oh what a difference a few days can make…

first things first – my doctor suspects my ab/groin discomfort is due to a possible hernia. that has yet to be verified, and an ultrasound scan on march 24th will hopefully come back negative (I’m still convinced it’s just a muscle strain!)

so where did that leave me in terms of running? well, after consulting with the doctor and my coach (Jackie of Fit Sparrow) I’m continuing the training, but paying attention to my lower ab, and keeping pace down so I avoid pain.

this was relatively easy on Saturday – I was “tail runner” for my local parkrun – which basically meant I had a nice 5km walk, checking nobody was in trouble on the course, and letting the marshalls know they could stand down when I passed by.

Sunday was going to be interesting though…

29km long run, a new 4-bottle water belt to test and some degree of nervousness. the previous week’s long run had gone ok, very slowly, but had been completed. the same approach was going to be taken this time around.

to cut a long run story short… I started early (about 4:15am), the weather was perfect (light breeze, bit of cloud cover at times, not too hot), and the 29km route was pretty much flat (apart from where bridges had to be crossed, and a steep set of wooden steps I encountered at one point…

the 1.2 litres of sports drink that my new belt enabled me to carry was exactly what I needed in terms of hydration, and the gel strategy seemed to be spot on too. I even learned to interpret sore/aching legs simply as my limbs being hungry children going “i’m hungreeeee” lol.

my aim was to keep an even pace, not to push things, and to maybe go for the “fast finish” if I felt able to, and the ab didn’t hurt when attempting it…

as you can see from these run stats (http://connect.garmin.com/activity/457439320) the pace was very even, but was significantly faster than the previous week. I felt as though I could have continued to the full marathon distance without too much trouble at all (a feeling I have never had in a long run before!)

as it was, I felt strong enough to go for the fast finish, and completed the final 1.5km or so at 6:00 pace and under, getting progressively faster.

the run was perfect. it was one of those runs where everything came together, and the world seemed like a magical place full of rainbows and unicorns! a run that was great for the soul, and for building confidence.

how did i pull up on monday?

having stretched, rested up and hydrated throughout Sunday, I was surprisingly good come Monday morning. Legs were a bit sore, calves were a bit tight, and there was a little soreness ab-wise. but nothing untoward, nothing painful, no sign of my body complaining that I had pushed too hard.

Monday was a rest day, so it was a great chance for the body to recover even more – again hydration was fairly good and I even remembered to keep moving and do some calf stretches throughout the day.

that all translated to waking up this morning (tuesday) feeling very strong, well-rested and ready to tackle some 1.6km intervals…

i was very nervous about this – the schedule called for:

1.6km warm-up
1.6km at 5:15 to 5:25 pace
400m recovery
1.6km at 5:15 to 5:25 pace
400m recovery
1.6km at 5:25 to 5:40 pace
400m recovery
1.6km at 5:25 to 5:40 pace
1.6km cool-down

the last time i pushed my pace was last thursday’s tempo run, and the first two intervals were a faster pace than that – but I set out knowing that I would monitor how the ab felt, and ease back where necessary.

The warm-up went great, I literally just plodded along, making sure I loosened and warmed up properly, then slowly built up to pace for the first interval. nailed it! at times I was actually closer to 5:00 pace than 5:15!

The 400m recovery was taken slowly, gently, the first 1.6km had been hard work. Suddenly it was time to build up pace again for the next 1.6km interval.

nailed it again! no ab pain, just hard, hot, sweaty work – I even took the pace under 5:00 per km at one point it seems – must be a GPS glitch, or downhill section!

400m goes very quickly after 2 hard 1.6km intervals, and it was soon time to start building up speed for the 3rd interval overall, and the first at a slower pace. I could feel the ab starting to complain a bit, so took it easy. Instead of the 5:25 to 5:40 pace specified, I wound up doing more of a 6:00 per km pace, but as I relaxed into things I did actually hit target pace.

I walked most of the next 400m, I was beginning to tire and needed a bit more of a recovery than before. the 4th and final 1.6km interval was very much like the 3rd. started around 6:00 (or maybe a little more) per km and slowly built up to around 5:40 to 5:45.

the final 1.6km was mostly jogged at a very slow pace, and a little walking (i think) at one point – but it was a walk of victory. it felt great. a tough session done, ab/groin intact, no meltdown.

job done!


post-run update

the ab was a little tender as i headed for the bus this morning, and a little tender as i hobbled off the bus 45 minutes later. however. overall it is no more tender or sore than my legs or my calf muscles. I’ll be monitoring the situation, but with cross-training tomorrow it should mean that I get plenty of recovery time between now and the next schedule tempo run on sunday. touch wood. fingers crossed. etc. etc.

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