Saturday, June 26, 2010
It's here!! IT's time!! And it only happens every 4 years!!
Your team has to qualify to make the 32 that actually participate!!
USA not only made it, it's now in the knock out stage!!
But that's not the only exictment for me this weekend!! Nope, Living here in England where Football (not soccer!) is a religion to many folks; there is a knockout match to be held as well!
I don't know how many of you have been following the World Cup play, but it has been exciting!! It looked like USA would be going home in the first stages but then, an amazing 92 min goal and exitment!! Just check out this link!
I was so excited the folks next store must have heard me cheering!!! I'm hoping that will be repeated today (tonight for me) as USA goes against Ghana!! I''m flying the colors over here!!
Then on Sunday...It's ENGLAND v Germany!! A classic match up and all to play for! The flags are definatly flying from the houses, the cars, windows, and atop flagpolls! It will be an amazing match to watch! COME ON!!!
I do love my running, but this time of year, every 4 years, I become a super football fan!! GO USA!!! GO ENGLAND!!!
So very disappointed about the USA going out against Ghana! Now it's Sunday and it's all up to ENGLAND to do the magic!! COME ON!!
England has been defeated by Germany today and are out as well. So disappointing and what a disaster score! 1-4!! There is always the next WC in 4 years!
Friday, May 28, 2010
Living in the North West countryside area of England provides me with many opportunities to leave behind the asphalt when I head out for my almost daily run.
I've recently taken advantage of the slightly warmer and dryer weather to explore a bit more of the local public footpaths. I am going to call these my "Ramble Runs". You can see the "ramblers" out and about on just about any given day. They are usually groups of walkers with sticks, packs, maps, hats, boots, etc! Way too much gear for my liking.
I prefer to go it alone, with my hydration waist pack, my Garmin,a map and some music softly playing in my ears to encourage me along. Before setting out I do a bit of computer research to find a footpath map of where I am wanting to explore. I don't want to get out there and not be able to find my way across an expanse of land.
Some of the best paths I've found are the ones that snake through the woods and present you with a fairyland type setting. The ground is carpeted with bluebells and decorated with various others flowers and ferns.
When the path crosses over a stream often a footbridge is a pleasant surprise.
With footpaths criss crossing this area I know there are many "ramble runs"for me to explore. It's no wonder that each year I look forward to the Lakeland Trail Series up in Cumbria. Simply amazing races/challenges that utilize some of the more rugged and terrain challenging paths of approximately 12K-17K. Looking forward to the Kentmere event on 5 June.
Why not have a look around where you live and do a bit of rambling of your own!!
Friday, May 14, 2010
This is for the little girl that lives within me. For her voice that carries me along in each of my runs and races and especially my marathons!
I will reward her by doing my absolute best and keep repeating the mantra: I CAN DO IT!
Enjoy watching the link below and reward YOUR inner child! She/He deserves it!
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
The inspirational reading on my daily calendar today pretty much sums up my attitude toward marathon running—“If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving”. King
Sometimes during the course of the 26.2 miles (42K) marathon distance I go through each of the above phases. However, my mind remains fixed on that waiting, beckoning finish line, and I continually push onward.
This was the pull London had on me even before stepping into my start corral at Blackheath on 25 April 2010 in Greenwich. Because a race/event begins long before the starting line it; it’s that idea that I CAN DO THIS, and so I WILL.
My husband and I arrived in London Thursday afternoon and followed our three time before routine of getting to our hotel, dropping our bags and heading to the race expo to secure our numbers, kit bags and scour the exhibitor booths for clothing, running gadgets and the like. This is always a memorable occasion and we always document it with photographs. Often times we or I return the next day catch any last opportunity to pick up a bargain or catch a glimpse of any running celebrity.
So it was that Friday morning we made a return trip after an evening’s think about some new shoes. It was on our sweep through the show floor that we noticed people congregating at one of the booths and on closer inspection my husband excitedly came back over to me and announced that it was Paula Radcliffe!! OH MY!!! Paula...THE Paula was standing just a few feet away from us and we had cameras in hand.... (If you aren't aware, Paula is the World Record Holder for the Women's Marathon 2:15:25 and is from the UK and ran it in London) We joined the autograph/picture line and the Legend that is Paula was gracious as she signed my running shoe and posed for a never to be forgotten photo! I babbled something about how we had just watched two nights before, for inspiration, our recording of the 2008 NYC Marathon which we ran and she won. Meeting her was like being touched by running royalty and sprinkled by magic dust. The experience left me in awe and wowed by a very special pre-marathon moment.
On Saturday it was time to turn our focus to preparing for Sunday’s race. We had both finished our last easy paced shorter distance runs around Canary Wharf and even got to run along the marathon route marked by the this years RED line (in recognition of the Virgin Corp sponsoring the race). Our evening pre race meal was jacket potatoes with cheese and a light salad provided by room service so we would do as little walking as possible.
Marathon Sunday Morning started early; 0400 and we were awake with nerves already in second gear! Always before a race my stomach just churns with excitement and I do my best to calm them by just robotically going through the same routines of preparing muesli/fruit/milk breakfast, packing after race sandwiches and drinks; mixing up sport drink for my hydration pack during the race ( I don’t use the race provided drink, don’t like it), showering and then putting the last items in the kit bag to carry up to the start area to be then deposited in the trucks that will transport them for me to collect at the finish. At 0700 we left our hotel and began the exodus of the “Red Bag People” towards Greenwich.
I had planned our route to the start with precision so we would have as little walking as possible. We took the Docklands Light Railroad from the Docklands area to Greenwich where we walked a short distance to catch the above ground train to the next stop at Maize Hill. Then it was an approximate one mile uphill to the start areas.
As my husband had secured a good for age entry his start area would be different than my club provided entry and once guiding him to his GREEN START area and giving him a kiss and wishing him a strong and fast finish time, I walked onward to the larger BLUE start.
My mind now began its focus on the task at hand; prepare myself during the next hour or so with the routines I have done six times before. These routines do help to settle me in some respects, but as the minutes creep towards that moment of turning in my kit bag my nerves just go into overdrive.
I mentally check off from my list each item as I finish; potty breaks, waist pack of gels, phone, tissues, money, ibuprofen secured; watch replaced with Garmin, USA bandana secured on my head, MP3 player on arm and playlist cued and ready to go; race shoes replaced walking shoes; over-pants removed. A quick phone call to my hubby over in the green start and a final strong running wish and then I hurriedly put on the rain poncho obtained at the expo from one of the charities as the predicted spot showers begin and then turn in my kit bag; it’s TIME! Time to go to my start corral. Time to trust my training. Time to make another Marathon Memory! Time to DO LONDON, again!
The race start areas are divided into 3 sections; RED, BLUE, and GREEN. The elite races all begin from the BLUE start. The Elite women were already on the course and by the scene on the big screen they were already past the 5K mark! Next the wheelchair athletes began and that would signal just 5 minutes until the Elite Men and the Mass start. Too far from the start line to hear the start signal it was the view across the grass field of a sea of runners moving that alerted me the marathon had begun. Nine minutes later I could see the start gate and then hear the electronic bond of my timing chip with the mat. MY race had now started.
There had been a glitch in the last 10 minutes prior to my start…my Garmin 305 would NOT turn on! The instrument I was counting on to help me maintain and gauge my pace/speed/HR was not going to be available. I was devastated! I was going to be running blind and it shook me. The only hope I had of knowing how I was doing was to notice the clock time at the mile markers and try to keep the same margin of minutes throughout the course. (Something to be said about keeping a watch on the other wrist.)I had prepared a race time band that would be of some assistance when mentally attempting to figure my pace/splits.
I was listening to my body and my own breathing to gauge how I was running. I could tell I was at a quick pace the first couple of miles. As runners streamed past me I kept my focus on what I felt like. How was my body responding? It is so easy to get caught up with what the “others” are doing and attempt to keep pace.
The rain had passed and now the humidity of the morning began to settle in. I registered the “Come on Mary” shouts I heard as I passed by the spectator lined street sides. I passed the 5K marker with a split that was quicker than my pace band. I was on target for my desired finish. This is the area of the course where the RED start runners join onto the road I was on. The road remains divided for a short distance and then we run as ONE unit until the finish.
Water stations were provided more frequently than the mile distance previously arranged as organizers anticipated temperatures into the mid 70sF. This was not the case as the cloud cover stayed with us well into the halfway point.
I kept focus as best I could with the music softly playing in my ears so I could also soak in the on course entertainment. My 10K split was still slightly under my projected time. It seemed like each pub along the way had either a band outside or music blaring from speakers to cheer and encourage us along. The children’s attempts to “high-five” us as we went by was as if to capture some of that “magic dust” I felt when I met Paula just two days previous.
The turn onto Tower Bridge always takes me by surprise! It sends chills and brings a wide smile because to see that span above you is simply amazing and words can’t express. It’s one of the very few uphill in the course and is deafening by 3 deep rows of cheering and shouting spectators. This is defiantly the first “ROCK STAR” moment of the race.
The clouds for the moment had passed and warm sunshine necessitated a few side stepping diversions into the course provided showers. The short respite was a welcome relief as I now was entering the part of the course where the quicker runners were at mile 22 and I was barely half way. My eyes scanned the approaching fast flowing ribbon of sub 3:30 projected finishers for my husband. If we were both on pace there was a possibility of us passing so I positioned myself along the left side of the road. These amazing athletes were moving at close to twice my pace and deserved respect for their achievements. Due to my pace in the previous 10K I realized that my husband was well passed this portion of the course and nearing his final few miles along The Embankment. How I wish I was that close to finishing! The course now turned and headed toward the Isle Of Dogs and the Docklands; a portion of the race that had unravelled me before.
Going through the mile markers at 15 and 16 I could tell my time was slipping. I was developing an uncomfortable ache in my periformis (R glut muscle) and it wouldn’t stop. I had some pain relief pills that as a last resort I took at mile 16. I pressed on and the support at Mile 17 was encouraging and the smells of barbeques and Sunday lunches filled the air. I was now approaching the financial district of Canary Wharf and the tall glittering office buildings and the winding streets. I could feel a rubbing on the top of my R foot and could tell that the area was raw and if I didn’t stop for assistance I would not be able to endure the final 7 miles.
Reluctantly at 19 miles I sought out the St. John’s Ambulance first aid station and asked for assistance. This stop I knew would cost at least 10 minutes in my final time, but you do what you have to do. With a now bandaged toe I vowed that I would attempt to catch some of the runners that had passed by while I was being treated.
Blocking the discomfort of my glut muscle, the tightness in my IT Band and the bandaged toe, (all on my R leg) I continued my pursuit of the golden finish gates just 6 miles further. I approached the area where over an hour before I witnessed the sea of quicker runners pass me, now I passed the dismantling crew removing signs across the barrier. The Blackfriars Tunnel was ahead and crowds of people still adorned the overpass. A sign above announced that in just THREE miles I would make history! I held on to that thought….THREE, just three more miles.
Entering the tunnel I needed to stretch my tight IT Band and found the tunnel side a suitable stretching post. Then it was off again to make my way through the dampness and asphalt stickiness from sport drink/gels to the light of The Embankment and the River Thames.
Here I welcomed the tree sheltered street, the view of the Thames to my left, The London Eye further along and then the tall soldier like stance of Big Ben. Cheering crowds were still present as a woman ahead caught my focus. I remembered her passing me while I was stopped for assistance, I was now determined to not only catch her but stay ahead of her. My mind shifted to something to divert its continual reminder to me of the bodily discomforts I was feeling. Now I could reel her in foot strike by foot strike. Before the turn onto Birdcage walk, less than a mile from the finish I overtook her and planned to keep it that way.
Big Ben’s loud 4 o’clock chiming announcement singled to me that I was now 15 min beyond the finish time I was hoping for. I pressed on and continued running when others around me had been reduced to continual walking. It hurt my hip more to walk than run, so I kept running. I ran passed the Houses of Parliament, passed earlier finishers making their way from the area, passed the overhanging sign that stated just 385 yards left. Passed the 800 metre sign, then the 400 metre. I know that is just once around the track....I kept that illustration as I pressed forward.
Buckingham Palace was on my left the quick lean to the right, the large projection screen on the left and then that final welcoming right turn to see the yellow finish gates across the expanse of the Mall. Applauding and cheering crowds lined the finishing straight either in the stands or against the fences, The Union Jack adorned the flag posts and photographers positioned themselves to capture the last steps of a long yet rewarding journey to the awaiting final timing mat. My arms outstretched, I mentally pulled that gate toward me and ran through the finish line of my seventh marathon.
No personal best time like my husband’s amazing 3:18:43, no second goal time of less than 6 hours because Big Ben’s chime announcing 4 o’clock signalled that. Just the warm satisfaction of completing something I had set as a goal in the best manner I could. I kept moving and finished in 6:18:01....and never ever quit!
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