Sunday, 26 August 2012

Is it all in the mind?

In the absence of anyone I respect telling me that I shouldn't run the Abingdon marathon I have very little option but to carry on training!  When I have spoken to my physiotherapist she has said 'Oh, why don't you just take it easy and see how you feel on the day?'  Hello!  26.2 miles would be pretty foolish to attempt on a 'take it easy' training regime!

So today came the first BIG ONE.  The day when I would run further than I had ever run before.  Last Sunday should have seen me running 14 miles, but I wimped out because my foot had been quite 'ouchy' all week, so I only ran 8.5 miles.  Today's run was 15 miles.  That is 1.5 miles further than I had ever run before.

I'd been dreading this run all week.  Despite having run 19.5 miles, including a speed session, and rowing twice over the course of the week I was worried.  FIFTEEN MILES!  That's a long way!  Not as long as a marathon, but it is the sort of distance that you'd get the car out of the garage for.  Could I do it?  I wasn't sure.  I really wasn't sure.  I almost didn't want to set out because if I didn't try there was no chance of me failing.

This morning I procrastinated.  I didn't get up until 7.30am, and then I spent as long as was humanly possible getting myself organised.  I didn't leave the house until 8.40am, at which point I began to regret all the faffing about and worry about the bright sunshine and wondering how hot it would get!  The route I had chosen to run was a mish mash of two of my regular routes, with the incentive of finishing at Côte.   There was also the opportunity to stop at Alice Holt Forest  to use the loos and replenish my water bottle.

From the outset, it was hard work.  I think I had convinced myself that this was a 'big thing' to do and that I was going to fail, I kept pushing on, running up and up loads of hills (my Garmin gives a total ascent of 960m) and down a few too.  I was slow, but not too worried about that as my aim was just to get to Côte and have a nice cup of tea and some brunch with Husbando, but I did start to worry that I'd get there too late and we'd have to have lunch because they had stopped serving breakfast.

I haven't found a run that hard for ages.  If ever.  I tried to tell myself that I must have found the first few runs I ever did hard work too, but another part of my brain kept telling me that I did Couch to 5k I stopped and walked a lot in the first few weeks.  The temptation to walk was huge, but I only walked on one short bit of rough ground - the last thing I needed to do was twist my bad foot again!

I did run 15 miles this morning, but it has left me wondering if I will be able to run the full marathon.  My training programme calls for an easy week this week (with a long run of only 10km!) building up to an 18mile run the Sunday afterwards.  After that there is the challenge of 22 miles three weeks prior to THE BIG DAY.

I guess if it was easy more people would do this.  Mind you, 30,000 people seem to manage it at the London Marathon every year, and I am only half way through the training programme right now, so I may, hopefully, begin to develop a bit more confidence over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Can I hit rewind please?

I thought that my foot was almost completely better.  I have been diligently doing all my physio exercises, building up the mileage and not worrying too much about the fact that my running was far from speedy.  Yes it ached when I ran, but not in a 'stop what you are doing now and find some painkillers and an ice pack' type of way.  

On Sunday I ran 13.2 miles, it was hard work, but I did it, even if I did choose to walk across the uneven ground at the edge of the forest.  Again, it wasn't a fast run, but I'd have finished a half marathon in just under 2 hours.  I was feeling fairly confident that I could clock a good time in a race over flat ground with the adrenalin burst that you get in a race. 

Monday was a rest day.  I went up to London with a friend for a bit of shopping.  We had a lot of fun.  I didn't walk far.  Every so often my foot hurt.  I tried to carry on walking normally, but was aware that I was limping ever so slightly.  On Tuesday I took the decision not to go for a run.  I find it quite stressful to 'skip' a training session when I am following a programme, but decided that sitting with my foot up and wrapped in ice was probably a better plan.  I consoled myself with a bit of online shopping for running stuff; new shorts, water bottles and belt thing, compression socks....  

Today I took the children to Legoland.  A fair bit of walking, a bit more pain.  Somehow I still thought that I could go for a run.  I was scheduled to run 6 miles tonight.  I set out with good intentions.  It hurt. I curtailed my run on the road, and ran 2 miles to my gym, thinking that running on the treadmill would be easier than the road.  The 2 miles were slow and not very comfortable.  I got to the gym, took 2 strides on the treadmill and realised that I couldn't run another step.  

My foot and calf hurt, and they hurt a lot.  I am limping when walking, finding stairs a challenge, so running seems like a really silly idea.  I guess I'll have to be sensible and stop running for a while.  

I am not sure how this will affect my chances of running the Abingdon Marathon.  I really want to do it, but it is only ten and a half weeks away, and if I take a break now I am not sure that I'll be able to get enough training done.  26.2 miles is a very long way to run, the furthest I've ever run before is 13.5 miles.  Running that sort of distance without training properly would probably put me out of action for weeks!  

So here I am, back on the sofa, ice pack on foot and feeling sorry for myself!  Wishing I could turn back time to the day before I fell over in the first place.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

How odd...

Saturday is parkrun day, and having not pulled on my running shoes since Monday after a slight mishap during my trail run (I went over on my poorly ankle/foot) there really was nothing for it but to dig out the running gear and head on over to Basingstoke.  The weather was grim, I got drenched as I dashed out of the car to drop off my youngest boy at a friend's house for a birthday trip to Chessington, and with three non running children left in the car I did begin to question my sanity.  The children were hardly going to enjoy playing on the swings in a monsoon!

I don't mind running in the rain, but I do hate standing around waiting in the rain!  Still, stand around in the rain is exactly what we did.  I wasn't sure how I would approach this run.  As I said earlier, I've lost my confidence in my ability to run.  I've done the distances I've wanted to in my training run, but I've often stopped to walk, answer my phone or adjust headphones etc.  Last week's parkrun saw me stop and walk on the downhill bit of the Crabtree course!

Approaching the start I was so busy chatting that I nearly missed the starting whistle! I started fairly near the back as a consequence, and spent the first couple of hundred metres weaving through the crowds.  This meant that I didn't do my usual trick of trying to keep up with the fast boys!  After a while I caught up with a couple of people I knew and settled into a nice rhythm where we could run and chat, and chat and run.  The infamous 'Tennis Court Hill' (a long slope rather than a hill really) was much easier taken at a nice steady pace rather that approached too fast at a speed impossible for me to maintain!

We weren't going to break any records, but two of us were recovering from injury and one hadn't run for a couple of months.  My goal was to run the whole way without slowing down to a walk, and I am pleased to say I did it!  My time was slow, 27:21, which is just under 9 minute mile pace, and a post-injury parkrun PB.

The 'How odd...' of the title to this blog refers to the change since I was at school.  I would beg for a note to get me 'off games!'  I'd almost have been glad of a foot injury like the one I've had to give me the best part of a term, because you know I'd have strung it out for as long as possible, off the dreaded PE lessons!  Now I am chomping at the bit to get out and get training seriously again.  Angry with myself for falling over in the first place and reading up on specialist support bandages for runners with dodgy feet and ankles!