Ultra marathon training – the hen do week

I had a bit of a panic when I realised I was going to have to run 20 miles, my longest run of the year so far, on the same weekend  as one of my best friend’s hen do. 20 miles isn’t a quick run that it’s easy to fit in!! But I managed it, and had an amazing time at the hen party as well. This is probably the first training cycle I’ve done where I’ve been really dedicated.

Running 

Run 1: 4 slow, easy miles in the sun at lunch time. My legs felt so slow and tired after the 18 miles the weekend before and it really was one of those runs you just have to get through – but I did, and at least I was outside in the sunshine rather than at my desk!


Run 2: 8 miles into work. Again felt really slow and heavy as I started but after a few warmup miles I picked the pace up to around 8.10 min miles. I made it into Canary Wharf just before the torrential rain came on so I was quite pleased with my timing!

I had to miss runs on Thursday and Friday due to work so run 3 was the long one on Saturday morning. The hen party was in a house in the Cotswolds, 25 girls! I limited myself to just one glass of wine on the Friday night and went to bed about 3 hours before everyone else. Then was up before 7am on Saturday morning to begin the run.


 
It was a gorgeous, gorgeous day. Sunny, and for the first half it was so quiet, so still, the countryside felt like it was just waking up. I ran down narrow country lanes for 5 miles to reach the Thames and then ran along the Thames Path.


 I had planned to run in one direction for 5 miles and then back but as I did the path became increasingly narrow and pitted. I was worried about twisting an ankle and wanted to keep my speed up so I turned around and ran back, then continued in the other direction.


It was so beautiful. I had this huge smile on my face, I just felt so happy. I even ran without headphones for about 13 miles which I never do when running by myself. I started with a plan of 5 easy miles and then starting to focus on pace, but ended up hitting my goal pace in the second mile, without feeling as if I was putting in any effort so I decided just to stick to that and try to keep the pace consistent. That got a little harder when I was hit by a fierce headwind between miles 13 and 16, and then a steep hill in mile 19 but never mind! An amazing run – I have only run 20 miles a few times and I can remember each one really clearly – along the seafront in Andalucia. Over the North Downs. And now along the Thames Path in the Cotswolds.


Cross-training: I cycled into work on Tuesday morning. I felt great and it was a lovely cycle in the sunshine, but then my legs were just so heavy during my run that I left my bike at work and didn’t cycle again. One strength training session as well.

Something fun that was nothing to do with running:

The hen party! Spending a whole weekend with my oldest friends was just brilliant, we didn’t stop laughing all weekend. We started the Saturday with highland games outside in the sun, followed by a lovely lunch and then a few hours at a pottery workshop. Then there was dinner and karaoke in 80s fancy dress and dancing back at the house until the early hours of the morning. We up finished on Sunday morning with a life drawing class before heading home. Fantastic weekend.

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