First Thoughts on the Bristol to Bath Marathon 2015

So yesterday was my third marathon – the Bristol to Bath. Just some quick thoughts on what was a fantastic day.

My first marathon I ran in 2012 after missing 5 weeks of training through injury and with a longest run of 14 miles. I finished in a time of 6:07.

My second was run in 2013 after great training, but I never really felt right in the race. I had a huge wobble at mile 14, another at mile 17, really struggled after that but was pleased to finish in 5:25.

Yesterday’s was a strange one. I couldn’t really get psyched up for it beforehand, so I decided to think of it as just another long training run. It was a training run with people applauding me and telling me how well I was doing. What an ego boost! I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of it, even the hills and after overtaking the 5 hour pacers I finished in 4:56:54. This is 29 minutes faster than my time at Brighton. Amazing!

It was fantastic to meet so many lovely ladies from the Run Mummy Run group before and during the race, but I mostly ran on my own and just enjoyed the route and the sights.

I’ll post more when I’ve digested it all and found some more photos.

Run Mummy Run Socks

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Thanks to Lynsey Miles for this photo




It’s the day before the Bristol to Bath marathon. I’m trying to rest as much as possible (hello sofa!), whilst carb loading (hello flapjacks) and hydrating (hello little girls’ room). I know what I need to take tomorrow, I have a lift to Bristol arranged, I have my refuelling plans made and I have my race day outfit sorted. So why don’t I feel ready for the race tomorrow?

Outfit for tomorrow.

This isn’t my first marathon – it’s my third. Has the novelty worn off? No – I still get ridiculously nervous before any race, no amount of familiarity seems to change that. My taper was less of a gentle reduction in mileage and more of an abrupt brake to zero, but I’m not too worried about that either: I’m rested and injury free.

My previous marathons have been away from home, involving a hotel stay, a restaurant pre race meal and complicated family arrangements. Tomorrow I will have slept in my own bed. I will have eaten a home cooked meal. I will have had my usual porridge and favourite cup of tea. It feels more like preparation for a final long run than a race. I have realised though, that that’s okay. My long runs have all gone well in training – no pressure, no hassle, just a long way to run. I suspect the hard middle miles of tomorrow won’t have roads lined with applauding spectators so like my training runs I can just concentrate on running rather than high 5-ing or waving. I’m even considering taking my ipod for some podcasts. Too relaxed an attitude? I’ll find out tomorrow.

This card means a lot


Maranoia, otherwise known as taper madness, has been in full swing this week at Black and Tabby Towers. From my tapering injury, to sniffles after seeing a friend who was full of a cold, via aching legs after a day’s trial at a new job, the route to full blown Maranoia has been clearly sign posted this week. It can only mean one thing – IT’S NEARLY MARATHON DAY!!! (Three days time, actually).

The key thing about Maranoia,  though, is that usually nothing is actually wrong with the sufferer that just getting on and running the damn marathon won’t cure.

Right then. That’s the talking to done. Better go and make some more lists. Ooooooh – hang on I think I felt a twinge…

How not to Taper

Tapering is a time to rest and recover from your hard training. The last few weeks before a race are the time to cut back your long runs, get your strength back, refuel and rehydrate. They are not the time to pick up a niggling twinge. An injury at this time is also not an excuse to do zero exercise and yet still eat all of the food.

Of course, this is basically what I did. However I didn’t panic. I stopped running, I iced, stretched, rubbed in Ibuprofen gel and wore my compression socks. Two weeks on and I tiptoed out for an experimental run this morning, and … it felt fine. Phew!

Three days to go … now to write some lists for marathon day!

Now to get ready for this marathon.

Ready for a Taper

After my massive 22 mile run on Wednesday, I was slightly nervous about how my legs would feel standing or sitting all day at work. (This was a day’s work being an “Extra” – hardly hard work, but it does involve sitting or standing around for many hours, just waiting for someone to tell you to go somewhere). There were no period costumes involved, so thankfully so fear of another corset or wig, but even so I chose my comfiest ‘smart’ shoes to take and hoped they would be acceptable.

It was an early start, but luckily only 3 minutes drive to set. I felt very guilty later on when people were saying “No, I didn’t come far, only about an hour and a half’s drive. How long did it take you to get here?” Amazingly, my legs felt fine. After sitting for a couple of hours I did creak just a little when I got up, but honestly nothing like I thought I would be. I could feel my piriformis muscles needed stretching, but go and google what those exercises look like and then appreciate how, dressed as a “posh business woman” I couldn’t really do them in public.

On the next day, Friday, it seemed like a good idea to go and find a big hill to run up whilst my legs were tired. (It’s not as mad as it sounds – the marathon course has two big hills, one at 14 miles and one at 20, so this is exactly what I need to be doing). One hilly 7 mile run later my legs were still feeling pretty good (but yes, tired) and I was feeling quite smug.

I was ready for a nice restful weekend starting with a lie in on Saturday morning, but my legs had other ideas and had me wide awake with twitching legs. “Oh all right” I told my legs “we’ll just have an easy trot round parkrun, to stretch you out”. * There was obviously a breakdown in communication, because I actually ran my 3rd ever fastest time at Chippenham parkrun.

See how happy I am?
See how happy I am? Photo thanks to Valerie Light
Not smiling - but flying!
Not smiling – but flying! Photo thanks to Valerie Light

NOW can I taper please???