Thursday 18 October 2012

A marathon cool down

Prior to the 24-hour race I signed up Sonic and I for a marathon in Newcastle on October 28.  Actually it was ananniversary gift from me to mark another year of wedded bliss.  Don't tsk, he gave me a pair of swimming goggles and some anti-fog spray.  Merely following instructions when I emailed and web link with the titles "please can I have this?"  Who says romance is dead? :-)

My approach to the marathon was simple:  If I can do it, great.  If I can't, there will be no love lost.  I've said it before, I don't do races as training runs so intend to give me my all.  I just don't know how much all I have left. 

I know I'm lucky to bounce back quickly from races (it's a girl thing), but it's still been a bit of a bumpy road.   I was in a bit of a state after Poland, but I've also been worse.   I few days of shuffling and wailing and a few good bottles of red and I was back on the recovery track. 

After a week of casual runs, I added in some sessions and tempos.  The latter were a suck-it-and-see for the pending marathon.  I skipped the Thursday night club training in favour of a 13 miler, with eight miles at my goal marathon pace.  I wasn't expecting much, but the stars must have aligned for me. You know one of the those runs that gives you a right ol' confidence boost?  I felt on top of the world.  It didn't last.

I'd semi-volunteered myself to run a leg of the McAndrew Road Relays on the Saturday.  My words were "if you need a counter to make up a team".  On the assumption that nothing gung-ho was required, I went hell-for-leather in the gym on Friday.  Then Captain Maz text to say I was in the Vets A team.  Deep joy.  Any dilly-dallying would be totally frowned upon.

Image pinched from Gordon C on Flickr
 The McAndrew is only a teeny weeny 3.25 miles, but it's nasty.  And as with most of these club events, the competition is fierce.  I knew I was biting off my that I could chew - even before I took into account a pretty hard week - but I felt ok.  Until the last hill, which nearly floored me. 

I wasn't entirely sure I was actually moving forward, but I was pretty sure I've only ever made those sounds during childbirth.   It was certainly the closest I've ever been to seeing stars (or a close up of the pavement!)  in a race!

Anyway, we won the first vets team prize.  More down to my other two teams mates - Jill and Gail - than my heaving performance.  Full results here.

The next day (Sunday) I had planned to run 20mile easy with the Gibbering Midget. had been swotting up on nutrition, basically looking at ways to improve my racing food strategy. I've been reading about the importance of training your body to use fat stores, rather than carbohydrate. Obviously I'm not qualified to write about it, so please google it or have look over Barry Murray's article: Fat Adaptation and Fuel Efficiency or Running on Empty by Running Times

In preparation, I had an early dinner on the Saturday night and went out on empty on Sunday morning.  Thankfully the GM decided to join me in the experiment.  To be honest, I was pretty goosed before embarking on the glycogen depletion adventure, so it was my smartest move.  It wasn't pretty and it certainly wasn't enjoyable.  In fact it's probably in my top ten less favourite runs ever.  The GM wasn't much better.  We were totally wasted.  In fact I could drop the "gibbering" from her nickname, as there was certainly no sparkling chat exchanged.  I tripped three times.  On a pavement!  Two of them were belters.  The last couple of miles I had to make a concerted effort to focus and pick up my feet properly.  I must have been trotting through the streets of Milngavie like a stoned dressage horse.

Classic GM-ism though:  We had to do a wee bit of jiggery pokery to make up the run to 20 miles, so I took her round the houses in Bearsden.  Trying to assess her bearings she said: "I know where I am, this is the road to Canesten roundabout".  I had to remind her that the roundabout is called Cannisburn and Canesten is in fact a treatment for thrush! We were practically rolling about the pavements in stitches! Certainly brightened a dark hour.
I was completely destroyed after the run and it took me a good few days to get over the shock.  I guess it will takes months of work to get my body to function on something other that Mrs Tilly and Midget Gems.

Thankfully I had an even better marathon tempo run last Thursday and Sundays going-for-depletion 20-miler was  better (certainly not great!) than the week before. 

So, next weekend we're heading down for the Newcastle Town Moor Marathon - along with Mrs Tilly and Midget Gems!  With a very exposed course of 5 x 5+ mile laps (I know! I know! It's a form of self-harming!) it's not ideal, but the timing of the events and the logistics work.   I would have preferred to run the Liverpool Marathon with the gang of Garscube runners who ran last Sunday, but I'm glad of the extra two weeks.

Here's a little bit of harsh motivation for anyone who's struggling in a race.  This is fellow Garscube, Katie White WINNING her first ever marathon in 3:01 - after breaking her ankle at mile five. Respect!! Also huge congratulations to  Gail for a fabulous third place finish.