So how did Bramley go?

Bramley 20 race number
Bramley 20 race number
Bramley 20 race number

As Bramley 20 didn’t start until 10:30am, I was able to get up relatively late for a race day. This was good as I didn’t get to bed until 11:30pm the night before, which is very late for me. I decided to have porridge for breakfast but ran out of time to make carrot cake porridge. In the end,  I decided to go for 30g of date and walnut porridge with some ground almonds thrown in for extra protein. This was accompanied by a sachet of Spatone apple juice. The advertising describes it as delicious – I think it tastes vile, but believe that it’s doing me some good.

My plan was to run with a  race belt – I had a packet of Powerbar energy blasts, a couple of High Five gels and some other yoghurt gel thing as well as four small bottles of water. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to beat last year’s time (3:02), but figured that I should be able to complete the race in 3:15.

The first lap

Despite the promise of sunshine, the day started out grey and cloudy. I decided that 4 bottles of water on a course with several drink stations was unnecessary. Plus my belt was really heavy, so I ditched two bottles before the start. Although I’ve been trying to run without the need for unnatural crap, the strategy was to take a gel every five miles. I took my first gel at 5 miles and was feeling good. Irene and I had Alice with us, and we decided to encourage her to get a 10k PB and a 10 mile PB – go, Alice! The sun came out and it was hotting up, so I decided to ditch my headband and race belt when Alice left us at 10 miles. I continued the second ten miles without them.

The second lap

Unfortunately, my running buddy had runners’ stomach cramps during the second part of the race. She looked ill and I was worried about her. If it had been a parkrun, or she had had a leg injury that forced her to pull out, I would have run on, but 20 miles is a long race for someone to complete on their own. We finished in 3:27: 03, but I was delighted that I had loads of energy left at the end. I felt that I could continue on and run the full marathon distance. So, although it wasn’t a race done at race pace, I feel reassured that I may not do horrendously badly at Paris marathon… I just need to keep myself on track until then.

As usual, we went to a pub after the race and despite my pledge to be good, I was HUNGRY! Sadly, there were only TWO vegetarian options on the menu: goats cheese tart or vegetable carbonara. I hate goats cheese so that was the decision made for me. I really didn’t want the carbonara before it arrived and when it was finally served (an hour later), it was worse than I was expecting: cubes of barely cooked pepper, aubergine and onion stirred into hot cream and poured over some pasta with some garlic ciabatta on the side. Definitely not worth £10 and goodness knows how many calories 🙁

Recovering from the race

In the evening, Stuart and I decided to go on a slow, gentle 5k recovery run, as we had done when we were on holiday with Embrace Sports. It was an effort getting off the sofa, but once we got going it was fine. I convinced Stu to do some extra bits so that we finished on exactly 5k. It was also good to run with Stu for a change. He’s so much faster than me that we rarely run together, although we’re usually running at the same time.

This morning I cycled to work as usual, but it felt really easy for a change, which was great. Maybe the recovery run last night helped, or maybe it was because I didn’t cycle on Friday. I don’t know, but I’m not complaining! I then went for a swim at the uni pool. Usually, I aim to complete 800m before getting out, but I thought it would be more sensible to practise some drills. There’s no point in repeatedly doing something wrong or badly. I did various drills with a float, but the pool was much busier than usual, so I didn’t do as much as I’d have liked. I have no idea how many lengths I swam as I didn’t count them.

What next?

This evening, I’m running with the club… well, I say running but I actually mean Run Leading. Group B is doing a 10k tempo run. I didn’t want to risk it, so I’m going to cycle up to The Common and try to cycle with the group. It will be 15k in total, so it will help me to know how I’ll cope (or otherwise) when it comes to my duathlon!

After training, there’s a coaching meeting, so I’ll end up eating the food that’s provided in the pub. It’s unlikely to match up to my healthy eating aims, but otherwise, I won’t eat until after 9pm. I have tried to be good so far today with porridge for breakfast and salad for lunch. This morning, I bought a big bag of fruit from the market.

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