Finish Time — 06:34:14
Average Pace — 15:03 per mile
Steps Taken — 62,880
Mantra of the Day — “Courage cannot be beaten”
In the same way that Day 4’s problems dragged me down at the start of Day 5, so my stronger finish on Day 5 carried over into a more positive outlook this morning. In addition we were treated to a spectacularly beautiful Lake District morning, that would have lifted the spirits of the worst curmudgeon.
Breakfast filled my belly, Body Rehab ninjas worked their magic, and I was almost impatient to get out on the road. What a difference from yesterday’s dismal start…
Not wanting to overdo things I started with the same walk-run routine as yesterday so that I could warm up gently. After the first drink station I felt that I could handle a full run, so off I trotted. Amazingly the ankle felt fine, and everything about the spring morning relaxed me and gave me huge confidence for the day. I jogged past the black pig snuffling in his field, I jogged past Randy Crag, I jogged past Hawkshead — and marvel of marvels I jogged up Devil’s Gallop. Steepest hill on the whole course, and the first time since Day 1 that I had taken this one at a run.
I settled into my rhythm and went back to the basics of minimalist running. Focus on centre of gravity, weight distribution, feedback from the body, and foot placement. Count the steps, count the breaths. Adjust, fine-tune all the time. And suddenly I was at Newby Bridge, having marked a regular pace on almost every single mile since the start.
Best of all I felt strong, and capable of carrying on at the same pace all day. Mile 14 went by, then mile 16 where Aly had written a message of encouragement on my banana! MIle 18, tick. Mile 20 and I’m in Bowness dodging Japanese tourists and bad drivers. Mile 22, Ice Cream Mountain where I chat briefly to a couple of guys biking Lands End to John O’Groats. Mile 24 and I’m *still* clocking the miles at the exact same pace. The last two miles were a treat. Smooth and easy, no pain to speak of, just looking forward to reaching the finish line.
Today’s run, although one of my slower performances, will go down in my personal records as one of my strongest runs ever — psychologically for sure, and also physically given the trials of the last couple of days. Any time you run a full marathon at the same steady pace, mile after mile, you know that you are in control. And it feels good!
I’m curious to see what happens tomorrow. I am on a high from today’s performance (almost two hours faster than yesterday) and I will have to rein myself in so as to continue my recovery and be on full form at the weekend. This journey is taking twists and turns that I could never have anticipated…