Marathon Training: Then and Now

In a week’s time hopefully I’ll be feeling human again, and will be able to walk down the stairs without grimacing. Or maybe that’s wishful thinking!

 

Now that my training is over, all I can do is wait…. and obsess! With every twinge in my foot I’m plunged into a world where plantar faciitis strikes me down like the plague and I’m hobbling along the route for 24.2 miles. So that’s fun.

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This training period has been 100% different to my last marathon. Last time I was training as an individual for her first marathon and was at the height of my fitness. Now I’m climbing back after having a bubba, who is my perpetual sidekick.  So now, as I’m waiting impatiently for another starting line, here is a comparison on how it’s all gone (and please be aware… there is a blister pic there):

 

The hardest bit

Training for Edinburgh: pushing through those crazy training sessions. I can’t believe how many hill sessions and fast mile intervals I was doing.

Training for London: trying to fit in training while looking after Baby B. And shutting down the voice in my head that either told me I should be doing more, or that I should be doing less and just spending time with the baby.

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The best bit

Edinburgh: doing long runs with nobody but Beyonce in my ears. It was the first time I realised I could actually manage a marathon.

London: going to the gym and working on my running, core, and overall fitness. That’s where I started to feel like I was getting fitter.

 

Training in….

Durham: loads of hills to help overall fitness, and very pretty running routes. Plus the satisfaction of running from one town to the next – it does wonders for your ego!

Nottingham: very flat, which is great for the buggy. Running around the river and canal was nice, but kind of repetitive, and there’s no lovely cathedral to look at.

Aw man, remember this?

Aw man, remember this?

 

Biggest challenge

Edinburgh: continuing my training once those awful blisters set in

London: trying to fit in my long runs. I haven’t done as many as I would have liked, in fact I’ve only managed three runs over 13.1 miles.

Sorry guys. Thank god these bad boys haven't returned. Again... sorry.

Sorry guys. Thank god these bad boys haven’t returned. Again… sorry.

Keeping to the schedule….

Edinburgh: it was relatively simple. Do what it tells you when it tells you and don’t back out unless you’re feeling too tired. It was nice to follow a plan and take the thinking out of it. A lot of mental effort was needed during those training sessions, but following the schedule was fine.

London: went out the window. I used a plan for a rough idea of what I should be aiming for, but I had to work out in my mind when I was going to fit it all in and how I was going to up the mileage. This one took more mental effort in between training sessions (to try and stop panicking!), but was easier during the training itself.

 

Proudest moment during training

Edinburgh: realising I could run 20 miles in 3 hours and not need to spend the rest of the day in bed

London: running 12 miles with Baby B in the buggy. And also doing my final 20 mile run, which is when I realised that completing this marathon is a distinct possibility!

 

 

Coming back after having the baby has been strange. Running felt like an old friend who you’ve not seen for a while, and who has changed but you can’t put your finger on how exactly. My technique was still there but my speed wasn’t. The motivation was there but my energy wasn’t. Basically I had to take it easy, and I found that my fitness returned pretty quickly as long as I was patient and didn’t push myself too hard.

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Now I’m at a place where I can run comfortably and reasonably quickly, but trying to get back to where I was before is just too hard! I don’t have enough time, and I don’t really want to either. Which is a very new feeling for me cos I’m usually so stupidly competitive with myself.

 

 

Overall I’m very grateful to have had this goal to work for. It’s been fun, tough, boring, exhilarating, guilt-inducing, cathartic and endorphined. Sure, that’s not a word, but it should be.

 

So now we wait for Sunday. In my other pair of trainers to support my high arches. In case plantar fasciitis comes a-knocking.

 

Ellie B

Farewell Durham….

Happy Sunday people! Those in the UK will have that Christmas Eve-feeling because….. tomorrow’s a public holiday! Hurrah for the English loving Spring so much that they give everyone a day off!

 

These posts have been a little few and far between recently, so I guess it’s time for a general update. SB and I moved house this week. We moved from Durham to Nottingham, and swapped this running view:

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For this running view:

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I mean…. it’s pretty good. It’s actually very nice. But we’ve been spoiled living in Durham, and now this river with its no-Cathedral and its non-muddy path, and non-steep banks covered in trees, seems pretty tame. I’m sure we’ll feel differently when we know the routes, but right now I miss the runs I know, the bluebells, my running club…

 

When we moved, I threw away all my old copies of Runner’s World. It was so tempting to spend the morning looking through them rather than helping but I resisted temptation…. for a while….

There are a few People Management magazines there too because I'm a good HR professional.

There are a few People Management magazines there too because I’m a good HR professional.

 

So. The bub and I have hit the six month mark, and all of a sudden running is getting pretty challenging. My pace is slowing a little (approx 6:15-6:20 per km), and it’s not always comfortable running with something the size of a cauliflower inside. It settles down eventually and the run becomes smooth, but the amount of time it bounces around is getting longer. At the moment I’m averaging 6k runs – I’ve not had the time or the energy to try a 10k for about three weeks, but I hope I can still handle that distance! Even if it’s half the pace as I would have run it previously.

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Since we moved, I’ve also been less encouraged to go out…. I know the routes in Durham, and can just jump out for a (not so) quick 6k or a longer 10k without any problems. But here – not so much. I also feel maybe a little more vulnerable, as I don’t yet know how long it will take to get home if I need to. I am going to join a running club to get to know the area, and to start making some friends!! I need to do that pretty quickly, because I think soon I might need to stop running altogether.

 

To be honest I’m a little freaked about what to do if I can’t run! Maybe walking? I have tried swimming twice this week, and much to my surprise, it was ok! I am very bad, and can only manage a lop-sided breast stroke, but it’s nice to do something that doesn’t make my stomach jump around and make me anxious about my pelvic floor! TMI???

 

When I started swimming, I was bored pretty quickly, but then my competitive edge took over and I tried to see how many there-and-backs I could do. I am not even familiar with the proper lingo. What is a length? Is it swimming the length of the pool once? Or is it an out-and-back affair? Anyway, each time I got to my target number, I added four more there-and-backs (is that 8 lengths?!). So maybe swimming is it.

 

Anyway…. that’s what’s going on! And this week we’re off to Italy where I am planning to carbo-load (and gelato-load) since I can’t enjoy the prosecco.

 

And just because it’s so pretty….. Goodbye D-Town….

 

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Ellie B

10k-tastic

If March was the month where much travel occurred, April was the month where I jumped back into my groove and dug myself deeper. Yes, readers, it was the return of the 10k.

 

I started March feeling all delicate and slow, and was doing 5 or 5.5k runs in about 30 mins. It felt like that distance was now my top line, and to push past it was too hard, I didn’t want to, where was my chair to sit down in going to make me too tired.

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But then I returned to my running club, and my whole world changed. Well, the world that I’d created throughout March whereby it was ok to ease off the running. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s ok to ease off the running, but sometimes my mind is split in two: one half shouting ‘come on get out there! Go get those endorphins!’ and the other whispering ‘or you could just stay here. In your armchair and your robe. It’s enough for you to reach over for more chocolate caramel shortbread’, and for some reason the whispering is louder than the shouting.

 

So when I rocked up one Wednesday and found the group who was now my pace, and they said they were doing 10k/6 miles, my heart fluttered a little bit. But I took it nice and steady, and before I knew it (well, actually after an hour and a few stops to catch my breath after the hills), the 10k had been smashed! And nothing bad happened: I didn’t get a stitch, the baby didn’t fall out, I didn’t fall down in a daze after 5.5kms. I did go home feeling like I’d run 10 miles not 10k and have to go to bed early.

 

There was a bit of distance between my running pal and I …. and the rest of the group!

There was a bit of distance between my running pal and I …. and the rest of the group!

So three days later I ran it again. Some of our friends were doing a charity event where they covered 200k in one day:  they did one 10k run followed by a 40k cycle, and then repeated it four times in total. So, like the heroes we are, SB and i joined in. For one 10k. Yep – I told ya: heroes 😉 Some other friends joined in for a run and cycle, or did all the cycling, and there was a core team of about 10 who did the whole day.

 

It was a really good day, despite the pouring rain the whole way around. The adrenaline and good will helped us all – those who were feeling tired because they were doing the second of  four 10k runs, and those who were (pregnant and) a little out of shape.

 

Running slower = easier for running selfies. #veryimportant

Running slower = easier for running selfies. #veryimportant

Since then the 10k has enthroned itself as the staple of my training again, and it feels gooooood.

 

And in other news, could this weekend be any more exciting?? An royal baby and The Fight of The Century. I mean, I for one couldn;t wait to get up at 5am to see the richest sportsman alive win more millions. As if I did: we recorded it, and when it came time to watch it the next day, I was banished from the living room because I talked too much. So I went and got me some cake.

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But seriously, this weekend had something for everyone. Sports, rivalries, bright lights, pretty dresses, new babies, baby names, gambling, Royal Family, celebrity endorsements (for the fight anyway…). What a time to be alive.

 

Ellie B

February Feelings

This week has been a well-balanced week. By well-balanced, I mean: running has gone extremely well, and everything else has not.

 

On Saturday I ran 7k throughout London. I love London because it is a giant mess of buildings. One minute you’re running beside an ugly building from the 60s, and the next you find yourself face-to-face with some piece of history that’s older than European-Australia by a couple of centuries. Such as this:

 

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St. John’s Gate, Clerkenwell, built in 1504 as the entrance to a priory, and later Samuel Johnson’s workplace. I totally Wikipedia-ed that, I did not know that myself.

 

Then later on this week I took advantage of the gorgeous, if not cold, weather that Durham was having to do two 10k runs by the river. Things were going right in my running, the sun was bright, and the air was crisp – a combination which always increases the endorphin effect by 1000%. I did not Wikipedia that, but I am fairly confident that it’s a fact.

 

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The rest of my week: it wasn’t awful, but it was busy. My internet died 10 minutes before I had to give a presentation to my colleagues throughout Europe. I had to high-tail it to a Starbucks where I tried to be productive on their measly wifi, and had to keep buying hot drinks for the pleasure. Actually, that last part wasn’t so bad.

 

SB and I are also away this weekend – we have a stag/hen night to go to respectively. And then NEXT WEEK I am off to Miami for a company conference!! It is going to be intense but awesome. Awesomely intense. I haven’t packed my running gear, because what with hen nights and conferences and late dinners and drinks I know I won’t be setting my alarm any earlier than I have to…..

 

Hope you’re all having a good week!

 

Ellie B

My Most Recents

Happy Monday everyone! Did you have a good weekend? SB and I went to the seaside on Saturday. Let me tell you about beaches in the North East of England. They are beautiful. They have golden sand, big surf waves, and in the Summer time, ice cream vans dotted around for everyone to enjoy. They are some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen, and coming from Sydney, that’s a big statement. However. They are Never. Ever. Ever. Warm. Our plan was to go for a walk along the seaside, but we managed about five minutes before we ran into a coffee shop to stuff our faces with hot chocolate and chocolate cake.

 

This is how it looks in Summer. Don't be fooled by the people - it's not warm.

This is how it looks in Summer. Don’t be fooled by the people heading towards the water – it’s not warm.

 

To kick off this week, I am going to share with you all a few of My Most Recents. Enjoy!

 

My most recent run: A chilled out 7.5k today during lunch. Durham is a big university town, and recently a number of students fallen into the river after a night out and then drown. It’s eerie to run beside it, after seeing the police searches. But is still a pretty sight though.

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My most recent text message: To my lovely friend who is a paediatrician-come bus driver (it’s complicated). We are making plans for Friday night – yeee-haaa!

 

My most recent book: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, in which an elderly woman who has trouble remembering things wants to solve the mystery of the whereabouts of her missing friend. While also remembering what happened to her sister sixty years ago. It’s really interesting, and another realyl unique narrative.

 

My most recent inspiration: I was debating whether or not to run today. It’s cold and grey and to be honest I didn’t really want to face the hills. Then my issue of Runner’s World arrived through the post, AND I saw this on instagram:

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Awwwww how can you NOT run after seeing this?

 

My most recent TV show: Last Tango in Halifax. I heart it so much! It’s so cute, nourishing and warm all at once. It’s the Shepherd’s Pie of TV shows. I am watching it right now.

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My most recent movie: The Imitation Game. If you needed another reason to love Benedict Cumberbatch, this is it. He’s basically Sherlock with a conscience, fancy blazers, and cheek bones that could cut glass. The film is good too. All about WW2 codes and social injustice. I’m not just gushing about the star, I promise.

 

This week I am going to be running in London – I am really looking forward to it as London is one of my favourite places to run. I really hope that the sun is up before 7am these days….. It’s been a while since I’ve known this for sure…..!

 

I hope your Monday’s weren’t too bad – only four days left til the weekend now!

 

Ellie B