I know I always say this but good Lord life is busy at the moment! I have been working on this post for days and something else is constantly coming up. Not always a bad thing though - I was trying to teach my number 1 daughter (I only have one, keep your hair on) how to write an essay for school and was trying to instruct her on keeping all her topics organised etc. Then I just went back to this post and .. well, rewrote it. What a mess!
First things first - my running is going very well. Thank you for all your concerned comments but at the moment I seem to be coping with the rigors of the Pfitz (particularly when I think, at times, of the presence of cousin Hanz - see Terry’s comment on my last post on the strange lovechild of Pete Pfitzinger and Hal Higdon dreamed into existence by Terry himself and strangely comforting). Unlike training for previous marathons I started this training program off with a higher base (between 30 and 40M per week) and I can really feel that I haven’t slacked off the running since Chicago – I’m overall stronger. Nonetheless, I am taking care and stretching and rolling and icing and even seeing my osteopath preventatively every 3 weeks or so. I really want to make this one work!
After my ominous update last week I got lucky. Although I missed 2 days of running - the 8 miler and the 5 miler - by Sunday I felt sufficiently recovered to try the 15 miler (though I didn't tell my mother - I know you read this! - that I was doing it). I met up with Sally and she has been having fun with mapmyrun and picked us a challenging 15 miles - one slow long hill with a nasty steep bit at the end, and another short steep hill - which we made our way round. Not fast - I began to feel my 2 days in bed by 12M - but still, we made it. I decided to not bite into my 2 spare weeks yet and just carry on into week 3 and have, as of today, completed that. The 8 miler was done in a snow storm on Monday evening - my strides were an effort, but not fast. The 11 miler was leisurely and really quite pleasant and the 2 four milers were lovely and slow. However, today's 16 miler was tough. We have had a week of snow and ice and the ground is now rock solid and icy. It's hard to find a safe road to run in - this being England we've run out salt so only the main roads are free of ice. This being England we're not used to driving on ice and snow and so when we drive on the country roads we don't really slow down. It all brings to mind Steve Runner's tales of Oxford drivers - lethal stuff. So I opted to run the 16 miler on the farm. Boring to do it in loops of 1.4 miles but safe. It proved unexpectedly hard. My legs are tired, partly from the mileage but more from the snow and ice I think - the ground doesn't give at all and you have to run carefully to get any purchase on the surface. I've given up on getting YakTrax - the UK importer has no stock and doesn't seem to think he ever will again. The other thing, however, that got to me, was the fact that I didn't carboload appropriately yesterday. Adam and I went out to an unbelievably tortuous political dinner where the catering was astonishingly awful. I passed on the shoeleather-like roast beef and the gravy that looked like vomit and had a few potatoes and some limp vegetables. Not the fuel of champions and I really felt it. I was all dizzy and light-headed at 14 miles. Still - I got her done.
The upcoming week is even more challenging. 4M this morning, 10M on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning, 11M Thursday evening and 5M Friday morning. Then Saturday off and Sunday is topic no. 2 (subtopic of running really but I'm trying to be organised here).
Going back to the opposite of me, one of the things I always "forget" when I'm training for a marathon is to run some practise races. Warm-up races, whatever you call them. Get in race training and pace training and gauge your progress kind of races. Just before Chicago I quickly ran a half-marathon but while it was a confidence booster I didn't maximise its potential in terms of race-training. Haha! Now that we have the new improved model of me - the one who plans in advance, is ready for all eventualities and doesn't get overwhelmed by her life (okay that last point is going too far) - I am race training!
So, back to my (real) impulsive nature - I've signed up for 3 races in advance of London and 1 after. And that only takes us to mid-May. Stand back and marvel:
15 February - Stamford St. Valentine's 30K. THIS SUNDAY! It's a well-known London training race, lots of people come from all over to run it because races over the half-marathon distance are hard to find. The terrain is pretty punishing, very hilly, and obviously the weather can be pretty brutal as well. Added to this, I think this is not a race for slowies. My osteopath (2:40 marathoner) runs and wins it from time to time, a friend of mine took 3:20 to run it (which is not that shameful for 18 hilly and windy and cold miles) and was the last one in. However, I'm not expecting to win it, quite happy to come last and looking on it as a character-builder. I fear it will deliver.
15 March - Adidas Silverstone half-marathon. A different race - MILES away from where I live but run partly on a formula one race course, another famous pre-London race and, most importantly, my wonderful best friend and first-time marathoner Dawn will be running it. So I'm heading out there to run this half-mary with her.
29th March - Lincoln 10K. Strangely enough the one I am least looking forward to. I am no fan of short and fast (being short and slow myself) but once again I am doing the things that terrify me most. So off we go - our local 10K.
And then - 3 weeks post the London marathon! - May 16th the White Peak half. There are two reasons I'm running this. Drusy and Sally. Drusy is going to run it, ran it the last time when I so foolishly ran the full, and we didn't meet. So this time we will. Sally is going to run the full. She'll probably meet me half-way and overtake me.. No matter though – with London behind my only reason to hurry will be the unforgettable bacon sandwiches at the end.
So there you have it – running according to me. There’s various other things to address and update you on – life’s rich tapestry and an amazingly insightful interview with myself – but that will have to wait. At least I can get this update on there. Till soon my lovely running buddies – stay strong and don’t give up!