In the absence of anyone I respect telling me that I shouldn't run the Abingdon marathon I have very little option but to carry on training! When I have spoken to my physiotherapist she has said 'Oh, why don't you just take it easy and see how you feel on the day?' Hello! 26.2 miles would be pretty foolish to attempt on a 'take it easy' training regime!
So today came the first BIG ONE. The day when I would run further than I had ever run before. Last Sunday should have seen me running 14 miles, but I wimped out because my foot had been quite 'ouchy' all week, so I only ran 8.5 miles. Today's run was 15 miles. That is 1.5 miles further than I had ever run before.
I'd been dreading this run all week. Despite having run 19.5 miles, including a speed session, and rowing twice over the course of the week I was worried. FIFTEEN MILES! That's a long way! Not as long as a marathon, but it is the sort of distance that you'd get the car out of the garage for. Could I do it? I wasn't sure. I really wasn't sure. I almost didn't want to set out because if I didn't try there was no chance of me failing.
This morning I procrastinated. I didn't get up until 7.30am, and then I spent as long as was humanly possible getting myself organised. I didn't leave the house until 8.40am, at which point I began to regret all the faffing about and worry about the bright sunshine and wondering how hot it would get! The route I had chosen to run was a mish mash of two of my regular routes, with the incentive of finishing at Côte. There was also the opportunity to stop at Alice Holt Forest to use the loos and replenish my water bottle.
From the outset, it was hard work. I think I had convinced myself that this was a 'big thing' to do and that I was going to fail, I kept pushing on, running up and up loads of hills (my Garmin gives a total ascent of 960m) and down a few too. I was slow, but not too worried about that as my aim was just to get to Côte and have a nice cup of tea and some brunch with Husbando, but I did start to worry that I'd get there too late and we'd have to have lunch because they had stopped serving breakfast.
I haven't found a run that hard for ages. If ever. I tried to tell myself that I must have found the first few runs I ever did hard work too, but another part of my brain kept telling me that I did Couch to 5k I stopped and walked a lot in the first few weeks. The temptation to walk was huge, but I only walked on one short bit of rough ground - the last thing I needed to do was twist my bad foot again!
I did run 15 miles this morning, but it has left me wondering if I will be able to run the full marathon. My training programme calls for an easy week this week (with a long run of only 10km!) building up to an 18mile run the Sunday afterwards. After that there is the challenge of 22 miles three weeks prior to THE BIG DAY.
I guess if it was easy more people would do this. Mind you, 30,000 people seem to manage it at the London Marathon every year, and I am only half way through the training programme right now, so I may, hopefully, begin to develop a bit more confidence over the next few weeks.