It’s back to reality with a thud! My focus has been the Chicago Marathon for what feels like an eternity, I don’t think I have thought post Chicago many times.
The running part of my adventure to Chicago didn’t quite go how I would have liked it too. During the end of the training cycle I remember thinking NEVER again, during the marathon I remember thinking NEVER again, after the marathon, I thought NEVER again, that’s it.
So why is it, one-week post-marathon, I have already logged on to the Berlin Marathon website and thought more about the Six-Star Challenge! WTAF
Originally, I thought the London Marathon was going to be my one and only marathon (Read about them here). I just wanted to tick it off my bucket list and that would be that. Then when New York Marathon fitted so well with my 40th Birthday celebrations, I just had to stick my name in that ballot!
New York City has always been on my ‘To-do List’ for as long as I can remember. Surely everyone watches films and falls in love with NYC?? The New York City Marathon was 4 days prior to my 40th birthday, so that became my dream. When I got I got a place and then had a great run in New York, obtaining my marathon PB (Read here), it ignited my passion for marathons again. It also made me think about the Six Star Finish again.
I put my name in the ballot for both Tokyo and Berlin in 2018 but didn’t get places. So next was Chicago, so what was the harm of adding my name to the ballot for that too. When I got the place, my World Marathon Majors six-star finish was back on!
I feel like running like marathons is like child birth. The pain and turmoil at the time is intense. Then it is all blocked from your head and you think doing it again is a good idea.
I do already have the Manchester Marathon booked for next year (April), but I still keep being drawn to the Berlin Marathon ballot. It closes at the end of October, yet I know currently I don’t have the funds to apply; it’s 125 Euros.
This six-star challenge doesn’t come easy or cheap, but luckily doesn’t have to be finished in a time period. I just now need to find my dream job that will allow me the time off to go to these marathons and pay me the wages so I can afford this crazy adventure!! Not asking much am I??!hehehe
So my final 20-miler of this London Marathon training cycle, coincided nicely with the Kingston Breakfast Run 20 mile event, and as I was staying in the London area the same weekend, it seemed rude not to enter! The event is organised Human Race, and as with all of their events, this one did not disappoint!
Date: Sunday 3rd April 2016
Time: 8am start. Yes it is an early start, and forcing porridge down you at 6am isn’t pleasant, but it is nice that the run doesn’t take up your whole day!
Course: This course is a fast flat, looped course. One loop is from Kingston Bridge to Hampton Court Bridge and in total is around 8 miles. The event hosts and 8 mile (1 lap) 16 mile (2 laps) and 20 miles (2 and a bit laps) You run along the River Thames and it really is pretty, especially when the sun is shining. There are some supporters around the start/finish, but very few on the actual course. There are plenty of marshals and they are very supportive and encouraging. There were frequent water stations, 2 which had SIS gels available (shown below). I didn’t use the baggage area, but have done in the past and was easy and efficient. There are toilets near the toilets, but with 15 minutes to go before the start of the race, the queue was huge. The 8 and 16 mile races started 30 minutes later, and I’m sure it was a lot of these runners in the queue. They really could have waited or let us 20 milers sneak in ahead. There is a toilet on the route, but once I have started I am very reluctant to stop!
The website says that they have pacers from 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, & 12 min/miles, but they were very hard to spot, as they had red t-shirts on, but nothing written on the back and no flag. I just stumbled upon the 11min/mile pace around mile 2, but I was running 10:30 pace. I went past him, but he caught me up around mile 20, and again I averaged 10:32 pace, so if you had planned to stick at 11 min/mile pace and kept with him, you would have worked a little bit harder than you wanted too.
My race: I felt quite nervous about this race. I’m not totally sure why, as I ran 20 miles only 2 weeks ago, but I was worried as this was my last attempt and what if it all went wrong! London is only 3 weeks away and I really wanted this to be a confidence builder. Even though I was running this race on my own, I met up with some of the lovely RMR and UK Run Chat communities before the start. I also met one of my fellow RunMND runners, which was such a great surprise; she even stayed around at the end to see me 🙂 Thanks Maxine
I spent most of the early miles making myself slow down. I really didn’t want to start too fast, as I knew that it would hurt at the end of the run, AND more importantly it would make me worry about my ability to pace myself sensibly at London. I was pleased when the mile pace clocked 10:18 and 10:47 for mile 1 & 2. Around 2 miles, I linked with a group of people and we chatted away about marathons and training. I ended up staying with one man from this group for the entire race. It so good when you run with new people, and you know that you both helped each other going!
I practiced my nutrition strategy, changing it slightly from my last 20 miler. I still had a torq gel at 3 miles, but then extended it to every 4 miles. I missed my mile 19 gel as it didn’t seem worth it, but will take one at 19, and 23 miles too on marathon day. Around mile 19, I started to feel a little tired and was ready for it to be over, but really pleasing was that my final 3 miles got progressively quicker, and my final mile was 10:19 pace 🙂
Lesson learned: I need to get to races earlier, this was a little too close for comfort, and did mean that I started the race needing a wee! Good pacing makes running a lot nicer. I need to stop making stupid faces when I see a photographer, otherwise I get silly pictures like this!
Running 20 miles as part of an event is much better than on your own.
Great awareness for MNDA, as the official photography took a picture of me and a team-mate, fully MNDA kitted out.
The marshals were brilliant, and very supportive.
The photographers got lots of picture due to the smaller field, and they did not cost too much!
Toilets – there can never be too many toilets
Pacers – they were not easy to spot, and I’m not totally sure they stuck to their prescribed pace.
All in all, it was a confidence booster, and now it’s taper time!!
No club sessions at all this week, which I didn’t like 🙁 School holidays are amazing, obviously, I would say that being a teacher, but being out of routine is not so nice.
Monday – Most of my team mates ran the local 10K today, but after my weekends half marathon I decided to opt for a nice easy 5 miles. I also looked at the weather forecast, and made my run later on in the day, when the sun was out. After Cardiff Half, I couldn’t face another wet and windy run!
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – 6 miles easy. The weather was gorgeous today, and I really enjoyed my run. As it is school holidays, I could run in the morning, which I really like.
Thursday – Rest – although I did walk around London, so my legs did feel like they had a workout!
Friday – I felt really guilty for not running yesterday (a family day out was just more important) so I went out for a little 2 mile run. We are staying away from home, so I got to explore a little section of South Croydon!
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – Kingston Breakfast Run 20 miles. My last long run, before the big one 🙂 It was a gorgeous day, I paced it well and I’m really glad it’s over!! I will put together a write-up very soon.
When it was announced that there was a masses race on as part of the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff, I signed up quickly. Who doesn’t want to run in the World Championships!!?? So, here’s what I thought about them:
Date: Saturday 26th March 2016. When I originally booked this race, I didn’t actually realise it was Easter weekend, and I know I wasn’t the only one that kept thinking it was on the Sunday! It’s seems weird running on a Saturday!
Time: 2:10pm. Most races take place in the morning, so I felt a little bit lost all morning. I kept worrying I had got the time wrong and was missing it all. I always find it difficult to know what to eat when it is a later start too. I had breakfast, but then only managed to have a banana an hour before we started, which was not ideal.
Weather: Hideous! The day before had been gorgeous, but #StormKatie decided that she wanted in on the World Championships too. The rain started at the same time as the women’s race! The sideways rain, hail and gale force winds really kicked in just after mile 4 for me, which was just as I was going across the Cardiff Bay barrage, so we were totally exposed and it hurt when it hit my face. The wind was pushing me sideways and it was hard work!
Course: The course was fairly flat, and mostly on tarmac. The short sharp hill just after mile 12 was a bit of a shock, but the downhill stretch between mile 11 and 12 was a welcome break. I think the course would have been really pretty had the weather been better. The start had the Cardiff castle as a back drop, the lovely Cardiff Bay area, running past the Millennium Centre and finishing around lakeside would have been lovely on a sunny day! There were water stations every 3 miles, they did get crowded, and I’m sure that I saw some stations were handing out High 5 gels, but I didn’t use any of these as I had my torq gels.
My race: I felt quite nervous about this race, as Silverstone had felt so hard and I hadn’t really enjoyed it. I had enjoyed my 20 mile run the following week though, so really didn’t know what to expect from this one. It is becoming tradition to not sleep well the night before and this was no exception. I had thought with the late start, I could have enjoyed a lay in too – no such luck. Before the race, my race plan was to run a lot of the race at marathon pace, so I was thinking around 10:20 – 10:30 pace. When I clocked the first mile at 9:42, I could feel myself getting annoyed and I tried to slow down, yet still clocked a 9:42 for the 2nd mile too! My lack of pacing was stressing me, so I decided to stop looking at my watch, and then when the horrendous weather started at mile 4, I just wanted to get the race over and done with, so all pacing went out the window. Every inch of me was soaked through, and my wet trainers did make me feel as though I lifting weights with every step. Around mile 9, I had a little dark patch, where I just wanted it to be over, but the support around Lakeside was amazing and really kept me going. Considering the weather, the volunteers and roadside support was amazing. My name was shouted so many times, and there was music being played, people offering jelly babies etc. The final stretch was quite crowded, but I still managed to up my speed to cross the line. After finishing we were given our medal, t-shirt, water, High 5 Gel and a banana. I finished in 2:08: 32, which is what it is. I’m not really happy or disappointed with it.
Lesson learned: I really need to learn my marathon pace. Starting too quickly at London will be a disaster. Also, I think I need to take a packed lunch with me, as I am sure I would have performed better had I got my nutrition better pre race.
I took part in the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!!
Amazing support and event organisation.
Lovely medal and T-shirt.
Weather – I know the event organisers can’t do anything about this, but …
Start time – I know this was probably because of tv broadcasting across the globe, but I personally find an afternoon start difficult.
Expensive race photos.
As always I ran in my MNDA vest, raising awareness and running for my dad.
Monday – Mile repeats at club. My legs were heavy from the weekends 20 miles, so these were completed at a steady pace, and to be honest the pace slowed considerably as the reps progressed.
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – 8 miles steady run. I still felt the miles in my legs, and I constantly remind myself that I am training on tired legs. The run felt quite tough, but when finished I realised that we had pushed the pace quite a bit, so I was happy with it.
Thursday – Drills at club. Lots of our club are running the local 10K on Easter Monday, so this was a light session. We completed some running drills, squats and light running. Probably just what I needed and lots of fun. I also had the best post delivery today too.