My final post before my final marathon

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Yes, this is my second and very last marathon.  Now that I’m in London and all packed and ready for the morning, I’m very excited and just a little nervous too.

I have spent the week preparing – chiropractor and acupuncture on Wednesday to ease a very stiff neck/shoulder which seems to have done the trick.  Sports massage on Friday for a final loosen off of those muscles and I feel in good shape.

I’ve eaten lots of carbs over the last 3 days.  Funnily enough when I gave myself free reign to eat what I wanted this week, I have eaten pretty healthily.  Except of the odd slip up….

Carb loading anyone?

Carb loading anyone?.

A delicious piece of carrot cake (my real weakness) from Jamie’s Deli in Bath.  It was so big that I thought I would eat half one day and save the second half for the next. But I didn’t.

I do feel that I haven’t done nearly as many miles as last time – and I haven’t because I’ve followed a very different programme this time which only has 3 runs a week, and the longest run of 3 hours.  I feel like it’s been very focused, with each run serving a very specific purpose.  Now let’s see if it works…!  The good thing is that I get to meet George Anderson tomorrow as he is running the pacing group for the 4:45 group.  I am going to start off with them and see how I go as I really can’t face the whole thing on my own.

I am staying with my friends Ruth & Tim tonight (who are out celebrating Ruth’s birthday). I’ve collected my runner’s pack from the lovely Sally who collected it for me saving me a trip to London to the Expo.  We are meeting at 7.20 tomorrow to travel to the start together. I’m very glad I have someone to go with otherwise I think I would be even more nervous.

People have been fantastic – sponsoring me and sending me messages of encouragement all day.

So, here I am less than 12 hours before the start.  All ready.  Just need a good night’s sleep now….

All packed and ready to go....

All packed and ready to go….

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Countdown

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I think I’ve been in denial about the fact that the Marathon is really nearly here. But today it all felt a little bit more real.

As most people, I was horrified to see the pictures from the Boston marathon finishing line.  There truly are some evil people in the world.  

This has only added to my nerves about Sunday, but I”m not going to let it get in my way.  London will of course rise to the occasion and I’m sure that it will only serve to unite the runners even more.

I was supposed to travel to London to Excel (way out in the Docklands) to collect my running number but I was spared the task by a wonderful friend who offered to collect mine when she went to get hers.  It wasn’t an entirely smooth process and she went way out of her way to help me, for which I’m really grateful.

So now it all feels a bit more real – even if I haven’t yet got my running number in my sticky hands. But I know it is there in London waiting for me to collect on Saturday.  I’ve finally been reading through all the advice on the website so I know where I’m going.  I was amused to see this notice:

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 So it’s nearly here and I think I’m as ready as I can be….

London, I’m coming for you.

Half-way there

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Well it’s been a while. I’m not sure what happened to February- it appears to be March now! I’ve been really busy with work and have had kids half term as well as a little one off school for a week to contend with.

But.  I haven’t missed a single run – of that I’m very proud.  I’ve finished the dreaded hill sessions; my skinny jeans don’t fit over my calves any more; but I do feel fitter (and a bit faster) than I have done in a long while.

And now that it’s March, it’s the Bath Half Marathon on Sunday.

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I feel fairly well prepared for this thanks to George and his very Intelligent Running programme. I’ve started a sweepstake for my finishing time to raise some extra money for the wonderful Breast Cancer Campaign – it’s quite scary what some people have put down as their guesses for my finishing time….
The lovely people at Breast Cancer Campaign sent me letters to iron on my shirt – difficult having such a long name but I just managed to get them on:
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So now I’m feeling a little more prepared for Sunday.  The weather looks suitably cold and drab which suits me just fine – last year it was so hot I really struggled.
My lovely friend Winky seems to be doing really well. Here she is swimming with dolphins 🙂
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One of my mother’s very close friends has also just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Life is so unfair. She has already had cancer, had her leg amputated because of it and had a stroke.  But she takes it all in her stride and deals with all the horrible blows life throws at her.
All this reminds me that the cause I’m running for is so worthwhile so if you have a spare few quid, please feel free to sponsor me.
So from here on in the training is going to get much harder.  The long runs get longer, the short runs get longer, the threshold runs get longer….. I’m going to need all the motivation I can get!

The Dreadmill

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Today’s run was a 3 x 10 minute threshold run.  We had another light smattering of snow last night on top of the already icy lanes so I decided running fast on a slippery surface was not advisable so I took myself off to the gym today.

I really don’t enjoy running on the treadmill although it must be said it does have its advantages:

– for an interval session like this it’s good because you maintain a constant speed, rather than slowing down towards the end as I’m sure I do when running outside

– it must be kinder on the joints

– you can let your mind wander without the running the risk of slowing down

But

– I find the lack of variety of the surface makes different muscles tired

– I find myself constantly watching the clock as it’s right in front of you (I know you can cover it up) as opposed to looking at a watch

– it is very boring looking at the same view!

Plus I had forgotten my headphones 😦

Anyway, run done. No injuries.  And home for a lovely bowl of home-made tomato and lentil soup. Yum!

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– 

A snowy run!

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Not one to let the weather defeat me I decided to brave a run this morning.  Not least because the Evil Man* said that I would have to run 4 times next week if I missed today’s run so I figured it would be much easier to get it over and done with.  I knew that any of my usual country routes would be too icy so I decided to stick to the main road that had been gritted.  It’s not a nice run and one I would never have chosen unless I had to run into Bath for some reason, and was a there-and-back route – my least favourite.  And to top it all, very hilly!

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Too many hills for my liking!

Looking very pretty

Looking very pretty

 

There were virtually no cars which was great.

Great view. Until I realised I live over the other side of that massive hill....

Great view. Until I realised I live over the other side of that massive hill….

 

I had 75 minutes on the schedule but I only managed 67, even though I did add on a bit when I got back home to make it a bit further. But in the end I was too cold and just wanted to get home for some breakfast! Very slow because of the hills – an average pace of 10.56, pathetic (but on the flatter bits I was doing more like 9 minute miles)

The view from the top.  The building you can just about see is where my office is

The view from the top. The building you can just about see is where my office is

 

* Evil Man =  George Anderson, creator of the training programme I’m following.  So far I think it’s brilliant, and there’s even a Facebook group where you can speak to other runners following the same plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 3 nearly complete

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Well I say nearly, but the biggest part is yet to come – the long run tomorrow.  I’m a little worried I won’t be able to do it because of the snow that we’ve had today.

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The slopes of Wellow

This week the time for the threshold and the hill runs was back down to 3 x 8 minutes (compared with 10 minutes last week) which felt much easier – I’m not sure whether this was because my fitness is improving or because the two minutes make a big difference. (I have to admit that last week the sessions of 10 minutes felt a lot longer!).

So the snow today meant a snow day – no school!  The morning was spent sledging (for the kids) while we stood around getting freezing feet.  Back home for some work and then a meet up in the pub for lunch – the perfect way to spend a Friday.

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It’s been a long day…

I’m now sitting in front of a lovely warm fire feeling very cosy.

I have 75 minute run on the schedule for tomorrow (my programme is defined by time rather than distance which is rather a different approach for me).  Not sure if I will be able to make it out because of the snow, but I’m going to give it a go. I think it might be a bit icy so I’m going to try a flatter route than the normal hilly route as I think that will be slightly less risky.  Will let you know how it goes….

 

15 weeks to go

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That sounds daunting.  I had an email from VLM reminding me of this fact.  I suspect these will be regular and more daunting as we go on.

On the plus side, I have nearly completed by first week of training and have stuck to my programme to the letter. I only have to run for 60 minutes tomorrow for my long run so that’s nice and easy.  I have completed my hill sessions which didn’t seem quite as bad this time. My mind wandered so much during the second 8 minute session that I was taken by surprise when the timer went to say I had completed it!

On the food front, I have tried to be a bit more sensible this week and have almost been Elimination Diet compliant which I know is the thing that works for me.  I said I was going to do Dax’s Jumpstart january but it’s a bit difficult because the kids are still at home this week and I don’t feel like I’m properly back into my routine.  From Monday it will be much easier as I’ll be back in the office.

I haven’t had a drink since New Year’s Day (but it is only the 4th!).  It’s now Friday night and I’m toying with the idea of a glass of wine but trying not to think about it too much as I don’t really want one – it’s just habit.

I have got Lorraine Pascale’s Peri Peri chicken in the oven which I’m really looking forward to…. Last night we had her Duvet Day Chicken noodle soup which was totally delicious, even more so because it was cooked by my darling daughter.

Her picture not mine ;)

Her picture not mine 😉

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Both recipes from this lovely book.

Looking forward to week 2 of training….