Week fourteen - aka the week it all started to feel a bit real! I always have mixed feelings when the marathon starts to near; nerves, excitement, anxiety and also a little bit of sadness. I feel sad as suddenly the big event I have been building up to and focusing on for so long feels like it will soon be over; I even start to miss the thought of a 20 miler on a Sunday morning believe it or not!
MONDAY: Body Pump class
TUESDAY: a slight deviation from my plan, as after starting a new job at work I simply did not have the physical or mental energy for 9 miles of intervals! Instead I switched for Thursday's tempo run. This was a landmark run as for once I actually ran what I planned out in Biro pen on my hand before I left the door (yes I do this!), which was a warm up and cool down mile, with the four middle miles at 7.40 min/mile pace. The result was splits of 8.21, 7.42, 7.44, 7.44, 7.40 and 8.11 min/mile - almost perfect!
WEDNESDAY: a comfortably hard 8 miles before my Body Pump class. I pushed this run a little as my plan stated it should be 'steady' as opposed to 'easy' and so I used my judgement to make it roughly 8 min/mile pace throughout.
THURSDAY: the delayed 9 mile interval run. Even after putting it back to later in the week, I still really did not feel like doing this run. I pulled on my running gear though and faced the rather dismal weather conditions. Despite my reluctance I actually really enjoyed the run, the intervals were 10 x 400m with 200m recoveries, and whilst there were a lot of reps to complete, it really made the overall distance pass by quickly. My interval pacing was also good, between 5-10k pace, and left me with a pleasing overall average pace of 7.47 min/mile.
FRIDAY: Rest Day
SATURDAY: after a confidence building PB at Bassingham Bash last weekend I approached Lincoln parkrun today with the belief I could run well. I stood on the start with the mentality to go for it and just trust what my legs could do. It paid off. I knew as I was running I was heading for a good time as everything just felt in sync, and I even had extra in my legs for the final mile. I was not quite expecting the final result to be quite as good though - a sub 21 minute time of 20:55. I never thought I would dip below this marker (ignoring the slightly short course week!) and I was very happy with what I had achieved to say the least (see cheesey image!)!
SUNDAY: you know you have been marathon training when a 15 mile run feels almost short! Today's run just went by so quickly I almost did not believe my Garmin when I looked down mid run and saw I only had a few miles left. I ran with my fried as usual and it seemed a nice confidence booster to feel relatively comfortable throughout and still log an average pace of 8.25 min/mile. Now the taper begins..!
I have always liked to run, even in my teenage years when I was playing football and numerous other sports, running was never a punishment for me. However 2015 was the year I actually feel I fully embraced my interest and passion to run. It all started in 2014, through my decision to accept a charity place in the 2015 London Marathon, and then there was no stopping me!
Lincoln 10k - 49mins 50secs
My third year of running the Lincoln 10k and my favourite. Although not my best timewise - mid marathon training I was happy just to get sub 50mins - the best part was being able to share race day for the first time with my two friends. I could not believe how happy and relaxed I felt stood on the start line in their company compared to the nerves and anxiety which eclipsed the two previous years. I also didn't really care too much for my own time, and was just so content with being able to celebrate their own achievements.
Brighton 10k - 49mins 31secs
A completely unexpected trip down to Brighton with my friend after winning a competition in which everything from hotel to kit and travel was paid for. Simply too good to miss! With the London Marathon so close I was cautious, but pleased to make a marginal improvement on my Lincoln 10k time. Sat on the beach afterwards watching the Brighton Marathon take place also really made me begin to feel excited for London.
London Marathon - 4hrs 9mins 31secs
Achieving my lifetime ambition of running the London Marathon was simply amazing - there is no other way to put it. I had the best day of my life, and will never forget the emotion I felt spotting my friends and family in the crowds. Running the marathon marked a very personal achievement for me, and if I am honest was something a few years ago I probably would have never thought I could actually do. But I did it.
Colour Dash 5k, Lincoln
Some light relief after the London Marathon and a fun day out with friends from my local gym. Having taken part in the high profile 'Color Run' in Brighton in 2014 I wasn't expecting too much from a local event - but I was happily proven wrong! Another great Lincoln running event.
Liverpool Rock'n'Roll 1/2 Marathon - 1hr 49mins 1sec
This was my first official half marathon, and what a good race to chose for it! The Rock'n'Roll event was a wonderful experience; the live bands on course, the 'blingiest' medal, the finishing concert, the huge array of international runners, and the free beer! I was aiming for sub 1hr 50mins and got the time; although the best part was being able to run the entire way with my friend and cross the line together. Getting slightly drunk afterwards and being sat in the famous Cavern Club in full running gear was also a highlight...
X-Runner Water Wipeout 10k, Nottingham
I didn't think it was possible to have so much fun whilst running - or gain so many bruises - before taking on the X Runner obstacle race with my friends, but it definitely is! I laughed so much I think I swallowed most of the murky water we were exposed to. The 10k distance was just enough of a challenge and the obstacles tough, but not impossible; unless you have rubbish flexibility like me that is, then mounting high walls is definitely a painful challenge!
Bassingham Bash 5m, Lincoln - 37mins 30secs
Another new distance to race, and on a hot summer Saturday afternoon my friend and I ventured to the small village of Bassingham, where the promise of cake at the finish line was very much in our minds! I felt good going into the race; I had been rebuilding my speed following the marathon and knew I could do well. Going out hard and fast I built up enough time to make up for a slowing finish, and ended up recorded a result I was really happy with.
Great North Run 1/2 Marathon - 1hr 49mins 36secs
This run was tough. Two words - the crowds and the hills. The challenge was made more bearable by being able run the whole way with my sister, the first time we had ever ran a race together. I was a little disappointed not to improve on my Liverpool Half Marathon time, but had to be realistic in the conditions. Instead I focused on the fact I have been lucky to experience another of the UK's biggest running events.
Finsbury Park 10k - 48mins 54secs
My birthday run! Having a Sunday birthday meant I had to find a race to do, and so my friend and ventured down to London for this 'women only' event. We came 11th and 12th respectively which I was chuffed with, as well as recording a much improved 10k time for the year on a surprisingly hilly course. Perhaps it was the lure of my favourite malteaser birthday cakes my friend had baked that spurred me on....!
Oxford Half Marathon - 1hr 47mins 14secs
Another unplanned race after winning another competition! Going into this race I knew I wanted to beat my half marathon PB and was so happy to be able to achieve this. I ran strongly and at one point could have been close to the 1hr 45min mark, until my legs lost it in the last sections. Never the less, an achievement I was proud of. It was also my last race with my friend before she emigrated to Australia, so had special meaning attached to it.
Santa Fun Run, Lincoln
Festive fun before Christmas. It was a fun run, but my friend and I raced it and ended up coming 4th and 5th female. Well technically, we were first and second as the other women in front of us were not in full Santa gear....(it was a fun run Alice!)
Park Run 2015
2015 was also my first entry into the world of Park Run and I soon realised why the event is so loved. A short Saturday morning spin around a local park has given me so many memories with my friends, but has also been a great little training tool, and a chance to chase down a PB. I have visited my home Lincoln Park Run on a number of times, but also was 'tourist' at Old Deer Park Run in London, where my friend and I ran the course in fleece Alien onesies whilst being slightly hungover (not a PB week!)
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...