The calm before and after the storm - TAPER TIME
3 weeks to go - 17km long run DONE.
How are you all? I hope you're well. I am OK. Well, sort of.
I am starting to really panic about the Marathon. It is a ridiculously long distance, and I found out that if I don't finish within eight hours, I don't even get a medal, which will devastate me. What if I don't finish at all? Then I worry (superbly self-centredly, which I hate) about the guy that died doing the Reading Half Marathon this weekend. It is all starting to scare me so much that I get fuzzy headed with the anxiety of it all. Saying that, we are going to focus on positives, because right now, that's all I can do.
So, yesterday I did my longest run. Still a run/walk, but running is ten to fifteen minutes, depending on whether Maximo Park are playing and whether I am running up a hill. The real problem training here is that it is quite hilly, or there are extended inclines, which really exhause my legs. My friend Jo, who has run the London Marathon before, has said that the course is mostly flat, so it shouldn't be too awful on the legs and derriere, which is good. I felt that the run/walk went well up to a point, where the hills just got to me. I also don't know whether I had started to run out of energy, but half an hour to the end, I was exhausted, and I couldn't really run much at all, so kept walking, and ran when I could, when I knew it was flat or downhill. The 17km (or just under!) took me over two hours, so I am still going at a pretty rubbish pace, but hopefully that will last a little longer when I am running on a flat course.
Some of the same problems. My hayfever is at its peak at the moment, and I think I worry that I will need my inhaler during the course. I don't use it very often, once every couple of months, but I hate the thought that I might need it. There's a theme here. I worry too much! I get a sore, wheezy throat after my run and I feel it the day after, although while I'm running, it is never actually that bad, once I get past the initial fifteen minutes of abuse :)
I desperately wanted to get up to half marathon distance before starting my taper, just so that I would have that mental confidence in myself, that I can get half way round, so it's just twice that effort. Even if I get as far as the 17km again, and walk the rest, at least I'm still moving, and might recover and get come more energy after a longer walking session.
I managed to try and refuel on the move yesterday, with Gummy Bears, although they didn't leave me bouncing here and there and everywhere. Well, not much of me. More about that later... They were OK, and I read the packet and they contain good amounts of carbohydrate, so hopefully they will get me through the last (several!) hours of the course. Any suggestion on how many to take? I have no idea what to take with me, and where to put it all, because my running belts aren't massive! What would I need on race day? Lip balm, plasters, music, Gummy Bears, maybe my phone? I won't need to carry my water bottles. Any advice is seriously welcome!
So, onto the bouncing then. I don't know whether it's because I have a substantial bottom on me or because I was having to tackle the ill running, but three quarters of the way around, my butt cheeks started to feel like they were made of lead! Every step I took felt like my girlbumps would were I not wearing a sports bra. My butt cheeks felt like they were trying to gain enough momentum to reach escape velocity. Also, I kept losing my knickers! Embarrassing things to ask, but are tiny pants better, or big girl boxers? Are there such a thing as ladylicious curve support pants? Do I just have to get used to this?!
Negatives then. As if my glutes trying to detach themselves from my body isn't bad enough. The iPod has gone in for repair, although a good friend is going to rescue me with an emergency spare iPod Nano! I stil hate running. Really hate it. Finally, after yesterday's run, I couldn't keep still, because my legs were aching so much. My ankles and knees were really sore, although they have calmed down a lot now.
I've had some long nights up working, and when I'm tired, I get what I call 'tired ache' which is that burning feeling that you get in your bones (or at least, that's how it feels). Does anyone else get that? When you have to keep wriggling around because if you stop the sensation is just unbearable. I had to work on some stuff last night, so was up quite late. Finally got into bed at 4am, and the pain was awful, so I couldn't sleep. I ended up getting up at 6:15am and taking some paracetamol (after a cookie - no paracetamol on an empty stomach!) and it eased up to give me half an hour of sleep. Today, I'm not feeling too bad, so maybe I was overtired on top of having exhausted my leg muscles. It was a horrible feeling though, and I don't know how I'll cope with that after the Marathon!
So, the taper begins. And with that comes flat shoes, and looking after myself. Being in flat shoes really hurts me, but I think I need to ease my Achilles tendons into a more stretched out position before the race, because it was the backs of my ankles and my knees that were starting to really hurt during my run yesterday. Carb-loading will start soon too. That's got to be the best part of this, right?! ;)
So, bits of advice that I'd love. Firstly, what to take with me in my running belt. Secondly, any tricks and tips in the lead up to the day. I've heard that Vaseline-ing feet helps to avoid blisters. Thirdly, any diet advice, what to eat, when to eat it, and how to make sure I've stored as much energy as possible. Finally, positive thoughts I guess. I hope I make it round. In under eight hours.
I sound disheartened today. I'm not, not really. I made it round 17km yesterday! I am mostly just nervous, and I need to tackle it, because I can't start a race with a fuzzy head and my stomach in knots on the day! Hope everyone's training is going well :)
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