Yesterday was our final training run, one week before the marathon. It’s scary to think how far we’ve come in such a relatively short time.
The running club runs a 12km route on a Sunday punctuated by a pause half way through for a photo opportunity, as demonstrated above.
It’s the first time I’ve run with them on a Sunday, and any fears about the running the distance were alleviated by the fact that I know I can do that kind of distance in my sleep now. Well, you know what I mean.
As we set off, we quickly fell into a pattern, and not knowing the route, I held back slightly, so that I could follow the more experienced guys. This however, turned into a problem as I quickly found myself way out in front with three others, and the rest of the club trailing far behind. I had a choice – stick with the fast guys, or slow enough for someone to catch me and follow them instead.
As you probably know by know, slowing down isn’t really my thing, so stick with the front runners I did.
I realised at some point that I had forgotten to start my stopwatch, and began to fall behind the pack at this point. I really had no idea where we were going, nor how long we had been running for. But, just as I felt hopeless, I realised that the pack in front of me had also slowed slightly, and I was catching them rapidly. The last 500m or so, I was back with the pack, and running right with the fastest guys (all of whom are much younger than me). We hit the halfway point at exactly the same time, but while they probably felt fresh, my lungs were bursting. I clearly need more speed work in schedule.
We waited for the others to catch up, which the last of the runners did some ten minutes later. Turns out we’d run the first 6km in about 20-25 minutes or so, which was blisteringly fast considering it was a Sunday morning.
On the run back to the start, I deliberately stayed with Kasia at the back of the group, but quick found myself saying goodbye to her, and running at my usual pace. Once again, I found myself passing everyone until I was with just one runner at the front. We stretched our lead to about 100m over the next runner before…
“Hey. This is my first week. You know the route?” I asked.
“Actually, this is my first week too.” He replied.
We slowed and allowed the next runner to catch us. Luckily, he wasn’t such a noob, and we stuck with him for a while. Soon though, the other new guy broke ahead. Although I had dropped back, I soon caught the second guy, and pushed on towards the leader.
I followed him back towards the waterfront, when suddenly, he appeared running BACK towards me. Apparently, we’d taken a wrong turn towards a dead end. As we ran back towards the road, I felt my strength sap. I was done with this now.
Running back to the start, I realised where I was and was soon feeling better. I picked up the pace and finished strong.
Strangely though, I was the second finisher. The other new guy seemed to have taken another wrong turn, and never arrived. Still, a strong run, followed by a 5km walk home, meant that my muscles feel great today, and only a tiny new blister to show for it (caused by a crease in the Rocktape strapping my foot).