Fresh starts

Bit of a victory mile this morning…

…as the London Marathon decision (which was announced yesterday evening) worked out really, really well for me.

First of all, I will be taking part in the (Virtual) 40th London Marathon in a slightly altered form. Participants have 24 hours (from midnight to midnight on Sunday 4th October 2020) to complete the virtual race, and are allowed to take breaks. As such, I will be combining it with a challenge I’ve wanted to do for a couple of months but couldn’t commit to until I knew what was happening with the marathon – I will be running one mile an hour for 24 hours on 4th October! (My usual ‘mile’ route is closer to 1.2 miles so I will be running around 28.8 miles in total – more than enough to complete the Virtual London Marathon.)

I’m thrilled about this – it feels like a challenge I can really have a good go at this year, seeing as I run that route most days and could do so in my sleep – whereas my ‘training take two’ for the full marathon was not going as well as I hoped due to the general uncertainty of the pandemic, and I don’t think I would have run to my full potential had the physical race gone ahead this October. It also enables me to raise a bit of money for the RNLI (here’s my JustGiving page if you’d like to donate!), which I’ve not been able to do this year due to all my races being postponed, and it will be something exciting that I’ve not done before. I really feel motivated now, and am considering entering the Virtual Great North Run as well in order to give me a good training base for the challenge!

(I’m also quite looking forward to watching the special biosphere-protected elite race on TV in between mile runs on Sunday 4th October, as that will hopefully provide some inspiration!)

Secondly – assuming that COVID-19 is no longer cancelling races by next autumn – I will be running the next in-person mass race at the 41st London Marathon in October 2021 (they’ve delayed the usual April date to give the pandemic a better chance of clearing off). My place for the 2020 race was a ‘back of the pack’ place, which was generously given for free to all runners who took more than seven hours to complete the race in 2019, due to the problems that arose at the back of the pack that day. All ‘back of the pack’ places are being deferred to 2021 – so, unlike ballot place runners, whose places will be spread over a couple of years, I know for definite that I will be on the start line in October 2021 (again, assuming that COVID-19 is thoroughly in retreat by then!). I am really grateful for this additional certainty, although I do feel for other ‘back of the pack’ runners (and other groups of runners who won’t be allowed to defer to 2022 for various reasons) who can’t run an autumn marathon due to calendar issues.

In general, then, I’m on a real high about my running plans for the rest of the year. I’m even going to be swapping out some of my weekday one-mile runs for two-mile runs in order to build more of a mileage base! Following the 24-hour challenge, I’m planning to work hard on my 10k pace over the winter in the hope of getting that sub-hour result at the Sunderland City 10k in May (pandemic depending) and then start building up the distance again with the Edinburgh Half Marathon, also in May (pandemic depending).

(I really, really hope that we can have races as normal again in 2021 and that all of this planning will come to fruition.)

Anyway, in only-semi-running news (as far as I’m concerned walking is good training, and it was related to Geth’s running anyway!), Geth and I went for a nine-mile walk this afternoon to scope out a new section for Geth’s long run. Geth is hoping to run the Yorkshire Marathon in autumn 2021 (if we can get in – what’s happening with Yorkshire is a whole other kettle of fish that deserves a post of its own!), and so is gradually building up his distances for the long run he does every second Sunday, thus requiring additional loops for his route. It was a warm, muggy day and so we appreciated a stop-in at Brinkburn Street Brewery in south Byker – it was our first time in a pub since March, but we both felt really comfortable there. They are managing their distancing admirably – we only had to wait a short time before being shown to the beer garden, where we had plenty space to ourselves and didn’t feel encroached upon by other customers (some of the beer gardens I’ve walked past lately are not like this at all!). I would definitely stop in again on a quiet weekday afternoon, though I’d probably book next time as I think we were quite lucky to get a table.

A very quiet evening now, with both of us collapsed on the sofa in front of some YouTube!

A ‘pace run’ tomorrow morning, though after today’s exertions I doubt it’ll be that pacy. I’ll post my running vlogs over the weekend as usual and do another update on Monday.

Sober girl in socially-distanced beer garden
Back to the random flavours of Fentimans that you get in pubs (so possibly look out for some new Booze Alternative posts soon!). It was nice to have a bit of semi-normality this afternoon.

Today’s earworm playlist:

ACE+ – ‘Riki The Legendary Heropon’
Meat Loaf – ‘You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)’
Abba – ‘I Have A Dream’
Vangelis – ‘Chariots Of Fire’

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