2 weeks ago last Sunday was the London marathon. It feels like so much longer. It was however, the most amazing day. It started with a very early alarm (5.15am!). I was getting the bus down hence the early start. It is probably the easiest way to go although it does involve getting up very early and then hanging around for ages in the start zones. It is definitely cheaper than staying in a hotel and I figure that I get the same amount of sleep as I am in my own bed.
Getting to the start zones early also has advantages as it means that you have lots and lots of toilets to choose from that are mostly clean. There is also free tea, coffee, water and Lucozade as well as a marquee to keep you warm. After a breakfast and many trips to the toilets I we decided that it was time to put our bags onto the lorries and begin to think about going to the start zone.
The Starting pens
Once the actual race had started it was another 20 minutes before we actually went across the start but then we were off. It was really busy – over 40,000 runners this year which meant that there wasn’t much room and lots of stopping and starting as you came across people that were walking. It was hard to get into any real rhythm and the dodging around people mean that I actually clocked 27.3 miles. Towards the end my watch was one whole mile out from the official mile markers. The crowds however were amazing. The first time someone shouted out my name I stopped and look back thinking that I should know them. I then remembered that I had my name in big sparkly letters on the front of my vest. Duh! I soon got used to it and had many little waves of thanks.
Running up towards Big Ben
Tower bridge is always a pretty momentous place to be, just before half way but it always feels really special to be running across that bridge. You then head out to the docklands before coming back to see a lot more of the famous landmarks.
Running past Buckingham Palace
Heading over the finish line is always a bit of a relief touched with a bit of sadness, it is all over. You then find yourself in a really busy place, photographers wanting to take your photograph, other runners, people telling you where to go, all when you feel completely shattered. My legs stop doing what my brain is telling them to do and I feel like I am mindlessly wandering along. I wanted to stop but didn’t dare to for seizing up. The goody bag was given to me which I very nearly dropped – it was so heavy! As I staggered up the mall I found my bag and carried on walking along to meet my family.
Over the finish line!
It was a truly amazing experience and a special thanks goes to the Mothers’ Union for giving me the opportunity.
I With less than a week to go until the London Marathon the urgency to complete my roundup of my 100 mile run around the diocese is increasing.
This run took place on the 18th March and was a relatively short run which was a bit of a relief before the last two humongous runs of 18 and 20 miles. It was a mere 9 miles.
Non the less enjoyable though. For those of you that don’t know the area this run took place on the outskirts of Cambridge.
A quick photograph at Stapleford before I set off.
This route, on paper, looked relatively easy. Despite this I managed to misread the directions on my watch which ended up with me running through a park and ride car park. I then managed to get a bit lost in a large development of new houses when my planned route seemed to take me to a dead-end. Eventually I managed to turn up at Trumpington church where everyone was busy tidying up the church yard. When I arrived most people were taking a coffee break but we managed to persuade these hard workers to stop for a moment to have their photograph taken.
I then ended up retracing my steps a bit to go back to Stapleford where there was a lovely crowd of people waiting to meet me at a coffee meeting. Despite having to find a community building off from the main road I managed not to get lost at this bit!
The lady in the check trousers is the lovely Sylvie who has run 17 marathons, including the London Marathon several times. I was very privileged to be able to see her medals and photographs. What a true hero she is. I just wish I had more time to pick up more tips to help me get around on the big day. 1 more run to go!
Oh dear. Time seems to be flying along and I am not keeping up with these posts. I am so sorry. On the 11.3.17 I had the enormous task of running 18 miles. If last weeks run had been on home territory this week came a close second as I actually lived in these parts for several years. At that time however, I would never have contemplated running 18 miles!
This is Willingham.
I then ran along the road through the village that I used to live in, Cottenham and on to Waterbeach. If you look at a map it would be a lot easier to run straight to Milton which is where I would be going next and I was very tempted…..but being a good girl I stuck with the plan and ran to Waterbeach.
Look at that amazing blossom. You cannot tell from this photograph but the person taking this was taking his life into his own hands and actually standing on the road! I was glad that I didn’t miss this out, everyone was sp encouraging.
Another reason for not taking a short cut was because the next bit of the route took me along the river Cam, something that I had always wanted to do but had never had the opportunity. Unfortunately I didn’t stop to take photographs but I realised that I don’t tend to go to the river at this time of the year and therefore miss the daffodils along the banks and brilliant green on the weeping willow trees as they start to come into bud.
The next stop was Milton, a church that is really tucked away and I was very pleased for my planned route on my watch. That, along with the tall spires are really helpful! Just a short bit left until the last stop (and lunch) at Impington. Unfortunately I had to add another mile on which is absolute torture for a runner. Reaching your destination to find that you have to add-on more completely messes with your brain. I did it though!
I look a bit more tired in this one, also a bit wetter! Hey ho, I quick change of clothes and I was ready for my lunch. A great ending to a lovely day. A few more miles ticked off. 🙂
Back on home territory for this one and running partners. 🙂 However my plan said that I had to do cover 16 miles (gulp!)
This was another early start (8.30!) but again people turned up to see us off. The two people on the right were the first people who had opted (been persuaded?) to run with me. I actually went to school with the lady and have not seen her for years so was delighted that she had said she would join me. She promised a lot of moaning but in truth I didn’t hear one moan pass her lips for the whole way.
From the photo you can probably tell that it was quite cold but it wasn’t that bad once we were running. The first leg was three miles and despite being close to home was not a route that I had ever run before.
All too soon we were at our first destination, Fordham and the point where I would meet my next partner. I fear that she was far too nervous and underestimating of her own ability. She was absolutely fine. She picked the worst bit of the route today – a busy road with a fairly strong headwind but she certainly gave me a run for my money. At one point I think I had to ask her to slow down a bit as I was all too aware of the extra miles that I needed to cover before the day was out!
See, smiles now that we have finished. At this point I picked up 2 of my boys on their bikes to do the last 8 miles with me. In my head I was doing 4 miles out and 4 miles back as this was where I needed to finish. That was doable wasn’t it? I felt Ok at this point but my head would play its bad games in the miles to come. Why is it, however that when you feel like death anyone who sees you says that you look fresh? (Maybe because I put on a great act before dying again once they have passed!)
Eventually I managed it however and returned back to a lovely coffee morning where I actually managed to look like I had a tiny bit of energy left!
Sorry for the complete silence recently. We have a family member that is really poorly. That has taken priority as well as a lot of emotional energy. Hopefully the emotional rollercoaster has stabilised a bit.
This run came close on the heels of the previous 2 but was no less enjoyable. It was also in a part of the county/diocese that I had very little knowledge of as it is not somewhere that I go very often. Unfortunately I did not have any volunteers to run with me this week but instead I had some very detailed directions as to the route I should take.
I set off having had the obligatory photographs. I am constantly amazed that people turn up at 9ish on a Saturday morning to wave me off.
As I had done three of these runs this week it meant that I had missed out on some of the other training runs that I do in order to fit them in. For some odd reason I decided that instead of just completing the distance today I would include intervals within it. I did 1 mile warm up and then started to run 0.25 of a mile at a faster pace followed by a recovery of the same distance. I figured that I would probably end up walking the recovery section but in reality I was surprised by how good I felt. I managed to run them all, and at a pace that I was pleased with.
Half way I passed through a place called Doddington where I was met by some more lovely people (I was a bit more sweaty than normal but nobody seemed to mind.)
I didn’t stay long which always feels a bit rude seeing how these people have made the effort to come out and see me but if I hung around I would get too stiff. A bit further on and I completed my last interval (narrowly missing out on being tripped over by a dog!) and then I entered March. When I don’t know a place and I arrive I think that the run is nearly over and today, of all days I was ready to stop. Unfortunately it was one of the occasions when I had quite a lot further to go. I passed a church near the edge but this wasn’t where I was headed. I had about another mile to go. This is really cruel as my brain had thought I was finished, only to have to carry on. Pure torture. I was in fact, headed right in the middle of the market town.
As always it was worth getting there. I was presented with a medal which always has to be worth it! I think this medal was almost more appreciated than the one I will get once I complete the marathon as it was so unexpected!
There was also a coffee morning (tea is always very welcome) and we sat around and had a really lovely chat (well I mostly chatted and everyone listened but there was some discussion!).
All in all another lovely run. I ran in a new place, met some amazing people, surprised myself with how well I managed to complete my intervals and got more miles under my belt.
In complete contrast to the previous Saturday this morning was bright and sunny, cold but sunny. Today, being half term I had my lovely boys with me. It is on days like this that I really appreciate how good-natured they are as not all boys of their age would happily tag along to something like this.
Today’s schedule started with a phone call to the press! How exciting. This was followed up with photographs outside the cathedral.
All by a professional photographer! The pained look on their faces was due to them having to crouch down. Apparently their legs are not really strong enough. (It doesn’t look sunny but it was, I promise.)
I then had a gentle jog along the road to Littleport. Only 5 miles but really beautiful in the sunshine. On arrival (I beat those following in the car) I was greeted by some more lovely ladies with lunch all set up.
Some really lovely leek and potato soup which just happens to be my children’s favourite! We had a lovely chat.
Tour number 2 done and very pleasant it was too!
On Saturday morning at 7am I wondered what an earth I had let myself in for. It was cold outside and I was really tired from an extremely busy few weeks at school. Bed was definitely calling. It was not meant to be however, today was the first day of my running tour around the diocese.
When I dreamed up the idea before Christmas it seemed like a really good idea. I would drum up some publicity and get people talking as well as run some miles in new and exciting areas. I had to run the miles so why not make it more interesting?
Heading off up the A1 at 8.30 on a cold and pretty miserable morning it did not feel like a good idea!
However, I could not have been more wrong. I loved every single minute! We were heading for Yaxley and I was so honoured to be met the most lovely bunch of people, all of whom had got up to come and wave me off along the first leg of my journey.
The best bit however is that the lovely gentleman standing to my right had agreed to be my personal guide for the morning. We ran 10 miles through sleet and snow, chatting the whole time. He told me all about the local history, the clay pits, the brick works, the railways and the old factories that are no longer standing. We had one little detour where we had been chatting so much that we forgot to turn off the road but that was nothing compared to the disaster that it would have been had I been on my own.
I am afraid that he has set a president and I am now looking for guides for the rest of the runs that I am going to be doing……I will go at your pace (as long as it is slower and not faster than mine!) …..but I digress.
All along the route some of the people who are in the above photograph beeped their horns as they passed us, or even waited for us along the course waving and giving us encouragement as we passed. I could not have asked for any more.
Then, as we reached Farcet a lovely lady called Irene had opened her home for a coffee morning. It was so nice to go into a lovely warm home and have a cup of tea pressed into my hands. Heaven! I told the people there a bit about my challenge and why I was doing it, had a chat with different people and before I knew it I had to set off for home to prepare for my son’s birthday party. I was buzzing all day from it and am really looking forward to this Thursday when I am heading from Ely to Littleport. I shall definitely not be dreading it when I wake up, what ever the weather is doing.
In my last post I talked about how I am trying to keep my long runs interesting. Luckily, for the majority of my long runs coming up I will not have to worry about boredom as I am running around the diocese, visiting as many branches of the Mothers’ Union as I can. (I am running the marathon for the Mothers’ Union – this is of the posts that is coming up – explaining just who they are and why I am doing it for them.).
In the meantime, if you live near Yaxley in Cambridgeshire this coming Saturday morning, keep a look out for me – I will be running between Yaxley and Woodstone, then Woodstone to Farcet. If you do live in these areas (or know someone that does) and would like more details then please e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be glad of any company.
Why is it that life gets in the way so often? Unfortunately, this blog is one of the first things to go when I am pushed for time. Not the running – that will be almost the last thing! (Feeding my children will probably be last.) Behind the scenes I have been very busy organising fundraising events as well as keeping up with my training. I have quite a few posts coming up so keep tuned but today’s post is about my training.
Dare I say it? I think it is going quite well.
My work in the gym is paying off and I am definitely getting stronger. I am now doing squats with a 20 kg weight. That is nearly one-third of my body weight! I am celebrating.
I am sticking with the yoga. Whether I am improving is harder to say but I am definitely enjoying the deep stretching along with the time out (Adriene calls it a rest for the brain!).
I think that I am getting fitter re my running but that is hard to say. Yesterday I ran 14 miles. It was hard towards the end but I did it :).
My biggest problem is where to go to keep my runs interesting. A week ago yesterday I think I was more stressed about where to go than the actual run itself; road, trail or a mixture. If I did a mixture what shoes to wear (trail or road). The weather was on the cool side. The ground was partly frozen but not completely so I knew that I would get muddy.
In the end I just went for it. I had a bit of a plan but nothing set in stone – I had definitely not measured out a distance. I did a mixture of everything. Here is my run in photographs:
A wooded area
I live near a ‘dyke’ – a raised bit of land.
A muddy bridle path
A not so muddy bridle path
A cycle path
So you see – a bit of everything. Being mainly off-road this was quite a slow, tough run but all good for building strength in my legs. I even found some ‘hills’ which for me is a real novelty. I went exploring and found new paths , worried that I was trespassing and generally following my nose. These are the best type of runs.
How do you keep repetative tasks interesting?
What activities are the ones that are the last ones you drop?