Just a pipe dream you say!!

When I started writing this blog a few years ago, I didn’t expect it be writing this post.  Firstly, I had every intention of writing every week about my running journey, but it is quite clear that that hasn’t happened.  What I do find astounding is that I called it Marathon Pipe dream, because it was just that; something that I was in total awe of but something that was way beyond my capabilities.  To think that I have achieved that goal is mind blowing and I’m still not entirely sure that I have processed it all yet.  I am sort of hoping that if I write about it, I might be able to figure a few things out in my head.

Training started in January and for the most part went well.  My previous post tells of the only “injury” that I suffered and that didn’t last long.  The weather did everything that it could to distract me from training including ice, snow, hale, rain and wind, but I was not put off and completed most training runs as per the instructions.

Determined to achieve a sub 5 hour run I chose to follow the intermediate plan and really push myself.  This fell apart after three weeks when my legs were just so tired that I had to rest them more.  I hadn’t got the core fitness needed to run 4 times a week and I was pushing myself harder than I was capable.  At week three I had to re evaluate and settled for a 5.15 target time.  Looking back, there were runs that could have been longer and more intense, but I found a balance that was working and a happy medium.

Despite running on tired legs I equaled my PB at the MK winter half and was proud to have run for 17 miles solid in the Bedford 20.  I finished this in 4.03 putting me in a good position for a 5.15 finish in London.

The week before the marathon saw a sudden and unexpected change in the weather.  Having trained all winter in cold temperatures, the forecast was suddenly for a heatwave.  To give you a full idea, I hadn’t had the chance to go for a long run in my marathon vest, simply because it hadn’t been warm enough to run with no sleeves and here I was facing the hottest marathon on record.  I don’t run well in heat and this did knock my resolve a little.

I was so excited to line up at the start and get my dream started, but I have to say that I was filled with a sense of dread due to the heat.  We had had countless emails from the organisers warning us to slow our pace in order to stay well.  As the run started I felt the heat and realised that the whole thing was going to be a struggle.  I think that the first few miles went well as I was just excited to be there and was soaking up the atmosphere, but as we merged with the ballot start I was already tired.  Luckily at this stage I was the 5.15 pacer and decided to follow him for as long as I could.  This kept me reasonably steady for about 8 miles but that is where is all ended for me.  I ran past yet another medic tent full of people lying unconscious or being sick.  At this point I lost the psychological battle.  I didn’t want this to happen to me so I told myself to slow down and give up on my time dream.  And I walked.  By the time I reached Vicki I was a blubbering wreck.  I just remember telling her that I couldn’t do it.  I didn’t see how I could finish if I already felt broken at mile 8.

I’m not really sure what happened in the miles between here and 13, I just kept moving but I have no recollection of my feelings.  But I do remember reaching tower bridge and thinking, this is an important stage.  This perked me up a bit, along with the thought that Simon was only a few miles away.  I was further boosted but seeing Martyn and having a friendly face to chat with.  I ran the last mile to Simon, so desperate to see him and I was over the moon to be able to have a huge hug.

Shortly after this I bumped into Zoe and this gave me a renewed energy.  She was struggling as much as me and it was great to have someone to share with and to have someone to focus on.  I pretended that I was totally fine and that I had to focus on her.  This meant that I kept moving forward, probably at a faster rate than I would have done alone.  Chatting to Zoe about nothing really kept me focused.  We ran/ walked out way through a good few miles.

At mile 20 my shin suddenly felt as though it had been hit by a sledgehammer.  I’m not sure what happened but it really hurt.  I didn’t tell Zoe as I wanted to pretend that it wasn’t happening.   We carried on and eventually crossed the line in 6.14.59, holding hands.

The thing is, it wasn’t my dream.  I know that I should be over the moon that I finished and that I am in the 1% club, but I trained hard and really wanted to run it.  I don’t feel that I gave it what I could.  I know that people were slower than me, and I may seem rude to moan, but I was only running in my own race.  I was only racing against myself and I can’t help but be disappointed with what I achieved.

So, I’ve got to do it all over again now…….

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Emotional Wreck.

I remember the days when my hobbies mainly involved sitting at a sewing machine and making clothes.  These days I pound the streets because I had the bright idea to run the marathon.

This weekend was my birthday, and since I was on a rest week, I decided that I’d go to Parkrun and have a bit of a threshold run.   Things that I have learnt are.  I haven;t doen a threshold run for a while and I am not as fast as I was. I got a 30.18.  I was disappointed but it was the best that I could do at the time.  When I finished the limp came back and as the day went on it got worse and worse.  By the afternoon I was gutted and trying not to dwell on the fact that I may have picked up a serious injury and that my dreams of running the marathon were over.  By the evening I was tearful and really starting to panic.

I’m not sure how, but when I woke up the next morning my knee felt fine and didn’t even twinge on stairs.  What a roller-coaster of emotions.  I always knew that the training would be hard, and that mentally the long runs would be tough, but I never realised quite how emotionally hard it would be every day.

So to try to keep myself in working order, I am off to the Physio again on wednesday to see if the pain is something that can be dealt with through stretching and rolling.

I’m actually doing it

Writing a blog, being a mother to two children, a wife to a husband who frequently travels for work, a teacher and running is not something that is easy.  Something has to give and sadly it is my blog journey.  I’d love to be able to record my runs each week and the emotions that I feel after each one, but I simply don’t have the time.  So here is an overview update.

In my last blog everything was going really well for pre training.  I was strengthening well and feeling really positive.  December didn’t really happen for training.  A combination of no childcare in the evenings, being unwell with a lingering cold, snow days and Christmas meant that I think I ran twice.  The longest run being 5 miles.  Nevertheless, my desire to get out there never left me.

Jan 1 and I started the intermediate training plan from VLM.  I had looked at several others and decided that I liked this one best.  The first couple of weeks were good and I met every target.  A few weeks back though the grueling 4 runs a week, and my desire to push myself to achieve a sub 5 hour finish took its toll and my legs were literally running on empty.   I was forced to have an extra rest day and to rethink the plan.  So I am mostly still running four times a week, but instead of 2 interval runs, I have substituted one for an easy run that equals the same time.  It means my legs are still being used but I am being kinder to my body.  As for my desire to finish under 5 hours.  I have realised that firstly, this is probably quite unrealistic.  I am more likely to come in around 5.30.    I think that I only want the sub 5 hour as I worry that people will think that I am a slow coach, and that it is a poor time.  I have decided that if I concentrate and train really hard I might just scrape it, but then I will spend 5 hours looking at the pavement.  I want to enjoy the day and soak up the atmosphere.  I want to take selfies on the way, use the loo, stop to say hi to family and friends that are coming to support.  I can’t miss out on all that just to get a time.  Whatever time I finish it is still 26.2 miles which is a long way and I will have run it all, however slowly.

The treadmill that I have been lent has broken, and although I have send parts off to be looked at by the aptly named “Treadmill Doctor”, I don’t think that the diagnosis is good.  I started to look at new ones last night and think that this will be the way forward.  Simon is not keen to have one in the garage though.  Nevermind, I’ll just ignore him as I usually do!!.

Fundraising has gone really well.  I have met my target already and haven’t had my big events yet.  Tomorrow is my variety night.  We should have about 80 people there and the raffle prizes are awesome so we should take at least £1000.  And then to organise the fun run.  I quite like events organising.  Maybe a change of career is in order.

Psychologically, I am in a great place at the moment.  Running is tough but rewarding.  It is taking a lot of my time and I still struggle with the guilt that that brings, but it is not forever and I try to be fair.  I am also knackered as Stanley is teething massively and not sleeping, but I am finding ways to deal with this (that is a lie – I’m just dying on my feet!).  The long runs are now easier for me that the interval runs.  I am up to 10 miles at the moment and have a half marathon booked in 3 weeks.  I feel excited about it and about the 20 miler that I have booked for March.  The marathon pipedream really is becoming a reality and I don’t quite believe it still

Two months on

The thing about life is that it is busy, and I am not known for having much down time.  I take on way more than I have time for and writing a blog has been low down on the list.  Here is my marathon update.

Running:  I have been out three times a week since I took the place and I have made some improvements,  Firstly I should add that I have been lent a treadmill which has been a lifesaver when Simon has been away or when it has been cold and wet.

I am doing three different types of runs.

  1.  Threshold – these are where I push myself to run as fast as I can for as long as possible.  This has been going really well.  I admit that I have done most of this on the treadmill but that is good at making me keep going.  I have a new 5km PB of 28.26.  It is only 4 seconds but I feel that I could push for another 10 secs already.  I have also managed to run for 45 minutes at a 30 min 5km pace.  I am really proud of this.

2.  Hills – I HATE HILLS.  I know that they make my legs strong and that they are really important but I hate them because they are just so hard.  I guess I am lucky that I live on a hill so they are literally on my doorstep.  I am not getting any faster but I am doing it – there is nothing else to say here

3.  Long runs.  I ran 9 miles last weekend and I felt strong for the first 7.  I started to flag after a huge long hill at 7 miles.  I think I could have gone on for much longer had this not been part of the run.  I have found that in many ways I am better running on my own, but it is more fun to run with people so I am doing this when I can.  I’m off out for 10 miles this weekend.  That is almost the half way point.

Mindset:  Funnily enough the biggest issue that I have always had has been the mental part of running.  I have always found that I give up way before my body needs to.  However – since signing up for the marathon I have had a really positive mindset.  Very much one of “get it done”.  Don’t quit or complain, just do what you need to do and go home.  This has been my greatest achievement so far.

Fundraising:  This is something that I know I can do and I am well on the way to reaching my target of £1500.  I already have about £900 and more promised.  I have also got a great charity night organised in January which should generate lots of money for a worthy cause.

It’s been a while, but what an update!

Well I haven’t written for a very long time and many things have changed.  Much was going on over the summer and I didn’t get to run anywhere nearly as much as I had wanted.    I had completed my half marathon training by the beginning of July but I didn’t really get the opportunity to run and maintain this before the start of September.  Nevertheless I turned up on half marathon day and although I found it incredibly tough I did it.  I finished in 2.27 and that is 3 minutes faster than I had hoped that I could.  My first 10km was my PB and then I hit a huge hill and found myself walking and running for the rest of the way.  I am left wondering what I could have achieved if I had done more training.

And then the blog became real.  I started this a couple of years ago as I wanted to challenge myself to run further and document my journey along the way.  Many things have happened that have got in the way, most noticeably Stanley, but I have not given in and have come much further than I even thought I could.  I ran a half marathon.  But that wasn’t the pipe dream.  The dream was a marathon and that is where we are now heading.  I have a charity place to run the London Marathon in 2018.  Can I do it?  I bloody hope so or it will be a disaster, but the long journey begins here.

The journey will be long but I won’t be alone.  I have Martyn, Vicki and Jo running with me and we can all support one another.  Martyn and I are training together and starting again from scratch.  We definitely don’t want to pick up any injuries by pushing it too far or hard.

Week 1 – 3.5 miles run comfortably

Smashing it

I was a bit apprehensive about parkrun this week as my 9km the week previous had been a total disaster.  I got there and had various plans in  mind.  One was to get round however, one was to get a sub 30 whatever the time and another was to go for gold!!!  Good news was that a local running club were there in force and there were lots of pacers.  Luckily for me there was a 28,29 and 30 minute pacer.  My plan at the off was to stick near to the 29 minute pacers for as long as possible and then just see what happened.  If I could stay near for the first 3-4km I would get a good time.  As we got to the university it was going well, although fast.  I noticed on my watch that we did our first km is 5.25 which was rather faster than I know I can sustain.  They realised this too and slowed down.  Undeterred however, I decided to plod on for as long as I could in order to get a head start.  IT was then that I met my knight in Dri-fit! – aka Ian.  He noticed that I was clock watching – which I didn’t realise that I was!  and volunteered to pace me.  I had already begun to dream of a 28 something time, but was tiring massively.  He explained that he was having to pace himself due to rehab from an injury so off we went.  Then my stubbornness kicked in and although I thought I was going to die at several stages, I couldn’t bring myself to give up as I thought it might seem rude.  And I really did want to give up, and I did feel faint and sick at times, but I stuck to it and finished strong.    I forgot to stop my watch at the funnel and thought that I had done a miraculous 28.52, but when the official times came in, it was 28.30.  I AM OVER THE MOON.  When I got my sub 30 I never thought that I would get faster but I am making progress.  I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Ian and his encouragement, and my stubbornness.  It is such a mental struggle to keep going when it really hurts, but I am getting it.

I am off out tonight for 10km with my friends husband.  The forecast is terrible so lets hope that we don’t drown

Struggling with the heat

I can’t remember what I have run since the last time I wrote so I am going to focus only on the past week.  Martyn and I have struggled to get out as Simon has been away a lot and in the meantime Martyn has covered a Half marathon distance.  I feel that I am going to have to go out alone more in order to get up to speed (or distance).  I have ditched the earphones entirely now and that has actually not bothered me as much as I thought it would.  In fact, this evening I didn’t even think about it.

On Saturday I volunteered to Marshal at Parkrun after I got my PB the other week – I hope that I wrote about that!  Having not been out for a while due to weather and being home alone at night I was a bit sad that I was going to miss out.  I decided therefore, that since I was up early anyway (Thanks Stanley), I wold run the 5km before Parkrun started and finish in time to marshal.  It was nice to be out there early as it was a little fresher, but is was terribly muggy and I wasn’t feeling it.  I missed the crowds and I think that I felt a bit up myself that I had done it at all and therefore not doing well, didn’t matter.  I did a sub 30 but I did stand still on about 5 occasions – this is a naughty habit that I have got into as my garmin auto pauses and therefore the walking doesn’t count against me!!  It was good to marshal though and I am glad that I did my bit

  • 5.0km
    Distance
  • 29:52
    Moving Time
  • 5:58/km

I then went out again on Sunday and had the crappiest run that I have had for ages.  For my half marathon plan of sorts, I have to increase my distance by 1 km each week – there is room for me to miss weeks but essentially this is the plan.  So on Sunday I was on for 9km.  This shouldn’t have been too difficult as I have done this recently and it hasn’t been too hard.  How wrong could I be?  It was awful.  I was so hot and bothered.  My legs felt heavy from running the previous day (or I think they did, that may have been another head excuse), my head didn’t want to be out there and kept yelling at me to walk – so I did.  I walked loads and felt like a total failure.  I have chalked it up to experience though and know that some runs are not good ones.

  • 9.1km
    Distance
  • 1:05:34
    Moving Time
  • 7:12/km

Not to be put off I went out this evening and did my hill run.  I ran to the top of the hill, down to the bottom and back up again.  I hate hills but it wasn’t too bad.  I felt positive throughout and strong, although my legs were tired.  I ran the whole way and good.  I even wore shorts!  Why not

  • 2.9km
    Distance
  • 19:48
    Moving Time
  • 6:39/km