Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Refocusing, two weeks on...

It's been a funny two weeks since my wonderful weekend at the Brighton Marathon, and I'm afraid this is a long essay of a post to cover it all ;)

Last week, amongst other races, we had the excitement of the London Marathon.  On one hand, it really annoys me that so many people think it's the only marathon there is...but on the other hand, I recognise just how special it is.  As I wasn't running it this year, I decide to go down and support everyone who was, and headed to about mile 20 to cheer them on - as soon as I got to the roadside, the tears came and I was overwhelmed by it all.  Watching the London Marathon in 2007 inspired me to start running in the first place, and it's the first time since then that I've been back as a spectator (rather than taking part) and I found being there quite emotional.  Lots of runners I follow on Twitter, and people I know in real life, ran at London, and so many finished in great times - but watching all the strangers go past and being able to cheer them on and hopefully encourage them was fantastic too.  The high of the race was then followed by the tragic news of the death of Claire Squires - the third runner who has died at a race I've been at in the last 12 months :( There was an international sympathy that accompanied Claire's death and nearly £1million has been donated to the Samaritans, the charity she was running for, which obviously means that she has left a fantastic legacy. Absolutely harrowing though; "there but for the grace of God, go I" is the quote that springs to mind....

The following Wednesday, after work, I ran the 5km Baton of Life race in Hyde Park, which was a charity race held in memory of Andrew Corbett - the runner who died at last year's Brentwood Half Marathon (shown in the photo with his children).  It was very weird to be running such a short race, but I'm really glad I went.  His children (both under 10) were handing out the medals at the end of the course, and it was both heart-warming to see them so confident, while also being absolutely horrendous to think that they have lost their dad so young.

This weekend just gone, we had the Milton Keynes and Manchester marathons, where although I was only following people online rather than being there in person, I still got quite excited about the whole thing, and was so very pleased for the runners who managed to complete their races in some of the worst weather imaginable...and some, again, in exceptionally impressive times!

And that brings us to today.

The excitement of the big spring marathons seems to have passed, although there are still loads of smaller marathons being run and Edinburgh is later this month. So, after a couple of odd weeks, today I realise that my training for my Ultra has to really kick in this week!  I have been running since Brighton (just 5 miles the first week, and 30 miles last week) but now I have just 12 weeks left until I will be running my 52.4 mile goal race...and that's all at once, in one go, on one day.....I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit scared! ;)

Although I created a training schedule months ago for this period between Brighton and the 50 miler, I've been panicking and reviewing it, scouring Google for alternative ultra training plans, and generally altering every element of what I started with.  I think I'm pretty much set with what I now have, but as with all of my training schedules, I know that as the days go past it will be fluid and I'll swap days around as I need to depending on what life throws at me.  The only definites are that my weekends will now see me completing double long runs on Saturday and Sunday (although my first attempt at this doubling up yesterday wasn't a great success!), I'll make sure I include a day of speedwork, I'll run at least four days a week (although usually 5) and of course, my race dates are set:

 * Halstead Marathon on 13th May, just two weeks away.  I ran this last year and it's a fabulous race around a beautiful countryside course (if not a bit hilly!) and I hope to improve on last year's time of 4:47 although I'm treating this just as a training run so I'll not get close to my Brighton time.  Really looking forward to it though :)

* Kent Roadrunner Marathon on 4th June.  This in the inaugural Kent Roadrunner and to be honest I 'm not convinced at all - it's a mind-boggling 17 laps of a tarmac cycling track, and I don't know how I'll cope with that, but I'll give it a go - it's just a training run!

* Enigma Running Festival - 30 miles on 7th July.  My first ultra!! Still only part of my training, and not a goal race, but I'm very excited about it, and seeing how I get on at this distance.  It's also put on by what seems to be a pretty awesome group of people, and I get the feeling that this ultra will be a really great experience. Here's hoping ;)

Then the big one...the Challenge Hub 50 miler on July 22nd.

All this means that I have to start focussing on my training and concentrating on the mammoth task ahead of me. But if that wasn't enough, this morning I tried on the dress I want to wear to a friend's wedding in 6 weeks time, to check it was ok.  It fit me last autumn, but I couldn't even do the zip up today! Aaargh! :(

So, today starts the training, today starts the diet!

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