Thursday, 28 February 2013

On a running high!!

I ran 21 miles last Saturday. Elated is the only word to describe it. I honestly still can’t believe that I ran an entire 21 miles - roughly the distance from Tralee to Killarney - without stopping. 
Last November, that milestone seemed so far away, but now I’m here. I was on such a high on Saturday, anyone would think that I’d run the marathon itself. But apparently, the big event on March 16th will be just a lap of honour, now that we have all the hard work done.
Congratulations to all the ‘Born to Run’ members who completed the 21 miles last Saturday. We all deserve to be proud of ourselves. They say self praise is no praise  - but someone has to pat us on the back! 
I went around telling everyone on Saturday about my achievement. I was on such a buzz that I thought the whole world should know about it! I’m afraid most didn’t really share the feeling, or even really understand what it means to have reached that barrier. But it is just a fantastic feeling. 
So for anyone who is thinking about training for their first marathon, get out and do it. The high from having managed to reach this far is worth all the ups and downs -  and they’re soon forgotten anyway. 
I know I still have to run the actual 26.2 miles, but after Saturday I’m pretty confident. Well, here’s hoping anyway - maybe I should err on the side of caution just in case. 
It was tough going though, and there’s no doubt about that. You really have to push yourself when you get tired, physically and mentally, but you just have to keep reminding yourself that you can do it.
Don’t focus on how tired you are, or how sore your legs are, or the pains. Just focus on something else and you will keep going. Anything will do - I planned my whole outfit for St Patrick’s Day in my head to keep my mind off being tired. It seemed to work!
Company is also the key, so thanks again to the ‘Born to Run’ members who provided the chat along the route. 
I was told not to reveal anything we spoke about, so scouts honor and all that, but believe me, all topics were thrown in. After all we were running for more than four hours. 
Thanks is also due to the huge support from the public and in particular Sheila Kelly who supplied us with jelly beans and Jaffa cakes, both of which definitely kept me going. 
I haven’t stopped talking about Jaffa cakes since. They’re my new secret weapon for the big day. I think I ate a box of them on Saturday, so that might explain why I’m not losing weight. 
So anyone who is free on March 16th - line up along the way with Jaffa cakes to keep us all going.  
I am actually kind of sad that Saturday was our final long training run. I think I’m already getting the post-marathon blues, as there are less than three weeks to go to the actual event. 
It is sad that it is all over. I have focused on the marathon since last November and I’ve rarely missed training, so it has become a huge part of my life. 
I’m sure my friends and work colleagues will be happy it’s done with, as it’s all I talk about these days. Yes, I have turned into a marathon bore, inside and outside the pub! 
Just four months ago I was more likely to be going home from a Friday out at 5.30am than getting up to go running. Imagine I got up at that time to go running. I must be mad!
However I must admit despite my upbeat mood, I am physically wrecked from it all. I may be the healthiest, fittest, most rested person ever, as I don’t go out, I eat well (except for the chocolate, which I deserve anyway), and I sleep like a log - but I’m still tired.  
Your body does get exhausted from such intense training, but I’m told as we reduce our long runs, I will be fine. 
So now for the taper down. Just my short runs during the week and only a 12 miler and 8 miler to get through and I use the world ‘only’ as they are genuinely short now, relative to last Saturday and what we’ll do on March 16th. 
Once upon a time, even those short runs would have been considered a challenge but nowadays they come easy. Cocky I know, but so true!

Friday, 22 February 2013

I conquered 18 miles!

Eighteen miles conquered. I actually ran 18 miles on Saturday. It was extremely tough going, but I did it - and I felt on top of the world afterwards. 
It really is the best feeling when you actually manage to undertake such a momentous task. 
Yes, I was wrecked. I could barely walk to the car, and all I wanted to do was lie down as every muscle ached. 
But behind it all there was such a sense of achievement - all those evenings putting in the miles paid off. 
Each and every run is part of a learning curve. I learned this week that marathon running is not just about the running and fitness, but about thinking positive. 
If you start thinking you can’t do it, you won’t - that really is the truth. I’m beginning to sound like a self-help book. But honestly you have to make yourself believe to get over the hurdle. 
I started flagging around mile 14 or so, but once some-one distracted me, I forgot  I was failing, and I finished the 18 miles - and possibly could have managed one or two more. 
It was by no means easy, but it goes to show that you can overcome the tiredness. And God, was I tired! Everything ached - I honestly don’t know how my legs kept going. 
Someone asked me during the last few miles if I’m still considering doing a triathlon, and I swore I there wasn’t a hope. In fact, at that stage I was considering never running again.
But I’ve already forgotten those tough few miles. And I’m kind of secretly looking forward to running 21 miles next week - there is a sense of dread and excitement mingled together. 
I mean I am really going to be running 21 miles how mental is that! Last November when I started this lark I didn't think that I would get to 13 miles, not to mind 18, and this week 21. 
Last Saturday, all I could manage after the run was to get back into bed after my chocolate and coffee, followed by more chocolate. I’m allowed all this because I burned off loads of calories - there has to be some justice to it all. 
But fair play to anyone running a marathon who has children, I honestly don’t know how you all go home and actually have to worry about someone else. I, on the other hand, could barely look after myself.  
Even two days later I’m fairly wrecked. I must admit I am kind of looking forward to tapering down in the run-up to the marathon, as I really am tired. 
We’ve been training intensively for 20 weeks and it does get to you, so a few less miles in the run-up to the big day will be a treat. 
Thankfully, although I’m a bit stiff I have no major injuries although unfortunately I do have a blister from chaffing from my sports bra. It’s pretty painful, but all part of the fun, I’m told. 
Broken toenails, blisters, stiffness and exhaustion -all the joys of being a marathon runner but despite all that the sheer elation at managing to achieve the mileage is really worth it all.
I know those that are not running think that we’re mad, but everyone in the ‘Born to Run’ club knows what I am talking about. 
Even saying 21 miles sounds mad - but we can do it. That’s the best thing about running: it gives you confidence to do anything. I know - back to the self-help mantras, but it does. 
Because if you can get over that 10 mile mark, 12 mile mark, 14 mile mark and so on, then you can do anything. 
And for all of those laughing at my triathlon ambitions I’m not ruling anything out. In fact I got offered entries to a Toughathlon and a Duathlon this week, so who knows what’s next? Or maybe I should stick with another marathon. 
On another note I have also decided to raise money for the Kerry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre and Build4life. 
If I’m doing this marathon I think I had better help local organisations and I chose those two for personal reasons. I would appreciate any sponsorship at all and I can be contacted via Facebook or on my email or her on my blog. 
And now to eat lots of pasta and chicken in preparation for the 21 miles this weekend!


Friday, 1 February 2013

I'm a real runner!

I’m a real runner now. I think I can say that now. I can actually call myself a runner, having managed to complete 14 miles and having run every single week since last November. I am officially giving myself the title. 
I was dreading the 14-mile run, but I made it through and I learned that every run is different and you can’t dwell on the bad ones. 
The previous 12-mile run was awful. I thought I’d never make it, so I worried that 14 miles would be impossible. 
But I was in flying form, and made it up those hills from Fenit to the Oyster Tavern better than I expected. 
Now that’s not to say it was easy - but it wasn’t as difficult, or as bad as I feared. 
I must admit though that I decided it’s time to refuel on long runs, and being armed with a protein bar and energy gel was a help. You need that extra energy on long runs, so stock up!  
But they are terrible - they really don’t taste good and they are far too sweet. Nevertheless by mile 10, I’m hungry and have to eat hence the protein bar, and yes, you can run and eat. 
Last weekend was a rest week so only 10 miles, and I did those on my own on Saturday morning. I got absolutely drenched from head to foot, so please pray it doesn’t rain on the big day as that really won’t make help my marathon. 
I was so wet on Saturday I could hardly lift my feet but 10 miles did not feel bad.  
The snow hindered training last week and I was forced to go to the gym and use the treadmill one evening. 
I won’t be doing that again. I nearly fell off it because I don’t know how to run on it and it feels so unnatural. I’m definitely only going to run outside - sorry to those who do train indoors, but it’s so much better on the road.
I’m now gearing up for 15 miles this Saturday. I’m like a new person, although if I could lose a few pounds to complement it, that’d be nice. 
I’m telling myself muscle weighs more than fat, which is the reason I’m not dropping the pounds. Or maybe it’s that I eat whatever I want because I’m running but on the plus side I am definitely fitter anyway.  
The next couple of weeks are going to be tough as we go from 15 to 16, 18 and 20 miles.  
But first let’s get the 15 done. 
Let’s hope that it is as good as my 14 miles but I kind of fear I may be in trouble. I am injured - and this is no ordinary sports injury. This time around its my foot, or rather my toe - I’ve lost a toenail and the pain is excruciating. 
It’s making it very difficult to run and is not very helpful. It is the last thing I need at this stage, so hopefully it will get easier to run with it in a few days. 
Other runners have told me this is quite common, so I guess I will have to live with it but it’s not a nice side effect. I’m hoping I don’t lose any more as apparently this could happen too. 
So here’s what I’ll have on my 15-miler: a bandage, a toe cover, disinfectant and painkillers, as well as protein bars and an energy gel. It’s going to be fun. 
I’ll turn people off running with all that, but seriously running is great. There is such a sense of achievement when you complete a run no matter what the distance. 
That’s what keeps me and all runners going and it is why you do make sure you put your run first, no matter what else is happening.