Tuesday, 28 April 2015 16:15

Spring has Sprung

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Spring steps

Well what a few weeks it’s been, a month of two halves you could almost say!

Since my last confession I have been and had some more work done on my neck and I am pleased to report that at the moment it seems to be behaving itself. It still creaks and groans a bit but in general has not been affecting me too much during the last few weeks.

After finally managing to get some miles in the legs I rocked up at Leigh for The Gin Pit Double, a weekend event with, as its name suggests a marathon on each day. I love this event, lots of off road running, lovely views most of the time, great marshals at the feed stations and not congested once the first few miles are out of the way.

How did I get on….erm… well I got on. My lack of training shone through like a belisha beacon and I struggled from early on. It’s funny how the marathon distance will find you out and expose you and the lack of fundamental training that has not taken place. I think I finished somewhere in the region of a good 25 minutes down on last year’s time. Oh well the plan was always just to get round and make sure I could go again the next day…as indeed I did.

Day 2 was not much prettier but at least I ran a little better and with more consistency. My pace was slower from the off but I was able to maintain the slower pace for much longer with no stops and consequently whooped my time from Saturday by a massive 6 minutes. Still way slower than the previous year, but nevertheless a job well done. I now knew where I stood in relation to the previous year and how much training needed to be done to “catch up” as it were.

Since then my training has really taken a turn, managing to get some time on the road be it on the bike or running and also in the pool. The slightly warmer weather makes such a difference, especially on the bike, although as I write this there is a bitterly cold wind howling. I managed to get in some good rides and stay dry (bonus) and was back up to the 50 mile plus range with only my backside aching from the buttock cleaving saddle.

I also dipped into the pool for a swim, the first in many months I am ashamed to say. I do like swimming but for some reason I can come up with every excuse under the sun not to go. It’s raining, it’s too hot, Trudi has the car (it’s a 5 minute bike ride to the pool!!) I have a slightly runny nose, I have a boil on my left buttock…you get the idea.

I don’t by the way…..have a boil on my left buttock that is.

I digress, next major event was the Manchester Marathon, a nice flat affair with plenty of local support as it winds its way through the streets of southern Manchester. I had a fairly heavy week leading up to the Sunday but had had a couple of easy days to give the legs a chance of going under 4 hours.

This is a fairly large marathon with around 8000 runners and although I knew a good few people who were running I managed to avoid them all, unintentionally of course. We set off and I was trying to run well within my limits for once, and was surprised at how comfortable I felt given the lack of endurance training. As the race went on I was even more surprised at how I felt and was running a good 20 minutes or so ahead of schedule.

With 8 miles to go I bumped into one of our friends who was running her first marathon and was aiming for under 4 hours. Julie was doing very well but I could feel that her pace was dropping away slightly after a mile or so, so I said that I would stay with her if she wanted to make sure she got to the finish in that elusive 4 hour mark.

As it happens, although her pace was waning, I’m sure she would have made it on her own. The final few miles were particularly hard for her, as the normally are anyway, with that finishing line staying elusively in the distance. We crossed the line with 12 minutes to spare and a very happy Julie had bagged her first marathon. I also seemed to have found my running mojo again and was back to enjoying it once again.

I had a week till my next outing in Blackpool, always a good day of running and usually with lots of wind thrown in for good measure.

Before I got to the weekend though I wanted to have a good week of training and indeed I did. Tuesday saw me at the gym, on the bike and running with the club, Wednesday I dragged myself to the dreaded pool for an hour, (no excuses today) and a ride out with Trudi later on while on Thursday saw me tackle 90 odd miles around the beautiful Lake District. The sun was out and it was a great day. No problems with the legs, just a bit tired towards the end, and of course, the slightly sore posterior thanks to the afore mentioned buttock cleaver.

After a couple of lighter days training, Blackpool beckoned and once again I rocked up with no real time in mind other than to go sub 4. It was a very cool windy morning, but once there were a few miles done it was very pleasant to run in, although the wind did prove to be a bit gusty at times. All in all a very good day, actually shaving a few minutes of the previous week.

Which brings us right upto date….well….nearly.

Yesterday this intrepid individual ventured forth into the cold waters of Coniston, my word, it doesn’t half take your breath away! It was cold, mighty cold, but once a few minutes of swimming have taken place the body does seem to warm up a bit, just the face and feet feel like they have been removed by some cryogenic laser!! I lasted not 15 minutes and will be back in the pool tomorrow morning with much more eagerness.

Maybe I’ll try again next week!!

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