The way I was feeling Friday night I was very tempted to do absolutely nothing this weekend. And I would have justified it to myself too as resting to get rid of this damn cold.
It didn't help when I awoke Saturday morning to a dull, rainy morning. Why would I want to go out in that?
Luckily by an hour before we we due to catch our train the sky was beginning to brighten a bit so the younger and I got ourselves ready and hit the road...or to be accurate, walked across the road to the train station. Very convenient!
Less than half an hour later we were at Heuston station and ten minutes after that we were at the gates of the park armed with hot beverages. At that point the sun came out and we started down Chesterfield avenue to find a good spot to see the runners come past.
We settled ourselves around the 9 mile mark just on time to see Gary O'Hanlon fly past looking very comfortable. Once the drinks were drank we got down to the serious business of clapping and shouting encouraging words. Much like running, it's easier just to keep on clapping as your hands tend to get into a rhythm, whereas stopping reminds you that your hands are sore. So clap on we did!
We remained here until about twenty minutes after the 2hr pacer had come through and then had to hurry on to drop the younger off with her Dad.
I was feeling quite anxious about my plan of running on the marathon course.
Would I wander around like a tit? Would I get mugged? Was I even able to run the proposed ten miles at marathon pace in the condition I was in and after standing around all morning...oh and not eating also. One must never do things by halves!
Anyway I got the Luas out towards Drimnagh and made my way easily enough to the middle of the Crumlin Road. I felt like a bit of an eejit with my map and I appeared to be the only runner around but I got on with it and eventually got a bit more confident in my map reading abilities. In fairness, it's not a difficult course to find your way around so three or four stops to check I was on the right track and one water stop at a garage were all the breaks necessary.
The course felt as tough as I expected it to given my lack of preparation and physical state but PMP wasn't a struggle. My stomach felt fine and I enjoyed the hills if anything as a break from the monotony of the flatter straighter bits. The condition of the pavement wasn't great in areas but we will be mostly on the roads on the day so that shouldn't make a difference. Oh and I much prefer where the hard parts come now (miles 22-24) as opposed to previously. Psychologically I'm much more able to handle a hill if I know I can expend most of my energy on it. If you are hitting Fosters Avenue at around 20 miles when you know you have 6 miles to go it's very hard on your head.
Anyway the proof will be in the pudding as they say. We shall see on the day.
I had only planned to do about 10 miles but couldn't help myself in the end doing all the way to 25 where I was meeting a friend. My average pace was around 8:30 for the duration which I was happy with and I finished at about 4:30.
Obviously this put me on target to have very tired legs for my long run this morning! The fog kept me in until about 10:30 so at least I did get a few extra hours of rest. I can't say my 20 miles were the most pleasant but I didn't walk any of them, my stomach was fine and my average pace was in the low 9's.
I was tired finishing but I did have enough in the tank to do an 8 minute final mile and I feel I could have continued if I had to. Happy with that and I feel that I really managed to get my legs properly battered over this key weekend of training. I was a bit worried with not feeling 100% that I would have had to postpone this big week until later in the cycle and I don't think it would have benefited me as much then with less time to recover.
One more loaded-up long run the weekend after next and then I'm done! Cooked and ready to rest at room temperature.