I gave up smoking (after about 10 attempts) around 4 years ago and started running around the same time because I thought the two things were incompatible.
That seems like an awesome marathon time - never mind for a smoker!
I was smoking about the same number as you and when I quit I did cough up some crap that had collected in my lungs from about day 3 to day 10 ish. But really, it's not that bad, and it means you're clearing your lungs out, right? I found I had extra puff for going up hills etc. especially a few weeks in.
Therefore I heartily recommend quitting now, it might just help you reach your goal.
Also, when I smoked I felt I had a permanent cold and personally don't recall getting ill after quitting.
Chuchter - Try to avoid lengthening your stride too much. This allows you to avoid the braking that occurs with your leg stretched out in front of you. You will most likely be able to maintain your mid foot strike as well as a high cadence. May just save your quads for later in the race as a bonus!
Cheers WiB, I'll try this today as I'm running up and down hills this afternoon (not in pursuit of a fine cheddar... just an ordinary run).
I guess it's just annoying having to slow down when you'd think a downwoards slope would be much quicker
It's actually a small race up in Elgin that will be the big PB attempt for me - that reminds me, I better enter! Good luck at Battersea Park though.
Iwan - 19.26 is indeed now my 5k best. If I can take a few more seconds off it in the next couple of Saturdays that'll boost my confidence. I work Friday nights until 2.30AM, getting up at 7.30 to prepare for the parkrun on a saturday. I like to tell myself that I'd be running a bit faster if I wasn't so sleepy!
When's the half marathon you're training for and how's the training going?
I'm gonna try 4x1000m at intervals at race pace this evening as well (my legs are quaking in fear...)