Well after the last fairly miserable post I'm tip tapping a merrier tune this evening. A dose of hooky antibiotics saw off the chest infection that I previously referred to. Pretty much the morning after I posted last Friday I was feeling a lot better and went for a swim. Then last Sunday I knocked out a 20 mile training run (naturally pretty impatient to get back into things). Possibly a little ambitious, some might say reckless given the close proximity of the illness. But 20 miles it was and I felt GREAT. Since then I've run 85 miles in 8 days. That's the most I've ever managed in my life. I'm really keen to hit March hard. In the past I've got to March feeling mentally sick of running and not managed to put anywhere near enough mileage in. One of the athletes I look up to the most (especially for the marathon) is Irish triathlete Eoin O'Connell. We've run quite a lot together in the past and although he's always been quite a bit better I have noticed that he really ramps up the training in March when it counts. So there's my inspiration.
Today I ran the Leith Hill Half marathon (near Dorking). Supposedly the 2nd hilliest half marathon in the country and pretty much a knarly 13.1 mile cross country race. I didn't feel to great for the first 2-3 miles but wasn't unduly concerned given the volume I've turned in over the past 8 days. A gel at 3 miles and things started to pick up. I'd been in contact with the lead pack for the first mile but 5 had run away on the steep technical climbs. At one point there was nobody in sight behind……and nobody in sight ahead. Due to the out and back nature of the course I knew I'd get a chance to see what the damage was at half way (the tower on Leith Hill, the highest point in South East England). But nearing the final climb to the tower I spotted Fraser Dawson (an ex turbo, a legend and known in the club as "Awesome Dawson"). I popped another gel and was starting to feel very strong now. At the tower I noticed I was catching 5th, 4th and 3rd. On the return leg (which was mainly downhill) I quickly reeled in Dawson, a fading 4th pace runner and set off in pursuit of 3rd place (the bloke who'd pipped me into 4th at the G3!). I couldn't quite catch him and finished in 4th in a time of 1.28.13. It may not sound like a particuarly good time but that's 6m44s miles over an extremely testing course (both elevation and terrain).
Results and more info at http://www.trionium.com/leithhillhalf/
The plan for the next 2 days is complete rest. Then I'll try and knock in 95 miles in 8 days (just done 85 in 8 days).
Fingers crossed I stay healthy and injury free.