Reading and weeping and fearing the DNF

I’ve been a massive pansy this week.

Following my elation at another 10 mile run in the bag, despite utterly shite weather (I’ve had drier baths…) my shin-issues (I’ve fondly dubbed them shissues) reared their ugly and frankly unwelcome heads and kept me awake and in tears most of Monday night. I rested last night and will be seeing my doctor tomorrow so she can have a good prod and hopefully diagnose something easy to fix and not detrimental to the rest of my training.

The thing is, I am DESPERATE to enjoy this chapter in my life. I’ve always been one for having a good time and took on this challenge (understatement) to test myself not just physically, but mentally too. So keep those fingers crossed that I’m not whisked off for immediate amputation.

As research, I figured I’d start reading blogs by others who have run marathons as beginners and as seasoned pros.

There have been tears.

Mostly because it’s beginning to dawn on me just how huge this is. I knew it would be hell and that finishing a marathon is a massive achievement. But I’m actually excited. Excited to excel at training and enjoy the experience of running a marathon. So please let my leg get better.

Here are a couple that I read and enjoyed:
http://rubbishrunner.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1
http://fromsnickerstomarathon.com

This week I learned that on May 25th I will be put in a pen. I had about 6 emails from EMF asking for me to confirm my predicted finishing time. (I’ve gone for a realistic first time marathon runner, former fat-arse pace of 5 hours). I will be released, presumably with a few hundred similarly paced others, like cattle at a bull-run.

Exciting.

I also learnt about the entirely horrifying Sweeper Bus. This sounds like something from a Philip K Dick novel and I will be doing everything possible to stay ahead of its tentacles. I don’t want to be popped into its belly and driven at a 6.5 hr pace through the crowds.

I read an account of a seasoned and accomplished runner who, after FINALLY qualifying for the VLM, crashed out with a high temperature at mile 19 on race day and ended up with the dreaded DNF. (http://irunbecause.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1)

Worst. Nightmare.

Let’s all think positively and get my leg better so I can get back out there and stop sitting on my arse eating Jaffa cakes.

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Ice and encouragement.

This week was a challenge.

Following my first 10 miler last Sunday, I detected a niggle in my left shin. I chose to ice it and apply Voltarol and tiger balm alternately and run through it. Tuesday night’s run sucked and by Thursday the pain was so intense that it kept me awake. I didn’t hold out much hope for this week’s 10 mile run.

On Saturday night I rested, took ibuprofen and made sure I had plenty of protein to try and help the muscle recover and this morning when I woke up it was not too sore. I decided to risk it and try it over a small distance. If it hurt, I’d just turn round and come home.

I’ve been relying on advice from a few pals lately and someone who has been a massive help has been the very lovely @IronPugsley who, being an Iron Man vet has been full of advice and reassurance. Thank you, D. X

One thing I’ll say to anyone going it alone: read blogs and use twitter to find other nutters to help put your mid at ease.

So. The run…

Mile 1 and 2 were a bit niggly but after that I fell into a nice steady pace of around 10.5 mins per mile (not fast but hey, this is a marathon. Not a sprint). The weather was pretty apocalyptic. The gusts of wind behind me were exceeding 50mph and the rain was essentially millions of tiny, cold bullets.

All was fine as I passed 6 miles. Last Sunday you couldn’t move for runners, walkers and dogs but this week only a few hardy folk were out. We waved and nodded and flashed, what I soon dubbed, “are we fucking mental” smiles at each other. A look that can only shared by those who truly understand one another’s stupidity and balls.

It was only when I reached 7 miles that it all went downhill. By this time I was working my way back. Into the wind. Through the 7 circles of hell. With the tiny, cold rain-bullets hitting me in the face and eyes so I couldn’t see.

I passed a man who’d been blown off his bike. He was fine but I was beginning to realise that this was ultimately not going to end well. The More I pushed on, the more I hurt and I was absolutely drenched by rain, tears, snot and my soul trying to escape and run away.

Once I managed to somehow get to 10 miles without dying or drowning, I limped home where I wrung out my kit and collapsed on the floor.
I logged into my Facebook and discovered that my little sister had commented on my anxious status from earlier in the day.

I’ll leave you with what she said, because it applies to anyone undergoing the hardest training of their life to do something ridiculous and challenging.

“You can do it!!
I’ve sat here and read all these words of encouragement from your friends over the last few weeks but now it’s my turn.

We have been through more in a lifetime than most. We had to grow up fast, see things that will stay with us for the rest of our lives but through it all we have been together.

I cannot begin to describe how proud I am of what you have achieved and what you are achieving now. Despite the physical pain you are enduring everyday you find a way, when most would just quit, to push past it and keep going.

When it gets tough, don’t only focus on who you are doing this for but on the money you are raising and how it’s going to help, and potentially one day save the lives of people who are diagnosed or are battling cancer.

On marathon day we will all be there to push you forward and I will be the loudest, proudest little sister shouting you across the finish line!

Keep going G, love you x”

The big 1-0.

It’s been looming in the distance for a while now. Like a rain cloud when you’ve forgotten your brolly; You know it’s coming, but you’re not quite prepared for when it hits.

10 miles.

Mile 7 required approximately 100 yards of walking when I had a sock vs. knee pit related itch that needed to be sorted, but I felt pretty good and upon completion even rewarded myself with some finger-guns in celebration.

The weather was pretty great today too; sunny, crisp but with a strong headwind. The sun is fabulous and living in Scotland, I feel like I should celebrate it’s arrival however it makes the basic task of seeing where you are going *quite* hard. Anyway, I’ll put up with blindness for some much-required vitamin D.

I tried out my new purchase which proved to be a winner. I nipped into Greaves Sports in Glasgow last week and picked up an Adidas ClimaWarm top. It’s moisture wicking but brushed inside so it has thermal properties. Well. Best money I’ve spent in ages. It has super long sleeves with thumb holes and is neon pink. So perfect for night running too.

Once I got passed mile 4 and my current favourite Strava stage, the miles flew in. Now I’m home enjoying some eggy bread with a milkshake and enjoying the fact that I burnt 1200 calories.

The next 4 weeks of training see me on a constant 6-6-3-10 until I then hit 12 miles on a Sunday.

BRING. IT. ON!!!

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More miles FTW

This week, my challenge was to complete 8 miles in one go and I’m delighted to have run 8.4 miles this morning. Usually my big run is on a Sunday with medium distance runs on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Unfortunately it’s very difficult to squeeze in training around my day job which involves a great deal of travel at certain times of the year. However, I managed it and although my time was glacial, I’m happy and more importantly PAIN FREE.

This is because I’ve finally discovered seriously cool* and deeply sexy** More Miles compression socks.

*not cool
**not in the least bit sexy

It takes me about 5 hours to get them on but my word, it’s like my calves are getting a cuddle. For 8.4 miles. Wonderful.

Hilariously, I entered a Strava challenge for Feb which is supposed to see how many km’s you can run. I am currently ranking 4321st out of 18,238 runners at 39kms since Feb 1st. I’ll take that, thanks. (The person in the lead has run 288kms which is, quite frankly, stupid).

See you all at Rio 2016 then.

But really, I’ve found one of the best ways to push myself forward with training is by setting goals and giving myself realistic challenges. And I’m learning not to be too hard on myself if I have to walk a bit or if I have to stop and throw up. Or if I inhale an entire pizza on a Friday night (clean eating can fuck right off. This girl needs PROPER CARBS).

My training programme requires Cross Training on Wednesdays and Fridays which I’m doing in the form of cross trainer, boxing/circuits/cardio class and advanced Pilates.

I’m hoping this combination of fitness boosting (and fatness busting ) methods will continue to improve my general fitness.

After next week I start tempo running which I am DREADING. I hate sprinting. That should only be required when you have to run for a bus or you’re chasing Christian Bale (dressed as Batman) holding a cake.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

(Incidentally if you ARE reading this, Christian, I like a good Victoria Sponge).

Mind Over Matter

I ran 7.1 miles this morning. Not very quickly, but still. That’s 7.1 miles more than if I’d chosen to stay in and hide from the sideways rain.

Following the disaster that was Thursday night, when I nearly had to phone my Better Half and ask him to come and pick me off a pavement when my ankles felt like they were about to give in, I didn’t hold out much hope for today’s distance run.

I did a bit of Research and discovered that some of my leg pain may be relieved by swapping shoes once and a while. I switched my pretty new and part broken-in Nike FreeRun 5.0’s for my battered old Asics GT1000’s and boom. Off I went. Following a few initial aches and pains, I was soon jogging through the 3 mile mark. The only thing holding me back today were badly behaved dogs off their leads (rage), deaf old buggers with their hoods up, blind old bats in their honda jazz’s with no concept of road and pavement users right-of-way and the prevailing winds and sideways rain.

I decided on a new mantra the other night: mind over matter. And that’s what helped me today. Every time I hurt or I want to walk, MIND OVER MATTER. KEEP GOING. ONE MORE MILE. YOU CAN HAVE PASTRY WHEN YOU GET HOME.

Here I sit, with a sleepy cat on my lap, having eaten my guilt free pain-au-chocolat and I feel GOOD!!!!

#mindovermatter