So, we were here. I had a gin and tonic, Zoe arrived, we went out to a little Italian restaurant in Battersea. I ordered pizza, she had pasta. We were nervous and grumpy and preoccupied.
Back to the hotel. I faffed about downloading songs onto my iPhone and trying to get them from iTunes to my MP3 player. Zoe had a bath. I went to bed around 11.30.
Unfortunately I then got out of bed around 11.45. And 12.30. And 1.30. And 2.30, 3, and 3.30. For a couple of days before I’d had a bit of a headache and felt a bit wobbly, but I’d put it down to nerves and excitement. Suffice to say I spent the whole night on the loo, which wasn’t exactly the best way to prepare for 26.2 miles of running.
The hotel had put on a marathon breakfast, and along with about 10 others we stuffed down porridge, toast and a banana. I was retching whilst I ate it (sorry that may be too much information) but I knew I had to have something to eat.
London was full of people carrying red marathon kitbags, and after all our worrying about how to get to the start we didn’t have to think at all. We just followed the rest of the kitbag holders like sheep in trainers.
On the train we got talking to some seasoned marathoners. They pointed out the 25 mile marker and Big Ben, and I said ooh, not long till we’re back there. They all looked at each other knowingly. I recognised that look – it’s the look you get when you tell a mother your birthplan before you have your first child. The look says ‘come back to me once you’ve done it and then we’ll talk’.
We left the train station and flocked to the start. There were marshalls everywhere, directing us and wishing us luck. Everyone was very jolly and excited, and being British there was much talk about the weather. We’d been promised the hottest marathon on record, and it looked like rain.
Sure enough as soon as we got to the start, it started to pour. We ran over and put our bags on the baggage bus, then queued for the loo. I was so excited and nervous that I hadn’t time to think about how I was feeling, and I was trying to find my lovely Twitter friend Donna who was borrowing an iPhone armband from me.
Then the klaxon sounded and the race had started.
The pen system seemed to have gone a bit wonky – we were meant to be pen 9, and Donna was pen 8, but they seemed to be letting people in through gaps in the barriers. We decided to tuck ourselves in somewhere around the back, and didn’t go through the start gate until 10.10am (mistake no.1).
- To read part 2, go here.
Easter Sunday. You were probably eating chocolate and reading the papers, weren’t you?
I was running (and walking) 18 miles with Zoe, the final long run of our training.
The whole point of the famous long run is that it prepares you, mentally and physically, for the completely lunatic 26.2 miles of the marathon itself.
The other point of the long run is to iron out the little problems you might otherwise not discover until the day, most of which you’ll have heard about. Black toenails, bleeding feet, skin rubbed raw by seams on t-shirts, and of course hitting the wall. I’m making it sound like loads of fun, aren’t I?
I saw the physio again this morning. My knee is all better, hooray.
Even with lots of poking and prodding (I’m sure there’s a technical term for that) it didn’t hurt, and so the amazing powers of ultrasound have worked.
I’ve never seen a physiotherapist before now, so I had no idea what to expect. So far I’ve balanced on one of these wibbly wobbly cushion things:and a similar wooden wobble board to improve my ankle strength and done lots of exercises which have showed me that I’m rather one sided and unsteady.
Today after telling the physio that I was still feeling a bit of pain in my shins, she made me hop.
Ouch. Left leg, fine. Right leg, sore. More poking and prodding, some ultrasound, and some exercises.
I can happily sit like this:
That’s usually painful for people with shin splints, so that doesn’t make much sense. Also the discomfort I feel seems to go as I warm up and get moving, which doesn’t make sense either. Rachael in not making sense shocker. How unusual.
So, mainly because I looked worried and there’s no point in having the perk of private medical care if you don’t use it, she suggested a scan to rule out a stress fracture. I’m going to see a podiatrist because she’s convinced it’s a biomechanical issue. But as it’s 99% certain it’s not a stress fracture, I’m allowed to carry on training. Slowly, she said, just walk and jog. I burst out laughing. That’s all I ever do, I said.
In other news, I’ve been offered a place in this weekend’s Milton Keynes half marathon by a friend, but I’m not sure it’d be a good idea so I said no, even though I really want to say yes. Unless we do it at snail’s pace, with lots of walking? I might go and check the website FAQ. Hang on.
How fit do you need to be?
Fit enough to run the whole way around. We do not encourage walkers to enter. While this sounds harsh we rely on the goodwill of 80 volunteers. We cannot expect them to wait for hours until back markers have walked around.
Oh. Back markers. Is that the technical term for fat lazy chocoholic wannabe marathon runners?
I’ve just found out a fab t-shirt printing place for our marathon day tops, so I’m going shopping. The good thing about being a back marker (hrmph) is that there won’t be loads of people crowding round us, so everyone will be able to appreciate our lovely running t-shirts.
And finally (I can hear the sighs of relief from here; this one is a bit disjointed and rambly, isn’t it?) I just did 50 mins walk/jog/stagger on the treadmill and it was fine. Oh, the music of shame. I have been downloading some corkers from iTunes. Let’s just say I’ve been embracing my inner 14 year old with some 80s girly fluff. A bar of chocolate to the person who guesses one of the songs I was listening to today. A clue: I was 14 in 1987.
Stop press – have just had a text back from physio, after I texted her to tell her my 50 minutes on the treadmill didn’t hurt at all and that I felt fine. Scan now on hold for a week, and all systems go. Hooray.
How lovely, on a horrible rainy day, to receive a Sunshine Award for my blog. It’s from my friend Paula and it’s just what I needed on a day like today. Bring Me Sunshine is a song that Dad used to sing to us when we were little, so it’s brought back some lovely memories after a difficult day yesterday.
In other news, well, there isn’t much really. It’s half term, the treadmill is my only option, and on Tuesday night I did a horrible interval training session, which was one of those runs. I ended up thinking I’d be better off taking up knitting instead (and anyone who has seen the only jumper I ever made knows that’s a bad idea).
Talking of music, I’ve been creating the ultimate running playlist, which is only really suitable for the plodders of this world. I think proper runners like music at about 160bpm. Mine is, er, not.
Zoe and I had a theory that lots of songs with meaning to us would get us round the marathon. Some people might think training would be more helpful, but we’ll gloss over that little detail.
Rod Stewart – Baby Jane and Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? (my dad used to sing these with the windows down in the car, usually in the middle of town, and we would die of embarrassment)
Placebo – Every You, Every Me (reminds me of being pregnant, hence reminds me of birth, which will make running seem like a walk in the park. That’s a bad metaphor. My running speed already IS a walk in the park.)
Pretenders – Back on the Chain Gang
Dirty Pretty Things – Bang Bang You’re Dead
Toni Basil – Mickey (I have no shame)
Come Dancing – Ray Davies (you’ve got it in your head now, haven’t you?)
Killers – Mr Brightside
Kings of Leon – Sex on Fire (aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, my legs are on fire)
Scissor Sisters – Take Your Mama Out
Supergrass – Richard III
Monkey Wrench – Foo Fighters
Idlewild – American English
The Automatic – Monster (what’s that coming over the hill? is it a monster…oh no, it’s Rachael, running)
Snow Patrol – Run (haha!)
Foo Fighters – This is a Call
Marilyn Manson – Rock is Dead (and so will I be after 26.2 miles)
Longpigs – She Said
My Chemical Romance – Welcome to the Black Parade
Radiohead – Street Spirit
The Stranglers – No More Heroes
The Go-Gos – We Got the Beat
Marilyn Manson – The Beautiful People (not me after running, I look like a beetroot)
The Knack – My Sharona (RIP Doug Fieger)
The House of Love – Shine On (reminds me of school)
The Fray – How to Save a Life (will make me cry, but that’s okay)
Any suggestions, anyone? I’ve already had a few: how I could I forget Don’t Stop Me Now and Keep On Running, as well as the Glee soundtrack? Thanks C and G!
I started this post this afternoon in a half term grump, but I’m finishing it on an endorphin high after 50 minutes on the treadmill. It was just a plod, but every mile counts. Every boring mile on the treadmill, and every boring mile on my own on featureless country roads will be worth it.
2 months, 6 days, 14 hours, 8 minutes, and counting. London, here I come.
8am, Sunday. Normal people are sleeping, or having breakfast and enjoying a lie in. Running people are putting on their trainers and strapping on their heart monitors. Not that I’m suggesting that runners are weird, obviously…but I could have been having a bacon roll in bed and instead I was out for a ten mile run.
Legs: We hurt! Ow!
Me: Oh come on, legs, I know I did a little bit of faster running yesterday and then forgot to stretch, but you’ll be okay in a minute once you warm up.
Legs: (sullenly) We still hurt. Our shins are sore.
Me: (running slowly, ignoring legs)
iPod: Hahahaha, you liked the shuffle the other day. Well, today you’re going to suffer. Manic shouty stuff from The Prodigy okay with you?
Me: It’s only half eight in the morning, I can’t do beeps and screeching yet.
Legs: We don’t want to run today. We want to sit down on the couch whilst you eat chocolate.
Me: Oh come on legs, we’ll just jog gently up to the next telegraph pole then we can walk.
Legs: Hrmph. Only if you promise to stretch us.
iPod: Here you are, have a bit of depressing Johnny Cash
Me: Dire Straits yesterday, and now this? Are you having a joke?
Johnny Cash: I will let you down…I will make you hurt…
Me: Thanks Johnny, you’re not really helping here.
Legs: He has a point. We’re giving up.
Me: Fine. We’ll sit on this fire hydrant thingy on the grass verge. I don’t mind sitting on a roadside looking stupid for five minutes. We’ve got miles to go yet.
Legs: Not if we don’t want to. We might just make you walk home.
five minutes later
Me: Look at me, I’m running like a proper running person!
Legs: We’re fine, we are. We never said we couldn’t run, we just didn’t want to.
Bladder: Why did you have a big glass of water before you left the house?
Me: Oh shut up, it wasn’t that big. Just reabsorb it and stop moaning.
Bladder: I need the loo.
Me: runrunrunrunrun (ignoring)
five more minutes later
Bladder: I need the loo, I need the looooooooooo
Me: Right, that’s fine. When we get to the next village, I’ll ask someone if I can use their loo.
My mother: (what’s she doing here?) You can’t just knock on a stranger’s door and ask to use their loo, they might chop you into pieces and put you in their freezer.
Bladder: Hello? Getting desperate here…
Me: (not running any more, too tricky with legs crossed)
Bladder: Just pee behind a hedge. Paula Radcliffe did it during the London Marathon. You’ll be like a REAL runner then.
Me: But there are people in cars, and walking their dogs. And I don’t even have a tissue.
Bladder: Yes you do, it’s in your pocket. Did I mention I need the loo?
five more rather desperate minutes
Bladder: That hedge will do! Or that one!
Bladder: That’s it, climb over that gate – you know you want to…
Me: (let’s gloss over this part)
Legs: Oh you are so embarrassing. We’re going to run quite fast now, so we don’t have to be seen with you.
Bladder: Ooh, that’s better. Isn’t that better? Admit it, you feel better.
Me: (wondering what it’s like to run without body parts having a conversation with you)
runrunrun, through village, up hills, down hills, past cyclists, runrunrun, look at me, I’m running!
Me: Oh for f*cks sake, what now?
Coccyx: You broke me a few years ago, d’you remember?
Me: Oh GO away. Why didn’t I drug you all with ibuprofen before I left?
Coccyx: (sullen mutterings)
runrunrun walkwalkwalk runrunrun
Me: Come on legs, you can do it!
Legs: We hate you. Running is stupid. Can we have a bath when we get home?
Shoulders: We don’t want to trouble you, but we’re a little bit sore…