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In three days I will be taking on the Brighton Marathon in aid of Guide Dogs. You can sponsor my effort here.

It’s hot, hot, hot in London today. I love the sunshine, as Roy Ayres says ‘Everybody Loves the Sunshine’, but when you have 26.2 miles to run, you want a bit of air circulating around your limbs and a touch of freshness to fend off over-heating. I just checked the weather forecast for Brighton on Sunday and it says 13 degrees and a rain shower, good temperature, but I’m not wild about the rain.

Lists. I feel I should make a list of things I mustn’t forget to take with me.

Running shoes

capri tights

t-shirt

Guide Dogs vest

race number and safety pins (don’t forget the safety pins!)

socks without holes in

timing chip

sunglasses

sun cream

marathon belt

fuel

Garmin

iPod Shuffle

Body Glide – how could I forget that one?!

I’ve got a sore throat and runny nose today 😦 Chances are I have caught Hector’s cold, or maybe a it’s a touch of hayfever. Whatever it is, I’d like it to go away before Sunday please. Sniff.

 

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In four days I will be taking on the Brighton Marathon in aid of Guide Dogs. You can sponsor my effort here.

Marathon week is a funny old time. All this training, months of it, feel like nothing. This morning I went out and ran just over two miles and it felt like hard work! This is the week where you become obsessed about small details like which socks you should wear on the big day, whether you are eating enough pasta and whether you can actually remember how to put one foot in front of the other. I haven’t been sleeping very well, partly because Hector has a cough (which I am trying to avoid by running to other side of the room when he starts one of his coughing fits and protecting my face whenever he sneezes at me, and partly because I lie awake thinking about the marathon. I did have a dream the other night where I ran it in 4 hours 47 minutes, which would be a PB by two minutes, I hope this is a prophecy.

I am being constantly stunned by the generosity of friends, family and ‘virtual’ friends I haven’t even met, who have been sponsoring me, I know that some of these people really have to count every penny, so feel quite humbled by this kindness. I am also amazed by some funny ideas people have about running and marathon training. Edward’s Mum was genuinely surprised (and disappointed?) that I wasn’t training every day, not realising that this is the lowest, slowest week of them all. I was reminded this morning at the nursery gates that people still don’t think of any other marathon than the London Marathon as being a ‘proper’ marathon. One of my Mum friends said: ‘So how far is it?’ and when I told her it’s 26.2 miles she was really taken aback. I suppose the benefit of this is that people are even more impressed by my effort when they hear it’s a ‘full marathon’ that I’m running. Even Edward, who you would think might have got the whole marathon thing by now, said last night, as we tucked into our noodle soup: ‘Shouldn’t you be eating lots of steak and protein?’ I think this just means that he’d like to eat lots of steak.

When I read the Brighton Marathon website and the details sent to me in the post, I am reminded that runners are asked not to listen to headphones whilst running. Normally I wouldn’t do this, I enjoy hearing people around me, chatting to other runners, soaking up the atmosphere and being aware of my surroundings. I do think this time I might just clip my iPod Shuffle on though, in case I hit a really dark spot, just one little track might be enough to see me through, like slurping a gel for a little energy boost. I am thinking a bit of Florence, some Morrissey, a Pixies or two and some Bjork might do it. Maybe not to other peoples’ taste, but just the trick for me.

Time: 22 minutes 25 seconds

Distance: 2.20 miles

Average Pace: 10.11

Best Pace: 8.00

Calories: 199

 

 

Don’t try this at home!

I wasn’t too hopeful about today’s long run: ’18 miles’ said the schedule and, after a week of zero mileage, yes zero mileage, I wasn’t feeling very confident I would make it to the eighteen mile point. It’s just been a busy sort of week: half-term holiday, so fun, fun, fun with my lovely boy, lots of social engagements with our Mummy friends and little ones, fun on the South Bank and then I simply didn’t feel like going out in the evening, with Edward being home late two nights in a row. I did make the mistake of helping Edward, Hector and our friend Iain load up the hired van to take some rubbish to the dump: old carpets, underlay, skirting boards etc, all very dusty and not favouring my asthmatic lungs. So off I set.

I decided I needed to do an out and back run, so I could run for nine miles then turn for home, I find these easiest on a really long run. I headed towards Deptford, then along towards Surrey Quays and realised I recognised it all from when I ran the London Marathon, not one of the jolliest stretches of the marathon in terms of scenery, but I do remember the crowds being enthusiastic along Jamaica Road. I won’t bore you with all the details, as it was pretty uneventful, but I eventually joined the Thames Path then negotiated those horrid steps by London Bridge, the ones that are at a silly diagonal angle and hard enough to deal with whilst walking, let alone traversing on tired legs, then weaved in and out of tourists until I reached Vauxhall Bridge where I took a swig of my drink, ate a gel thingie then headed home.

I felt ok on this run, not delighted, just getting on with it, but I realised how truly dreadful I had felt on last week’s long run, and wondered how I managed the almost ten miles I did. I had armed myself with a few energy-boosting tools to get me to the end: a bottle containing some more Orbana energy drink, which really did the trick – I took sips every so often and found it really gentle, but just right to give me a boost to keep going (it was really sunny on my run, and almost warm). I also had some Clif Shot Blocks because these will be available at the Brighton Marathon and I wanted to give them a try before hand. They are tasty and sort of refreshing to a point, but are not easy to get down: it’s a bit like eating a cube of jelly whilst trying to breathe and keep running, a bit challenging. I think they might be aimed at cyclists, as I bought mine at Evans Cycles, and it would be a doddle on a bike, but not so great when running. They did give me an energy boost though, so get full marks on that score. With the Orbana, it recommends mixing the sachet with 250ml of water, but I would double up on a run like this, as I only just had enough for the eighteen miles (it was warm though, remember). You could carry just the sachet if you wanted, then buy a bottle of water along the way, to save carrying it for the first few miles, it’s easy enough to mix.I think I will be using this one for the marathon, rather than the Powerade on offer, I find it too artificial in flavour and BLUE?!!

As I got closer to home, I decided to employ my third tactic in combatting tiredness, my iPod Shuffle. Last week I carried it with me for ten miles, but didn’t listen to anything, but today I needed a distraction so plugged in at about mile fifteen and suddenly found myself going faster and smiling a bit more than I had been. So it was a steady routine of swig, chomp, nod head, and that’s what got me home, though I must say, the smell of Deptford Market is best avoided during your sixteenth mile when you are starting to feel slightly queasy.

Time: 3 hours 9 minutes 24 seconds

Distance: 18.00 miles

Average Pace: 10.31

Best Pace: 7.09

Calories: 1943
That’s just short of 2000 calories and I can’t eat cake! I have been truly tested this week. I was berated by some friends on Friday when I turned up to Coram’s Fields armed with my pesto and cheese muffins, because I knew there would be cake, and I thought they would go down well anyway – it seems a muffin is a muffin whether savoury or sweet, which Jogblog emphasised on Twitter, anyone else agree? Yesterday the boys tested me by eating these in front of me:

And they were busy making chocolate muffins when I got back from my run. Harrumph.

After the big old run I did this morning, I felt like lying down, but there really is no rest for the wicked, and I was encouraged out into the garden to get our raised beds in place before it’s time to plant the seeds.

We worked really hard all afternoon, although Hector disappeared over the fence to play with the girls next door for ages, we love having such friendly neighbours, so nice to be able to pop round and play and Hector hasn’t had children next door before. While he was entertained we got loads done, and I realised that this was probably better than lying around feeling knackered, it was good to keep active. We were really pleased with the results of our work, and need to get some top-soil before we can really get them going.

(you can see it was dark by the time we finished!).

 

No cake ’til Brighton!

On April 10th, I will be running the 26.2 miles that is the second Brighton Marathon, so my weekends at the moment are spent mainly pounding the streets of South London in an attempt to make it a fun and – relatively – painless experience. I have decided to raise money for Guide Dogs, and would be really, really grateful if you could sponsor my effort. ‘But she’s done this before! This will be her third marathon!’ I hear you cry so, to make things a little bit harder, I am also pledging to not touch any cake (or puddings and biscuits) until Brighton, that’s seven weeks away. Yes, really, no cake ’til Brighton!

That means less of this:

and more of this:

So, if you think I’m trying hard enough to gain your support, you can sponsor me here. You can find out more about the fantastic work of the Guide Dogs charity, and see how having a guide dog really changes people’s lives here. I have been looking on You Tube to show Hector what a guide dog does, and found this recent advert, but watch out because you might find yourself gushing over gorgeous little puppies like we did 🙂

Thank you for taking time to read all of this, and thank you in advance if you feel you want to support Guide Dogs, every little bit helps.

Love

Adele xxx

Janathon Day 24: Recovery

I dragged myself out of bed – a little bit after the alarm – and traipsed around Hilly Fields, noting each achy bit and enjoying a leg stretch after yesterday’s long run. The mornings seem a little lighter now, so it was good to run around the park and witness the energy of dogs, how I wish I could bound around like that at that hour. There is one particularly lovely Boxer who you see from a distance as a red flashing blur and, as you get closer, you can see its clever collar that allows you to see exactly where it is at any bouncy moment. I might get one of those myself.

Yesterday I mentioned how I had been feeling a bit Janathon Fatigued, and Iliketocount’s Shaun commented that he was surprised to hear I was ‘thinking of sacking off Brighton’, but there’s more to it than an achy knee and a bit of tiredness – yesterday’s run reminded me that I can run far, and I even had that wonderful feeling of wanting to carry on, and on. I have just been concerned and preoccupied with how much marathon training impacts on family weekend time, and this week Hector starts nursery for the first time, a big change in our lives. I have been very anxious about this, but unable to show it in case I pass on my fears to him, but today we went for a one hour visit, and he didn’t want to leave, so maybe the transition won’t be so difficult. We have spent the past three and a half years together, so we will both feel a little lost at first, and I am really valuing the time we have together. I do have to remind myself though, that running is good for all of us, even if I do spend a lot of Sunday pounding the paths, and to run Brighton will be an achievement I need right now.

Janathon day 24:

Time: 33 minutes 6 seconds

Distance: 3.12 miles

Average Pace: 10.37

Best Pace: 7.43

Calories: 322

Janathon Day 8: Walking a tightrope

Not me, but this chap in Hilly Fields:

Needless to say, he got lots of attention, especially as he had set up shop right next to the playground. Edward and I were a bit British in our ‘appreciation’ of his efforts, chortling to ourselves each time he did a massive wobble and fell off. Though I did a very Welsh ‘Fair dos’  to redress the balance.

Before we witnessed this display of acrobatic mastery and circus skill, we did our annual ‘take the tree for a walk’. This might just be a London thing, but many of the parks have drop-off points for residents to take their Christmas tree when they have finished with it, and the park keepers then shred and compost them. This makes for some interesting sights as people walk happily along the road carrying their floppy trees, leaving a trail of pine needles along the way. I think we must live in a high wood-burning stove area, as many people were hacking branches off discarded trees and making off with the remaining trunks.

My run was done before all this fun, and before breakfast. Not my finest hour. I made it worse by taking a hilly and challenging route, heading right into the strong wind. Oh, how my thighs burned! Just a short one due to my complete lack of energy at that time on a Saturday morning, but I was relieved that the rain I lay listening to in the night (yes, I have this weird Janathon insomnia thing too) had stopped chucking itself down. Tomorrow I will try to run a bit further, I do have a marathon to train for after all!

Janathon day 8:

Time: 32 minutes 31 seconds

Distance: 3.01 miles

Average Pace: 10.48

Best Pace: 8.16

Calories: 337

Janathon Day 1: Easy Does It

Happy New Year! The past couple of days have been all about this for me:

– the cake that Edward and Hector made for my birthday, a gigantic brownie with Maya Gold chunks and peanut butter pushed into the top. Divine! It’s also been about this:

Friends. Friends who travelled all the way from Manchester and South Wales via Harwich and Norfolk, dedication to the cause. This meant my first run of 2011 and the first of Janathon had to pushed back until our guests had taken leave, which meant a four o’clock run under a darkening sky and a shower of rain. A taste of things to come, no doubt. It would have been easier if I had managed to get out earlier, but I wanted to maximise my time with our lovely friends and besides, I felt a little delicate after a night filled with champagne cocktails and wine and G&T and…and… Yes, I know, that’s definitely classed as binge drinking, but I think one slip is allowed ahead of a month of binge running.

As I put my contact lenses in, I could hear the rain dripping on the bathroom window and felt decidedly uninspired by the prospect of a run, but I had the boost of a new long-sleeved running top to debut and my gorgeous new running shoes. Erm, call me girly, but I decided against the shoes because I didn’t want to get them wet. With a month of running ahead of me, I didn’t want to over do it, so just aimed for three miles (I have set myself the same minimum-three-miles goal as in Juneathon) around the local park, passing the local drunks a few times, and giving sideways glances to the lovely running track on a couple of laps – I will go there one day, really I will. This run gave me a chance to think about why I am doing Janathon. As some of you may know, I ‘won’ Juneathon in 2010, so there’s that little achievement to live up to, but Janathon seems a bit different, maybe more competitive, with the fantastic array of prizes and the hundred+ runners signing allegiance to the cold, wet run. My reasons for participating in Juneathon previously have always been to feel the support of my fellow bloggers, to have a goal to boost my running and to feel a part of something positive, so these are good enough reasons to join in with Janathon as well. I also have a longer-term goal of the Brighton Marathon to get me out there. I only found out about my place on my birthday, so I need to get my training into gear, with Janathon being a slightly odd way to tackle my first month! I will be running for Guidedogs, and will post a link to my sponsorship page when I set it up.

So, a good start, and I look forward to another run tomorrow, maybe in the daylight hours 🙂

Janathon day 1:

Time: 32 minutes 47 seconds

Distance: 3.16 miles

Average Pace: 10.23

Best Pace: 7.01

Calories: 309