Woohoo! This Nike+ challenge that amazing Maddy has set up (while also searching for and finding a job and flying across the US for her first week of work- what are you eating woman? I need to get me some of that) is really igniting the competitor within me. About time you might say? For yes indeedy - we are now - tatada! - 5 weeks minus 1 day away from race day. And although I had been feeling rather blase about the whole thing - to me, Amsterdam is not as exciting as New York City and Chicago have been the past two years - I'm beginning to hot up for the race. And my Nike+ challengers are helping there - particularly crazy Charles who isn't even training for a marathon and is just kicking my heinie! He's just done 100 since the beginning of September! So I tell you - this gets me out the door and running my miles.
Running - oh yes. That's been going well at the moment though it's all a bit mixed up. I understand that generally one is advised not to switch one's schedule around too much - hard days should be followed by easy etc. - there is, basically, a reason a week is laid out as it is in a good schedule. However, my life is crazy at the moment. I'm driving 90 miles a day to drop off and pick up my children from school at different times, my husband has just left the country on a business trip and I'm also trying to revive my career. Oh and my wonderful weekend babysitter (my Sunday morning indulgence while my husband works Sunday mornings) has gone to university. These are all some of the reasons that I am cramming the runs in where I can. If I have 90 minutes free - I do the 8 or 9 miler. If my husband's home I get up at 6 to do 5. And I wedged in last week's 20 miler (of which more in a minute) on a Friday morning by promising my husband all sorts of printable and unprintable good stuff if he dropped the kids off and picked nr2 child up at lunchtime. So - things have not been where they should be but I have managed most runs.. The only run I skipped this past week, in fact, was an 8 miler. And what was my valid reason for this? A New Romantics party at which I got totally carried away dressing up and drank a tad too much wine, danced too vigorously and so I basically dragged myself through Sunday. This is Adam (Ant / husband) and I on Saturday night. Who'd a thunk I'd ever be putting nail polish on my husband? But there you go .. it's part of marriage's neverending mystique..
The 20 miler. Oh yes. Now here I did something else Uncle Hal would have slapped me for - I ran it at race pace which, I hope, will be 10 minute miles. I did this for one of my 20 milers last year and I felt it gave me such confidence during the race to know I could sustain this pace for a long time. So my friends, only weeks after rediscovering my mojo I ran this in 3:21! Yes! And that included a 1 minute walk break every 5 miles and a few pitstops along the way! So I am psyched. Saturday's 5 miler was a bit slower as a result - could this have been delayed onset muscle soreness? - but still. I feel quite happy. Stepback week this week and then next week is my last 20 miler before the taper! This has crept up on me a bit actually - I was expecting masses more 16 and 17 milers but there you go, it'll all be behind me, one way or the other, in 5 weeks.
Final thought before you can go back to your real lives - crosstraining? Not one of my stronger points. I've biked some, ellipticalled some etc. but to be honest - didn't do much really.. Anyway inspired by Terry and ShirleyPerly I thought I would join the Swimfit class at the gym I've just joined. HooHa my friends - new respect for all triathletes. I was terrible! I had NO stamina! I was gasping for breath and unlike running you can't just pant - you drown! I had forgotten this. I don't think I've ever done more than 25m of crawl and now I was doing 4 100m reps TO WARM UP? Anyway - I did it and survived most of it although I was firmly and securely the worst person in the group. And the group was a downer. Obviously all serious swimmers they either just ignored me (nice!) or said things like "you're not out of breath already are you?". "Well - yes I'm new to this" I would say but there was no welcome, sympathy or encouragement. It made me very determined to always be VERY welcoming, sympathetic and encouraging to newbies at running.. Will I go back? Yes - but after the marathon. My hip is hurting (no doubt from my lack of technique) and I don't want to run the risk of injuring myself now. But then I will go back. I'm not going to let this bug me. I managed to start running from scratch - below scratch - and I'll knock this swimming thing on the head as well...
So on I chug my friends - keep running, keep posting about it and keep remembering to enjoy it!