Marathon Madness

Following last Sunday’s Great Trail Challenge, I had two days of doing very little. Who would have thought that running 14 miles would exacerbate my neck pain… I did the sensible thing and rested as much as I could. Not an easy thing to do when I have three girls to run around after and work, but I did the best I could.

On Wednesday, I went out for a steady run to see how it felt. I did just over 5k and felt great. My neck didn’t trouble me too much but, even more remarkable, my legs felt strong. I surprise myself at how quickly I’m recovering from strenuous runs at the moment and it can only signal that my training is going in the right direction.

After a long day at work on Friday, I headed out for a run almost as soon as I got home. Best to get out there straight away before I think about it too much and talk myself out of it. It was rather warm but I enjoyed the feeling of getting out into the fresh air after being stuck in work all day. The run proved far from relaxing, though, as my usual quiet running route was like a bustling commuter route. I kept having to jump in the side to avoid the onslaught of the cars. I’m not used to this!  A few minutes later, a police officer slowed down and asked which way I was jogging. Jogging?! Running, thank you very much…. It turned out there’d been a rather nasty accident.

I was able to continue on my way and up the now infamous Hill of Doom. Heading back towards Wigton, I saw the Great North Air Ambulance taking off from the scene of the accident. It sent a chill through me as it is a really stark reminder of how quickly your life can change. What we take for granted today, we may not be lucky enough to have tomorrow, such is the fragility of life. It also brings to my attention just how lucky I am in that I can get out there and run when so many people are unable to. When people ask me why I run, I always answer it’s because I can. I want to use my body, and push myself while I have the capability to do it.

Finishing the run, I felt good. No aches, no pains, just a horrid feeling in the pit of my stomach from seeing the accident.

sunrunSaturday was one of those days when I seemed to be rushing here, there and everywhere. As a result, I neglected to properly hydrate myself in preparation for Sunday’s long run – my last long run before the Lakeland Trails marathon in 3 weeks *gulp*. It was a nice day spent with the family at Finglandrigg Wood, going on a reptile walk and seeing an adder! Awesome! The girls are in their element at events like these.

IMG_5001IMG_5003IMG_5010I woke early on Sunday morning, Father’s Day. This was the first Father’s Day since losing Dad and my mind was all over the place. A run today, just getting out there, was the best thing I could do on this day. Although dad is always in my thoughts, today I felt his loss acutely. An almost physical ache.

I headed out the door just after 8am to begin my epic run. Although overcast, it was still warm and I soon regretted wearing T-shirt and capris rather than shorts and a vest. To be honest, my head really wasn’t in it for the first 10 miles. There were several occasions where I could just have called it a day and taken a short cut home. However, I kept going and by the time I got to the 10 mile point, I was enjoying the run and my head was clear. A lovely feeling after the oppressive pressure I was feeling in my head earlier that morning.

long20.2route20.2elevation

The sun was shining (I would have liked it to have disappeared for a few hours to be honest!), the birds were flying around me and it was just a great feeling to be out there, enjoying the world. The run started feeling tough at the 18 mile point but I knew I just had to dig in and get through it. My lack of proper hydration the day before was causing me to suffer now, especially because it was hot! Once I hit 20 miles, I seemed to get a second wind and felt strong as I stopped my watch at 20.2 miles  my longest run ever!

I'm pleased with the pacing

I’m pleased with the pacing

I was pleased with how I felt after the long run, both physically and mentally, and, after a short rest, we headed out to Rosley park for a picnic. It was nice to just sit and rest while watching the girls having fun in the park.

Recovery Food :-)

Recovery Food 🙂

IMG_5022So, only 3 weeks to go until marathon day. I must admit, I’m feeling very nervous and hugely daunted by what lies ahead of me. However, now is the time to try and relax and let the tapering begin. I’ve heard that tapering often leads to madness…. Watch this space…..

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