Part Twenty One – An accidental easy week, Two Bays and a dog. Eight Weeks until I am a marathoner

This week was pretty uneventful and ended up being an accidental easy week, which I was happy about. After my long run on Sunday, I actually pulled up very sore and very stiff. I compounded this by doing a power flow class at Shepparton Hot Yoga, but the stretching nature of it actually did help in the long run. The class was my favourite kind – movement and flow with your breath. It makes you feel like the most graceful person on the planet…I am not that, but it feels it! I was a bit nervous about returning to training as I was still quite sore and wasn’t sure how I would pull up, I resolved to take it easy however, the weather goddesses were on my side and training was cancelled due to poor air quality. Although I was sad to not have training, I was slightly relieved at not having to hold myself back! I went home and did a nice and easy, stretchy 25-minute home yoga practice followed by ten minutes of core strength work (not on strava…did it happen!?). The body felt great for both of those and the testament was on Wednesday, when I did an easy run incorporated 4 minutes comfortable running and 1 minute of walking. My body felt amazing, and I really enjoyed my podcast as well. I am still finding that I spend most of “My Dad Wrote a Porno” going “what did I just listen to?”; in the episode during my run, we were supposed to learn all about the Duchess’s secrets but instead, the weirdness ensued, and we really didn’t learn anything.

Thursday was back to SRC. It was insanely hot, so I opted for an “easy” 30 minutes with Nat and Catherine. We talked about all things running related, included groin injuries, toilet stops etc etc. As the time went on we got quicker and I was drenched in sweat and had a dry mouth when we finished. Fortunately, Zooper Doopers were on offer and I got a purple one. I think they have flavours, controversially, I am not sure I can tell the difference but honestly they all taste amazing at the end of a hot run!

My long run was planned for Saturday as Sam was doing Two Bay’s on Sunday, and someone needed to be capable of driving home afterwards. Saturday’s plan was to leave home at 5:30 and run to parkrun, then do parkrun and a bit extra to get up to 31 km. My first 30 km run…Mentally, for me, breaking into the 30’s is massive, its just two and a bit parkruns to finish a marathon. I can do two and a bit parkruns! I had a glass of juice prior to running and only one coffee…I set out on time, and was having a pretty good run, pretty uneventful…the normal toilet stop once everything had started moving, and the normal thoughts of I’m an idiot and should be asleep right now occurred on schedule. At about 7.5 km in, I spotted a dog up ahead, and thought, surely that dog’s not loose? I stopped and decided I’m not super keen on running near a dog at their house and as I stopped, he spotted me and stood to attention, doing the warning barking thing, I backed away pretty quick smart and decided that I was going to head home. I rang Sam to tell him my plans had changed, and he suggested coming home, driving into parkrun and finishing off my long run in there. As I was still a bit shivery (dogs giving me warning barks really give me the shivers) I stopped and had a gel, then set off again. The run back home was even more uneventful than the first 7.5 km. I got cheered on by Kate as the Dainton’s headed to parkrun, I decided I wanted to get to at least 15.5km, so it was halfway. It was a nice sight to get home to Sam waiting for me on the road right on 15.5 km. We jumped in the car and got to parkrun about 745. I had another gel, jumped out and set off, I wanted to get at least 2 km in before parkrun and with a bit of juggling I managed 2.5km and a late start at parkrun. I probably did parkrun a little quicker than planned, I ran with Sam and my brain was getting all a bit confused, I thought we still had a lap to go when we had actually finished parkrun! Taren, Jacqui and Steve were all doing extra so they joined me after parkrun. Water and [another] gel break at 8 km (23.5km in total) and a quick walk made the body feel a bit springier! It was quite nice having company to finish off the run, my brain was mush and I am not sure that my contribution to the conversation was awesome.

Sometimes mornings are worth it

I need to ask though; what is it about a run, that no matter the distance you are going, the last two km are always the longest km in the world? I am sure the measure of the kilometer is changed in that moment, and it is in fact at least 2000m. At 13 km (28.5 km in total) I was pretty tight in the hips and pretty tired and pretty over running! After what felt like another 2 hours, I got to 15.5 km (31 km in total) and I was exhausted, over running and super proud I had finished. It was also especially nice to see Sam there (Sam = chocolate milk and home time) and coach Chris still hadn’t left. I had a chat to Chris, and I can honestly say, I felt really good. Nothing was hurting (now I had stopped running), I was tired (I had run 31km and had been out of bed at insane o’clock), but I felt like I had finished strong, and I probably had another few km in me, which is a really good sign for the impending marathon. Which in reality is only two parkruns and a warm up extra! I think the fact that I had an extra rest day early in the week really contributed to how well I finished my long run. I am now at the pointy end of training where injury is a real risk and rest/ recovery is seriously important. I will take this very seriously and do much Netflix bingeing, and pillow forting in the coming weeks!!

We drove to Carrum Downs with Kate in the afternoon where we were staying prior to Two Bays on Sunday. The drive was fun, the hotel was interesting….I enjoyed the fact I wasn’t running in the morning by consuming chilli and red wine at Dainton’s Brewery for dinner. I think it was a good thing I was so tired as I made Sam go to sleep early, I think I was sound asleep by 9pm. We had a room of interesting people next to us who kept coming and going, they had visitors at about 2 am. There was much noise/ chatter which meant our sleep was interrupted and I started to get a little worried about Sam’s run on next to no sleep. Fortunately, in a lull of the noise, we both fell back to sleep and when we woke up, they were still going! We packed up, left and drove to Dromana, which was the start of Two Bays. I was pretty happy I wasn’t running on the drive down, but when we got there, I got total Two Bays envy. What an awesome atmosphere and such a super pretty part of the world. It was nice to see a solid Sheppresentation (Grant, Trevor, Sam, Nat and Kate). After the start of the run, I did a beach walk which was really good for me, the weather was spectacular, and the sea was so calm. I clocked up 5 km then went for breakfast and coffee (the support crew thing is really hard!). I was “stalking” Sam so figured I had a solid 3 hours until he finished. I got to Cape Schanck at about 930 and really enjoyed watching everyone finish. It is such an awesome, supportive event, I really want to do it next year. Qualifying will be a good post Nagoya goal! The whole weekend was massive and by the time we got home on Sunday I was completely wrecked and needed a solid solid sleep (which I did)

Legends!!! Can you tell how pumped they were to finish???

With 8 weeks left to go, I am finding I am constantly tired and fatigued. But I am aware that what I am putting my body through is pretty traumatic. I think for me from now on its about getting the recovery right and remaining injury/ illness free. I am in bubble wrap between now and the 8th March.

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