Road to Berlin Blog 2 - Week starting 9 July 2018 (10 weeks to go)

Over the next few weeks I'll be explaining how a normal guy with two daughters, a wife and a full time job can try and realise his dream of running a sub 2.30 marathon in Berlin on September 16.  


With 10 weeks to go to the Berlin Marathon I wanted to get in at least 70 miles; to build a base before the hard work to come.  Unfortunately (from a running perspective!), my wife was due for a planned cesarean section on Monday morning at 7.15.  I needed to be with her for at least 24 hours, potentially more if anything didn't go to plan.  I really didn't fancy trying to squeeze 70 miles into 5 days from Wednesday to Sunday when we have a toddler and a newborn baby!  


When you have dreams of a sub 2.30 marathon what choice do you have?  Of course what I thought the best idea was to set the alarm for 4.30 and run 15 miles in around 1 hour 45 minutes before setting off for the hospital.  We actually slept surprisingly well and when the alarm went off I was up for the challenge.  I left just before 4.45 and ran couple of easyish 7 minute miles.  I hit a lovely bridleway heading out of Milton Keynes and thought it was best to do an out and back to a small town that I knew was around 7 miles from my house.  The weather was absolutely perfect and I felt alive.  Winslow looked so nice in the morning sun and as it was still before 6am it was so calm and quiet.  I turned and headed back and as the miles went on I got faster and faster, dipping under 6 for the penultimate mile.  I got back in exactly when I said I would (very important in our house!) and was absolutely buzzing for the day ahead.  

Everything went perfectly at the hospital and our 2nd daughter was born at 10.39; we named her Francesca and were over the moon.  We were held in over night to check everything was ok before being allowed home about midday on Tuesday.  Yes I'm the bottom priority in the family, but unfortunately I slept absolutely terribly.  The chair provided for birth partners was incredibly uncomfortable and I think I got less than 90 minutes of sleep all night.  We couldn't wait to get home, where fortunately we had Sarah's parents looking after Lexi; this allowed us some nap time. Unfortunately I felt really sick and generally horrible; I did as best as I could to help out with the kids (no idea how many nappies I changed), making sure Sarah had everything she needed and making meals. Running however was a complete write off.

This all meant that despite my early morning on Monday I was still going to need to fit 70 miles into 5 days feeling far from fresh and with family responsibilities; almost 14 miles per day for the remaining 4 days.  Sarah's brilliant parents were able to help us until Thursday afternoon and then mine (also brilliant) arrived in the evening; this gave me a decent bit of flexibility which I was hugely grateful for!  On Thursday morning I managed a tough 7 mile trot and in the evening I went out for another easy 8 miler with my mate Jamie; it felt horrible but was relieved to get it done.  

On Friday in amongst nappy changes and making meals I went out for 3 runs.  Starting with an easy 4 miles; I was obviously feeling better because easy had shifted down to 6.48s; less than an hour later I suddenly had another window so did another 3 at the same pace.  We had a great family day and when I went out in the early evening I was on top of the world; it's downhill to a nice lake and after a couple of laps and home I'd knocked off a lovely sub 40 10km.  

I'd have loved to have been able to go to parkrun on Saturday morning, but Sarah wasn't yet strong enough to look after Francesca on her own so I made do with pushing Lexi in the running buggy; good fun.  In the evening I wanted to do another 10km, but with no grandparents on hand I couldn't be far away.  So after I'd put Lexi to bed it was the ideal time to test out my new Nomad Run treadmill.  I set up Peep Show on Netflix and got going; it has decent bounce and I'd done 10km in no time.  It'll be a trial and error to get the set up right, the run was good, but I was very hot indeed at the end!  I put my heart rate monitor on to see how hard I was working at 15kph which would generally be around 150bpm outside; on the treadmill it was closer to 130.  I'm only just learning about heart rate monitors, but interesting to know.  

Sunday was my running highlight of the week; Sarah felt confident enough to look after Francesca, but I had to take Lexi with me.  I needed 15 miles to get to 70, but fortunately I had plenty of friends to run with.  First we met Rachel (she's flying) and Woody at 7am, we did a decent hour together, but was tough going with the buggy as Rach was pushing the pace we were clocking off 6.40 miles.  Then we picked up Paul and Jamie at 8am; I was relieved as I thought they'd fancy a more relaxed pace.  I was right and we trotted along at around 7s while Rach strode off in front.  It was very warm by the time I got home, but I had 15 miles in the bank!  Buggy running is tough, but Lexi really enjoys it and it means I'm still able to run, hopefully it gives me a bit of an extra core workout too!  

I've now got one more week of paternity leave left, I'll try my first marathon session on Tuesday morning and long run later in the week.  Once back at work, the real challenge will begin; watch this space......