Sunday, March 30, 2008
It's been 16 weeks since I started on my road to London. I've now completed over 440 training miles, gone through 2 pairs of shoes, consumed gallons of sports drink and gels, run a half marathon, injured my hamstring, had massages, gone through physio treatment and made new friends.
All of the above has been done so in just 2 weeks I can hopefully run my fastest marathon to date. I've been able to stick with my training program for the most part. The hamstring injury put me back some miles, but I've pushed myself to keep to form.
Now I have printed up my race pace braclet, prepared a playlist on my iPod, purchased and broken in my Nike Structure Triax +11. Monday, 31 March begins my taper. I have just one marathon pace run of double digits. The rest of the runs will keep my weekly total to about 40 miles. The hard work has been done and now it's keeping the legs and lungs ready for the 13 April.
One of the differences with this training is I had a running buddy for my long runs. Kelly is my IT instructor and got a place for London in the ballot. This is her first marathon and she asked if she could run with me. It has made the Saturday hours on the road a lot better. This past Saturday we ran a 10 mile route that will be the last double digit long run. We have gotten to know each other better through the hours on the road, and over a bowl of homemade soup for our after run meal. Just one more long run awaits. One more bowl of soup.
Monday, March 24, 2008
My Marathon Registration form arrived along with the Marathon News as I mentioned in my previous blog entry. Plus, the infamous RED LACES!
Yep, I've put the laces in my newly bought London 2008 Marathon shoes and now I'm set!! The spiffy red ties are a great contrast to my yellow Nike Triax! Ok, they aren't supposed to make your shoes look better or give you that extra bit of confidence on the course or in training, BUT if that happens, FANTASTIC!
What they are for is to wear on Marathon Sunday 13 April and for each runner that crosses the line with them, the Heart Charity UK, gets a donation!! How's that for an easy way to help hearts??!! I think it is fantastic as I had been diagnosed with high blood pressure some years back. My running has brought my blood pressure down (along with mediation) to a very normal range.
This past Saturday 22 March, I laced up my new shoes with the Red Laces and went out for my longest training run of this Marathon preparation....20 Miles! Yes I felt spiffy, felt energetic and had a great run. And wouldn't you know it, the one other runner I saw out there (not counting my running buddy) was wearing his Red Laces!! I think it's catching on!
My taper has begun, as the long hard miles are behind me and all I am looking at is a slow reduction of miles until London. I am so looking forward to this! Bring IT on!
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!)
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