When Twelve and a half became Thirteen point one – a post by Pooh Bear

As I drove into town following Monday’s run I was planning exactly what I wanted to say today. I’ve long since forgotten, which may be a good thing now that the dust has settled. I’ve a feeling this might be the shorter, less rambling version of events!

On Sunday I was due to run 12.5 miles as per my Jeff Galloway finisher training plan, but someone had other plans for me on Sunday and sent heavy rain just as I was due to set off. I waited for a while, but it didn’t show signs of stopping, so I did my tax return instead. Hang on, who really IS in control here?

I had to run on Monday morning before going to see my chiropractor, basically because I couldn’t see the point of seeing him before I ran! It was drizzly, but only that.

Now, this is where my ego kicks in. I looked at 12.5 miles. Boy, that’s tantalisingly close to 13 miles isn’t it? Just an extra half a mile, 0.5, not much at all. And, as luck would have it, if I added another tenth of a mile I’d have done a half marathon. It was too much to bear. I had to run the extra six tenths and see what my half time would be!

I had planned a simple there and back route, running from one castle to another! I guess not many people can say that! The route took me along the shore road, up into Bankend village and turned onto the Glencaple Road. My turn around point was just short of the turn off for Caerlaverock Castle. It wasn’t flat and there were a few steep bits, but it was quiet so far as cars are concerned.

I had a light carb breakfast of spelt toast, waited an hour and then set off.

I listened to Jeff Galloway’s Half Marathon app. It paced me perfectly, although when my first mile was completed in 9:40 I wondered if I had it cranked up too fast! It evened out after that to around 11 minute miles, some faster, some slower. One thing I have noticed though is that without the GPS turned on the app is taking me further than the prescribed miles. I must be going faster than the app anticipates because I hit my target miles far faster according to the Garmin.

My new Brooks Ghosts felt like slippers. I love them. I run better in them, more easily should I say. The effort required to push my wee legs forward has been lessened. I realise now that I might as well have been running in high heels the way the Asics held my heels up. The Brooks allow my heels to sit down and I’m running on my mid foot more than my heel. I’m getting less aches and pains in my legs, with no knee pain at all on Monday.

The weather was typically Scottish. I went out wearing long tights and a vest (my No Meat Athlete vest to be precise!) and a reflective arm band because it was so dull. It drizzled lightly and then the rain became heavier. By the time I’d reached Bankend (5 miles) the sun was beating down on me! Once I’d turned and headed back it dulled down again and then the cloud and sun played some peepo game!

Miles 1 and 2 were sub 11 min/mile pace. Miles 3 and 4 were exactly 11 min/mile pace. After that I started to slow down a bit. Mile 5 was 11:14, not bad, but Miles 6 and 7 were both 11:42. My only thoughts on this were that I was running up hill a lot more until turning at 6.7 miles. I was, however, running up the hills!

I took my Maxifuel Viper Active citrus gel at mile 7. Previous to that I’d only been sipping Lucozade Sport, an Isotonic sports drink. I don’t know how much it helped, or if I was heading downhill significantly more, but I completed mile 8 in 10:17, my second fastest mile! I remember that mile because that’s when I had my runner’s high. Everything was wonderful. I was running with ease. The sun was shining. The birds were tweeting and the bees were humming. I had a total Disney moment and felt great!

And then came miles 9, 10, 11 and 12. I held my pace at around 11 min/miles through sheer determination. I WAS going to finish with a sub 11 min/mile average. I kept forcing myself on by looking at my watch and seeing the average getting closer to 11! At some points I was running under 9 minute pace before taking a walk break. I still didn’t know what effect this would have on my overall time; I just hadn’t worked that out! I was getting tired and light headed and, for the very first time, I thought I was going to be sick. I held off the feeling and pushed on.

By the time I hit mile 12 I could see the village again. I’d tried to time my turn around so that I would finish before getting to the village, mainly because there is a hill coming into it, a long draining hill that I really didn’t want to finish on. I miscalculated. In my enthusiasm to get going I started off in the village and still turned at the same spot. As I rounded the corner I knew that I was going to finish on the hill. I pushed and pushed. My pace got slower and slower as I tried to sprint up the hill; I had no sprint left. There were no people there to encourage me, no line to cross, just what was in my head and the slow ticking of the odometer as the hundredths of a mile passed.

I stopped the watch at 13.1 miles.

2:23:41. A new PB.

I was 11 minutes faster than my last half run completed in October 2011. That’s a minute faster for almost every mile! I am very pleased with that. If I can only replicate that come the Great North Run I’ll be very happy. If I can’t, I have this as an official PB at least. But who knows. Could I run faster?

On walking back to the house I realised just how much energy I’d used up. I stopped briefly to read the  village notice board and started seeing stars and feeling decidedly unsteady. I got home as soon as I could and popped a potato into the microwave to bake. Ten minutes later I was sitting down to Jacket Potato with Lemon Humous with a glass of soya milk. It was my 80%:20% carb:protein recovery meal. Very simple, but very effective.

I didn’t run at all on Tuesday. Truth be told, I could hardly walk without pain!  After visiting the chiropractor on Monday afternoon I felt a little better, and managed to relax in the hot tub in the evening,  but soon stiffened up during the night. Tuesday, my birthday, was sore! Today, Wednesday, I feel fine, although I did pop a few ibuprofens yesterday!

I’m about to head into the gym for a treadmill recovery run, nothing too tough. I’m saying this out loud so that it goes into my tiny brain! I am, after all, a bear of a very little brain!

2 thoughts on “When Twelve and a half became Thirteen point one – a post by Pooh Bear

  1. Julie:

    Let’s see – working backwards –

    Happy Birthday!

    Hope you are feeling fully recovered now as you go into your MM weekend!

    What a great run! – Congrats on your new PB!

    I finished my 12.5 this morning. Aerobically it was like a dream – easy breathing, felt good. Good nutrition/water. Just structurally hard – fighting a ‘barking’ left Achilles’ heel which requires a lot of concentration on proper form, and that darn right hip flexor which gets tired around 9-10 mark. Nevertheless, I kept right on Mr. Galloway’s recommended Half Marathon training pace based on my averaged last 3 MM’s and other that a little stiffness afterward, I feel really great – good energy and don’t feel wiped out by the run.

    Only a few weeks to go, and two long runs to go [including the race]! Good luck!


    1. Hi Eric – thank you for the birthday greetings. I read your comment in the week, but this is my first chance to reply!

      Funny you should mention Achilles – my right one is a bit stiff and sore. I’m trying all sorts of exercises and stretches to help it, courtesy of Google! I’m about to put some ibuprofen gel on it now, to see if that might help, and I’m considering strapping it up.

      Pleased to hear that you are feeling so easy! It’s a great feeling too!!

      Keep it up – let’s see how we feel after our 14 miler!!!

      Take care – J

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