I was looking forward very fondly to today. To be honest the last couple of weeks have been a slog. By my standards the last 15 weeks have been tough going. I’ve hit every weekly mileage target but the programme has become a slog. Out of the window has gone any thought of quality or speed – it’s just been a question of dogging out the miles set by Mr Higdon. Mentally I’ve had to lift myself to sustain the effort and again I wonder at and admire those ‘proper’ runners that churn out 120+mpw when I’m topping out today in the mid 40s. And I don’t have a family or a long commute and extended work hours to work around!

So anyway it was a fine Jersey morning and I decided to dispense with the iPod for once as I set off up the well-worn track to Corbiere. My PMP is still provisionally 10m/m and, after 10.22 two weeks ago in my first 20-miler I was hoping to get a bit closer today to set myself up for Cork. Onto the Railway Walk and up towards Les Quennevais I didn’t feel great but quite often I only find a rhythm at about five miles. Thankfully I dropped the water bottle by the hedge as I headed off on a circuit of the cycle track – this was a racecourse up until about 1960. The Les Quennevais Sports Centre has since been developed superbly and, apart from the indoor centre, there are facilities for tennis, netball, soccer, rugby and cricket as well as softball. In addition the petanque and croquet clubs have been able to set up headquarters here. Back onto the old railway line and on to Corbiere where I ditch the water bottle again. I did have a belt which accommodated a water bottle but this lies with lots more non-essential possessions in my friend Joan’s house in Cork; have you seen what the airlines charge for luggage these days? As it was I had to sweet-talk the girl at the Aer Lingus desk in December to avoid an excess charge.

Onto the first of three 2.3 mile loops of Petit Port and, after the first uphill slog I suddenly found a bit of life in my legs. I completed the three loops as the morning traffic increased, notably the motor bike convoys that roar about on a Sunday. With the help of NutriGrains and Jelly Babies I got around the loops OK and retrieved my now half-empty water bottle and headed for home with about 14 miles done. However I was now suffering a bit with achy upper arms and shoulders. I’m not sure why I sometimes get this but it is not pleasant. Neither is it helped by toting water and, after a final swig, I tossed the bottle aside. I feel very guilty about littering but such is the litter problem in Jersey I suppose my unusual lapse won’t make much difference. I was pleased with the way I was able to hang on over the latter miles, now battling against the tide of charity walkers and cyclists along the seafront. Back home without any walk breaks – 20.27 miles in 3:33.03 = 10.31m/m. In truth I’m a bit disappointed with that pace, albeit that route has its share of climbs. On the plus side the run got done and, on the face of it, the marathon ought to get done if my approach on the day is correct.

So it’s taper time, though Mr Higdon is still calling for 32 miles next week, with the Hash Half Marathon next Sunday. It will be interesting to see if I can produce anything near a 1:50 off the back of this period of heavy, slow miles.

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