Monday, 26 May 2008

26.2 ROCKS (long post)

Many things ROCK but 26.2 miles for no reason (rather than being chased by big dogs, or aliens with probes) really, really rocks!

My first thought on finishing was: again, again!!

I really loved it. I really hated the training but I loved every minute of the run. (Okay, apart from the minute when the leg of the guy in front of me contorted into a wild spasm of twisted cramp and he fell to the ground screaming in agony.) [He did get medical help v quickly.]

After carefully checking myself for sores, blisters and general wear-and-tear I can conclude that I am unscathed apart from a small blister on my chest. This exists because I insist on carrying a cotton hanky for snot and plegm related emergencies. There is no excuse for gobbing in the street, particularly when bits might land on runners behind you! ICK I may have to now invent a special sports endurance hanky that doesn't leave blisters and is wicking... shhh my fortune will be found on Dragon's Den.

4.53 unofficial time - v v pleased with this in a pathetic way. I keep nudging TheO (who looks at me as if I'm about to procalim on matters of import) and saying "I ran a marathon!" I'm not sure how long I can keep this up without being punched. Also - is it wrong to have the marathon medal on the bedpost?

sport beans rocked - really BIN THE GEL BUY THE BEANS
sports bra rocked - not a mark on me and my shoulders survived the bounce
sun burn less so - luckily mild

I followed my plan (sort of)
ran 10
walked 1
ran 8
walked 1.2
ran the rest - walking in small bursts for about 10min top - probably less.

My splits tell most of the story:
Average speed 11.07
10.03 ----At this point I'd averaged just under 10min/miles - faster than expected start
WALKED mile 11 - 14.43 (Had TheO on her bike near me had a lovely chat!)
10.33 - same time as my all-run training run
11.09 - getting hot & hilly & rough underfoot
WALKED mile 20 - 15.52
13.57 - walked 0.2 miles of this mile too - wanted only 6 to run at the end
11.07 - ran all
12.47 - walked a wee bit
11.09 - ran all
13.49 - walked some with the thought of finishing strong and enjoying the end
10.52 - loving the last mile
last 0.4 (on gps) miles 4.39 - practically a sprint finish

3547 calories burnt
5,000,000 calories eaten since

The start was quite exciting and I tried really hard to pace myself. I'm glad I ran a bit faster though. Made up for the slowing at the end.

Took some time to settle and I was quite antsy and still a bit trepidatious until mile 6 or 7 where I saw Spartans parents cheering me on like wild things. They were the first cheers for me and really made me think that maybe this marathon lark wasn't going to be soooo hideous after all.

At mile 9 lots of lovely, lovely friends were there embarrassing me and making me feel like some kind of superstar. It was brilliant and really cheered me up and made me feel like maybe this was going to be ok. I wasn't crazy - 26.2 might be possible.

Mile 10 was my walking break - I really had to force myself to take it, but I think the strategy worked in the end. TheO had caught up with me on her bike and chatted to me while I chugged back sport beans and water. I got a wee bit cold but just did up my jacket and felt much better.

The next 6 were good - The Professor and Rock God (plus some family) made it out to mile 15/16 and the extra cheers really did spur me on up the hill and back down again.

18/19 were cruel jokes. The terrain turned to hard red pebbles and dusty track, there were no crowds, there was an unexpectedly unpleasant uphill, we were sheltered from the wind and the sun was baking. It took all my will power to remain running and not stop until mile 20 for my walking break.

Ahh, 20 was pure joy. I was delighted not to be feeling that intense calf agony that normally sets in at this point on the walk. I just ate more beans, had more water, cooled my head off (saw Prof and Rock God again) and desperately tried to remain focused. I'd managed to run this far by giving myself a little mental reward. I was now going to walk 1.2 miles then start running - so I'd only have 6 to do at the end - less than 10K.

I did start running again but I had to stop and start a few times as cramp was threatening in one calf. Then the guy in front of me was stricken down with it. I lightly jogged round the corner and carefully took time to stretch out the calves (whilst trying to avert my eyes as I realised I'd stopped at a sign where about 10 blokes were peeing in the bushes). After that I made it another mile or so running. There I saw TheO (who'd lent her bike to a bloke who'd missed his girlfriend and left his mobile phone with her as collateral - it all worked out, I love how trusting she is; and it often brings out the best in people) and begged for anything with salt in it - anything to help prevent the cramp. I was rewarded with a cream cracker - surprisingly good given the circumstances, a little dry though.

I then ran and walked (in small bursts) to the end. I think (possibly with the help of hindsight) that I could have gone a bit faster. I definitely had the end in mind. I wanted to enjoy it, to savour it, to not have died at 25.5. I took it easy-ish and tried to pace myself so the last mile (or so as it turned out) could be strong. I knew I was going to make it under 5h and this made me a little complacent.

It seemed to work well. When I saw my friends as I entered the race course grounds Blarney yelled: "It's *****... IT'S *****!!!!" And, I swear she was surprised to see me still alive and still running. But the whistling, cheering and general commotion was bloody marvellous.

The last bit was soo long. You saw the 26 mile marker and the run up to the finish just went on and on and on the flags started and you couldn't even see the giant inflatable gateway... it was interminable. I swear as I was running it I would have bet money that I was the only person there, the only one within about 200 yards of anywhere. It was a real shock to see a friends photo and discover that there really were other runners around me. I was in a bubble, I was in my own world. I could hear and see but it was definitely at a distance, separated from reality.

Seriously - who is that person next to me (I'm in black), they've been added in by photoshop (thanks to Badger for the pics!) - there was ONLY ME. On checking the times people finished one second before me, and one second after me ... it's amazing how the mind can block things out.

The end was truly wonderful. I collected my substantial and delightful medal, my banana and some water. I walked the 0.3 miles back to my friends and basked in the glow of finishing anf friendship possibly the finest combo known.

Spartan had finished several hours ago in a fantastic 3.23 - the man is made of some kind of speedy muscle ... or something that sound better and means the same thing. By the time he saw me he looked well rested.

Wheeler and RF had had a much harder time. RF had trained like a mad woman getting all the right things done and then was struck down with gastric-flu and then a hideous cold. How she even survived the whole process is beyond me. She was just delighted for it to be over. Had conditions been perfect (they were really quite windy and cold, followed quickly by windy and boiling) she might have given it a stab but as things were she was content to run with Wheeler, who after a long spell where training was a little neglected set in for some serious mile building only to be scythed down by RFs gastric-flu. They made a bloody amazing showing getting in at 5.15 - and they even managed to get exactly the same time as each other at the end - that takes devotion (or some kind of shared illness).

After relaxing for mere moments we headed back into Edinburgh, creaking and groaning, whilst TheO taxied us around. After depositing Wheeler and RF back at their place we headed for the park and gave our dogs the shortest little walk. A slow head up to Spartan and Blarney's place (with a minimum of cursing as they live on the 3rd floor) and a hot bath followed by a nice lie down with some toast and a Harry Potter book made me feel a little more human.

A good meal out with some new people (v exciting, hardle ever happens) was the perfect end to a really great day. Nice chat nice food. We had to leave a little before desert (why god, why) as time was ticking on and my own bed was calling me.

26.2 DONE

Friday, 23 May 2008

Naked on the Kitchen Table

That got your attention didn't it.
TheO complained that no-one was blogging recently. So I thought I'd fill you all in on the last few weeks.

As some will be aware TheO is doing a course in Therapeutic Massage - hence why the kitchen table, but I was covered with the appropriate towels to make it all professional! I am the lucky recipient of many practice massages. It's brilliant. Today was a requested leg massage and an extra back massage thrown in. Bliss.

It's been a busy few weeks with lots of work being done, and too much house searching taking my mind away from more financially fruitful pursuits.
14th/ I managed a 5K in 25.59 on 1% which felt like a great speed session.
15th/ Went out with Professor and Rock God to celebrate Prof's new job. Finally got to try the grange which was v unexpected and v tasty. It was a bit like dining back in the early 90s in rural Scotland. Very small dining room, very traditional looking but the food was great and a good night was had by all (I think).
17/18 w/end was a Birthday extravaganza with two friends having birthdays. We had a wonderful barge dinner along a canal in Edinburgh. It was brilliant fun and with only 8 of us made for a very relaxed night. The food was lovely (despite the menu being terrible) and HH as birthday girl was extremely impressed by TheO's inventiveness for new bday ideas. (Really, I don't know how she does it.) This almost took away the extremely displeasurable day I'd had at the Fife Show where I managed so few sales I didn't even cover my table fees so I lost money. The first time that has ever happened - and hopefully the last.
The next day we high tailed it to Glasgow to celebrate with another mate. She'd pegged off to New York to celebrate with her husband only - I think in the hopes we wouldn't rub in the fact she's now 30 - so wasn't expecting too many celebrations on her behalf. TheO had planned a whole bunch of stuff (all on her blog) and needless to say it really was an amazing day. Great pub food, glorious shopping for the birthday girl, footie in the park ... and the surprise of Hotel du Vin at the end of it. I was just a lucky tag-along who loved every single minute.

Next day we took Spartan and Blarney back to E'burgh and found the day so sunny we headed to the park for tennis, tins of pimms (classy), and a picnic. Never has a w/end felt so good.
We could only do all that on Monday as the house we had an appointment to see got sold before we could even see it - crikie things move fast.

20th/ My last long-ish run. G
reat 12 mile run 2h 10min
average of 10.50 a mile

new plan for marathon:
run 10
walk 1
run 8
walk 1
run 6.2 - seems psychologically like a damn good idea.

I wasn't fast but I was happy and consistant. I headed out thinking: this will be harder than I expect and I just have to deal with that. Luckily, it was easier than expected and really lovely to get some hill runs in. They make all the difference to a run - I can challenge myself and work the muscles rather than just zoning out.

It was also perfect weather. I saw bluebells and pink campion and baby cows and bunny rabbits - it was so pretty and sunny but not too hot. Really was the pre-marathon boost I needed.

After spending the night in E'burgh to do some quality Champions League Final watching (I needed to get some work done) TheO returned with Blarney who delightfully took us out for breakfast/brunch. It was mighty fine although I have learned a powerful lesson: thou shalt now have 3 lattes in a row, the caffeine will make you feel weird (and wired) for the rest of the day!
Great scran and chat took us through until lunch time. (There was cake too.)
We also managed to fit in a quick gym trip where I did 4 yassos and some weights. It was mildly productive and felt like the right amount of work pre marathon.

A few days ago we spotted a house that would make a great holiday retreat (no mains electricity, can only reach it by foot) and finally have an appointment to see it on Monday - so that will be a very long journey up North. Very exciting though. Wont say too much.
But as that would fulfil certain desired landscape factors we can also look for a main house away from the detested planes but not quite as remote. Off to see a possible in 20min. Eeek.

Must get changed, shake off the massage lethargy and let a pooch out. Wish us luck.

Oh, yes, and most of this post is rambling and a bit nuts as I'm beyond psyched for the marathon and a bit twitchy today. Only 40h until the start. Bugger.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

For better 4 worse

Well it was, ultimately, a good run.
It was only 20 miles but you can't have everything.

The great master plan was to run to the gym, do 8 in the gym and run back. Let's see how that worked out shall we?

1h34 for 8.6 miles
Walked 0.6
Discovered fucking gym was shut. Yes, that sounds harsh but I swear they changed the time the school use it from 3pm to 5pm ... but oh no, they changed it to 4pm. And I arrived there at 3.45!
Walked 0.4 (thereby making up my walk for one mile) whilst bitterly cursing gym and trying to work out any new route that would be flat, safe, and actually take me far enough.

1h37 for 8.4 miles (quite consistent really, only a wee bit slower so quite happy with that).
12.49 - incl 0.4 walk/10.31/11.03/11.34/11.49/11.47/11.38/11.50/4.42 for running 0.4

The above section saw me slog around St. Andrews with some particularly uninspiring miles (5.8) up and down West Sands (not on the sand, I'm not a freak!). At the end of this section it became clear to me that the new gels (Maxim Apple Flavour) may be somewhat palatable in a non-heave sort of way, but they are too small to provide a big enough dose of carbs. I was really feeling a bit weak. Damn gels.

Walked 1 mile 18.16 - this is where the pain really kicks in. I'm pretty much fine apart from severe calf pain. I try and stretch them out but it's like a knife in the back of them. Starting to run again becomes a bit of a joy as it stops the pain. The final two miles were better 11.21/11.58 mostly because I knew I was stopping. Me and the gels were just not happy about the distance. I called TheO during my walk so she could come and pick me up (what a girl - it was only a 4 mile walk home).

It feels like I could beat myself up about it all - but hell, what's the point now. The last long run pre marathon is done, and I get to relax, eat and do nice runs for the next two weeks.

On a lovely note the new sports bra is just bloody brilliant. It doesn't stop the puppies from dancing but after 20miles I took it off and there wasn't a mark on me. I still had all my skin. Result!

Oh, also, despite last week's long run being longer, I'm still delighted that this 20miler was 10min faster than the 20(out of 22) miles I did last week. I think the delightfully cool weather made a difference. [Apart from when walking, then I got too cold and shivery - even with a jacket. I don't know what weather I want now. : - } ]

Right - I've had a nice relaxing day (especially after TheO gave me excellent leg, back, neck and arm massage last night) and got some work done too. And there's the prospect of a house to see next week. All in all a shiny happy sunny day. If only the damn RAF would stop feckin flying. It was midnight last night when they were still pootling about. Buggers.

Monday, 12 May 2008


I'll admit that by no-ones definition is it now 'morning' but I am still not a morning person. I object to having 2 breakfasts (porridge with berries and toast with peanut butter) in preparation for a long run. I object to feeling all weird and jittery pre long run. I object to having to train for hours when I could be doing (quite frankly) anything else.

So yes, I am here, blogging in the desperate hope that by telling you I'm off on a long run it will actually transpire. This is the last long run pre marathon, the last big push. And, to make it clear, I don't waaant to!

On a more positive note (always desperately searching for an upside) I get to test out my new sportsbra ...told you it was desperate! It's already completed 5k in the gym with no ill effects. Today will be a much harder test. I also get to try some new gels - this is not an upside, just a fact. All gels are pretty disgusting, if it doesn't make me heave it gets bonus points.

The plan is to run to St. Andrews 8 (flat) walk one mile; Run in the gym for another 8; walk another mile and run home... covering a minimum of 24 miles. Oh god, writing it just made it seem worse than it is. I think I want to die now.

Right: drink more. post office. running kit. death.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Questions questions

1. Is it ever appropriate to write an entire blog where you refer to yourself in the 3rd person?

2. Why have my new shorts given me a nasty line of irritation/blister across my tummy when the long running trousers which are identical are comfortable and blister free?

3. How is it possible that I went to the gym yesterday and worked my arse off to do the fastest 10K evereverever and came home to discover it was identical -to the second- to my last 10K? Only joy is that this one was on 4min rising hill intervals - sweet!

4. Will I bore my loyal reader senseless if I go off on yet another rant about sportsbras?

5. Why do I not get enough readers to get sent freestuff (especially sportsbras) like other bloggers? (Seriously, I'll wear sponsorship, I'll try any old gel, I need more bras.)

6. Why was someone - anyone - searching t'interent for "how do do aquafit at home"? I wish to respond with: do you have a pool? The clue is very much in the name!

7. Does everyone in training for a marathon feel extreme joy at the thought of one last long run to go before the race?

TheO ran their longest ever distance on Thursday - 7 full miles of running - bloody brilliant!
I've dipped under a stone mark on the scales, that wonderful moment between X.00 and Y.13 - what bliss. (Watch it climb up tomorrow for no apparent reason.)

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Curse this time of year.

Yesterday I did something I swore I would never do.
I bought some running shorts. They are fine - but they are leg revealing, blush making shorts. I tired on 4 pairs in varying lengths and these were the most comfortable. I curse it being hot enough to have to wear them. I want winter running but sunny weather when I don't have to run - is that too much to ask?

I also bought some new gels (apple flavour - surely they can't be that bad?). And, joy or joys, a new sports bra. It's as supportive as the others (not perfect then) but soooo comfy. Expect horribly detailed reviews once I've given it a proper test.

After this shopping frenzy I popped into the gym:

The run was good and fast on increasing intervals - so 2 min hill, 2 min flat
Flat was 1.5%. Hills were 2.5 increasing to 7.5 at the end.

27.07 for the whole 5K.
Then some weights. Tummy machine, tricep pull, lateral pull, leg push - then running away because I was knackered!

Bless rest days!

Why is it that ...

When you're busy doing lots of lovely things you have no time to blog. This means that the blog becomes this list of things past rather than a far more present diary of happenings.

Now if only I can remember back ...
There's been a lot of running. Some on the elliptical, some in the gym fastest ever 10k (54.42); some has been terrible (a truncated 22 miler that stopped at 9.5!), some has been surprisingly good - 22 miles done on Monday.

In between all this running I managed to see my dressmaker. It really was a delightful experience - she understood what I was looking for and couldn't have been nicer. I have to keep it all under wraps though. Damn, damn damn. I am also extremely excited by the whole process. I can't wait for my attendants to see the it!

Over the w/end we had many complex plans surrounding RF's birthday. She was running a 22 mile race as her last long training run pre Marathon so we (collectively) turned up with balloons and generally behaved embarrassingly - well, you're only 30 once! TheO had already given RF a massage that morning in a covert operation to be able to get the key for RFs place so her birthday gifts could be put in place. Seriously - I'm surprised we weren't using code by the end of the day: the package is on the move - stop - the eagle is unaware of the rabbit - go go GO. ( ... or something.)

Those shenanigans were followed by a party that night - it was most excellent and I had a lovely, lovely time. There was much chat and much drinking - we sloped to bed at 3, only pausing to celebrate the fact we'd stayed up that late and actually felt young for a brief moment (before the hangover claimed its victims).

Yet more surprises were in store for RF as the cheeseboard (if I haven't explained before it's too late now) gathered the next morning to spend some time seriously pampering in a spa. It was extremely relaxing and just the job - a bit of body scrub and massage interspersed with playing in a bubble-spa-jet-pool-thing and a steam room and sauna. Blissssss
The w/end was topped off with dinner at a great restaurant with lovely food (Iglu) in E'burgh. A great choice from 2wheels. We all left happy and full. The only dark cloud on my horizon was the 22 miles I hoped to cover the following day.

Whilst my mind found it a dark cloud, the day was the hottest of the year so far. Sun cream was slapped on, extra water was lugged along, and food was consumed in vast quantities for breakfast. We set off. I say we because TheO in her infinite wisdom decided to come with me. I was delighted, nothing breaks up the boredom and monotony of a really long run like having someone to chat to. Particularly someone who can put up with my oscillating mood. (Seriously, the nicest day of the year and I was spending 4 1/2 hours running round - what an idiot!)

I was implementing a new strategy. After the terrible truncated run a few days before I really needed to try out this strategy pre race day. Run 8 - walk 1 - run 8 - walk run - run 8.2 is the grand master plan. S0 22 miles is pretty good preparation for this. I had to be calm about how slow I was ... pitifully slow, but it was v v hot as my tan and bra blisters are testament to! But I just kept calm and kept going. There were moments of extreme despair - and elation, but overall I am relatively happy with how it went.

4.39.26 including walk
22.5 miles

3009 calories

11.34 ----- 11.30 average ish
walked a mile - 16.14
11.30 -----11.35 ish average
walked a mile 16.55
12.13 - 4.26.20 total

walked and stretched 0.5 of a mile 13.06

Recovery yesterday was to visit Spartan and Blarney and stay in their lovely guest room. We then headed down to the Borders where we say a house which we both LOVED but sadly it is still in the Borders which is not, ultimately, the right place... Ah well, never mind.

Our trip back took us to dinner with RF and Wheeler. It was a nice night (albeit RF wasn't feeling on top form having been struck down by the plague of 30) and a relaxed dinner felt like a great end to an extremely extended long w/end.

Right - off to the gym and then to WORK. TheO is busy working for her course this w/end so needs to be left alone...