This week has been very busy - all things go! - and this has included a lot of happy running and also happy memories. At this moment in time, I feel really fortunate to be able to write that and equally as thankful to be able to experience these emotions.
MONDAY: I spent a large chunk of this week in Liverpool as part of celebrations for my sister’s PhD graduation. This meant today I was able to enjoy a different start to the week, going on a hilly walk/climb up Moel Famau in nearby North Wales - some active recovery on my running rest day!
TUESDAY: usually when I see a progression run on my plan I react with a kind of ‘eye roll’, as mentally I can sometimes struggle with the pacing. I have improved my approach over the years, and today, running with my sister, I was determined to execute the 6 miles well. We not only ran well, but I also thoroughly enjoyed the run along Liverpool’s dockside (see image). Chatting to my sister meant I wasn’t constantly fixated by pace, and instead when our watches beeped in unison as a mile passed, we used this as a marker to pick up speed naturally. We nailed the progressive splits 8.48, 8.26, 8.17, 8.03, 7.49 and 7.28 min/mile respectively, and then spent the rest of the day celebrating my sister becoming Dr Carter.
WEDNESDAY: after a very long but memorable day yesterday at my sister's Graduation, in which I managed to wear high heels for endless hours, drank a fair few glasses of free prosecco, and enjoyed a lovely family meal – I did not feel my sharpest this morning! Alone I would have struggled running, but my sister joined me again for a steady 6 mile loop though Liverpool, and we helped take each other’s mind of our aching limbs and sore feet!
THURSDAY: back in Lincoln, today turned into a 10 mile double run day. In the morning I ventured out alone for a 5 mile interval run, featuring 3 x 1 mile reps and 400m recoveries. I kept my expectations fairly low after a busy week already, but was very pleased by how my body responded. It was humid and very sweaty, but my legs held strong with intervals splits of 7.01, 6.53 and 7.02 min/mile. Later in the day at Run Club and I logged a further 5 miles as we took the group through a more sustained running session. My legs were a little tired at this point, but I was really pleased to be able to run alongside a fellow member who has recently come back from representing Team GB at Triathlon Championships for her age group – I loved hearing about her experience and as the mid-run conversation flowed, my weary legs were long forgotten.
FRIDAY: Rest Day
SATURDAY: due to an event in Boultham Park there was no Lincoln parkrun today. I wanted to use the opportunity for some local parkrun tourism, but I was also aware I probably needed to log my long run, as on Sunday I was volunteering at a community event and would be needed from very early until late evening. Getting up on Sunday at the crack of dawn to log 13 miles did not seem a sensible choice, so I found a way to combine both a 13 mile long run and a parkrun into my Saturday running. I ventured to Clumber Park with my friend and her husband, firstly to take on the parkrun course (see image). I have completed this parkrun a couple of times before on New Year’s Day and it is always an enjoyable event. Today was very pleasant again, with a lovely atmosphere and the usual beautiful trail-based course. I ran with a natural strength in my stride, even with the slightly more challenging terrain Clumber Park presents, finishing in 21:01 and with a new course PB. My friend also ran a course PB – so we definitely did not hold back!
After scanning in our times, we then regathered ourselves and headed out for 10 further miles around Clumber Park to complete my long run. At first, my legs were not that at ease, and a few miles in, I think we were both finding the going a bit tough and probably regretting our speedy parkrun times! However, we focused ourselves, dug into our determination stores and bounced of each other’s growing energy to complete the second half of the run feeling much better. We managed our 10 miles in a steady 8.30 min/mile, which definitely exceeded our expectations after pushing ourselves for those first 3.1 miles! I have never tried a parkrun/long run combination before and I am not sure I could have achieved it without my friend’s support and the belief running together can give you in your own ability. 13.1 miles in the bag and a lovely morning to go with them.
SUNDAY: Rest Day – if a rest day can be called volunteering at a community music event at my local park for over 12 hours! I do not count my steps, but one fellow volunteer logged nearly 7 miles of just walking! This was my seventh year supporting the event and I am one of the founding members, and despite the long day, it is definitely worth all the effort to see the now thousands of people enjoying their day with friends and family. So, thank you to any Lincoln locals who support Our Big Gig in the Arboretum – I did get approached by a couple of people asking if I was ‘that runner they see on my drive to work?’ – no escaping!
This has been the third week of my marathon training on my journey towards my next race. So far, I am very content with how things are going and how I am feeling. A handful of people know where my next race will be, and I as mentioned last week, it has not been a secret as such, I have just not felt like telling everyone about my goal until I felt happily on the path towards it. I feel I am in that place now. So, on October 13th – all being well! – I will be taking my place on the start line at Chicago Marathon. Chicago represents a chance for me to take on one of the proposed world’s greatest marathon events, and also will be my version of a holiday for the year. Travelling internationally is not something I take on lightly, and it has only really been in recent years I have begun exploring the world through my marathon running. I am going alone on this trip – which scares me a little! – and not to have friends or family cheering on the side line, to give me that post run hug, or to look after me at the end when my legs are not working properly, has been a bit of a hard thing to accept in my head. However, I hope to be able to continue to share my progress toward the race and on the day with you all – so I know I will not really be alone. So its 'all things go' on the journey to Chicago!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...