Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Post marathon post

The ballot for the 2014 London Marathon opened on Monday and closed in a record time! By 11:30 125,000 people had entered the ballot to try and gain entry. Not surprising it is difficult to get in, reported to be only a one in seven chance! I resisted entering with surprising ease. I had imagined I might just be tempted but not the case. I suspect my trip to Manchester on Sunday may have played a part.

A group of Eccleshill members travelled over to the home of the mighty reds to show our support of club mate (and my marathon training buddy) Claire. Her debut at what is billed as the flattest marathon course in the UK began early as it was a 9 am start. It was great to be able to be there before the start to share a coffee and last minute reassurances.  After she made her way to the start we made our way to the 2 mile point of the course and were able to cheer her on before moving to the 5 mile point from which we had easy access to the 24/25 mile point. It was standing at this late stage of the race which resurrected memories of the later stages of my marathon the week before and almost certainly staved off my desire to enter the VLM 2014 ballot!

So how long does one leave it before getting back to training. For me, a week off had felt much longer even though I had a mid week walk on the canal on Wednesday club night and I was eager to return to light training.  I started out with a very slow jog around Bradford parkrun last Saturday and felt great.

Monday training, speed & hills, was Bolton Lane Hill reps, I went along with a view to just taking it really easy which is just what I did.  Hopefully this will now stand me in good stead for another short gentle jog tomorrow and again on Friday.  On Saturday I will be attending Bradford parkrun to take part in what will now be an annual event and it is incredibly one year since the most wonderful, inspirational man Arthur James left us.  We at Eccleshill plan to all run together at the back of the field wearing our Arthur James tee shirts.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


Two days ago I completed my second marathon, 26.2, some of them, difficult miles. The journey began what seems a very long time ago now. April 2012 I entered the London marathon ballot to try and gain entry to run once more, my reasoning behind this was to give myself a chance to ascertain whether I could actually enjoy the experience of pounding the streets for over four hours and appreciate the enormity of this prestigious event and all the pomp and circumstance that accompanies it since I hated the first time.  The answer? Yes and no......

Just to recap, the rejection magazine had arrived months after entering the ballot, the next step is that it gave me entry into the club draw for a place. Marc, turning 18 before the race also entered and he too was rejected and after a protest was allowed to enter the club draw. We were both successful in gaining places. How proud I was that at such a young age Marc had decided to take on the challenge of running a marathon but not just any marathon, London marathon!

Following a tweet to Martin Yelling we downloaded a training plan and training commenced  in earnest. Choose what Mother Nature threw at us we trained through thick and thin.  As you would expect, we encountered the usual hiccoughs over which you have no control and can do little other than literally pray! That said we never considered that we wouldn't get to the start line. With club mate Claire entered for the Manchester marathon she was an amazing training partner since the three of us did the same routes most of the time but Marc would always be way out in front. Giving me cause to consider his marathon strategy and hope that he paced himself well and appreciated the distance he would have to go.  In taking on 21+ mile training runs I still knew that the full distance isn't appreciated until you actually come to do it. Something that a first timer has to discover.

So the events in Boston still left me wondering what effect they would have on London. Would the supporters stay away, indeed would runners be put off, would numbers be down? Not a chance, from what I remember of 2010, support this year was even more prolific and as for the runners -  we all stood shoulder to shoulder in defiance.

The day itself was fantastic from start almost to finish. I was was doing great and seemed to get to 10 miles and then half marathon in no time at all. It was hot with only short respite of a breeze now and again. Approaching mile 18, the thought of seeing family and friends outside our hotel spurred me on. After a brief 'hello' I carried on, but by mile 21 I was really feeling uncomfortable, chafing here and there, pain in my hips and back and generally fatigued. I walked for a short while until I began to feel better, reaching Big Ben I recalled how, the previous day we had walked around that part of the course which gave me a boost knowing I really didn't have too far to go.  By this point the crowds along the Embankment were immense and the support to the finishing line was second to none!

I can't describe the feeling as I came over the finish line - I was so pleased to have reached my goal and at the same time relieved that I didn't need to run any more.  My medal was placed over my head and I really had earned it but by the same token I really wished I could give each and every supporter a medal too, they truly deserved one. I immediately spotted a face I knew and didn't hesitate in walking over to say 'well done', I then realised it was BBC newsreader Naga Munchetty! She promptly returned the compliment!  Off I went to be photographed, pick up my goody bag and find my family.

All in a days marathon! Londone! For the last time!

Ready for off!
Hanging around the Blue start

Marc sending last texts!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

United we stand......

The events at the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday have somewhat cast a dark shadow over the whole running community.  I would be telling a lie if I said I had not considered my position in running the London Marathon on Sunday.  It is likely that possibly each and everyone due to run has done the same.  Some will have taken the stoic stance and immediately made up their minds not to let the perpetrators of such a despicable act win and there is no question that they will run, heads held high.  Others may well have decided not to run. I am of the mind that I will not let such persons unworthy to be in my thoughts render my months of hard work pointless.  I will stand united on the start line with 34,000 others including my youngest son who has also made the decision to run. I will run. I will, though, run with a heavy heart and a troubled mind until the event is over and everyone is safe.

With my last few days of training going quite well other than aches and pains which I know are normal when reducing the mileage, all that remains is one club run on Wednesday and perhaps a swim at some point if I can find the time, and we will be off on our way on Friday morning.

Meanwhile my thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this tragedy...........

4 days to go....

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The colour purple

After a couple of weeks of disrupted training which have led to panic attacks, feeling unwell, aches and pains and anything else I can think of I feel I'm now back on track once more. It really has been difficult to keep my mind on the job in hand this time around. Oh and preparations for an 18th Birthday party might not have helped! Securing his eligibility to run the London marathon for the first time Marc came of age last Friday.

I've also purchased replacement shoes.....Hoping that this time I have learned by my mistake. The colour was of course, of some influence as well as the fact that they are Nike Pegasus 29's!

My new purple bad boys!

Squeezing in a last long run of 21 miles at the end of training week 13 which should have been our first week of tapering really did go some way to ease my fears in my ability to actually complete the 26.2 miles. The weather took a turn for the better and it was a Spring like morning making for a very pleasant run from Greengates to East Riddlesden Hall and back. That is until Sunday.  The training plan recommended a 1 hour 30 minute run so I reckoned 10 miles would take us over that in training mode.  My darling husband confidently told me that to run to White Cross (Harry Ramsden's as it was) and back would be 10 miles.  Marc, Claire and I set off up the hill from Rawdon Meadows towards Guiseley.  Marc soon disappeared out of sight. I ambled on up the hill, getting warmer and warmer.  Not sure if it was the hill or it was actually that warm I puffed and panted my way up the hill, Claire getting further in front as we climbed.  Finally the road started to level and I started to feel a bit more comfortable although my legs still felt like they belonged to someone else. I never really got into the run and on reaching our turnaround point (I had yet again forgotten my watch) Claire announced it was only 3.66 miles. I asked her how she was feeling and she said she was fine.  I really couldn't bear the thought of going any further and having to come back.  She agreed to carry on alone whilst I turned back.  She is after all a week in front with her training plan since Manchester marathon is a week after London.

Running back alone my thoughts turned to how I was feeling right then and of course doubts began creeping in again - if I can't do 10 miles how the heck am I going to do 26.2?? Luckily by the time I got back to the start point I had reasoned with myself that I had had a particularly stressful week with the party organisation etc and it had most probably taken it's toll.  Marc had a good run but Claire, on returning, said she had struggled too, this tapering lark has a lot to answer for but I have faith in my Martin Yelling training plan!

Since it fitted in with the training plan I decided to carry on regardless and went to club the following day for our weekly Monday session with the intention of putting in some effort and seeing how I felt.  Much better as it turned out.  Here's hoping my pants run is out of the way and the next phase goes without a hitch.
Less than two weeks to go...........