Sunday, March 29, 2009

Over the hill

So, yesterday, 19.7 miles. Nineteen point seven miles. Let's just let that sink in shall we?

I remember back in October when six miles was deemed a success. I remember in January when 11.6 miles was impressive. Now, such distances seem luxurious, a mere stroll in the park. Not only was it our longest run, it is also the last long run we will do before the big day. We now enter Taper Time. This is, to the uninitiated among you, the period when you decrease your training before the big day so your muscles recover some sufficient strength and you are nicely fresh for the big day.

I can see now why they tell you to do this. After just one hour yesterday my muscles felt tired and ached, not from the one hour of running, but from the accumulation of so many miles in the last three weeks, which, roughly, has been about 60/70 miles. Not only this but the running route we follow to build up these miles is forever up or downhill, especially up on the return. This means at 1:40, as you're reaching around half way, you're faced with four miles of continuous uphill. This is hard.

However, this week, unlike last, although on finishing my legs ached with an intensity I've never quite felt before, the state of tiredness and pain that such a distance created wasn't as disorientating or strange as last week, when I felt something akin to waking up at 5am after a heavy night of drinking that ended at 3am, and being in a state of semi-consciousness and semi-trance.

Still though, the fact this is the training zenith, and from here it's all an ease off before the big day, is a big psychological boost. Not only this fund-raising has passed £1,200 which really is a big motivation to push on through. On the big day let's hope the crowds, the preparation, the weather, the food intake and, most importantly, the legs, all converge to create perfect conditions for running my first ever marathon and I can smash the four hour mark and get as close to 3.30 as is possible.

But, ultimately, it's all about getting around, and if that means nine-minute miles for 24 miles before a mad dash (read: hobble) down Birdcage Walk and The Mall to sneak in at 4 hours, so be it.

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