Sunday, July 7, 2019

1st, 2nd and 3rd!

Abingdon Marathon Training 

15 weeks to go 

Both of us - blue 
Kelly - Purple 
John - Orange 

We've had an amazing week of running, racing and watching running at the night of the 10,000m PBs! We love running! 

Monday 1st July 2019  

Today was day one in my big race week. The focus for this week was to work on my speed and racing. The first race of the week was the Frampton 10k. This race sells out in minutes so (thanks to the Maestro) we were lucky to get a place. It is a lovely local race around a picturesque village. It stars and finishes on a well manicured village green by a lovely pub. We ran it last year having raced the Cotswold way just before so it wasn't especially fast. I did however finish in 5th place last year so my main aim was to improve on that position. I also wanted to get close to, if not under, 40 minutes. 

On the start line, I sized up my competition; there were a lot of speedy-looking women around. The gun went off and instantly, one women stormed ahead with a blistering turn of pace. I quickly joined a pack of 5 other women who, like me, had clearly decided to let the first lady go it alone. We ran the first mile together taking it in turns to lead and trying to get into a steady rhythm. 6:13 for the first mile - fairly quick but it also felt comfortable. Anything sub 6:30 would get me a sub 40. Having analysed my Strava data from last year, I knew that mile 2 was the hardest -with the most uphill- so I tucked in at the back of the group and let the others do the work. Part way through the mile, the lady who was leading our group started to get a slight gap of the rest of us. No one seemed to be wanting to close it and I wasn't prepared to let her get a lead at this stage so I picked up the pace a little and overtook the other women to tuck in behind her into 3rd place overall. 

Not wanting to turn around and waste energy or risk falling over, I was listening carefully to hear if the rest of the pack had joined me. I was pretty sure that they weren't far off. I knew that mile 3 was downhill so I had a decision to make. Do I go for it and make the most of my downhill speed and try to loose some of them? Or do I race it sensibly and stick behind them and try and overtake later on?

'Let's do this' I said to myself. As soon as I crested the hill, I leaned forward and went for it. I overtook the girl ahead and zoomed into 2nd place. With over half way still to go, I knew I had to keep pushing to get as much of a gap as I could. I managed to overtake a few men as well! Mile 2 went by in 6:29 and mile 3 in 6:28. The downhill continued into mile 4 and I managed a 6:19. I was feeling really confident of a good time now but I could hear someone behind me. On the next uphill, I was passed. 'No matter - 3rd place is still great' I told myself. Mile 5 was a bit slower - 6:35. I knew I had to keep working hard if I wanted a sub 40. I was also desperate not to be passed again. The last mile seemed to go on forever but eventually I saw John running towards me. 'How close is she?' I asked anxiously 'You'll have to keep working hard' came the reply. I gave it everything I had and headed for the finish line. I could see the clock ticking closer to 40. I finished in 39:53 in 3rd place with an average pace of 6:23. 

It was a beautiful evening and we were given a bottle of cider at the finish line - amazing! There was also a BBQ but, even though I sent a number of polite messages asking, there were no gluten free options :( I did go into the pub and get a packet of crisps...but it wasn't the same. 

My mood improved though during the presentation when I won £10! 

John and the Maestro enjoying their cider!

It's like being a pro!

Great running by KD! This was to be my 3rd visit to Frampton - previous attempts resulted in: 
2016 = 13th with 37:19 and 2018 = 3rd with 35:53
This year has been a bit too steady training wise but with a 5K PB just 2 weeks a go I was on the start line feeling reasonably confident, with a target of wanting to run a course PB and possibly even a position PB? The race started - no chance on bettering 3rd place this year - a very deep field of strong runners - a group of 10 or so chatting/bantering up ahead of me, cruising at <5:15MM pace... too quick for me! I made sure to run sensibly, not get sucked in and focus on a possible course PB instead. Conditions were fantastic throughout and as the miles ticked over I found myself almost enjoying running sub lactate threshold... Half way through the race, some of the earler runners weren't having quite as much fun as me and I found myself picking off a few positions... nice scenery and long easy downhill behind us, I found myself having to work hard with about a mile to go. There were a couple of guys just ahead running a similar pace and effort to me, so I decided to work a bit harder and try and pick them off - making sure to earn my free cider and burger. I did! I managed a respectable 8th position with a time of 35:35! My 5th fastest 10K ever and the course is by no means as quick as Cardiff Bay 10K, Bristol or Clevedon - well chuffed!

Tuesday 2nd July 2019  

Race number 2 of the week today. The 2 mile race Eastville park. After yesterday's success, I was expecting to feel pretty tired...and I did...but I hoped I had enough in my legs to push through the pain for two little miles. 

As we are marathon training, 2 miles isn't enough for a Tuesday night so we decided to run to and from the race which would make 9 miles in total. Loads of GWR runners were there so it was great to catch up with the gang. 

The race started and the first 1/2 mile is downhill. I went for it but so did fellow team-mate Clare. She trains in Eastville a lot so is becoming a bit of a pro on this course. I decided to keep close to her and see if she could sustain the pace...if not, I'd prepare to swoop in! On the uphill section, I was almost overtaken by Emma from Bristol and West but managed to dig deep and pick up the pace a little. After the first lap, my legs had loosened up a little and I'd decided that I really wanted the win. I overtook Clare and tried to use the downhill to my advantage and get a bit of a gap. On the final uphill section, I was putting everything I had into not being overtaken! I managed to finish in 1st place with a time of 12:28 only 2 seconds off my 2 mile PB on this (hilly) course. I also ran a negative split which hardly ever happens!

I was definitely not in the mood for this... legs were knackered from the night before and I was just feeling a bit meh! Marathon training though and had 10 miles on the plan - KD was adamant on going to Eastville so thought I may as well tag a long and give it my best shot! 4th place with 11:37 - my 4th quickest time running this one... Not a bad effort - legs felt awful throughout and not the most sensible thing I've done - but - I got home glad having banked the miles for the day and it's always nice seeing KD dominate and meeting up with the GWR family!

Wednesday 3rd July 2019  

Having raced, pretty much flat out, two days in a row, I decided to take a rest day today! No exercise at all! I actually really enjoyed it because I could feel that my body needed it. 

I had the evening to myself as KD was working late - I rushed home from work and got my kit on ASAP so not to get distracted by the comfort of the sofa! Medium-long run for me... Out and back on the Towpath which offered much needed shade throughout... Lush! 13.10Miles @7:49MM pace - a good effort after the efforts of Tuesday and Wednesday... legs are tired and really starting to feel like they're marathon training!

Thursday 4th July 2019  

I had a busy evening today so decided to do my recovery run in the morning. Out the door before 6:30am - 5 miles at a gentle 8:53mm average pace. 

I also cycled to and from work today so a total of 6 miles on the bike. 

After school, I'd booked my yoga teacher to come into our work to lead a yoga class for the teachers for a bit of staff well being. It was great (in my opinion!). Hopefully everyone else loved it too (I have had some really positive feedback) and I'm hoping we can do it more regularly. 

I ran with KD - 5.21Miles @ 8:847MM pace - a steady recovery run and a nice way to start the day :-)

Friday 5th July 2019  

I cycled to and from work again today - another 6 miles in total. I also did running club with the kids at lunchtime. It was the last one before the summer holidays today so we went to the woods which is their favourite place to run. We always run anti-clockwise around the woods...I don't know why...we just do. A few weeks ago, however, we decided to go the other way and, when I uploaded my run, I discovered that the clockwise route was a segment. Today, I decided to be a bit sneaky and got the kids to run clockwise again so that I could have a go at the segment! ...mission accomplished...the crown is mine! 

3rd and final race of the week tonight at the Towpath 10k. It's a race that John and myself help to organise so we can't just turn up and race; we help unload the van first and then go over to the race HQ to enter runners and distribute numbers. There's always someone who turns up with a few minutes to go which means that I arrive at the race, take off my T-shirt (I had my vest underneath don't worry!) and then join the start- line (near the front of course). I did managed to get the race director (who luckily is my good friend Cat!) to hold the start for 10 seconds while my Garmin searched for satellites! Eventually, we were off. Having raced twice already this week, I was expecting to be feeling shattered and just take this race fairly easy...but, amazingly, my legs felt great. I couldn't quite believe it. I have no idea how, but I felt incredible! 

First lady was way ahead already but I realised that I was in 2nd place...thinking back to the week, I realised that, if I could maintain this position, I would have finished in 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions this week...yes I did come up with my blog title in mile 1 of the 10k race...

After managing to rein in my thoughts, I focused on the task in hand; keeping this position. I knew that Robin from Westbury would be behind me and she always starts off slower and then picks up the pace in the 2nd half. In the last race, she overtook me in the last mile. I was determined not to let this happen today. I knew that my only chance was to get a big enough gap between us that she couldn't catch me! 

Sometimes I wish that my watch could measure adrenaline because I'm pretty sure mine would have been off the scale today. I genuinely don't know where my energy came from but I picked up the pace and found myself overtaking men left, right and center. I just couldn't stop smiling. At the turn, I realised that I was closer to first place than 3rd place was to me. But I didn't rest on that. I kept pushing on, hunting down every man I could find and overtaking them. I finished, feeling elated, in 2nd place with a time of 40:23 - not bad for an undulating course. 

Fantastic running from KD - I'm not running the Towpath races this year which means I get to see everyone finish - KD finished with a good strong sprint with a face full of determination and grit - good skills and nice placing!

I got up early and ran before work - Out and back on the Towpath, making sure everything looked OK for the evenings race and banking: 7Miles @ 7:41MM Pace 

Saturday 6th July 2019  

I woke up knowing that John would be out for his long run. I was pretty sure that I wouldn't be able to do a long run today - given the week I'd had- so I'd planned to drop the car off for the air con to be fixed and then doing as close to a long run as I could manage - I still wanted to keep my weekly mileage up because my Strava graph is looking rather great at the moment! 

Earlier than expected, John arrived home; he'd decided that he'd like to run long with me tomorrow! Woohoo! That meant that I could do a recovery run today and we could run long together tomorrow. 
5 miles around the harbourside. At one point I caught myself doing sub 8 minute miles and had to slow myself down to ensure I was actually recovering... how can I be feeling this good still? Marathon training is clearly working! 

Felt daft running long solo - as we are both marathon training and both free at the weekend... Legs weren't overly keen after the weeks racing and previous evenings race organising so banked a good recovery run: 5.1Miles @ 8:32MM Pace

In the afternoon, we drove to London to attend the night of the 10,000 PBs at Highgate -Parliament hill. This was the 3rd time we've attended this event and we love it. There's always loads of talented athletes to watch, the atmosphere is amazing and standing in lane 3 with a plastic cup of  Prossecco or beer is fab! It's also always nice to catch up with Kojo (super fast runner) and get close to all our running idols! 
John's got the merchandise!

The view from the hill

Steph Twell overtaking and putting herself in 1st place!

Team GB out in force: Nick Goolab, Chris Thompson and Ben Conner 

Sunday 7th July 2019  

We were up early today to ensure that we could get the run done in time to get back to Bristol for John's Dad's birthday. Out of the door before 8am to do 13 miles to and around Richmond Park. I love running around the park. It's a great undulating route with clear paths and often lots of deer! 

The first mile was hard work...I think it's getting older that means it takes my legs longer to warm up! But after that, I felt great. We did a few faster miles closer to 7mm pace which was great as, up until now, all of our long runs have been comparatively slow. 

13 miles done with an average pace of 7:45. Pleased with that. 

Another early morning run... Legs are knackered before, during and after this run... KD is running strong and for once does the dragging around :-P
Richmond park is lush - it's undulating throughout which is challenging but lovely views and running alongside hundreds of fellow runners and cyclists is just a lovely situation. 13.11Miles @ 7:42MM - although it was really hard work throughout - it was one of our fastest loops - shows training is working?

Kelly's weekly total - 47 miles 

John's weekly total - 

60.7 miles / 7:58MM / <3 132 / Eco 1053

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