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!

Sunday, 16 September 2007


Only managed a mile today because of crippling pains in my legs. I have always had problems with my legs and have days when I am in absolute agony and cant walk. I have so far managed this pain with ibuprofen which I take before I go out for a run. Sometimes I run out, but go out for a run anyway, and I have good days when I can run a few miles and bad days when I cant even manage a mile. Today was a bad day. I cursed myself for lack of preparation, and for allowing an incident earlier this morning to allow me to get demoralised, but it is getting hard, and the knowledge that the marathon is only a matter of weeks away, and no longer a matter of months. I am trying to take positive steps to counter act the negative phases of the training, and hopefully use these bad experiences as a form of rehersal for the marathon itself. Now I know I MUST take ibuprofen, that I cant do without it, because if I injure myself now, Im up the proverbial creek without a paddle, I can prepare. Likewise with the other things that have caused problems so far. If I over reherse these things in my mind, hopefully any negative experiences on the day can be turned into positive results. And if worse comes to worse, I can always walk!

Sunday, 9 September 2007


Didnt have a very good run today. Slightly worried that the bad runs out number the good ones at the moment. But have noticed that certain times of the month are better than others for running. Didnt get much sleep last night, so that cant have helped. Having said that, I did managed to do 9.29 miles. Ought to have clocked 13 miles at least by now, but I just cant overcome the barrier to achieve this. Humidity today didnt exactly help matters either. Considering going for an early morning run on Wednesday because my son is staying at my parents house on Tuesday night while I go to lectures at Uni, but since my lecture doesnt end until 9.30 it rather depends on how much sleep I get. The more miles I do, the more sleep I seem to need, especially since im not getting much sleep during the week at the moment. Hope this will improve soon.
With the marathon next month, this challenge seems to be getting harder not easier. The only improvement I have noticed is in terms of recovery. Only a couple of weeks ago, I would be in agony after a run, and hardly able to walk in the afternoon. Now, I hardly have any pain after a run, and today, I have zero pain. So at least I have one positive thing to reflect on!

Saturday, 8 September 2007

New Tattoo

As promised here is a picture of my new tattoo. The translation is: "To dare is to do".

Friday, 7 September 2007

Another end to a busy week

Ok so its Friday. Had intended to get to the gym three times this week, since son went back to school on Tuesday. Of course that wasnt to be. Family commitments meant I didnt get to run on Sunday, and I was hoping therefore to get a chance to run during the week, but with SALTEX, an annual trade show, to attend for work, university term starting on Monday, and a big job this week, I just havent been able to find the time to do everything. Managed to get in the gym on Wednesday, and (famous last words about to be typed!) I am hoping to get into the gym tomorrow and run on Sunday. But of course theres shoes to be bought tomorrow, so thats a trip to Portmouth, and as anyone who knows my son will tell you, that will almost certainly take all day. Sunday does look promising for a run tho, followed by swimming with my son, and if I can find the money down the back of the sofa, there may be pizza too!

Some jobs that did get done this week however, included getting out (finally!) a press release to my trade magazine and the local paper, in a bid to drum up some support.
You can take a look at it here:

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Apologies for the delay....

Internet went down at my Mums again-this time boot sector virus causing computer to crash was to blame....
so I have two fantastic achievements to report and news of my tattoo....
On Sunday 21st I set out for my 11 mile run. Having had a couple of bad runs in recent weeks I was a bit nervous, but I had a new gadget (my mum bought me a garmin forerunner 101 coz she knew i wanted one-google maps only so acurate-but was too skint to buy one!) so I tried my best to stay focused. Mile six and my dad stopped as he passed me in my car and asked had I had enough and did I want a lift home. "No" i just about managed thou the temptation was great, and set off again. At mile 9 my sister then tooted as she passed, turned around in the local farm shop and called me over. I jogged over and she too offered me a lift home! Now I appreciate their concern for my health, I informed her, and the offer of a lift if I was unwell, but being red in the face is OK!! I am not about to collapse!
Hit 11 mile mark in 2:52:57

On Bank Holiday Monday family plans meant that I didnt have enough time to complete a 13 mile run as per my schedule, so rather than put it off (we all know what happens when i do!) or not run at all, I opted for a time goal rather than my usual distance goal, and set out with a 10k in mind, hoping to beat my previous time of 1:40. I struggled most of the way round, with pain in my right calf, a niggle in my back and lack of focus, but I got home, and called C with my time straight away, I was that chuffed....
I'd completed the 10K in 1:31!

I put my success down to experimenting with gels and energy bars!

Thursday I went to see some friends at my local tattoo/piercing studio where I have been going exclusively for my piercings for 5 years. It was the first time I was going to get a tattoo there, having previously gone elsewhere because for the first 4 and a half years they did not have a resident artist. I told A that I wanted to get the tattoo as part of my ritual for gettting ready for next months marathon, and explained that I also wanted a butterfly underneath, so we could work out placing, but couldnt afford to get both done together. A suggested that it would be good to wait for the buttefly anyway, and to get that done as a sign of completion after the event. So that is the new plan!
Im very pleased with the end result, and feel so much more ready than I did before.
Watch this space for a pic-at the moment my camera has no batteries!

Friday, 17 August 2007

Hitting 170

Having had a two week break (not for holiday, just been too busy) I made sure I got in the gym on Wednesday and again today. Been keeping an eye on my HR coz my sheet says on the 6th and 12th visit of this card I have to note my HR. Well my HR was 138 on the treadmill but up to 170 at times on the bike and the cross trainer. Dont know if this is good or not, because the guideline says that 170 = 85 % for a 20 year old, 166 = 85% for a 25 year old, and I am 23, and I felt weird when I left gym. I say weird because I wasnt light headed or dizzy, but I definitely felt odd.
Plan for Sunday is at least 12 miles, although I would quite like to do 13, and since Christmas came early today, in the form of a Garmin Forerunner 101, a present from my Mum, it should be easier for me to work out my mileage without having to resort to Google Maps.
As they say, watch this space!

Monday, 13 August 2007

Exhaustion and Pain

I didnt get around to going to the gym last week at all-but it wasnt for lack of trying. Unfortunately my life is currently rather hectic. My goal for yesterday was 12 miles, but unfortunately that wasnt to be either. I knew from the moment I got up that it wasnt to be my day, but I tried desperately to suppress such feelings and the negativity that inevitably results in failure. I was still tired when I got up, and then I got distracted on the internet while trying to plan my route on Google maps. Then I couldnt get my MP3 player to work-and I find it stressful to run without it. Then when I did go out, I realised I had forgotten to change my trainers, and then my MP3 player ran out of battery, but since I hadnt even got out of my road, I went home, put the correct trainers on, and hunted for a new battery. By the time i got out, it was 2pm, and the cloud cover that promised a cooler run, had dispersed allowing the temp to warm up. My new route takes me up to the A27 and into a village with a rather steep hill. I change my routine here from 2 mins/2 mins to 1min/1 min to limit the feelings of exhaustion, and make it to the petrol station a minute quicker than I did during the week. I come down the road past the race course, a road that feels never ending, and despite my sports jelly beans, I feel knackered, with another 7.5 miles to go. I nip into the shop to get a bottle of water, and manage to make it another mile, but then Im zapped. I can still walk, but when I try to run, i cant, at it feels like my legs want to give way. I ring C for encouragement, and to talk through the problem. Walk he says, and just run if you think you can. Which I do, the last three miles back to the house, along the main road. I only just got through the door, now in pain, all the way up my spine. My shoulder which was stiff the day before now absolute agony which gives me a migraine. So later i get in the bath, as my legs are aching too. Gym this week, C tells me, that is probably the cause. Just make sure you get in there, whatever else is going on.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

4 miles is better than no miles......

I didnt have time to go for a run on Sunday. It was far too hot anyway. So since it was given for rain on Monday, I decided to put it off til then. But it didnt rain Monday, so I put it off til Tuesday. It didnt rain during the morning, and in the afternoon I had already arranged to take out my son. We ended up at Brooklands park in Worthing, and he went on the ponies and the train and ran around a lot, and by the time I got back I was knackered. So much so that really i shouldnt have been driving. But I knew if I didnt run that evening, I would put it off til Wednesday, and then til Thursday....
and you get the picture!
Thing was I had to be somewhere at 7 to look at a car. So i figured I would run the four miles to where the car was, meet my dad there, bring the car back and run another 8. I did well in that I covered the 4 miles in just over an hour (which is quick for me, especially since there were two hills, both long and tough). But I was so wrecked that I couldnt even contemplate the other 8 miles. So the new plan was to go to the gym today, and again on Friday, and run on Saturday the 8 outstanding miles, because I have plans for Sunday with C*
Well, because I had so much to do, I didnt get to the gym, so now the revised plan is to go tomorrow after my interview (I have a job interview in Southampton tomorrow) and possibly run to gym and run back again on Saturday.....
Watch this space as they say!

* BF has objected to use of "BF" despite my insistence that it protects the identity of innocent parties (lol) so from now on I shall use his initial C....until he moans about that and I have to think of something else!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

New Tattoo

Ive decided to get a new tattoo. Something to mark the marathon with. A permanent magical mark that will not only provide me with inspiration, but will be a permanent testament to my commitment and dedication. Its taken me a while to decide what to get and where to place it; all I knew was that I wanted an inscription. I sought the advice of close friends and family, and having decided to go for my upper left thigh, I narrowed a list down to four. One phrase stuck in my mind, and so now, the idea is more formed.
Audere est Facere.
To dare is to do.

So on Monday, I gave blood, because once ive got my new tattoo I will have to wait six months before I can give blood again. So now I can get it done.

Its been one of those weeks......

Summer holidays are now in full swing, so im having to do all the usual things PLUS look after my son, so have had no time to go to the gym. Even on the one day I had time, I was so knackered that I wasnt up to going, and on friday I had a tooth extracted and wasnt allowed to go anyway. Had an idea about at least fitting in a session on the track at uni, but didnt even fit that in. And my sunday run? Didnt have time for that either, and to be honest, its far too hot anyway, so thats been relegated to Monday. So thank God its given for rain-with any luck it will be cooler!

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Rhythm and Beat

50 minutes into my run, the damned battery went on my MP3 player. Did I have a spare? Of course not! Having had this happen once before, I was a little stressed because Im the sort of person who needs music to run. My own rhythm and beat are not enough to keep me going. But determined to keep on going, I remembered what BF said to me last week: "Do you want to underachieve or overachieve?" Well, Im not as competitive as him, so to achieve is enough, but I dont want to underachieve, so I keep going. I didnt push myself to run faster, or for longer, and stuck to the routine of 2 mins running, 2 mins walking. Having been overcast and cool when I left, around mile 4 is started to warm up. Luckily for me, between mile 4 and 5 there are a couple of shops, so water was available when I needed it. Bought some chocolate raisins, and the noise of them in the box aggravated me so much it was unbelievable. But despite the heat, and lack of music, I managed to clock just over 10 miles in 2:36:18.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Support = success

I felt tired and stressed but I went out anyway. BF was down so we went out together, the goal being 9 miles. 2 miles in he asks how I am, and I tell him im tired. He wants to know why, because he says I should feel relaxed, but ive had a hard week, and im only 2 miles in, ive been out half an hour, and I know me, and tho the initial aches dont subside til the first mile, the stress and tiredness of a tough week doesnt subside until ive been out an hour. Mile 4 and ive run out of water, so i take advantage of having a running partner who is more than capable of catching me up, and send him into the shop as I continue along the agreed route. It isnt long til hes back by my side, offering me chocolate covered raisins. I decline, concentrating on the route, as Im now into the unknown, having previously turned back on my loop of the local villages well before now, and im trying to work out how far i need to run before I can loop back if im gonna cover 9 miles. His GPS tells us we've covered 5 miles as we come up behind my gym, so I take advantage of the natural loop of the road rather than stop and turn around. Coming back into the main road of the village, a girl walks past us as were coming to the end of a walk break, and i dont know why, but i take offence slightly, and jog past. A few minutes later on another walk break she walks past again. Someone explain that to me, I say, once shes out of ear shot. Ive overtaken her once, and shes just walking! And with that im off, my pace much quicker, and spurned on by the song that comes on my MP3 player, I push myself a bit more. I shorten my next break to one minute instead of two, and the im off again, still pushing myself to achieve more. That was your best mile, BF tells me, as GPS informs him we've clocked our 6th mile. At mile 8 I calculate in my head the best route to clock our last mile, and turn left at the pub, to the surprise of BF. I thought u'd go straight on he says, but I tell him it wouldnt quite give us 9 miles, so we come up behind the park, and finish about 500 yards from our destination. Could you have kept going? he asks. Get lost I sigh, the pain setting in. 2 hrs 23 my watch reads.

I sprint the last 100 meters, even tho theres no need, for the euphoria that follows. I get indoors and start to stretch. Then I got cramp all down my left side. That was painful. A couple of hours later im in the pool with BF and my son. Tired, in pain, and being driven crazy and its only the beginning of the summer holidays. Legs ached at bed time, and again when i woke up, after the best nights sleep in weeks, but it isnt long before I feel fine. It wasnt all that long ago that the day after a run, I was in agony, and I was sure I was mad to even attempt this. But I am noticing recovery is easier, even tho im clocking an extra mile each week, and i feel good despite covering an extra two. Having said that, I have read that you can increase the miles by up to three extra each week but more than this isnt recommended. Didnt go to gym today, as I was too busy and that annoyed me, because I really wanted to go.

I was so tired yesterday, that im sure i would have given up if i had been on my own. It made a nice change to have someone with me, and while it would be nice to have that more often, I dont want to become dependent on having someone with me, because I know it will just be me on the day. But I know hes proud of me, and he doesnt have to come with me for me to know that. I dont need him to be physically with me to know he supports me, and I know I can turn his support into my success.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Aches, pains and a little more self belief

Went for my usual run on Sunday, and clocked up 7 miles of the local villages. Struggled through the first mile, but kept going, knowing I couldnt give up, just because last Sundays run hadnt been a good one. By mile three I was feeling great, but glad I had brought cash with me, so I could wizz into Aldays and grab more water, on my way back down the main road. Time elapsed was 1 hr 39 mins- a lot, LOT quicker than my other runs. This gave me the boost Ive been looking for. When I went out Sunday morning, I still had almost zero self belief, but by the time I had got back, I had gained so much. Looking forward to this Sundays run, which wont be on my own this time, for a change. Aim is to clock up nine miles, to get me back on schedule, having not clocked the required 7 last week, putting me back a week. So having rewarded myself with a rest day yesterday, its back down the gym this afternoon, as yesterday, while driving, I suddenly got really bad cramp in both legs, that was so bad it was painfull, and I had to pull over and get out the car. Im still in discomfort now, which I am hoping I can ease on the cross trainer.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007


Its been a strange couple of days. Ive been completely exhausted-probably as a result of weeks of sleepless nights. Went out for a run on Sunday, but only clocked three and a half miles of the required seven. Not sure why I had a bad run, what the cause of the stress was. Although it was hotter than it usually is at that time of day, I dont think the heat was the cause, but it certainly played a part. Any self belief I had I have now lost, and im unsure how to get it back.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Keep on Going

Finding motivation over the last 24 hrs has been hard. Yesterday was a rest day, but it didnt feel like much of a rest, as I had to go to Leatherhead to pick up a car. Dont feel like going to the gym right now, but I know I will at some point, if only to have something to do. Stress of sorting out the accident is starting to get to me.
Plan for weekend is to have Saturday off and go for a seven mile run on Sunday. But with so much to do this weekend, I dont know if I will fit everything in.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Staying in verses going out

So having said I would be a good girl yesterday, and stay in, I went out at 2 for a 30 minute run round Slindon woods. Good plan I thought. Unfortunately its been about 10 years since I last went up there, and I had forgotten what the terrain was like. Being a little south of the downs, means that its all chalk and flint (great for ankle injuries!) and its not as flat as I remembered. So 30 minute run, became 30 minute "ramble".
I didnt get disheartened tho, because it wasnt about distance it was about time out, and I was glad to be out rather than indoors doing nothing.
Went to gym this morning, bright and early, after taking my son to school (previous visits have been as and when I could fit them in during the course of the day). The two top trainers were eager to hear about the weekends 10k and agreed that the treatment I recieved was poor in the least. Dont let it get you down tho, I got told, because your achievement is far greater than the person who came first.
And you know what?
Thats right.
Because I have come this far in as little as 3 months.
And that means so much to me.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Eager Beaver

Despite being in some discomfort still from Sunday's 10 K, there is a part of me that wants to get out there and clock some miles. A nice gentle jog around the paths in Slindon Woods, is what I feel like doing. So whats keeping me indoors?
Well the weather for one- I dont want to run in a downpour, and I certainly know better than to run in the woods in a downpour!
Secondly, im in discomfort. So I know that if I push myself too hard now, I will get in trouble later, and I wont be able to do the marathon.
So today, Im staying indoors, trying to keep myself occupied.

Monday, 2 July 2007

The morning after.....

I logged onto Runners world forum this morning, to see what everyone else had thought of yesterdays event. Seeing that critique was welcomed, I posted the following:

As someone who is not an elite runner, I was disappointed to see that marshals were removed when I did my second lap. Granted they are volunteers, but I felt this affected my motivation. I was aiming for an hour and 27 minutes. I didnt achieve this. I also didnt appreciate the 1st marshal saying to me that if i was just going to walk it, there was a short cut I could take. Im not an elite runner, and im following the jeff galloway run/walk programme, and I was taking it easy because I was in a car accident during the previous week. If the race was only open to elite runners, it should have been made clearer.

This was the response I got:

If you are the lady who finished with the male runner firstly I would like to apologise regarding the marshal. Everyone who takes part in an event deserves the same respect as a runner or competitor. The races were open to all levels of runners.

However if we are aware that someone is planning to walk the event we advise them to take part in the 5K. The marshals would have been in place since the start of the 5K and by time you aimed to finish they would have been in place for over two hours plus the hour prior to start time helping at school. After consulting the race referee(a county AA official) at the event the Last Runner sweeper advised you regarding the marshals.

I am sorry this detracted from the event for you. If you do decide to take part in the event again please let us know so we can discuss any allowances we may be able to look into.

Well I have to say, I find this response disgraceful. If I had wanted to do the 5K I would have signed up for the 5K. And clearly the respondent has not read what I actually wrote.

So No.
I wont be doing this one next year.

Sunday, 1 July 2007


I did it!
Got up later than had planned, and BF badgered me to eat breakfast of sugar puffs, despite my feeling sick. Tried to ease the pre race nerves by listening to my MP3 player for a bit while I got ready. Didnt take long to get there once we were on the road. Car park was full, so car got left down the road. 5K started just as we got there, and with no queue for registration, it meant there was a lot of standing around, not really doing much, so nerves soon returned. Hung to the back with BF knowing I was gonna be on the slow side, and although small crowd meant I knew I'd be one of the slowest, I didnt realise we would be the very last. As we came past the first marshal, over the music I heard him say something along the lines of good plan, so I relaxed, settling into my plan of slow jog 2 mins, walk 2 mins for 1st K to ease myself in, knowing I could pick up the pace later. 1st K is always the hardest for me, I explained to BF after, because its like my legs say, sod this, this is to uncomfortable, and my head is saying, thats enough, go home, and so the first k is all about overcoming the psychological barrier that tells me I cant do this, so dont 1even try. Approached second marshal while on a walk break who suggested that if we were only going to walk the 10k, there was a short cut we could take! Bloody cheek! Calf muscles hurt for the first 3k or so, but the more I ran, the more I felt them relax.
Certain track on MP3 player came on, and my pace picked up to a proper run, that BF wasnt expecting, so for 30 seconds he was left in the dust of my heels as I sped off down the hill. About 25 minutes into the race, we were overtaken by the "real" runners, and shortly after, a marshal on a bike informed us that although they would keep the course open until we got back, and a marshal would stay to record our times, they couldnt guarantee that any marshals would be on the route for our second lap. Now, fair enough if they had a time limit posted, or if the course wasnt billed as "open to everyone" but since there was neither, a limit, or stipulation about type of runners, I felt a little miffed and completely unmotivated by this news. As much as I tried to put this to the back of my mind, Im pretty sure this impacted me for the rest of the race. I didnt mind coming in last, but I objected to being made to feel useless because of it, after all ive attended 10k events in the past as a supporter, where runners have come in well after an hour and a half. However I got some support from the marshals at the gate as I passed for my second lap, and felt ok to break the 2 min run/2 min walk rule, and managed to clock up a couple of 4min + runs. Unfortunately this didnt last long, and I was back to running 2 min/2 min rule, later replaced with 30 sec walk/1.5 min runs, for a couple of K towards the end. BF didnt know, but I had a secret plan for which I was conserving my energy. As I approached the school gate, and entered the ground for the last section, I picked up my pace to a run again, but couldnt maintain this to the end, so walked for a minute, before picking up the pace one final time. Finish line less than 100 meters away, I turned to BF and catching his eye, I saluted and said "see ya" as I sprinted, hoping he'd let me have my moment of glory for my first 10 k. But oh no, hes far to competitive for that, and I crossed that line, only just ahead of him. He later told me, he had wanted to hold my hand and cross together, and hadnt been expecting me to suddenly bolt for the line. Guilt briefly set in, at this point, but didnt last long im afraid!
Marshal recorded our times, someone took our photos, and exhausted I collapsed into the first chair I found.
I felt the almost overwhelming urge to remove my shoes, but I resisted this, knowing id never get them back on, and after a couple of minutes rest, I managed to make it to the car in one piece, although I admit, I did ask to be carried!
Back at BF house, showered and pain free (although I know it wont last) I feel really good about myself. The first milestone has been reached, and I know I can do the seven miles I need to do next sunday, that only the other day I was unsure I could complete. Knowing I have crossed my first line, I now believe that I can cross the line in Dublin. Whether or not I will be in one piece, I dont know!

Saturday, 30 June 2007

Dealing with the nerves

The 10k is tomorrow, but im bervous today. This is not good. When I feel nervous, I feel sick. So sick that I dont want to eat or drink. That is not good.
Distractions are what I need. They were easy to come by this morning, on the way up here. I sat on the train and sipped my water, listened to my MP3 player, read my book. Mental preperation is now part of my daily routine, because I know already that the marathon will be 20% in my legs, 80% in my head. So each day, I set aside time for mental preparation. Its become like a ritual. I find a quiet moment, and I sit, emersed in various chapters of Jeff Galoways book, while sipping water.
By the time I got to Stratford, I could feel the stress setting in, and I knew the afternoon would be tough. Delayed at Romford, I cut through the mall, with the intention of retail therapy, but it wasnt enough. Finally arived at best friends house, but I knew he would be out until 2, which left me two hours to myself-except that I didnt want 2 hours to myself. Feeling hot and sticky from the public transport and my two and a half hour trek across the south east of England, I swapped Jeans for cropped tracksuit bottoms, and felt instantly calmer. I considered a shower, but changed my mind, and settled down to ring home to check in (My parents get nervous about me going to London on my own, despite me being 23!) and make good use of the free range I had been given with the p.c.
Im looking forward to tonight, as we are going out, but in the back of my mind, theres still the nerves. And thats all I can think about. I cant distract myself, and all I do is figet. My mind is wandering, and I cant concentrate. Time seems to tick away slower with each passing minute.
I hate to think what tomorrow will be like.

Friday, 29 June 2007

Looking forward to the weekend

Got my bag packed, and all my gear sorted. Not used to having to take this much stuff when I go to Essex. More organised than usual, with train times sorted out, and almost everything packed.
Went to gym for first time since accident; a little nervous, expecting pain.
Took it easy, not wanting to strain the bruised areas and injure myself before my 10k.
Originally when I joined the gym, I went for a small one deliberately, so that I could get in and out without talking to anyone. As time has gone on tho, Ive made friends with most of the staff, and a couple of the regulars who attend in the time slots I usually stick to. Tennis was on and having run out of power in the battery in my MP3 player, I found myself chatting to one of the guys....
Ok, I'll be honest, I was flirting!
Trying to relax now, and not get nervous about the run, despite friends and aquaintences asking how long ive been training for the 10k....
Training I ask?
Its just a milestone....
One of many.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Dad's Car

Here's a pic of the damage....

Highs are always followed by lows....

Having made plans to borrow my dads car to get to Essex (gasket gone on my Rover 214), plans got suddenly changed last night when the car was written off. Local nursery van driver drove into the side of my car as I turned off the roundabout and into my parents road. So now I dont have a car, and nor does my dad. Police attended scene and breathalysed both of us, and both parties were given production orders for vehicular documents.
Went to doctors this morning to get clearance to run at weekend. Have some limited internal bruising so I've been told to take it easy and not push myself...
wasnt going to anyway!
Trip to police station (wanted to get in out of the way, despite having seven days to attend) left me with no time to go to gym, so plans is now to go Friday.
No car, doesnt mean no 10k tho, just a three hour train and tube commute to best friends house in Romford. Do I see this as a sign not to do the run? asked the attending officer....
No, of course not!
But maybe I should think twice about owning a car!
Just after the accident my sister came down the road with the instructor that had taught me to drive. When they came back at the end of her lesson, I went out to talk to them, and told the instructor that I was thought she would think I was to blame. Dont worry she said, you can see from the damage that the other driver was to blame.
Luckily I have a witness, who said the same thing.
Now just got to convince insurance companies.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007


Today is supposed to be a rest day. But my legs feel fine ( a few weeks ago it was taking almost a week to recover from a long run) so I want to go out for a short maintenance run. I was going to go down to Wittering to run along the beach-tide out=sand=low impact=less injury/pain I figure. But plans change, and now my parents have the car. Am tempted to go down to Climping or up to Slindon (I quite like the woods there, and have yet to run the trail there), but for the moment, Im indoors, trying to rest.
So far I've been good about balancing eagerness with the awareness of the dangers of over training, with my average week consisting of one long run, and two or three gym sessions, but I know I need to start fitting in at least one 30 minute maintenance run during the week. I also figure that I need to fit this in early in the week, so that I can rest enough between now and Sunday, so I dont injure myself running the 10k.
So for the moment, orders are to relax and maybe get other things done that so far ive been putting of, like plumbing in my new dishwasher, or starting my dissertation....
Its a shame that this new-found motivation hasnt crossed over into other areas of my life!

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Oh the pain!

Woke up at 3 am in absolute agony. Being out in the rain, having just got over a cold, had sent my temperature soring despite the shower afterwards to warm up, and I had kicked my duvet off and my legs had got cold. Cold muscles= pain. And PAIN is what I felt. Cursed myself for not rubbing in ibuprofen gel earlier when i felt the niggling pain. Migraine was also causing me grief. So I rubbed in the gel, and massaged the muscles in my left leg, which was more painful than the right, and took some migraleve for my head. Got up for a drink, and nearly leapt through the ceiling because I have cold hard floors, and the pain coursed through my leg like a lighting bolt. Made it to kitchen, and got back into bed-thank god i live in a flat!-and then realised I needed the loo! Got back into bed, and my son woke up and started calling for me, and I had to settle him again.....
7 am alarm goes off (dont remember falling asleep!) and i gingerly get out of bed. I struggle into car, and coz im 5ft 4, i have to have seat so far forward that its ridiculous, but this cramps my legs and by the time I am crossing school playground I can hardly walk! Benjamin and Carls' mums' inquiry as to my ill health (oh dear! what have you done?!) and I tell them its pain from my run yesterday. Go home and rest, they advise. No, its ok, I'll be ok once ive been to the gym, I tell them. To which the response is questioning my sanity!
Half past nine im in the gym, on the bike, wondering if i have passed the point of no return, and if i should just have myself committed after all. But then I do my weights, jump on treadmill for my hill walking (far too painful at 5.8 so i cheated and dropped down to 5.2!), then its on to rower, for a slow 1500m at 9:53, which I curse, coz its slower than Friday, which was slower than Wednesday, but tell myself its ok to take it easy because I'm in pain. Listen to your body, I chant, along with Relax-todays Mantras!
Then on to the cross trainer, for my 13 minute cardio work out. By the time I'm done, I feel great, and my legs, although a little achy, and at times a tad painful are no longer as bad as they were. Going downstairs to car is certainly less of a struggle than coming up them to gym this morning. My goal for the gym, is to be able to get up those stairs the day after a run, with ease.
Not having to rely on medication to get me through the day after a long run, which is good.
Just before I leave, I weigh myself, which ive been doing every visit, since I realised I'd lost a stone in 2 months of going to the gym 2 or three times a week, and running at least once a week. Since Friday, ive lost another 3 kilos, so now im down to 86. Knowing this, I feel even better. Thats when I realise that for the first time, since i gave birth to my five year old, I can actually see my own feet!

Monday, 25 June 2007


The Runners World Race Time Predictor, predicts that my first 10k event will be completed in 1:32:17, based on my run today, of 1:27:20 over 5.9 miles....
Feel less nervous today than I did yesterday.
My sister lives in Bognor, and I clocked the mileage from her house to mine-6 miles, which is approximately 10k. Theres no way I could run that distance, i thought, as I pulled up outside my house....and thats when i started freaking out.
Because a marathon is a big commitment. It has become almost the sole focus of my life currently. Here I was sitting in my car, having driven 6 miles, thinking no way...and if i cant cope with 6, how do I expect to add another 20?......
But today, I went out, in the drizzle, which soon became pouring rain. I have Jeff Galloway's book, Marathon: You Can Do It! at home, and I have taken to reading it every night. Ive become rather intrigued with his theory about the left brain and negativity, and how by lying to your left brain you can overcome psychological barriers. So today, I gave it a shot.
I went out, as though I was going to do my usual run, got to the main road, and instead of picking up the pace, from a walk to a jog, I walked a bit further. At the pub, I crossed the road, and told my left brain I was going to run to the next village, and promptly turned right. Down past the doctors surgery I went, as my left brain was left in confusion. The response from my right brain was immediate, hey, it said, you can actually do this you know, try the six miles in one go....
I got down to the level crossing and promptly ran through a puddle that was deeper than I thought. Oh well, go home said the left brain...Ok i said, and kept going in the opposite direction. Down to the shop, and I thought, I'll go left and go under the brigde, and promptly crossed the road, and went right. I'll take the short cut, as I thought, as I got to the next turning, and instead i went left instead of straight on. I'll stop for a bit I thought, when i got to my sons school, and instead i carried on. When i got through the village and down to the bridge, I realised that normally I was knackered by the time i got to the bridge, and i had never done a circuit of the village before, and that gave me such a rush.
I got back to the pub, and i thought, time to go home, and instead I took a left, down the road, and back behind the doctors. Thats it, Ive had enough, said the left brain; ok, im going home, I told myself, as I kept going in the opposite direction. I said ive had enough! shouted the left brain, its ok, im just going past the village hall, I told myself, with every intention of turning left again instead of right....
And then it really started to chuck it down.
I was soaked already, and it was coming down so hard I couldnt see.
Now theres lying, and theres stupidity, and ive just got over a cold, and ive got a 10 k on Sunday, so I turned right in the direction of home....
But i wasnt giving up.
Lets walk suggested the left brain.
Ok, i lied, as I picked up the pace to run again.
Time to walk, said the left brain.
Ok, I lied, and kept going, right up to the gate.
I had no idea how far i had run. I got in doors, stretched, took off the wet clothes, jumped in the shower, then worked out the distance on Google Maps.
Wow, i thought, when i realised how far I'd gone.
Maybe I can do this after all!

Impossible is Nothing

Current mood: energetic

I watched This Morning one morning back in April, and saw a bunch of women all from different backgrounds, who had been chosen at random by the programme to run the FLM. Now, when i was at Primary school, there was a time when I had the bug for athletics. Undiagnosed asthma was a burden that stopped me from taking up something I so badly wanted to take up: Cross country running. So instead I took up sprinting-for some reason 100m done quickly was less of a problem than a mile or two done slowly. For a while I was quite good, but for various reasons, I lost interest at athletics at school, and by the time I got to high school, i had other things on my mind. For a few weeks I dated Alex who was a keen sprinter, and regularly when to the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth, and he did give me some encouragement to take it up again, but I never did.
I always watched the athletics part of the Olympics, especially the marathon part, and occasionally i watched the FLM, thinking, that one day i would like to do that, but never thought i could.
Then I met someone who changed my life forever. Someone who was about to run his first marathon. And yea, i took the mic, saying he must be mad to run that distance, refusing his half joking queries about my signing up for a small race, and if im honest, while I admired his determination, I was a little bit envious too.
Because deep down, i did want to, I just didnt have the courage.
I'll never forget the feeling inside when i saw him cross the finish line, the first time i saw him race, nor the overwhelming pride I felt when i saw him cross the finish line of his first marathon. I was more than a little pissed off when i couldnt go with him for his second marathon. I wont see him cross the line of his third either, but thats because i will be running my first.
Seeing that programme, I thought, its April now, Dublin is in October, that leaves me six months. So yea, i have time.
And as Adidas say, Impossible is Nothing.
So i joined a gym, got a programme sorted out for the gym, and found a programme to build up my endurance for the roads.
Then I decided to sort out a charity to run for. For ages I couldnt decided whether to run for Shelter or Great Ormond Street. In the end, I picked Shelter, and sent them an email to tell them.
Two days ago, a bright red vest arrived in the post. The design is a little dated, but it tells everyone who im doing it for, and makes me noticable.
If he is mad, I MUST be mad.
But ive got loads of sound advice about how to run/walk it as my goal is just to finish it, and im trying to get past the psychological barrier of doubts.
My first 10 k event is next Sunday. I dont care if it takes me 2 hrs or 20 hrs, i just want to cross that line. Because if I can cross that line, I can cross the line in Dublin, and Impossible will really be nothing.