This week has been a bit strange for me training wise. We stayed in Brighton on Sunday night after the half marathon and then flew off to Iceland for 4 nights on Wednesday. I managed to fit in a 3 mile run on Tuesday and then again once we were back on Sunday afternoon but apart from that I didn't do any other running, or my usual yoga classes.
I did do some cross training while we were away which you can read about in my previous post here
Knowing that I wouldn't get much running in over the course of the week I took today off work as well so that I could do my long run. This week it was scheduled to be 15 miles. Although the mileage was daunting I was looking forward to trying out some slightly different fuel and also wearing my hydration rucksack for the first time. Up until now I've managed to cope with just a water bottle but as the time I'm running increases the volume I can comfortably carry in my hand just isn't enough to keep me going.
I got the Nathan Intensity Hydration vest as a Christmas present from Mr J. It's a nifty bit of kit.
It's a small rucksack that has two main compartments, a small one for holding a mobile, keys and anything else you need to take out which for me now includes an Oyster card and some cash, just in case of emergencies. The larger compartment is for the water which is contained in what looks like a hospital drip pack!
Attached to the pack is a tube with a valve on the end which cleverly dispenses water when you bite down on it, but not at any other time. The water pack goes in the large compartment and the tube goes through a hole in the top of the compartment.
The shoulder straps have additional compartments which are perfect for holding gels and an mp3 player. There is a strap that fastens across the chest and also has a clip for the water tube so you can fix it there and stop it flapping about when you run.
I filled the water pouch up with the maximum two litres of water. I wanted to test out what it felt to run with that amount of water on my back. I was really surprised at how comfortable and light the rucksack felt once it was on my back.
The first couple of miles of the run were good, I kept a relaxed comfortable pace. The hyrdation pack made it easy to sip water when I wanted to and was much easier than carrying a bottle of water. At around 3.5 miles I managed to twist my ankle. I'm not really sure how it happened but it felt quite painful and for a while I was concerned that I'd sprained it. I walked on it for a while and it started to feel better again so I started running slowly and it felt OK so I decided to continue.
At around 4 miles I started to feel a bit tired so I took the first of my gels - this was earlier than I have done in previous runs but I thought I'd better listen to what my body needed. I took a High 5 gel which had added caffeine - not something I've tried before as I'm quite sensitive to caffeine and need to be careful with how much I have. To be honest I didn't really notice any difference to the regular one.
Miles 5-7 felt quite tough. I'm not sure how much of this was mental as mile 7 took me practically past my front door, not something I've done before on a run. However, by mile 8 and a couple of jelly beans, another new fuel I was trying out, I felt more relaxed and back into my stride.
I arrived in Victoria Park and took the opportunity to run a couple of miles on the grass/mud path to give my legs a break from the relentless concrete that I tend to run on. By this time I had switched to my 8:2 as my legs had started to feel tired. I was taking a couple of jelly beans every 20 minutes or so - they seemed to help and were quite palatable.
By the time I had left the park I was well into mile 11 and things started to get tough. I took some extra walking breaks to help and kept telling myself that I had run this far last week and that I could do this, I just needed to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Once mile 13.5 arrived I was into new territory and not far from home. I took another gel for the last push and managed to get back into a good running rhythm again. As my Garmin ticked over 15 miles I had a huge smile on my face. It had been tough but I had done it.
So that's week 10 of training complete, albeit a day late. With now less than 8 weeks before the big day things are starting to feel quite serious but I feel like I'm on track to achieve my goal of completing the distance with a smile on my face.
While we were away my running vest arrived from my charity. It's a rather fetching flourescent green and already has my 'colour co-ordinated' head working overtime trying to plan the rest of my outfit!
The vest is a size 12 and while technically it fits me I don't think it's going to be comfortable to wear for 26.2 miles so I'm swapping it for a larger size. Marathon day is not the day to be wearing clothes that aren't comfortable.
This afternoon I went into Canary Wharf for a bit of active recovery, otherwise known as shopping. The new spring running clothing was in store and I couldn't resist buying a new pink Ronhill outfit. I took a risk and bought a size 12, I know this range comes up slightly large and wanted to see how far away I was from being able to fit into it. I was absolutely delighted to get home and find that it fits!
So today I ran the furthest I ever had and bought the smallest clothes I have done in my adult life. I'm pretty darn pleased with that!