Race week has arrived and today I travel down to the South coast for my next 26.2 mile adventure. I may not be flying across to the other side of the world for this marathon, and to some the adventure may be a little less impressive than exploring a new country - but it means a lot to me.
Over the past 16 weeks I have trained hard - and by using the word 'hard' I do not just mean logging lots of miles. Looking back on my last block of marathon training leading up to Sydney Marathon in September, personally I was in quite a difficult place - I was hurting emotionally and my running was one of the main things which kept me going. I am stronger now, happier and I have had to learn to let go of certain things in my life. This has all meant I have had the energy and focus to train smarter. I have been sleeping far better, which is essential when my alarm goes off at 5.30am most days for weekday runs, and my diet has improved, whereas last year I was eating far too much chocolate to both fuel my running and to try and make me feel better. Thanks to some icy training weeks I have finally learnt the real benefit of taking those easy runs 'easy' - in fact I often look forward to them now. My long runs have been focused, and whilst my speed over shorter distances seems to have slipped a little, I have felt stronger than ever when running more miles. I have also paid attention to rest, particularly in the afternoon after those big training runs, and have learnt to cope better relaxing in my own company rather than trying to keep busy.
I know I have done all I can, and I guess the next big question is what does that result in a time. I have been asked what I am aiming for a lot this week, and I have been honest with my reply - I have trained with a PB in mind, which would be sub 3:40, and that's what I will be trying to achieve. It scares me; but I know deep down if I run well I can do it. If I do not go out and try run that time, I think I will be more disappointed than if I do not achieve it. A marathon is never a given, but if I never allow myself the chance to try, I will never know what could be possible.
This week has seen a minor blip in my journey - typically during race week! I have had a sore back of my heel for a couple of weeks now, it does not hurt when I run, but often catches on shoes when I am walking. I thought I had bruised my heel through wearing a pair of smarter shoes for work one day, which at the time had hurt my feet a little (I usually live in trainers!) However, as I went for my final pre-race massage this week with my Sports Therapist, it turns out I have actually torn my Achilles slightly. It has been treated, taped and physically it all feels much better - mentally I just need to try and get it out my mind though and almost pretend it is just a bruise again!
As always before I sign off for a marathon weekend I would like to extend my thanks to those who have supported me throughout my training. I cannot stress enough how much messages, comments, thoughts, words of wisdom and support have meant to me across the past 16 weeks. Aside from being that girl who always runs around Lincoln in shorts, people often tell me I have a distinctive smile, and I promise to try and be smiling on Sunday whatever happens. Run happy!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...