It’s approaching the end of July and I now find myself with but only two and a half weeks of training left before the T-A-P-E-R kicks in! That means two weeks punctuated by two more big 20+ mile runs and a recovery week in between.
Training continues to go well, and for the last couple of weeks has looked like this:
Last week was a recovery week, which was sorely needed. I could feel myself beginning to burn out and grow tired of the effort and motivation required to keep getting out there day after day. The 20 miler I did was another super-early effort and I was out of the door by 05:45 into a grey and quiet world. I decided to take the same out-and-back route I had done for the 19 mile run the previous week, but to just add on another mile.
I was lucky enough to see the sun peek through the clouds ever so briefly around 0630 but it didn’t last sadly. For the most part the run went ok; less pain than the week before and only a minor moment of run-rage when my legs just seemed to be giving up on me at around 8 miles. As ever, it all worked out in the end though – all I needed to do was keep putting one foot in front of the other and stop complaining.
Two days later I was heading out for my normal hilly 6 miles around Stonehaven. I usually try and do this run fast but since I was in ‘recovery mode’ I ignored the garmin and just decided to enjoy the beautiful evening.
Stonehaven is such a beautiful place to run; lovely coastal trails, quiet country roads, plenty of testing hills, and lots of new things for me to explore. Since I wasn’t paying attention to pace or time on this run, when I passed a set of landrover tracks leading off into a forest on the Ury Estate I decided on a whim to follow them. That decision led to finding a further 3 miles of off-road trail to follow, a river to cross to cool down and lots of ups and downs.
I was so excited to have found this great new trail, until it ended abruptly at the edge of a field of thistles and nettles. I could see in winter it would be ok to cross but in the height of over-grown summer, all I could do was turn right back around. I took a breather for a few moments and watched in awe as two huge eagles soared above me, wheeling around in circles and calling to one another. On the way back to the road I disturbed a badger who gave me a filthy look before rustling off back into a bush, and it seemed like every corner I turned there were herds of rabbits scattering away to either side. It was hot, sweaty, and I ran 4 miles longer than planned with no water or fuel; but that run was exactly what I needed to get my running ‘mojo’ back. An adventure by myself in the middle of nowhere with only badgers, birds, and bunnies for company – an excellent way to remind yourself of the answers to the ‘why the hell am I doing this’ questions that pop up now and then in the depths of training.
The following weekend would be the first weekend that I hadn’t done back-to-back long runs in a long time, as Kynon and I travelled to Edinburgh to attend the wedding of two of his dear friends. We arrived on the Friday afternoon and took the opportunity to burn off some of the expected excess of the weekend by going for a very pleasant 10k run around Arthur’s Seat first thing on Saturday before the celebrations began.
It was a gorgeous morning for running – we were out of our hotel before 8am and were dripping in sweat not long after. One thing did perplex me though; our fellow morning runners seemed so unfriendly! I smile and nod to every runner that I pass and usually get about 95% return on my smiley output in Aberdeen, however everyone I smiled to out on Holyrood Park Road on Saturday morning studiously ignored my greetings and never as much as cracked a smile. I’m sure it was nothing personal; I was assured via twitter later on that all of the nice runners in Edinburgh were at the Musselborough 10k so that clearly explains it…
A few hours later we were looking a little less sweaty and somewhat more respectable for the wedding ceremony and reception. It was held at The Hub in central Edinburgh and it was a beautiful day!
All the fun is over for the next couple of weeks however, and I’m right back on it this week with 10 miles in the bank already. 10 more tonight, at least 5 tomorrow and then a 10/22 back-to-back at the weekend will make 57 for the week equaling my highest weekly mileage ever – I know I shouldn’t overdo it but I’d really like to break my record so I’m tempted to go a little further tomorrow to push myself further towards 60…
I will close with some pictures of a cute new friend I made last night;
I came in from my run to find this handsome chap fast asleep in the vegetable patch! I sat down to do some stretching and he decided that it was most definitely time for a cuddle.
He hopped into my lap and made himself immediately at home! He didn’t shift for a good twenty minutes so I took the time to catch up with some blogs on my phone. It later turned out (via twitter no less!) that Handsome Chap’s name is Hector and that he lives across the street from Kynon.
Hector really likes to get comfy – when I left for work this morning he was curled up in that vegetable patch again – this time in amongst the spinach! Who could disturb a such sweet kitty as this?!