Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy new 2008 - and what are you going to do this year?

I love nothing more than a resolution. I am one of Belbin's resource investigators - extrovert, enthousiastic and communicative. On the down side I lose interest once initial enthousiasm has passed... Starting afresh, setting new goals, mapping new targets - I'm your girl. Once I'm mired down in the middle of it all, when all I can see is big humps ahead of me - that's when it gets hard. That's one of the reasons my running and racing means so much to me. A marathon is proof to me that somewhere, inside me, there's an element of a completer finisher in there - someone who can see a long plan through and emerge victorious. So don't fence me in yet!

So having said all that let me launch into my new year's resolutions:
- thanks to aforementioned terrible flu I am now at target weight. I need to stay there and stay with the healthy, low alcohol lifestyle.
- I would like to run 2 marathons well-ish this year. Again, thanks to aforementioned flu my training for London has been somewhat curtailed but I'm hoping to pick it all up again this week. I will only have missed 2 weeks then and that should be manageable. Well - it will be. 10 days of skiing should make me fit and strong and mentally ready to take on 12 weeks of training. We'll see....
- I hope to find some balance this year with my new challenges of working and being a mother and wife - and being me. I am really hoping that this will be the year where I will be able to say "no" to things sometimes. Particularly to requests from others for me to do things I don't have time or inclination to do. Let this be the year...
- I would like to do my bit for charity. I want to launch my Save the Rhino fund raising page this week and will do it.
- and I would just, occasionally, like to smell the roses. I'm very very fortunate in lots of ways and I hope that I will remember, at times, to just enjoy that, instead of charging ahead to the next thing. Here's hoping.

And what's happening for you? What are you aiming for? Are you going to come and run a race with me somewhere? Let me know..

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A stone dropped on me!

No it didn't really, but it might as well have. Shortly after posting my "busy busy" post and putting together a short contribution for The Extra Mile (during which I could feel a sore throat) I was felled by flu. I struggled into work for a day and then was left marooned at my desk and had to use everything in my arsenal to walk back up to my car in the afternoon. I even had to phone my husband to pick up the kids - I knew that once I was in the car I had to just get to bed as soon as possible. It was awful! It has been awful! I have not been this ill - ever! Which I suppose is lucky in itself. But my goodness! I was in bed with a high temperature until Christmas day (7 days) and have only just started to be able to be up all day. And I'm still going to bed around 7 in the evening and sleeping till 8.. with a nap in the afternoon. I am so weak! Every small thing I do - laundry etc. necessitates a 15 minute sit-down in a chair afterwards.

So no running. For over a week now. Where does that leave me? I'm not sure really. I know I'm not strong enough to run yet. I'm hoping to get out there by maybe Tuesday, for a quick run. Where does that leave marathon training? Well... It's not great missing 2 weeks of training (at least). What can I say? I'm off on my 10 day skiing holiday halfway through next week so I'm hoping to be strong enough for that. When I get back I will have 12 weeks till marathon day. I'm not sure what to do. Whether to just start back into Hal Higdon when I can? Or to find a 12 week program somewhere? I know there are some about. If I sound lacklustre - I'm not. But this is beyond my control. I'm going to have to wait to be well again and then see where I am...

On the plusside - I'm at target weight. That was easy! Just get sick and that's the trick.. And I didn't overdo it on red meat or wine over Christmas either and am unlikely to do so for New Year's. So at least I'll start the New Year slim...

I'll keep you posted on progress - just wanted to let you all know why I've not been about commenting and posting.. Happy new 2008 to you all and let's hope we can run together this year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

again with the delays and excuses..

I know I know. It's been well over 10 days since I posted. Honestly - I don't know how everyone else does it. My new job is great - I'm loving it. But when I'm not working I'm picking up my kids, spending time with them, cooking, tidying, laundry and general family admin - and running just about fits in there as well.
I was listening to MarathonChris on The Extra Mile whilst doing 10M on the treadmill last week - the only thing that makes the treadmill at the gym bearable is all of your great podcasts - and she was talking about prioritising running in the middle of a busy life. I know I'm not the only one with a busy life but I guess the difference with my previous freelance life is that so much of my time is now ringfenced - it's that much harder to squeeze out an hour to run.

Anyway - last week's long run was meant to be 14 miles. Once again I stopped at 9. Exhausted. Again. I came in and sat on the floor and started crying where my husband picked me up. I asked him whether I should just quit here and give up on London (yes, drama queen should have been my middle name) and he told me no - but to back off the extremely demanding running plan. So yes. 3 weeks into it, I've given up on the Pfitz 18 weeker. I'm going to have be realistic - if I'm going to get these runs done, and line up at the starting line in one piece (of sound mind would be nice as well) I'm going to have to do something a bit more realistic. And so I am, once again, stepping back to Uncle Hal's Intermediate I. I've done it twice, it works for me. It's not going to get me in under 4, I may even have to give up on a PB (London is a harder and busier course than Amsterdam or Chicago) but I can do this one.

For the past 3 and a half years running has been central to my existence. It pulled me out of the post-baby, career-on-hold deadspace and gave me purpose. Now that I've entered a new phase - kids in school, new career on track - I may have to look at running a bit differently. Not that I would stop. I wouldn't do that. It remains crucial to me - the physical and psychological benefits are too enormous. But I may have to accept that there are other limitations to training than physical ones - such as time.

To top everything off - the reason I have time to post today is that I'm in bed with flu (and a laptop). It was going to happen I guess and here it is. Hopefully I'll get it all over with before Christmas and my skiing holiday. I'm going to be missing a few days running but given that I've been fairly diligent with the Pfitz plan till last week I think I can afford it while dropping into Hal Higdon. I think. I hope. We'll see...

Finally - there's a discussion going on at What's a few miles between friends regarding running a joint marathon next year? Any ideas? Any contributions? Head on over and let us know.

Finally finally - inspired by Chris we've elfed ourselves as well - check us out !

Friday, December 07, 2007


Don't you just love that poll? I just discovered it when I tried to add a PDF to my post.. BTW - just to be clear I am DEFINITELY running and training for the marathon - just not quite sure how.

A great and inspirational fellow blogger, Drusy, just found out she's running it as well so it's going to be such fun to meet up with her at some point. I'm hoping to be able to do a training run with her in London at some point. This is her now - above - with a new(ish) haircut and what looks like a shed growing out of her head! I hope she can get rid of that before the race - it's bound to slow her down..


Well - I'm not quite sure how to say this but I'm not sure I can do this. What? Train for a marathon? Sure. Aim for around the 4 hour mark? Not quite sure, but there is some confidence. Follow the Pfitz plan for 18 weeks? That would be the one I'm not quite sure of.

Why? Well the immediate reason I'm doubting myself is that I went out for 13 this morning and managed 6. After my first week at work, a hard crosstraining session, a 10 miler on the treadmill (which I completed despite chafing which started at 3M and got pretty ugly by 6M) and a 5 miler after work before the supermarket shop yesterday, today's run was just too much. I was bushed! And - of course - I started to doubt the schedule? Should I? Or should I, just 2 weeks into it, just chalk it up to tiredness and overextending myself and try again tomorrow. I'm just not sure.

On the one hand I think that the Pfitz schedule is going to require a lot of time investment - time is something I do not have an overabundance of.. On the other hand I feel weak a) for stopping today and b) for contemplating changing horses so soon into it. The thing that makes me consider changing horses is the fact that I got started early - I could still, for example, jump into another schedule without really missing anything. So what do I do?

The final thing is that I found a schedule for a sub 4 hr marathon on the Runnerworld UK website which is just a bit less intense that what the Pfitz suggests. It is a 16 week program that builds up a bit more slowly and just generally seems more manageable. Flip side could be that it might not get me as fit as the Pfitz might. If I can do the Pfitz. Hrmmmm.

For those of you schedule nuts, I've pdf-ed the Runnersworld schedule and am going to see whether I can attach it to this post somehow. Otherwise if you would be willing to cast your eye over it I would be delighted to e-mail it to you.

I feel like such an idiot! Anyway. Once again - let me have your thoughts!

Monday, December 03, 2007

where is she? where has she been?

Or where hasn't she been? Out and about, all over the place, getting ready to go to work, looking after her kids, ironing, cleaning, tidying up, travelling to Holland to her father's retirement party, celebrating St. Nicholas with her parents and children, packing, unpacking, laundry, cooking, stressing out about her new job...

Oh .. and running.

Yes - I am in week 2 of the Pfitzinger 55 mile per week or less 18 week training schedule. FYI this is the bottom end of his schedules. 55 miles per week! I reach those dizzy heights in week 11 but still - hoo ha! That is a lot of running!

Anyway - I'm only looking two weeks ahead. That's all I can program into my Palm without getting bored or terrified. So far, so good. I finally (finally!) went to the gym I joined 2 months ago and got them to sort me out with a weights program. So after 15 mins on the rowing machine and 15 mins on the cycle I have to work out all sorts of complicated machines which will tone me up and help me avoid those dreaded bingowings.. The schedule, at the moment at least, calls for 4 days of running and 3 days of either rest / cross training. I've had to muck it about a bit due to my trip to Holland but so far I'm on 1 day of rest a week and 2 days of crosstraining. And it's all gone fine so far! I missed one mile of my long run last week - ran 11 instead of 12 miles - because I'd mistyped it into my Palm but in week 1 I think I can handle that loss.

Terry, Jen and Maritza all said that 18 weeks seemed like a long time to follow a schedule. And it is. I've always done 18 week programs - and always lost my mojo at some point - but I'm hoping that I'm knocking that on the head this time by taking a skiing holiday 6 weeks into my training program which I've built in and left myself 2 weeks for. We're off to Jackson Hole (the weak dollar - sorry guys! and the strong euro make this the most economic option though don't let my husband read this because he'll say I didn't choose the most economic hotel.. A girl's gotta live right?) on January 10th. It should be good - last time I went skiing I was very unfit and still enjoyed it - I'm hoping increased fitness should make me better. (Last time I went skiing I also came back pregnant but I've learned my lesson now - older and wiser in so many respects!).

So - what haven't I done in the past weeks? Oh - commented on your blogs! I have read them in stolen moments and have marvelled at the amazing achievements of my running blogging friends. So here - in no particular order - are some shoutouts:
- Susan! Wonderwoman! What a star! This girl had a HARD time during her St. Jude's marathon. It was not a good run. But did she give up? No this woman pulled everything out the box to cross that finish line for Elijah and did so. What a girl!
- Maddy and MarathonChris - two fantastic runnergirls who met up again and ran the OUC half-marathon last week. Both of them ran full marathons not long ago and I salute and admire them for being so ready to race again so quickly!
There's Chris on the left and Maddy on the right. And no, they are not punching each other apparently - just showing off their Elijah bands. Whatever, ladies..
- the amazing ShirleyPerly who's more nervous about cooking a Thanksgiving meal (which went perfectly, by all accounts) than about running marathons or triathlons. She's going to take it easy for her last race of the year and "just run a sub 4-hr marathon". That's right honey - you just relax and take it easy!
- incredibly determined and focused Lizzie Lee who finished her first marathon! Well done LizzieLee - what an incredible achievement!
- Jen who has just run her 2nd CIM in an incredible 3:36 despite having a tough old mental struggle during the race. What an achievement girl! That is just incredible!
- Nicole, half of the wonderful and hilarious team that creates the 4feetRunning podcast, who has just completed her 2nd marathon in Philadelphia.
And all my other blogging friends - I am reading your blogs and catching up and will be sending shoutouts and comments your way as soon as possible.

Today was the first day at my new job. I've been parenting / freelancing for over 6 years so this was my first go at being back in an office for a while. I had a great day, my colleagues made me feel very welcome and although I can see some challenges ahead, I think I am able to cope with them and I welcome the opportunity to be back in the game. I've really lucked out - mummy-friendly hours and a non-mummy-track job so I'm really going to do my best.

Final thought of the day - it's getting late - I wouldn't have dared take on this job if I hadn't been a runner. Truly. When I changed from overweight couch potato into someone who could train for and run a marathon I changed my perception of myself and what I could do. If I - the overweight and underconfident me that I was 4 years ago - can do this running thing, then I can do anything I set my mind to. So that's what I'm doing. Setting my mind my friends..

Which is good because tomorrow I'm doing 10 miles on a treadmill - hey ho what fun!