Thursday, March 26, 2009

55M and still standing

Last week I reached the highest weekly mileage I have ever run - 55M. The mileage was made up by a 6 miler with 6 x 100m strides, a 12M lactate threshold run (with 7M at 15k pace which for me averaged at a 8:27 min/mile), a 5M recovery run, a 12M medium t0 long run, and a 20 miler (1st of 2 to be run). I did all the runs bar the 20M during the week and gave myself Saturday as a rest day and then, on Sunday, ran the Ashby 20.

Now the previous week, before Silverstone, I had aimed to mimic "real-race" ideal circumstances. Sleep / food etc.. This weekend things went a bit off-kilter. It was more of a "real-life" sim. Although it wasn't a sim. But anyway. I went out on Friday night and only managed 6 hours of sleep. Saturday was hectic, running around after and with my kids. A very good, longtime friend of ours, Michael, came up from London to run the race with me. We hadn't seen each other in a long time so over turkey chili that evening we caught up and the bottle of wine was suddenly empty.. Then, my 6 year old son was so excited about Michael being with us that he woke us both up at 5:30 on race day. Good times! Anyway - that gave us plenty of time to mess around and get ready (as we hadn't managed this the night before) and shortly after 7am we were on the road to our race. Now I am clueless about British geography and didn't actually realise that Ashby-de-la-Zouche (it's really called that) was a good 90 mins away from me. Combine that with a few turns thrown in by Michael's sat nav and we just made it to the race site for 9.

The race is a very well-organised and sponsored local race. Nice because it didn't have the enormous crowds of Silverstone and it was, actually, better managed. It started on time, for one thing. 10am we were off. And then the final aspect of my unpreparedness for the race appeared - I didn't realise how hilly it was. It was a lollipop race - about 2M out and then 2 loops and 2M back. As soon as we got on the lollipop it became apparent that the hills just kept on coming - up and down. However, it was great to be running this alongside Michael and I wasn't aiming for a particular time. I was treating this as my long slow run so as far as I was concerned I was just going to be comfortable throughout. The first loop passed along easily but by the second Michael was beginning to tire (Michael is not as far along in his training cycle for the LA marathon and probably needed a hilly 20M like a hole in the head).
Me flashing my race number - honest! - at about 7M. Michael still liked me then.
A bit further in the race and out of the wind it felt quite warm

I was running Oprah, talking for Britain, but at 16M Michael told me to head off (and give him some peace and quiet?) and meet him at the finish. So I sped off and headed for the finish - realising only at 18M that the last 2M were completely uphill. Brutal! I made it round in 3:07 - a 9:20 minute mile average - which I was delighted with. I was intending to pace myself conservatively in this race, particularly given the hills in it, and I was so pleased that a 9:20 minute mile now feels so comfortable.

The goodie bag was great - a full meal of a cheese sandwich, water, sportsdrink and a cereal bar AND a big blue Aldi hooded sweatshirt. Michael came in not long after me and had, I think, in the last 4M of the race, reconsidered our love and friendship.
Here's us in our new sweatshirts. He definitely held me responsible.

Halfway through this week and I'm hitting a snag though. So far so good - 8M with intervals Tuesday night (with headlight, in rain and wind - like the good ole days), 11M yesterday (more wind but at least daylight) and 4M this morning. But by lunchtime today I realised that I didn't feel too good. I'm achy, have a sore throat and well - without giving too much away - I think I have stomach flu. I'm tucked up in bed with my laptop and I'm under strict instructions from my husband not to TALK about tomorrow's proposed 17 miler until I'm feeling better. The real snag, however, is that I'm supposed to run a 10K race this weekend. And I was going to run our local race, the Lincoln 10K. However, I also have to run 17 this week and if I have to take tomorrow off (and it looks / feels like I might) I am more concerned with getting my 17 in on Saturday or Sunday than with running the 1oK. I might be able to get in 10K on my own on Saturday (hopefully) and then by Sunday be ready for 17. So I'll have to see what happens.

In the meantime I'm using my confinement to bed as an excuse to catch up on blogging, blogs and emails (and playing on FaceBook). Wonderful Michael even brought us 3 box sets of The Wire so I might crack them open as well....

Hope all your running is going well, and that you're feeling better than I am at the moment.

12 comments:

Road Warrior said...

Very impressive, Petra! I can't imagine being able to walk after 55 miles in one week. You're ready for London and you're going to rock it. I'm getting really excited for you!

aron said...

awesome job on the 55 mile week!!! this is fun that our schedules are so close together now :)

hope you feel better soon!!!

great job on the 20 mile race too!! thats an awesome pace for a hilly course!!

PLANET3RRY said...

And think... there are some that run TWICE that in a week. I am not sure what my highest weekly mileage would be (other than 54.4 miles in 8 days, which would only be valid in a Beatles song) but that is sure ALOT of stuff! But you made it just fine... and hills will make you faster and stronger! Love me some hills.

Susan said...

You look WONDERFUL, and are so very hard core! You go girl! What wonderful race results, to boot! I love the sweatshirt. Note to self: race in the UK - the shirts are much better.

Get WELL - that is what is important. A missed run or 2 will not slow down Britain's superstar!

Irish Blue said...

I've been trying to get ahold of Paula Radcliffe to warn her you might be gaining on her soon.

I agree with Susan, you brits get better shirts.

Hope you are feeling better soon lady!

Maddy said...

Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic!

I am in awe of you!

Congrats on a well run race. I love the hoodies.

Please take care of yourself. Rest and recover from the flu! I hope you feel better soon!

Big Hugs to you!

jen said...

Congrats on all the amazing training runs and especially the 20 mile race! So fun that your friend came to run with you, you both did great! Looks like a beautiful course. Well done!!

Hope you feel better soon. Definitely take it easy if you are sick. (hug)

Jade Lady said...

Gees, 55 miles in one week. I can only dream! Hope you're feeling better soon!

Marathon Maritza said...

Great job on your 55 mile week, Petra!!!! Amazing! I continue to be so so impressed with your paces and training! I smell a PR in London, friend!!! I'm so excited for you!!!

ShirleyPerly said...

Excellent job on getting all those miles in! I'm so happy to hear that your 20-miler went well despite those hills. What a great goody bag to boot!

Please take care of yourself and get well soon.

CewTwo said...

I am amazed. You are such a winner. To talk of the last 2 miles as being very hilly, then running them lickety-split. I sit in wonder as I follow what you have accomplished this year alone.

Great job, my friend!

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