The last two weekends have been taken up with races. These races were booked before I knew I was running London Marathon and my training plan to date has been drawn up to accommodate these races. They've become part of my regular racing schedule and I didn't want to miss them.
The first of the races was Marrakech Half Marathon. If anyone's either raced it or read my race report from last year you'll be aware that it has it's challenges with maintaining closed roads, scooters, donkeys etc all over the place, and some issues with route signage, but there's something about this race that keeps dragging me back there (could be the lovely sunshine..).
The race itself went to plan. I did break one of the cardinal rules of racing by trying something new on race day. What I thought was porridge at breakfast turned out to be some kind of rice pudding, not a food I've ran on before. After a tough long run the previous week I was feeling a little anxious at the start line, but thankfully my back felt good and, despite not pushing my pace as this was now a training run rather than a target race, I managed to knock 6 minutes off last year's time. This was even after having to stop and wait for a coach to do a 3 point turn on one of the "closed roads". Maybe rice pudding pre-race is a good thing!
For my midweek run I decided to continue my foray into running home from work by running a couple of stops further on before jumping on the tube the rest of the way. I took a little jaunt down The Mall just to get a feel for some of the London route. I was going the opposite way up the street than I will be on 22nd April but it still gave me the shivers thinking about how I will feel coming down it on race day.
This week was a drop down week due to my long run being the Winter 10k on the Sunday, another of my favourite races. It has such a fun atmosphere and I do enjoy running closed road Central London races (bodes well for April..). I set off into town with Che & Dan. It felt pretty chilly after the warm weather of Marrakech last week. We joined the 20,000 runners taking on the course and enjoyed high-fiving huskies, penguins and snowmen on the way round. I din't push it for a pb time but I thoroughly enjoyed the run. I finished feeling the strongest I have ever done after a 10k.
It really feels like the training is paying off. It might not be showing in my official race times yet as I am trying to minimise injury risk, but when my back doesn't cause me problems, I'm finishing races with plenty left in the tank and with a spring in my step. Long may it continue...