This was my first week of marathon training. It was *varied*.
Tuesday was my first run. The weather was attrocious. Blowing a gale, rainy with sleet. I had 4 miles to run, well within my comfort zone, and if it hadn't been "my first run in my marathon training", I would NOT have gone out in it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a woos when it comes to getting out there. I have run three times a week, EVERY week through the winter. Snow has not stopped me, cold has not stopped me, rain has not stopped me. In fact, now that the streets are busier with runners, I feel quite sniffy that they've not been on the pavements through thick and thin, like I have. But when I heard the wind howling down my chimney, I knew it was not going to be the greatest run ever.
You know how we say that we never regret a run? Well I *very nearly* regretted this run. It was *miserable*. My face ached from the freezing blasts of wind and sleet. Every so often I'd be suspended in mid-step, unable to run through the force of the wind. Some roof slates crashed to the ground from a tenement as I ran past (scary!).
When I got home, I took off my clothes - full-length leggings, 2 tops and a jacket - and my skin was *burnt* underneath. I've never seen anything like it - bright red like sunburn on my legs, arms and tummy. Add to this the fact I was pretty stressed about running anyway, and I actually wanted to cry. What else could it be but an omen? The first run of my training was one of the worst runs of my life!
So for the rest of Tuesday, I was preoccupied with my imminent failure as a marathon runner. I was pretty close to logging on to the EMF site to register for the half marathon.
Wednesday's weather was a bit better for my 8 miles, but not much. Scaffolding was blowing loose above my head in Portobello. When I got home and discovered I'd actually only done 7.6 miles, I wanted to cry once more. It looked like half marathon for me.
Thursday morning I did 5 miles, to make up for being half a mile short on each of Tuesday and Wednesday. Thankfully it was a bright, clear spring morning. I went to Holyrood Park and really enjoyed the scenery. I did my 5 miles without any stress and felt much better. I could possibly conceive of continuing with my marathon efforts now, phew.
Today's run was 16 miles. I've never run 16 miles before, my max has been a half marathon at 13.1miles. I was a bit nervous. I had a lovely rest day yesterday, resting a lot and eating a lot (although failing to avoid sweeties and wheat as I'd hoped to do), and thinking about doing my 16 miles. With my bottle of water and energy gel, I hit the road at 5.20am.
Well, it was *amazing*. Just brilliant. It was cool and drizzly with light wind. For the first mile I felt nervous and ran too fast - running nervous is something I've only done on race days before, because my regular runs are for pure enjoyment. I worked hard at calming myself and listened to podcasts.
I ran to Cramond and back, with few little detours to make up the distance. I had a big grin on my face the whole way. I kept checking my watch to see how far I'd gone with my feelgood factor, planning to blog "I felt really happy until X miles" - but the bubble never burst, and I felt really happy all the way through. This is training, I thought. The nerves, the change of expectation from relaxed enjoyment to achievement, stepping up and realising that it *feels different*.
The little detours were lovely, just like when I'd just moved to Edinburgh and my runs to explore different streets in my neighbourhood. When I hit 16 miles - 2 hours 27 minutes - I had a wee walk before I got home, which was actually the hardest part of the run! My knees twinged and the change of muscles in use was challenging!
I wore my grin *all day*. was starving for my porridge and loved every mouthful, it tasted amazing. I danced with my daughter and tickled my son in a way I never usually have the energy to do on a Saturday. I dragged them out leafletting for the elections in the afternoon (they didn't enjoy that quite as much). It's dinner time and I still feel fantastic.
So today I added 6 miles to my regular run. That's a big step-up and there'll need to be stretching before bedtime. But it was *fine*. And now I feel like that marathon experience is in my reach after all.