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Soham, Fordham and Burwell

Back on home territory for this one and running partners. ūüôā However my plan said that I had to do cover 16 miles (gulp!)

IMG_1635This 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.

Fodham

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 Рa 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!

IMG_1637See, 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!

Uh Oh!

Up until now training has been going really well. I am noticing a huge difference in my twice weekly gym work and am really enjoying it (which for me is huge – I tend to get really bored, really easily.)

Today I went on a solo 10 mile trail run in the rain:

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I passed 2 people within the first mile and then no-one for the next 9! Perfect me time. When I got home I was freezing. I had a shower but couldn’t get warm. Luckily a lovely meal in a pub soon did the trick.

You may have noticed that I started this post saying that training has been going well. Notice the ‘up until now’ phrase? I shouldn’t have run today. When I got up the ball area of my foot hurt when I walked on it. This is not that unusual for me so I didn’t think much of it. (I have expanding ligaments in my feet.) When I started running it was a¬†bit sore and I contemplated turning back but I had 2 days off running, it didn’t hurt yesterday and I could think of no reason why it would hurt, also the pain wasn’t too bad. 10 miles later and I am hobbling.¬† Uh oh. I should have rested. I will now be resting this week and finding cross training to do in its place. Guttted.

On the other hand I have found a ‘new’ challenge for yoga:

It is a 31 day course with Adriene and you can sign up here. I did the first one yesterday. The thirty minutes went so quickly. It was fairly gentle (apart from some of the stomach ones) but it is meant to be restorative. I have signed up and will keep you posted.

PS: I have managed to do yoga everyday for a over a week!

 

And so it begins….

My Aims

I met with a personal trainer last week. He asked me what my aims were. That was a simple question:

To get through the marathon training without getting injured.

Ever since I got my first ballot place in the marathon 3 years ago I decided that I needed professional advice when it came to training for a marathon. My initial fear was the dreaded runners knee. I knew from reading various magazines that running doesn’t use all your muscles on your legs and imbalances can create all sorts of issues. The PT that I had used previously had moved onto other exciting adventures hence the new one. After a bit more chat (actually after the session) I also added that I would like to better my¬†personnal best¬†time for a marathon. I am delighted to say that he has taken up the challenge. Apparently he likes a challenge as much as I do!

Plans

Very quickly (as in the next day) my plans were sent through. I have a strength programme to do once a week ¬†and ….get this……a running plan. (I have never had one of these before.) No longer am I following a¬†generic plan. I now have a bespoke plan written just for me. I am so excited, especially as it looks completely doable (so far!).

I have three weekly runs

– a tempo (which is miles in length rather that metres – gulp!) which is meant to be a relatively fast paced run.

-an interval run which is even faster than a tempo run but is over a shorter distance with short recovery breaks.

-a long run (starting at 7 miles!)

In addition to this I have a day for stretching and a day in the gym. The other 2 days can be rest days or active recovery of swimming or biking.

Considering I currently run on 4 days and try to fit in a gym session as well as biking this seems perfectly doable and a good fit for my busy life. It also gives me a specific day for my stretches which I really need to do more of. My body is not getting any younger and I need to look after it. I will focus on three quality runs a week, do my stretching and see how it goes.

Ahead of myself?

The plan starts from tomorrow. Most plans for the London marathon do not start until January so I am more than happy to start now. I run anyway so working harder than I would have but on fewer days seems to me to be a good way to get going. I am slightly worried about the accountability. Someone will be ‘watching’ my progress of my runs and I will not be able to make my usual excuses as easily. This is no doubt a good thing.

My first run will be Tuesday as I have completed a relatively tough cross-country course today (sand, ugh I hate sand).Tomorrow will be a rest day and then I have a tempo run. Please send me good luck vibes – I shall need them.

 

 

 

My Latest ‘little’ Challenge

I have been quiet on here but very busy in the ‘real’ world. I have continued with my running (that is a non-negotiable in my life), completed quite a lot of sewing over the summer (including my ‘happy dress’) and done a fair bit of knitting and crochet. I have also got a dedicated little sewing area which is lovely – if only I had more time to use it…..

I was unsuccessful in the London marathon ballot this year, which wasn’t unexpected but never fear, I am as mad as ever (probably even more so) as I have accepted a charity place. This means that over the next 5 months I will not only be looking after my wonderfully demanding family, doing a very busy day job and training for a marathon but also raising awareness and spreading around all the wonderful things the charity does as well as raising as much money as I can for them.

I MUST BE MAD??

Nothing like a little challenge to get you going.:)

 

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Who doesn’t like an interesting life?

 

A new adventure

On the 20th of August I was in Wales, on holiday. The reason for choosing Wales was easy: I was going to take on the challenge of Racing a Train. Sounds very different I thought. I like different. I¬†signed up!Image result for talyllyn railway race the trainDoesn’t it look fab? My family would be on the train and I would run. Everyone would happy.

Unusually this race takes place on a Saturday ……. and in the afternoon. It turns out that¬†afternoon races are¬†not good for me. There is far too much time to get nervous. I was really nervous. It appears that I¬†was stepping right out of my comfort zone with this race.

So lets put this into context….

I am a fen girl who is used to running on the flat with relatively dry weather. This race takes place in Wales which is wet and hilly. Gales were predicted on the day of the race along with rain. We had travelled down in rain on the Friday and it had continued to rain on Saturday morning. It was going to be muddy! The wind was not that bad for a town on the sea-side but would still be a factor when running the race.

As we arrived in the town where the race started we saw some runners completing the races from the morning. They looked tired and quite muddy. This just added to my mounting feeling of dread. I soon texted my friend saying that I just wanted it to start as I knew that I would be alright once it started.

Lining up at the start it appeared that I as slightly better prepared than my brother who had somehow failed to charge his watch! As the train whistle rang out to start the race we set off. My brothers words of advice echoed around my head: save some energy for the second half as it is more uphill.

Predictably I set off faster than I would have liked but we did have the wind behind us. I managed the first 6 miles in exactly an hour which I was pleased with as the terrain was uneven. I even got to wave at what I thought might be my family on the train as it steamed past! As we got to about half way the ground began to slip away quite steeply to one side Рone poor man nearly fell into the bracken a couple of times. At this point I decided that safety had to  come first which was just as well as it got a LOT steeper after this point.

 

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An action – taken whilst running photo.

 

Just after the half way point the path became very narrow and steep. I slowed to a walk but was very aware of those behind me so at the first opportunity I decided to stop to let them past only to find that they were happy walking and ended up holding me up! (Trust me to be so thoughtful of others!)

Once we had passed this part we came to the next, unexpected ‘obstacle’ –¬† a bog.

We can’t go over it, we can’t go through it. OH no!¬† We have to go through it.

Squelch, squerch, squelch, squerch!

(Excerpt from the well known children’s book: We’re going on a Bear Hunt)

It was FAB!

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By now I was really getting into my stride. I suppose that I now knew that there was no time pressure, I was just here to enjoy it so I started taking photos.(There was a lovely marshal by this waterfall who actually took my photo with it but I shall spare you that image!)

I would just like to add here that the marshals at this event were the most amazing people ever. I may have been in a vest but these people had to stand in the driving wind and rain for a long time, in the middle of nowhere. They all smiled and were polite. They were nothing short of awesome, especially as a lot of them were not exactly young.

The 14 mile race took me 2 hours and 44 minutes. The elevation gain was 413 metres. Not fast, not flat and VERY MUDDY. I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT. Would I do it again? Definitely. Trail running rocks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

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(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 ūüôā

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.