Posts Tagged ‘Running’

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 😉
runninggraph

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

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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! 🙂

One more sleep to go!

April 25, 2009

First, let me apologise for any typos in this post, I’m hunched over a tiny screen in the hostel I’m staying in and the keyboard is similarly tiny 🙂

Well, here I am, the day before the marathon. Who’d have thought it’d come round so quickly when I first got my running trainers was back in December? I’m surprisingly calm, although the panics I was having earlier this week were probably more to do with a) my Greek exam (which went well if you’re interested) b) being away from home (I get weird homesickness sometimes) and c) worrying about forgetting to pic my number up from the expo. With the exam done and dusted and the homesickness shoved to the back of my mind, the one remaining issue for today was to head over to the ExCel centre and pic up my number. As I walked in, the booth with my number was the only one without a queue, a good omen I’m sure! Once I’d collected my number I was sent off to get my ChampionChip tracking thing, then that was it! I thought it’d be a shame to leave the expo without having a look around so after purchasing an arm phone holder (to hold my painkillers and glucose tablets) from the Sweatshop stand, I headed over to the JustGiving stand, where I met the lovely Heather and got the chance to draw a picture of me in my running outfit in the hope of winning a prize of a donation. Do you like the way I can draw the hat in 3D but my face consists of just two dots and a line?!

After I’d finished wondering round and collected my goody bag on the way out, I headed back into the city, passing many of the landmarks I’ll be running past tomorrow. I walked round London for far too long considering I should have been resting my legs and feet, but I was trying to pass the time in as interesting a manner as possible 🙂

I headed back to the hostel late afternoon and inhaled a bag of chewy banana chips before heading out to dinner. I still have my usual tinned rice pudding to get through. It’s strange how being able to eat a lot and having to eat a lot make you look at food in different ways. Right now, if someone put pasta in front of me, I’d probably hit them!

Part of my calmness where tomorrow is concerned is probably down to knowing points of the route which will stand out:

Mile 2: JustGiving supporters
Mile 3: Merging of starts
Mile 6: Cutty Sark
Mile 8: My dad! And a big Save The Rhino Flag
Mile 12-13: Tower Bridge, and my dad again
Mile 17: Runners World supporters
Mile 22: My dad! And running under Tower Bridge
Mile 23: Blackfriars Underpass, you can see Big Ben when you come up from this
Mile 25-26: Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
Mile 26.2: Finish!

Miles 13-22 are going to prove the most difficult, run as they are around the Canary Wharf area making them quiet (no residential areas) and actually pretty boring. The last four miles will (hopefully) be amazingly well supported so should be a bit more interesting. There will probably be psychological issues at mile 17 as that’s the furthest I’ve run without walking, but then who cares if you walk a little bit in the London Marathon?!

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!

I’m looking forward to the marathon…

April 20, 2009

Reasons I am looking forward to the marathon:

Water stops – I hate having to carry water with me and needing to ration it. A water stop at every mile means I’m never far away from my next fix of Vittel!

Spectators – It’s lonely and boring running long distance by yourself. I’m sure I read somewhere that the London Marathon spectators are considered to be the best of any marathon in the world!

Other runners – people to talk to – see above re: lonely and boring 🙂

Seeing the sights – there are loads of London landmarks to spot, and although I currently hate ‘the Gherkin’ as I saw it so many times last time I did the marathon, hopefully I’ll learn to love it this time

Being part of the Save The Rhino team – the rhino costumes are so well known that it’s great to be part of their team even though I’m not wearing a proper suit.

Playing spot-the-vest-that-we-printed – not likely when it’s like 20 people out of 35,000 but stranger things have happened

The finish – that last few hundred yards in front of Buckingham Palace, perfect for a sprint finish, the finish line, medal, goody bag and well-earned rest 🙂

Reasons I am not looking forward to the marathon:

It’s 26.2 miles long!

If it all goes wrong again this time I’ll have to do it again!

It’s the final countdown…

April 19, 2009

Duh duh duuuh duh, duh duh duh da-da!
One week to go until the 2009 London Marathon! Hopefully by this time next week I will have finished the 26.2 mile slog and be having a well earned rest. The coming week is going to be busy and scary and I may start to panic about exactly what I’ve let myself in for.

Despite running the entire way on my two long runs, I already know I will probably have to walk at least once during the marathon, so I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Just finishing is impressive in itself! And it would be nice to still be able to walk the next day.

I’m spending most of the weekend in London, heading up on the Friday and coming home on the Monday. I have to go to the Expo on the Saturday to pick up my running number. And of course the marathon’s on the Sunday. My Friday is slightly complicated by the fact I have a three hour Classical Greek exam – great timing, not! I’ve only got a couple of short runs to do this week so my evenings are slightly freed up for revision but it’s annoying having two nerve-racking things happening on the same weekend!

I’m going to start packing today and have already made a list of things I need to take, of which I guess my running stuff is the most important! If for whatever reason I forget my toothbrush or something like that, I’ll be in the middle London so I think I’d be able to find a new toothbrush. But if I was to forget my trainers (or my rhino hat – or my running number confirmation) they’re not really replaceable…

Running the marathon is going to be very strange, my normal runs are an out-of-body experience so it’ll be even worse at the marathon, as I struggle to comprehend what on Earth I’m doing and that I’m actually doing it. Hopefully there will be a great camaraderie between the rhino runners, as well as all the other runners too. Must remember to smile and wave at the TV cameras!

I’m going to put some little treats (like Lemon Puffs) in my kitbag, which will be waiting for me at the finish line, to spur me on! I’ll also be adding blister plasters and a change of clothes, essential post-race items.

I’ll be heading out for a 5.7 mile run in a bit, I haven’t done that route since February so it will be interesting to see if and how I’ve improved my time…

Apologies for the babbling rambling post – need to get my head straight before next week!

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