Monday, 16 November 2015

6 days to go!

Well I'm really in countdown mode now.  It's Monday and my first half marathon is this week - this Sunday!   Excited and terrified all at the same time.

This weekend Michelle and I had planned a 10km run on Sunday morning when disaster struck! Michelle has injured her back.  I'm so gutted for her, as she's so desperate to do this for me after training together all the way.  I don't want her to feel bad at all but I do feel so sorry for her.  She is under strict orders to rest.  There is a tiny chance she may feel better enough to run next Sunday, but I'm carrying on this week on the belief that I am going to have to do this alone. (Sob sob sob!)

Although that does make me panic slightly, I am not as panicked as I thought or might have been, because... I went out yesterday, on my own, without Michelle and ran that planned 10kms.... and I did it!  And I know I could have kept going.   I did it all alone. No music, no running buddy. I just ran!

That in itself is a massive massive achievement for me.  Some weeks I can't run a 5k on my own. Even a few months ago I couldn't finish a 10km run without some walking.  Seriously.  For me to get over all my mental demons and keep going was amazing.  I felt epic afterwards, even though i wasn't even very fast, my target was just to do it. Without walking. On my own. Result.

It was so windy, but a decent day - no rain, not too warm and not too cold.  I managed to find a good flat out and back route.  Since running these longer runs I've started to really enjoy out and back routes - i like the physical marker of turning around and running back towards home, knowing that the miles left to run are getting shorter with each step.

I ran from my house, up into town, through the parkrun park and was passing 5kms and ready to turn back before I realised it!  I won't lie, i did have my usual negative thoughts for quite a few stretches of that first 5kms but I just kept using all the mental tricks Michelle has taught me.  I would focus on being positive, slow right down when I started to get out of breath and panic, break down the route into chunks in my head.  Then play little games like, I won't look at my tracker on the phone until after that traffic light etc, to stop me getting down-heartened about my pace or miles to go every 5 minutes. I tried to focus on everything around me, and enjoy seeing the city, peering into windows, smiling at parents walking in the park, saying hello to other runners.

I actually ended up doing 10.5kms to get home.  It took me 1 hour 12 minutes.

And then I had a little epiphany.  I'd spoken to a few people about the half marathon and many of them were surprised I wasn't fundraising.  I had said I wouldn't, partly because I didn't want to tell lots of people I was doing this challenge, in the fear that once I started to tell people there was more pressure and more chance of things going wrong or me failing (oh the silly mind games we play!).  But I realised that there is a very very low chance that I will ever do this again, and a few of my friends, on being told I was doing this wanted to support me and asked if I could choose a charity to get sponsorship for.

So I've caved - I've set up a justgiving page for a small charity that works in South Africa that i have been closely linked to for 15 years.   Here is a link.
I don't want to set a target to raise lots of dosh, but any donations will help keep me mentally focused on the day.  (Especially if I do have to run without Michelle! Sob sob sob!)

So what for the week ahead?  Not a lot, as I know I need to rest to ensure my hip and bum muscles don't get too sore ahead of the long long run on Sunday!  I'll have a little 20 minute run tomorrow and the same again on Thursday, and I'm planning lots of lovely food for before and after.  He he he!

In 6 days time it will all be over!

Monday, 9 November 2015

The day after long run day...

Oh my goodness I'm useless today.  I actually want to lie down on the sofa and cry because I'm so mentally and physically exhausted.    Yesterday I ran the furthest I've ever run in my life.  11 and a tiny bit miles!

And the weirdest thing... is that I could have kept going! And actually I'm not in pain or too stiff... so my body is stronger than I thought and has really grown in fitness with all the training I've done. I can see and feel huge differences... and yet still, I'm now 1 week and 6 days away from my first half marathon and I feel like I want to pull out!  I'm dreading it!

My mind is always my biggest problem when I run... as you can see from this summary of yesterday's run...

Woke up, having been looking forward to long run day all week, I woke up terrified and wondered if I could come up with an excuse to get me out of it.... Obviously not, so I went and met my lovely running coach/buddy Michelle, and hoped that she would be injured or ill and want to stop!

We started, I felt great, (we ran downhill for the first kilometre! that always helps).   I tried really hard to slow right down as my biggest downfall on other long runs is going way too fast at the beginning.

It was all going fine but I was struggling with breath due to going off a bit fast.  Got to about 2.5/3 miles and decided I hated running.  My mind was all over the place thinking of ways to stop the run.  Could I trip myself up so we had to stop and limp home?  I started to feel sick! Sick! I've never had exercise induced nausea before!  I can't run while I feel sick.  I could never run 11 miles. I can't even finish 3!  Look at all these other fast runners coming past me looking all smiley and fit.  I bloody hate running.

45 minutes in, time for a drink and an energy gel.  Thank god we got to walk for 2-3 minutes ... maybe we should just keep walking, walking is nice... start running again, slow slow slow.  oh my god we're going up a hill. I can't run up hills. I hate hills. Why did we stop?  I can't get my head going again, I had just got over my mile 3 nausea panic!!

1 hour... ah the gel is kicking in.... I'm starting to find my stride, I'm actually enjoying this.  Why did it take an hour of hell to get here?   Bloody hell another hill ,,, I think I may die. Oh dear that disgusting gel has made me feel nauseas again.  I can't breath, maybe I'm having a panic attack? Am I actually going to be sick?  Have we even run 5 miles yet?  I hate running.

And on and on like that, while the wonderful Michelle just kept chatting to me, all sorts of random rubbish to keep distracting me and keep me going.... she is an angel!

6 miles!  Hooray, we only have 5 miles to go, I've already done 6.... 5 is nothing!  We have turned around and we're on our way home now....

... and suddenly we're 7.5 miles and I'm ok! I'm OK! I'm doing this.  I've found my stride, we're having lovely random chats! Everyone is smiling at us.... look at those other runners - i'm just as good as them!  (Well, maybe not as good as the man with the Ironman Austria t shirt whose calves look like bronze statues of greek gods!) Ok so my legs feel like lead and my hip is as stiff and sore as anything but I'm in the zone and my legs are just going. I love this! I could run forever

Then ... Stop for another little walk to have another gel and a drink.... oh no. Can't get going again.  But only 3.5 miles to go... just a bit more than a park run... how hard can that be?  But I can't....

I have about a mile of decent running before I think my legs may just be glued to the ground, and then need another little walk and a talking too.  It's ok says Michelle.  Isn't it better to have 1 minute of walking and then go on to finish 11 miles rather than just give up at 8 or 9 miles?

Don't know how... but we got going again!

Then we had to run over two hump back bridges... HILARIOUS! The steep humps really really hurt my hip so I had to walk up the bridges and the steep down side really hurt Michelle's calves so she had to walk down them.... while we're both moaning and complaining like a couple of old grannies!

And then at almost 10 miles the most hilarious thing.... we run past Costa and Michelle says, ooooh I could murder a hot chocolate. And I said... I have a tenner in my pocket!  Let's do it!  So we agree to run up the road for 1/2 mile and then run back to costa and we'll be at 11miles and we can have a hot chocolate!!!! That thought is like rocket fuel.... fastest mile ever! And I feel great!  And actually, once we got up to 10.5miles we talked ourselves out of the Costa!  Because we realised that if we ran back there, we'd then have to walk or run another Kilometre back to Michelle's house and my car after our treat!!!! So we just kept going and ran home instead, which was just as rewarding (and cheaper, and without having to sit in Costa RED AND SWEATY and scaring small children!!!! lol).

And although I was stiff and my hip was complaining and I was shuffling and going sooooooo slowly really... when Michelle said, ok, stop, 11 miles.....

I felt like I could have kept going... so I did! Well, not really, maybe another 0.2 of a mile just to get myself back to my park bench where I like to stretch.  So I ran over 11 miles.  Ta dahhhh!


So, in spite of all my moaning and moaning. It was a great run.  And I felt epic.....

And then.....

I got home, still feeling nauseas, and tired and thirsty and hungry.
Quick cold bath (whose stupid idea was that?!?!?!) then a Long hot bath, banana, chocolate milk.  Wonderful.

Was pretty useless the rest of the day though.  Very stiff and sore, very very tired and nauseas all day.

Today I'm fine. It's a bit ouchie walking up and down stairs but nothing serious on the pain front.  My mind is more shattered than anything.  I just can't concentrate on work. I want a nap.

1 week 6 days.....

Sunday, 8 November 2015

It's long run day!

Just getting ready to go and do my last long run before the race. My first half marathon is two weeks today!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Short and sweet! Run report 3rd November

This will be short and sweet as I have a tonne of work to do!

Haven't managed to run for a week due to half term and being away but thankfully managed to get out with the lovely ladies at Chelmer Roadrunners (Tuesday group) this morning.

A lovely, slightly damp but crisp Autumn morning, perfect running conditions. Not too cold, not too hot.  Lovely.  We ran a new route around Galleywood, slightly hilly which was tough, but kept up a decent pace (averaged 7mins per km) and managed to run 7kms, partly because we weren't sure where we were going!

The only annoyance is that my hip started to ache again for the last kilometre.  To be fair I have not done my physio exercises for 5 days now either due to being away over half term.  And over the weekend I walked miles and had started to notice my hip aching at the end of a long day of walking around a foreign city (coupled with sleeping on a hard uncomfortable sofa bed at a friends house!).   Going to work v hard on my exercises this week and next.  Seeing my physio man again next Monday for the last time pre race.

Loved it again today, and it's made me excited about my next (and last pre race) long run which will be on Friday.

Oh yes, and I got home from my travels last night to my race number!  My race number and info for my first ever half marathon has arrived and it is all real now.  Gulp!  2 weeks 5 days!