Week 11 Marathon Training. Sounds a bit proper

Week 11. Sounds incredibly like proper training, a decent amount of training already done, not too long to go until the big day.

Does it feel like that? Erm – no. It does feel like a great achievement if I look back at my well scribbled schedule, but if I look ahead I still feel slightly sick.

This week’s training called for runs of 4, 8, 4 and 18. When I was choosing a schedule I examined lots of different plans. It was weeks like this that made me go pale around the gills. Last week’s 16 mile long run does sound like an impressive long run, but 18 sounds like Proper Marathon Training (with capital letters!)

The week has started well, despite it being half term. On my 4 miles this morning I was accompanied by an outrider (it’s half term here, just to really make training difficult) who encouraged me to speed up because he was cold, and then kept me talking the whole way which was a real test of my apparently low heart rate. It was good to have some cheerful company, and made a change from talking to the horses in the fields I pass. As a bonus it started snowing whilst we were out, so we awarded ourselves bonus hardcore points.

I wore my new knee high compression socks, but it wasn’t really brave as I was also wearing my long tights. Not sure if they helped or not, as I could ‘feel’ my shins as I ran, but then I had been poking, prodding and rollering my shins before I set off.

Guess they’ll have their first real test tomorrow!

Frozen hands

So my 3rd 3 mile run in 3 days -a  strong start to my marathon training!

However this was by far the coldest run of this week, with a thick frost and frozen hard ground.

Beautiful, but hands were frozen all the way round (even with Nike running gloves on). Rest of me was okay, but then I was wearing a hat, long running tights, TWO long sleeved tops and and hi-viz running gilet.

Marathon Training Starts!

In true Black and Tabby style, I started my training this morning for the 2013 Brighton Marathon by jumping in at week 2 of a training plan.After this year’s 16 week plan, I thought an 18 week plan was the best way to build the miles up more slowly than last time. Then I realised it was exactly 18 weeks until the race. Seeing as I hope we’ll manage a week’s holiday at Easter time,  this meant I was a week short and had to lose a week somewhere from the schedule. I decided it was better to lose it from the start of the schedule than the end, hence the diving in at Week 2.

Actually, I think I’d quite like to lose week 15, were the 4 runs are 5 miles, 10, 5 and 20. EEK!

This morning was just 3 miles. It was a very cold and frosty morning, but the sunrise was spectacular.

"Only 9 days to go!"

So  my Sponsorship page tells me its ‘only 9 days to go!’ (Note the exclamation mark – they added that, not me. If there was a piece of punctuation that gave the impression of a strangled cry of anguish, then that’s what I would have added.)

Actually, I am feeling slightly calmer now. The head-in-the-sand denial has passed, but its so close now I don’t have time to panic, just to write lots of lists. What I need to take to the Expo. What I need on the day. What I need to put into the bag that goes onto the baggage truck at the start, and meets me at the finish. (I did wonder if I could squeeze into the bag, but don’t think it will be big enough. Curses!)

Dragged the children out on their bikes earlier in the week so they could accompany me whilst I ran. We managed 4.24M which is good going for them. Actually getting everyone out of the house whilst ignoring the moaning was harder than the run was! Lovely friend of mine took both children away this morning to spend time with her children, so I set off on my last long run before The Big Day. Actually, it was only 1 hour, but all things are relative.

Thought I’d better practice all the lovely positive visualisations I’d been reading about. Oh, and the positive mantras, and the general P.M.A.*! Tried my best, presume it must have worked because I had a lovely run. Ignored the slight niggle in my shin, didn’t worry about taking it good and slow, tried my hardest to ignore the decomposing badger (ugh!!). Ran for almost exactly 1 hour, and when I came back inside, realised I’d enjoyed my run. Really enjoyed being out in the beautiful countryside I’m so lucky to live in. Enjoyed feeling my body working to power me along. Enjoyed hearing the birds and feeling the sun on my body. Just enjoyed my run, like I used to.

Feeling sickeningly positive now, so have send another e-mail to various friends and villagers asking if they’d like to sponsor me (sorry if you got that one!). Would LOVE to reach £1,000 – an amount I never dreamed I’d be able to raise.

Right – am going to go and do something slightly less uplifting now (hoovering) to try and bring me back down to earth. Happy Friday everyone!

* PMA = Positive Mental Attitude, dude!

2012 – Here I come! On your marks ….

Much as I love having a training schedule, I don’t think I’ve ever anticipated actually starting one as much as this one! I have studied so many different schedules over the last month, most being rejected for not enough running / too scary times and distances / too much walking. Finally settled on the Plan 2 “Getting Better” (!) schedule published in the official VLM magazine. This involves running 4 times a week, which is what I’ve been trying to do since September last year. I figure even if I miss a run, then 3 is still fine for a week.

First run was Monday 2nd January. “30 mins Easy” – not a bad start – even I could manage that! However, thanks to the time off over Christmas even this had me puffing and panting. Tried to run realllllyyyyyyyy sloooooooowly so my heart rate would stay low. I say tried, but there’s only so much walking you can do in a 3 mile loop.

Couldn’t run on Tuesday as the children were still at home, so then had to pack in 3 runs in 3 days. This is not recommended, and by Friday (“60 mins Long Run”) I was shattered. probably didn’t help that I actually ran “60 mins Hilly” as I’ve entered the Slaughterford 9 on 29th January, and reckon hill training might just come in handy!

But anyway – Week 1 DONE! And Ticked off. Roll on week 2!

Ending 2011

December 2011 was as hectic as Decembers usually are. My business had its best year ever, I managed to make sure everyone was fed, had clean clothes etc and I even managed to get out for a few runs. The school bus driver is now used to the sight of me in skin tight lycra at 8.30am, but I still startle a few drivers, especially in my fluorescent hi-viz gilet.

Being away for Christmas with no room to squeeze my running gear into the car meant by the time we were home again it was over 2 weeks since I’d run. That first run was hard work I can tell you! Last run of the year on New Year’s Eve was a great way to end the year, and brought my yearly mileage total to 529.47 Miles. Wonder what my 2012 total will be?


So how did I get here?

I’m sat at my desk, with slightly achy legs, happy to have ticked off this morning’s run in my schedule. Schedule? Yes, my marathon training schedule for Virgin London Marathon on 22nd April 2012.

Those who know me will appreciate I’m a mid-40s mother of 2 who has never been sporty. Any sporting ambitions I might have harboured were shattered when I couldn’t undo the skipping rope in the Obstacle Race at school sports day, aged 10. Having led the race, I fumbled with the knot as every other child happily skipped past me. I finished in last place, tears tripping me, trailing my still knotted rope behind me. Hardly ‘Chariots of Fire’!

Fast forward to 2009, on returning from visiting dear friends in Canada I felt so fit I had to try and keep that level of fitness up. Pulled on old trainers and jeans (great running gear, designed to not look like I was running!) and set off. Much puffing and panting and walking breaks and made it back home – inspired!

Chippenham Half Marathon 2010

Over the following months my children kindly entered me into the school 10k race which was in a few months time. Serious training followed, including buying ‘proper’ trainers and even seeing me encased in lycra for possibly the first time ever. I was delighted to run the 10k race and as my son said at the time “you did really well Mum – even if you did come last”.

Since then, I’ve run further, entered more races (and have never been last in a race again – so far!). 2011 saw me run 2 half marathons in 2 weeks raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support, and also in a fit of foolishness enter the ballot for a place to run the London Marathon in 2012. After all, it takes years to win a place in London, doesn’t it? Ah – apparently not. I was gob smacked to learn I’d won place on my first time of entering.

The story continues….