7th August 2020 - Marathon training was On, 20th August - my hopes of racing a marathon in 2020 were gone in a (Cloud)flash.
After learning that Run Cheshire were planning on hosting the Wrexham Elite Marathon on October 4th I jumped at the chance and made sure I got my entry in on the condition that I could handle the training with the current way of life due to the ongoing pandemic. My work has become far more labour intensive due to the increased levels of cleaning involved and restrictions in place. Add in the fact it's been the school holidays it's been a juggling act maintaining the balance between work, family and training. With only an eight week marathon build up it was always going to be a long shot but I'd been keeping the volume relatively high so it was a matter of seeing if I could get marathon ready in a short space of time.
The first couple of weeks went by ok, not firing on all cylinders, but I was a completing training sessions as planned. The planned long run at the end of the second week didn't go well though. Struggling to hit target race pace towards the end of the run but I put that down to a bad nights sleep, bad weather conditions and the school boy error of having my first sports massage in six months! Anyway chalked it off as a bad run and moved onto the next session. Struggled again during the Tuesday session but still managed to run within target pace so focus then switched to recovering in time for the big session of the week on the Thursday.
The session itself was straight forward 3 x 5k ~15 secs/mile slower then marathon pace off 1k float to finish with 5k at target marathon pace.
Warm up completed and not feeling 100% I laced up my Cloudflash to try and give myself a bit of boost by wearing my racing flats. It seemed to work as quickly got into a rhythm and completed the first 5k in 17:43. Just as I started my second effort my watch decided to turn itself off but having already started I continued running as I knew where the 5k interval would end. My watch then turned itself back on and somehow had changed the display settings to mph! By this time though the GPS was out of sync so I continued to the end of the effort running to feel. I completed the effort and then decided to stop to try and correct my watch. That was a mistake! Firstly I couldn't change the settings it had switched to and after attempting to get running again my legs had turned to lead! I completed the first mile of the third effort in just over 6 minutes and by this time my legs had given up and so had my head. Session over and after three poor key runs in a week it was a case of three strikes your out and my 2020 marathon hopes gone in a flash.
The combined effects of juggling work stresses, family life and trying to train for a marathon had taken it's toll and eventually something had to give. A few days rest followed during which involved a significant chunk of wall paper stripping which has resulted in a lower back injury and an enforced lay off from running.