Monthly Archives: March 2014

The One Where the Madness Begins …

Okay, so it’s three weeks until the London Marathon and I’ve gone mad. Actually mad. For anyone who read my blog around the time of my Great North Run last year, you’ll be familiar with how my mind works and should have expected some kind of mental breakdown this close to race day. For those who haven’t read those insane blog posts, good luck, you’re entering a world of madness and meltdowns.

 

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Final details!

 Last week I had a week off running. I know all of the advice on tapering says DO NOT STOP RUNNING!! But I felt so exhausted after my last long run (15 miles) that I could barely walk to my office from the station without my legs threatening to give out.  So I stopped and had a week of stretching, foam rollering and early nights. It was amazing. However, this extra time gave my mind chance to wander around in circles and generally drive me insane. This is what I’ve been thinking about.

  1. Can I run in a pair of Spanx? This seems much easier than the core exercises I’m currently doing day and night.
  2. Is it wrong to consider my pre-race spray tan as essential as my final sports massage?
  3. Will my family make it to London okay or will they get stuck in some football-related traffic on the A1 (Dad, thanks for adding that recent worry to my list!)
  4. What if I’m the last person out there and have to move out of the way for the road cleaning team at the back? Oh God.
  5. I get my period on race day! Most period days feel like my insides are trying to eat their way out of my body whilst my mind looks on and cries to itself. How is this conducive to running 26 miles?
  6. How is my relationship going to last the next three weeks? The last few months have been bad enough – tears before and after runs, missing toe nails, unflattering injury tape all over my legs, and now three weeks of meltdowns. Good look boyf!

20 long days to go …

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The One Where I Talk to Myself for 21 Long Miles …

This weekend a remarkable thing happened … I ran 21 miles. Erm, did you get that? 21 miles! I get tired just driving 21 miles let alone running it. I am obviously skipping over the memory of wanting to vomit my own spleen and running like my legs were on fire.

I went out on Saturday morning before the sun came up and was about 8 miles in before I wanted to scream ‘For the love of God, why is it so hot?’ to everyone I came across. The irony that I’ve spent the last few months complaining about the cold, wind and rain is not lost on me. Rest assured of that.

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Kit check!

I decided that as it was my most difficult run yet, I needed something to keep my going, so I ran to my favourite place in London – Victoria Park in Hackney. I lived in the area for three years and miss it dearly. I’ve managed to overwrite all of my memories of gangland killings and the sight of the local youth running with armfuls of stolen goods during the riots. Instead I remember things like riding my bike to the local deli to buy cheese and getting drunk in the park every time the sun was even a little bit out. Ah, the joy of selected memory. Sadly my boyf doesn’t have the same thing and when I mention moving back to Hackney he reminds me about the price of car insurance and parking permits.

Anyway, Hackney, or specifically Victoria Park is beautiful in the sunshine and on Saturday it welcomed me back in all its sunny glory. I got into the park at just under 9 miles and joined a 10k run for a few laps, making it up to 12 miles before heading out on my return leg. I stopped briefly at 12 miles to get more water and after sitting down for five minutes lost all momentum and ended up looking like this.

 

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Nine miles to go!

Everything was going okay until mile 15 when I started to doubt myself and spent a few miles telling myself I had to stop. It went a little bit like this …

Me: 14 miles, this is great, I’m doing so well.

Me: 15 miles. Oh for f***’s sake, I can’t take this any more. This is too much. Stop running. 

Me: Don’t you dare stop running.

Me: Why did I ever think I could run a marathon? This is stupid. Perhaps I’m mental.

Me: Gah, why am I still running?

Me: Hang on, what’s happening to my hip? Oh God, my hip’s falling off. Can a hip fall off? It feels like it’s become detached. I can’t take it any more. And my knees are on fire. Are they actually on fire? I can’t see any smoke.

Me: STOP RUNNING!! JESUS CHRIST, JUST STOP RUNNING.

I did this for another five miles and almost cried when I heard my running app say  ‘20 miles’. The only thing that stopped me was the fear of losing more body salt and imminent death.

I was going to walk the final mile but found walking strangely more painful than running, so instead I spent the last part of my running like a robot in need of some WD40. But I did it! 21.2 miles done and just five weeks to go.

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21 miles done!

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A self-congratulating post-run selfie

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The One Where I Navigate a Rally Track and Blame it all on Google

Yesterday I learnt a valuable running lesson, and I think you should all hear it. NEVER TRUST GOOGLE WALKING DIRECTIONS. As I set off on my longest run so far – 15 miles – little did I know that at least 10 of those miles would be spent shuffling and crying to myself along 60mph roads with no footpath. I was terrified. I know I tend to over exaggerate stuff for comedy effect but I can genuinely say, hand on heart, yesterday was one of the worst experiences of my running life.

Cars came hurtling towards me and behind me as I navigated blind bends as I whimpered to myself. A few times I had to jump into hedgerows and on more than one occasion I actually fell off the side of the road into a mound of mud and roadside rubbish. I spent the majority of time tangled by bramble bushes or running through road debris and flood water.

So, here are my top tips for keeping safe on the road:

  1. Indulge your eighties penchant for neon clothing. The brighter you are, the more visible you are to drivers – although some won’t care and will still drive incredibly fast, giving you an inch of room. Keep telling yourself that karma will get them.
  2. Turn your music off. At least then you’ll hear people honking at you to get out of the road, despite there being absolutely no pavement or room to move. Idiots.
  3. Check out your route. Had I have looked on Google Street View, I may have noticed the lack of pavements and Top Gear style rally track I was soon to be risking my life on.
  4. Turn back if you can. I kept telling myself a pavement will be right around the corner. It wasn’t. So I ended up doing the majority of the run in fear for my life. This is not at all helpful when running your longest ever distance.
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