What a fantastic day!

After being petrified and only just able to force some toast down for breakfast in the morning it turned out to be a brilliant day and a fantastic experience.

We had loads of text message from friends and family in the morning that started a few watery eyes but gave us just the encouragement we needed.

Once we were in the park along with the thousands of other runners it was fine. We just couldn’t believe how well organised it all was. We lined up at the very back of the the start in Zone 9! so we didn’t even hear the start gun and in fact it took us about 20 minutes to get to the start line.

The crowds along the way were amazing – we had had our names put on our charity vest so people cheered for you all the way round. The water stations and lucozade stations were perfectly spaced and seems to be there whenever you’re thirsty – like magic. At mile 4 or 5 you reach the first lucozade station which you know about without seeing the lucozade as your feet start sticking to the road!

The rain was a little challenging. At mile 6 we were drenched and then dried off (apart from the feet) by mile 10. Luckily neither of us suffer with blisters as I’m sure the people that do suffered quite a bit with the added soggy feet. It rained again at mile 21-23 and the cold set in but by mile 24 we were too excited about the finish line. We hit the wall at mile 21 and was a hard slog to get to our supporters at 22 but we made it and then only a few more miles until our next support at mile 25.

We ran along side all sorts of different runners, rhinos, mr men, a flowerpot man, a big samaritans phone, numerous men in thongs and mankinis, the big wellchild nurse and a sausage dog!

Seeing the finish line was amazing and such a great feeling. I was very excited about the official foil wrap at the end as much as the medal.

Thank you to all our supporters – my mum and dad, Greg and Nat, Dawn and Heather, Alison and Denise and Jonathan who stood in the pouring rain and cold weather to cheer us on. And thanks to all the people who sent us messages that weekend and on the morning of the race – just what we needed

We raised over £3500 for our charity BAAF and thank you to everyone who sponsored. You can still sponsor few a few more more weeks and here is the link: JustGiving

Here are a few pictures that Jonathan took of us on the day:

Just wanted to write a last blog post before marathon day. We are both REALLY nervous but quite excited too. Can’t believe it is hours away. We are travelling up on Saturday and staying overnight. We’ve been consuming non stop pasta (it seems like!) this week in preparation and did our last training run of 2 miles last night.

We went to the FLM expo on Wednesday to pick up our numbers so it really is official. They played the BBC Marathon theme tune as you walked in which started the butterflies and the watery eyes! Full of stands with stuff to tempt you and bargains too! Great motivational speakers and advice for the day so it was well worth going.

Thank you to everyone who has sponsored us and wished us luck – the support has been amazing. Also to the brave ones who are coming up to watch us on Sunday – my mum and dad, Zo’s mum, Greg and Nat, Heather and Gayle, Alison, Ange, Denise and Jonathan – thank you in advance – it really means a lot and will really help us get round.

Our charity BAAF will be at mile 13 and 22 and good luck to the other runners Gemma and Andy who are also running in the bright orange BAAF vests and Harvey from BAAF who will be running for the second time.

See you all at the finish!

Our first taper week which meant smaller runs in the week and an 8 mile run at the weekend. Our joints have become a little warn and weary so we did our training this week mostly in the gym to give them a rest as much as possible from the concrete pounding and will continue to do so this week.

One more week to go and then it’s the marathon – unbelievable really! The nerves have really kicked in this week and we keep having to remind ourselves that we have completed 20 miles so we can do it and not to worry – easier said than done though – eek!

Bit of a tiny disaster on Saturday- I tried opening a jar of pasta sauce from Marks and Spencer and managed to pull a muscle in my shoulder. I shall be writing to M&S to complain that even a finely tuned marathon althlete can’t open their jars – I had to go next door and ask David to open it – luckily he is a slightly more tuned marathon athlete also!! So lots of physio exercises (again) for me this week – to make a change. Could do without another muscle ache this week. Grrrrr.

Total miles this week: 14

Lessons learnt: M&S tighten their pasta sauce jars too tight! Must look at buying shares in an Ibuprofen company.

A week full of aches and pains. The 20 miles certainly took it’s toll and the aches and pains took hold this week. Consequently we couldn’t do a full week of training despite desperately wanting to. Also we were zapped of energy and became quite tired – to be expected I suppose. So after feeling elated having done the 20 miles, we were then a bit disappointed at not having a good following week. The sessions we did do were in the gym to try and ease Zoe’s hip joint pain giving them a rest from the concrete.

Our weekend run of 12 miles was also cut short by poor preparation food wise (you’d have thought we would have learnt by now!!) leaving it too long after breakfast. So only 6 miles were achieved but we did try out our charity vests to make sure they were ok to run in so we felt a bit conspicuous in our matching bright orange tops!!

This was the first time we decided (stupidly) to leave the mobile phone at home as it was ‘only’ 12 miles and it was the only time we could have done with a lift home having stopped 6 miles from home.

Total miles this week: About 10 and some in the gym cross training.

Lessons learnt: ALWAYS take a mobile or at least 20p for the phone! if the run is longer than about 6 miles. Terribley embarrassing having to walk into a shop and ask to borrow the phone or flag down a taxi when one is in one’s fancy bright orange running gear.

20 miles!!!!

We did our longest run to date this Saturday – 20 miles!! Two mid week runs of 5 miles (one a hill session) and then a massive 20 miles at the weekend. It was surprising manageable except for the last few miles – I don’t say that lightly – it wasn’t easy – but I had in my mind that we would be crawling the last couple of miles. The wind was unrelenting and in fact the last mile we could barely walk against the wind let alone run. We pretty much ran through every weather condition in the 3hrs 45 minutes – sun, rain, 2 hailstorms and the sea wind most of the way of course.

We changed our fuel stops making sure we took on a gel every 5 miles instead of every 6 or 7 which worked really well. We also broke the run up so that it wasn’t so boring running for miles and miles in one direction.

This is our longest run that we will do before the marathon which is now under 3 weeks away!! GULP. But, after the 20 miler (have I mentioned that we ran 20 miles on Saturday??) we now know that we can do it and we’re probably looking forward to it now for the first time.

Sunday was a different matter….Zoe was walking round like John Wayne and I was hopping along like Jake the Peg! Not a pretty sight. At least we know that we’re not going to be overly mobile after the marathon.

The next 3 weeks are ‘taper’ weeks which means we’ll slowly reduce the miles to give our bodies a rest (only 12 miles next weekend!). We’ve got to eat properly from now and work towards the 13th and resting wherever possible outside the training schedule.

Total miles this week: 30

Lessons learnt: We can do it!! Oh, and I must make sure the hotel we are staying in after the marathon has a lift.

This week was another problematic week – with work commitments taking over and the added hurdle of a cough! This week was full of cancelled runs and very frustrating in all. We did manage to put in a hill session though which was really tough but felt good and made the lungs work extremely hard.

Total miles this week: A lowly 15

Lessons learnt: Don’t try and run with a cough – it’s much better to rest.

A much more pleasing and I would even go so far as to term it a ‘triumphant’ week. An almost full week of training and a whopping great 18 mile run on Sunday.

The mid week runs we completed were a 5 mile and a 9 mile and both felt really good. My knee pain after doing my physio taught stretches started to work and on the 9 mile run I had no knee pain at all (also helped by ibuprofen I’m sure).

The 18 mile run on Sunday was quite daunting and I started to feel a sense of what the nerves are going to feel like on marathon day and as it’s only 5 week away it’s starting to become quite real. We completed the 18 mile run in about 3 hours and 15 minutes.  We set off along the seafront and ran from Shoreham to the other side of Brighton Marina and back. SUCH a long way but a great sense of achievement to have completed it. We had a really strong headwind on the way back which eventually became a bit of a storm after we got in. The headwind really sapped every last bit of energy so we felt a bit lifeless when we got back. I then had to go to work for 4 hours! Luckily I don’t have to use my legs!!

Total miles this week: 32

Lessons learnt: Set realistic targets and try not to plan a run along Madeira Drive in Brighton when there is a Vintage bike rally and auction on – bikers strolling along in leather can’t move out of the way very quickly, and waft past you with fish and chip vapours.

This week wasn’t a good week. What with work commitments and a very poorly prepared for long run – this week was a week to forget and move on from!

We managed to do 2 short runs (4 miles each) in the week which went ok but not a 3rd because of time. On the Sunday we decided to get up really early and do our long 12 mile run, as it was Mothers Day, I was going out for breakfast with my mum and Zoe was driving up to Nottingham to see Dawn, leaving at about lunchtime. A 7am run we thought was the answer.

Oh dear!

To cut a very long story short, it was too early and the little breakfast we did have didn’t allow the body to turn it into anything useful and also we didn’t hydrate enough. On top of that I totally got the layers wrong as I thought it would be cold – it was very mild! Two miles in, I stopped to sort out a layer, felt dizzy, sat down and fainted. So we walked back feeling a little silly.

It sounds much more dramatic than it was – it was only a little faint and I was already sitting down but ruined the run and topped off not a too successful week.

One positive thing that happened though was that I went to see a physio about my painful knee (Helen Patten at Wilbury Physios in Hove) and was diagnosed with Runners Knee! – I felt very relieved indeed and actually quite proud that I have a ‘proper runners’ ailment!!

Total miles this week: A very lowly 10

Lessons learnt: A BIG valuable lesson in how not to take your body for granted. Hydrate properly, allow at least 2 hours for your body to turn food into fuel and go outside and test the temperature rather than just looking out the window!!

Great to see that in my absence from the blog Em has managed to upload a new photo of us and I still look like I have an Elvis-quiff!

Note to self: must get rid of that head band

We managed to add in a speed session this week and finished a 6 mile run in 59mins, which is quite good for us. I think it must be the new trainers we are wearing in. The long run was 16 miles which I’m pleased to say we managed without too much drama. Legs are a little sore today. Em managed to miss a phone call as her mobile was the other side of the office and couldn’t get going quick enough to answer it today. Any tips on getting rid of knee pain would be much appreciated by Em, although I’m a physio I have refused to treat her. For those of you that think I’m evil I must just add I’m a hand specialist, the last time I treated a leg was 1999, after telling Em that she seems to have made an appointment with a proper physio!

This week is another step back week to let our legs recover a bit so the long run is “only” 12 miles.

Total miles this week: 26

Lessons learnt: Don’t trust a hand physio with your knee and planning a hand therapy conference in your head when you get to mile 15 helps with that last mile of running. Oh and….head bands may keep hair out of your eyes but don’t do anything for street cred when they make you look like Elvis.

Officially half way through the training programme now. And this week we ran the Sussex Beacon Brighton Half Marathon

I still can’t believe we actually did it.

It was a beautifully sunny day – not a cloud in the sky, quite cold but perfect conditions for a half marathon. We made sure we consumed a hearty breakfast of porridge before 7.30am and set off to the start line, a little bit nervous. We passed quite lot of professional looking runners on the way which added to our nerves but once we were underway it was fine. Took us 5 minutes to even get to the start line – imagine how long the marathon will take!! We completed it which was the main goal and managed an ok time of 2hrs 17mins too. There was a real mental challange at mile 10 when you are coming back on yourself down onto Madeira drive almost within touching distance of the finish and then you have to turn back and head towards the Marina – really tough mentally, especially as there are people passing you with about 300 metres to go! The race was really well organised and good fun.

Great experience for the marathon of how many gels we need to take and when. My mum and dad met us half way with a gel and then were there at the finish line to cheer us on those last few meters.

Zoe’s work colleague Dave (who as I rightly remember suggested once we did the half it’d be silly not to carry on and train for the marathon) won the race – with a personal best of 1hr 11 – well done Dave.

My legs are quite sore this week though I must say – walking down stairs is a challenge – Zoe seems ok which is a worry (note to self: must train harder!).

We also did another 7 mile run mid week and our usual 3 miles on the Tuesday so the miles are gradually ramping up.

Total miles this week: 23

Lessons learnt: In a race where there are lots of cameras – keep smiling! Oh, and consume more gels.

Here’s a picture of us with our medals at the finish.

finishers.jpg

July 2014
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