I've written a full report on how it went with pics and links here:
Prague Race Report
Following the race I had a steak and a fair amount of lovely Pilsner Urquell. I gave myself a week off to recover and heal, almost immediately coming down with a very heavy cold (good timing) -most likely my body's way of getting its own back.
The last few weeks have gone well. The weather has been warm and a good challenge for Helsinki (where research points towards a 20-25C race) and I'm feeling more prepared from the lessons I've learnt.
Bristol to Pill towpath, my favourite training route
I've bought a foam roller which is proving invaluable in helping with strains and stiffness. If you're wondering what that means, here's the video that I follow with exercises: Foam Rolling Exercises. It's no sub for a good sports massage but they can be expensive and I've decided to have one after my longest training run (20 miles) as a painful reward before I taper down towards the race.
I've been thinking a bit about next years races and I'm saving up to book one in August, most likely that it'll be Alexander The Great Marathon - Thessaloniki, Greece, April 3rd 2016 although this could well change, just waiting for more of the marathons to get dates confirmed. The idea will be to try to do at least 4 next year.
I was lucky enough to get back to Cornwall last week and got out for a very hilly 11m run from Mevagissey to St Austell and back (Pentewan Trail). The views were fantastic and it was good to get some hill work done as most of my runs in Bristol have been quite flat along rivers etc and the first 3 miles or so out of Mevagissey were very challenging.
I've been in touch with the folks at MEaction.net who have very kindly placed my challenge on the front page of their website and are giving me excellent support on Twitter. It's an international community of events and actions for ME which is really great if I'm to reach more people around the world and raise awareness -cheers Rachael for all your help so far.
So, some brief thoughts on how to mentally survive long runs.
I read about this in Phil Hewitt's - 'The Highs And Lows Of A Marathon Addict' and have to say its something I would naturally do anyway but its proving to be quite helpful.
Let's say you're attempting a 14 mile run; this is really a 7 mile run. Why? Because it's 7 miles away from your house and then back. Nonsensical I know but you've got to get home somehow so the mileage to come back doesn't really count. Walking home 7 miles isn't really an option, I have no cash on me to get a cab or bus and calling someone to come get me is embarrassing. Stay with me!
So when you get to 4 miles then that's over halfway in my mind (in my rationale that's 4 miles into a 7 mile run). Reaching over halfway of the actual run (7m) always gives me a boost, I know I will get home and in terms of pain etc I'm over the worst of it. When I get within 3 miles from the end I know that's the equivalent of my walk home from work which doesn't take long. Applying my usual running pace to the mileage means I won't be running for much more than 25 mins, not a big deal when I've already run for an hour and a half or more.
In terms of a marathon, I break 26 miles into 3 sections. Up to 8 miles is just a weekday after-work run to get warmed up. The next 8 are when I'm 'in-flow' -the slightly meditative state that I've talked about before where you don't really feel like you're running, the mind is wandering and breathing is easy. Then the final 10, well, that's usually all about survival. Drawing upon experience, positive mantras and (towards the last 4 miles), clinging on for dear life etc etc. Anyway, the most important thing I have in my locker is a successful marathon under my belt to call upon when the doubt creeps in.
That's it for now. On the to-do list for next month is to find some folks to meet in Helsinki and make some noise in the press over there (and here) whilst fitting in some good training around Glastonbury Festival and a boozy work weekend away.
Cheers for your support and catch up in a few weeks.