Monday, 23 March 2015

The LSR when it all 'clicks'

Well one day it was going to click.

I've heard this many times.  Yesterday's long slow run, my last properly long run before the Brighton Marathon, possibly was the moment that it all clicked.

We'd had this day planned in the diary for a few weeks.  I was to meet the Plums at Bexleyheath Sports Club to leave promptly at 8:30am where we would run two loops, one of approx 9.7 miles and one just over 11 miles, giving us somewhere between 20-21 miles taking into account loop backs.  The marathoners would run the two loops, those that wanted to run for fun could do the first loop.

The preparation started the day before.  If I was to treat this as marathon 'practice', then I had to try and eat properly the day before.  I'm aware I've never really got the carb-loading right in the run up to my four previous marathons but I've read that you need to almost constantly graze during days before.  So with that in mind, I ate as follows:

  • 8:00 am - bowl of porridge
  • 10:45 am - a small cheese sandwich make from the knobbler off the loaf
  • 12:30 am - a round and a half of ham sandwiches followed by three pancakes
  • 4:30pm - a 400g pasta ready meal (approx 450 calories)
  • 8:00am - a 400g pasta ready meal with stir fry vegetables
  • Almost 9/10ths of a tub of flapjack mini bites
Spent the rest of the evening on the sofa, went to bed at 11:30pm.  Alarm set for 6:30am.

I was awake a couple of minutes before the alarm.  I turned it off before it would wake Alison and I tried to creep out of bed but she was already awake.  I told her to go back to sleep and went to get ready.

Breakfast consisted of:
  • 6:45am - bowl of porridge and a cup of tea
  • 7:30am - pint of water
I then had just over an hour for nature to take its course then popped the now obligatory dose of pre-LSR Immodium.

Quickly popped in to say goodbye to Alison and she told me to take care which I thought was a little strange, given I was running with others unlike all my other LSR but something was clearly lost in translation as you'll discover later.

Jumped in the car and was at the club in 10 minutes.  Shame all traffic cant be like 8am on a Sunday morning.

I wasn't the first there.  Club Chairman Richard was getting changed out of the back of his car and Lee Walker was sitting in his car.  The car park began to fill up.  Quite a turn out for a Sunday morning.

Back L-R:  Paul, Andy, Peter, Lee, Richard, Russell, Steph, Jim, Madeline, Dawn.  Front: Gina, Me & Colin

Bang on 8:30am, Richard explained the route, which would take us into Welling, up Welling Way, down to Well Hall, up to Eltham and down to Mottingham then back through Avery Hill and Blackfen and past Danson Park to the club.  We'd arrived back at the club, have 2 mins to decide whether to carry on then we'd be off again and he'd explain the route on the way...and off we went.

Colin & Peter disappeared into the distance, followed by Paul, Dawn and Russell and the rest of us marathoners stuck together.  Apart from a couple of Plums that disappeared into the bushes at Oxleas Woods to answer calls of nature, the group stuck together for the first loop.  I was pretty much bang on my required 9:30 min/mile pace window so I was happy.  I was feeling good.

Back at the club, only a few of us carried on to do the second loop.  Richard led myself, Andy, Gina and Richard John back past Danson Park down to Blendon, through Bexley Village, out down the North Cray Road then back to the club via Sidcup Hill, Rectory Lane, Hurst Lane and Willersley Avenue at Blackfen.

As in my last LSR, I ensured I took my gels at regular intervals.  Again, every 4 miles at 4, 8, 12, 16 then I'd decide whether to have a 5th nearer the time.

I cannot begin to stress how strong I felt throughout this run.



Overall, 21 miles on the nose at 9:27 min/mile pace. 26.2 miles at that pace equates to 4:07:35. If I can do that on Marathon Day then I'm going to be on top of the world.




As you can see from my splits, my pace was pretty steady throughout and I managed to pick it up a bit in the last couple of miles.  I even managed a 8:56.1 in mile 21.  First time I'd got to mile 20 still feeling like I had something left in the tank.  I couldnt get over how strong I felt throughout the run.  It appears I may have just found my correct carb-loading routine through much trial and error.

I could feel the smile on my face when I'd got back to the club.  I was grinning like a cheshire cat in all honesty.

I went back to the car to quickly get changed into some dry clothes and grabbed my phone to text Alison that I'd be on my way back shortly.  However, she'd beaten me to it...




Ooops.  I'd just assumed that I'd mentioned that I was running from the club on Sunday morning.  Surely that would have been obvious I would have needed the car?  As it turns out, I hadnt told Alison I needed the car.  She'd got out of bed later and just as she was about to leave to run some errands, she'd discovered no car on the driveway. A quick run around the neighbours to see if anyone had seen the car earlier in the day proved fruitless, Alison couldnt get through to me as my phone was well and truly switched off, she felt she had no choice but to call the police.  Tbh, I dont blame her either.

Anyhow, she let me off lightly when I sheepishly phoned to tell her that I had the car.  After one embarrassing phone call later to the Police to tell them that the car was no longer 'stolen', I was on my way home.

Stolen Car drama aside, this is exactly what I needed with Brighton only less than three weeks away now.  My confidence is at an all time high.  I really didnt foresee this when I started running again after my enforced break at Christmas and my very slow and poor January.

On paper, it appears I'm on for a PB but of course, race day could be very different indeed.  I just need to keep my fingers crossed now and ensure I get my pre and mid-race nutrition right beforehand and on the day.  Speaking to Richard and Andy mid-run yesterday, both of them told me that Brighton is quite a flat marathon, apart from a little small incline for about 400-500ft around mile 4-5 so everything is pointing in the direction of them two magic letters.

I'm now into my taper.  I plan to run 13 miles maximum next Saturday with my usual two-to-three shorter runs in midweek then will wind down my mileage in time for Marathon weekend. Then hopefully I can get to the start line in one piece and smash my PB.


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