Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Taper madness

Final countdown is now on (dadadaa-da, etc). Head is spinning with logistical arrangements, what to pack, when to pack it, which trainers to wear, what music to put on my MP3 player, etc. Making lists of stuff to do gives me the illusion of being in some kind of control, as the harsh reality that I’m going to have to RUN 26.2 MILES on SUNDAY has not yet fully sunk in. And probably won’t, until I’m halfway along the course and thinking oh shit, I’ve got another 13 miles to go and my legs are already giving up the ghost.

Thinking this way is obviously Not Allowed as according to them what know, you have to do positive visualisation of how great it’s going to be, imagine yourself going strongly at various points, pacing correctly, crossing the finishing line in the desired time, etc etc. I don’t seem to be very good at this. When I try to visualise me running the marathon the positive images which I try to force into my head are constantly elbowed out of the way by visions of conking out in exhaustion before the first mile marker, pulling up with cramp, getting an unshakeable stitch, collapsing in a heap and getting trampled by other runners, etc. This isn't helped by the onset of anxiety dreams where I forget my trainers, forget my race number, can't find the way to Inverness, etc etc. Or somehow manage to forget all my clothes and have to run in my nightie.

The other notable aspect of this week is the number of aches and pains which have suddenly appeared. So far I've had a twingey knee, achey shins and sore foot, all of which have mysteriously appeared and equally mysteriously subsequently vanished. Also, I seem to have the most incredible ravenous appetite. Carb-loading is all very well, but at this rate I'll be standing on the start line two stone heavier than usual. Which is never good.

The weather I'm not worrying about yet, since there's sod-all I can do about it. It's a horrible day here today, torrential rain and strong winds. Since my last, longest run was in similar conditions, I'm not unduly concerned about wind and rain, although I suppose freezing sleet directly into your face for 26 miles might not be entirely fun. A cool, breezy day with a little light rain would suit me just fine.

Remind me why I'm doing this again? Actually, why am I doing this?

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Marathon training update

Yes, I know I've been rather less than diligent in blogging my marathon training. I have been doing the actual training (well, most of it), I just haven't been blogging. Which is annoying, actually, because it would have been good to have some kind of record to look back on (just in terms of what it felt like, etc, as all my training in terms of miles and hours is logged on Garmin Connect and Fetch).

It's been up and down, really, as I seem to have alternated good runs and crap runs. Happily my longest run of 19 miles was one of the better ones, despite weather conditions which may well have been the worst I've ever run in - howling gales, torrential rain, etc. Got more drenched than I've ever been, including having a small lake sloshing around inside my trainers, but managed to run the entire distance in 3:28:18, i.e. just under 11 minute miles, which I was pretty pleased with, and felt surprisingly good most of the way, even grinning dementedly at the passers-by who, huddled under their brollies, no doubt wondered what on earth was wrong with me. Enjoyed this run much more than the previous week's 17-miler when I struggled most of the way and took ever increasing walk breaks from about 10 miles onwards.

It may be that atrocious weather conditions suit me best. This may be good preparation for Inverness in October.

As ever one of the main challenges has been fitting in the time to run. Long runs have been OK as I've been doing them on a Tuesday afternoon when daughter is at nursery. Everything else has had to be fitted in as and when. With the inevitable result that a few (though not many) have been missed. Unfortunately over the past few weeks the ones which have been missed have tended to be the speedwork ones, and I definitely seem to be getting slower, although I did manage 7 miles at 9:43 pace on Sunday - but it was hard work. And that was on a flat route, with not even many hills to contend with.

Phoned the B&B yesterday to confirm booking and request an early breakfast. Apparently B&B is chock full of marathon runners so early porridge and banana no problem. Just as well, as have to be at the pick-up point at the unearthly hour of before 8am for transport to the start. Since the race itself doesn't start till 10am, this seems to potentially involve an awful lot of feeling sick and queueing for the toilet time.

Nerves are starting to kick in now, as the magnitude of the undertaking gradually dawns on me...

Sunday, 19 September 2010

M-day is looming...

Can't believe I'll be (trying to) run a marathon in just over 2 weeks :-O

Must remember to confirm B&B booking and ask them if I can get an early breakfast. If not, will have to make do with instant oat sachets or some such.

Working on my "stuff to take" list:

scary Enell bra
(2 x all above items, just in case)

charity vest
charger for Garmin
waist pack with gels
Body Glide
gloves (just in case it's freezing)
mobile phone

plus all obvious prerequisites for overnight stay (pyjamas, toiletries, clean pants, etc)

what am I forgetting? (apart from "being properly trained", perhaps)

Friday, 3 September 2010

Fun on the dreadmill

I haven't been to the gym for ages but last night I thought I had better start getting my money's worth, or some of it anyway, and went for a run on the treadmill (really should have done some strength stuff as well but didn't have time). I managed 4 and a half miles of running up and down imaginary hills (well, not down, but it feels like down when you put it to 0 after going up for a while) before I couldn't stand the boredom any more and also the gym was about to close and everybody else had gone home, clearly having better things to do at 10pm on a Thursday night. Still have not quite figured out why running on the treadmill (even when not uphill) feels like harder work than running outside, i.e. greater perceived effort for the same pace. Was meaning to wear my HRM so I could compare, but forgot.

The gym was nearly deserted anyway apart from a woman in a pink top who at one point got on the treadmill next to me and walked at a leisurely pace for literally three minutes before getting off and going for a drink of water. Not that I'm in any great position to criticise anyone else's fitness efforts, but I did wonder what fitness gain could possibly be made from a three minute gentle stroll on a treadmill, unless perhaps you're actually the single most unfit person in the world for whom a three minute walk represents a massive effort. Then again she was probably looking at me and thinking "look at that idiot, red faced and sweaty, I'm glad I'm not like that..."