Posts Tagged ‘jogging’

A review (and some new photos)

May 16, 2009

Apologies for the lack of blog posts lately. To be honest, nothing much has been going on! There’s no running to write about as I still haven’t done my first post-Marathon run (and there might not be one, if my knees and hips continue to hurt like they currently do). The fundraising continues apace and I’m churning out bracelets like they’re going out of fashion (hopefully not!). I’m still trying to decided on my next big project (that Channel swim was a bit out of my reach after all).

Thought it might be interesting to do a little review of the whole marathon experience with a couple of graphs. Gotta love a good graph 🙂

So, this is my marathon graph – you can see how I started off well, pretty steady pace until the midway point, then it all starts to go horribly wrong. But I was speeding up again towards the end 🙂

My marathon pace graph

My marathon pace graph

This is all the running I did in training, along with my excuses for those bits with no runs in them 😉

Also check out some of my previous posts for some newly added pics….
Post Marathon Syndrome
London Marathon Part 2
London Marathon Part 1


London Marathon 2009 Part 2

April 28, 2009

Where was I?

Ah yes, the part at which it all started to go a bit weird. I struggled on, walking but occasionally managing to jog half a mile or so before feeling like I was going to fall over. I knew the 13-22 mile section was going to be difficult, you’re running away from the finish, you’re already tired from running 13 miles, it’s a big twisty loop…normally it’s pretty quiet round there but I have to say I don’t think I saw a let up in the spectators in the entire section! They were amazing!

I was still feeling really nauseous as the course headed back round towards the Embankment, so I popped into a Portaloo to see if I was actually going to be sick. No such luck, but as I headed back out I heard a runner behind me yell ‘Becki’ and looked round to see it was Becca Boop who has been one of the e-marathoners hanging out on Twitter. What are the chances of meeting someone you know amongst 35,000 people!? She will tell you that I helped get her to the finish when the truth is she got there herself and helped me get there instead of the other way round! It was lovely to be going along with someone again after so many miles on my own.

Me and Becca Boop
The relief I felt as we passed Tower Bridge again at about 22 miles is indescribeable – we were on the home straight! The sun seemed pleasant rather than scorching along the Embankment, and the trees made lovely dappled shade. There were still so many people cheering us on! I saw my dad again, and Heather and the JustGiving gang who screamed at me (in a good way)! Soon the Blackfriars Underpass approached, which I managed to jog through and got Becca to jog through too. When you come up from the underpass, you can see Big Ben behind the London Eye, which is of course practically the finish (only a mile and a bit to go). We were so close!

Soon enough we were turning right past Big Ben (which is more sparkly in real life) and down the last long section of Birdcage Walk. It wasn’t long before we saw the turning right past Buckingham Palace and I mentioned that we’d have to do a sprint finish. With 385 yards (the .2 of the 26.2 miles) to go, Becca suddenly took off on her amazing sprint finish. I attempted a sprint finish but feeling like I was going to pass out, so it wasn’t one of my best, but at least I ran over the line! I managed 6:28:32 which is about an hour faster than last time but an infinitely better experience. I was aiming for 5:30 so maybe if I could get the nausea under control I could do a faster time. Not that I’m ever doing it again you understand!

With timing chip removed from my trainer and medal hung round my rhino horn by one of the lovely medal ladies, I set off to find my stuff, and those longed-for Lemon Puffs. I was reunited with Becca briefly before being dragged off to the Save The Rhino rug by one of the lovely STR ladies. There were loads of other rhino runners there, eating, being massaged, chatting about the experience. I was OK until I finally stood still at which point I had to run off and be sick (sorry, too much detail!). Once that was all out the way I returned to the group and managed a civilised (I hope) conversation with Neil and his wife Lorna along with some of the other rhino runners – Louise (who was running in a rhino suit!) definitely launched herself at me for a hug, and I think Stephanie may have aswell, it’s all a blur!

At the finish, sweaty and tired and wearing my medal with pride

At the finish, sweaty and tired and wearing my medal with pride

Heading back to the tube across St James’ Park, I was wandering along in a daze, not quite comprehending what I’d just done. By the time I got back to the hostel and had received loads of congratulatory texts I was on the verge of tears and as soon as I was in my (thankfully empty) room I burst into tears for a good 10 minutes! Probably a combination of exhaustion and emotion and the fact that it was all over 😦

To cheer myself up, I limped out to find some food and ended up having no dinner but two puddings 🙂 A lovely end to an amazing day!

London Marathon 2009 Part 1

April 27, 2009

Apologies for the delay in getting a post up, I’ve not been near a decent computer-and-internet-connection-combo!

Where do I start?! I guess Sunday morning is probably a good place…

I kept waking up every couple of hours on Saturday night, expecting to have to get up but being slightly disappointed as I realised there were a few hours to go yet! As one of my main fears was oversleeping and missing the start the waking up was probably a good idea! Eventually it was time to get up and I managed to force a couple of slices of toast down me – better than nothing!

Soon enough it was time to catch the DLR to Greenwich and the main Red Start (where the charity places go from). It was quite a trek from Greenwich station to the start area, but there was no chance of getting lost because of the sheer volume of people heading in the same direction!

Me in the rhino hat and laden down by kit bag and carrier bags

Me in the rhino hat and laden down by kit bag and carrier bags

Pre race smile - or nerves?

Pre race smile - or nerves?

I met up with the other rhino runners (including those crazy people who were wearing the proper costumes) and my ‘usual’ running mate Neil. I dosed up on my usual painkillers (although one of the Save The Rhino staff had to get the tablets out of the packet for me as I had no strength!). Soon enough we were all on our way to the start – no going back! – where to everyone’s probable annoyance I kept saying ‘Why? Why am I doing this? Why am I here? Why? Why?!’

We all ended up somewhere between pen 8 and 9 (at the back) so it was a good 25 minutes or so before we finally got over the finish line and started running. From the start there were loads of spectators brought out by the glorious sunshine. The first couple of miles didn’t feel as hellish as they normally do but I guess there were so many distractions going on – including the many male runners swerving off to have a wee in the hedges! I ran with Neil again this time as we have similar pace.

I was keeping an eye out for the JustGiving gang who I was expecting before mile 5 (check out my list of ‘landmarks’ here). Can’t remember exactly where I saw them (all the miles blur into one) but it was great to see Heather and the gang (I met Heather on Saturday at the expo, and she mentions me in this video! Woo!). Further on we passed the Cutty Sark where Matt Baker (formerly of Blue Peter fame) was waiting with a cameraman, to which Neil blurted out something like ‘Ooh, you’re a famous person off Blue Peter!’ and I almost fell over laughing (the runner’s delirium had kicked in by that point I think). We carried on round to mile 8 and Surrey Quays where my dad was waiting with a large Save The Rhino flag which we had printed up, and jelly babies.

The supporters were great, and it sounds like a cliche to say they got me through but it’s actually true. So many times I heard ‘Go Becki’ ‘Come on Becki you can do it’ ‘Go Rhino Head’ ‘Becki’s got the horn’ ‘Becki are you feeling horny’ and variations on a similar theme, and they really helped, it would be easy to feel a bit invisible in a crowd of 35,000 (but I don’t think there was any chance of that with a large horn on my head!). I acknowledged every cheer although what started out as a wave each time soon turned into an arm waft because I didn’t have any strength left!

Somewhere before mile 12 we managed to see Neil’s family, then it was on to Tower Bridge, which seemed to be hiding from me very well! I knew that I’d have to take some more painkillers imminently so decided on 13 miles as the point at which I’d walk for a bit and take the painkillers (no point trying to swallow them whilst running, I’d choke!). So Neil ran on ahead and I strolled for a few hundred yards. Trying to run again after walking was interesting to say the least, and because obviously the painkillers hadn’t had a chance to kick in, painful! I managed a gentle jog for another couple of miles but then the nausea kicked in. Despite my previous posts assuming the the jelly beans I was eating were the culprit of my post-long-run throwing up, it appears it might just have been the running, as I was only on glucose tablets for the marathon. I had to walk somwhere around mile 16 and when I stopped running it felt like my knees would buckle from under me…

More to come soon! 🙂

Three is the magic number…

April 22, 2009

…but doesn’t actually feature in this post! Thought I’d continue my song-title-blog-title theme 🙂

I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at some of the stats around my London Marathon experience.

These first numbers are taken from my stats on LogYourRun

Shortest run: Way back in December 08 my first run was 1.4 miles, I had to stop halfway throught and practically died by the end. I managed something like 12 minute mile pace although I was so bad back then I didn’t even bother to time myself. Look how far I’ve come!

Longest run: The epic 17 miler that made me throw up and cry, but I managed to run the whole way round!

Fastest run: Before the training got into the long runs I was working on increasing my speed and by trying really really hard and ignoring the pain in my muscles I managed …. drum roll …. 9:30 minute/mile pace around a four mile circuit. Woo!

Most times running the same route: I’ve run my quick 2.7 mile route 15 times in my training. Most other routes have been run at least a couple of times, apart from those where I tried the route once and swore never to do it again!

Total miles run: 241.29 – just over 9 marathons’ worth of running. And soon to be joined by a tenth marathon of course…

Minutes spent training: an amazing 2532 (or 42.2 hours), making my average pace 10:30 minute miles.

Blog stats:

Total views: 1,889 (wow!)

Busiest day: 100 — Thursday, April 2, 2009 (this was the day I posted up my vest-printing services)

Posts: 41

Comments: 70 (most of them lovely, thank you 🙂 )

Me stats:

Weight lost: 5lbs

Toenails lost: 5 and counting

Money raised: £1,327.28

I’m aiming for £4000. Please help if you can!

Two weeks to go…

April 12, 2009

Today was the start of the taper, where you’re supposed to run less distance in the few weeks before the marathon in order to give your legs a bit of a chance to recover from the months of training before you do the ‘big one’. So where last week’s run was 17 miles, this week I only did 11.5 miles (when did 11.5 miles become ‘only’?!). It was lovely not to have to do the loops that I’ve been adding at the end of my run to get the distance up (I think running past my house more than once on a run has been affecting me more than I thought), and also lovely to only be out for two hours instead of the three plus that I’ve been doing for the past few weeks. Of course, I’m aiming for a marathon time of around five hours so add this week’s run to last week’s and you’ve just about got it!

The weather wasn’t so lovely, but at least it wasn’t raining, just a bit damp and cold and miserable. A real change from the last few weekends where it’s been all blue skies and fluffy white clouds. No surprise that there were hardly any people around today (apart from other deranged runners). There were more cars on the roads than I expected, and I either need to get better eyesight or get to know what cars my friends drive. I got beeped in an ‘I know you and see you running and I’m going to wave at you’ way three times on today’s run but do you think I could see who was driving?! I expect someone at some point will tell me they saw me running and that I looked exhausted, and I’ll be slightly embarassed to tell them that was only the start of the run!

Although I somehow managed to finish today’s run in exactly the same time I took last time I did this route (6 weeks ago), it felt much easier and more comfortable today. Last time I hit the wall at about 9 miles and had to walk four times in the last two miles, and also couldn’t make it all the way up the half-mile hill at 4-5 miles, having to walk before I’d actually reached the top. It was annoying that I hadn’t improved time-wise, especially as I walked so many times last time and not at all this time, but I powered up the hill I struggled with previously and managed a good pace (for me) for the whole rest of the run. I probably set off too fast last time, wearing myself out before the end, and I also hadn’t carb-loaded properly – I have it down to a fine art now.

Still, it showed that all the training and throwing up and crying has been worth it. I know I’m never going to be a fast runner – getting under a ten-minute-mile requires a huge effort – but I would just like to be able to get round the marathon as comfortably as possible, and manage a good sprint finish a la Silverstone.

Make sure you check out my London Marathon-inspired poem 🙂

Anyone can do a marathon…

April 10, 2009

Whether young and fresh-faced or really quite old
If you’re a ‘Fun runner’ or going for gold

On legs numbering two, one, zero or four
With chafeing, rubbing, and nipples so sore

It’s a test of endurance and stamina too
To get to the finish it’s all down to you

Those months of training, pounding the streets
Aching limbs, lost toenails and bruised, er, feets

Pasta at every meal and a love of carb gels
Helping and aiding those poor muscle cells

The big day itself comes round ever so quickly
Stood on the start line you might feel sickly

Soon the gun goes and thousands set off
And you think ‘I’m here’ though many have scoffed

‘Just look at me now, the biggest feat I have done
They didn’t believe me when I said I would run’

The race might be painful and it’s going to be long
But spectators will cheer ‘you can go on!’

You can walk, jog, or run, or a mix of the three
And find yourself wondering ‘was that really me?’

Crossing the line, you’ll forget all the pain
And sign up right there to do it again!

Last long run of the training

April 5, 2009

Well, where do I start?

It was all going so well. No feeling of trepidation in the days before, a lovely ‘away with the fairies’ sensation for the first ten or so miles, a nice sunny day with a hint of a breeze. The painkillers were working well and I’d eaten plenty yesterday in preparation. I was mentally prepared and set out at a decent pace.

I even spotted a couple of strange sights – loose Yellow Pages, er, pages scattered along the road for the first mile of my run, and then at about mile 11, someone’s knickers in a tree. The mind boggles!

I was aiming to beat last week’s 17 miles with something like 18.2 or even 19.5 if I was feeling good. Which by the 14th or 15th mile I wasn’t. Legs like lead, all the fairies had disappeared somewhere else, I was nauseous, my legs hurt (and not my knees either, this was muscular). Sports massage ASAP methinks – when the aches don’t leave your legs after a couple of days that can’t be good!

I did manage to equal the 17 miles of last week and felt like I was about to collapse. I’m disappointed that I didn’t manage to run further in this last long run before the taper, but it’s still waaaay further than I managed to run last time I was ‘training’ for the marathon. So hopefully I’ll be ok!

Having forgotten to take a house key, and with my dad out and brother down the pub, I was almost going to have to use a very wobbly stepladder to get into my house. Luckily my neighbours got back about 15 minutes after I got home and I was eventually able to get into the house. I threw up again this week (which I was hoping I wouldn’t do – does that mean I’ll throw up in the marathon??) and then suddenly burst into tears. This training lark is making me go a little crazy I think 🙂

I hope I’m able to feel better after the marathon. Crying will be allowed – tears of joy of course! – but hopefully there will be no throwing up, as that could get a little messy.

I read an interesting article yesterday in the Times in the ‘Marathon Man’ column, in which Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson describes the marathon in terms of

blood, blisters, pain, vomit, crying and dead

Sounds fun, huh?! The rest of the amusing (and scary) article can be found here

4 weeks to go and an even longer longest run

March 29, 2009

The countdown begins! This time in 4 weeks I will hopefully have completed the marathon, got my medal, and be relaxing with the Save The Rhino gang! Positive visualisation can only be a good thing!

After last week’s epic blog post about my 15.5 mile run, I’m afraid there wasn’t much to report today. It wasn’t one of the most enjoyable runs I’ve ever done, as for the most part I was bored out of my mind! Where last week I was floating on a cloud of Zen-like calm and post-Silverstone happiness, this week was just plain dull, and I felt every step of it.

I set out intending to do 18.2 miles but I’m afraid I was losing the will to live at the end and did 17 miles instead. I’m hoping to do that 18.2 next week instead – the last long run before I start tapering. My last couple of runs before the London Marathon are likely to be about 11.5 and 6 miles each – hardly short runs!

I got by on Jelly Beans and painkillers, much like last week, although I think I left it a little late to take the painkillers because the start of the run definitely hurt more this time. The first two miles or so of every run are hellish anyway so I’m not sure how much difference the painkillers would actually make…

Today’s run was based on decreasing loops, meaning I had to run past my house not once but twice! I found the best way to deal with the overwhelming urge to go into my house and have a nice lie down as to pretend it wasn’t my house. Weird, but it worked.

The high point of interest of today’s run was after I got back home and forgot to put my fleece (also know as ‘horse blanket’) on. I cooled down too quickly, and coupled with the overdose of sweet sickly sugary jelly beans, I promptly threw up. Then felt brilliant! Not exactly what I was after though as it’ll now take twice as much effort to rehydrate. Oops.

At least in the London Marathon I’m unlikely to get bored. There are costumes to spot (including the rhinos of course), spectators to high five and landmarks to tick off (and the Gherkin to see, again. I still hate it from last time ;)). And there will be people to run with too, of course (in theory 35,000 although of course most of them will be faster than me).

Longest run yet!

March 22, 2009

After last weekend’s high jinks at Silverstone, this week’s run was, in a word, boring. Now I’m not particularly enamoured of running at the best of times but after having someone to talk to last week and lots of spectators to distract me, this week felt a little lonely and lacking in excitement!

As I’d managed to run 13 miles last week without walking, I figured I’d bump it up a couple of miles and see how I got on. There was an early hiccup in the form of a work night out on Friday at which none of us had dinner (everywhere had stopped doing food by that point) – try telling a bunch of inebriated colleagues that you need to carb-load and see what their response is! I was so worried that this would adversely affect my run, although I tried to make up for it yesterday by making vegetarian spag bol and eating tinned rice pudding (great for carb-loading).

I set off for today’s long run at about lunchtime, which is unusual for me as I usually push my long weekend run back to the furthest point of a Sunday afternoon in an attempt to make it go away! I dosed myself up on Jelly Beans and painkillers and hoped for the best. As far as the painkillers go, I’ve found that it’s not usually tiredness or lack of energy that makes me walk, it’s knee pain. I have dodgy knees anyway so thought I’d help them out a bit!

The first couple of miles were, as usual, really difficult. I don’t think the Jelly Beans had kicked in by that point or maybe I just take longer to properly warm up these days. I soon reached town at which point I flung off my cagoule (OK, I took it off and tied it round my waist) to show off my Save The Rhino top with my name printed on it (get in touch if you need yours printed!) as I ran along the main shopping street. Got some weird looks but hopefully people will recognise me when I (hopefully) appear in this week’s local paper and sponsor me!

Headed on out of town again to the long hill that I usually need to walk at the top of. By this point those jelly beans had definitely kicked in and not only did I make it up the hill fairly easily but I didn’t need to walk at the top! This really set the challenge for running the whole thing as there weren’t really any bad hills after that so it was eminently doable. Heading back down off the plateau a couple of miles later is usually quite painful on my knees but the painkillers reduced it to more of a dull ache than a raging inferno of pain so I was pleased about that.

I was soon at the halfway point although it felt like I was further as I started to head back into my own territory – the roads I’ve run tens of times already, and the fact that they’re near my house helps! Speaking of which, I had planned to go a slightly different route than usual today (which would have made it 15 miles) but chickened out at the last minute – I was still going well at that point and didn’t want to wreck it by running unfamiliar, slightly hilly and most of all boring roads, although they’re only unfamiliar in the sense that I’ve never run them, having lived in the same place my whole life I have walked or driven them many times though! So instead I headed back along my road and past my house (so tempting to stop!) and ran my 4 mile loop which took in most of what I had just run in the previous 4 miles. Ordinarily I might be a bit unwilling to run the same route as I’d just run but this 4-miler is my regular route so I am very familiar with it, and I ran on auto-pilot, not caring that I’d just repeated myself.

I was soon back at my house for the second time but of course I was allowed to stop this time! I ran 15.5 miles in 3 hours and DIDN’T WALK ONCE!! Woo! I was very happy with this and I smashed last weekend’s record of the furthest distance I’ve ever run without walking. Next week could be interesting…

Today was a bit odd as despite my usual pre-long-run dread and apprehensiveness, once I was out running I somehow achieved a state of Zen-like calm and happiness and was smiling at people the whole way round. Maybe it was the painkillers. Maybe it’s because ‘spring has sprung’ – it was very pleasant to be out running in the warmth and sunshine with blossom and new leaves all over the place. Oh, and lots of frisky pigeons!

I’m now dosed up on arnica (great for bruised feet), drinking lots of water and looking forward to a big tub of organic strawberry ice cream – well, I’ve got to have a reason to get round!! 🙂

Me, sweaty and tired after my 15.5 miler in my lovely Save The Rhino t-shirt

Me, sweaty and tired after my 15.5 miler in my lovely Save The Rhino t-shirt

Does this mean that running the whole way in the London Marathon is a possibility??

Silverstone Half Marathon

March 16, 2009

Well, I think I am now sufficiently recovered from yesterday’s exertions to attempt to write some coherent sentences!

I set off for Silverstone a little earlier than expected and panicking about whether I’d forgotten anything. Stopping at a service station just down the road from Silverstone I spotted lots of running types so figured I wasn’t that early! Arriving at Silverstone it was already busy, a shock from the last time I ran it (in 2004, its debut year) when there were only a couple of thousand people. This time there were more like 10,000. I came across the Save The Rhino group in the paddock car park, easily spotted by the giant rhino head on top of the car! It was great to meet some of the rhino-runners in real life and in fact I ended up running the half-marathon with one of them, the lovely Neil. I was comparing my Blue Peter-esque rhino hat to the official costumes but there is no way I’d be able to run in one of those costumes. I was a bit embarassed at donning the hat etc but soon got over it!

Pre-Silverstone nerves and a ridiculous hat

Pre-Silverstone nerves and a ridiculous hat

Lining up on the starting grid, the only way we could tell that the race had actually started was watching the runner’s reflections moving in the windows of the conference centre overlooking the start. It was a sunny day, warm and verging on a bit too hot, but we got off to a good start, despite being overtaken by a running group dressed as a giant dog! There was a slight breeze which was nice although some of the stronger gusts caught the ears and horns on my hat and made it blow sideways! The first lap was nice and straightforward with a much-needed water stop at 3 miles (I think nerves had dealt with any water I’d drunk previously!), then the course headed inwards and around the ‘wiggly’ bits of the track which looked a lot smaller on the map. The next section had the course going round the outside of the track, bits of which were really boring, but the bits with spectators were great! Everyone was cheering ‘go rhino’ which made me wonder if there was an official rhino behind me or whether people had realised that I was actually running as a rhino – luckily it was me they were cheering on! After grabbing some jelly beans from my supporters we approached a small bridge at which point I’m afraid to say I picked up the pace and sprinted up! Poor Neil looked a bit shocked but I soon returned to normal pace.

I had decided to ‘reward’ myself with a little walk at about halfway, but once at halfway decided I could go further before stopping, so kept aiming for the next mile and the next one until I found myself at the 11 mile marker saying ‘I’ll definitely walk here’ and then continuing to run straight past! Seems my legs had other ideas. I kept feeling the need to walk in the last couple of miles – I wasn’t exactly tired particularly but it was painful, the painkiller I’d taken in the morning was starting to wear off and my feet felt bruised by the constant pounding. Much to Neil’s probable annoyance I kept saying ‘right…’ which in my head was ‘right, I’ll run to such-and-such and then I can walk’ but the whole sentence was too much effort by that point! Coming up to the 12 mile mark I figured there was no point stopping in the last mile so summoned up an enormous effort of will and tried to ignore the pain in my legs and feet. Soon enough the finish line was in sight, and having mentioned to Neil that a sprint finish is compulsory I started stretching out my strides and picking up some speed in the last couple of hundred yards. My legs felt great for doing something other than plodding and it felt like I was going really fast (probably not). The relief on stepping over the finish line and stopping was great, and of course the endorphins had kicked in so I couldn’t stop smiling! My official time was 2:30:40 which was about what I had hoped for but to achieve it – and without walking once! – was brilliant!

Once the timing chips had been removed from our trainers, we collected our goody bags which contained an official finishers t-shirt and – of course – a medal we headed back to the rhino meeting area where there were sports massages on offer and lots of other rhino runners. It’s weird to see people in real life that you’ve only met online before.

Post-Silverstone pic where I look knackered and sweaty!

Post-Silverstone pic where I look knackered and sweaty!

I rewarded myself with some Milkybar Mini Eggs once I got back to the car – a long walk away from the track – I have never been so glad to see my car ever!

EDIT: Some pics now added thanks to Neil, may add some official ones once the CD arrives 🙂