Its been quite a weekend of running in the continued build up to the TP100. Friday I decided to sleep in (which with two kids means a lay in until 6 if i'm lucky!). Instead I went for a night run out and back from what is fast becoming my long route of choice. Along the Two Ridges Link to Ivinghoe Beacon.
I wanted to test out some gear for the race including the petzl headlamp to make sure everything was worked. My dad had just fixed a faulty wire in the battery pack so it needed to be put through its paces. It was a tough run... I left at 8:30 and wasnt back til 23:45. 19 miles in total so a very slow pace although it didnt feel like it. Running in the dark definitely plays tricks on pace. I was pleased that I gotg through it. At one point early on all i wanted to do was loop around and go home to bed. However I battled through the mind games and fought the negativity and once on my fav bit of trail everything was good again. The highlight of the run was an encounter with a very startled badger on the trail. He was as surprised to see me as I was to see him! We both run our separate ways fairly swiftly. Lovely creatures! Far better alive and not squished.
Saturday was a rest day, if you can call putting together Ikea furniture all afternoon rest! My back didnt thank me for it thats for sure. I gingerly arose from bed on Sunday but it seemed a lot better so no harm down. Today was the MK marathon Training Run. An official run hosted by the race organisers open to entrants of the marathon (the one I've now ditched in favour of the Fellsman). Nevertheless this training run (14 miles) would serve as ideal 'speed work' and test the legs with 19m in them from Friday.
I went into this run with NO intention of doing anything special. I wasn't going to get carried away and was gonna go easy and stick with the 7 minute mile pacer. I really should know myself by now shouldn't I! With a 3-2-1 GO I was off and stuck with the pacer for all of 100 yards before shooting off and decided I wanted to set my own pace. I never saw him again.
Its a quick course all along the 'redways' of Milton Keynes. BUT not totally flat. The constantly underpasses are deceiving and you can certainly feel the small inclines of each build up. But I was going to hard to care or for them to slow me down. It seemed that from nowhere I was now a man on a mission. This wasn't even a race but it might have well of been. From the start one guy quick shot away that left me in 2nd for the first mile. One other then passed me but from here this is as it stayed for the entire race/run (or so I thought).
On route I decided that as this was a 14 miler I may as well go after my half marathon PB (1:27.51) then warm down in the final mile. This was my mission and I stuck to the plan all the way with no dramas except one - my garmin! I hadn't even started the damn thing doh.... I find this out just after the 13 mile mark as I pull it from my waist pack ready to hit stop at 13.1. Oh the despair!! All that effort and I hadn't even recorded it. No splits, no finish time, no unofficial PB! But hang on a minute the run started at 10am on the dot so quick thinking prevailed (even after 13 flat out miles) and I checked the actual time (yes garmins can actually tell the time too although you do have to hunt around for it leading to more precious seconds...) By heck it was 11:26!!! Haha. It was gonna always be an unofficial PB anyway so I will take that... 1h26min...and 'something' seconds.
I was well out in 3rd place at this point and had already wound down to a leisurely jog with all the other Sunday morning runners looping around Willen Lake. Just a mile left but the drama was not over. The course was well marked with chalk arrows all the way around but the vital one off Willen Lake to the finish had be rubbed away. I unknowingly missed the turn and run another half mile in the wrong direction before conceded that I had just balls it up. Turn around and back I went spotting where other runners were turning. I added a mile to make it 15 in total and still managed to come in 4th. But this was no race of course so lets just call it 4th fastest on the day.
To run a PB for the half with 19 miles in the legs was the biggest bonus for me here. It shows that the training is paying off and I'm stronger than before. I haven't done any major long runs going into the TP100 in two weeks time. My longest will have been 21 miles yet I feel that with the combined mileage and back to back weekend runs over the past month that I going into this Ultra in good shape.
But I'm not looking to do any special and I'm going into this race cool and conservative which I guess in Disco Stu's lanaguge actually means all guns blazing.