Monday, 30 May 2011

Getting back into the swing...

though still getting blown away by gales!!
Saturday was really stormy again so my first run since the marathon was 5km in the gym, I just couldn't face the thought of battling the winds again. It was much better than I thought it might have been, reasonably "easy" and comfortable. Sunday morning was the Race for Life here at Stirling University and some of the girls from Bootcamp were doing it for their first ever race and I wanted to go along and support them. This meant that my planned long run had to be done earlyish but I was up at 7am without needing an alarm so we had breakfast and got ready. We parked the car at the university which is actually in Bridge of Allan not Stirling proper, this was a good move as later on it was absolutely chock a block!
I ran with John for the first mile and he turned off to go up onto Sherriffmuir and the back road to Dunblane, I kept on the main road and we met each other at the start of Dunblane, it was nice to say "hello and see you back at the car" :-)
Once into Dunblane I had a couple of options, into the town itself then back the way I'd come or to reverse John's route back to Bridge of Allan, I chose the latter and I am so glad I did! It had taken me the first hour to feel that my legs had shaken off the residual tiredness and stiffness from last weekend's efforts but the second half of the run was fantastic, the sun was out and I ran down through woods at the side of a gorge, you can hear the Allan Water tumbling way down at the bottom of the gorge, and the sun dappling through the leaves was really pretty.
Once I came out of the woods, the wind hit me full in the face again - weird as it had been in my face on the way up the road so should by rights have been behind me on the way back... Sod's law I am just fated to battle the winds this weather :-) Still I got a good 14km into my legs.
I made it back to the car with about 10min to spare before the start of the race so we watched the start then got a well earned coffee while we waited for them to get back to the finish.
The sun shone for most of the time, just starting to rain again as it was drawing to a close and we got home before it blew in too badly.
Well done to Trish, Debbie and Cheryl for their efforts yesterday!
I went to the gym at lunch time today for a wee half hour session but had wakened this morning with really tight stiff calf muscles so didn't push them too hard, I did 1mile on the elliptical trainer then 3 tough miles on the bike.
Am off to apply the Stick now! It hurts but it does help...

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Blown Away!

Well almost!! Whilst nowhere near as bad as the conditions suffered by the people of Missouri, we have had some incredible weather this week! It has been reasonably sunny and in places warm, but we have had gale force winds certainly across Scotland, since last Wednesday. We took our Canadian friend up to Aberdeenshire on Thursday and found the house that his Grandmother had been born/lived in until she emigrated, and we also found in Fyvie churchyard, a number of graves of his ancestors. It was a beautiful day weatherwise, just windy! It kept us off our feet for most of the day though which was good marathon prep, although it was nearly 400miles of driving but he saw a lot of Scotland on the way.
Friday I had a taping appt at the physio and left duly taped up in pink tape and set for the marathon, most of the day was chores and baking a banana bread which has to be the most delicious banana bread I've ever had. The chef has run 15 consecutive Boston Marathons so I reckoned if it worked for her it was worth a try! Risotto for dinner started the carb-fest.
Saturday morning dawned bright and fair if a little windy - though not too bad and we set off to Edinburgh to watch a friend complete her first ever race, she was running the 10K as part of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. We picked up our friend's race pack for the Sunday, watched the 10K - cheering her in to a fabulous finish with a huge banner ;-) then met other friends also up for the marathon for a pasta lunch. By the time we got home on Saturday afternoon it was starting to rain and it was forecast to be like that for the next day too - wasn't really looking forward to running in it I can tell you. More pasta for dinner to enhance the glycogen levels and after pinning on the bibs and laying out the kit, it was off to bed at 10.
Sunday 22 May 5.30am - not a cloud in the sky and the wind seemed to have dropped, felt more hopeful... porridge, banana and honey, coffee and a slice of home made wholemeal toast, dressed, numerous visits to the loo and we were ready for the off by 0725. As we left it was raining gently but looked promising towards the East with bluer skies and whiter clouds - ever the optimist me :-)
Parked easily in George St., made our instant porridge and ate it as we walked along towards the start area for the marathon. This is the time when the real collywobbles start, when you are heading towards the start and you see the first other runners heading the same way - this is the OMG moment for me - you realise then the enormity of what you're about to undertake and why you have spent the last 3-4 months training and clocking 500+ training miles - it's quite overwhelming and sometimes tear inducing!
The start area was very well organised, plenty of porta-loos (that flush and had paper) well marked corrals, easy bag drops and MC on the radio bus doing a great job.
We met up with friends, took some photos, sheltered from a passing shower then went off for "one last visit" and to our separate start corrals.
I won't go into detail on the race, it's 26.2miles so rather a lot to write, it was rainy, the sun shone, it blew gale force winds, fabulous people braved the elements to come out of their warm homes to cheer us on and hand out jelly babies, there were spectacular views across the Forth, got blinded by sand some times, plenty of banter amongst fellow participants.

Highlights for me include:
1. passing my super fast husband going the opposite direction as Seton Sands, having the energy to shout to him that I love him and to high 5 him in passing - it brought a smile to more than me I can tell you.
2. being stung to bits by giant hailstones at mile 16!
3. free range chickens wandering across the course at mile 17-18 :-)
4. battling into a 25-30moh headwind for the last 6 miles of the course - it was unbelievably strong, there were a couple of gusts - apparently up to 50mph - I believe that!! When I could barely stand.
5. passing lots and lots of people who either couldn't keep up their pace or had simply given up trying in the wind.
6. being able to finish strongly and then meeting up with John again afterwards - that's the best bit :-)

We met up with everyone in the pub for a welcome beer/coke then another friend who had come to support us and he kindly drove us back to Edinburgh to our car.
I got a new PB, I managed to finally break the 5.30 barrier - not by much clocking a 5.29 finish, but given the conditions on Sunday I am absolutely delighted with my performance and time! This was my 10th marathon so I guess that's something of a landmark :-)

Yesterday we visited Glasgow and had an eventful journey home as all the trains were cancelled due to the horrendous weather which blew in from the Atlantic. This morning we took our friend back to the airport - he as made it down to Heathrow and is en route back to Ottawa.
We are enjoying the last day of our holiday just chilling and recovering, legs almost feel up to a wee jog - though not in the gales which are still blowing! Think I am nearly hydrated again and am almost back to normal - whatever normal is!
To everyone who has inspired me to run, to keep on going when injured or feeling down, and who make me keep on wanting to put myself through this torture again and again - Thanks! :-)

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


you can tell I've not had much to say... it's been 2 weeks since I posted anything :-/
Catching up from my last post, John did smash his PB at Parkrun, 19mins!!! Wow he was flying down the finish and got into a little bit of a sprint for the line with a young guy who took the win by about 1 sec! I don't know if he had intended to sprint for the line, but I was marshalling and when I saw him flying towards us I was screaming encouragement and he responded :-) I think he also got a personal best for the number of insects stuck to his face and neck - Yuck!!
We went for a drive on the Sunday and did a wee recce of the marathon course, I was allowed to jog/walk 100m at a time, I did about 2 miles like that and was reasonably happy that the healing was progressing well. Monday at lunchtime I went to the gym and did a couple of miles on the bike and then a mile on the treadmill, again jog walking intervals and feeling ok.
Tues evening I decided not to go to Bootcamp as we'd had a day of very heavy rain and the grass was slippy and I thought the risk of slipping and maybe tweaking my leg was too great - also I was late finishing work and very tired. I allowed John to convince me to go to they gym, even though I was really tired, and settled down on the treadmill and yes he was right, I did start to enjoy it and feel better for the exercise. Then, PING!!!! Something went pop in my calf... it was a quick hop along on the treadmill as I hit the emergency stop button!
Fortunately there was no great pain, some numbness but I could walk and stretch reasonably easily. Following morning was very tender and a gentle exploration and treatment from physio reassured me that nothing seemed to have torn, it was most probably scar tissue releasing. Needless to say more taping took place and a lot of hobbling ensued - as well as a fair degree of worry and stress :-(
Further treatment on Friday and instructions to repeat the rehabbing I'd been doing and take it easy, lots of rest ice etc etc.
Managed back on the treadmill on Monday although I was petrified! I couldn't relax and was just waiting for the Ping! Physio made me laugh on Tues, she assures me that that is the mindset of an elite athlete - I asked for his legs!!
I am conscious that this is becoming lengthy and boring so will stop soon... We picked up our friend at Edinburgh Airport yesterday afternoon, he has come over from Canada to run on Sunday with us. It is great to see him again, and hopefully today we are going to take him up to Aberdeen and show him where his ancestors live - we have managed to research his family for him back to the late 1700s.
Weather for marathon is not great, it's been really stormy here all week with gale force winds and rain and still meant to be same on Sunday...
I woke early this morning and decided to try to jog a little this morning so I went out and managed 3km slow jogging with walk breaks at start, and whilst it wasn't exactly the greatest run I've ever had, it was the best I've had for 3 weeks!!
OK going to stop here it's just a bit of a ramble today :-)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Rest is training...

so they say!
Enforced rest this week - back to physio Monday morning and new tape applied, same groovy colours, different pattern :-) So, this week has been resting and trying to do heel raises - it took me til yesterday to be able to do singles on the left leg but getting there now and managed to do 7 this afternoon followed by another 3 later on... how sad when your achievements are measured in single figures :-(
No 10k race for me on Sunday now though. I will go with John to parkrun at Strathclyde park on Saturday and will marshall while he hopefully gets a new P.B. and gives his snazzy new shoes an outing! They're too orange for me but they are pretty cool :-)

In order to ease the taper madness which is exacerbated by the lack of running, I've just baked a big batch of rhubarb and custard buns, will send some to work for the Runtime Error guys, that's a whole new post :-) and will take some in for my colleagues. Roll on the weekend I might get a wee jog!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Just like the buses...

nothing comes along for ages then 2 come at once :-) It's an old saying which I remember my grandparents using but it typifies the fact that I haven't posted much in the last few weeks, and here I am 2 posts within a couple of days of each other!
Thought I'd take advantage of the BankHoliday to catch up on stuff and write a wee update on the weekend's activities.
Saturday dawned fair and we set off to Rowardennan to fulfill our duties as marshalls on the Highland Fling, what a great day! It was warm for the runners and by the time they got to us 27 miles, they were very grateful for their food bags and the water that was on offer. Most of them looked remarkably fresh, testament I guess to their training, they were feeling the heat but doing well, and that was only half way! One wee bit of excitement was the arrival of the Air Ambulance to take one poor chap off to hospital with a suspected heart attack, I hope he makes a full and speedy recovery. We were finished by about 3.30pm and after ensuring all the rubbish was packed up and taken away from the site, we headed off round Loch Lomond to Tyndrum to the race finish to return the timing machine and the water canisters to the organisers. This had been somewhat overlooked by the marshall in charge, but fortunately we were able to step in and take them round. It was an interesting finish to a race, quite small and "just up a track" though there were 2 pipers playing about 500m from the finish arch which I am sure was a welcome sound then sight to many of the runners.
Sunday morning was also bright and fair and I thought on wakening, not so windy... I got up and breakfasted and then got ready to head out for my 20 mile run. I'd only gone about 2miles before I turned into a headwind that was blowing at about 20mph! Decisions, decisions, do I head off into it or do I turn and run with it at my back? I decided to run into the wind as it was good practice for Edinburgh, the marathon route runs along the coast of the River Forth for about 18miles and it's invariably windy - it was also very sunny and hot - which is also good practice for the normal end of May weather which is often low 20sC.
My tight calf was pulling from the outset, but it was never really sore, so I decided to keep going, I knew if it got too bad I could phone John and he'd pick me up in the car. In the end I had a really good slow 20mile run, the wind usually knocks me for 6, but I felt in control this time and just tried to tuck myself in and plod into it waiting for the turning point when I'd hopefully get the benefit of it being at my back, this didn't really happen as once I'd turned it ended up being to my right hand side so was still blowing at me - but hey ho these things are all good learning experiences and it's the best I've ever coped with the wind so I was pleased. My leg started to hurt with about 1.5km to go and by the time I got up the hill to the house, I was walking - well "hirpling" to use a good old Scots word, and immediately turned the cold water hose on my legs, this helps the muscles to contract quickly and reduces the spaces for the lactic acid to gather making recovery easier. I sat in the sun for an hour after my shower icing my leg and rehydrating with coffee, cola, water and the pink bubbly we'd got as a thank you for marshalling on Saturday.
I rang the physio this morning and managed to get in to see him at 9am which was great, he did some really sore digging, some ultrasound treatment and retaped me - much amusement ensued when I took the tape off - 2 days in shorts in the sun meant I had lovely lines on my leg where the tape had been :-)
So, couple of days rest and ice later on and hopefully be back on the mend and ready for Edinburgh. I am unsure whether to run the 10k on Sunday now as he advised caution and given how I feel this morning I won't be, but I might be up for it by Thurs/Fri...
Off to enjoy the sunshine and get the garden organised.