Monday, 29 March 2010

What a start! I don't like Mondays!

It's Monday morning, it's 8:30am. Here's what's gone wrong so far...

-Cycled into work but just as I pulled in, my crank arm fell off. Managed to get it back on hopefully I'll be able to nurse it home.
-Got into the shower at work only to realise I'd forgotten my towel. I had to dry myself with a single bandana!!
-Left my glasses at home. Although I do have contacts in, it's an air conditioned office so my eyes will be as dry as anything later
-I didn't put a belt on my jeans so I'm going to spend all day pulling them up
-Forgot my moisturiser and whereas this might not be too bad for some, for a peeling headed bald man, it's a bloody pain.
-And finally, the reason I'm writing this now is that my entire email and system won't connect and IT won't be in the office for another 45mins!!!

Can I go back to bed now?

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Lisbon Half Marathon - Race Report

After wandering around Lisbon (around 5 miles in the end due to a miscalculation in the distance) on an overcast, windy and wet Saturday prior to Sunday's race, I got a sunburnt head. So did eatingtrees actually. Plus LG's face was pretty rosey too. Silly. Everyone knows you burn in overcast conditions but I thought, 'well if that's the worse that happens, it'll be a great weekend'...... And it was. Awesome food, fantastic company and a great city although I have to say I preferred Prague last year.

Once we'd found the expo and got our race numbers, timing chips and had eaten more traditional custard tarts in Pasteis de Nata than I will ever admit to on here, a couple of things struck me. Firstly: Why no technical t-shirt? A black and gold trim Adidas affair is not exactly what I was looking for. In fact, I doubt that cotton t-shirt will ever see the light of day again! The second black mark was the timing chip. I love the ones you put on with sandwich ties. So easy to cut off at the end and no having to unthread the damn things from your laces!! We had the unthread your laces ones. Mind you, that may have saved me come the end but more on that later. The third black mark was nowhere to store anything. Basically, whatever you took with you to keep you warm/dry/fed/watered for the hour or 2 before the start, you carried or binned come 10:30am.

What we thought was going to be a tough journey to the start however, was very easy. Plus with the sun starting to shine (although half of the bridge was covered in mist), some music blaring, the helicopter circling and a generally great feeling among the athletes I had a big smile on my face. This particular event had been my idea, a PB was a very outside possibility and the start was over a brigde that spanned over 2km. I don't care what anyone says, that's an amazing way to start a race and such a cool thing to be a part of.


The start to 3km was all good. Great atmosphere and a great feeling. Then we hit concrete where there was an instant rise in temperature (later confirmed around the 18 degrees but hotter in direct sun). 3km to 5km was still OK. Timings not amazing but OK. 5km to 7.5km started to hurt but that's when I saw LG, camera in hand and cheering loudly which really helped. The next 2.5km was OK too as I knew I'd see LG again in a minute. More photo's of a fat bloke running (yep, me) and I was gone.

10k time was somewhere in the 54/55 minute region which in that heat I thought was respectable. I just needed to get through it. 11km was EXACTLY 1:01:00. I now had a 10k to do and I was home. I knew there was no PB anywhere near at that point because I was already slowing badly but little did I know what was waiting! The longest bit of the course goes from 8.5km to 18km in one long straight Not a corner in sight! I was at 11km, already struggling and knew I had another 7km before I could even turn back round and aim for the finish. It was horrible!!! The train that LG was on, ran parallel to the course and when I next saw her at 15km, there was no camera and a large look of concern on her face. I must have looked a complete state for her to look that concerned. I later found that she'd seen me when the train had gone past and I had looked awful! She even tried to run a few steps with me as support which was lovely but I told her to stop pretty quickly. A pregnant lady in jeans should not try and run with their half-dead looking boyfriend in direct sunlight!

However, it got worse, by 16km, I just wanted to stop, find a curb and cry. I have honestly never felt like giving up on anything more than during this race. Around 16.5 - 17km I did something that I had never done before. I stopped and walked for 30 secs or so. I have always been so proud that I'd never walked during a Half Marathon but I can say that no more. As soon as I did, I knew I'd made a mistake. My legs were like jelly and my head was extremely dizzy. I think there was some dehydration there although I made sure I drank at every water station as well as carrying my own bottle all the way round. I got running again but really wanted some water. I had to wait until well after 18km until I found some. Then I devoured some while walking for the 2nd time ever! I kept half a bottle with me though in case I saw eatingtrees. I had no idea where he was as I'd been in my own world for so long, he could have gone straight past me! I did see him on the other side and after getting his attention, I gave him the bottle because if he was suffering anything like I was, he'd want the water. I ambled on and after one more quick walking stint around the 20km mark, I came over the line in 2:09:44. A personal worst and 15 minutes over my PB. I felt awful and not just because of the time. This one hit me mentally. If LG had been able to get anywhere near the finish line, I think I would have just grabbed her and sobbed. Remember the second black mark and the timing chip??? That's what saved me from bursting into tears! The concentration required to get down there and undo, unlace, re-lace and re-tie my shoes stopped me from breaking down. When I saw eatingtrees once he'd finished, all I could do was apologise for suggesting the damn thing in the first place.

As this reads like a cry for help, I feel I need to finish on something slightly more positive so here goes. Firstly, I don't own a better looking medal than this one and as for Lisbon, it's great. Go there and do the Half Marathon. It's a really quick course and you'll enjoy every moment of it. Tadese certainly did... he broke the world record at exactly the same moment I was starting my rapid decline. Well done to him and everyone else who completed it, there were many unfortunate people that didn't.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Lisbon here I come

My preparation for this Half Marathon has been at best, occasional and at worst lazy but I honestly can't wait. I've only heard positive comments about Lisbon so 3 days hanging around with eatingtrees and LG in a new city will be wonderful and ruined only be the 13.1 miles in the middle. Oh crap, haven't packed the Ibuprofen, back in a tick......

Right, that's in the case. I need it because of the pain I was getting in the top of my foot last week and the thing I remember more than anything about that pain last time I got it is that it generally comes back for more quite often.I don't think my 'if you can't solve the pain, mask it' theory should be followed too much but if it gets me through the 13.1 wonderful (he says at the moment) miles through Lisbon then it would have done what it needed to.

My pre trip thoughts are as follows:
1. I haven't done enough training to get a PB.
2. The course is meant to be quick so I might get a PB.
3. It's going to be somewhere in the region of 16-20 degrees so I won't get a PB

Basically, I have no idea. I reckon I'll finish somewhere between the 1:54 and 1:59 area. That's a big difference but I just can't work it out. It'll be strange running in hotter weather again through. The cap's even had to be packed to stop my head burning and turning me into a tomato (not for the first time). Annoyingly, current forecasts predict rain throughout the entire weekend except when we're running when it's going to be warm and sunny!! Bah!!!

OK, haven't actually finished packing yet so I really need to get it sorted as it's less than 4 hrs til I'm off to the airport! See ya!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Back to earth with a skid, crash, bump and bang

After my 'la le la. everything's going great' 10 miler on Saturday when I was hitting my HM PB pace without trying, I was slapped back down to earth in the strongest way possible yesterday. I ran 5 miles home from work. Exactly the same route as I did last week in 8.38's. Yesterday.... 9.23's!! EVERY. SINGLE. STEP. HURT. LIKE. HELL. Calves were sore, ankles not much better, bag was too heavy because I stupidly left things in there I should have left at work, pavement traffic seemed heavier, pedestrian crossing lights were against me but mainly, I think I've upped the mileage a little too quickly this week and should have left it another day. However, at least I did it and didn't just get on a bus. Yes I was tempted and I have to be honest, if the traffic had been moving and not stationary by the time I'd hit Fulham, I may just have jumped on!!

My legs were sore last night but after lying around in my compression socks in the evening, my legs feel pretty good again today. Good enough to get on the single speed beast and cycle into work today anyway. I'll call that the beginning of my training for London to Brighton. 5 miles. Only another 49 to go. It took me around 28 mins which is about 20 mins quicker than getting on the tube or bus! Now I've just got to get home again! It's nice to work in a new building though, they have clean and modern showers and everything!!!

The run tomorrow will be postponed by the fact the car is going into the garage to stop random warning lights flash at me while I'm on the motorway. This means I'll have to drop off and collect it. Maybe I'll do a few miles when I get home or on Thursday. In fact, Thursday's probably the better option after yesterday's attempt! Writing this blog really does help me make decisions sometimes!

The above was written earlier and I've managed to get my butt home on the bike too now. Things I've realised. The fastest way round Hammersmith one way system is on a bike. Also, if there's a police car with it's blues and twos going, slip stream it. There were loads of cyclists following this police car. It didn't take long to realise that this was the way forward! Over 10 miles on the bike today and it felt great although I'm going to need to practice Putney Hill a lot more if I'm going to have any luck come L2B time. Guns don't kill people.... hills do!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

That wasn't as bad as expected

10.07 miles completed in 1:28:04 at 8:45's. (That's 16.21k at 5.25's in case you're that way inclined). That's the longest I've run since the 2nd of Jan and without knowing, it is actually slightly faster than my Half Marathon PB pace!! I only looked at the watch at the beginning and the end so it certainly wasn't planned but I'll take it with only 2 weeks to go til Lisbon.

The plan leading up to then is a home run from work on Mon and Tues and then a cycle home on the Tues and Thurs. This should keep the muscles ticking over for another 10 miler next Saturday. I'll then do the same during the week next week and then have a 2 day rest prior to the Half on the Sunday.

See all, planned!! I was never worried about my lack of training (LIES, LIES, LIES) but I do now have the additional worry of trying to get my legs in a state to cycle the 54 miles to Brighton and to train my backside to be able to be on a saddle for that amount of time! This, I certainly am worried about!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Time - It makes a great sound as it whizzes by

Where the hell has my week gone?!? I'm sure that since Wednesday morning, time has become this strange wavy, wiggling thing (and not in a scientific way) that has stolen hours from me at random. In fact, probably not that randomly. They seem to have been stolen from sleep and added to driving and other work things.

I didn't want to run on Monday but I did! Ran home from work and knocked off 30 seconds a mile from the
previous week. Happy but still not anywhere near my 10k time last weekend. Mind you, I can't expect it to be once I add the heavy rucksack, curbs, slow walking people, Hammersmith one way system, people getting off buses straight into your path and fumes. Add these to the Richmond Park 10k and my time may have suffered.

I haven't had a chance to run since with the working, driving and early morning starts this week (again mine and eatingtrees' life start to run in parallel!) but I have a 10 miler planned for the morning and then a drive to the airport to pick up LG depending on what the RAC man says about the car when he comes visit later on with his computer! (It broke. I didn't do nuffin'!)

Then it'll be 2 weeks until the Lisbon half which I can't wait for although let's be honest, the time definitely isn't going to be that great with this training schedule I've been working to of 'when I can, I will'.