The day before

I ma writing this blog post mainly so I remember how I am feeling…… slightly on edge, stressed, excited, nervous, worried……all of those things and more. I cannot really relax and am wondering what an earth I have done….I know that tomorrow it will all be OK but today??? Not so.

I have done lots of distraction type activities that can also come under getting prepared e.g. painting nails:

2016-04-19 21.12.39

(A huge thank you to my wonderful friend nnotsogranny).

I have also painted my toenails in preparation for the day after where open toed shoes will no doubt be the only option! My tag is on my shoe, my label on my bag and some essentials packed. Then I have been on social media and made a little film :)

Devices are all being charged fully to ensure that nothing fails on me during the big day. I am, of course also eating and drinking well (chocolate and biscuits count right?) to ensure I have the energy for it all.

I really want this day to be over but to go on forever all at the same time. One thing that I have noticed is that I feel different to how I felt before the other long runs. I am not worried that I cannot do it because I know that I can. I am just dazed by the whole thing. It seems to be everywhere, on the radio, TV, everyone I meet wishes me luck.

The local support from family and friends is amazing. Yesterday I had a big donation to my fundraising page which brought me to tears. The worst thing is, that I don’t know who it is from so I cannot even tell them how much it has meant to me. I am humbled by everyone’s generosity and kindness.

This time tomorrow it will all be over, I cannot decide if I will be excited, relieved or sad.

 

 

Running for charity

This post is a bit late in the day really but throughout the training people have been asking who I am raising money for. When I got the place in the marathon I decided that this time I would just run it for myself as I didn’t want to ask people for money again.

Following a week where I seemed to have rather a lot of enquiries I decided to undertake a quick pole on twitter. It  revealed that maybe I should sign up for a charity so people can give if they wish to. I decided that I would choose to run for Mind again as it wouldn’t cost them anything for a new vest (I already have one) and it is a charity that remains very close to my heart. There is no pressure to raise any money at all but if people feel as if they would like to give then they can.

Not a week doesn’t go by when you don’t hear of someone struggling with their mental health and my heart always goes out to them. My immediate response is that I want to help. Unfortunately I know that I do not have the skills required. Yes, I have suffered in the past but I have no qualifications. The charity does, so the best thing I can do is to raise money for the charity so they can help all these people that need their help.

Should you wish to donate then the link is here.

A bit of a booster

Just a quick post to say that I have just returned from my final long run. 7 miles. I really enjoyed it. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and I kept to my steady marathon pace. It was a great bit of confidence boosting before the next week. I wanted to do more but managed to restrain myself. Bring on next week:)

 

The awful Taper

I cannot work out if I am sticking my head in the sand and avoiding running or embracing it full on. The mileage has reduced and the running has got harder. I am supposed to have more time on my hands, except I haven’t. I am buried in the cyber world of the computer, searching like a maniac for……I don’t really know.

To put it concisely….I am out of sorts.

I cannot believe that in a week I will be running the London Marathon.

The running has been happening but it feels hard. My legs feel heavy and it is all a bit of an effort. The idea of running 26.2 miles is unthinkable despite knowing that I have am probably fitter than I have ever been. I also feel like I could sleep forever and I am constantly feeling as if I am going to get a cold.

Oh the joys of the taper! Tomorrow I have my last long run of 6 miles. Then that is it.

Once I had competed the Oakley 20, 3 weeks before the marathon, I knew that physically, there was not a lot more that I could do to prepare my body anymore. Training takes 3 weeks to benefit your body so no last-minute cramming (despite the monstrous urges).

I have instead turned my attention to all spending:)

2016-04-12 17.47.04

I love a bit of post.

One day this week I received my one in a million t-shirt. (This year the 1 millionth person to run London Marathon will cross the finish line and everyone who has run it since the start can get a t-shirt with their finishing number on.) I also received my magnetic race pins that say ” I completed the London Marathon”. I love magnets as they don’t put holes through all my best t-shirts and hold running bibs firmly in place. Of course I had to get some for my running partners too. As you can see the company not only sent them through really quickly but also gave me a lovely hand written note. Now I call that brilliant customer service. (For anyone interested the company is called Pinrace. No I have not been paid.)

When it comes to races, I always have to have my nails painted and London is always a special race. My friend last year did my nails for me and has again volunteered. I recently saw on Facebook some ideas for nails and so went hunting online for transfers:

I found these and look forward to getting them on my nails.

This weekend I have been researching shoes to wear for after the marathon as well as gels and things to take with me to help me get around in the first place.

Anything to keep my mind off what I am doing!

My Handmade Wardrobe

Spring has begun to spring here in the UK and I have very much had spring cleaning fever (by that I mean clearing out all the junk that none of us needs). It started off as quite fun but I am now at the point where I have had enough and the house still does not quite look like I would like it to. Hey HO, I shall persevere.

With As part of my Spring clean I decided to tackle my clothes. To be honest I am a bit fed up with my clothes. I don’t know whether it is an age thing or I have not updated recently but I just don’t feel excited by many of my outfits now. Sorting through them I did notice that I have a lot of greeny/browny coloured clothes. I always thought that I was quite a colourful person but it seems not. This is something that I will have to consciously address over the next few months.

I did sort out quite a few things to get rid of (including some smelly running tops that my husband will be so pleased to see the back of). As May is rapidly approaching along with the challenge started by Zoe called me-made-May  where you pledge to wear your handmade and upcycled clothes as much as you  declare, I decided to take photos of the things that  I have made so that I can truly see what clothes I have ready for the May challenge. (Last year I thought that I would have made loads by now…..)

IMG_1565

This was my first ever knitted item that I made when I was a teenager. It is incredibly warm and only worn when I want a bit of comfort.

IMG_1563

This poncho was the first item I made on my return to knitting.

IMG_1564

This Angel wings ‘Bolero’ is a favourite of mine. Nice and warm but not too bulky.

IMG_1562

This falling leaves jumper looks amazing on.

IMG_1559

This is a wrap dress that is the first item of clothing I made from cloth as an adult.

IMG_1560

My first pair of trousers.

IMG_1566

A jersey top.

I also have 2 pairs of socks, a scarf and three shawls. I wear the shawls the most.

At the end of last year I thought that I would manage to make 1 item of clothing a month. I have failed on this target so far although I have a cardigan that is nearly finished (buttons and ends) and another one well on its way. I also have the pieces cut out for another jersey top so if I get my skates on, I am not that far off my target after all……I have just not finished one a month.

 

 

YAY

Sunday was Oakley 20 – a 20 mile event that takes place in an undulating area. I was not looking forward to this at all. I have run it twice in the past and have hated it both times. In addition I told someone from the club that I was running it and he basically said it was a bad idea. Me being me convinced myself that it would be a good idea as a good confidence builder for me should it go well. If it didn’t then……….(lets not go there!)

Bad omens

As I was getting ready to leave I managed to slice my finger on a blade as I was getting something out of a cupboard. Not a good omen.

My Garmin watch strap has broken. Then I left it in the car……so I had to go back for it, I left it in my bag after handing it in…….I had to go back for it. My finger started bleeding everywhere……..no-one had a plaster. Nothing was going my way at all. (Well it wasn’t raining I suppose!)

Demons

I am hoping that I am not the only one who remembers bad parts of runs in minute detail? Once we arrived and parked (on the verge of a road) we made our way down to the start which was quite a walk. All I could think about was how it was all down hill which meant that we would be running up it, twice. It was one of those hills that I had given up on previously.

Saving grace

One thing in my favour was that I was lucky enough to have the lovely company of my brother. He is a lot faster than me normally but he very kindly decided to run with me. This was so awesome of him. He is completely mad (like me?) and so was very entertaining. He also had loads of stories to tell me about running the super challenging marathons that he runs and would like to run. This all passed the time well.

Letting it all slip away

About a mile in 2 St John’s ambulance men passed us on their bikes. I will go and get a plaster for you he said as he sped up to catch them. They were lovely but it did seem to take quite a long time to get a plaster on my finger (about 2 minutes) and all the time I was standing still people were streaming past. I began to think that we would be so far behind everyone else they would all have gone home. Of course they hadn’t in reality.

The good thing about it was that once we started up again we were actually overtaking a lot of people as their pace was that much slower than ours. I also hadn’t realised that there are some people who set off with the idea of walking up all the hills, right from the start and not just when they can no longer face is as I usually do. This made me feel a bit better as I knew I was strong enough to tackle most of the hills.

Waiting for the tumble

It was quite a hot day and there were water stations every 3 miles which we took advantage of. Early on the miles ticked by nicely. I was still quite stressed as I was waiting for everything to come crashing down, specifically I was waiting for particular areas in the race to come up and bite me.

The race consists of one long loop of about 13 miles and then one shorter route. I knew that I could get around the first bit Ok. It is the second loop where I have trouble. As we approached the end of the first route I kept telling myself that it will all be fine. I am strong…..Eventually I passed the first hurdle, and then the next. I am not saying that it was easy but I was still running. I was determined to get further along this year before stopping. I wanted a PB.

As we entered the part of the race where I had never before managed without walking I began to dare to think that I could do it although I was getting a bit tired now. My brother kept singing you can do it, you can do it….(from the film and reminded me to pick my feet up, all of which helped.

7 miles to go was the worst bit as it is still another hour of running to go and I was also beginning to tire. My mind began to play nasty tricks on me. As we got down to 6, then 5 I began to wonder if I was going to make it. I knew that there were some killer hills in the miles 16-18 and kept thinking that if I could get through these I would be OK. My family had come to support me and kept trying to ring me….I had no energy to answer their calls in this race but at mile 19 did manage to pull my phone out. I had not stopped yet…..

IMG_1561

No medals for this race but a hoodie is the reward. A different colour and design every year. This is my favourite yet.

Nor was I going to! I ran the whole way. How I managed it I don’t know but I was so chuffed. My watch said I did it in 3 hours 23 with my official time being 3 hours 25 (that plaster!!). That is a PB of over 20 minutes. Chuffed? You bet. Stiff? Absolutely.:)

The gamble had paid off. I am now in a really good place for the London Marathon but for now…..TAPER time.

An ‘Easy’ Week

Following my 17 mile run on Good Friday I took three days off running completely. I did go to the gym on Monday morning but other than that gave myself a break. I was not sore following the run but was trying to give myself the best chance possible to recover. (My boys were also a little fed up with me disappearing off for 3 hours plus!)

This ‘taking it easy’ has been my motto throughout this training period. I have tried to be sensible and listen to my body, including allowing it to recover between sessions. So far this has worked for me….

Source

 

Tuesday was club night: a session known as ‘Bury Road efforts’. Bury Road is just under a mile long and the efforts mean running up and down it using lamp posts as markers  – good effort to one followed by easy job to the next etc. Repeat. Unfortunately it was a nasty night with pouring rain. I decided to run with a friend who I like to ‘boss’ (according to her anyway, I see it as encouraging!) and did a good steady session. Not full-out but not exactly easy either. I would also like to add that many bailed out half way through due to the disgusting weather. (Halo time for us!)

Thursday was again a club session. I took along a friend for a try and felt very guilty abandoning her as I wanted to run a bit harder tonight so was going with a slightly faster group. The marathon is looming and I do not have many sessions left to develop my fitness before the big day. Luckily for me she enjoyed it and said that she will be going back (YAY). Unfortunately my session was hard going but I am pleased to report that I managed it.

 

We had a very gentle family bike ride of 6 miles on Friday but other than that I did nothing. I now realise that this was a mistake because I got all grumpy and agitated. I need running for my sanity!