Welcome to my running blog. I am currently training to run two marathons in April 2011 - Paris and London - to help celebrate my 30th Birthday. I often get asked about my training methods so thought would write a blog so you can see what it takes -also it provides me with a momento of the last few months of my twenties! In addition to the personal challenge I will be raising money for charity - please see my fundraising page for more details:

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Wekk 15: The End!

On the emabnkment - looking v serious!
Finally, after all those weeks of hard training, the final hurdle – the Virgin London Marathon. I’ve done marathons before but never two in eight days – how would I cope? Would I have enough energy to get to the end? Could I manage to gorge myself on pasta one final time?

A week of rest
Woke up after the Paris marathon feeling in remarkably good nick with my only concern being the torture of the planned sports massage. Suitably pummelled and twisted I filled the week with rest, overeating, a touch of yoga and the merest hint of a run on the treadmill (a whole 10 mins – marvellous!)  Physically body felt a bit tired and there was a slight twinge in my right hamstring but overall in fighting form.

In my sponsorship form I had suggested that I would run in fancy dress – enough ideas came in that I opted for a beautiful fairy/angel outfit – mainly because it was the only one that fit!

The race
Woke up feeling fresh as a daisy on the day of the race – although was still full from the blowout pasta meal the night before. However I still managed to gobbled down a large bowl of porridge, dried fruit and nuts, some toast, a couple of slices of malt loaf, an energy bar, orange juice and a banana. Yum – prob a little bit overdid the food and felt pretty heavy all day but a marathon is a long way you know.

Walked down brick lane past all the usual partygoers who were still out and about – felt very virtuous having not had alcohol for a couple of weeks! Picked up my friend David (who was also running) and together wondered down to the DLR to join the steady stream of runners all congregating in Greenwich park.

The start was busy with runners stretching, eating and liberally applying lube  (chaffing is a runners worst nightmare). Unlike Paris there were lots of toilets provided – although even then there were reasonable queues – the curse of the over-hydration! I got many an admiring glance and compliment on my white dress and wings. We got corralled into our start pens, a quick word from Richard Branson and we were off!

The weather was already humid at the start and I wanted decided to get a couple of fast km done to get away from the crowds and before it got too hot. My legs felt good, I wasn’t too full and my wings weren’t rubbing too much. Its been a successful few months and I know what pace I am capable of and what speed to go out as that I am on the limit, for the marathon it was just a case of focusing and running like a metronome and hoping I made it to the end! Varying your pace drastically is a very bad idea in a marathon – and I can only apologise to the many runners I overtook – one look at the idiot in fancy dress going past and most of the serious runners would try and keep up. One guy battled to stay with me for the whole first half before dropping off!

During the second half the field was very strung out and the heat was oppressive. I was suffering from some pain in my left Achilles but kept on at the same speed – it was fairly obvious people were struggling and was very satisfying to spend the second half of the race continually moving up the field. Wearing fancy dress is very popular in the marathon but less so for the serious runners – there were big cheers for me all the way round as one of the first fancy dressers and by far the best looking. One runner was very happy to see me go past in costume as he thought the cheers of ‘Come on you fairy’ were a critique of his running style! In addition I had the support of my parents who managed to see me a staggering four times on the way round (no mean feet) and a number of other supporters along the course – a special shout out to all who were at Manuela’s marathon balcony brunch around mile 11 and also to Ben who spotted me twice while also looking out for his girlfriend.

When pushing things to the limit the last 10k is always tough  - however in London the crowds along the embankment are immense – unbelievable support for all runners and if they can see you battling away you get even bigger cheers. I injected a little extra pace for the last couple of KM, steamed past Buckingham palace and into the Mall for the Finish. The Achilles which had felt dodgy all the way round didn’t snap and my super large breakfast (topped up with a couple of gels and copious amounts of lucosade on the way round) kept me going through to the finish. I stormed across the line in my new PB of 2 hours 50min 17 seconds! This was at the upper end of my expectations and amazing given the hot conditions – I’d run solid, steady race all the way round with the second half only about 1 min slower than the first half.

I was greeted across the line by the Guinness world records people – they were expecting an official record breaking attempt that year by a fairy – but I didn’t qualify as I hadn’t applied (I had applied for a fancy dress record a previous year but then got injured so hadn’t applied this year out of superstition). Maybe next time…

Was a glorious sunny day and afterwards relaxed in the park and enjoyed a few beers to celebrate with friends and other fellow runners (congrats to Barbarra who had a storming race as a peacock for a Guinness world record and to Helen who got an amazing time!).

Race all done – checkout all the pics to see how awesome I looked. Mission accomplished pretty much as planned – two marathons in eight days and a new personal best – can’t really ask for more – I may be thirty but am still fighting fit!

Thank you for everyone’s words of encouragement and support, for those of you who trained and raced with me, my parents and obviously my girlfriend who had to cope with me training non stop for the past three months. Has been a great few months and has been fun writing a blog for a few months.

Finally thanks for all the sponsorship – am still collecting in money for anyone who was waiting to see if I actually made it! Link at the top of the blog. 

Running past buck palace
Runnign across Tower Bridge

With the parents post race - note their Paris finishing tops!

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