Monday, 25 March 2013

Off more ways than one!

Having made the decision to buy some more new trainers I inexplicably decided to have a trip down to the city centre to a sports shop and 'have a look'.  After about half an hour of trying several pairs on I came away with a pair of New Balance, various socks and Lycra.  Walking up and down the store in them they felt really comfy.  Happy with my purchases I went home with the intention that I would wear them for a club run that evening and then alternate them on training runs up until the marathon with a view to wearing them for the big day.

Arriving at club we warmed up and set off.  I felt really good - the route wasn't too challenging and at 7.5 miles, relatively short.  However, on the way back, about a mile from base I started to experience a numb feeling in my right leg and mild pain in my left.  Since we didn't have far to go I soldiered on.  Once I stopped running and stretched I didn't feel too bad.  Arriving home it was a different story.  I felt sick, couldn't eat my tea and went off to bed.  Next morning my calves felt so tight it was unbelievable.  Was it the new shoes?

Thursday was the club's monthly track session, however, we were otherwise engaged in that we had tickets to see a show at Immanuel - Marc drumming in the school band - so that put paid to that.  Claire and I scheduled this week's long run for Saturday since I was marshalling at the Bradford 10k on Sunday so no planned club run on Friday either. Turned out the session was cancelled anyway as it snowed. This also prompted Epilepsy Action to cancel the Bradford 10k - some said it was a little premature but the forecast was for more snow on Saturday.  The forecast was correct, all day Saturday it snowed relentlessly. I promptly took advantage of the opportunity to ask Claire if she fancied running Sunday instead knowing this would give me another days rest after Wednesdays episode. She agreed.

I was excited as I dressed in several layers ready to run on Sunday morning.  Did I say? I love running in the snow! Marc and I set off out the door and it immediately became clear that the temperatures had plummeted over night.  The pavements and roads were a mix of deep snow in parts and sheet ice in others. We picked our way down through our estate to Greengates to meet Claire. We made the decision that it would be impossible to run all the way to Bingley and back on the paths/roads so we agreed to go down to Apperley Bridge and run along the canal, again, and play it by ear, see how far we got.  As it turned out we got to Hirst Wood at Saltaire and decided the journey back from whence we came would be enough.  The going was tough, Arctic winds blew snow from the trees at us, it was a mix of ice and deep snow under foot making it difficult to negotiate but pleasant all the same.  Claire kindly dropped me near to home and I was just daydreaming of how thought I had found my niche, I really do love the challenge of running in snow, for some reason it's so much more satisfying, I got to the top of my road, crossed over and all of a sudden lost my balance, slipped and down I went.  Luckily my arm tucked underneath me and although I banged that and my knee, I got to my feet quickly, pain searing through my arm and started to make my way through a snicket to my house.  Arriving home I felt more embarrassed than hurt and started to think how I hoped nobody had seen me fall! I got off lightly, this time. It did though, bring home the reality of how easy it is to put an end to all the hard work I have put in over the last few months. No regrets here though as I have seen runners fall in such different circumstances and although snow and ice are obviously much more of a risk, that's life! (For me any way!)

What I do find baffling though is what Mother nature is throwing at us - how different the weather has been from one week to the next...........

Last week at the top of Baildon

This week at Hirst Wood, Saltaire
Now, this evening, to run or not to run, that is the question?

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Wishful thinking?

I had hardly typed the last word and pressed 'publish' for my previous blog when I heard that those lovely weather people had forecast snow for the weekend! Wishful thinking? Yes it would seem so. I'm sure I wasn't the only one lulled into a false sense of thinking that Spring was in the air.  I was horrified to learn that the temperatures were set to plummet  again just when we thought we had turned a corner.

Leaving home early on Sunday morning with Marc to meet up with Claire and Ghizala (who was starting out with us and planning on running a few miles out and back on the canal) it was bitterly cold but as yet no sign of snow.  It was a different story a couple of miles later as the flurries began.  Hitting the back of my throat like flies in the summertime or hindering my view by landing on my eyelashes.  I began to think back to Liversedge a few weeks ago.  How pleasant it had been when we set off with the snowflakes dancing all around us only for it to turn into sleet and then icy rain, making for a most unpleasant last few miles of the race. Fortunately last Sunday the worst we encountered was puddles from previous rain fall and frequent patches of very slippery mud! The intermittent snow flurries accompanied us all the way to Skipton. I reached for my phone camera at one point intending to take some photos of the view of the towering snow covered hills in front of us only to find it wasn't in my pocket, thankfully I later learned I had unwittingly left it at home.

Reaching another milestone in the the marathon training is yet another confidence boost. I even managed to overcome the dread of refuelling with energy gels and, it appeared, managed to administer them at appropriate intervals and stave off any serious dips in energy levels.

Why though, did me and Claire have to sit and watch Marc tuck into a Macdonald's meal whilst we were unable to eat, feeling sick, I managed a few fries while Claire only managed a cup of tea? I'm  going to look into the cause and effect when I get a minute. Could it  have something to do with him not putting enough effort in?!!

The training plan recommends a 10 mile or half marathon race this week so I'm a little unsure what to suggest since we had mooted ideas of doing the Trimpell 20 thinking that it would be good to do some higher mileage in a race situation. Decisions, decisions. As a result this is how I'm feeling as the weekend approaches leaving only five weeks to go...........

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Marching into Marchvellous!

I've surprised myself and managed resolutely to stick to my marathon training plan of abstaining from races two Sundays running (pun intended!) and keeping a lid on my midweek club run and I have to say it seems to be going swimmingly! Following a strained run to Huddersfield last week we embarked on an 18 mile canal run.  Not knowing what was in store as there have been several closures along the Leeds/Liverpool canal we set off in the direction of Shipley/Bingley/Keighley. We were able to negotiate the diversions onto the river bank at Saltaire emerging back onto the canal at Bringley. Nine miles later we reached our destination and turned around and headed back to Apperley Bridge.  I felt slightly disadvantaged at knowing how far we had to go to get back to our start point and 16 miles in my bones and muscles began to groan! I did though, feel grateful to complete another long run!

Thanks to Martin Yelling and his Marathontalk training plan which I've been loosely following I'm feeling quietly confident about getting round the 26.2 miles.  I initially said I would like to better my 2010 time and I still feel that second time around I will have a good chance of doing so, not least because I know I am going to be accompanied to the start line by my youngest son Marc who is also in the throws of training - I also have a good insight into what's in store!

Improver's 16 week marathon schedule
You will embark on this schedule if you are able to run for approximately 60mins without stopping
and plan to run 3‐4 days a week. Your running days are not fixed so you can fit these in around your
lifestyle and weekly commitments. You can change the order of the runs but do try and have an
easier day following a harder days running. Be flexible with your training but at the same time, firm
with your commitment to getting out of the door.

, for me was key and without blowing my own trumpet (well maybe just a little!) I have commitment, that has never been a worry.  Mother nature did her best to scupper our early training but with the exception of one session so far I have managed to keep both me and Marc on track and also Claire from club who was first reserve for the marathon place - she has now entered the Manchester marathon and has been a valuable running buddy at club and on the last couple of long runs, we've literally run through thick and thin, some training nights have consisted of me Claire and Marc!  If that isn't commitment I don't know what is.  We've been called 'mad' amongst other things for running in the adverse weather but I never saw it like that, for me it was about doing what I could to keep my training on track, even though sometimes we didn't get the mileage in we might have liked, the effort was well and truly there. Although there's no guarantees with the British weather but hopefully the snow is well and truly behind us!

A 7 mile run on Wednesday and a short social run on Friday takes us to our planned 20 mile run to Skipton on Sunday, leaving just 6 weeks to go...... I'm actually looking forward to it so something must be clicking into place!

Meanwhile marathon shoes are on the cards, I want to invest in them now so that I can alternate my runs in them to have them well and truly 'broken in' by marathon day. I won't be making the mistake of internet shopping again and I now know a man that can!

Last but not least I must mention Marathontalk's fabulous Spring motivation tool 'Jantastic' which has been a useful aid to keeping me on track - I can't explain why but when I registered the Eccleshill Eagles team and encouraged club members to join quite a few did just that, alas most have fallen by the wayside, I'm not judging anyone, I'm sure they have their reasons, perhaps forgetting to log runs they have actually done, illness, work commitments? Who knows, but for me it works and I'm sitting pretty at the top of the table as we go into Marchvellous, for now at least!