There’s only two days to go until the big one! Sorry to shout, but I’m getting quite excited now. I did just the one run over the weekend, a 5 mile MAF run along the Saxon Shore Way to keep things ticking over and not upset the Ankle of Doom.
I’m lucky to have really good running routes close to my door. The one I followed on Saturday is a short shuffle along Pier road to the Strand park before joining the Saxon Shore Way path that meanders along the river before heading into the Kent countryside. The bit I did was mostly by the river and goes through a marina, past some houses, through a little industrial section, in and out of some woods, alongside marshes and then into another park and on to some nature trails before heading back and seeing it all again. It goes up and down and snakes about a bit, just enough to keep you interested and without being annoyingly roundabout.
When we first moved to Gillingham I couldn’t believe how lovely it was, especially compared to the dodging traffic and getting caught at crossings I endured where we were in Bromley. Apart from some muppets on dirt bikes and the occasional dog attack (no limbs lost so far) it’s always a pleasure. I really enjoyed it on Saturday and just switched off and ghosted along the path taking it all in. Every time I finish the route I notice another little bit of the landscape or wildlife to appreciate, it’s a good way to start your day.
The Ankle of Doom (Trademark pending) it still not great, feeling a bit… weird… but is functioning. Considering it was causing me such worries I think it’s actually been a good thing, purely from a tapering point of view anyway. It’s made me be cautious over the last few weeks and I’ve dropped my mileage to less than half of my usual. If all was 100% I’d be tempted to follow my weekly routine and run too many miles and not rest. Or get amped up on Muse and run an interval session too fast or far and tire my legs out (Knights of Cydonia has an almost eerie ability to jack my heart rate up by about 10 bpm, even induce goose bumps. I think it’s my best power song, that and ‘Goin’ Down’ by Freddie King). Hopefully now though I’ve rested properly, and the ankle is as healed as it could be, so I can give it a proper go on Wednesday.
Its funny though, even in the last few weeks I’ve started looking forward to being free to run as I like – doing some long runs in new places, having a go at some new interval sessions (using my shiny new Garmin) and having a crack at beating some of my PBs over short distances (the mile especially). Hopefully that will pull me through the inevitable slump that I always get after big races. I’ve been working up to this since January, so I’m half ready for the dreaded runner’s blues and being without a plan. Finding new places to run and putting some new PBs on Strava should motivate me when it’s all over. Claire and I also are booked in for the Shoreham Woods 10k in early September, so that should push me to keep training.
My immediate priority though is making sure I take all the stuff I need with me for the run, as we are staying away the night before the race in Folkestone so we are closer for the 8am start. Running should be a simple hobby, but I like to have three different levels of kit to cover all the possible (and impossible) weather conditions that might happen (or not). I’d rather have it and not use it, than not have it and burst into panicked tears (that has never almost nearly happened. At all.).
It’s a nerves thing, but I can’t help it. I only feel right if I have a hot, mild and cold choice of running outfit and then all the extra stuff; hats, sun cream, gels, lubricant, water bottles, plasters, etc. Then there’s trainer choice; I’ll probably take 3 pairs, from my lightweight road racers up to my heavy trail shoes, and then something in the middle to cover all eventualities. I’ll take it all and then not use even a third of the stuff. It gives me something to do though (poor Claire has to watch me fret over sweatband choice for an hour) and burns a little of the nervous energy. Remy (our car; long story) will no doubt have a very full boot.
I’m at the half anxious/half excited stage still, which is good as I always do my best when I’m a little nervous. It gets the adrenaline going. We have a nice day planned before in Dover, looking at the Castle and the tunnels, and a very nice place booked through Airbnb for the night before. All the logistics are in place and I hope I have done the training to hit my goals. I just need to run the bloody thing! Oh and enjoy it. I’m trying to be a bit Zen and not get too stressed about the outcome and focus on the actual run itself and the enjoyment that always gives me. We shall see how long that lasts, especially if old ‘Doomy’ kicks in…
Thanks for reading and either way I will update on what happens soon. Cheers