A Greek Leg-end, Magic Miles and Soldiering On.

I do try hard with my titles – does it show? The meaning of each should become clear as you read. Bear with me!

After Monday’s long run I was left a little sore (I may have mentioned this already), but elated by my time. To be honest, I no longer care how well I run the Great North Run. I understand from others that it’s unlikely that I will better my PB as it’s so busy. Over 40,000 other runners will be doing the same thing – that’s a massive field and my experience of even tiny races has shown that people just don’t know how to get out of the way. So, I’m not expecting much.

I did a recovery run on Wednesday. It was raining so I just used the treadmill and watched a movie as I ran. I turned the music off the Jeff Galloway app and just listened to him telling me when to run and walk whilst watching The Time Traveller’s Wife (again); it made a pleasant change from The Matrix. I ran approximately 2.5 km at 9.5 kph and 2.5 at 10.3 kph. It felt good and I was pleased to just be running.

On Friday I was due to run again, but I just didn’t feel like it. That doesn’t happen often and I wasn’t going to force myself to run if I didn’t feel right. This is meant to be a pleasure, not a torture! Instead I relaxed and watched a long awaited biography of George Harrison which I’d recorded in November last year!

On Saturday morning I suddenly realised that it was, in fact, Saturday and not Friday as I’d thought. This is what comes of basing your week on days that you run! Because I had run on Monday instead of Sunday my entire week was a day off! This all said I had to run on Saturday morning before heading to work because if I’d left it I could have been running Sunday morning, less than twelve hours before. I’m a firm believer in rest days. I opted to run on the treadmill again, for quickness more than anything.

I ran with Jeff’s app, running at 10.3 kph until the last three minutes during which I gradually edged the speed up by a kph until I was finishing the last minute on 13 kph. Even on my easy runs I like to sprint finish.

One thing I did notice though was a stiff right ankle. Initially I thought it might be Achilles and those of you with knowledge of Greek mythology will know that Achilles was a bit of a Greek legend. My Achilles, of course, is more of a ‘leg-end‘. (It doesn’t get much better, believe me – you can leave now if you want!) I remember catching my ankle awkwardly in the week and it’s been a bit stiff since. I’m trying not to panic about it, but the very last thing I need now is an injury.

Yesterday was Sunday and, in the middle of a very busy day, I decided to get my long run in. This was a step back week, with a prescribed 4 miles. In the middle, though, was a Magic Mile challenge and, with my previous experience of Magic Miles, I was not looking forward to it, especially as my ankle was still not quite feeling “right”. However I set off mid-afternoon in warm and humid sunshine with my coach (hubbie) biking alongside me in semi-silence. I ran my usual 4 mile route which takes me uphill for the first mile and then undulates for the next 2.5, before finishing on a steep hill. I can certainly pick my routes! I set off too fast, running at 8 minute/mile pace, and had to consciously slow myself down. Trouble is now I’m starting to feel stronger and the temptation is to just speed up, but I really don’t want to pay with consequences at this stage in my training. I have no idea if I could maintain a faster pace for any decent length of time, but I’m not willing to test it out just now.

Once I’d almost finished climbing the mile long hill out of Ruthwell Station Jeff announced the start of my Magic Mile. I stopped, cleared the Garmin and set off. I tried not to check my pace, but listen to my body – trying to judge how fast it could go for the next mile. The route was hilly, so I wasn’t doing myself any favours other than benefitting from some downhill sections. I ran it reasonably hard and finished it in my fastest mile time so far of 8:58. I’m pleased with that because it’s a PB for a mile and I also felt that I could have pushed a little harder, even on that route. I felt strong and I know that my semi-silent coach thought it was good because he actually spoke. That puts me bang on pace for a 2:20 half marathon, which is great.

I finished the rest of the run at an easy pace doing half a mile more than asked, just to get me back into the village.  All in all, if I add the times and pace together, I did 4.51 miles in 48:59, giving me 10:51 min/mile pace – easily under my 11 min/mile target.

My ankle today is stiff. Not sore, not Achilles tendonitis sore, just stiff so I’m using ibuprofen to take away any possible inflammation, doing my mobility exercises and stretches and considering strapping it up for next weekend’s 14 miles long run. It concerns me, but, as I said before, I’m trying not to panic. I plan to soldier on in a relaxed, not quite regardless state of mind. I am not panicking, really, I’m not!

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