Diary of an aspiring half-marathon runner - week 11

Diary of an aspiring half-marathoner!  Training week 11

1. To run at least twice
2. Longer run 11 miles

So this is my final week of full-on training, my last ditch effort to fully prepare before we taper down the distances in advance of the big day!

What’s happened since my last blog?  Well I went off piste as regards routine and did an early morning Friday run the day before I went on holiday.  I knew that I wouldn’t be able to run for the next two Saturdays as I would be flying to & from Kos, so I was a bit concerned that I was pretty much going to miss two key weekends of training time right when I needed it most.  It was strange running on a Friday morning instead of a Saturday – for one thing I couldn’t get over the traffic!  On a Saturday morning everything seems so calm & serene, I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel like I’m part of some special club that gets to experience the glorious peaceful surroundings before the rest of the world properly wakes up!  You get to hear the gentle sounds of the countryside, leaves rustling, birds twittering – it really makes you appreciate that you’ve made the effort to get up & run! This is so NOT the case on a Friday! Busy traffic, exhaust fumes, hoardes of School kids & commuters to dodge – wow, a very different experience! That said, 10 miles done – a good pace, and I went off on holiday feeling like I was on track & that I wasn’t going to harm my progress by being away.

I even managed a run while I was away, in-keeping with the normal Wednesday routine!  It was hot, even at 7.30am but I managed to get 5 miles done without too much difficulty & then spent the rest of the day (actually, pretty much the whole holiday) lounging in the shade with a good book!

Finally I made a last minute decision to run on the Sunday morning too once I got home.  I did a similar route as I’d done with Helen & The SLJ girls a couple of weeks back and with no “comedy toe” to hinder me this time it went really well!  10.2 miles, no problems and I reckon I could have easily done the extra 3 miles had I needed to.
So actually, I didn’t miss out on any of my training, despite being away.  I am so pleased I managed to squeeze this in otherwise I might be having another confidence wobble right now after this week’s training!

Wednesday arrived & being a nice evening we decided to take advantage of what would probably be the last opportunity to run in Knole as its getting dark quite early now – we just managed to get through the park whilst the sun was setting before heading out into the streets & taking advantage of the street lights. 
As gorgeous as Knole is, especially on a lovely sunny autumnal evening – I’d forgotten what a killer the hills can be – and I don’t think my calves quite knew what had hit them! But we managed to get 4.5 miles done.

Then Saturday arrived – the final big milestone for me before the event itself and the chance to clock up a new PB as far as distance goes – how exciting!!  A lovely flat-ish route through Kemsing, Otford & Shoreham ending up at Lullingstone before coming back.  Sadly, no lavender fields – but still some gorgeous scenery just the same – we really are very fortunate to live where we do and have such an abundance of lovely routes so close by.

But, the run itself - not my best to be honest – I struggled a bit and by mile 8 my groin/hips were really complaining.  So as you can imagine I could have cried when we got to the finish line & my watch said we’d only done 10.4 miles – to be fair, still a PB distance for me – but I said I was doing 11, so I’m bloody well doing 11 (I’m a tad competitive – can you tell!) So I carried on for a while & looped back again, plus did a few circuits round and round until finally I heard the welcome blippy sound on my watch and I could finally stop!

Taking onboard what the coaches have said throughout this journey, we all have an off run from time to time – so had I not had a good couple of 10 milers under my belt I’d be well & truly panicking right now, but as it is I just think it wasn’t my day on Saturday so I’m still confident that I’ll get past the finish line on the big day itself.

Right now I’m looking forward to welcoming our guests from Bruges & sharing Knole with them, and the pink week run itself & then I’ll only have a week to go before the big event!  Eek!!  Right now I’m feeling pretty calm, but I suspect that as we get closer I’ll be repeating the phrase “I can do this” to myself over & over again as the nerves set in!