We did it! We finished a marathon! I still can’t believe it!
I was really tough but I expected it to be… It took longer than we expected but when I crossed the finish line none of that mattered.
Full race recap coming soon…
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Tomorrow I am running the Dublin Marathon.
The last two weeks have just flown by, it feels like only the other day I was sunning myself in Greece thinking I still had lots of time before the big day. I’m now sitting in my family living room back in Dublin, KT tape on my knee, carbs in my belly and a very tight nervous feeling in my chest.
I think now I’m about 60% nervous and 40% excited.
Tomorrow I’m running a marathon.
Tomorrow I’m going to tackle the biggest challenge I’ve ever set for myself.
And it all started with a mouse
TOTAL MILEAGE: 29 Miles
I arrived in Greece the previous Saturday, we were staying in an all inclusive 5* resort and it was absolute luxury. Having enjoyed the first two days and caught up on some sleep after a really early start on Saturday (we had to get up at 2am to make our flight!) I was feeling a lot better.
There was a gym in the hotel so I knew I had a treadmill to use but was hoping to do my 20mile run outdoors. The week itself was quite indulgent as the hotel had 4 restaurants with amazing food and we had cocktails, a mini bar in the room and basically everything we wanted right at our fingertips. The day before my 20mile I had to seriously restrain myself and stuck to water and non-alcoholic cocktails for the day.
Week in Review
05/10/2015 – 6m Run – Completed
I wasn’t so good and behaving myself the night before this run but I got up all same and managed the full 6miles on the treadmill. The gym was quite warm I found so I was planning to check out some routes for the 20mile.
07/10/2015 – 20m Run – Completed
So… As I’d said previously I wanted to run this outside. I was out running before 7am and left the hotel complex on the route I’d planned towards the main road. I got about 400m away from the main entrance when I spotted two BIG dogs. One was a German Shepard but I’m not sure about the other. I ran past in the hope that they would ignore me but that was not the case. They came charging towards me so I stopped dead and they just kinda hung around me. These were stray dogs which you will find a lot of in Greece so I’m told. I was too afraid to run with them around so I walked back to the hotel and into the complex. Our hotel complex had about a 1mile path that weaved around the it so I just rand around that for the next hour until the gym opened.
I completed my run on the treadmill taking a short break to walk around and cool down a bit about an hour in.
10/10/2015 – 3m Run – Completed
I took it so handy for this run. I got up, went to breakfast, ate a croissant and then watched some TV while running on the treadmill and doing my intervals.
I’m back home now and the marathon is a week and a half away. I’m getting more nervous as the days go by, I have moments when I freak out a bit and think that I’m not prepared enough and then I have other times when I think about crossing the finish line…
Date: Sunday 27th September
Location: Ealing, London
Entry Fee: £36
Distance: Half Marathon
Having moved to London in the summer of 2015 I decided to sign up to the Ealing Half Marathon as my POT race for the Dopey Challenge 2016. My training in the run up to the race was less than ideal but I did have a lot of mileage under my belt so I knew I would make the distance, my challenge was going to be making the time I wanted. I decided about a month out that I didn’t really fancy running this one alone so I roped my Dad into coming over from Dublin to run with me!
Our goals for today’s run:
New PR: My last half marathon was Wine and Dine Half in November 2014 completed in 3hrs01min14secs. I wanted to set a new PR at this run and I was more than capable of doing it by a long shot.
Goal A: Finish the race at 2hrs25mins in order to equal the POT set by Dad and Rachel at the Dublin Rock ‘n’ Roll Half.
Goal A+: Beat that time! Dad and Rachel ran their half over a month before this one and actually ran a training run completing 13miles in about 2hrs21mins.
Goal A++: Under 2hrs 20mins
Part 1 – Prep and Arrival
The evening before the race we went out for Italian to get some carbs in, got back to the flat early and chilled out while watching England vs Wales in the Rugby World Cup. I lay my running outfit out for the next day and got to bed at a reasonable hour.
We were up EARLY on Sunday morning, I had my usual bagel with peanut butter and we caught the first tube running from my area in North London. I drank half a poweraid on route and some water. The other fuel we had packed was two GU gels, cliff blocks and a banana. I had two cliff blocks before the run and my Dad had a banana.
We were delayed on route due to a signal issue at one of the stations and arrived and Lammas Park just as the warm up was starting.
We needed to pick up our bibs at the race so got that sorted quickly and dropped off our bag all with minimal waiting. The timing chip was attached to your shoe so we got ours secured as an official time was VERY important for us today
We proceeded to the start line and took a quick toilet break with again a very short wait as there were plenty of toilets.
We hopped into the 2hrs 20mins finishing group and noticed that we were a VERY long way towards the back of the pack. There wasn’t really all that many people behind us.
It took about 10mins to cross the start line and then we were OFF
Part 2 – The Race
Now something I haven’t mentioned already was that this was the first race EVER that I had someone I knew come along to support me! None other than Prince Charming (PC) himself
This was a lovely little boost and he really made an effort to catch us several times along the course.
I had programmed 4:1 intervals on my Garmin for today. I decided as we started that we would run through the first walk break so we’d be running 9mintues straight which should get us to around the 1mile marker before we took a walk break. I must mention straight off the bat that the crowd support was fantastic today, there were people cheering along the whole route and it was a really positive atmosphere.
For the first time in a race I decided to wear earphones, I was listen to MickeyMiles podcast as recommended by others in the marathon forum.
Shortly after we started my Dad felt something in his shoe, it felt like a stone so he decided he was going to have to stop. He told me to leave him behind and he’d catch me to continue my run walk breaks as normal. I pulled my phone out and saw that PC was watching along the course already and told me he was by an ambulance. I had originally said to him to go to the out and back at mile 6&10 but he’d apparently crossed the course when looking for somewhere to park so got out in the hopes of seeing me and wouldn’t you know just after I checked my phone I looked ahead, saw and ambulance and he was right at it just after the 1mile mark. I ran up towards him waving and saying that my Dad was behind me somewhere and he shouted lots of encouragement as I went passed. Well I continued running and came round a corner and he’d managed to drive the car round and was beeping and shouting for me some more so I had the biggest smile on my face!
I started to get a little worried then as it had been about 5mins or so and my Dad had yet to catch me up (he’s way faster than me when I’m not holding him back). I thought maybe when I’d pulled over for PC or been distracted by the beeping he could have went past me and he’d no phone on him either! Luckily he caught up with me around then and we continued on with our intervals.
One thing I hadn’t been prepared for this race day was THE SUN. It had been cloudy leading up the race and when I checked the weather report I saw nothing about sunshine but the sun was already up and although it wasn’t too hot it was really bright and it was already starting to give me a bit of a headache. Note to self: invest in sunglasses or a good visor…. I think I’d rather sunglasses. I was careful to keep well hydrated, I had Poweraid in one of my 8oz bottles and water in the other that I refilled at every water stop. The water stops were great and we were given small bottles of volvic which were really easy to drink from. There was a stop just before mile 2 so I grabbed a bottle, drank a bit and spilled a little over my head too. Then I remembered I had earphones in… whooops.
My Dad had taken a look at the course beforehand and said that it wasn’t that hilly, it apparently looked better than the 10mile we’d completed in August. WELL…. that was so NOT the case. There were so many HILLS OF DOOM it was ridiculous. I had completed a lot of my training runs since moving to London on the treadmill so these hills were super tough for me.
One of the lads I play tag rubgy with lives along the course so I text him from the course and sent my location and wouldn’t you know I was only a few minutes from him house. I got a great cheer as I went passed which was nice!
We continued with our intervals and stuck pretty well to them for the first 4miles or so. Around then I had to stop on one or two hills and take an extra bit of a walk as my muscles were on fire and I didn’t want to risk hitting a wall before the end. I had messaged PC to ask him to have poweraid for us that we would collect at Mile 10.
We were close to Mile 6 and had just gone by our 3rd water stop (which I again dumped over my head – not good for the earphones) when this photo was taken
I was also expecting to see PC soon so when it came to a walk break we continued running as I wanted to be running when he saw me! Sure enough we passed him soon after but he wasn’t at the out and back which was further on the course, he tried to hand us the poweraid and seemed very confused when I said not now! I still had poweraid in my waist belt so we would’ve just had to carry the bottles. Just passed the 6mile mark we took an extended walk break to have some cliff blocks and extra water.
I HATE OUT AND BACKS. It’s just hard when you’re running in one direction and the people on the other side are like 4miles ahead of you. I must mention at this stage that the whole time we had been running we were in and around the 2hrs20 pace group. We would pass them when we ran and they would pass us when we walked. They were never out of sight. Also the people cheering for us would cheer for our group like ‘yah go two twenties’ and stuff like that which was fun. Also another thing to mention was that we passed A LOT of people. I definitely think a lot of runners had placed themselves in higher pace groups than their natural fit but it didn’t cause us any issues as the course was well able for the crowds.
I sent a text to PC explaining the poweraid situation and shortly later he messaged to say he around 10mile mark. We seemed to go pretty quickly through the out and back but there was one hill that HURT LIKE HELL. I was starting to struggle a bit to keep up all of our intervals.
We passed mile 10 and I hadn’t seen PC so I text again and sure enough I see him in the distance as we’re on a walk break but he hadn’t spotted us so I took off and we ran up to him. I gave him a hug this time and took the poweraid and he shouted more encouragement and clapped for us as we ran off.
Around about mile 11 I was hurting. My legs were struggling and I felt a lot of pressure to get the time we wanted. It was probably the worst I’ve felt in a race. We kept pushing through and made it to 12 and that’s when I full on DIED. Hit a wall like I’ve never hit before. I normally get a massive kick in the last section of a race but I was struggling today and I was so incredibly frustrated with myself.
The photographers on the course got lots of pictures of us and unfortunately 70% of them we in this last mile. I normally smile and wave at the camera but at this stage it was taking everything I had to get the finish. My Dad was great and was pushing me to keep running.
This is actually one of the better photos in this last section… my face says it all
I normally run my last kilometer the fastest but I took a walk break only about 700m from the finish. I also normally sprint the last 400m but I struggled just to keep running
FINALLY I did it… crossed the finish line…. I have never been so relived for a race to be over!
Funny thing was… I felt OK afterwards. I wasn’t really out of breath or anything but my legs did feel a bit jelly like. I’m not sure what happened in that last mile but I do know that I managed to push through. I think I really felt the time pressure today. I find it so much easier to enjoy a run when I’m not putting pressure on myself to finish by a certain time. Luckily that’s the last race I have a time goal for. The Dublin Marathon and Dopey are all about finishing.
My official finish time: 02:19:46
A new PR at the half marathon distance by 41min 28secs
Part 3 – Final Thoughts
Overall it was a well organised run. There was great support on the day, plenty of water stops, baggage drop off went smoothly and the course was scenic and had lots of space.
One slight thing to note which is more relevant to being a spectator was that a lot of the officials didn’t know where they were on the course, so when PC asked what distance he was at if he wasn’t at a mile marker they weren’t able to tell him so my advice to anyone spectating is to check the course map in advance so you can let the runner know where you’ll be.
The volunteers on the day were all amazing and did such a good job at cheering for us as we passed, handing out waters and even sweets at times. Apart from Wine&Dine where the volunteers were out in the rain and still cheering the volunteers here were the best I’ve experienced and there were so many of them too.
Looking at my stats from my Garmin I must have done a bit of extra weaving as my distance was slightly more. I took a good 10seconds or so to stop my watch as well after we finished.
I met all three goals that I set myself, we finished under 2hrs20mins and really all we ‘needed’ to do was finish under 2hrs25mins as that is the time my sister submitted so we will be dropping to her coral if necessary.
It was a HARD run for me but I feel stronger for having still achieved my goals.
I would definitely run this race again however next year I’m planning on running the Disneyland Paris Half so I’ll be giving Ealing a miss in 2016.
21/09/2015 – DRY NEEDLING
22/09/2015 – 4m Run – Unscheduled rest taken
23/09/2015 – 3m Run – Unscheduled rest taken
24/09/2015 – 2m Run – Completed
25/09/2015 – REST – Completed
26/09/2015 – REST – Completed
27/09/2015 – Ealing Half Marathon – **Completed with PR**
TOTAL MILEAGE: 15 Miles
So…. After struggling at the weekend with our 12mile run I got myself back to physio on Monday and I had needling treatment again. I was feeling really nervous about my half coming up on Sunday as it was proof of time race for Dopey. My Dad and Sister ran their half in 2hrs25mins so I really wanted to get that time or beat it so they didn’t have to drop back for me. My Dad flew to London on Friday so that he could run with me, it was really nice having him over for the weekend. I moved to London two months ago so it was his first time visiting me. I struggled mentally again this week. I was frustrated with my injury and concerned about running my half without my mid-week runs but I knew that in order to be in the best shape for the run I needed to rest after treatment.
I’ve spoken about dry needling before and I’ve found it very affecting for quick recovery, I came home Monday after treatment with my leg hurting quite a bit and then I did something really stupid. I stood on a nail. It went right into my foot and I had to pull it back out. Luckily it wasn’t a rusty old one but my foot was sore and tender afterwards. NOT the way I want the build-up to my half to be going!!
Week in Review
Mid – Week Runs
24/09/2015 – 2m Run – Completed
Only one mid-week run and it was a short one at 2miles. I felt pain in my big toe on the same foot I stood on the nail so that didn’t really help my pre-race nerves.
27/09/2015 – Ealing Half Marathon – **Completed with PR**
Race-Recap coming soon!
I’m feeling a little bit emotional
Or a LOT emotional… That’s probably more accurate.
As I posted lasts week I missed my 18mile and then tried to catch up on Monday. I’m feeling the weight of our first marathon next month. My legs felt heavy last week and I figured with the rest taken over the weekend that I’d have fresh legs but come Monday’s run they felt heavy again.
Fast forward to our long run this weekend and we don’t manage to complete it. I generally try to stay focused on the positives with this training and I feel like so far I’ve done pretty well with the mental battle of this tough training and in particular during our long training runs like our 16miles two weeks ago. Right now I’m questioning whether or not I’m going to be up to this. I’m getting so frustrated with my legs and confused about what I should be doing for the best. I feel guilty when I miss a run but then when I run and my leg is hurting I wonder if I should be resting to avoid injury but then if I rest I miss more runs…
Just to explain a little further about the issue I’ve been having with my right leg.
Originally my issue was with the Gracilis muscle on the inside of my leg. It was really tight and causing discomfort in my right knee. I went for physio and had several rounds of dry needling (Myofacial Trigger PointDry Needling) which is NOT A FUN EXPERIENCE PEOPLE but it really did help. I wasn’t able to run the day I had treatment or the day after but I was able to continue running on other days and just not increase my mileage so it didn’t impact too negatively on training. More recently I’ve had the odd tighness in the same muscle and some similar issues with a few muscles in my right quad. I had further dry needling before our 10mile and since then I’d felt pretty good. The last two weeks that tightness is back so I’ll be going back to physio this week.
I have my POT next weekend so that was also playing on my mind this last week. I would’ve just liked to have a positive training week.
Anyway… it is what it is. We still ran on Saturday and I’ll hopefully get the right treatment to loosen my muscles for next weeks half marathon.
Do any of you have advice for when you’re feeling this frustration? The emotional side of it is more attached to the purpose behind all of this. It means a lot to me to raise funds and awareness for the cancer support centre my mam attended and on top of that there are other people I worry about disappointing.
Week in Review
Mid – Week Runs
13/09/2015 – Deferred 18miles – Completed 12/18miles in 3parts & Tag Rugby
I was up early this morning and off to the gym for the first portion of my long run. The weather in London has been pretty grim lately and I’m also still not all that familiar with the routes around my area in particular the longer ones. I’m not really enjoying these threadmil runs though so I think I need to sort that problem out. On the plus side I can watch some TV while I run so that’s a nice distraction. I ran about 5miles in the morning. I came back at lunch and ran a further 4miles and then 3 more after work.
15/09/2015 – 4m Run – Completed
Another run on the threadmil. The weather is KILLING ME. I got through it but my head just wasn’t really in it.
16/09/2015 – 5m Run – Completed
Same as yesterday. On the threadmil, watched some TV and legs didn’t feel great. I foam rolled and stretched as usual but just felt pretty tired and heavy over all.
18/09/2015 – 12m Run – 7m/12m completed
This run was TOUGH. As soon as we set out I didn’t feel right, my legs were really heavy and it felt like so much effort. We were running 5:1 intervals and got about 4 intervals in when I started to feel some more discomfort in my right leg. We took a longer walk break while I debated turning back but I really wanted to see the miles out. We continued on and about 2 intervals later Rachel’s hip was hurting so we took a turn that would shorten our run. From then on it was a struggle. We took several longer walks break and I had to cut our runs short a few times when I felt some pain in my leg.
TOTAL MILEAGE: 27 Miles
Got back from Spain early this week and back to work as normal… boo!
This training week turned out to be quite chaotic. I started the week feeling really positive after our successful 16mile. I signed up to play tag rugby with a friend and her team, I’m trying to expand my social circle in London since I’ve just recently moved. Luckily two of my best friends live here already so I’m not totally friendless! The tag rugby is great fun and there is always a trip to the pub afterwards, the problem is however that it’s the day before my running week starts and it’s a lot of stop starting and sprinting which takes a toll on my legs.
Life in London is quite hectic, there is always something happening and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to find the time to run. As a result ALL of my runs this week were at the gym.
Week in Review
Mid – Week Runs
08/09/2015 – 4m Run – Completed
I went to the gym at lunch time for this run and watched some TV on my phone to keep me entertained. It was pretty average, my legs felt tired but no major complaints. I stuck to 4:1 intervals.
09/09/2015 – 8m Run – Completed in splits
Today I had decided to go for my first run with the running club I joined recently. I wasn’t sure how long the run was going to be and when I mailed the club they said they don’t give out the details on the plan for a Wednesday because it’s not a standard run, they’ll do sprint intervals or hill training or something else along those lines. To be cautious I went to the gym again at lunch and ran about 3miles.
I arrived up at the running club feeling quite nervous but luckily everyone was really friendly. The agenda for today was a loop around the area that was about 2miles where we would jog comfortably for 60secs and sprint for 20secs. We had to run the loop twice.
WOW what a difference those 20secs made, I found this run really tough. I got my first stitch in months and I didn’t recover very well on the jogs (I normally do run/walk intervals where I recover on the walk)
I made it through though and felt pretty good for it!
10/09/2015 – 5m Run – Completed & STRENGHT
I’ve been worried about my strength training (or lack thereof) and a girl that I work with was doing a circuit class this morning at my gym so I decided to join her. I was up early and on the tube by 7AM for the 7.45AM class. There were 6 stations at the circuit class, the first was squats with a resistance band to hold up over your head like you were doing the Y from YMCA. Second was an arm workout with a long cylinder weight you held with both hands and punched out. The third was HORRIBLE you had to get down into a press up position and kick your legs up high (like a really bag handstand but kicking up with force) and kind pull your knees in and then back down. I was getting all sweaty and thought I was going to faceplant one of these! Next was stepping up onto a high block holding weights and back down. Station 5 was another arm workout that included a bend down to the floor to pick up. Last was a side plank with a twist with a weight in your free hand. I HATE THE PLANK. Each circuit was followed by a ‘tough minute’ of a cardio move which today was a side step and floor touch.
I was really feeling it towards the end but I completed the four circuits.
I completed my run at lunch as well. Again on the treadmill and uneventful.
11/09/2015 – REST – Completed
MY BODY WAS VERY ANGRY WITH ME TODAY
12/09/2015 – 18m Run – DEFFERRED
Part of my busy scheduled also includes a new person in my life, we’ll refer to him as prince charming, who very nicely booked a weekend away for us. I was planning on running while there but on Friday when I was packing I was in SO MUCH PAIN I just decided I’d do the run on Sunday when we got back. I had a lovely weekend and it was so nice to have a weekend with no running.
13/09/2015 – REST – Completed
So… I didn’t complete my 18m on Sunday either, It was about 6pm when I was home and I just didn’t feel up to it. I’d enjoyed my weekend and we’d actually had a drink with Sunday lunch so my body was not in the right state for an 18mile run. I decided I would run Monday instead.
I felt so guilty on Sunday night but I knew I would probably only feel worse if I went out. I was in bed and asleep by 8.30PM. It felt so good to have a break.
GeneralSo we’re still in sunny Spain this week! I fly home to London Saturday evening the day of our 16mile run. This is a big one. This will be the longest run I have ever done. Last week would have been at 15miles but we only managed 12.5miles which is shorted than the half marathon I completed last year. I feel ready for it this week unlike last. We learned a few lessons last time and we’ve more time to adjust to the weather now as well.
After the ‘difficult’ run last weekend I was thinking about what we could do differently in particular to help our mental game as I feel like that really defeated us on the out portion. I’ve been suggesting for a while now that we try run /walk intervals which we kinda already do but with no real structure. We take a walk break when we ‘need’ it but when we’re having a bad run we tend to ‘need’ more which is what happened last weekend. Not only that but when we stop the length of the walk break is not specified. If we’re running strong it’ll be just enough to get some fluid maybe a cliff block and slow our breathing down a bit so we’re talking 40secs – 1min. On a difficult run when we’re struggling it could be upwards of 2mins. I feel like having a set interval will help, I know for me if I’m struggling and feel I ‘need’ that break and look at my watch and see that I’ve only 30secs to go until a scheduled break (or you’ve got a landmark up ahead like a water stop in a race or a set point we’ve agreed to stop at) I’ll push that extra bit and take the break then. With it being so hot I figure a 4:1 run/walk interval would be a good place to start.
I’ll also start including our average pace on here for reference.
Week in Review
Mid – Week Runs
01/09/2015 – 4m Run
For our first run of 4miles we stuck with our original style of stopping when we needed it and it was an alright run overall. I actually probably struggled most this time with sore legs, not where I’ve been having issues in my quad but again in shins and calf and I think this could still be down to breaking these new runners in.
We did an out and back along the same route, we’re happy with the route, there is a good path and it’s well lit which we need as we’ve been running before sunrise to avoid the heat.
Our pace for this run was 12:09/mile
02/09/2015 – 8m Run
This was a great run! Rachel had been feeling ill so didn’t join us this morning. We decided to try the 4:1 intervals so I programmed that into my Garmin 220 and off we went. We had plenty of fluids with us and I settled in easily to the structure of the intervals.
The first time we stopped I did feel it was a bit soon to need a walk break but easily but the second stop I was starting to feel the heat again. By the time we were hitting the 4th and 5th interval I was pushing myself to get through those 4mins before talking a walk. Just as I suspected I would want to stop but took a look at my watch and push until the next walk break instead. I also noticed that the walk breaks felt really short. Like I would breath deeply take a sip of water and poof 40secs were gone and it was almost time to run again. This makes me think that we were taking long walking breaks before.
Only once did we break from the scheduled stops and it was about halfway through. We took an extra min walk followed by a 3min run to stay on the interval notifications from my Garmin. Other than that we were pretty strict.
So with the run being quite strong why did we cut it 1mile short? Well… we didn’t realise we did! We obviously hadn’t checked our plan properly and thought we were only down for 7miles… DOH!
Our pace was 11:13/mile so I guess that speaks for itself, a better pace on a longer run.
03/09/2015 – 4m Run
We took an unscheduled rest today. We’ve been struggling to sleep with the heat (about 80degrees overnight), we’re staying in my uncles villa and there is NO AIRCON! I was having a great sleep when my alarm went off at 6am and so too were Dad and Rachel so we quickly agreed to sleep in and try and catch up on some lost Zzzzzzzz’s. It was the right choice. I slept for another 4hours. We are on holiday after all so I’m not going to be too hard on us for skipping this one.
05/09/2015 – 16m Run
Today we were up at 4.45am on the last day of our vacation in Spain to run the longest distance we’ve ever run. I got up and had two slices of bread with peanut butter and two cliff blocks. This time we were more prepared hydration wise. I filled my bottles for my fitletic belt with water, my dad had a full sports bottle with water mixed with a hydration tablet and we each carried a 500ml bottle of water and poweraid. We froze some of these bottles that we’d be dropping off along our route. We started with a short 2.5km out and back in the opposite direction to which we normally run. From there we continued out to do a 10km run along the path we’d been running all week. It was a little bit cooler today which was so nice!
We decided to use the 4:1 intervals again and I feel like they worked really well. I felt comfortable and never out of breath. The route was quite hilly and I found that tough on my right leg (the one always causing me problems) and I could feel every now and then a slight twinge in my right knee but nothing major.
We dropped a few bottles on the way out and took sips of our fluids on each walk break and a cliff block about half way out. Eventually we came to our turn-around point. We had driven the same route the night before for dinner and it still amazes me how far 16miles is and just how far we had run at the half way point! By half way I think we had taken maybe 2 or 3 longer walk breaks making it 3:2 on those intervals.
I’d say we got about halfway back when he hit a bit of a struggle, my legs at this point were TIRED but other than that mentally I felt good and my breathing was steady as was our pace. We took an extended walk break and a cliff block. From here on out it was more difficult, Rachel was starting to struggle a bit and we had a few more extended breaks between our intervals but still the intervals provided us with good targets to aim for running wise. Collecting the frozen bottles was so nice, by this stage they were just really cold and the poweraid was a welcome boost. We managed ok until about 2miles short of the end when it got really tough, Rachel was getting some pains and running became more difficult but I think for me I feel the last few miles is the mental challenge. My legs were shot at this point, they felt like jelly and were really tired but I knew I was going to finish and mentally I felt strong so I was fine running, putting one foot in front of the other and just getting closer to home. The funny thing was even when Rachel was the one to ask for a longer walk when she actually ran and had her head in it I was struggling a bit to keep up with her! At some point during the run something funny happened with my Garmin, it beeped to signify the end of a lap (being 1km) at 3mins which was not right but yet my distance compared to my Dad and sister was about .2miles short. So strange!
Running to the end I was still feeling good and already proud that we had managed the full distance, I had to run past our finish point and loop around our complex to complete the full 16miles on my Garmin.
I’m so so happy with this run! Not too long to celebrate though, next week is 18miles…
This week started out with dry needling on my right quad on Monday. It… was… PAINFUL! My physio told me I would need rest Monday and Tuesday but would hopefully be able to run Wednesday so I adjusted my plan accordingly. I decided to scale down the mid-week runs to the same distance but in KM instead of Miles (which is about 60% of the original plan)
I’ve got 9weeks of training until my first ever marathon! Wow that sounds scary!
I joined a running club in London. I’ve never been part of a club before but since I moved I’ve struggled a bit with motivation as I used to always run with my Dad and Sister. My long runs in particular I’m struggling with by myself so hopefully this club will work out well! My joining fee came with an initial assessment with a trainer. She had me running barefoot and also assessed my flexibility and strength. From this I was given a programme to follow around my running schedule that includes a stretches, rolling and strength exercises. Also as an added bonus I noticed that they sold my trainers (Brooks Adrenaline 15GTS) and when I asked about them they were being sold off at 50pounds each which was a lot cheaper than the original pair I bought earlier on the year (I was fitted in a running store if you’re interested you can read about it HERE). I bought two pairs, unfortunately they only had one pair of 15GTS in my size but they did have a pair of the 14GTS so I tried them on and decided to get both. I figure I can easily break in the two new pairs between now and Dopey and I’ll be sorted with three for the race weekend.
My main focus over the next 9 weeks is to stick to my training plan, I want to get the mileage under my belt without any more injury. To help prevent injury I’ll be adding in the strength and strength programs to my timetable and rolling everyday. The strength training plan isn’t super hardcore but focuses on building strength in my legs and core. I’m running a half marathon in week 5 and want to finish in under 2hrs25 as this is the time my Dad and Sister finished their half that they’ll be using for POT for Dopey.
Week in Review
I am really happy with how this week went. The only downside was that all of my midweek runs were in the gym. I much prefer to run outside but it was a very rainy week in London and as I’ve only moved recently I’ve got two routes that I’ve tried and neither in the rain before. I’ve also not found a route near my job as I’m quite centrally located (Old Street near Shorditch for anyone familiar with the area) the streets are really busy all around my office so any lunch time runs will have to be at the gym which is conveniently located around the corner to my office. I did however feel GREAT after my midweek runs! I rolled and stretched each time and did a longer stretch session on Thursday as well as the strength training exercises I’ve been given. I didn’t do the strength training Friday as I was a little sore from Thursday and wanted to make sure I could complete the 15m run on Sunday
This weeks long run was scheduled for 15miles which would be a pretty big step up from the 10miles the week before. As I’ve mentioned before I am following a plan that is a mix of Hal Higdon’s 10mile, novice supreme marathon and Dopy training plans. We were following the novice supreme marathon plan however we adjusted the week prior to the 10mile down to match the final week in his 10mile plan to insure we were in a good place for a run to get a good POT. As a result last weeks run was still at the right length of 10miles per the Novice Supreme Marathon plan as this was a step back week (our long runs alternate so every second weekend is shorter). It feels so strange calling a 10mile run a ‘step back’ week, that 10mile run was LONG!
So coming off the back of a difficult 10miler we also had another complication. Our family vacation this year was in Spain and we arrived on Saturday. I was traveling from London on a very early flight so I was up at 4am Saturday morning with about 3.5hrs sleep. We had checked the temperatures in advance and it was looking pretty hot indeed. So Sunday morning we get up at 5am (which is 4am home time) big sleepy heads on us and get ourselves dressed, eat my usual bagel with peanut butter. I strapped on my fitletic belt with both 8oz bottles filled with cold water. My Dad has a large sports bottle on his belt with water mixed with tabs and we all carry an additional 500ml bottle of power aid. I strap on my Garmin and we hit the road.
It was SO HOT!!! The air felt heavy as I tried to breath it in, I was sweating like crazy and I could already feel the additional effort this was taking just 1mile in. We took a short walk break and already felt defeated. We pushed on and it was tough, our pace was BAD, we usually run about 6mins a km and we were up at 8mins initially. We dropped a bottle of power aid and water around this point to pick up on our return. We got to about the 4mile mark and my sister was really struggling. There was a little meltdown had at this point and we walked it out and I said let’s just get to the 10km mark and then we can reassess and continue or turn around if needed (we were doing an out and back). I should note at this point that my Dad was of course fine at this point as he always is because he is some sort of MACHINE! We continued with frequent walk breaks and made it to 10k when my sister was set on turning around. TBH I was happy to cut it short too as I was struggling with the heat pretty bad. We made the U-Turn and started running back.
Mentally the way back was easier. Rachel seemed happier and we ran some pretty good stretches without stopping. We started setting ourselves landmark targets that we’d run to without stopped as well. We did however realise at this point that we should have taken more fluids. The heat meant we needed more water, an extra bottle or two would have done it and had we frozen them and left them on our trail even to tip half over us and drink the rest would have been heaven. Physically I was starting to hurt more. My legs felt heavy and I was getting some discomfort in my shins and calf which I am putting down to wearing new runners. I was running for the first time in my new 15GTS which I know wasn’t the best idea but I left my original pair of 15GTS back home in Dublin after the 10mile so I have them there to do my training runs anytime I’m home and for the BIG ONE… The Dublin Marathon!
Back to my run. We had a strong couple of miles on the return journey but the last few were tough. We were low and then out of fluids and really hot and bothered as the sun had started to rise. We made it back though and I didn’t feel terrible afterwards. I was just HOT! I quickly caught my breath and enjoyed a cold drink of water and then felt like I could run more if necessary. So in the end we made 12.5/15. Not what we wanted but considering the circumstances I’ll take it and I’m proud of us for getting through a second mentally tough run together.
Next week’s long run is down as 16miles and we’ll still be here in Spain. Wish me luck!
Date: Saturday 22nd August 2015
Location: Pheonix Park, Dublin, Ireland
Entry Fee: €20
I was nervous the morning of this run (becoming a running trend for official races) this time because of the problems I’ve been having with my right quad. I went for Physio the day before back in Dublin (I flew home from London for this race) and I was told that I was fine to run but that I should come back on the Monday for Dry needling.
Rachel and my Dad had already run a half marathon two weeks previous (the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Half) in a time of 2hrs 25mins which is a pace of 11:04/mile.
Our goals today:
Goal A: Finish the race – this seems like an obvious one but with my injury I was worried
Goal A+: Beat the pace set by Dad and Rachel of the half marathon so that this race could also be a good POT especially for me as my half marathon wasn’t until the end of September which is cutting it close for POT
Goal A++: 10miles in 1hr37mins which sits right at a pace of 9:45/mile which is about the pace I ran the 10k in earlier in the year.
The morning of the race we got up early, I ate my usual pre-run breakfast of a bagel with peanut butter and banana (I sometimes forgo the banana). Me and Rachel decided to wear our red minnie sparkle skirts for the first time as a sort of trial run for the Dublin Marathon and Dopey (and because I already want another one but felt I should try it out first!). I was also wearing my fitletic belt and filled both 80z bottles with power aid as there were water stops on the course.
We arrived and parked close to Phenix Park and made our way towards the start. This race was part of the official race series for the Dublin Marathon so it was really busy
We stopped to use the portable toilets, there were a few different groups of them and we walked further from the start for a shorter line. Soon after we lined up to start.
There didn’t really seem to be an official start and before we knew it we were crossing the start line which was right when Dad realised his Nike Plus watch hadn’t got satellite signal so me and Rachel ran on ahead and he caught us a few minutes later.
I was feeling good, my quad was taped up from phsyio the day before and my legs felt strong. The new sparkle skirt was comfortable and we got lots of compliments from fellow runners and spectators.
We were about a mile into the run when my positive outlook changed. Rachel was really struggling, she wasn’t feeling great at all and we stopped for an early walk break. Unfortunately it was an uphill battle from there, she was getting really frustrated as she’d never struggled this early on. We were taking regular walk breaks and our pace was suffering which just added to the frustration. I had been sipping my poweraid and thinking I probably should have done one bottle power aid and one water as the first water stop wasn’t until 4miles and it was quite warm and sweaty!
When we got to the water stop around mile 4 there were no cups left so all they had were the large water bottles they’d been using the fill the cups so we grabbed one of them that was about 1/4 full and shared it. It was so awkward to drink out of!
Random running pic of Rachel and Dad
We continued to push on, when we were running our pace was still about our usual running pace of 9:45/mile but our walks were more frequent and longer than usual. We continued getting lots of cheers for the ‘minnie’s’ which was fun! The temperature however was more humid than we’d been used to which didn’t help our situation. We were coming towards the half-way point when we were blessed with a long hill that gave us a little boost. At the bottom of the hill was this beauty
A fire truck spraying us with water… HEAVEN
We continued to push on and the course took us outside of park along the main road. We came back in to find our next water stop around 8mile and AGAIN it was a bit of a disaster with only large water bottles. We took another one to share. We took our final walk break about 500m out from the finish line. I was feeling good push to the finish before that but it just wasn’t Rachel’s day.
We got close to the finish line and the crowd support was great. The announcer shouted out my Dad’s name saying that he must thinking ‘I would’ve been finished AGES ago if it hadn’t been for these two’ which gave me a bit of a giggle because it’s totally true!
Here are some photos from our sprint to the finish!
This has to be one of the happiest running photos I’ve ever seen
We finished strong as we normally do and collected our race bags and tech t-shirt but NO MEDAL… Seriously grinds my gears when there is no medal!
Myself and Rachel had to go straight to dance class to teach for two hours. My legs were TIGHT which I think is down to all the walking as they’d cool down and tighten up before we’d run again. We got a nice photo back home in our new shirts
My official finish time: 01:49:45
A new PR at the 10mile distance WHOOP!
(ye it was our first 10mile SO WHAT?! haha)