Marathon training week 2/6: Dodging the rain!

South downs way
Peaceful running with the trail to myself

Welcome to week two of my first marathon training! If you missed last week’s post and want to know what I’m doing and why – click here. This week I missed two exercise sessions because they weren’t on and I was too lazy to do it myself. To be honest, I don’t feel as if I have done much at all. I’m doing less exercise than usual but I definitely feel more tired. The long-run each week is taking its toll I guess. I did manage to get out with Baffins Fit Club, my local running club, which is the reason I am here. After a few years off it was this friendly bunch who got me back into it. My family often join in too.

baffins fit club
Baffins Fit Club Monday night crew. I’m in the middle. My dad is on the far right.

I’m still having a nightmare with shoes, unable to find a pair that ticks all the boxes. “You’re overthinking it” my brother Hugo kindly reminded me. He’s right, I do overthink these things. I had planned a nice long run along the South Downs Way for Sunday. I would run from South Harting car park, where I finished last week’s run, to Butser Hill and loopback. This loop would be harder to navigate but it meant that Marco didn’t need to come out in the dire weather to drop me back to my car.

Brooks Cascadia 15.
Still deciding on those damn shoes. Time to test the Brooks Cascadia 15.

The forecast wasn’t looking good for the entire weekend but I made a decision on Friday night that Sunday would be the better day, weather-wise. Not needing to get up for a run, Marco and I indulged in a takeaway from our favourite Venizulian eatery, Arepa2Go, where we hugely over-ordered. We ended up eating it all including a large pot of garlic sauce EACH. One positive thing to come from my marathon training is the ability to demolish a lot of food. I’m not sure whether it’s in the mind or it’s actually down to the 2000+ calories a long run can burn, but I can eat much more than I used to just two weeks ago. However, that evening my greedy gut got the best of me and I was up all night with the garlic sweats. Jeez I felt terrible!

Brooks trail shoes
Bit of an issue with these shoes but the grip on the front of the shoe made up for it.

After meeting a friend for coffee I went to meet Marco for lunch at one of our favourite places in Southsea, Baffled Coffee. It had been raining all morning but suddenly the clouds made way to clear skies. This wasn’t meant to happen! I checked the forecast again and it had changed. Now Sunday was looking absolutely ghastly but the rest of Saturday was going to be ok! I had no choice, I had to get my long run in now before the weather turned to pot.

I found a friend – at exactly the half way mark!

Our lunch short (sorry Macro) and powerwalked home. The tiredness from my bad night sleep had kicked in so I picked up a Red Bull on the way home. Have you ever tried to run after drinking a Red Bull? Don’t! It was 3pm so I had roughly 4 hours of daylight left. To save time, I changed my route so I began at Old Winchester Hill and would run to Queen Elizabeth Park and back via Butser Hill.

The weather was fine but I was feeling awfully sick. A mile down the trail, the need for an emergency bush poo returned. This week I was caught by another trail runner, a gentleman in his 50s . I really should time these things better! The first hour was horrendous and I struggled to run for more than a couple of miles before having to stop for a series of Red Bull burps. They in themselves nearly gave me wings.

“Sunset” views on top of Butser Hill

Running down Butser Hill was so much fun and really fast, or so I thought (my Strava had a different view). I had a little rubbing on the new Brooks Cascadias 15 – my test shoes for the day, but overall they didn’t cause me much grief. The final two hours were plain sailing and I even enjoyed the ascent back up Butser Hill where I walked and sipped on an energy gel.

Dusk had arrived and I was treated to some beautiful views over the South Downs National Park. It wasn’t much of a sunset and I could see the clouds rolling in, but it was so peaceful it felt like I had the entire trail to myself. A young deer ran out in front of me and into a field of sheep where he looked incredibly content with his newfound friends.

Roughly three miles from the car, the heavens opened and a fine drizzle fell. I didn’t notice at first and it was only until I arrived back at the car I realised how much of a soaking I had gotten. Rain doesn’t bother me too much, especially at the end of a run, but it does lead to issues with chaffing. The inside of my legs were wet and I had shorts on which caused quite a bit of pain. I also had a series of small cuts where my crop top had been rubbing.

It was dark now and I had no head torch, not realising how early the sun now sets. Running through woodland in the dark doesn’t scare me, I always think of it as a great camping spot, but now I had a steep rocky descent to contend with. This was extremely hard to find my footing in the dark and the rain. My knees and ankles were hurting from the constant pounding of hard ground so I was pleased to see the top of the final hill where my car was parked. I had run just over 30km and apart from the last couple of miles, it was one of my most enjoyable runs yet.

I jumped in the car and arrived home just after 8pm where Marco had a protein-packed dinner and glass of wine waiting for me when I got home. That night I slept for over nine hours and it was bliss! Stay tuned to see what next week brings.

Flick x

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