So, this time last year I had never run a marathon – nor was I even registered to run one.
Now I am sat here about to tell you about the pre-marathon period gearing up to my second marathon of 2017! Seriously this is utter madness!
I signed up for the Richmond Marathon on the 21st April … I had only just run my first one on the 9th April – seriously this running malarkey is addictive stuff. What was I thinking?
Nobody ever tells first time marathon runners about the joys of tapering.
I ended up reading loads about marathon training plans, about miles I should be running, what I should eat, what I should wear, but really when it came to tapering… it was like – well yes it’s time to decrease the miles and start preparing to feel bloated from carbohydrates.
What nobody said was, you will completely lose all focus on everything, you will start to doubt everything, you will have imaginary illnesses that are going to thwart all your training and your dreams will start to involve any manner of weird running related obstacles!
So, I am here to give you the final few week low down before the Richmond Marathon.
Every dream, every rogue phantom illness I pick up, and what I have been eating, and obviously, what I have planned for my race day run outfit! ( Every Instagram runner knows you must produce a flat lay of pre-race ‘stuff!’)
Saturday 26th August 2017.
Today its 21 days until Richmond Marathon, I have one last long run to do this coming Sunday – and I am aiming for 24 miles.
After that, its mileage taper time… the past few runs I seem to be getting slower, I don’t know if it’s because I am tired, the humidity or just a bit of a slump!
I had planned to use the Richmond marathon to get the sub 4hrs I would like (Brighton I managed 4hr 17) but the way the last few weeks training have been, I have decided not to burden myself with worrying about times, pace etc… I have made the conscious decision to just run it like I did Brighton and enjoy it. For my first marathon I didn’t own a watch that told me how fast I was going or how many miles I had run- I ran at a speed that felt comfortable.
So at this moment in time, that is the goal, get round, have fun and enjoy the free Fullers Beer that I get at the end!
Saturday 2nd September 2017
It’s my birthday, I am 34, and I have 14 days to go until the marathon!
I managed the 24 miles last weekend, so that was a real confidence boost… it was tough, but actually enjoyed it!
I’ve got a real niggly pain in my calf – I ran a 13 mile cross country route yesterday round Bewl Water and it was stunning, but it was hilly…I mean it, it was really hilly and I think it twinged my calf!
In fact – I’m now so anxious about injuring myself I’ve already booked in for a sports massage next week!
Next week’s plan will be the usual, gym session and then my last pre-marathon (longish run)
Now if you don’t mind I am going to start consuming one of the two birthday cakes I’ve been given!
Saturday 9th September 2017
7 days to go and I am on a Hen Do today, canoeing… so as long as I don’t catch a cold or fall in and get some terrible disease from the Thames I should be ok with the start of my taper week!
I have 10 miles to run tomorrow, and then that is it – I will do a 5k and a swim… then sit and consume some ridiculous amount of carbohydrates, complain about feeling bloated and bath in Epsom salts (because they make everything better!)
I’m also sat here thinking, why do I think Marathon running is a good choice of sport for me!?!
I had my sports massage on Tuesday(5th) and he was able to pinpoint exactly where my calf pain was… even though it’s not the most pleasant way to spend an evening the after effects are definitely worth it – I’ve also booked in for a post marathon massage!
Another thing I’ve realised I do before a marathon race… become obsessed with ‘things to do the week before’ like consume beetroot (apparently it’ll make me speedy!) buy random items like magnesium muscle rub (it’ll help my calves after the run) – my mind doesn’t switch off from ‘marathon’ mode and the things I need to do and prepare for.
It’s all in my mind, the things I need to do are get my kit out – and make sure I have a ginger beer in my bag for afterwards… anything else is me just getting anxious!
I am also rambling – right better go get ready for canoeing!!
*also how early is too early when it comes to looking at weather forecasts?!
Saturday 16th September 2017
So, the marathon is tomorrow. Sure, that crept up quickly.
Today’s plan is to chill out, take a bath, eat (which is slowly becoming more of a chore than fun!) and then head to my hotel in West London.
I know for a fact when I finally get up, i’ll unpack and repack my bag a couple of times and stress out that I’ve forgotten something.
My husband can’t come to the marathon and cheer me as he has to work, so I am relying on friends to turn out and give me a motivational high 5… that or rely on strangers to shout encouraging things – like ‘Only 20 more miles to go!’
I also have a really stinking cold… convinced myself I am totally incapable of running this marathon, and am now walking round wearing those ‘Breath Easy’ nasal strips!
Maranoia is in overdrive!
Sunday 17th September 2017
I’ve stayed at a hotel about 30 minutes walk from Kew.
I’m nervous, I feel incapable and I literally cannot stop going to the toilet! (too much info!)
I met Claire when we both ran Brighton Marathon and she ultimately encouraged the Richmond Marathon sign up, and then I’ve been speaking to Lou on instagram – and this is her first marathon!
It’s this moment I hate, the self-doubt, the nerves, the really random aches and pains that I don’t normally have!
I’ve eaten my oats and banana, had my coffee… used the toilet more times that necessary and now I’m heading to Kew Gardens…
do I feel prepared? No –
do I think I will get round? Yes –
why am I doing this again?
So I met up with the girls, which was fab… and then made the decision to head into the under 4 hour running pen! Don’t know why… just that it left first and would mean I wasn’t standing around worrying!
Spotted Claire and joined her for our pre run selfie… I’m not sure how I’ll ever cope if I run a marathon and have to start without her!
I ran with Claire for the first few miles which was great, made me forget how much I hate the first 3 miles, and then she whizzed off!
I kept my pace pretty steady between 8.30-9 minute miles which actually felt pretty comfortable – bar the constant nose blowing!
Before I knew it, highway to hell by AC/DC playing in my ears I reached mile 20… I just seemed to completely zone out and was happily keeping pace.
At 20 miles you know its literally just 10k to do, so I dug deep and carried on… the last couple of miles I slowed down too much to make my sub 4… but… with my sprint finish at the end (which none of my friends or family saw because they got caught in traffic jams… but I definitely sprinted!) I managed to get a 4hr marathon (shaving 17 minutes off my previous time!)
I am totally over the moon! Now for ginger beer, bath and bed!!
I think taking away any pressure of time and pace, and literally just running for me was the key…Richmond was a truly fab marathon, and I come away with a big smile, an awesome marathon time and the best medal by far – it’s also doubles as a bottle opener!!
If ever you feel like running a marathon, I can’t even begin to tell you how incredibly proud it makes you feel. I am so pleased with my achievement, and it goes to show that my training is paying off, and I am loving it more than ever!
Follow me on: Instagram @louloubelou_marathon
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