Friday, May 15, 2009

Wrapping her up and moving her on..

Life has just been crazy. In the final weeks before the marathon life pretty much becomes the marathon. Ironically, my training load lessens but the focus increases. Then, after the marathon I have to take some time to pick up the slack I've built up in the rest of my life with family, friends and work..

So that's today's excuse for not blogging for a month! And for not being a very assidious commenter. I assure you that I'm getting to it - and you. Promise!

4 weeks after London and it's time to move on. I've taken some time to learn the lessons from London - good and bad. Overall my conclusions are as follows:
  • starting fast was quite a good idea. Maybe "bat out of hell" is not the best race strategy but it certainly got me into a pace groove I was able to maintain for a long time. I have definitely started out too slowly in the past and have missed good times as a result.
  • NO more portapotties in races. Unless there is no queue this girl is going wild and free. Sorry for TMI but that stop cost me at least 90 seconds..
  • Strangely enough there appears to be some degree of disagreement about what causes cramp. Having surfed around the web though I think mine was caused by: dehydration, lack of fuel (I should have stuck with ShotBlocks for the latter part of the race - I can get those down me when nothing else appeals) and just generally going too damn fast. I hadn't trained with 8:30s as my race pace and eventually I ran out of oxygen. Hence cramps and blue lips.
I had a very interesting email exchange with the fabulous, multi-talented and wise ShirleyPerly and she suggested I look for another marathon within 3/4 weeks of London to have another go at my BQ. I did so, but there were no qualifying marathons anywhere near me. In addition, I had committed quite a few weekends in May to other things (which I had put off in training) so I decided this plan was not going to work. It did make me think, however, that I wanted to give myself a better shot in October. While the Bizz Johnson is a Boston qualifier, and, apparently, more people qualify there than do in Chicago, I think this might be something to do with the field (more people there looking for a Boston qualifier?). Also - while it has some serious advantages - slightly downhill, uncrowded, soft path underfoot, generally cool (cold even) weather - there is one major disadvantage - altitude. I've never suffered from altitude sickness, nor found my sporting performance affected by altitude, but it could happen. So I decided to slip another one around that time and found - da da dum! - the Berlin marathon! It's easy to get to from me, the flight times are convenient and the hotels affordable and I'm going to keep that one under the radar as well to the larger public. You all will know about it, and from a training point of view it is the race I am targeting towards, but I'm not going to tell the world I'm doing it. I'm going to fly in on the Saturday afternoon, pick up my race number, go to my hotel, sleep (I'm going back to Tylenol PM this time!) and then race. Pick up my bag and get on the plane home. Done. And .. I have a secret weapon. The amazing Sally is joining me and pacing me. My London marathon briefly made me the fastest out of us two but she gave me 3 weeks of glory before she shattered her own PB of 3:52 and recorded a 3:41. As long as she doesn't kill me we will give it our best shot.

And my running? Has been going well. I have been following Pete Pfitzinger's recovery plan and am back at about 30M a week. I have a slight tightness in my ITB, going into my hip and buttock (do you always think of Forrest Gump when you say that word?) and I'm rolling and stretching and going to see my faithful osteopath about it on Wednesday.

Mentally I'm fine - at least where running is concerned. I haven't suffered from any post-marathon blues - I think my joy at my performance, coupled with planning my next races, coupled with getting back on the road again have avoided that. Also, I had something to look forward to. Last Saturday, I met Drusy, Steve Chopper, Phil Moneypenny, Gary Wall, and Mark "Wheelo" at the Rugby Club at Matlock to run the Swift Half. Do you remember that 2 years ago I ran a marathon I hadn't trained for? It was a humbling and painful experience. This time I had a bit more sense and decided to run the half. I had met Drusy 3 weeks ago and once I spotted her I soon met everyone else, as well as Drusy's wonderful family and dog. Gary and I rode to the start together on the race bus, where he told me about his amazing run along the length of Hadrian's wall (84 miles in 2 days). We all met up at the cold and windy start and posed in front of the portakabins (well all apart from Drusy who was "navigating" her husband and family to the start).

It was a great race. The first 8 miles or so were pretty tough as we had the wind in our face and the running was mildly uphill the whole way. I fell into pace with an older guy and, although his yorkshire accent was so thick I missed some of his more salient tips and tricks, it soon became apparent he had been quite something in his day (a sub 3 marathoner anyone?) and we amicably chatted as the miles flew by. The race is called the Swift Half because of the screeching downhill between miles 10 and 12 - a descent of about 1000 feet I think - and while this is hard on your knees and quads (particularly for those poor folk running the full marathon distance) it does help your speed... And so, 3 weeks after London, I romped across the finish line in 1:44, breaking my official half marathon PB by 10 minutes and my London marathon PB by 6. I feel it's a slightly dishonest PB because of the descent - I'm not sure I could keep that pace up on the flat - but I've got it. Now all I've got to do is do it again..

We all congregrated around Drusy's wonderful family who were taking photos and when we were all in we headed indoor for a sausage bap and some chips. Hmmmmmm.

There was only one downside. The race photos. Guys! I have trained hard. I have lost weight. I have had to buy new clothes - top and bottom - to take it into account. Why do I still take such a fat racephoto?
My legs! I have chunky knock knees! Look at Drusy! She's a vision! (Like most celebrities, she is actually tiny when you meet her and even more gorgeous than she looks in this photo). Steve put together this collage and picked the most flattering of the bunch but man! So annoying.

We all relived our experiences last Wednesday on the Runners Roundtable - I had some communication issues and feel I missed it a bit because I was having such a hard time staying on the call.

And so now - on with it. My training for Berlin starts in the middle of June (that gives me 14 weeks to do the 12 week program so I have some time for summer holidays and illness / injury). My focus in the next 3 weeks is to get this ITB niggle sorted AND get into a routine with my cross training regime. Last time, you will recall, I did nothing. I have been going backwards and forwards on ideas but given that I don't have access to a gym I have decided to do some home yoga. To this end I have bought Shiva Rea's Creative Core and Upper Body and The Athletes Guide to Yoga . My sister in law is a very experienced Yoga person and so has promised to go through the DVDs with me and correct my poses as I practise. I have had one go with the Shiva Rea DVD and my arms are still aching...

So I'm now going to post this rather crappy post - I feel it's not very tied together or tidy, but I just need to get it out there to get on with things. I miss you all and will be getting on with my catchup. The rest of life is pretty busy and in a real state of flux as well - I will post about that later I'm sure - but just briefly - I have changed how I work - much more from home - and I am also moving house... So I think I'm going to need the de-stressing aspects of running and training in the next few months. So long my friends - see you soon.

16 comments:

ShirleyPerly said...

Wonderful to hear your recovery has been going well! I think you mean you ran that half in 1:44, not 3:44, right???

Either way, that sounds like a pretty tough course, esp. with that 1000' drop in a couple miles!! Yet, you ran well just 3 weeks after your marathon. That should give you a lot of confidence running Berlin & Bizz in the Fall.

And don't be so hard on yourself in photos. My husband ALWAYS thinks he looks fat even though he's lost considerable weight this year. Negative self body images are more in the head than physical, I think.

Petraruns said...

You're absolutely right ShirleyPerly.. Doh!

SteveChopper said...

Hi Petra, I actually picked the "worst" photo so your effortless glamour didnt put us all to shame! ;o) good to catch up again on Wed. The feed is now on runnersroundtable.com so you can download and hear any bits you missed! Catch u soon!

Road Warrior said...

Good for you, Petra. Sounds like the few minutes extra on London were really eating at you. Glad you'll be able to give it another run soon.

Great job on the PR, too. Wow... you never cease to amaze me..

besides, is there a race photo you're not smiling in?

aron said...

amazing job on the huge half PR so soon after the marathon!!!

very exciting on the berlin news :) cant wait to follow along!!!

peter said...

Nice PR in the half! Your race conditioning certainly showed. Berlin ought to be a fun run.

Irish Blue said...

Petra,
Congrats on a great half and getting to meet up with so many pals. Can't wait to listen to you guys on the roundtable.

Berlin? Wow, you are really packin' them in girl. If anyone can pull it all together, you can.

I think you look great! I agree with Shirley - seems no matter how thin I get, I look in the mirror and see a chunky little girl with a really bad shag hair cut...lol. This weekend one of the fitness stores in Traverse City had race photos posted and you could grab yours (they were free too). My sister-in-law said, "Do you want to find yours?" I was like, "Only for the purpose of taking it out of circulation." I've never seen one of me that was remotely flattering.

lizzie lee said...

Petra... nice to hear from you. Congrats on Berlin's decision, nothing for a type A like having a plan in the pocket. Congrats also for your 1:44.

That Pfitz must be something. I was planning on working for a couple of months to get to 30+ to start with the 55 program, but my life has been a teeter-totter. I think Pfitz will have to wait... I am thinking about Portland (October) so not enough time for Pfitz. Furman maybe my solution again, if I decide to run it. Not even sure of that.

Please know that you are inspiring people out there... a lot... I advertise you for free. My running friends and family know Petra pretty well!!!!

sincere-lee
lizzie lee

Marathon Maritza said...

You are way too hard on yourself, girl, look at how cute you look!

Congratulations on a great recovery and a great half! A PB is a PB is a PB, so take it!

I'm so excited you are going to be running Berlin! How great!! I can't wait to hear how the training and race go.

I highly encourage you to get into yoga...I have started going 2-3 times per week at my gym and not only is it heavenly and relaxing, it has done wonders for lengthening out my tight, tired running muscles. I am definitely a yoga convert!

CewTwo said...

I watched Phil's video of the Swift Half on RuncastTV this morning. It was amazing to see you again. What are you talking about? You look fabulous, young lady!

As for the London Marathon. I KNOW how hard it is to run with cramps. I couldn't get up at Chicago! My legs locked solid and painfully!

I was so proud when I heard of what you were able to do! Congratulations on a battle well fought, and a true victory won!

jen said...

Hi petra! I'm soooo behind but I've been saving this post so I could catch up and comment. First, yay Berlin!! That is going to be amazing! Also, congrats on the Half Marathon PR. Wow. I don't think it's dishonest at all- you rocked it. Finally, you look beautiful and not fat in the slightest! Race photos are just weird. Having seen you in person I can say without a moment of hesitation that you are gorgeous! :)

Good luck with your training! I'll download that Runner's Roundtable this weekend. I'm farther behind on the podcasts than I am on blogs (which as you can tell is VERY far!). Take care! :)

Susan said...

First and foremost, you look AMAZING! Now, moving on...

You have once again amazed me. Not only did you CRUSH your previous half PB, but you have managed to slide in yet another marathon as if it's no big deal. YOU GO GIRL! That is awesome. I wish I could be there to see you CRUSH your London time. You are on a roll, my dear!

Isaac says "Go Auntie Petra!!!!"

Jade Lady said...

I don't know what you're talking about - you're looking so good!

Krister said...

Congratulations on your full and half marathon races. The Swift half seems to have been a lot of fun. I watched the videos, read the blogs and listened to the runners round table covering the subject. I wish I could have joined in for the race but.. maybe some other time. Hope to run the wwfor in the UK.

Race photos looks fine. you're not blowing your nose into the camera like I did.

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