Today has been marked in my diary for some time as it was the day that my HM training plan said that I had to do the first "Race Simulation" run. According to MyAsics, that means 18K at around 10 seconds per K slower than target race pace. In my case that meant running around 6:10 per Km.
The first K was done in 6:12 and I have to say I felt pretty good and conditions were just about perfect so I allowed myself to speed up a bit and was able to bound along in the 5:50-5:55 range up to around 14K.
My route today was undulating/lumpy and it was around 14K that I noticed a significant worsening in my recovery times at the end of uphill sections. I was still pretty much OK but it then crossed my mind that 14K is only one third of the Marathon distance and I did ask myself what I was thinking signing up for one of those.
The next K or so were fine but when I was about 400m away from an absolute pig of a hill (it's around 13% incline for 150m) my legs suddenly began to feel very heavy but no matter, I was still pretty much maintaining my pace. When I hit Pig Hill though, my legs literally went to jelly and for a couple of strides it genuinely felt like they might give way! Thankfully I was able to gather myself but took it very easy up the remainder of that incline which it took an age for my lungs to recover from.
The remaining 2 and a bit K were not very pleasant but I got through them and they were a bit faster too (albeit mostly downhill).
Overall, I completed the 18K in 1:46:17 (average 5:54/Km) which I happy about but I am now walking around with a gait similar to John Wayne (who I am sure also 'dressed' to the left, Dan), my knees are a bit grumbly and I have pain across the top of my right foot. I am sure these will pass but they have helped me decide not to repeat this run next Sunday (as scheduled). I will do the 18K (indeed I might extend it to 19K) but I will target a much gentler pace.
Just 4 weeks to go until my HM now - doesn't time fly?
Garmin linkie thing