And here we are – the final stretch. People are asking me in hushed tones ‘when is it? What’s the date? Do you have a plan?’ They look at me with bewildered respect and unashamed sympathy. They know this journey is almost at an end, and that your body is about to take a beating. It’s not unlike how you would treat someone who’s heavily pregnant, but instead of a child, I will ‘produce’ 26.2 miles of Edinburgh tarmac.
And that’s where all similarities end (let’s be honest, it wasn’t the strongest metaphor in the history of the world).
Saturday’s run was much tougher than the week before. I set out to do 20 miles, knowing that it wouldn’t be a breeze. It was raining hard, and almost immediately my blisters returned. During the run I felt like a champion battling the elements – only Rocky Balboa could possibly have beaten me – but afterwards, I was walking like my left foot was falling off.
There was plenty of time to consider this during the 20 miles: I think it all comes down to my tread. I land 100% on the balls of my feet, which worked swimmingly until…. well, now. I can feel just how much my foot shifts in the shoe, and how much I rely on my poor big and little toes to keep everything balanced. And they are paying the price! By the end I was heel striking to keep my toes from feeling the pressure.
Anyway, I did 20 miles in 3:08 – three minutes slower than I did 21 miles last week. So it wasn’t my best effort. And if I did that on the day, honestly, I wouldn’t be happy. But it was helpful to know what it feels like to run slow, knowing that you can’t actually run faster. Good for the psychology of it all.
And all that has led me to this: The Protection of the Left Foot Until Race Day. Or the Week of Epsom Salts. Otherwise known as early taper. I’m only planning a 14 mile run on Saturday, and then two short ones next week. Either I’m being over-dramatic about the whole situation, or my plan will work and I’ll be set for next Sunday. We’ll see which it is!
In other news, my Dad is visiting with his wife from Sydney, and came to my running group on Monday. Here we all are after a good 5.3k effort from everyone:
Happy Wednesday running everyone! I hope that wherever you are, you have sunshine.
*I like to think that nothing gross happened to the bottle while it was on its own in the hiding place. No animals marked their territory, no toddlers put it in their mouths and down again. In fact, I’m pretty sure the whole area was freakily sterile.