Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Brighton Marathon

My alarm was set for 6 but I had been awake really since 3.40am. I forced myself to stay in bed and conserve that vital energy. I got up and tried to eat a bowl full of porridge but it was like eating a bowl of dry sand. I knew I had to eat so I forced it down. I was ready and began the 30 min walk to Preston Park. There were lots of people around already and I followed the steady stream of runners. Everyone seemed in high spirits.

The next challenge was to find the fellow twitters, we had arranged to meet to the entrance of the charity village but unknown to me there was actually 2 entrances. I was glad I had Lisa’s number because finally we found each other. Soon as we met I was gone in the toilet queue for 45 mins!!!!! Simon eventually found us and we posed for a few photographs.

The time had come, we wished Simon good luck and we got into the starting queue. The start was delayed and everyone was gagging to get started, the sun was bearing down and it started to feel quite hot. The starting time came finally, 20 min delay but we were off, it took us about 10 mins to get to the starting line but the time had come…….WE WERE OFF!!!!

The first couple of miles we ran quite fast, I felt like I was running really slow especially around all these other runners. It’s very difficult to try and slow your pace down when you feel like you are running slowly already. We hovered between 9 and 10 min miles and in the end we thought sod it we won’t keep this up and decided to let our pace slow down naturally.

After 4 miles I felt like I had warmed up and felt really strong, the taper had worked, I felt good and powerful. I wasn’t sure what mileage we were at when Lisa told me she had to walk between 8 or 10, I started walking with her but she urged me to continue. I didn’t know what to do, this wasn’t going to plan and I had seen us finishing together. In a cloud of guilt and despair I kept running. The course became quite bleak and hot and hilly. I tried to focus and just kept going. I ran up a very cheeky steep little hill and when I got to the top everyone was shouting my name, this was great I shouted back oggie oggie oggieeeeee and the crowd screamed back. This just spurned me on and off I went.  I did see Lisa on two seperate occasions after that and we had shared a high five, so I was happier knowing she was ok.

I had been wanting the toilet for quite a few miles but the queues at the toilets were so long I just kept going but it was always there this thought can I keep running without wanting to go. At last I saw a cubicle no queue………..just had to wait for person to come out. I still lost 10 mins during this quick break but I could enjoy running again.

I ran through the halfway mark, I did check my time but I can’t remember what it said but I do remember thinking I am well on target and I am running a whole min faster than my training time.

Then it hit me, I am not sure what but I wanted to cry, I had a lump in my throat as big as a football and my eyes were stinging. I had hoped that I would have seen my husband by now and I hadn’t. It’s very hard trying to run and cry at the same time so I gained composure. I knew that James would be at mile 17, so I started scanning the crowd. There he was, banner held up nice and high. I shouted big cheers all around. I have to say at this point that you don’t realise how wonderful it is to see a friendly face encouraging you in the crowd. Its nice that people shout your name but when its someone you know it makes all the difference. This really spurred me on (when I checked stats my min mileage soared up to 8 min mile).  I saw quite a few fellow fetchies during the race and it was nice to have a quick chat and there was quite a few fetchie supporters along the way armed with jelly babies.  I had managed to tweet a few times during the race,  it helped to distract me when it got tough, it was a good feeling knowing that there was people who were right behind you. ( Thank you guys )

Miles 18 to 22 were really hard, it was a long road with little crowd support, it was very very hot and the water they gave out was warm. I checked my time at 21 miles, 20 mins faster than in training. Its here I wanted to cry again and in fact I think I came quite close to breaking down. As if by magic by husband phoned me and gave me those words of encouragement I needed (crying just writing this now). The bleak soul destroying road ended and I was back on the sea front. The crowds were fantastic. There were soooooo many people walking and it was hard to wade your way through. During the whole run when people had shouting my name I had acknowledged them with a smile or a wave but I was really starting to flag but they kept shouting and screaming not long now. I have to say those last 3 miles I was carried along on the sound waves of all the encouragement.

There it was the finish, standing there so proud on the horizion, I could almost taste it.  Oh my god I am really going to do this....... there it is, thats the bloody finish line, IM NEARLY THERE and with a sudden spurt I raced to the finish  raising my arms in the air and did a marvelous impression of a screaming banshee and thumbs up to those photographers.  I passed the finish line with such a lump in my throat I could hardley breathe, my chest was so tight.  For a small moment I felt very alone, I had trained alone, finished the race alone and for a short while I was really sad that I had no one there at that very moment.........where was my hubsand?  I wanted to collapse into a whimpering blubbering mess but they kept me moving.  I was trying frantically to phone my hubsand but I had no phone reception.  I kept walking in a complete daze, people giving me water, bananas and goodie bags.  I didnt think that I was going to hold it together for much longer and then I saw him waving frantically, I collapsed into his arms letting out that emotional monster that had been biting at the bit for the last 2 hours.  God it was so good to see him after scanning the crowds for the last 26 miles.
I struggled to the beach, my legs felt numb and theres just one thing that I wanted to do, jump into that freezing cold sea.  I stumbled into the sea, the stones cutting into my tender feet and boy was that cold.  I raised my hands in the sea and shouted in a very loud voice much to the amazment of the onlookers " I DID IT, I DID IT AND IM HARDCORE WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!"
My time was 4 hours, 41 mins and 36 seconds.  I was well pleased with that.
A big thank you to John, all my family and my internet "family" for believing in me, supporting me, encouraging me.  I did it for you and I wouldnt have been able to do it wihout you. 
Then there is that question, will you do it again .....hell yer!!! Watch this space.....................

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Last 10 miles before Brighton marathon

There once was a very wise barlady and as I stood croaking at the bar after a long night of dancing ( no booze in sight) she said what you need is a brandy and port, that will cure anything!! So a brandy and port I had.  I slept really well that night and when I woke up he following morning (10 am) I felt has if a weight had been lifted off my chest.  I am sure it has had nothing to do with holding my head over a bowl of hot water of vicks and the lemsips and the vit c that I had been taking over 2 days.

So a 10 miler was within sight.  Hubby decided he would come with me on the pushbike so that was even better and the sun was shining, triple bonus.  I started off nice and steady, ran quite freely no problems at all.  I think running loosened my chest even more.  At 6 miles John abandoned the bike and ran with me.  The last 4 miles was at a steady 9.30 min miles.  My chest did start to hurt a little at the end but I felt that if I could run 10 miles when I wasnt feeling 100 % then I would be fine for the marathon. Todays run was more for my mental state. 

I thought I would try another new thing..........ICE BATH!!! I had bought the ice cubes a couple of days ago and as nike says "just do it"
I ran a bath of cold water and hubby put in two bags of ice............JESUS CHRIST what in the world was I thinking?? I have never know time to go soooooo slowly!! I like to think that I am pretty hardcore so I stuck it out.  Slowly my legs became numb it was just my feet screamimg in complete denial.  Deep breaths, come on you can do it, COME ON JUST ONE MORE MINUTE.  
I think 10 mins is long enough for my first ice bath and I felt really good for it afterwards.......in fact quite hypo.......
all in all a good day and a good run!!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ups and downs of a pre marathon week

I have to say I am not liking this taper lark!!  I have got into a routine of training hard, eating what I wanted when I wanted.  I like training hard it gives me self discipline makes me feel good and gets me out of the house.
  I looked at my schedule..........mmmmm 3 miles, is that it.  Ok so its only 3 miles so I'm gonna hit it hard, I am going to run so hard that I will make myself sick.  So thats what I did, first 2 miles were 7 minutes each then once I realise that I am actually running that fast I jinx myself and slow down but hey who am I kidding I cant sustain a pace that fast for long. Jinx my arse!!!! So 3 miles in 25.32.  Good result feeling pretty smug!!! Bring on the marathon......................

Bad throat, sleepless night, feeling bit yuck??? I know I'll be fine Ive felt like this during training before.  I just keep on running and it disappears.   So I go again, easy 3 miles.........Bad move.  I slowly get worse during the remainder of the day.  My chest is on fire and I have a niggling dry cough.  I sat on the sofa, vick smeared all over my chest, my nose running, lemsip in one hand and I start to cry.  Cry in despair that after everything I have fought through in the last year, all the training, will be to no avail.  Its here I have to mention the support of my hubsand and my new internet family, the tweat to the beat gang.  Their words of support helped me through a moment of self doubt. 

I managed to get a good nights sleep (valarian tea-bags are the bizz) and after sitting with my head in a bowl of hot water and vicks my chest has started to loosen.  As I sit here, I think there is nothing on this earth that is going to stop me running that marathon and so what if I am a little run down, pain is only temporary but achievement will stay with you forever.  Armed with manuka honey, echinacea, covonia, my chest is started to loosen, no more tight chest..............and a more postive attitude.  I cant say its helped with the whole crying marlarky...........the slightest remark about the marathon brings tears to my eyes.  My sons told me proudly that they would make me a banner and to their amazement I started crying.   I am not sure why I am crying, its not sadness, what is that all about??

So tomorrow is Sunday, just 7 days to go....... and you know what I will be out doing my run, 10 miles.  You might think noooooooo Michelle dont do it.......... but I have to, this taper lark is playing havoc on my mind and I need to run.  Now I have loosened my chest, running will help me get rid of it.
There is one thing that I am very determined about and that is staying postive.  I have come a really long way and nothing is going to stop me.  I might be crying at the 'M' word but I am going to run it and I am not allowing any negative thoughts to worm their way into my head!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

shapwick bunny hop 2010

I had only heard about this race on Wedensday and turned up to be greeted by 30 very friendly runners.  I had worn my Brighton marathon training shirt and within minutes I had met 3 ladies who were running to.  We set of to the starting line and before I knew it we were off.  Sheep scattered everywhere as we set off and within a minute we had stopped again.......there was queue of people trying to get over the gates.  This carried on for the first mile, stop, start, stop, start.  It was really muddy and wet and slipperly and I had to laugh at the women pussy footing around the puddles, me, I just bulldozed my way through and took on the mission of getting everyone else muddy too!! Once we got going I checked my garmin, 8.30 minute miles!! Wow that was impressive especially considering the ground we were on, I was on fire.  I thought to myself, I have special gin powers, ( I gave in and had a gin and tonic last night) and made a mental note to drink more gin!
I kept the pace up and soon we were running down the long 2 mile stretch of Shapwick nature reserve.  This stretch is very bleak, no shelter and the driving wind catches you unaware and that when the downpour started it cut into the very being of your soul.  But then I remembered I had special gin powers and I kept going.  The sun started to shine and then I saw the most weirdest, beautiful rainbow.  Instead of curving over it was lying parallel to the field, mental note number 2, go dig some holes in the field and look for pots of gold. 
At the end of the nature reserve there stood a lonesome marshall and he had a massive tub of wait for it.......chocolate mini eggs!!! In my hurry to grab some I missed and as I went back the young lady I had kept at bay overtook me.  I took off after her and realised that you really shouldnt try and eat mini chocolate eggs whilst running especially at race pace.  We were directed off road again in a really muddy lane, each marshall was warning of how bad it was getting.  Now I've never been in a race where I have thought that "geez my training is really paying off " until that point.  I felt strong, we were coming up to 5 miles, thats how long it normally takes me to settle doen into a good rythmn and then it happened it just clicked.  I overtook so called young lady who had overtaken me and quite a few others.  I was aware I was coming up to the 10k mark, checked the time and it was 55 mins, thats 2 mins faster than my PB and it was x country.
The last mile was horrendeous, deep ruts, hilly, puddles you could swim in and I have to say I quite fancied throwing myself into one of those puddles.  The marshall was impressed with my puddle running and took lots of pictures as I ran through screaming I love getting dirty ( oooo errr missus). The guys in front were walking but I didnt, up the slipperly hill I went.  "you look too fresh " shouted a marshall " you must have walked" to which I responded "no way, not like those 2 guys up front" who then suddenly miraclously started running again.  They were a friendly bunch and as I overtook them they were shouting " go Brighton, go, go, go".  I could still hear them shouting as I crossed the finish line. 
The guys I had overtaken invited me to their running club, that was 3 different invites from 3 different running clubs in one day, not bad. 
My time was 1.10.20 thats 7.55 miles, thats not the official time, but my garmin auto pauses especially when queuing to get over gates, so expect my official time to be more. 
The club had laid on a fantastic buffet of cake, hot cross buns and sandwhiches, what a glorious touch.  I throughly enjoyed this race and the whole community spirit and only came in 3 mins behind the leading lady.  I am converted, I will do more cross country, the muddier the better.