Thursday, 1 November 2007

The End of the Road??

I thought that this would be the end, but its really just the beginning. Ive completed the marathon, but my running isnt over. Its not the end of the road. This blog was about starting that journey. Now its time for a new blog, as I continue along the road, into the unknown. I would like to thank everyone who read this blog. Now I invite you all to read my new blog: Running After Dublin.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Loosing My Virginity

Today started off well, and we got to Stansted in good time, but quell surprise, I set off the security alarm with my hair clip and the studs on my jeans, which resulted in the usual pat down performance that I regularly get at airports. Gate change caused confusion, but the flight took off in good time, and before we knew it we were touching down in the fair city. Car hire was less of a painful experience than last year, and it didn’t take long to get to where we were staying which was just as well because by that point, after 12 hours of travelling, I was shattered. Sleep wasn’t easy to come by though, with C’s snoring keeping me awake the first half of the night, and early flights taking off keeping me awake through the early hours.

Seemed a good idea to get registration over and done with today. Last year we got there just before it opened, and had to queue for ages, so this time, we left at 12, which paid off because by then there were no queues. Was left on my own briefly to contend with my own private fear and panic (as I approached the building, I told C, this is it, my last chance to turn back, to which he inquired if it would be necessary to drag me inside the building!) Purchased official teddy bear, as I had promised my son I would, and before we left we both signed the Adidas wall. I wrote an inspiration message to myself that I wouldn’t let C read (lost for words? He asked. Thats a first he said!) and C wrote a message of support for me which was very touching. On the way back into the City, I was quiet (too quiet for C’s liking) as I was swamped with feelings of guilt (for not being as supportive as I should have been when it was C in my place this time last year-I just didn’t understand) and privately freaking out about the path that lies ahead. C and I talked and that helped to quell some of my fear, and I had a good nights sleep.

Today was all about resting, and an early night was necessary. Ipod froze which caused a minor (though I am sure C would call it a major) tantrum on my part. I stressed because I find it imposible to run without music. He suggested that if I left it to run out of charge and then recharge it, then it might work in the morning, but that even if it didnt for some reason it wasnt the end of the world because he would lend me his player. When we went to bed, he gave me some last minute advice and wisdom, and told me not to worry, that no matter what, he knew I could do it.

Marathon Day
Woke up early, and told myself I wasnt going to think any more than five minutes ahead. The first stage was just to get dressed. Then breakfast. I felt sick, but I was determined not to let my nerves get the best of me, and ate even though I didnt feel like it. I told myself as I looked out the window, assessing the weather, that today was a good day for a run. I told myself that I was just going for a run around Dublin because I just happened to be there. This seemed to work, and apart from a momentary freakout in the car on the way into the city, so long as I told myself I was just going for a run, and I would see how many miles I could do, rather than think of it as a marathon. Last minute kiss goodbye, and I was on my own, seperated by a few thousand other runners from C. My GPS froze on me, and momentary panic set in as I wondered how i would pace myself, cursing myself for not wearing my watch instead, but it was too late to do anything, so having managed to get the cover off the back, I replaced the batteries.....and then we were off, a mass of people running over the mats that recorded our chips, and the GPS eventually kicked in at the first mile. This through me as I was unable to work out my times, but in some ways I suppose it made me concentrate on running what I could, walking what I couldnt rather than focusing on my time. I actually managed to continuously run the first .5 mile continuosly but couldnt keep this up, and relaxed myself into running what I could and walking what I couldnt. This paid off for the first half, a distance I knew I could do, having worked up to 12 miles in training, but still I was surprising myself as I ran past groups of tens of runners, and as I came round the bend in phoenix park I was even more surprised to see thousands of runners behind me. I crossed the 10 k mark at 1:37:11 faster by 5 minutes than my first 10 k time, and 7 miles later, I crossed the half way mark at 3:31:34, faster than I have ever run, because my 12 mile training run was completed in 3:45. This first half was blissfully easy. However it was downhill from there on in (and not in a good way!) as I was resigned to walking with the odd run to remind my legs what I actually expected of them. At mile 18, a girl I had passed a couple of times, and part of a group I was pacing myself with, kissed her friend goodbye, as I realised she was dropping out. I stopped to check if she was alright, and offered her the comfort and support I would have hoped to have got if it were the other way round. As miles 19,20, and 21 went by, I wondered about C, because he had said he would come back and find me somewhere around there, once he had finished. I didnt worry too much when I didnt see him though, and was caught by surprise as I saw him strolling down the road between miles 23 and 24. I said if hed been there at mile 20 I would have been in better form, but he said he couldnt believe how bright I looked and that I was still chatting away, full of energy. As it got colder, aches turned into pains. and sheer exhaustion left me questioning the existence of the finish line, but I was determined to finish even if it killed me (although I seriously thought it would actually kill me). As the last few miles slowly went by, and my right leg (which I injured a coulple of weeks ago) grew more and more painful, I was more and more greatful for C's support, and there were times when I only carried on because he was assuring me it wasnt that far, and was helping me to walk. 26 mile marker in sight, I knew it was almost over and I knew conserving my energy was going to pay off; I had sprinted over every marker so far, and I was determined to sprint over the finish line. As the last of the marshals directed me to the finish, I let go of C's hand, and I was off, using the last of what I had, giving it my all, determined to cross the line in style, and surprised myself (but apparently not C) as I thought all I had in me was a jog, as I got faster and faster. I crossed the line as the clock ticked over to 7:52, but my official chip recorded time was 7:46:32. I swore about it being over to the marshal who greated me with my goody bag, somehow managing to smile for the photo, and turned for my medal, and headed back to C, to collapse, as my right leg hadnt appreciated the sprint, and now I was barely able to walk. Of the 11000 people who entered, 8428 people finished, and of those who finished, I came 8404.
I expected to feel elation as I crossed the line, but I felt relief, and I expected to cry, but I was so exhausted that I didnt even have the energy to do so.

I dont think its fully sunk in yet, what I achived yesterday, and though I remember most of what happened, I am struggling to assess or even describe what happened, so I shall leave it at that. Will I do it again?............
Yesterday I said, no, never, once is enough.
26.2 is only for the brave or the very fool hardy.....
but today I say ask me again in April.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Its the final countdown.....

Bags are already packed and sitting in the boot of the car. I am more or less prepared in the practical sense. Ive trained all I can, now all thats left for me to do is to prepare my mind. According to the official countdown timer on the official website, as I write this, I have 3 days, 23 hours, 40 minutes left in which to complete this final part of the challenge. Then its just down to fate. Que cera cera. Time is ticking away, as I watch this official countdown, but it seems to go much faster when I watch it, but seems to go quite slowly all the time im sat at home, the practical arrangements now taken care off. Tomorrow I have to drive to Essex, pick up C and then head over to Stansted. Stress wise I know tomorrow is going to be a bad day. He confessed nerves when I spoke to him yesterday, to which I queried how he thought I felt! I shall try my best to stay calm and relaxed on Saturday and Sunday, because I know I shall be stressed monday morning. The worst part is the when I get nervous, I feel sick, and when I feel sick, i dont want to eat. So im trying to keep my mind off it, to eat and drink plenty, and remind myself that im prepared. The end is in sight now, the goal almost achieved, the finish line waiting around the corner to be crossed. The blog almost finished........
All thats left to do now is wait for the day to come, to complete the task, and then tell the world about it.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

It was going so well until.....

First my GPS battery ran out, and then I slightly twisted my ankle. Wet leaves are an unfortunatly regular obstacle when you live in the country like me. But I did do 8 miles (first four were blissfully easy; last four were in varying degrees of agony) in two hours. Doesnt seem like many, but I know that means Im getting faster despite the various lows along the way. I was determined to get out there this morning, having had to put off Sundays run because of a pre arranged commitment which I had forgotten about when planning when to run, and could not get out off. The original plan was to run Monday, but my car broke down Sunday eve, and I spent Monday under the car which was jacked up outside my parents house, fitting a new alternator. So run was postponed til today. Just as well when I thought about it, because I needed to get to the sports shop and spend yet more money ( I have calculated that to date I have spent somewhere between 800 and £1000 on my new interest...not sure if I can justify the expense given the state of my bank balance, but there we go....) as a new pair of sock, a long sleeved top and gel bars were needed. I had planned to run a circuit of Chichester again, but having forgotten my MP3 player, I opted to drive to my parents house and run the local rural roads. I was sorely tempted to put the run off all together, but I didnt, telling myself it was now or never, and that now was as good a time as any, so out I went.
After the twist I walked a good percentage of the last four miles, only running when I felt physically able to, but scared of further injury, I waited til I got to the last 400 meters before pushing myself. I managed to push myself to race pace without too much pain, the walking having eased some off the agony I had been feeling when it first happened.
Indoors, I ran a cold bath-something I knew I should have been doing long ago after runs, following advice from my uncle (a qualified masseur), but I like my baths to be warm so had been putting this off-and braced myself for the freezing water. I made myself stay there for ten minutes, despite the urge to get out and then had a warm shower. Pain is almost gone now, an hour and a half later, and my bruised and battered ego soothed a little, along with my frustration, having spoken to C on the phone. No words of comfort or wisdom were uttered, and coz hes at work the call was rather short, but it was enough to know he's there ready to listen when Im having a tough session.
Postmortem assessment of session now thoroughly analysed, I can now sit back and see there were pros and cons about today, and it wasnt all bad, but they say its 80% in your mind, and only 20% in your legs; I have to ask then, why, when my mind is pushing me forward, shouting commands to keep going, do my legs refuse to comply?

Monday, 1 October 2007

Petition to God for 26 hr days

I cant fit it all in. Its impossible. I have so many responsibilities that it is impossible to keep up with everything. Something has to give and unfortunately its been my training. I didnt run at all this weekend because I was taking my son to a party and hes not good with parties. I usually go for a run at 11 because to run earlier than this is impossible because its too early to leave my son with my parents. But the party was at 2 and I wouldnt have been back in time. The party finished at 5 and this was too late to run because it would have been too late to leave my son with my parents. I had every intention to run today but the weather was not on my side. Now I know what your thinking, I should be able to run in any weather, but it was chucking it down and im still not well and I dont want to develop pneumonia. Again responsibilities and a dentist appointment which always makes me feel unwell coz i react badly to local anesthetic got in the way of plans to go to the gym. But come hell or high water I am going tomorrow. And I WILL be running next sunday.
In the mean time, I would like everyone to join me in a petition to God for 26 hr days!

Monday, 24 September 2007


Determination set in yesterday. Im so far behind in my schedule that its becoming ridiculous, so I went down to Chichester hoping that a change of scenery would help. I was determined to run/walk til I couldnt and then walk until I couldnt-the aim being to clock as many miles as was physically possible, with no pressure of time. My chest is still rather bad, and i havent been to the gym all week, so I had to slow my pace just to breathe. But i did manage to run/walk 9.5 miles and then I walked until I had clocked a total of 12. I secretly think that this will be the plan from now on. Run/walk til I cant go on like that, and then walk the rest of the distance, and with any luck, the walking will provide adequate rest for me to at least run some of the way once I hit Trinity College. Starting to regret my decision to take part, and im not getting the support I hoped for. Ive had set back after set back, and this latest bit of ill health isnt helping. Nor was the row that reduced me to tears on the phone with C. He thinks I should just be able to run now, and not run/walk. I tried to explain this wasnt realistic for me, but he wasnt having any of it, and the call just left me feeling dejected. I so wanted to be able to enjoy this, but i think i will just be lucky to survive.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Under the weather

Went to the Doctors this morning. Woke up feeling really rotten. Ive had a cold-courtesy of my son- for a while, and coz im asthmatic I thought it best to get my chest checked. Confirmed my own feeling that I do indeed have a chest infection, but its viral so no medication. Lemsip and rest I was told, so no gym today. Feel groggy, my chest and head sore from all the coughing, and my throat is sore too. Would go back to bed, but my son is off school too so no can do I am afraid.
Come back in two weeks if it hasnt cleared, I was told. It better have cleared by then I thought!