Monday, 18 April 2011

What A Way To RUN LDN! #MyVLM 2011

I guess in truth this story started over a year ago; when I first started training for the London Marathon. Back then I was doing everything right in terms of training and I never expected that I wouldn't make it, then wallop! From nowhere (well maybe from somewhere...) I was out with injury - 'over training' they call it! Hello, there a marathon fast approaching?! So the 2010 dream was shattered, but I did go on to run 10 half marathons instead and became to love that distance.

My VLM spot was deferred to 2011 and my training well it should have just continued from 2010, but injury in my eleventh half marathon (should have stuck to 10, I know) took longer than expected to bounce back from and stresses in life meant running took a back burner. I wasn't planning to run this year and wondered how I would tell my chatity that. I didn't do any fundraising beforehand as I hadn't put in the training I thought I needed to complete. Furthermore I was actually really worried about doing all of the training as it had lead to injury before and, well I've just had enough of injury! I did go to the VLM Expo though and I got the buzz... Some strange bloke managed to convince me that if I've run 10 half marathons in the last year the marathon would be no problem... Ahem....

Anyway, onto the day itself, the atmosphere was great, everyone was really friendly, such a sense of camaraderie; we were all in it together, run, walk or crawl we were all determined to get to the finish for whatever personal reasons we had. My plan, if you can say I had one, was to run/walk as much as I could and walk all the up hill sections, so not to put too much pressure on my poor untrained muscles! The first half went really well; I ran more than I walk (habit), but I did run really slowly and walked whenever I saw a hill. The first half felt amazingly long! The fact that I was counting to 26 and not 13 was seriously scary and I questioned my sanity many times. Getting to the halfway point was bliss and I smiled! Just need to do it all over again now... *sigh*

After 16 miles my ankle wasn't really having any more of it. Running became painful and I walked a lot more. Then I cut the running to just when I hit a mile marker to see how it felt, not good, not good at all. Remembering the ligament injury I had a year ago, I figured walking and smiling (and giving the 'royal wave'), was my best bet! I met up with another runner, Amanda, (Love you Amanda! Mwah!) who was walking at my pace and we kept each other company and chatted for the remaining miles. It amazing what you can learn about a person in 10.2 miles! This last ten miles was the best part, we laughed and joked, waved at our adoring fans, danced to the bands and DJs that played on the sidelines and kept each other going. 

I told my best friend when I was at the start line that I was running - she wasn't impressed she wanted to come, I told my over friends that evening and my sister was again annoyed I hadn't shared the big day out! To be honest I wasn't sure up until the point I had my medal in my hand that I would make it, and I figured the less people knew the less I'd disappoint. Luckily there was no disappointment, just and wonderfully happy, wonderfully proud and wonderfully sore me! I will be buying the ridiculously expensive official photographs and framing them alongside my medal and I will be entering the ballot for next year; it's the day after and the pain has faded slightly and like a mother with 20 kids, it's the end result that counts and not the pain you go through to achieve it...

Best moments of the day:
  • Man with a sign "You've been running through my mind all day..."
  • Crowd singing "Sweets for my sweet, Sugar for my honey" to me, yes me!
  • Talking to the two rhino's, the horse and the guy with the washing machine on his back...
  • Dancing to the bands as we walked around
  • Getting my finishers MEDAL!!!

What an amazing day, roll on next year! Pain is temporary the memories, and the medal, will last forever!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Saucony 10k TCR

First race of the year completed! Didn't feel enthusiastic going into it - prob cos it was a dull, grey and drizzly day. But glad I got out there and got it over with! Dad was with me this morning, taking lots of photos and video footage as always - its a good thing I usually smile when I run!

They changed the route this year - it was just two laps instead of last years three, which was much better. The organisation was a little better as well; the pen was marked out with finish times for placing. Unfortunately there weren't a large number of runners there to make if worth it; people did go towards the right starting places, but it made the pen seem very sparce! I got part way there and realised I may as well hang back in the 40-45 mins part and just tag onto the back, it would sort itself out once we started running!

Going round I felt very comfortable with the route, being that I had had to run around it three times last year! I'm not sure where it changed exactly, but I think they just elongated a section to make each lap 5k and save us running around three times! The change was much appreciated! I didn't have a time in mind going in; this was my first race of the year and my training so far has been pretty non-existent! I just really wanted to get below 60mins, so that I had a good starting point to get my training off the ground. I knew the best way for me to stay focused was to pick someone out from the crowd who was running just above my pace and try to keep up with them; most of the time its not that I can't run faster if I tried, but just that I have nothing to compete against! Anyway I found a lady who was just ahead of me, that I would need to step up a gear to match so I ran against her, using the, few and far between, down hills to get past her and trying hard to keep my pace up on the many inclines. It was very much a battle during the first lap, but bewteen 4-5km she rushed past me and that just tickled my competitive streak! I got ahead and kept on ahead of her until I lost her then I stopped looking back and just imagined she was right on my heels to push me even further. As the last 2km hit I stepped it up a little bot more just to keep a good pace really; this is the bit where I normally start to flag and I didn't want to do that today. There where two men ahead of me and I decided to overtake them as well and started another little battle with a guy hot on my heels! As we round ed the last corner though I sprinted off to the finish and didn't see him until he came up behind me after the race to say well done! Oh, and let me know he had a little niggle in his calf, which is why I was able to overtake him! Men!

All in all it was a good race and a good day out at TCR; I do love that event! Its good to be back in the saddle for 2011, I really do need to get my race schedule and training sorted. I am very mindful of London Marathon coming up, but nervous of the training too. Not because I'm a stranger to hard work, but because I was injured the last time I trained for London. I want to be smart about it this year, but I'm worried I'll either push myself too hard or not enough - its such a delicate balance. I've got a couple of halves planned, so I'll see how I get on and work it out from there...