Monday, 15 April 2013

Bungay Half Marathon

On Sunday, I did my last big run pre-marathon, a 13-miler I'd signed up for a while ago. I figured it would do me good to have one last run through of my kit, my eating preps, my stretching etc. I'd heard it was hilly, but I've been quite enjoying climbs at the moment, it suits my slow plodding pace, and more importantly it doesn't hurt my knees like the downhills do. It gives you something to focus on, and kills a mile pretty quickly. It was a beautiful day, and I have to admit I was feeling a little cocky waiting at the start - after all a couple of weeks ago I'd breezed around 13 miles in less than 2 hours. This was just a formality before I picked up my medal and headed home. WRONG. It was absolutely killer. The first 6 miles were steep climb after steep climb, made even harder by dodging all the cheaters walkers that kept stopping dead in my path (seriously guys, the first hill?! you're not even sweating!). By mile 6 I was the hottest I can remember being in a long time, and completely out of water. That's when I realised that this run was going to suck pretty hard. But hey ho, I'm not in it to win it, I just had to finish. I sucked up my pride and stopped (!!!!!) to fill up my water bottle. I hated doing it, but it needed to be done. I saw so many other people dropping with cramp from dehydration, that it was worth the hit on my time. The last 3 miles or so were along winding country roads - extra boring, nothing to look at, no spectators, and no shade. I think the only thing that kept me going was my refusal to be beaten by the 50 yr old that had been grunting at my right shoulder since the last water station. I even managed to sprint (ok run a bit faster) for the last 0.5. And then I got some free crisps, a banana, and nice little lie down in a field. Oh and my medal. It was about 10 minutes later I discovered the extra large blister on my foot, and the sunburn on my shoulders, back and thighs. Yes thighs, its not like they see daylight that often. Incidentally I came 354 out 442, completing in 2hrs 17, or 10:32 minute miles. Whilst I was aiming for closer to 2 hrs, that's not so bad - bang on what I need to achieve for my marathon pace, and would see me finishing within my goal of 4 hrs 30. I'll take that.

So what did I learn from this:

  1. Wear suncream. Ginger runners melt in hot weather
  2. Its ok to stop if you really have to
  3. I look terrible when running. What kind of sicko photographs runners for a living? 
  4. Lucozade is probably better than water in hot weather
  5. After training in snow/ice/more snow/snowy ice/sleet I will struggle if it hits 17C on marathon day
  6. I can run faster than a 50 yr old man
  7. Even when you feel like everything is going wrong and you can't possibly make it, you can. And you're probably faster than you thought. 

I have no idea why I got a blister. I've never had one before, and I've worn that sock/shoe combo a million times. i can only attribute it to the heat and hope it heals in time for Sunday. 

Theres a little write up of the half marathon here, for anyone that's interested. I'll also post a picture of my sweaty running face and angry red thighs on here if I get to £9,000 before marathon day... you can donate here

Friday, 5 April 2013


"I used to run to get to where I was going, but I never thought it would take me anywhere."

-Forrest Gump 

Just over two weeks until marathon day, and nearly 6 months since I started training and fundraising. I'm not going to lie, it's been tough. There have been injuries, tantrums, ice baths, horizontal rain, more ice baths and crusty nipples. I'm not going to even mention the time I threw up on my own shoes. Between finishing my PhD and running 100+ miles a month I don't have a lot of time for anything more interesting than sleeping and eating, and occasionally waking up to eat some more.

My social life is non-existent, and when i do catch up with friends the conversation centres around running: how much my knees/hips/ass/foot hurts, or the even more exciting topic of how to make protein shakes taste less revolting. I've bullied my poor boyfriend into running a half marathon with me, and my housemate fetches me hot water bottles and blankets when my legs ache so much I can't face the stairs. Even the dog doesn't want to run with me anymore (20 miles? Nah I think I'll just hang out here in my nice warm basket thanks).

I'm going to describe these last two months of peak training as my "moanapause", typified by the predominant emotions "hangry" (panicky grumpy moodiness which occurs pretty much whenever I haven't eaten for 20 minutes) and "mardy" (epic sulks generally triggered by things I have no control over such as the weather, pedestrians who refuse to share the pavement, or my shoelace coming undone).

I'd like to say a sincerely massive thank you to everyone that's tolerated my grumpy face over this period of near constant whinging (Sarah Wake, Jen Walke, Kath Mortimer, Mike Godard, Mum and Dad). The worst is over, and normal service will be resumed shortly. See you at the finish line guys, the drinks are on me.

But I hope they and you agree its all been worth it. Just by dedicating a few hours a week to running, I have already raised enough to start making a difference to people with far greater problems than achy muscles and the occasional blister.

Together we have raised £7310.18 for Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support. In less than 6 months. That's £44.30 per day since October 21st. 

And that makes every single second of running worth it.