Its no good, I couldn’t leave my race report as just a few words. So here’s a few more.
Well the day was sunny and warm all day, which was a little worrying. However, clouds gathered as the day wore on. I arrived at around 6.45 and was perturbed to realise I actually had to pay to park. Was very pleased to spot my race partner also at the Pay machine.
We walked down to the start area, which was really busy. For a little race, there were apparently 367 entrants, so maybe not so little. I saw my running group and went to say hello.
Me & RP (race partner) sauntered towards the start line, and proceeded to set off for our ‘little jogette’ warm-up. We discovered at this point that the grass had obviously been very long and wet, and had recently been cut so it was rough, bumpy and covered with the grass clippings. We arranged ourselves in the start-up melee, and made our plans for the start. The course crosses a field to start towards the river, and then goes onto a fairly narrow path (you have to run single file). We discovered last year that if you get stuck behind slower runners, you stay stuck as it’s hard to overtake. So this year’s plan was to make sure we didn’t get manouevered to the back before the race even started, and then as soon as the fog horn sounded, to sprint as fast as we could to the path.
The plan was working fine, RP pointed out to me a couple of people who were squeezing in front of us at the start so we could reclaim our places. However when the starting horn sounded, it was obvious that everyone else had the same plan as us, as it was a mad stampede! Not easy on the rough surface. A man stopped in front of us to look around, obviously for a running partner, so we had to skip around him, and then on our left a lady fell over, face first. Hope she didn’t get trampled!
We made it safely to the first corner, running way faster than either of our plans, so settled in there for the race. There was some over-taking as people sorted themselves out, and as I glanced behind I could see Mel was a couple of people behind me. He waved at me, so I carried on. I was feeling good at this point, although looking at the Garmin had me worried that I was going too fast. Still, I thought I could always slow down at the end.
Mile 2 has some uphill bits in it – up from the river bank to the road side, and then up a zig zag ramp to the cycle path. As I zagged, I could see Mel was zigging. He waved again, so I hoped that meant he was fine, and felt a bit guilty as I pressed on. Even with these slopes I felt great, and overtook a few more people on the wider cyclepath. As we climbed up off the cyclepath, I knew it was all downhill through a housing estate back to the river bank.
Determined ‘Sprint’ Finish
The third mile is back along the river bank on the single file path, mostly retracing our steps. By now I was starting to feel a little tired, breathing was a little more ragged, but to be honest not nearly as bad as I would have thought. I passed a few people, and nearly ran into the back of a couple of girls who stopped right in front of me. As we reached the corner with just the field to cross to the finish line, one helpful marshal shouted “Only 400 metres to go. Time to turn it on now!” I thought “I HAVE turned it on!!!!!” I chased a lady across the field but as she heard me come up behind her she put on a spurt to cross the line just in front of me. As I ran to the finish ‘funnel’, 2 of my running club were there shouting me in. That was lovely, as for a change I hadn’t dragged my family there with me.
As I shuffled through the finish area, I could just see RP coming in behind me.
Finish time – 27:46 Splits were 9:03, 9:12, 8:51 and 8 seconds to finish. (don’t think I’ve EVER had a split starting with an 8 before!!!)
By comparison, last years’ time was 30:20, so I took 2 minutes 34 off my previous PB. Still VERY pleased – It felt fast, *I* felt fast! It was hard work, but it never felt uncomfortable. Yes I was tired at the end and desperate for a drink of water, but I wasn’t gasping or falling to the floor with exhaustion.
Overall, very VERY pleased – and amazed that a schedule designed to speed up my longer races is having such a great effect on shorter ones too (thanks AH!) 3M recovery run the next morning, and apart from legs feeling generally tired, I had no aches or pains which really in amazing.
Having convinced myself that I was quite capable of running this sub-60, just need a little help from the conditions. That would be why it was 26C when I stepped out of the car then
However, the sunshine does mean I can wear my lovely new Cebe sunglasses which I won in a competition from Sport Pursuit. Maybe I should pose round for a bit longer in than to help take my mind off tonight!
For the first time in a long time, last week I ran 4 times. Two easy runs, one short tempo run, and a long run. I have new gear, new goals, a new group and nothing else beginning with ‘G’ I can think of.
A new running group has started in our neighbouring village so I felt very brave going along. We ran 2.7 miles, there were just 5 of us, and I was haring along determined not to hold everyone up. Felt pretty fast so I was mentally telling myself this would count as my Tempo run for the week. I was very relieved when the group leader said she was glad we hadn’t run any further at that pace – it wasn’t just me that found it hard then!
My lovely new kit arrived as well – a bright Purple running bra from Sugoi, and a pale blue long sleeved top from Ron Hill. Its very light, so perfect for the current temperature where you know you’ll be warm by the end, but don’t quite dare to start off in short sleeves.
I’ve entered 2 half marathons both in September (just a week apart actually) which probably isn’t very clever, but I want to run them for different reasons. One because its a local race, its the first year its been run, and it should be a lovely mix of country roads and Wiltshire small town roads. The other is a big city race where I’ll hopefully get to meet some of the runners I was talking online to before we ran the marathon.
There’s a lovely sounding little 10K race at the end of June as well. Very pretty route, a Thursday evening (which would be a first!), supporting the local Scout group. Sounds perfect? Well, looking at last year’s results at my current pace I come round about last. I think I need to give myself a talking to again.. “Someone has to come last” “its not the end of the world”, “it won’t be the first time you’ve come last..”
So its officially less than a week to go. I can now say “When I run the London Marathon this week“. It really is too late to worry about it now – I just have to get my self organised (adds that to giant To Do list).
Short run today, hopefully with son as bicycling attendant. Collect my number on Wednesday. Last Physio session on Thursday to get taped up again (if she thinks its needed). Maybe another little run on Thursday. Friday for last minute dithering, then OFF on Saturday!
Must try and iron my name onto my charity vest today. Just in case I melt my top, the theory is I would still have time to get hold of another one.
Obsessing about the weather forecast for Sunday, and what the appropriate amount of clothing is. Shorts or capris? Vest, or vest with top underneath, or vest with top over the top that can be removed if it warms up? Bin bag if its raining, or running gilet?
After Monday’s test run of FIVE MILES which didn’t leave me limping, I decided on a new strategy for my marathon training. Basically, its Do or Die. I need to really push hard, increase my mileage dramatically every week. If my shin (or any other part of me!) can’t take it, then I’d never finish the marathon and I’ll defer and do it in 2013 instead.
Bearing this in mind I set off in Thursday’s hint of sunshine aiming for 8 miles. I picked a route I’ve often used on my Half Marathon training as there’s a large section across farmland through the grounds of a Estate. As I’d thought, the first field was full of little lambs, huddling close to their Mums.
Lambs & Mum. Baaaaa!
The miles ticked by, after the first dew miles I decided I’d better practice a Run – Walk strategy, as if I do make it to the Start line I think that’s the only way I’ll make it to the Finish line. I ran for a mile, then walked for a minute, and continued that for the whole run. I made it round the fields, back onto the roads and the gentle incline back to the village. As I approached the village, nearing the mile 8 mark, I decided I felt so good I’d add another little loop to my run, and aim to get to 10 miles.
Cue some more fields (no sheep this time though), steps getting slower but still running, and ran up my drive to see my watch saying I’d run 9.99 miles. Only a mad woman would then run up and down the drive until it changed to 10 miles, wouldn’t they? Well, I’m a mad woman then, because that’s what I did.
TEN MILES!! Took me 2 hours, but legs felt okay, just tired rather than broken. Shin felt okay, but I felt marvellous. I really think I can do this!
Not so new looking trainers any more!
Got inside to see the Postman had brought the second issue of the London Marathon magazine. Flicked through it seeing information on the start, the route, Dos & Don’ts for the day, and I promptly burst into tears. Still not sure why – only a mad woman would cry over a magazine…. oh hang on I think we’ve covered that one!
Friday morning now, think I need to get out on the bike, cycle to my aqua plod session (just an hour this time, but aiming to keep it speedy!) and then cycle home in this glorious sunshine. Then I need to bake some Chocolate Brownies because 1. My daughter will be home tonight after a week away, and 2. because I’m worth it!
Sadly, after my last despondent post, the Shin Splints have not improved. After a week’s NOT RUNNING, I could still feel it, so took a week off for some high altitude cold weather cross training. (Yes – I went skiing – hooray!)
Came home, and thought I’d just try a little trot round the block on Sunday evening, as all was feeling good. Put on my lovely new shoes and set off into the sunset. Sounds very theatrical, but the sunset soon became ‘night’, and the short cut through the field turned into a wade through a swamp (how much rain had they had whilst we’d been away???) On the down side, my leg started feeling sore after only a mile. Decided enough was enough, and on Monday morning booked an appointment with a local physio, as recommended by a good friend of mine.
Being a worrier, I now had 24 hours to panic in a “What will the physio do?” “Where will I park?” and the eternal worry – “What should I wear?”. Kind friends on Runner’s World advised me, so on Tuesday morning I grabbed my shorts and running shoes, stuffed them into a bag and shot off.
What an interesting hour it was! I’ve never had someone poke, prod and then just stare at my legs for so long, whilst muttering “Interesting!” Turns out I was right, it is shin splints. Curiously though, my Physio thinks it my lovely new shoes which are to blame. Turns out my ‘wonky’ right leg, the one that wobbles all over the place when I run, has a lovely arch, so no obvious reason to over pronate on that side. My left foot, however, has a really flat arch, and is the one that would need the support. She thinks the new shoes are supporting my left foot okay, but giving too much support to my right foot, leading to the shin splints.My new shoes are stiffer than my old ones, so she also thinks I’m having to work harder to run in them. Sigh – sometimes you can’t do right for doing wrong!
Funniest (and most embarrassing part of the session) is when she asked to see my running shoes, and I pulled my hastily grabbed trainers from my bag. Remember that muddy field I ran through on Sunday? Well most of it was still attached to my trainers as they came out of the bag, but then proceeded to drop onto her desk, carpet etc. Fortunately she just laughed, as I shamefaced tried to sweep up the mud droppings.
So, she’s given me some stretches to do, and ordered ice and ibuprofen and NO RUNNING this week. Cycling and swimming have been suggested as alternatives …… hmm! Another appointment next week, when she’s booked the room with the treadmill in – my nemesis!
After all the excitement of Slaughterford 9, I knew I had to take this week more steadily. Also my legs were shouting at me and creaking in unusual ways – always a worry. So Monday morning I set off on a very gentle Recovery Run. 4 flat-ish mile in 50 minutes – that’s taking it easy! It was also freezing cold, so I considered it a full immersion ice bath as well.
Tuesday – I missed this run (I was going to write that I skipped this run, but it sounded rather too energetic and I don’t want to give the wrong impression). Reckoned 3 runs in 3 days would probably be too much.
Wednesday – Still freezing cold, still feeling creaky, so 4.5M in 48 minutes. Felt looser after first 2 miles, and also ran a little faster in order to warm up.
Thursday – didn’t run again, as saving myself for my Long Run on Friday.
Friday – schedule said 2 hours LSR, so off I set. It was -5C when I set off, so I wore my cheap rustle-y sweatbag running jacket. Set off on the 1 mile short loop into town, and just happened to pop into the public loos there. Well, there was no way I would be popping behind a bush further down the trail in those temperatures. After 2 miles, I was passing the car so dropped my jacket off. Kept new attractive fleecy headband and gloves on for another few miles, then was amazed I’d warmed up enough to stuff them into my pockets.
I ran down the canal to Lacock. Really beautiful, they’ve done so much work on the canal, and most of it was frozen solid. I passed 2 swans swimming protectively in a hole in the ice they’d made – only about 1 metre wide, but just enough for them and no one else. I wasn’t going to argue with them – much too scary and too close to the tow path!
In Lacock my right shoe was feeling loose, so I stopped and tightened my laces. Only took a few minutes, but felt really chilled when I stood back up. I had to rummage in my pockets and put my gloves and headband back on. I was feeling tired and ‘heavy legged’ on the way back, but pleased that I’d run my 10 Miles in 1:59. Back home, I did my usual stretching and had a lovely HOT shower until I felt human again. That’s quite a lot of water!
By Saturday morning though, a particular spot on my right calf was really sore when I walked. So sore that I couldn’t walk without limping. the pain was a weird,sick-in-stomach type of pain. Fortunately I had nothing panned, so retired to the sofa with an ice pack and my laptop. Much Googling later, decided I have Posterior Shin Splints. Ow!
Cue the RICE part of this week – Rest Ice Compression Elevation. Not too hard to lounge on the sofa, watching the first snow of the winter start coming down. By Sunday I was rather bored, and started feeling quite sorry for myself. Pain was less intense, and I was no longer limping, but it wasn’t the magical overnight cure I’d been hoping for.
Today is Tuesday, and I’ve stopped rubbing in Ibuprofen gel and removed my crepe bandage. I’ve ordered a compression calf sleeve and am trying to be more positive. I can still feel it like a tightness when I walk, but am pencilling in a possible trot-around-the-block on Friday, but only if its totally recovered.
Sorry this week’s blog is rather down hearted, but I’ve been feeling quite down and despondent. Hopefully on the up again, and promise to only post when I’m feeling happier.
Phew – week 2 of my Marathon training is complete, and ticked off. Literally ticked off by the way. Strangely, for someone who spends so much of her life surrounded by technology, there is nothing quite so satisfying as a good ol’ tick on a paper schedule.
This week has been hugely helped by the arrival of my new toy, a lovely shiny Garmin 405 GPS watch. Now not only can I pore over my run when I get back home, I can also keep an eye on everything whilst I run as well.