okey as he'd offered to drive me into Exeter for the race.

To cut a long story short, I get to the race start fully determined to maybe get round in 1:50 as there's been no good pace in my legs for weeks and I now have full blown toothache. It's really cold and I just want to get the race over and done with. 
  • Mile 1 done in 7:10, mile 2 in a much more sensible 7:28.
  • The next 4 miles I run progressively quicker then settle down for the next 3 or so. This is easy- everything just feels like it's flowing. Sub 7:20 pace is just not proving challenging at all and I feel so strong, so focussed. 
  • It gets a bit more undulating from now on but the hill up to the university is really not that bad- my legs didn't notice it much.
  • Mile 11 I run a storming 7:10. Then it's pain, mental and physical doing the out and back along Pinhoe Road. They felt the longest 2 miles of my life and if it wasn't for the guy running for Team Bones I would have slowed up quite a bit. Instead we egged each other on, shouted a bit and finished strong. I don't know your name, although I think it might be Lee (so many people seemed to know you and I think that's the name they were calling), but thank you so much for the encouragement and for giving me someone to chase. And thank you too for the hug at the end. We both deserved it!
  • I approach the finish and look up at the timer on the gantry in disbelief.  I have run this 13.1 in around 1:36:45- at least 1min 30 quicker than ever before.
 I ran it in 1:36:43 and was 10th or 11th lady.

Honestly, that was the best race I've ever run. Not just because of the time but because I felt all the hard work in training come together and let me run freely. Mentally too I didn't once lose focus or panic when I felt that wobbly, empty legs thing; I knew and trusted that it would only be momentary, just my body switching energy supply. Running with everything falling into place was an amazing feeling!

All I have to do now is get through my karate grading tomorrow.

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