Monday, 30 April 2012

One of those weeks.....

Londone! for another year.  Normal life resumed.  Well almost. After a week of up and down weather as well as moods, Wednesday brought me a migraine, and purely since I had been looking forward to our change of base for Summer training, I waited to see how I was until late afternoon when I then decided running wouldn't be a good idea so contacted key leaders to say I wouldn't make it.  I later found out that the leaders didn't make it either and the session didn't go ahead anyway, the club was brought to a standstill due to traffic having ground to a halt in the surrounding areas.  Four brave souls had made it in the pouring rain and three decided to 'make an executive decision' and go home! No prizes for guessing that Mick was the one who carried on regardless and did a wet and soggy run to Saltaire and back!

By Friday evening, thankfully the rain had died down, normal club session resumed and we had a pleasant first run from Apperley Bridge which took us on a familiar 'hospital route' run, finishing on the canal, puddle dodging was, for now, a pleasure!

Saturday was a day I had been looking forward to for a few weeks.  My sister-in-law, Tricia's 50th parkrun.  Wanting to stay loyal to Bradford parkrun she refused to even contemplate a London parkrun whilst we were down there.  Originally I was going to ask her if she wanted me to attempt to pace her round for a pb at Bradford but was then asked by my son if I would look after my two young grandsons so I decided I would make it fun for the children and take helium balloons and flags for them to wave in celebration of what undoubtedly is no mean feat!  I duly purchased helium balloons and craft items and set about marking each one back and front with congratulations messages and number 50's.  England flags were fashioned into 50th parkrun flags and loading up the car we set off.  Parked the car in the car park and set off down to the start area.  With that I spotted Tricia walking towards me.  I could immediately see she was wearing jeans. "don't tell me you're not running" was my immediate statement.  I could see she felt uncomfortable and awkward as she began to explain how her back had starting hurting at work the previous day and she'd taken painkillers regularly and before retiring to bed the previous evening she was still under the impression that she would be ok to run. I then felt just as uncomfortable as she did! Fortunately there was another lady completing her 50th run so we got the balloons out anyway and tied them to the pushchair, I also gave her son one to cheer on his mum!

A pleasant day was had by all culminating in going down to the city centre to watch veteran club member Arthur James abseil down a tall building in aid of Marie Curie and I'm now looking forward to running round with Tricia this coming Saturday - which falls just nice as a few club members suggested we run for a curry at a new local Indian restaurant on Friday evening so Saturday's run will make up for missing Friday's! Job done!  Before that though I have the first of this year's John Carr 5k series on Wednesday evening. I'm going to give it my best shot in the hope of keeping up a tradition of beating the year before's times with each successive race, 26:29 is this year's starting point so really I think it's quite a big ask considering the week I've had but we'll see.......

Today the ballot for the 2013 London Marathon opened and promptly closed less than 24 hours later, the entry limit having been reached.  A long haul now until October when the results are published and we find out if we need to have a training plan in place!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Marathon highs and lows

Friday morning finally arrived and off we set to Bradford Interchange to catch our coach to London for the Marathon weekend.  Like a bunch of school kids we boarded the coach and after a stop off for refreshments we soon found ourselves at Excel for the Marathon Expo. That really is the start of it as Docklands and the O2 come into view, it's confirmation that you are really in London. Runners duly registered and goody bags collected we filed back onto the coach.
No going back now!

Next stop, Britannia International Hotel.

Plush isn't in it.  When we were finally issued with our room keys we excitedly went to find or rooms. Ours didn't disappoint, complete with jacuzzi bath it looked like we were in for a very comfortable weekend!

We decided to visit a music experience at the O2 on Saturday as they also had a Philip Lynott exhibition for a limited time too.  Being Lizzy fans for more years than we care to remember we considered it  a 'must'.  A great day was had by all and we didn't return to the hotel until 6 pm.

Here began the experience of the other side of marathon running, spectating whilst a loved one is running. Rising early for the 'runner's breakfast' Martin and I went down to the dining room, he found it difficult to eat but finally managed some porridge so I knew the nerves were kicking in even though he was putting a brave face on. I knew how he felt and this made me nervous.

As the runners Departed at 7:30 for the Docklands Light Railway to the start, I had to rush away from the group as I felt myself getting upset and didn't want to make Martin feel any worse than he already did. It was clear now then that this was going to be an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish.  It wasn't too bad initially as we clapped and cheered local club runners in, I got uncontrollably excited when I spotted people or clubs I knew! I was quite alright until club mate Lyndon passed us and then I started to worry, we were tracking Martin's run on a phone app, by 30k info stopped filtering through, I began to panic thinking he wasn't getting to that distance.  I was so relieved when he appeared, I saw him from a few feet away and still don't know how I stopped myself from getting over the barrier - I hugged him, and didn't want to let go! It turned out the app was sticking but it's no wonder given the amount of people who would have been using it on the day. Eventually off he went carrying on his journey.  Again I knew how he felt as he carried on leaving us behind, although it's a boost once you pass the point you have been looking forward to you have to carry on using all your resolve to keep yourself going and in this case knowing you have another 8 miles still to do. My day was brightened though when a mankini clad man came by, everything wobbling around!

Darting off to the finish to try and be there when at least some of our runners crossed the finish line we were faced with immense crowds, closed tube entrances and pouring rain! We got there eventually and sat waiting tentatively by the tree marked QR - we had agreed to wait by the letter for Lyndon (Ross) and soon after Lyndon appeared, not a happy bunny and in pain. I felt it for him.  It seemed quite a while before Martin arrived, he had sneaked around the back and came at us from the opposite angle to where all the other finishers were coming.  Again my emotions took over and I hugged him for England, sobbing uncontrollably. I ordered him never to do that again, unless we do it together of course.......

A while afterwards Martin declared.......
"I achieved what I aimed to do which was cross the finishing line, not on my hands and knees, not puking up and  not feeling like I was going to die!"  I know he would have liked a quicker time but in the marathon game there really is a time when you have to accept the enormity of what you have just achieved - especially us novices!
Please Release me!
Let it all hang out!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Spot the difference!

The snow went as fast as it came! In actual fact there was probably no need to cancel the club run a week last Wednesday. We're back on track now and I filled the running gap with a parkrun, just to reassure myself that I could still run ahead of my race the next day but it also gave me a chance to get out last year's bunny ears and tail to add a bit of fun to my run, and guess what? I was first bunny to hop over the finishing line!  Ok, ok I was the only one! It was however, a good move since it's motivated me to think about getting back to the park on a Saturday morning on a regular basis, I've now purchased high vis running jackets for both dogs, just need to talk someone into being 'tail' runner with me so we can have a whippet each!  What it didn't do however, is motivate me for the Guiseley Gallop, score settled, it certainly wasn't any easier but this time I came out of it with my ankles intact but still not feeling that I am able to give 100% to races, I'm lacking something but not sure what. I chose to wear my road shoes rather than off road despite seeing conversations on Facebook to the contrary, I decided to follow my gut and stick with the road shoes and although there were a few muddy areas in the multi terrain course there wasn't any detriment to negotiating it in the road shoes.  My finishing time was four minutes slower than in 2009 but it is a very tough race and it is now firmly on my 'not to do' list and is staying there!

Easter 2011
Easter 2012
The Easter weekend concluded with a three hour visit to St Ives country estate at Bingley with my family and two dogs and my sister's family and their two dogs.  Despite the pouring rain we walked the dogs all around the wooded areas of the estate and had a lovely afternoon.  We returned just in time for me to meet some fellow club mates for an unofficial club run. A few of us completed 5 miles, choosing to run down the infamous Carr Lane, even stopping to chat to a local club runner!


This week has concluded with another parkrun taking in the second birthday celebrations of Bradford parkrun and the 100th parkrun for the legend that is Arthur James, with record attendance in Lister Park Arthur was in his element - Race Director Linda and her family made him a brilliant flag to mark the occasion. 
The flag made by Linda & her family to celebrate Arthur's 100th parkrun!

A race in the form of Wakefield Hospice 10k on Sunday finished the week off brilliantly.  Arriving at Monday once more we now have the London Marathon trip in our sights at the end of the week, and the Marathonman has almost completed his taper with just a couple of light runs to get in before the big day! Good Luck London Marathon runners everywhere!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Inconvenient snow fall!

Summertime begins......and then it went again!
Well I wanted a change, bored I said, I'm going to think twice before I make statements like that again.  Just as if I'd been cursed the weather steadily became colder and colder and then lo and behold the talks of snow I'd heard on the weather reports, became a reality.  Awaking on Wednesday morning at 5:30 Martin exclaimed he was not going to attempt his planned 16 mile run and promptly jumped back into bed! How inconvenient of it to snow and interrupt marathon training! After a struggle to get to work it felt almost like we had arrived in the North Pole upon reaching Queensbury, the cars were buried in snow drifts up to their roof in some cases, it was an unbelievable sight!

Scarlett Heights, Queensbury
Emails circulated late afternoon as to whether we should cancel the club run or not, the snow seemed to have had a mind of it's own and fallen intermittently, some areas were not so bad, others had a few feet of the stuff!  It was decided in the end we would cancel due to the uncertainty of the state of the pavements.

Looking forward to Friday - no club run for me again as we have the launch of an exhibition of Titanic memorabilia to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ship at our Gallery, Picture This in Queensbury.  I'm going to make an effort to get a run in at some point to see how I feel about the impending Guiseley Gallop 10k on Easter Sunday, I have a score to settle with that race.....