So with two weeks to go until the Budapest marathon I had Saturday down as a key training day to log some much needed miles before the big day. Obviously Saturday is designated as Parkrun day, so you can see we have a problem here. The solution seemed straight-forward enough to me; why not do both!
This is why my alarm was set for 5.30am on Saturday morning (I told you this running lark was all fun and games), so I’d have time to wolf down a bit of Alpen (other brands of Museli are available) and get myself set for a long-ish run. I always give it a couple of hours after eating before I head out, so I passed the time by cramming in some accountancy revision (by now you’re thinking ‘this guys a total rockstar’, right?).
The plan for the morning was to run around 13 miles, so effectively a half-marathon, which would lead me to the parkrun start-line suitably ‘warmed up’ and ready to push hard with tired legs.
The first part of the plan, I’m pleased to say, passed without any major dramas. In fact, I was feeling rather great, and I ended up running around a 1.41 half-marathon, which felt pretty easy, which was a great confidence boost with Budapest in mind.
I arrived at Brockwell park a few minutes early, which wasn’t entirely with plan as I wanted to make sure I was constantly running – I didn’t have time to stand around listening to the race briefing this week. So I ended up running in a small circle for about 5 minutes, which was probably highly amusing to anyone who at that moment decided to keep tabs on what I was up to.
Everyone then began to congregate on the start-line, so I made a dash over to get there just as the starter released the masses of runners onto the unsuspecting South London public. My plan was a relatively straight-forward one. To run as fast as I could, on pretty knackered legs, and see how hard I could push myself. This training method is quite common among long distance runners, with the idea that upping the pace when the legs are tiring near the end of the run builds up further strength and endurance and prepares you for those last few miles at the end of the marathon.
Starting from the very back of the field, I spent a fair amount of time dodging my way through runners for at least the first kilometre. I steadily continued increasing the pace all the way around, as always not being able to resist being competitive, and picked off runners on the home straight. The last kilometre or so was a real effort, but I guess that was to be expected after over 15 miles of running!
My 5K time was actually a rather respectable 20:46 – a full 2 minutes off my personal best, but then again I don’t normally do that kind of warm up before a run! That was good enough for 38th out of the 211 strong field. Obviously, I thought it’d be silly not to just carry on running home, so I added on a further 2 miles to take the total distance to 18.
It was a great session, and my hopes for a quick time in Budapest had soared. However, unfortunately this post does not have a happy ending.
Sunday was our second 11-a-side football fixture of the season. All was well until around 70 minutes in, where a 50-50 challenge saw me go over on my ankle. It’s hard to tell the extent of the damage this early, but my left ankle is currently double the size of my right due to swelling.
Obviously, at the moment it happened I was pretty devastated, and I thought it was game over. However, I’ve got two weeks to try and rest it up, so I’ve still got hope that I’ll make the start in 13 days time. By that time sales of frozen peas in my local Tesco will have skyrocketed – who needs a proper icepack anyway.