After the excitement of last week I expected a fairly settled week this week, however as it turned out the excitement was not quite over yet!
I suppose the story must begin in November of last year when Steve and I first began formalising the plans for our challenges this year and announcing what we are going to do. The local Macmillan fundraising team took some photos and put out a press release resulting in the story of Steve’s big challenge appearing in the local press in the latter part of the year. This week, we discovered that unbeknownst to us the Daily Record had also run the story just after Christmas. It’s great that Steve’s story is getting some national coverage, however the most exciting part of all was how we actually found this out in the first place.
On Wednesday, I received an email from the Media & Communications Manager within the Edinburgh Marathon Festival Team. She had seen the story in the Daily Record and was really impressed by what we both plan to do this year, particularly the fact that Steve will run all 4 races at the EMF! Obviously this makes for great publicity for them as well and the story was shared on the EMF Facebook page resulting in loads of lovely and supportive comments from other runners. Steve also got some advice from one or two other runners who have completed the 4 race challenge in Edinburgh in previous years. Not only that, but the team at EMF have invited me to be interviewed at the Forth fm truck on the Saturday while Steve is busy running. They like to have fun, informal chats with some of the runners and this will be a great opportunity to talk not only about what we are doing but the motivation behind it as well. I’ve agreed to the interview and will keep my fingers crossed that I don’t get tongue-tied or come across sounding a bit daft – eek!
I’ve also been quite excited by my mail this week. I finally decided to invest my Christmas money in some new kit and placed orders online. To be honest, I don’t really need any more kit right now, but I like getting some new things when I’m marathon training. An extra pair of long tights, another base layer and a spare running jacket will definitely come in handy. The other plus is that more kit means I’m not constantly scrambling to get things clean in time for my next run!
So now that the challenge is becoming increasingly public (and I’ve got some new kit so there are no excuses!) my training is getting more and more important. Training is the one thing that has been settled this week, with the pattern continuing the same as last week:
Monday – Metafit
Tuesday – 4 miles hilly
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – coaching running group
Friday – Metafit
Saturday – 30 mins easy pace
Sunday – 14 miles
Like last week, I was pleased with my recovery between my long run on Sunday and Metafit class on Monday, particularly since Sunday’s run was a rather hilly one. I also felt in good form for my run on Tuesday, completing my route at a pleasing pace. Overall I’m happy with how well my legs are coping so far, although there’s plenty of time for them to start getting heavy as my Sunday mileage continues to increase!
Thursday was the third week of Steve’s Zero to 5K in 5 weeks group and my 2nd week helping him to coach the runners. I worked with largely the same group as last week and it was great to see the progress they have all been making. Many had followed my advice about stretching regularly and were feeling the difference in their tight muscles. Most had also managed at least one run since the last session and were managing to run for longer before stopping to rest/walk. The session culminated with the entire group completing a longer run together and it was brilliant to see how well they did and how surprised they were at what they have achieved so far. They should all be really proud of themselves and I’m quite sure they will all complete the 5K without any problems in a couple of weeks.
Following my Wednesday rest and Thursday coaching, the weekend inevitably heralded the beginning of the toughest part of my training week. Friday’s Metafit class marks the start of the weekend and my Saturday easy run is crucial to loosen my legs off and make running at my target pace on my Sunday long run possible. Usually I take my time on a Saturday morning and head out once it’s light, however this weekend I had lots of other things on so the only way to fit this run in was to go early. Normally I prefer not to head out first thing as I like to give my body a chance to wake up a bit first, however this time I had to simply get up, have a glass of water, put my kit on and head out the door. It was a bit of a shock to be up and out earlier at the weekend, but the bonus was that I was a good way into my run before my brain and body woke up enough to register what was happening!
Unfortunately, my Sunday long run offered no respite in a weekend of testing running. I knew that the forecast was for heavy rain and when my alarm went off I could hear the raindrops bouncing off the window and hear the wind swirling around outside. At this point, I knew it was going to be a real test of character to get out in those conditions. In all honesty, I wanted to just curl up under my cosy duvet and snuggle in with a nice, warm cat. Sadly, 14 miles beckoned.
I may have lots of running kit, but on days like this there really is nothing that will completely keep the elements out so my best bet was to layer up, accept I would get wet and hope that I could at least stay reasonably warm. I think there might be a gap in the market for some kind of “running wetsuit” for days like this 😉
After some procrastination I did get myself out the door wearing compression tights, a base layer, a long sleeved top and a high-viz jacket (it wasn’t exactly light despite the time of day). I also wore my thickest gloves and TWO hats (a lightweight beanie with all my hair tucked inside it and a peaked cap to try and keep the worst of the rain out of my face). I looked a bit daft, but given that I was running in hideous conditions, I knew I would look daft regardless of what I wore!
To cut a long story short, it was “character building”. I actually ran well and despite the wind, rain and flooded roads averaged a quicker pace than last week, completing my run in 2 hours (and beating my own half marathon best along the way!). I did, of course, get utterly soaked – if I looked like a drowned rat last Sunday then this week must have been the burial at sea! The worst thing, though, was my hands. My gloves were soon soaked through and my hands were so cold that I wasn’t sure they worked anymore – I actually took my gloves off in the last mile or two as the rain had eased off and I thought my hands might actually be warmer without them. Waterproof gloves have now shot to the top of my “kit I want” list and I think it might be time to invest in a pair.
Fortunately, I had planned ahead and had some warm clothes ready so that as soon as I walked in the door I could remove my soaking kit and put something cosy on while I stretched and had my recovery shake. It’s easy to get cold quite quickly after a run but getting the wet kit off straight away definitely made a difference and once I’d stretched and used my foam roller I enjoyed a nice hot shower to finish thawing me out – bliss!
I think it’s safe to say that those were the worst conditions I have ever run in so heading out and running well makes me feel particularly hardcore now that I’m home, dry and warm! Fingers crossed that next week the conditions are a bit better.
What are the worst conditions you’ve ever run/exercised in?
Do you have a top tip or favourite piece of kit for keeping dry and warm on cold, wet days?