If I had to sum up April in one word, I suspect I would struggle. Awesome? Marathon? Paris? Fortunately, I don’t have to choose one word and can sum up the month via a blog post instead.
The month began with just one thing on my mind – Paris! I was travelling to my favourite city for two running events – the Breakfast Run and, of course, the marathon. Both of these were incredible experiences and I came home having settled my unfinished business not just with Paris, but with the marathon distance itself by not only (finally) cracking the 4:30 barrier, but absolutely annihilating it to run a new PB of 4:05:07!
And I had such a good time that I’ve already entered the Paris marathon for 2015!
I recovered well and found myself itching to run again. I was able to get back to training within a week to prepare for my second marathon of the year in Edinburgh at the end of May where I would love to have a go at running a sub-4 time – after all, anything is possible…
My training pattern has been very much as it was before Paris, with just the odd tweak here and there to accommodate other commitments:
Monday – 30 min jog
Tuesday – 4 miles, increasing to 10k
Wednesday – Metafit or swim/sauna
Thursday – coaching running club
Friday – Metafit or swim/sauna
Saturday – 4 miles
Sunday – long run (building from 10k to a 16 mile peak)
I found myself running quite fast over the shorter distances and this stood me in good stead for my 10k race at Balmoral at the end of the month where I ran really well and got a good finish time, despite the fabled Hill (with a capital H) in the first half of the race.
I’ve also had a few other running-related bits and pieces to excite me over the past month. First of all, I’ve raised more money than I ever expected to for Macmillan Cancer Support at this early stage in my challenge, so I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who has donated so far and am now keen to increase that total even further. I’ve also been keeping an eye on my mileage as I have been part of the Around the World Running Blog Relay (ATWRBR2014) so every mile I ran contributed to our collective total. My April total of 106 miles was not only a respectable contribution, but it brought my mileage for the year so far to 438, already exceeding my total mileage from last year (a paltry 406 miles). At this rate I’m set to have my biggest yearly total EVER!
ATWRBR2014 has been a great opportunity to connect with other runners/bloggers in different parts of the world and April also brought with it the chance for me to meet up with two of those bloggers in person. First of all, I was able to meet up with Danielle at Balmoral (we had met briefly once before, but this was a great opportunity to catch up):
We’re both English teachers by day so had plenty in common to talk about. I also recently discovered that Julia and I work in the same town (small world!) so we have been planning a meet-up which we managed right at the end of the month. We had a great chat over tea and cake after work and would probably still be sitting nattering if the tearoom hadn’t been closing! I suspect we may repeat this again soon. She’s having her first go at ultra marathons this year and I find it fascinating to hear how her training compares to mine when a marathon is a pretty “average” weekend training distance for her now!
Meeting up with both Danielle and Julia was fantastic. One of the things I love about running and blogging is the opportunity to connect with other like-minded people. With running as a common ground, it’s easy to chat and get to know others. Runners are also incredibly supportive of each other and are more than willing to offer advice and tips, which is helpful no matter how experienced you are. It would be great to get the chance to meet up with other running bloggers in future – perhaps at forthcoming races.
Finally, April was all about music as I got involved in the Great Running Music Exchange which was started by Julia and Jaynie but now also includes Kyla and I. We have all purchased cheap Mp3 players which we have loaded up with our favourite running tunes and these are being circulated among us. On my training runs I have been listening to a player from Jaynie and enjoying hearing a combination of familiar tracks, forgotten favourites and new tunes which might inspire future changes to my own playlist. I also have a player from Julia to listen to so that’s another treat waiting for me in May! The exchange has been a brilliant experience so far as we have all sent the players in lovely packages of runner treats, which is yet another example of how runners just “get” each other.
So as we head into May, I’m generally feeling good about the marathon ahead. I know the fitness is there and having run one marathon already I can trust my training much more through my approaching taper, so I’m likely to feel much more relaxed. I’ve encountered only the slightest of hiccups with a fatigued muscle in my left leg causing a bit of a niggle, but it’s nothing serious and I know how to address this so that I’m race ready come marathon weekend.
Fingers crossed that May will be just as good a month as April!
How was your April?
Have you had the chance to meet up with any bloggers you follow?