Saturday, August 28, 2010
I couldn’t help but feel the adrenaline rush kick in about an hour before my scheduled time to start! The tell tale signs were my stomach churning, my heart racing a bit and the urgency to get all kitted up and be ready when my start time approached.
With Ghostie in place on the pull tab of my jacket, music cued, bib pinned to my shirt and Garmin set I left at 8:01 GMT. You know you are in for an amazing event when you turn the corner and a rainbow greets you to the tune of U2s, “It’s A Beautiful Day!!”
I no sooner snapped a photo then the rain arrived. No turning back for a hat, I just kept going even through I knew I WOULD get more rain soaked! The first mile was along the main road and I looked forward to half mile further where I turn onto a side tree lined dirt track. Side stepping the puddles and rocks I pressed onward through my favourite part; the short downhill twisty bit. By now I had hit 2 miles and breathing was good and the rain was easing with a slight hint of sunshine.
Shortly ahead the track met back up with the main road and a quick left to the next side road just 200 yards ahead. This rural road took me to the half way point of the 5.89 miles and the sun continued shining. Just as I approached the long slow drag of my first uphill the song my “real” runner Maria had suggested for my playlist kicked on, “Hard” and it fit that moment. I thought of her out there on her uphill run and hoped I could mentally push her onward.
Mile 4 arrived and the uphill was steeper. Thinking of the crest soon to appear I just pushed to the top and the view of my village on the further hill. Just a few cyclists passed by quickly unaware that I was not just an ordinary runner; I was a Hood To Coast GHOST runner with a little over a mile remaining.
The houses are lovely along this country lane and I always enjoy taking in the view of their gardens. With today’s rain they were lush green and bursting with colourful flowers. I ignored the overhanging vines of blackberry bushes along the road and kept focused on the last 1.5 miles.
At approximately the mile to go mark I saw them….my cheering squad, my lovely country style cheerleaders!! Ok.. no pom poms in their hands or megaphones, but they did their best to acknowledge me by cheering me on with their “cow Like” eyes!!
I was now shifting gears; I left this country lane and returned to the main road I had started on and retraced my steps UP the steep hill to my little village. Keeping my stride as even as I could I did a bit of side-step chi running . I again thought of Maria and her final steps as I climbed higher, passed the village Post Office, then the turn passed the little library, passed the row of houses to my finish line.
I stopped my watch at 1:17:02 for 5.89 miles. I am sure Maria had caught her breath by the time I arrived. I felt so good doing this and being a part of something greater with all of the other Ghosts and Coast runners! Well done to everyone! Simply Amazing!!
(Just an aside, as this was part of my marathon training run, I needed to run a full 8 miles. So after logging in my time, I continued up and around my area to complete my training run!)
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Today marks my 4 Year Spark Anniversary!
I found SP through a post on a running site and was curious. I wanted to have support, information, guidance, encouragement, accountability and motivation to not just keep my running going, but help with the nutrition of it as well as drop some weight.
I have found all of that and more on this site. It took me a month or two to get the hang of things, but I worked through the guidance provided and now am continually amazed at the high level of the information available. (The picture I chose is the icon for the very first team I joined)
My life has changed over these four years by becoming healthier, more active, more dedicated to squeezing every bit of life I can get out of a day! I am constantly learning from all the great blogs, posts, personal experiences found here.
My 20 lb weight loss might not be as impressive as some on here who have lost hundreds of pounds, but to me it is monumental. I have been given so many tools to use and it's up to me to pick them up and like a sculpturer, chisel away and shape my life.
I'm celebrating today! I'm rejoicing today in who I am and what I've learned. I am thankful to all those at Sparkpeople for this site and their dedication. I am thankful to each and every person who has crossed my life's path here; for those who have left messages and part of themselves,and to those who have just stopped by and read my posts, blogs, or looked at my photo gallery. Together we make a WE, and WE are a powerful force!
It's a very Happy 4th!
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Climbing a mountain isn't something everyone can do, or even want to do. I imagine it is difficult, time consuming, dangerous, and takes a huge amount of time preparing for. My nephew has climbed several mountains in the past couple of years and I know he has taken the necessary time preparing.
Marathon running is also something that not everyone can do or has the inclination to partake in. It is something that also is difficult, time consuming, can be dangerous, and takes a huge amount of preparation time. I know this to be a fact as I have run 7 marathons in 4 short years. I am now in the beginning stages of training for my eighth marathon on 21 November, Philadelphia.
I take time in my pre-marathon preparation to make a schedule of training runs on a paper calendar. It allows me to have an over view of the entire training time frame and plan races to test my progress through the weeks. This time the image of mountain climbing and my training crossed into one plan.
Just as a climb up a mountain has stages, my training has stages. There is a base camp in mountain climbing where the climbers aim to reach in the beginning of their ascent. My first four weeks of training are my "Base Camp" stage. It is where I am building my weekly distance from 15 miles up to 32. I have a 10K race to test my progress and acclimate me to the longer runs and 6 days of moderate consistent training.
During the next 5 weeks I move forward towards the secondary camp just as a climber moves higher up the mountain face. The climb gets more difficult, more testing more of a challenge. So has my training, My planned long runs are now double digit and my weekly mile total creeps upward from the 30mpw into the 40s. I test my endurance and stamina and speed by racing another 10K.
In order to reach the summit of the mountain from Secondary Camp, the climber needs to continue to acclimate to the higher altitude and take on additional equipment and their physical abilities and mental toughness is tested further. Thus it is in this4 week stage of my training. My longest of the long runs happen, the mid week marathon paced runs reach their highest, the speed sessions are consistent and the weekly miles crest just over 50. I will challenge myself with a half marathon race. I can see the goal that lies just 3 weeks beyond this point, the 26.2 miles of the marathon.
Unlike the mountain climber who once reaches the summit and the descends, I will gradually decrease my weekly miles but keep my fitness achieved on ascent to the summit by running consistently, running speed sessions and building the marathon paced runs to their highest. I will remain on that mountain top like being on a flat mountain top. I run along the top for a shorter distance, but keep to that level.
These three weeks before the marathon my miles will drop slighty leading up to Philadelphia and the final days are miles to just keep my legs turning over.
Then on 21 November, 2010 I will stand on the start line of my 8th marathon. I will stand at another base camp, I will climb another mountain, this time not over the course of 16 weeks, but I will put to asphalt what I have trained, sweated, ached and persevered to begin AND finish in a single 26.2 miles/42K. I will conquer my mountain, My Philadelphia Marathon.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
To prepare myself for Marathon #8 training, starting 2 August, I took a look back at 2007 and the video I made after running my 3rd Marathon and first London. The pictures of my husband, our good friend, the expo, race morning, the elite runners, the aches, the crowds, the finish line, the elation, the medal, the pride! I remember it all and it brings home to me why I run marathons. I'll keep these images as I train for Philadelphia 2010. Enjoy!
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