Running

London Marathon – the big day …

It’s not that I underestimated how hard it would be. It’s that I really underestimated how hard it would be!

I started off quite well and the weather turned out to be actually perfect for running; cool but not too cold and pretty much dry all the way round. Then at some point, I think it was about mile 14, I was desperately in need of the loo but it seemed that everybody else was at that point too because the queues for the portaloos were really long and I ended up waiting about 15 minutes just to get in. I watched the 4.45 pacers go past and then the 5.00 pacers.

That’s when my muscles started seizing up and from then on it was a really tough ride. The rhinos, giraffe, ostrich and Big Ben who I’d gone past easily in the first half soon left me behind. From about 17 miles onwards I started walking a bit in between the running but it was a bit of a comedy walk as I was having bouts of cramp. Somewhere about mile 20/21 I spotted a St Johns station and got a wonderful calf rub that helped me to run slowly but continuously for another couple of miles. She told me I wasn’t drinking enough water, which was probably true as I was wary of stopping for another loo break, and she wanted me to sit down for a bit as I looked a little dizzy.  It’s true I wasn’t able to formulate complete sentences at that point but that was because I was in that place where l was just determined to get to the end and distractions were a little hard to register.

I knew I ran past the London Eye and Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament but they were just on the periphery of my mind and I didn’t really take them in. In fact my sisters and brothers had to shout my name a few times when they spotted me before I saw them!

However I think partly that was because there were so many other people shouting my name and encouraging me. Virtually the entire route was lined with people and that was something I’d never experienced before. It was amazing. Complete strangers shouting out my name and willing me on. For the first few miles I was running and chatting with someone I met at the start and we were both saying that our jaws were hurting from smiling so much; it felt like a carnival, a great big celebration.

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The smiles turned to a grimace at the end. But I did get to the end. And I’m still walking just about, although I do go up and down the stairs like my 95 year-old grandma. The run didn’t quite go according to plan but I am no longer a marathon virgin and the time I eventually got, 05.36.53, is my first benchmark. I can learn from this experience and hopefully by the next one I’ll be a little bit stronger and a little bit wiser.

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Running

London Marathon – prelude…

It’s a strange thing, waiting. 

After spending three and a half months training and building up my strength and stamina to something a little more than I had before, this last fortnight of enjoying the sunshine and the eating and the hardly doing any running at all has felt good. Really good! But at the back of my mind I’ve got Sunday looming and, with just three days to go, I’m liking this limbo land less and less.

I’m excited.  I’m nervous.  But now I just want it to start.  

My cold has pretty much gone, which is good, although I need to remember to pack some tissues to blow my nose on.  I’ve always managed to forget them so far and have been attempting to refine the art of expelling the contents one nostril at a time on some grassy wayside patch with varying results.  You don’t want to know what happens when I misjudge the wind direction.  And should I try anything like this on the day it will be the law of Sod that gets the camera to zoom in on me at that particular moment.  It cannot happen. Tissues must be not be forgotten! 

I’ve made a big list of things to remember and building a pile in the corner of my bedroom.  Kit, registration form, photo id, food gels, immodium (just in case the nerves get the better of me), suncream…  Having said that, Sunday is looking a bit cool, overcast and rainy.  Fantastic.  That’s on my side.  I’m trying to eat well ish  Yesterday I ‘carb loaded’ at Pizza Hut’s all you can eat lunchtime special with my running club buddies, and today someone brought in loads of cakes to work so the ‘well’ is very ishy at the moment. But I’ve not been drinking any alcohol for the past few days and lots of water so that’s good, right?  I can’t do any more so now, it’s in the lap of the gods.  

I’ve been thinking about how my training has gone as I have time now to reflect.  At the beginning I did have a plan worked out.  It had involved going to the gym alongside doing my running, to do some cross training like cycling and rowing or something like that.  But after the first couple of weeks I stopped going because I did not feel motivated.  It just seemed so tedious.  And plus I could never run more than three miles or so on the treadmill as there is something very odd about having an exact rhythm. When you run outside, even on a seemingly straight path, there are tiny undulations and changes underfoot that cause your pace to vary here and there.  And there’s AIR.  I felt so hot on the treadmills that I found it too difficult.  And I’m rubbish with difficult. So I cancelled my membership at the beginning of February and have not done anything else apart from my three or four runs a week and the occasional bit of cycling.  

I could have definitely done more. But, honestly, I’m just not that single minded.  You have to be really driven and focused and be willing to put yourself through some pain to make a serious stab at this. That is not a description of me!  But I’ll get better at it incrementally, gently, by degrees, so that by the time I do my next marathon (had I mentioned that I’m doing another one?!), in Athens in November, I’ll be a little bit stronger and I’ll keep the enjoyment of running. 

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Got my T-shirt printed with the charity on the back and my name is big letters on the front.  With my bright blue hat and mint green running shoes you can’t miss me!

Running

London Marathon Training: Week 14

Yesterday I was mostly eating tangerines and snuffling in bed. Having caught a bit of a cold at the back end of last week I decided to indulge it for just one day. That was when I was supposed to do my long run but no amount of Lemsip Max Strength could have got rid of the aching head and streaming eyes so I decided to give in. The day before I had happily hiked up some Welsh hills with my walking buddies (did I tell you I was doing the Coast to Coast walk two weeks after my Marathon? – well that’s another story!). But as I tried to open my eyes on Sunday morning, I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. 

I think it was a good call because today I feel pretty fine. I sound a little bit like Mariella Frostrup but hey that’s no bad thing!

I was even up and about to receive a nice big sponsorship cheque from a company, First Recruitment,  that have donated a lot of money to the Kamla Foundation. The total amount I’ve received on my sponsorship site has been amazing so thank you very much to all those who added to the pot.  No pressure to finish then!!

Kamla Cheque Presentation 13.4.15

I’m going to be back pounding the streets from tomorrow. No more super long runs though as we are in taper time. Supposedly your body needs two to three weeks to recover from all the training so that you’re at your optimum best for the big day. I don’t know the science behind it but I am very happy to oblige. In my previous weekend I only managed 17 miles instead of the 20 I was hoping for and I was a bit despondent.  But now I’m resigned to the fact that I’ve pretty much done all I can, which may be a bit less than some people but it may be more than others, and that’s okay.  It’s my first one and whatever time I manage it’ll be a PB.