Tuesday, April 23, 2013

London marathon

So my journey to London started at 4 am Sat morning when I left the house to catch a train to London it was a rather emotional train ride the events of the last week starting to take its toll. I held it together.... Just.
 I arrived in Farningham home of Leeky lee by 10.30 and had a nice brunch and a few games with me ole mucker Fletch.  
We arrived at the expo to pick up our numbers and had a wander around. I  bought some new compression calf guards and blagged a cheap visor and free water body.  The guy we dealt with was Chrissie Wellingtons cousin so I asked him to marry me... He declined(the cheek). The expo was huge and I was starting to understand the full scale of London marathon.  We met Cath (so good to catch up) and a few others for pasta party then we headed back to lord Leek's pad for wine. ( wine I hear you say... Yes I blame that Mrs Bedders such a bad influence) Not wanting to let down the poppyfield challenge down Lee and I did 30 mins yoga. ( no comment on tight pants here either) I was so tired it was such a long day and about 12.30 I managed to get some sleep. (Its here I wont mention the air bed incident....) What happens on tour stays on tour!!!!!
I didn't sleep very well and even though alarm was set for 7 I woke up at 4. It's funny when you sleep at other peoples houses and you try and be really quiet. By the time 7 am arrived I shouted for Lee to get up.
The usual, eating, bumbling around making sure everything is ready, lots toilet visits but we left  at 8.15 ish.

I cried the whole journey couldn't stop myself never normally cry before a race.  We parked up and started the mile walk to the start. Lee left for the red start and I dumped my case and got in the ladies urinal queue.  Now nothing can prepare you for a ladies urinal. You picked up your cardboard wee she and inside there was lots mini urinals. As I turned the corner I was met with lots of ladies bums sticking out. It was a bizarre sight and a source of amusement and laughter for all. But the queues went down really quick and it worked. I decided to jump pens, I didn't want to start at the back so I ended up in pen 5 instead of 8 and had my sights on the 3.45 pacer.

We had 30 seconds silence... Not going to even voice my opinion on that!!! The race started and I was surprised  I  crossed the start line quite quickly. 
The first 3 miles was a nightmare, so many people , very congested and as normal I took at fall at about 3 miles. We turned a corner and I was unaware of the humps and went down after losing my footing and managed to take down a few runners with me luckily no one was hurt and the magical thing was that these arms just came out of nowhere and scooped us up and almost lifted me off the ground until I found my feet.  Such a strange feeling. About a mile previous to that I had rolled my ankle but I managed to get through that as well. We ran through a tunnel quite early where they were playing drums, the acoustics were AMAZING and my whole body tingled with excitement.  

So many people had said they would be in certain places but I knew Mell would be near mile 12. I managed to text her and find out what side she would be on.  I saw her as I went past so did went back for a quick hug.... That hug must have lasted a good 10 mins as I'm sure I could have got 3.45(joking)
That hug gave me a lift and carried on.  At  16 miles I started to feel that my wheels were going to get a little wonky so I risked taking a GU gel.... Small little sips and no reaction.  In my head I needed to get to 20 miles and the miles 16 to 20 were probably the hardest and I often found myself welling up. I kept saying in my head that this was for Ian and it kept me going.  Once I got to 20 miles I  got a second wind .The crowds increased and so did the support there was just a constant roar. 
Lots people have started to walk by then and you had to keep running around them. I risked another GU gel at mile 22 but I didn't really need it so I ended up throwing most of it away I knew that MJ was at mile 24 with Union Jack and as I came out the tunnel I scanned the crowd but couldn't see... I did hear lots/shouting and turned back to see them all... Gutted I was on wrong side. It seemed like I was constantly running past people and when I checked the stats I ran a very constant pace. 

The crowd just got louder and louder... Nothing can prepare you for it and the last 3 miles seemed to fly by.

I saw the 800 m to go sign and knew I was near the end.... That was the long 800 m.... I knew could make a sub 4 and pushed it to the line.  I had done it sub 4... I didn't feel to bad... Legs coped, no burning, it was all good. It was at this time I wanted to burst into tears but I couldn't until I found someone I knew. When Lee turned up at the meeting point it was time for hugs and  tears.

We couldn't find the others so we went for a pint. We got searched before we could enter bar which kinda felt bit insulting she went right through my suitcase.... I told her that she might find some sweaty clothes.  I never tasted a glass of wine that seemed like heaven's nectar itself. 

Time to board the train and make the journey home. Late trains meant missing connecting trains and ended up spending a lot of time sitting around when all I wanted to do was be at home in my bed.

A great weekend meeting old friends and finally meeting with Lee who was the perfect host and gentleman.  He is such a good friend and he helped make my first London marathon experience something I will never forget.
So 4 hours sleep and a bottle of wine didn't deter me from my Pb. Successful nutrition test without any problems and I discovered coconut  and chia seeds gel is quite possibly the best pre race nutrition you can get. What a buzz!!!!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Taunton half marathon

Another half you say...... you bet ya bottom dollar......entering a race that you cycle to before running is, in my book, a great ironman training incentive.  We missed out on cycling to Yeovil previously because of this rubbish weather.  I had organised to cycle in with Cookie, just like old times, but he was late and after 10 minutes of waiting I decided to go on.  There goes my free air!!!!! I've never actually cycled to Taunton and I saw it as a little adventure.  The ride in was actually quite undulating!!!!

I arrived in Taunton,25 miles later, feeling quite good and ready to race.  I had thought the race was starting at 10 and that's why I made the decision to leave without waiting for Cookie BUT it started at 10.30.... DOH!!!!! I went to put my bag away and for some strange reason decided I needed to know where my keys were.  I couldn't find them and frantically throwing the contents of my bag all over the place.  I knew I wouldn't be able to race unless I found them so back tracked and luckily I had left them at the information desk.   Phew now I could relax.

When you race regularly you recognise the same old faces and it was good to see so many people so I spent  a while catching up until the race started.  Now people always ask if you have a time in mind, I did, I wanted to get a sub 1.50.  If I had driven I would have said a sub 1.45.

So we were off, the wind was not our friend today and I feel most of the race was ran running into that cold wind. As usual I didn't really warm up until mile 7 .  I started near the front and slowly I was overtaken constantly whereas at Yeovil we started at the back and we worked our way through the rabble.  Mentally I think starting at the back is a better option. When I got to mile 12 I started to regret that I had cycled in.  I was getting tired, I tried a GU gel at mile 8 but one mouth full I felt my stomach cramping. I have learnt to take little amounts of something and wait 10 mins to see if I would react. I did start to react so binned the idea of a gel which is much better than shitting yourself or getting heart palpitations half way through a race.  This does of course bring worries of nutrition for ironman that I need to address.

The wind on the last mile was horrid...... I was so glad I was doing the half as I had flashback memories from last year where you pass the finish line and know you have to go around the second time for the marathon. Soul destroying!!!!

So across the line in 1.49.26.  I got the time I wanted and was happy with that.  I just checked the stats and I was 17th in my age group out of 71 and 84th women in out of 389.  I am well chuffed with that, there was 1000 runners and the fact I cycled there to!!!!! KAPOW!!!!!!!

After refuelling with coffee, chips and a burger I made the decision to head back.  Cookie did give me the opportunity to get a lift home but I was going to see it through.  The ride home was so emotional the head wind was a nightmare.  I knew I had ran a half marathon when I hit the hills.  Half way home and every time I passed a pub I was so tempted to throw a paddy, dump the bike in the nearest ditch and head to the bar.  In fact by the time I got home I was shattered.  On reflection if they had been no headwind I probably would have enjoyed the ride home.  Bad arse Blackmore  was on the edge to quite possibly being broken but not quite!!!!


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bunny hop and Team Tri UK

Easter Monday I ran the Shapwick Bunny Hop for the 3rd year running and was probably the last race this year ran as a Shapwick runner ( I'll be joining Wells City Harriers) and also my last race as as just a Mendip Triathlete because now I will be competing as part of Team Tri UK.  I will still of course be a very big part of Mendip Triathlon Club and I will be the club's representative in Tri UK team.   This happened unexpectedly and I was quite shocked and surprised that I received an invitation to join the team after sending them by sports CV.

I like the thought of being in part of a team put together by one of the biggest triathlon stores in the UK.  I like the idea of support, sponsorship and being in a national recognised team.  I have been trying to get myself sponsored by companies for a while  and this is a great step up for me.  When I got my chervello it increased my bike speed for 3 reasons
1) The bad boy is built for speed and is really light
2) I had a bike fit ensuring that my position on the bike was perfect for maximising power
3) But most importantly, you can't just rock up to a race on a bike like the bad boy with deep rim carbon wheels and be an average rider...... You need to be good. The bad boy demands a certain type of rider and it isn't slow. People expect me to be good and it gives me some much motivation you wouldn't believe.  This is how I feel about being part of Team Tri UK.  I now have a reputation to live up too and where I lack talent I make up for it in sheer determination, motivation and hard work.

Anyway back to the Bunny Hop....... it was good to see a show of Mendip triathletes in the field. It was a cold race this year, last year we were all wearing tshirts and showing off tan lines. 57 runners started off across the fields, Vicky, Tom and Paul were way ahead of the game. I just settled into my pace and watched them trail off into the distance. As we got closer to the nature reserve I was making ground on Vicky and Tom which was an unexpected bonus. Something must be wrong!  I was really making the distance up and I couldn't work out why as they are both very strong runners. So I passed them, the wind was behind me and I was feeling comfortable. I didn't think for one minute that I would stay in front of them so I thought I would enjoy it whilst it lasted.  When we hit the wood and the ground became uneven I heard a jangling behind me and knew it was Tom with my keys.  Tom and Vicky went shooting past me and I just couldn't keep up.  I tried believe me but I was starting to lose it.  That last mile was so long, hilly and on hard uneven tractor ruts and I watched Vicky fade into the distance.

Finally the end was in sight, no sprint finish for me I just didn't have it in me.  I did however improve on my course time.  Every year I've got quicker and one day I might break the hour.
It was great to race with friends and I liked the way Vicky and I played top trumps with our mile splits at the end.  Its always good to race with friends faster than you helps you pick up your game.

Great cheap little race that is famous for its cakes and afternoon tea.  I'll be back next year ;-)