Tuesday, 21 January 2014

It never gets easy

Since my last blog, I’ve managed two long runs, and with a 14-miler and 12-miler under my belt I’m feeling slightly more confident. Which is a good thing with just weeks to go until we’re all standing on the start line.
Fourteen miles was tough going. It was my first long run since before Christmas, and I must say I was scared. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I had it in me. But thanks to Marilyn O’Shea and Caroline McConnell - and of course the rest of the Born to Run crew - I got through it and I was actually pretty happy. 
It was my first time out on the course since the day I did the marathon on St Patrick’s weekend last year, and it brought back memories - not all of them good. 
I had forgotten just how tough the course is and I found it quite hard. Some of those hills were hell - but everyone kept pushing me on and even though I wanted to give up, I kept going and I finished the 14 miles. 
Thanks to my wonderful Garmin I can now compare last year’s runs with this year’s training - and it’s great to see. I’m somewhat faster than last year - but not that much. 
This is very disappointing, and I think it is kind of throwing my training. I want to do it faster this year - but what if I don’t? 
Running a marathon is all about being positive and when I see that I haven’t improved all that much it affects me, and is really not helping me get ready for this year’s event. 
I know it’s all about just doing the training and not putting myself under pressure - but that’s easier said than done.   
I have to say - categorically - it’s not easier the second time around. I know everyone thinks its great that I have one done, but it’s not great at all. 
To be honest, it’s way worse second time around - first of all because you don’t have the excitement of completing your first 14 miles, 15 miles and so on, but also because you have to do more than cross the line this time around. I want to go back to being a first-timer! I looked back at my blog for last year’s 14 miles and I was definitely more positive - so hopefully the positivity will return. 
The 12 mile run wasn’t too bad, but I did find the hills tough enough especially Barrow again. It just keeps on going up and up. I barely managed to make it. But of course once I did, I was delighted. 
I’m finding the hills tough this year. You’d think I’d be better at them by now, but then that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. If anything, they’re worse this year. 
I’m supposed to be very fit by now but I’m not seeing it - how unfair is that? 
Also, this fitness lark should surely at the very least help me lose a few pounds, shouldn’t it? 
Again - not the case, even though I’m really trying to be good. Of course I deserve chocolate after my long runs - we all do - but other than that, I’m on a health kick.
The scales are ignoring it, but I’m going with the premise that muscle is heavier than fat. If it’s not, I’m in trouble! 
I’ve also begun a strength and conditioning class with Tralee Triathlon Club. My plan is to do a triathlon this year. 
If anyone had told me last year I’d be considering a triathlon, I’d have said no way - but as I’ve said before, running does change your life. And for the better. 
I also swim with the club at 7.15am on Friday morning. Yes, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to get out of bed at 6.30am to train. God knows why. 
Apparently the strength class will help me with my running and make me faster. That’s what they said - so it’d better work! 
In the meantime, it’s all about the marathon and this Saturday is fifteen miles. Here’s hoping I conquer it! 

Monday, 6 January 2014

Panicking big time!

Last year was was definitely not my year for training. As if the weather wasn’t enough to prevent me from running during Christmas, a chest infection and cold definitely put paid to my training for the past week or so. 
I’ve now missed a 10-mile and 13-mile run, and I’m absolutely gutted. I was so looking forward to reaching the half-way mark before Christmas, but the rain and wind prevented us all from completing the scheduled run - and I’ve been too sick since then to fit in much training. 
I did attempt a three mile run but I ended up coughing so much I couldn’t breathe. I thought I’d lost a lung. 
I managed six miles on St Stephen’s Day but got caught in the rain, which definitely didn’t help my chest. Since then I have been staying indoors for fear of getting worse. 
I read the training schedule this morning and nearly had a panic attack. There’s only really five more long runs left before the big day! Yes, it’s definitely time to panic. 
Next week its 14, then a 16 miler, 18 miler, 19 miles and 21 miles - that’s all that’s left. 
I better stop thinking about it or I’ll have a nervous breakdown. I had great plans for doing a faster marathon this year - that might not be the case now; at this rate of going I will hardly make it over the line at all.
On the other hand, maybe the rest will have done me the world of good and I will be faster than ever! 
I’ve been reading the Facebook updates all Christmas and the lovely runs that everyone in Born to Run has been doing, and I’m jealous - particularly of all those who last weekend reached that 13 mile mark. It’s the half way point and if you can do that at this point, you can definitely do the marathon - so no self-doubts please.
The weather has really not been kind to runners in recent weeks but getting out there shows the dedication of anyone training for the Kerry’s Eye Tralee International Marathon, and they should be so proud. 
It is a great achievement and with only five longs run to do there is no excuse not to keep going and make 2014 the year you do your first marathon or the year that you do a PB. 
Yes, I have all the running lingo now - who would have thought that within a year my life would be all about running. 
There’s another change - most of the gifts under the Christmas tree this year were running related, including a mini iPod which I plan to use to get me through the last six miles of the marathon. I figure it might be better than crying this time around. 
I also got a triathlon and marathon refuelling kit - so I’m all set with energy gels and recovery shakes for the rest of the year.
Let’s hope they get me through the marathon, and also help me in my New Year’s resolution - which is a triathlon. 
I also have new running clothes to. Now I just have to get back to training.
Hopefully after this bout of illness I’ll be raring to go this week and I might even manage 14 miles at the weekend. 
I’m not sure if you should increase from 10 miles to 14 but hopefully I have it in my legs from last year and I will be able to complete it. I’ll have to give it a go anyway and see how I get on. 
It’s scary how fast we seem to be increasing. I don’t remember it going so fast last time around but the weeks are flying by. 
I can’t wait now for the next long runs to get back out on the marathon course and get ready for St Patrick’s weekend.