In April 2011 I ran the London Marathon and raised £2600 for Asthma UK. It was a 'once in a lifetime' experience...or so I thought. Bravely (or stupidly) I'm doing it again, and this blog will chart my progress while I train for my second London Marathon. Come with me on my journey towards the big day. Here I go...again!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Ugh...white stuff

There's been a direct correlation between lack of blogs and lack of health over the past week. A sore throat, cough and cold mean that I missed one short 3 mile run and one longer 5-6 mile run.
With a day off today, and feeling slightly better, I decided I'd head out for a steady three miles and see how I got on.
Unfortunately for me (although not, it seems, for the girls who were delighted) it had snowed a bit over night and was coming down consistently this morning.
I loathe snow. Under normal circumstances I'd have made my excuses and gone back to bed with a cup of tea, some chocolate and a good book, but with less than 12 weeks until the marathon that really wasn't a possibility.
I waited for a lull in the flakes and headed out at a very slow and steady pace. The roads were very slippery where the snow had been compressed, but the pavements weren't too bad.
The first mile and a half seemed relatively easy, but not long after that I could feel my chest tightening a bit as the wheezing kicked in. I slowed down even more, but decided to call it a day at two miles. Disappointing, but at least I got out there.
On an exciting note, I've got a date booked for my Pampered Chef fundraiser - 13th March - so hope all my friends will keep the date free and come along and support me.
So...the germs are on the decline, the training schedule is back on track and the fundraising is planned. Time to put the kettle on and find my book for a guilt free hour of relaxation!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Sitting down...slowly and carefully

Did I mention yesterday that I hadn't done an exercise DVD for a while and might ache a bit today?
I underestimated...big time.
Oh boy do I ache!
I went out for my planned 3 mile run this morning in the hope that it would ease my muscles a bit, but sadly it seemed to have the opposite effect. I've spent the afternoon walking around like John Wayne, and getting up and down stairs is a slow and painful process.
At least I got to try out my new shoes and socks on my run, and am pleased to report that they're perfect. I managed to dodge all the puddles to keep them clean, only for the dog to tread on my foot when I got home and leave a muddy paw print across the laces.
Now...what to do tomorrow morning? A run, or a 40 minute Super Body workout with Davina McCall?
Or maybe a lie in....?

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Don't get cross, get cross training

I've got a couple of days off again (I could really get used to short weeks!) and had set aside time to write the PID for the management project I'm doing. Worryingly I seem to be doing everything but, and time is slipping away. I promise I'll get stuck into later...when I've been to the hairdressers...and done some vacuuming...and...and...ok - I'm running out of excuses - I will do it today.
Talking of making excuses, I looked out this morning to see the rain hammering down and a heavy fog in the air and decided to do an exercise DVD in place of today's run. (well - it would have been awful to get my new trainers wet, wouldn't it?!)
I've been toying with the idea of replacing one of my short weekday runs with a cross training session just to mix things up, and also because I feel like I've lost some of the core strength I had built up.
For those of you who followed my blog last time round you'll remember that I tore my posterior tibial tendon part way through training, which was, to say the least, a nuisance.
I limped my way through marathon training, then took eight weeks off from running after the big day and just did cross training instead - a mixture of exercise bike, yoga, swimming and cardio.
I've built up quite a collection of exercise DVD's over the years, but having stumbled upon Jillian Micheals DVDs last summer had mainly been sticking to those. They're high impact workouts with weights and are pretty effective, and it was that one that I did this morning.
The cardio side of things was fine, but I think my stomach muscles might be a little achy in the morning. It was certainly good fun, although I'm very aware that we still haven't got the new blinds up yet. I kept a close eye out for passers by and added in a couple of extra press ups when necessary to avoid embarrassment.
At least the weather seems a little brighter and drier, so maybe I will go out for a short run later after all...not that I'm still procrastinating, you understand...I'm just committed to my training schedule.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Half minus one equals fun

I was at my friend's Baby Shower last night. We had a great evening...lots of laughs, lots of delicious Chinese takeaway and some scrummy cake pops.

Having promised myself I'd keep an eye on the time, it was well past 11pm before I noticed which meant a midnight bedtime...not the best preparation for a long run the next day, but who cares?!

I was surprisingly wide awake at 7am, so made the most of it and was up and out by half past.

It was really windy, but at least it was warm and dry...for the first three miles...and then I got caught in a heavy downpour.

I'd planned to do twelve miles in three circuits of four miles, heading back past home through the run to grab a snack and a drink. The first four miles went past really quickly, although there were long stretches where I was running headlong into the wind which made it hard going.

The second circuit was also done in good time, and I was ahead of my virtual partner for almost the entire time. I wasn't far from home when my phone began to ring - youngest daughter wanted to know how I was doing, and if I'd like company.

By the time I made my second pit stop for some more water and a banana she was ready and raring to go on her bike.

With my outrider ahead of me, I set off for my third and final circuit. It was a great distraction to have someone to talk to, and at just over nine miles when I began to flag she was there to encourage me and keep me focused.

So - 12 miles done and back home by 10am. Not a bad start to a Saturday.

I'm giving myself a pat on the back for covering the distance, and trying not to think that I've got to double that and add some in a few weeks time. It's a good job there's a medal and a massage waiting at the end!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Somebody hide the credit card bill!

I'm very relieved that, after trawling the internet for fixes, my Garmin now seems to be behaving again. It's a good job, because I've had to spend a small fortune this week on new running gear ready for the marathon. A new watch would have been a no-no.
The running shoes I'm in at the moment are the ones I bought for the marathon last year. All the advice says that you should change them every 4-500 miles because the support diminishes over time.
I knew mine had done further than that, but they've still got lots of life left in them...or so I thought...until I tried on my new pair and realised just how worn the old ones are.
I've gone for Asics Gels again as they've served me well. They give enough support for my overpronation and are also lovely and light. I'll wear them round the house for a few days before I try them on a short run, and will switch between the old and new pair over the next few weeks. I'll aim to do about 100 miles in them between now and April, which should break them in nicely while keeping as much cushioning as possible.
I've also splashed out on a new running top and some more Hilly padded socks, which arrived courtesy of the postman this morning.
It's like Christmas all over again!
I've had a couple of days off work this week but haven't done as much exercise as I'd planned.
The muscles behind my right knee were very tight on Monday, so I did a two mile power walk instead of a run. Yesterday was a rest day, and I went out first thing today and did a couple of miles. I thought I'd been taking it quite slowly, but made good time and really enjoyed the run.
I'm planning to do another couple of miles tomorrow morning before work, then have 12 miles lined up for Saturday. I haven't thought about a route yet, but have decided to dig out my MP3 player to use as distraction.
I'm also thinking a lot more about fundraising. I am qualified to teach Creative Writing to adults, so thought I might offer a morning of Creative Writing combined with tea and homemade cakes to friends in return for a donation to my JustGiving account. I'm also hoping to hold a Pampered Chef fundraiser evening, so then next few weeks could be busy, busy, busy!
At least it keeps me out of trouble, and - much to Hubby's relief - away from internet shopping!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Let down by a faithful friend

Apologies for the lack of blogging this week - it's been rather busy at work and at home.
A quick catch up...hubby came out with me on one of my early morning runs and we did a gentle 2 miles - up to Whettylane Bridge, back to Callowbrook Bridge then home. It was great to have company, and I think he's just about recovered, so I'm hoping he'll join me again soon (hint, hint!)
Unfortunately my Garmin has started to play up. One friend had the audacity to suggest it might be user error. How very rude. I thought I'd solved the problem by deleting all the old data on there, but sadly not. It now turns off randomly and gives me minute and mile alerts that I haven't asked it to do. Very frustrating, and I'm not sure what to do about it. I'll have to dig out the instructions and see if there's anything that can be done.
I've got an app on my phone that is counting down to the big day, and this week it tells me that there are now less than 100 days to go. The marathon is 14 weeks today. I hope it's not quite so frosty on 22nd April. The last couple of mornings have been -2 degrees. Brrr.

Today was my short long-run day. I chickened out of running in the sub zero temperatures first thing and set off at lunchtime in glorious sunshine instead.
Frustratingly my Garmin switched off before I'd even got to the end of the road, but I managed to get it switched back on. I put it on another setting and, despite giving me lots of unnecessary alerts, managed to keep track of my time, distance and pace.
My breathing was much easier today (hoorah!), and once I'd got over a bit of calf cramp during mile
one I had a great run.
I was heckled before I even set off by a friend (yes you, Mrs time you get to come with me!), again by a group of girls at mile two shouting 'get your knees up', and finally wolf whistled at mile 4 by someone old enough to be my grandfather (not good).
I completed my 5.3 mile run in a fairly respectable one hour and two minutes.
Can I go to back to bed now?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Grrr asthma

I went out for a two mile run this morning. It was really quite warm, and I was glad I didn't wear a fleece.
My breathing still isn't great - I'm quite wheezy on and off - and I'm having to slow my pace a fair bit just to keep going. It's bothered me on and off over the last couple of days (and nights) and I don't want it to impact on my training, but I've come to the conclusion that worrying doesn't help.
I'm going to monitor how it goes over the next week and will pay a visit to my Asthma nurse if nothing improves.
My next planned run is Thursday, so I'll let you know how that goes.
Today was my day off, and I spent a bit of time studying the interactive map of the marathon route.
You can find it here...
...and it's quite interesting to see the twists and turns of the course, and there's snippets information for runners and spectators.
Ooh...exciting! Not long to go now!!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

A very tough run

My asthma has been keeping me awake at night this week so I've been getting increasingly tired as the days have gone on. I also gave blood this week (my 41st pint donated), so maybe I should have taken these factors into consideration and skipped today's long run.
I'm half way through my marathon training schedule - 15 weeks done, 15 weeks to go until London - so I have enough time to postpone a long run, but last night I felt (and slept) better, so I set out at 8am.
I should have done 10 miles two weeks ago, but (as George Bush so eloquently once said) I misunderestimated the distance and ended up doing just under 9, so I decided to see how I felt and do between 10 and 12 miles today.
My weekly runs have now built up to a 3min run:1min walk ratio which is fine for my breathing and still gives me a 5mph pace. That's how I started today...for about half a mile. Almost from the off I knew it was going to be tough. It was very windy which made me work harder and feel cold, and I was verging on wheeziness straight away. I dropped down to a 2min run:1min walk ratio, but was still struggling a lot.
It was mind over matter from the outset, and I had to keep telling myself 'just a bit further'.
At mile 3 my direction changed and suddenly I was sheltered from the wind. This helped, but miles 3-6 across the back of Frankley Beeches and up to Northfield were mostly uphill, so my effort level had to go up another notch. At mile 6 I reached Northfield, and a downhill stretch greeted me...along with a very open and windy Bristol Road.
Hubby passed me in the car at about mile 7 (having dropped oldest daughter at flute choir) and he pulled over to say hello. I sat in the passenger seat for a minute to warm up, and he greeted me with 'You're doing really well' quickly followed by ' don't smell too good.' He knows all the right things to say.
I would have paid for a lift home at this point...the car was toasty warm, but I forced myself back out and carried on towards home.
Youngest daughter cycled out to meet me just as I was reaching the bottom of our road (mile 8) and had it not been for her I would have simply gone home. With her cycling alongside me, saying things like 'You're doing really well Mum' and 'Think of the bacon sandwich when we get home' I managed to struggle along for another two miles. Thank you are my hero.
So...just under ten miles done today, and I still don't know how I did it but I did. I'm mildly scared that in 15 weeks time I'll be facing 26.2 miles, but somehow I did it before, and somehow I will do it again.
But not today.
Today I'm going to put my feet up, read a book, and let everyone else wait on me!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Scary scales

It is seriously windy, although listening to the weather report on the radio the Midlands seem to be escaping lightly.

Hubby went back to work today after the bank holiday, but I'm not back in until tomorrow. A lazy morning in bed was tempting, but I knew I'd make excuses not to go out later so I was up and out before hubby left for work.

As mentioned, it is really windy. Add to that a rather generous downpour and it should have been a miserable outing, but I was a girl on a mission. I'm not just getting marathon fit now - I'm shaping up.

I don't get on the scales often, but yesterday I did. Big mistake. Big numbers. I've managed to put on half a stone in the last two months. Oops. Time to step away from the chocolate and embrace the salad. (The trouble is there are odds and ends of cake, chocolate and crisps in every kitchen cupboard, so I might just have to work my way through that lot before I start being really good!)

This morning my run was a fast-paced-get-into-shape-sprint out towards Whettylane Bridge, back through the village, then a bit of a meander to top up the distance before heading home. My garmin tells me I burned 236 calories. It's a start.

Now...where did I put that chocolate...?