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!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Have you seen the news...?

Training went well on Monday, but alas by Tuesday evening I had the beginnings of a sniffle. By yesterday morning, the worst had been confirmed - I had caught hubby's man-flu.
A few regular doses of paracetamol, and early night and a morning in bed with a book has left me feeling a lot better, although a million miles away from well enough to do my planned 5 mile run. I'm just glad I'd got this morning booked off as annual leave, so only have to make it through an afternoon at work before can go back to bed!
Trying not to feel too sorry for myself, I checked me emails to discover one from the London Marathon team, and the link below:
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The short cut that cut it short

Today was a 'how not to do a long run' kind of day.
The plan was to do 14 miles - 4 x 3.5 mile loops, calling back at home at the end of each loop to grab a drink.
Sadly, I probably made all the mistakes there are to be made, but I'm trying to look on the bright side and see it as a learning experience. Hopefully I won't make the same mistakes again.
So, in chronological order, let me list them for future reference...
Mistake Number 1: I didn't hydrate enough yesterday. In fact I've hardly been drinking any water all week. It wasn't until just before I went to bed last night that I thought about it, and by then it was too late.
Mistake Number 2: I didn't take on enough calories before I went out. I knew rain had been forecast, and I just wanted to get out as early as possible.
Mistake Number 3: I'd dressed for cold weather. I went out with my fleece top under my waterproof running jacket, and wore a woolly hat and gloves which was far too much for 7ish degrees. I was really hot within the first mile, and although I stuffed my hat and gloves into my pockets I couldn't take my fleece off until I got back home for my first pit stop.
Mistake Number 4: I should have changed into a dry running top. Being a lady, I don't sweat, but I had perspired quite a lot! Not wanting to waste any time, I just grabbed a drink and headed straight back out. I went from a fleece down to a sweaty top, and suddenly the wind seemed to pick up and I was really chilly...which leads nicely into...
Mistake Number 5: What do you do when you're cold? Run faster. What shouldn't you do on a long slow run? Up your pace too much in the early miles. I ran my second 3.5 mile loop a whole 5 minutes faster than my first loop. That's a big difference. By the time I got back home at mile 7 I knew I was going to be in trouble by mile ten.
Mistake Number 6: I was starting to get a niggly ache in the base of my spine. I should have taken a minute to stretch. Oh no. I just went straight back out for loop number 3. By mile nine the niggle had turned into an ouch, and I was very aware that my form was suffering. I tried to make a conscious effort to run well, but I was just trying to minimise the discomfort. I took 2 ibuprofen when I got back home after loop 3, but my time was starting to suffer, my early boost of speed was catching up with me, the wind was blowing harder and it had started to rain.
I headed out on loop number 4, but very quickly the rain got heavier, and I got colder. A lot colder. A mile and a half into the fourth loop I took a short cut through an alley way and headed for home.
I felt cold, tired and defeated.
I'd done twelve miles, but had wanted to do fourteen.
A warm bath, some toast and a hot cuppa helped me gain perspective.
Ok, I hadn't managed the planned fourteen miles today, but I had run twelve miles. Twelve miles - that's not bad, is it?
There are still nine weeks until the marathon, which gives me time to fit in more long runs plus a decent taper, so there are still plenty of training opportunities left.
The biggest positive - no blisters. Last year I was plagued by them. This year, not a single one.
So, lessons learned, and time to move on.
I'll plan more carefully for my next long run and hopefully avoid all the silly mistakes I made today.
Until then, I've got chocolate to help my recovery. I'm told it's very good for achy backs!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Turning a corner

Today has been a good day.
A really good day.
When I went out at 6.30 this morning for my run it was already getting light.
I did a two and a half mile tempo run, and at times was running at an 8 minute mile pace. How wonderful it must be to be able to do that for an entire marathon!
By the time I got home it was fully light. Suddenly the dark winter mornings seem to be behind us.
It was a productive day at work, and I even managed to finish my Project Initiation Document at lunch time and submitted it for approval, which is a big weight off my mind.
Tomorrow is a day off from training ready for my long run on Saturday, so I get an extra hour in bed in the morning. Luxury!
So - a good day all round.
66 days to go.
How exciting!
Bring it on.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A bit of a walk, a bit of a run. Repeat until done (in)

Apologies for the recent lack of posts - work has been rather busy, I've been focusing on my management project in the evenings, and at the end of the night it's come down to writing a blog or getting 5 minutes extra sleep. The sleep option won every time!
I've also been organising my fundraising evening - 13th March if you're free! - and I'm really excited about it already.
Today was my day off, and I headed out early for a four mile run.
My asthma is still causing a few issues so today I went back to a one minute walk/one minute run strategy. Overall my time was almost the same but I was a lot less wheezy by the end.
It was a nice morning to be out. The temperature was well above freezing for the first time in a while, and it was quiet as all the children are on half term holidays.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable run today.
I'd like to say that I got back to find an enormous bouquet of valentine roses on the doorstep, but instead just found the cat shouting to be let in and fed.
At least I knew I was at the right house.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

On the road again...

My poor calf muscles still haven't quite recovered from their half hour of treadmill torture, but they weren't quite achy enough to get me out of this morning's run.

I woke up at 6am, and the light through the curtains looked very white...a sort of it's-been-snowing-in-the-night kind of white, so I was relieved to look out and see just a frost.

The cold hit me as soon as I stepped out of the door (it was about -4 degrees) but with no moisture in the air the car windows weren't frozen, and more importantly, the pavements weren't slippery.

I was soon warmed up, and did a brisk couple of miles before heading home.

It was still dark when I went out to feed the chickens, so the ladies were all still tucked up on their perches. They don't seem very impressed by the cold, and poor Korma seems positively traumatised by the thought of stepping on the frozen snow, but they've kept up their egg production without wavering.

Maybe I should dig out the knitting needles and make them scarves and woolly hats...or I could play them 'Chicken Run' and give them the wool and needles and see if they can do it themselves.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Keep calm and run faster

Ok...I'm trying not to panic. After all, there are still just over ten weeks to go...
Frustratingly, my sore throat/cough/cold returned and I missed my long run at the weekend.
And then it snowed.
And then the snow melted a bit.
And then the snow that was left froze.
And that left everywhere icy.
And that doesn't make for safe running.
Back to the plan today, but rather than heading out onto the frozen pavements I hopped onto the treadmill. This was very kindly loaned to me at the start of the winter and it was great to be able to do some running this morning without having to be out in the cold.
I did a gentle half an hour run on there, but as soon as I got off I could feel that my calf muscles were tight, and they haven't eased at all despite much stretching.
I obviously run quite differently on the treadmill compared to outdoor running, so as nice as it was not to have to get cold today I think my next run will have to be outside again.
Unless we get more snow.
Or my cold comes back.
Is it summer yet...?