I saw on the web recently one of those lists. You know your a marathon runner when? Well one of the answers was when you run a marathon as a training run. Well that was my reason sorted for running the Kelso marathon that and the fact that it was on my door step was a good enough reason for me to spend my Sunday morning running 26.2 miles in the company of other equally mad runners.
This was never an A goal, for me as this year all roads lead to the West Highland way in June. So in preparation I have throwing myself into this off road running lark. Anyone that know's me knows I do not exactly embrace he hills or the mud, so when you combine the 2 if you are anywhere near me you will hear my honest and frank opinions.
So I had been finding the training hard and a little frustrating as you don't cover the same distance as you do on the road. Also my poor bad left ankle was taking a real dislike to early morning trail runs.
So when I heard about the Kelso marathon I thought it would be nice to have a change and to put some miles in on the roads. (Yes I did not read the course description which stated it was 25 laps of a gravel track on the racecourse, who actually reads those little details anyway?)
So for a few weeks my emphasis changed and I put in some paced road runs and some mile reps, yes those things that along with core workouts which I know are good for me but boy do they hurt!! That said coming back to road training was like meeting a old friend and it was nice to feel some speed returning to the legs and it was a change from all the mud.
Going into the race I was aiming for around 3hours 10 mins and under 3hours 15mins if I wasn't feeling great. I knew I wouldn't be in PB shape due to not having done enough speed work but I was hopeful I would be somewhere in the middle of my two targets.
So the race started and right from the first lap I felt Ok but I also felt that I was uncomfortable and I was forcing it to much. I tried to relax and settle into it but maintaining the pace I had started at was feeling a real struggle. But I knew the marathon can be like that, some days you find the start easy and the end hard and other days you just struggle the whole way, well so it was today, I relaxed, settled into my rhythm and tried to switch off, pushing the pace as much as I dared in the hope the legs would eventually want to play.
I knew I was strong because of the hard training I had done, t I felt off today and wanted an answer why? I kept thinking I had spent too much time running slow miles on rough ground and now I was asking my legs to turn over so much faster on flat level ground that it just didn't feel right.
All I knew was that I couldn't force the pace anymore and I needed to slow down and treat it as a training run, I was lying in 2nd at that point and at the start I had wanted to win, but today was not my day, so I consolidated. I have learnt to listen to my body and not run it into the ground when it is not feeling right. Once I made that decision I started to feel better and started enjoying the race and of course his meant I could now eat real food.
As I ran along with my new attitude I felt the pressure had been lifted from my shoulders, I realised that maybe I had came to the race wanting too much a PB/a fast time/the win and expected all this off heavy legs and very little leg speed. In the end I finished in 3hours 20mins not too bad for how I was feeling. Over the next day or 2 I got my answer when I came down with a really bad cold, which left me with no energy and meant that I missed a few weeks of training. With hindsight it was the right decision as I am now back to normal and am still on course for that A goal.
The race was a great wee event and one I would definitely do again, the course was traffic free and pretty flat, the organisation was spot on and with it being lots of laps the support was great. I was well beaten into second but to have beaten the girl who won would have required a pb and boy was she flying.
To end on I felt I learned a few new lessons and reaffirmed a few old ones!!