Monday, March 03, 2008
The Long and Winding Road, European Capital of Culture 2008, The Ferry Across the Mersey...each of those statements would answer the question; "Tell me one thing about Liverpool, UK?"
Another fact would be that on 2 March 2008 the Liverpool Half Marathon took place.
It was an early rise and a 45 minute motorway drive down to Liverpool. The weather was bright and somewhat clear skies, but windy and briskly cold. Hubby and I had to drive to a city car park and take the bus transport to Sefton Park where the race would start and finish. Prior to getting the bus we changed into our race clothes and took the items we would need immediately following the race in a backpack to check in at the start/finish area.
Sefton Park was slowly filling with the additional 4,000 runners as we made our own final preparations and then joined the others in the start pen, with my husband placing himself much further up than me as his finish time would at least be an hour before me. With the sound of the Army cannon, the race began.
I didn't need to keep my Physio's words in my mind to treat this as a training run, my hamstring gentle pressure throughout the course kept me at a marathon rather than half-marathon pace. That was fine with me as I didn't want to cause any further damage to my mending muscle.
The course was a bit disappointing as we didn't get to see the wonderful sites of the River Mersey, the government buildings or the Albert Docks. Instead we ran from one park, down Parliament Street around an urban area and then back the up the hilly Parliament Street to another park where we did a few loops and then back to Sefton Park and a few more loops there until the route brought us back into the park were we began.
The first downhill mile passed by a bit too quickly and I knew I needed to slow up a bit or my leg might give out on me earlier then the finish line. Shortly after the 3 mile mark I passed my husband coming up the hill and looking strong. He was at least 3 miles ahead of me!! Easing into a nice steady rhythm I continued down to the water station where at 4 miles I walked to take on liquid. I had my sport drink in my camelbak but the water was a nice change, I also took my first isotonic gel.
Realizing that the uphill was approaching I was forced to slow to a walk to ease any tightness in my hamstring. Leveling off I picked up my pace passing some other runners who were having some difficult times. I could see the grimace in their faces as they fought their own physical limitations to push on to reach their goal, some it would be their first half marathon.
The next water station was at 8 miles where I walked again to hydrate and take on another gel. My legs were tired, but my breathing was great. I continued on and chuckled when one of the marshal's encouragingly said I was almost there, and reminded him that I had 5 more miles!
I was passing even more people, some had passed me earlier. I was now looking at my watch and realizing that I could finish in the adjusted time I had hoped for. I was now running along the outside of the park and closing in on the 11th mile. Earlier finishers were walking past adorned with their medals and some with the race T-shirts. They called out encouraging "well done" or "almost there" "great job" and I couldn't help but smile back and tell them thank you.
Approaching the last quarter mile I saw my husband, camera in hand, on the sidewalk telling me how great I was doing. It was the boost that helped me sail into the finishing funnel. I took my final steps, crossed over the timing mat with my arms open wide and a smile of achievement. I had completed my eighth half marathon race since my first in June 2005. This wasn't my fastest half marathon, but it was a good run with a strong finish. My time: 2:50:44 Not bad considering the hamstring tear.
My focus as I said in my previous post has been LONDON, not Liverpool. I am pleased that I was able to run Liverpool a bit faster than Marathon pace. I feel strong, capable, prepared to move on with my training and in six short weeks from today London, I pray will be a record breaking memory.
(my husbands time? a speedy 1:35:34!)
Friday, February 29, 2008
The last day of another month, a leap out of this one, a bridge to what awaits. Where I am today is preparing myself for a Half Marathon on Sunday. I'm a bit nervous as I want to do well. But now some of that worry has been removed.
About a month ago, I did a speed/sprint hill session with my Women's Running Group. Before finishing I realized that my hamstring area hurt and wasn't getting any better over the following weeks. I tried to stretch it out, ease up on the running keeping to more level areas and a bit slower paces. This worked for a bit until Tuesday and more speed and inclines, then I pushed it again yesterday with a speed session and yep, it HURT. I had to do something. Stretching, ice, heat, etc was not going to fix this, I needed to go to a physio.
The short of today's visit is, I can run the Half on Sunday (glad about that) but I can't run it as a race, it can be a training run. So there goes my hope of doing a Personal Best. I am fine with that! I wanted to be able to run and was fully prepared to NOT run it if that is what the Physio told me. My focus is not on Liverpool, it's on London, the marathon that is just a short 6 weeks away.
So now I look ahead, I will do an easy 2 mile run in the morning, pack and prepare my race bag and kit. I will keep my mind positive and run and even walk if that is what my body tells me on Sunday. This will be a good race, this will be an enjoyable race, this will be a race shared with my husband as it will be the first one he will run since his back injury a year ago.
I'm taking a leap of faith here with my hamstring. I am trusting that what the physio did today will enable me to do what I want to do on Sunday. Here's to the Long and Winding Roads of Liverpool!
Monday, February 25, 2008
Another week...another way point in my journey towards London and beyond.
However, before London, there is Liverpool! I've been training hard with the Half on 2 March in mind. I was able to keep to my training program by getting out each planned day and running the necessary miles. I hit a high of 51.17 miles for the week! OUCH! Yes, that IS a lot of miles and I have been attempting to balance that all with rest, massage, and hot bath soaks.
I had some down miles during the long run of 16 miles on Saturday. I was sore, tired, hurting a bit on my periformis and L hamstring niggle and my mind wanted to stop. I so wished at that moment I could have been teleported back home. That is when after adjusting my sock, and retieing my shoe, I came up with a new mantra. (run through......the pain) What ever that "pain" is for that moment...run through it. It might be physical pain, emotional pain, disappointment type pain, whatever that pain is..keep going. Look beyond it, to what is waiting.....
for me in Liverpool, I am looking beyond to see the best half marathon time yet, a new venue to run, a great medal and race T shirt.
for life...I will run through each moment I am given to make it the best possible. To see the sunshine amongst the storm clouds. To keep going, to re-evaluate and learn what it is I need to do for me to be a healthier me.
...so I will run through today, just like in a run/race I have read that you "run through the finish line". You don't slow up because you see the finish line waiting, but you keep on pace, on target and see the course... you finish strong, to be able to run through the next course.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
I have found something that I really enjoy. I have found something that is having a positive effect on my blood pressure, my eyesight, my resting heart rate, my skin tone, my weight, my attitude. It's running.
I never was athletic growing up and never felt that I was exceptional at anything. But with running, I feel like I have wings, my heart beats faster, my breathing is even and strong, I smile and enjoy the sites around me. I get to listen to my favorite music or podcasts while I have sometimes hours of ME time.
I have run races with Olympic champions, Commonwealth Marathon Champions, UK National Champions and outstanding club and non affiliated runners.
I have been inspired by meeting Dena Kastor and Stefano Baldini in London prior to my husband running his outstanding London Marathon in 2006. I have great pictures of world famous athletes and lesser known local runners as they have raced past me in 5ks up to marathon distances.
I have been inspired by thousands of women gathering together to better their health while running in Race For Life and Worst Kept Secret organized races. My local Women's Running Network Group has encouraged me to push harder and go that little bit more.
I have achieved medals, T-shirts, mugs, glasses, and other mementos from the over 30 races I have taken part in. I can re-run any one of these races as each are still fresh in my mind. I have a scrapbook of my accomplishments and photos to encourage me onward to my future planned races.
Running has brought me to a place I never imagined... completing marathons! I am not just a healthier person physically, but mentally and emotionally. So each day I go out for a run, I have the larger goal of being prepared for a race, but the immediate benefit is a stronger heart, a healthier body, a happier soul.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
The past couple of days have been a blurrrrrrrrrrr. I feel like I've lost my grip a bit on what I want to get done. I can see it in the distance but somehow the focus got a bit hazy.
There are so many things that make up my day and I just seem to get swallowed up by them. In order to do the things I want to do, other things get put on hold. They then form the line much like those in the deli, where you take a number and wait to be served.
I like to get my meals planned in advance and here I am again today kind of winging it! NOOOOOOOO!!! I don't do winging well!! I like to have it planned, to know in advance what I am going to make. I am behind in logging my day food into SP by FOUR days!! WHATTT!!! is THAT!!???? Not like me.!
I had so much paperwork to do yesterday that I was so tired my eyes hurt. I did get the transcribing done but my afternoon run had to be put over to this morning and now I will be doing a double run with my regular evening Women's Group run. aughhhhhh!! What do I do with myself some times!!
Ok...so now time to get a grip! Refocus...adjust the lenses and make the entire picture sharper!! For today! That is what I will look at....for today, I got the 5 mile easy paced run in...for today, I have planned my food. For today, the clothes are clean, For today, the kitchen is shining.
What will my goal for tomorrow be: 1 PLAN MY FOOD! That is it! nice and simple. Anything else I do will be a bonus for me. I'm going to take it that simple and see how it goes. I don't do blurrrrrrrrrrrrr well!!!
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