Operation Mojo

dsc_0356I appear to have had a bit of a slump in my jogging and blogging efforts, sorry about that!

Since I last wrote in August, I’ve been on a handful of runs, but the mojo is certainly not quite back yet. I have partly replaced the running with more swimming, which I’m really enjoying, but to be honest in the last two or three weeks, apart from a bit of walking, I haven’t done a thing :-/

I got back from a 2-week trip to Hong Kong and Australia on Monday, where I was attending a conference in Brisbane (I know, lucky me!). I took my running gear with me, fully intending to do Brisbane parkrun (cos it’d’ve been cool to clock up a bit of parkrun tourism in another country!), but alas that didn’t happen – partly laziness, partly because the Wifi broke in my apartment so I couldn’t check to find out where and what time it was, and partly because I weirdly developed a painful back problem! It must have been the bed I was sleeping in, as it seemed to be aggravated by lying down (really weird spasm-y sort of pain between my shoulder blades!) but I’ve been fine ever since getting home. Odd.

Anyway, excuses aside, for whatever reason the running just hasn’t been happening lately. Like it or not, that is all about to change because I GOT A BALLOT PLACE IN THE LONDON MARATHON AAARGGGHH!!!!img_20161011_102242

Yup, when I arrived home on Monday morning I stepped over an item of post that was on the doormat, thinking it was a magazine for my husband. When he brought it up to me later saying it had “Virgin” on it, my heart started to beat a little bit faster. UH OH: the London Marathon ballot results are due!!

Sure enough when I hastily ripped open the plastic wrap, there was my “You’re In!” magazine and provisional acceptance form. YIKES! (I think my actual wording was a little less child-friendly!) Better get that mojo back sharpish!!

So, for the first time in what felt ages, today I laced up my trainers and started off my Virgin London Marathon 2017 pre-training with a little 20 minute/2 mile run. I’ve got a while before the official 16 week training plan countdown starts, so the next couple of months will be about trying to get my ‘oomph’ back. Operation Mojo has begun!

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Worcester Marathon!

20160522_143726I only bloody went and did it! At last I can call myself a proper marathon runner! Worcester Marathon – conquered!

I was SO nervous and jittery last night as I got all my kit together, although surprisingly I slept fairly well. It helped that because Worcester is only half an hour’s drive away, I didn’t have to get up at stupid o’clock! The alarm went off at a very respectable 7.30am, and after a leisurely porridge breakfast I was off!

What was also rather lovely was the fact that my hubs was able to drive me there and back. He usually works on Sundays, but he’d decided to call off his tour for the day to come and cheer me on, yay! And let me tell you, I was SO glad that he did! It was so nice to see him a couple of times on the route and get a cheeky little kiss as I went past to keep my spirits up 🙂

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Me and hubby at the finish!

I was surprised at how big an event it was! Nearly 1000 runners took part, which made for a brilliant atmosphere – on the first lap at least! There was a half marathon at the same time though, and only 255 of us were mad enough to complete the full marathon, which meant that most of the runners and supporters had gone home by the time I started the second lap! It was a beautiful countryside route though (confusing that the medal has Worcester Cathedral on it, seeing as we didn’t actually go anywhere near the city centre!) but OMG it was hilly!! There were a few quite big lumps, but pretty much all the way round was either slightly up or slightly downhill – it never felt particularly flat! “Undulating”, I think they call it!

I had some running buddies on the first lap – two ladies called Rebecca and Lina from Regency Runners in Leamington who I bumped into on the start line – I’d actually met them before in Stratford when I did my second 401 Challenge “marathon” (in quote marks because I’m not 100% convinced that, as a standalone effort, it really counts as a proper marathon if you stop for lunch halfway round!). Lina was doing the half marathon, so we said goodbye to her at the 11 mile mark, which is where the full marathon runners peeled off to start the second lap-and-a-bit. I stuck with Rebecca at her speedy 10 min/mile pace for most of the first lap, but she pulled away from me at around 13 miles and finished in a brilliant time of 4:26:22! ),

I dropped the pace a little bit and stayed with another girl called Jess who we’d got chatting to early on in the race, but she dropped back even further after a few more miles and I heard on the grapevine that she actually retired with an injury at some point. I hope she’s OK! 😦

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Things really started to get tough at around 16-17 miles. I’m not sure if it was “the wall”, but I definitely found it quite mentally challenging once the field significantly thinned out.  It didn’t help that I had to have a quick, ahem, pitstop at around mile 20 (fortunately there was a portaloo, so I didn’t have to use what my friend Amy calls the “facilitrees”!), and I had a massive battle with myself about whether I was going to let myself walk up a big hill that I knew was coming up. As it turns out, I didn’t walk that one, but I did take a few little walk breaks a bit later on. I’m a bit disappointed about that, but I’m not going to dwell on it. It was my first marathon so it just gives me something to build on next time 😉

The last little bit of the race was really nice as it veered off the road and onto the Worcester canal tow path. As I came into the Sixways Stadium car park towards the finish line, Lina came running alongside me, cheering me on and willing me to sprint the finish – I  may not quite have sprinted but I did pick up the pace and finished the race with a big smile on my face – brilliant! I finished in a time of 4:43:36 – a bit slower than I’d have liked, really, but I really don’t care – I did it!! I had wanted to get under 4.5 hours, but now that I’ve done it and realise just how tough it is to run a marathon, I’ve re-evaluated and really don’t think sub-5 hours is bad at all! Like I said, there will be a next time, so it just gives me a target to aim for! 🙂 2016-05-24 21.43.56

https://www.strava.com/activities/584416640/embed/d0b4a6edfc3e4a46d3619120ea93bad00568a9c4

MTR#36: 3 miles

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Oh my, the hair’s looking fabulous!

I’m probably taking it a bit too easy this week, but I played netball on Monday, and will again on Thursday, and we went out for dinner with my hubby’s family last night so I’ve been a bit busy! We’re off out to the cinema on Friday night and I might do a little run on Saturday but then on Sunday….it’s the marathon  – arrghhhh!! 😀

https://www.strava.com/activities/584416512/embed/8b35a85b70ef5ad7207fd6fa3e2b12d2ac009955

MTR#35: 10 miles – last long run argh!

2016-05-15 15.02.16Today’s 10-miler was my last long run before the marathon next weekend, aarrrgghhh!!! My legs felt a little bit tired, but I was in a good mood, the weather was perfect and I had some great tunes on my iPod so it was easy to keep going. I particularly enjoyed air-ukeleleing to Noah & the Whale!

If the weather gods could arrange for exactly this weather next week – sunny with a nice cool breeze – I’ll be very happy indeed!2016-05-15 18.41.52

I’ll be doing a few short ones this week and then this time next week I will be a proper marathon runner!! It’ll be tough, for sure, but there’s no doubt in my mind that I will make it – the question is, will my right big toenail?!?!

 

https://www.strava.com/activities/576916468/embed/cdfa8922626a784dfb1cddcb52cf3c92e66b63d8

MTR#33: 6 miles – getting my mojo back!

2016-05-10 20.21.28Tuesday nights are when I normally run with Becky, so off we went tonight, hoping it would shake me out of my rut!

I worked, yay 🙂 In fact, Becky’s knee was starting to twinge, so she decided to call it quits after 5 miles or so, but I carried on for another mile to round it up to 6. I wouldn’t say I exactly *loved* that run, but running with someone else was definitely what I needed to get back on track.

https://www.strava.com/activities/576916436/embed/c1ddd48f87d0a511c9c3159e02871a0b55bb6574

 

MTR#32: 12.7 miles, but ugh.

2016-05-08 19.51.52Well that was officially my worst run ever.

Having not run all week, apart from a quick and reluctant 5km last night, I knew I needed to get my long run in today, but I was SO not up for it! It was supposed to be my first taper run of 14 miles, so I planned a route that would take me to Tom’s cricket club, where I could have a sit down and watch the cricket for a bit before running back.

Well, that was the plan and I more or less made it to the cricket club OK (just a couple of uphill walk-breaks near the end), but after that I totally lost it and ended up taking a shorter route home, and walking a lot more of it than I’d like.

It was really hot today, which didn’t help, and I felt like there was nothing in my legs, but more than that I was just in a really negative mood. I’m not sure why. It was a beautiful day today, so I tried telling myself to enjoy the scenery even when I was walking, but for some reason everything was making me grumpy.

Bah humbug.

https://www.strava.com/activities/576916451/embed/e56f2105ac84547bb89cadb75ac38c7e5c05c169

MTR#31: Lazy 5km

2016-05-07 20.12.52Uh oh, I’ve lost my mojo.

After completing an epic 20 miles last Sunday, I have taken it too easy this week, and fallen off the wagon a bit.

Although hubby and I went for a long and pretty hilly walk on Monday, I haven’t actually run since then, until today. I was going to do about 8 miles today, but I kept putting it off and putting it off…Then, when I eventually did put my running gear on and was just about to head off out the door, I got a call from my brother-in-law asking if I wanted to go for a few drinks to celebrate his girlfriend’s birthday. It was already 8pm by then, so I decided to go for a quick 3 miler and get back in time to join them in the pub before closing time.

Oh well, a short run is better than no run…

https://www.strava.com/activities/576916424/embed/3f8128b2b3748660f8b01b815e990900cb60b4fe

MTR#30: 20 MILES!

2016-05-01 16.14.55Oh. My. God. I just ran for over 3.5 hours without stopping and covered 20 motherflippin miles!

SO TIRED!

I was so nervous about doing this run, my longest training run before tapering for the marathon! I wondered if I would be up to it, considering I have been ill recently, and did over 13 miles just the other day, but er, yes, it seems I was!

One thing that has been rather lacking in my marathon training so far is proper fuel. I still haven’t managed to get to a sports shop to buy some gels, but I figured I would probably need a bit of sugary help today, so I got some fizzy and non-fizzy cola bottle jelly sweets from the convenience shop instead! I ate one sweet every mile, which gave me something to look forward to every 10 minutes or so – in fact I definitely appreciated the mouth-watering qualities of the fizzy ones! I am exhausted now but I never felt like I’d completely hit the wall, and my stomach was fine too, so it must have helped (although the sweets did start getting a bit squidgy towards the end from being in my pocket!).

Still not entirely sure where I’m going to find the oomph to keep going another 6 miles…but I’ve been saying that throughout this training and I seem to keep adding the miles on…what’s another 6!?

All together now….TAPER!!!! 😀