Thursday, 15 October 2009

Mission accomplished

At approximately 11.55am on Sunday 11th October I finished my first half-marathon!

Looking back at it three days on, I think I enjoyed it although at the time it was agony…

The alarm went off early on Sunday morning, a bowl of porridge later and we were on our way to the station with me moaning that I didn’t want to do this and saying I wished I could go back to bed. Fortunately we bumped into another Orpington Road Runner at the station and talking to them on the train distracted me from my moaning! We arrived at Charing Cross in good time and headed off to the start area of the Royal Parks Half Marathon in Hyde Park. The Mall was deserted having already been closed off for the race, but as we got closer to the start area the crowds increased.

Once in the start area the queuing began – queuing for the toilets, then the baggage and then the toilets again, in fact we spent so much time queuing that we only just got into our start area before the race start time. We needn’t have worried too much though as once the start gun had gone we were another 10 minutes walking to the actual start line before we started running. Then imagine my surprise as I went across the line and the announcer says ‘and we have Zoe running for Cancer Research’… ‘Ooh, that’s me!’ I muttered to which the announcer confirmed ‘yes, that’s you!’ How embarrassing!!

The first couple of miles weren’t too bad as the route took us out of Hyde Park, past Buckingham Palace, down Bird Cage Walk, past Parliament Square and onto the Embankment and Mr W confirmed that we were going at a good pace. After a loop along the Embankment we turned back towards Trafalgar Square, along the Mall and after about 5.5 miles we re-entered Hyde Park. Here there were loads of crowds cheering everyone on and I felt quite overwhelmed by it all, especially as lots of people were calling out my name that was written on my blue Cancer Research top – yes, I was continually confused by all of these people knowing my name and kept turning round expecting to see someone I knew!

We reached the half-way point in about 1h 4min, but then it started to get hard as we weaved our way around Hyde Park and my legs, lower back, feet all started to hurt at various points. I wanted to walk but knew that if I did that I’d never start running again so I kept thinking to myself I’ll have a walk break after so many miles and then when I got there I’d think well I’ve run this far it would be silly to start walking now. Mr W stuck with me the whole time and eventually we made it to the finish straight – it wasn’t exactly a sprint finish but we did cross the line together in 2h 15min 43s!

Very pleased to have done it and to have raised so much money for Cancer Research UK (over £1000 to-date – thanks to all your support) but not sure whether I’d do it again…. although I do wonder whether with more training my legs might not have hurt so much in the second half…..

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

What have I let myself in for?

You know those times when you think 'why, oh why, did I agree to do that?' and 'it seemed such a good idea at that time', well I am currently having one of those moments BIG TIME! It is now less than a week, 4 days 20 hours to be more precise, until I attempt my first half marathon and I am starting to panic...

Mr W keeps reminding me of all the miles of training I have put in and whilst my rational self can see his point, my irrational panicking self can't help but focus on my lack of training in the last few weeks whilst I've been recovering from not being on my thyroxine tablets. I did 2 short runs last week and then a longer 7 mile run on Sunday but still I am not satisfied and am wondering how I am going to manage almost double that in just a few short days. And should I worry about getting out for a couple of runs this week or should I just listen to my rather weary body and focus on getting plenty of sleep instead?

So many worries and no definitive answers... the only thing I do know is that I will be there on that start line on Sunday and can feel proud that to date I have raised over £850 for Cancer Research UK. Thanks to everyone who's helped me to do that!

Monday, 28 September 2009

Chislehurst Chase

After last Sunday's first foray back into running I managed another 4 mile run on Thursday evening. It was a beautiful evening and I got home from work early enough such that I was able to do half the run out in the countryside. In fact my intention was only to do a short trip into the fields and then home but I felt so good plodding along that I extended my route and took the long way home around the roads. A very positive run! I also went to a Bodybalance class on Saturday.

However this probably wasn't sufficient training for yesterday's Chislehurst Chase - a new 10k race around Scadbury Park and Chislehurst Common. The organisation was somewhat chaotic but they eventually managed to clear the road for the start and we headed off along the road for a short distance before turning off into the woods. The course was basically 2 laps around the nature reserve and although there seemed to be some downhill sections in the first half of the lap the second half seemed to be all uphill and it was tough! After starting out with a good pace I got slower and slower and tried to encourage Mr W, who was running with me, to go on ahead and finish on his own so that I could plod round at my own slow pace. To his credit he didn't leave me and kept up his boot camp instructor style of encouragement for the majority of the course, whilst I moaned and groaned about feeling sick, dizzy and having achy legs.

Eventually we finished the second lap of the nature reserve and were sent off on a short doubling-back section before the finish, at which point I realised that as well as being a hilly course this 10k was actually going to be more like 10.5k. Plus this last section was on the flat so there was no excuse for a sneaky walk up the hill to rest my weary legs...

Finally finished in a rather disappointing 1h 9min - a slower average pace than the Dry Hill 10 - and was left feeling slightly panicked about how I am going to manage to run twice the distance in two weeks time... eek!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Tentative steps

After much moaning to my doc about how I couldn't possibly miss 3 weeks of my half-marathon training he agreed to give me some different tablets for a couple of weeks that would get into my system quicker and subsequently allow me to start running again quicker - hurrah!

I started the tablets last Saturday and so eight days later on Sunday I felt ready to take my first tentative steps around the pavements of Orpington. My energy levels didn't feel too bad but my muscles were still not great and started complaining after 5-10 minutes. In the end I only managed a rather disappointing 1.5 miles at a very slow pace.

Better than nothing I suppose but it did leave me wondering how I am going to build up to 10k for the Chislehurst Chase this coming Sunday - planning some more short runs this week so hopefully my muscles will start to loosen up.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The Ban

I feel frustrated! Just when training has been going well I have been forbidden to run - the doctor said for at least 2-3 weeks, I have agreed to rest for a week and then see how I feel.

I struggled around the Dry Hill 10 on Sunday - my calves were agonisingly tight for the first 3.5 miles until Mr W persuaded me to stop and give them a good stretch. This helped things and with much cajoling from Mr W (reminiscent of our early running days around Wimbledon Common) I finally made it round the course in a respectable time of just over 1h 40min. I even managed a sprint finish! But I didn't exactly enjoy it and was exhausted afterwards.

The problem is that I haven't been taking my thyroxine tablets for the last month in preparation for having a scan this week to review the progress of my thyroid cancer treatment. I knew a side-effect of not taking the tablets is tiredness but I thought I could beat that by keeping up the exercise. Unfortunately nobody told me that another side-effect is stiff muscles and that running in that situation is a definite no-no - the doctor nearly had a cardiac when I mentioned the 10-mile race! So I am being good and not running this week, whilst trying not to panic about missed training schedules, but am hoping to be able to get running again as soon after my scan as possible.

I promise not to let all you kind people who've sponsored me so far down though and will be on that start line on 11 October whatever! On a positive note, fundraising is going well - thanks to your help I have reached my initial target of £500 for Cancer Research and so have decided to increase it to £750. If you want to help me achieve this, here's a reminder of the link:
Their work really matters.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Is this the end of summer?

It hasn't really been a good week for training this week...

It started off ok on Tuesday when I went out with the running club, but even that was twinged with sadness as it was my last run with the club before Brownies term starts again next week and even sadder the daylight is fading so rapidly these days that we only managed a brief skirmish along the Shire Lane Bridleway and up across the field to Farnborough Church before we were resigned to the roads. It wasn't all bad though as we ended up doing about 6.5 miles in around 67 minutes (exact figures not known as my GPS device went mad after the first mile and the only way to get it to stop buzzing at me was to turn it off completely!) and I had a good chat with an old neighbour on the way round.

I then planned to run on Wednesday after work but wimped out due to the rain, so decided to run the following morning but in the end was too tired to get out of bed when the alarm went off. So as a very poor compromise I went and pounded the treadmill last night for 20 mimutes or so before going to Bodybalance. Not perfect but better than nothing I guess....

May go out for a quick jog this evening but will see how tired I feel as don't want to over-do it before helping out at a Brownie event all afternoon tomorrow and then we've got the Dry Hill 10 race on Sunday, although if the current autumnal weather continues it may be more like the Mud Hill 10!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside...

What better idea for an August Bank Holiday weekend, than to visit the seaside along with the scores of other urbanites looking for a bit of fun in the sand? Fortunately for Mr W and myself, my parents live in Weymouth and once we've battled our way through the jams on the "car park" that is the M25 on a Friday night, we have a very comfortable place in which to stay (try reading my other blog 'The Cake Shop' for evidence of the wondrous array of cakes on offer during this latest visit).

Anyhow, I digress and am forgetting that this blog is supposed to be about my half-marathon training, which is how on a rather overcast Bank Holiday Sunday morning Mr W and I came to be running around the back streets of Weymouth secretly patting ourselves on the backs at our intelligence for doing the boring part of our weekly long run first and saving the best bit along the seafront for the return portion. Unfortunately, in this haze of smugness, we failed to notice that actually it was quite windy as well as overcast, such that when we turned the corner and ascended onto the sea wall we were hit straight on by a barrage of wind. Suddenly we didn't feel quite so clever. We battled on into the wind taking cover where possible from the hoards of holidaymakers out for a seafront stroll. Mr W suggested running on the pebbly beach for extra resistance but I opted out of that deciding that I was getting enough resistance from the wind. We did venture onto the beach once we got to the more sheltered sandy end and imagined for a while that the sun was shining before we headed home. A good run all in, in a reasonable time considering the conditions (8.7 miles in 1h 26min) and hopefully good preparation for this coming weekend's challenge, the 'Dry Hill 10' at Lingfield.