Getting into Top Gear

Ray Sievey Monday, 19 March, 2012
For me, this week was the defining week in my training. After achieving my PB at Silverstone last Sunday, legs felt fine on the Monday, but come Tuesday I was having serious concerns about a tightness and pain in my left hamstring, so much so that I put an appeal on Twitter for Paul (Physio & Therapy) to give me a call. Like a knight in shining armour he came to my rescue. I was due to go out for a run with my running club that evening and with the 20 miler scheduled for the Sunday, I was worried that a) I might have a potential problem or b) by going out running, I could cause a problem which would undo all of the work that I had put in and also all of the time and investment from the Project 26.2 team. I was no doubt being a drama queen, but with the marathon just over a month away, I didn’t want to take any risks. Anyway, Paul asked me a series of questions and had me doing various stretches and poses, all while I was standing outside Sainsbury’s (the fella collecting the trollies was giving me some strange looks). Based on the info I gave Paul, he advised that I should run, but gave me a strict stretching routine before and after. Once again the wizard had weaved his magic! I had a pleasant run and it was nice to catch up with a few people, as I hadn’t been for a while due to my training plan requiring specific threshold or speed sessions. I did a couple of easy runs during the rest of the week, plus the usual various stretching and core conditioning sessions. The training is not all about running you know! I also had the most painful massage of my life on Thursday night. If it was being filmed, the BBC beep machine would be doing overtime! Saturday I did Bromley Parkrun and also managed to sort out a lift down to the Surrey Spitfire the following day. I just want to publicly thank Steve Jeffrey of Petts Wood Runners. Saturday was the first time I had actually met him to speak to properly, yet the week before, he had offered me £50 sponsorship if I could knock three minutes of my Brighton Half marathon time. So inadvertently he had helped me get a PB, my charity had an extra £50 and now he was my chauffeur! Just goes to show the camaraderie of runners within a running club. Cheers Steve! So, Sunday, Steve picked me up and we picked another PWR, Dan. We were chatting about various topics, mainly running, but then it transpired that we had Millwall (me), West Ham (Steve) and Palace (Dan) all in one motor. An interesting combination, but we agreed that at least we all followed a London team and there were no Cockney Red’s in the car. We arrived at Dunsfold Park Airfield (venue for BBC’s Top Gear ‘Star in a reasonably priced car’ and where The Stig thrashes the hell out new cars) in glorious sunshine, but it was still nippy. After checking in and sorting ourselves out, we were off. The first 2.5 miles were around the airfield before going out into the country lanes. I am sure in the airfield there was some cult with a suicide pact, I have never seen so many worms wriggling around on tarmac? Once again I had over hydrated and needed a ‘comfort break’ (such a polite way of saying you need a pee). Having this comfort break meant that unbeknownst to me two other Petts Wood Runners had overtaken me, so I was jogging away in my own little world and then I drew level with two women and they just said ‘Hello Ray’ so after a double take, I ran for a mile with Emma and Eleanor having a chat and then pushed on. I was under strict instructions from Nick to do the first 10-miles easy and then the second 10-miles at marathon pace. I completed the 20 miles in 3:01:43 (http://connect.garmin.com/activity/159105301) My first 10-mile split was 01:34:06 and my second 10-mile split was 1:27:49. It was mission accomplished, and I did something that I have read about a lot, a ‘negative split’ woohoo! Despite my mild panic earlier in the week, I have got the 20-miler in my locker at only a few minutes slower than I wanted. So, I am now feeling a lot more confident! Until next week The Hippo

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