Week 11: A lighter load

  • Hours on the run: 3:51
  • Kilometres: 41.04
  • Calories burned: 18 Cadbury’s Creme Eggs
  • Soundtrack: This is me – The Greatest Showman Cast

The distance scaled back this week, which was a relief. It’s amazing how relative your perception of distance is: at the start of the year, a 20km run (or an almost-half-marathon) felt like a huge challenge. Now, in the most intense part of the training, it felt like a ‘lighter’ end to the week. Of course it wasn’t, but compared with what’s ahead in the next three weeks, it felt like it would be a breeze!

There were still one or two weeknight runs this week in the pouring rain and heavy winds (good for resilience training!), but the sun finally came out for Sunday’s organised run in Almere. Hallelujah!

This race was just a 20-minute bike ride away. It makes such a difference doing a race close to home, when you don’t have to factor in hours of travel time. It was also a small one – there were only about 100 people doing the 20km distance, out of about 500 runners in total. This meant there was lots of space to run your own race, which I really love. For some reason, in crowds, or even when there’s just one or two people running near me, I tire out much faster. When I have an open path ahead I find it a lot easier to get lost in the run and my own rhythm.

They’d posted a weather report a few days before the run, saying it would be relatively dry, with “the wind in your back”. It was a circular route (two loops for the 20km) so I’m not quite sure how they could claim that, but full points for optimism! (The wind was very much not in my back at some points!).

I did spend a large part of the run fretting about an old tendon injury that I started sensing again. It had me sidelined for about 3 months a few years ago, and I could feel an ache in exactly the same spot for the first half of this run. To get an injury now would just be a massive blow, after all the hours of training, so I really need to keep an eye on this one. I don’t want to miss a single training run but I know that taking a few days off could mean the difference between making it to the marathon or watching it on the tv, so I have to be strict and force myself to rest if it gets worse.

I saw my first barefoot runner of the year during this run, which was fascinating! I have so much admiration for those people who’ve built up the ability to run barefoot (or in Vibrams) for such distances. Incredible. Maybe once the marathon is over I’ll give it another go. It gives you the most amazing feeling of being connected with the Earth, and they say it releases all the positive (i.e. bad) ions you accumulate in your body, giving you a much greater sense of peace and wellbeing. (That’s when you’re not howling in pain from stepping on a nail or sharp stone!).

Once the run was over, it was just short ride home (into the wind the whole way, which coaxed a few swear words out of me as my legs were quite heavy by that point and not impressed with more wind!). Then it was some much needed sofa time with the cats and a big bowl of warming soup to refuel.

Next week (this week actually, since I’m already half way through the week as I post this) the distance ramps up, peaking at 32km on Sunday…. so I’m enjoying the rest while I can!

Soundtrack to the week: This is me – The Greatest Showman Cast. Power!

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