Rest days. Still feel guilty about calling them that when I think of them more in terms of ‘thank god I don’t have to run today’, days.
My sister and her family are coming today so everyone is very excited. They live in New Zealand so this is a rare and much-anticipated visit. They have one night in amongst the punishing schedule of driving the length and breadth of the country with a 2-year-old and a four-year old in tow.
I don’t envy them one tiny bit.
They arrive late after getting stuck in traffic in Edinburgh so our kids are hysterical, and N and I are half-cut by the time they get here.
We have a fantastic night with them and showing a complete lack of respect for my body, my running partner and the commitment I have made to running this race, my sis and I stay up until 2am drinking brandy. I’m not sure about you, but I’m seeing a theme developing here.
Our Sunday run is again planned for the usual route around Mawcarse, Balgeddie and the Loch. We find it not too shabby an effort and despite the fact the Garmin 10 has once again failed us, and I have a stonking hangover, we do OK, and feel overall, positive and happy with the distance and time (both, estimated very heavily in our favour).
Cheating oneself is a key part of our training plan.
Days 96 – 98
Back to school, so we embark on the usual scramble to find reading books, gym kit and school trousers and realise that once again, rugrat number 1’s feet have grown. Mercy dash to M&S.
We are taking this ‘tapering’ malarkey we’ve read so much about to a whole new level, by doing absolutely zero this week.
Rugrat 2 is back at sports class so I take the opportunity to fill my free hour with a run. Decide not to call on G as after a lax week, I don’t want to embarrass myself.
Manage a pretty good 9.5k and get back before the class is over so despite not having the Garmin (which has proved not to be the magic bit of kit I was promised), I estimate around 50 minutes. The truth is probably nearer 55.
I’m buzzing after a sprint down the main street back to the hall but am soon brought back down to earth as the others waiting to pick up their kids question me about the race, my training and expectations on the day. They appear to be talking to me as though as I am some sort of authority. I feel a fraud so mumble some self-deprecating replies, and change the subject.
The symbolic 100th training day should be marked in some way with a grand gesture of some sort.
I spend a very pleasant child free few hours in the hairdressers drinking coffee and reading celebrity trash.
I’ll remember it forever.
Day 101 – 102
My little brother and his girlfriend pitch up for the weekend as an unexpected surprise so training is moved to the back of my mind. I cannot wait until this run is over so I can eat and drink with impunity. We spend a lovely couple of days with them and V and I arrange a late afternoon run to round off a great weekend.
We do around 10k, only too aware that this is not enough. No one has cast an eye over the training schedule for weeks but we estimate we are probably around 10k down this week mileage-wise.
I go home and drink wine while I ponder a solution.
Day 103 – 107
We do NOTHING this week at all. Husbands working late, children, community group commitments – you’ve heard it all before. The rain was also a major factor in cancelling Wednesday evening’s session.
We really are not taking this seriously.
Guilt overtakes me eventually and I manage an 8k on Thursday morning and console myself with the fact that we are supposed to be ‘tapering’.
N is out this evening so we arrange a 10am start. The conditions are perfect and we plan the 16k route we have done before as our final long distance training run.
It is an unmitigated disaster.
Neither of us are in the mood and we confess we are finding the whole training programme tedious. We cannot wait until this race is over and agree we will never tackle anything of this length again. The planning and time commitment required is just too much.
The final indignity is that N and G are brownie point millionaires as a result of all the absentee parenting we’ve done of late, and they’ll be out golfing and at the pub every weekend for the next year before we’re back on an even keel.
We walk probably a third of the route, and ditch out of the last 4k as the bugs around the loch path are unbearable. We are swallowing huge swathes of blackfly with every in-breath.
On the upside, V thinks the additional protein may be replenishing our tired muscles as we run.
I’d still rather have a steak.
Not the positive and reinforcing last long run we’d hoped for. I go home feeling extremely deflated and as unsure of my ability to finish as I was on Day 1.
I have a gin and tonic and feel only slightly better. Bad times indeed.
No school today so I plan to take the children on the newly completed Heritage Trail which circuits the whole loch and comes in at around 14k or so. On bikes, obviously.
Unfortunately,what should have been a happy family day out, turns into a scene from a horror movie only 6k in.
The flies on the path are truly horrific and despite the fact we are wearing buffs, sunglasses and cycling helmets, the little buggers seem to be getting everywhere; in our mouths, noses and crawling about in our hair even under the helmets.
Rugrat 2 is behind me on the rear seat so is somewhat sheltered and is happily singing to herself while number 1 is totally freaking out. It is a horrible sensation and the swarm in so dense it is really rather frightening. In his agitated state, number 1 keeps stopping and gasping for breath by removing his buff. We abandon the cycle and turn back, crossing onto the road to get home in a fashion less likely to cause a walker to call social services due to the screaming – from both of us.
When we get home, we remove his buff and the mouth area, wet from the tears and snotters episode, is black with bug carcasses. I feel a bit ashamed for being cross with him now and revert to my usual parenting style; offer chocolate as a poor substitute for understanding and patience.
Last run before the big day. It’s a beautiful evening but we’ve been here before and it ended up in ‘eye-gate’ where V carried off a rather delightful bug bite on the eyelid for a day or two. With this in mind, we circumnavigate the woodland, who knows what dangers lurk within.
The pace is good and we complete 8k in 40 minutes. Bearing in mind we need to keep that up over 2 and a half times that distance, we’re satisfied.
We are both terrified, but despite knowing we are overall, probably about 40k down over the whole training schedule, I am still convinced we’ll finish. And right now, that is all that matters.
V is over-thinking an email we were sent by the race organisers. There are only 29 recipients on it and the medal ceremony is due to start at 3.15pm, after a race start time of 1.00pm.
I calm her down telling her that there definitely more than 29 competitors, it is not a race only for elite athletes and yes, we will probably still be running long after the medal ceremony is over.
I use soothing words and I think, project an air of being totally unconcerned. Afterwards, I rush home and ponder the wording of the email for good 20 minutes before going over all the race data stored in the Garmin and calculating our ‘true’ finish time.
Sometime before dark is the best I come up with.