Fitness Journey, Health & Fitness

Fitness Diary – The main event

limits

First up, I’m sorry I’ve been pretty slack these passed few weeks.  Training for the half kind of took over for a wee while there and I haven’t been updating on all of the huge events that have happened throughout April. So because I missed it, here is how I finished the month:

April

Total distance: 83.65 miles

Number of runs: 15

Average distance: 5.6 miles

Furthest distance: 12 miles

April was such a significant month for me, I continued to run further than I’ve ever run before, I had my first experience of the London Marathon (more to come on that), I smashed my target for the year and ran a 10k in 58:19, and I may have booked a little 26.2 mile run in Paris next year!  Who knows what I was thinking when I woke up bleary eyed and entered what I thought was a ballot at 7am from my bed, only to receive a confirmation email with my race number.  The good news though was that booking a marathon certainly took the pressure of running a half!

I couldn’t possibly wrap up April without talking a bit more about the amazing time I had at the London Marathon.  I volunteered along with 20 other club members to marshall at the race so at 6am we headed off on the coach to London town.  We were stationed between mile 21/22 and I spent the whole day clapping, cheering and willing people on to the point where my palms tingled for two days after and my voice was almost completely gone by the end of the day.  The atmosphere was so great and being able to give that little boost to someone who’d momentarily given up by cheering their name and getting them running again was hugely rewarding!  It was a long day but if you ever get the chance to take part in the organisation of the event then do! We even got a marshall’s medal too! (Oh and I may have entered the 2016 ballot….)

London marathon

Moving on, after 12 weeks of training, lots of great runs, painful runs and runs that ended in tears, the big day finally came, 4th May, bank holiday, the day I would run the Milton Keynes Half Marathon. (*gulp*)

I’d already had my race pack through the post but I arrived nice and early just to make sure I could get settled in plenty of time before the race start.  The marathon ended inside MK Dons football stadium so spectators were able to watch from there.  A few of my family had come down to see me on the day so all in all I was pretty relaxed and ready to get going.  It was a pretty big event, certainly in the thousands of runners and was extremely well organised.  I think the size of the task in hand finally hit me when I queued up at the start line and realised this was what I had been working so hard for, for the last three months. I had studied the course quite a bit before hand so knew that the first 5 miles were a slight incline so took the strategy of holding back a bit for the first few miles in the hope I’d then make up plenty of time on the downhills.  About a mile into the race I found one of my fellow club members who was also running her first half and was so thankful to see her face!  We stuck together for pretty much the whole distance after that and without her I’m not sure I would have done it! We kept a pretty steady pace throughout but by mile 10, my legs had had it.  The last three miles were stop start and the hardest three miles I have ever run.  Some how I made it through and even managed a little sprint round the stadium after hearing the cheers of my friends and family.

I did it.  I ran a half marathon!

I look like I was in a lot of pain here....I was!
I look like I was in a lot of pain here….I was!

The people who came down to support me on the day were amazing and their cheers definitely made the whole experience a little more enjoyable so I honestly can’t thank them enough!  I can’t say I’m in a rush to run a half again but I better soon get over that as the next one is in September!

Coming up this month I’ll be torturing myself at the Dunstable Downs 10k (think hills, big hills) and the BUPA London 10k – one I’m really excited about!

2015 mileage to date: 342 (almost halfway!)

Miles to go to hit target: 358

Happy running

D x

 

 

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Fitness Journey, Health & Fitness

Fitness Diary – Just keep running

weatherIt’s been a big couple of weeks in my training plan as I’ve now hit the big weekend runs that are further than I’ve ever run before.  I’m always looking to push myself out of my comfort zone and I definitely did that!

I don’t think I was quite prepared for the jump to double digit mileage – it seemed like a gradual step up but it was certainly challenging.  I’d run a 10.5 mile before but when I say run, it was with some of my fellow club ladies and the dogs and there was lots of chatter and a few stops along the way (I think we averaged about 15min miles) so didn’t really count that as a proper run.  One of my running buddies, who is significantly more experienced than me and a regular half marathoner, volunteered to keep me company and we set off for a 10 mile out and back along the canal.  We’d planned that route as it is pretty flat but one thing we couldn’t plan for was the weather.  We battled gale force winds and rain and it made it a whole lot harder than it needed to be.  Dan kept me going though despite my swearing (sorry mum) and complaining all the way round.  It was all going as well as could be expected until about 8 miles in when my body just refused to run anymore – it was my first experience of hitting a wall.  I think the extreme weather got the better of me and even though we’d only run 8 miles I think the effort against wind equated to running a lot more than that!  After a little walk, I managed to carry on for the last two miles and finished the 10 in a reasonably respectable 1hr 49mins.

So this weekend, I was thinking, it couldn’t be any worse for my 12 mile run right? I’d arranged to meet a fellow club runner who was unfortunately unwell so I was actually really nervous about heading out for my longest ever run on my lonesome and to top it off, the sun decided to come out and make it the hottest day of the year so far. Last summer, I really struggled with the heat having just come back from injury and being very new to running so I was interested to see how I’d cope with the 20 degree heat.  Instead of an out and back, I planned a loop around the town so I wasn’t too far from home just in case (!) and I also took along a gel that a fellow club member had very kindly given me to try.

The first 6 miles was great, I really enjoyed the run and the weather didn’t seem to be bothering me too much.  I had broken the run down into four sections and at 6.5 I had completed the first two.  I decided to try the gel at this point as I’d been running about an hour.  The ones I used were the SiS GO Isotonic Gels – they are pretty thick and gloopy but being the first one I’d tried, I imagine they are probably all like that.  I have heard that quite often, runners find that gels upset their stomach quite a lot so I was a bit hesitant but all was good.  After completing section 3, I was left with the final 2 miles.  Two miles – that’s easy, I could do that, couldn’t I?

They were a very hard two miles but I did it!  I finished the 12 miles in 2hr 9mins, injury free and feeling pretty proud of myself!  I was surprised by the time as I’d had a couple of little walks but averaged 10:48 pace and it’s left me feeling optimistic for the big day in just under 4 weeks time.

March has been a pretty great month training wise.  I’m feeling really strong and love that each time I’m seeing little improvements.  The big achievement in March was that I hit my first 100 mile month! Here’s how the rest of the stats stacked up:

March

Total distance: 100.38 miles

Number of runs: 19

Average distance: 5.3 miles

Furthest distance: 10 miles

Coming up this month, I’ll be running in the Chick’s Chase 10k this week and Flitwick 10k in a couple of weeks time.  I’ve booked lots of races so am pretty sure I will easily smash my 12 race target for the year.

2015 mileage to date: 251.94

Miles to go to hit target: 448.06

Happy running

D x