Sunday, 25 July 2010

Serious Training - Lessons learnt

So almost at the end of week 15 - and starting to feel the lactate heaviness in my legs now.. but a week-end of serious 'recy'ing' the Snowdon route and do my long run on a 19 mile section of it, incorporating the first two hills. Travelling along the winding mountain road early on Saturday morning, I was concerned about my running on these blind corners, being exposed to the traffic as well as the elements... and this was a typical Welsh drizzly morning. Wearing my racer-back vest top and capris - I looked nervously at the fully weather-protected walkers, covered in Gore-tex jackets and hoods, large rucksacks and over-trousers! I did have my thin Montane ligthtweight luminous jacket in case the wind was too harsh. The plan was to do 19 miles and I was dropped off just before the point of the actual start of the Snowdon marathon, a mile or so just outside Llanberis... I started off quickly.. best plan is just to do it (as Nike says!) So started up the first incline which was a really pretty route through Pen y Pass winding through rolling fields of very bemused looking sheep who seemed to be staring at my mad little scurry through their Country.. also the odd cluster of tents just off the road with hikers just awaking to the smell of coffee and camp-fire bacon smells wafted over in my path.. as the incline was starting to get steeper but a gradual creeping up steepness, and I could only see up to the next bend and then beyond where the road curved back around again - but not how high the road climbed as anything further was shrouded in mist... it was just a case of letting the pace slow and digging in. It was getting tougher and tougher despite the very inspiring views.. but then a beacon of hope after around 8km a shiny white YHA which seemed to be the top of the road as I could see the cars parked opposite were disappearing down the other side. YES - the top.

Here is my biggest lesson... for this race... dont get carried away at the this point...its a MARATHON. I let my legs go full steam ahead as I have done in shorter races with a steep descent, trying to make up for the slowing pace up the hill before. Big mistake, and this caught up with me later on... so although I enjoyed this (a lot!) Especially as I was passing walkers at some pace... I knew there may be some serious runners out on the road - making their own way to the Fell Race which was happening later on in Llanberis.. I had to show them what I had! (What show offs we runners can be! :)) So this downhill went on and on for around 12km in total and as it flattened... so did my pace. My buttocks were starting to ache and I thought the downhill pace may be in there.. but this section of the route was the prettiest of all - looking down on a very pretty lake then making my way through a woodland covered section of road, with twisty tree trunks.. the breeze which had been quite cold on the steep decline was now evening out to a very pleasing cloak. I continued with only the odd car passing, and started wondering where Pete would catch up with me wasnt long before I saw a very familiar looking runner coming the other way (thank God I was starting to drive myself mad with my usual musings and struggling with the running now).. but he said 'hiiiii!' and carried on!!! What?!? I thought he was going to run with me! I carried on a bit annoyed at this... but then heard his familiar breathing behind me.. as he caught up the time now went a lot quicker - up to the village of Beddgelert, and then out on the second long slow hill... which really caught my pace by surprise! It really slowed.. despite not being the steepest hill I had ever faced, but Pete who was quite fresh and encouraging kept me pushing into it. We got up to the village of Rydd Ddu and the road flattened out as we made our way out to the Snowdon Ranger and lake beyond which the car was parked... my pace returning (thank God!) I even did some strides at the end... but there were definite lessons to be learnt on this run! My fuelling seemed to work fine - and no stitch which was the BEST thing!! But I think I really need to ease up on that first downhill.. and the race really seems to comprise of a number of distinct sections. It will be easier with a field of runners around me - and more training in the legs, plus the taper.. and I will have to save something for the final hill... but I feel a lot more confident.

My pacing on this run - not quite as even as Amsterdam... this is not going to be the same sort of marathon in any shape or form.. I will have to really think about this..

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