Thursday, 10 October 2013

What happened next


My goodness, my last blog was just after the WHWrace. I usually do an aftermath blog but when you leave it more than a week it kind of goes out your head and then you never get round to it. Headtorch and beautiful sunrises are in vogue again.

Starting where I left off.  I'd taken a week off work to get some R&R but by Tuesday I was a bit bored as Ian was back to work and I was feeling fine. I was astounded by my recovery. By Tuesday I had tired legs but no DOMS, I was more bothered by the 3 million midgie bites which seemed to explode all over my body in the days after the race. I was on a diet of Piriton and wine, I slept a lot.

I'll put my good recovery down to Ian's perfect training plan and the added bonus of adding Donnie as my PT to strengthen me. My crew kept me in good spirits and believed in me the whole way. I couldn't have asked for more really.

After the race I had no grand plans for rest of year. Only thing I'd entered was Speyside Way Ultra which I'd done the first year and had great memories of. So it was a case of going with the flow with regard to races. There was talk of an Autumn Marathon but no hard plans were laid.
We ended up in Arran only 2 weeks after race doing not only the half but the 4 mile fun run day before too. (roasting ) We did the 6 hills of Edinburgh on one of hottest days of yr (yes, we missed one out)a fabulous 13miler with Susan & Howard in Pentlands and The Donkey Brae ( hills, biblical rain)
To mix it up there was also the meadows 2 miler (killer, actually thought lungs would burst) 

Ian had said he wasn't doing Ultra's this year but after following everyone's antics over the Devil of the Highlands it sparked something in him and he made noises about wishing he'd been there. I suggested he could come up and do Speyside with me and he said "well I'll have to do a 30miler to see how I get on" So hasty plans were made and we ended up in Oak Tree Inn. Ian planned his long run and I planned a chilled out time after suffering with tonsillitis all week.
Speyside way. The first year I ran I did 6hrs 1 min so my only real goal was to get sub6 this year. Oh and try and beat Ian, who's 30miler had clearly gone quite well btw. 

Now I hadn't done any long runs since WHW, runs to and from work and a few races, Arran half if you want to count that as a long run (I don't) so I wasn't entirely sure how it would pan out but I still had the sub6 in my mind. I decided to keep Ian in my sights for as long as I could, he still faffing around in 1st checkpoint when I got there and bolted when I appeared but I soon caught him again and we played cat & mouse for good 15 miles after till he pulled away on a downhill section. I ended up letting him win with it being his first Ultra this year ;)  I finished in 5.48, 6th Lady and 20th overall. Delighted.
The pic is from the book of first year- must contact agent
Next up -and Stirling 10k (apocalyptic) and a disappointing time of 48mins. I'm pretty rubbish at short distances anyway but I guess head and heart weren't in race as I sat in car REALLY not wanting to get out in THAT weather. And I'm not fair weather runner. Next again week Dumfries Half Marathon. I'd ran it 3 yrs previous and forgotten how tough it was. Did same time as 3 yrs previous, not sure whether I should be happy or sad about that, so I was neutral. Great to see Susan & Howard again albeit briefly.
And few whw family too in forms of Ian who kindly ran us back to bus and regaled with stories of crazy triathlons and Keith who was as smiley as ever but had no chunky kitkats.

Oh what next?
Hmm, Baxters river ness 10k. Ian had been invited up so we decided we might as well race if we were going all way up there. No room at the Inn nor anywhere remotely near so we ended up staying in middle of nowhere about an hours drive away. Still, it was better than driving 4 hrs in the morning and getting up in middle of night for a 10k. Guy who checked us in seemed strangely familiar but couldn't figure out why til we went down for dinner and he asked about Ians whw top. Turns out it was Terry who gave Donny a run for his money at this yrs Speyside way and lost by 2 seconds. Small world.

River Ness turned out to be a wholly unexpected PB! I'm still no speedster by any means but I was delighted with 46.28. No speedwork since April, I'll take that. Another roasty toasty day, cant complain we've had no summer this year! Was great being in VIP tent and rehydrating with wine whilst cheering folk over finish line too.

That left the talked about Autumn Marathon. We plumped for Chester. Read great things about it and all reports said it was great, well organised and had been voted number 1 marathon in uk. I'd banged on about it being my first marathon for 3 yrs until I realised i'd done Loch Ness last yr, my god. I knew I felt utterly crap after that and limped in 3.49 but to blank it out my head totally? lol

I was pretty nervous. If you'd asked me in March i'd have said I was pretty damn confident. I'd been doing regular speed training along with long runs which culminated in my 50k PB of 4.26

Fast forward 6months. Gulp.
Pigtails, Chanel ribbons, Chanel no 5. Ready


Another glorious day beckoned, I like the hot weather. Only weather I don't particularly like is wind, chuck anything else and I'm happy. I had a goal in my head that only a few people knew about. I'd signed up to the twitter & facebook feed at last minute to put extra pressure on. Nerves were kicking in but I always take that as a positive. I wished Ian luck and he went off to his pen ahead of me and I lined up in middle of sub 3.30 pen. I decided I was just going to run comfortably. I'd felt comfortable at River Ness which is bizarre as I ran that at the same pace as 2 miler in meadows where I nearly died.

So that's what I did. Started off with a lap of racecourse, my goodness it made me feel sorry for horses! I was glad to get off there and up the wee hill onto the road, well this *was* a road Marathon remember. Into the beautiful city of Chester and down the cobbled streets, much more forgiving than Edinburgh's I have to say.  Over a wee bridge which got pretty congested then onto wider streets and country roads. Stunning route which took in little villages with quaint houses. I somehow caught up with the 3.30 pacers at around mile 4 and stayed with them (not trying to) for another 2 or 3 I think. I was a bit worried I had gone off too fast but I'd not caught them till 4 miles and I still felt ok.

This marathon actually crosses the border into Wales which I was a bit excited about giving I'd never been there. I was hoping for a big sign saying *WALES*  but was sadly disappointed. I had an indication I was there as I heard a roar of "oggy oggy oggy" ahead, thinking we were approaching another bunch of supporters. It turns out we hadn't so I can only assume this was where we crossed into Wales. After that most signs were in Welsh & English but I'm bit gutted there was no leeks and daffodils in abundance ;) I'd seen guy in a pink tutu couple times during race, doing bit showboating and getting huge cheers-he seemed familiar, then I spotted guy he was running withs tshirt which confirmed it was. I eventually realised he was someone I'd met on twitter and hoped to catch the two of them eventually.

I only looked at my garmin when I felt I was running a bit too easy and would push pace if I thought it was slipping. I started doing calculations in my head, if I do this pace till then, I'll do that, etc etc. I knew I'd slow down, I had done at Perth. But one thing I hadn't counted on one iota was walking.

I'd ran every single step of Perth, no stops for toilet, drinks, nothing. By mile 14 I was walking though drinks stations but ploughing on after. My mile 21 I was taking walking breaks. This marathon wasn't as flat as folk made out! There were few long drags which you only started to notice half a mile into. There were hills late on, they didn't quite kill me but I did walk part of them. I'd said I was NOT going to walk. I was bitterly disappointed with myself and kept recalculating finish time over and over in my head.

Head was willing me on, legs were willing me to stop. The battle went on. 24 miles in and the crowds were back, 25miles in and it was a line of supporters, much like a finish line. Barriers, screaming supporters lining whole route, Everyone shouting "nearly there" down to river, "nearly there, keep going, looking good" wtf? me? no I don't think so. Where's the fucking finish line? what have you done with the racecourse?  I felt like grabbing a marshal and shaking them asking them if they'd moved the mile markers, moved the finish? I wanted to STOP

 Through an archway, omg, there it is, we're in racecourse! Wait, where's the finish? aaargh! ALL the way round there? I cant run on grass now, I have no power in my legs. I'm not a bloody racehorse, a donkey perhaps.

Looked at Garmin, damn, I had targeted sub 3.40 and I saw my watch tick tick towards it as I plodded my donkey legs as fast as they'd go. I got a shout out! yay. Here comes Sandra Macdog ...ul   hmmph, is that me? does he mean me? who cares? there's the finish!  3hrs 40 mins and 45 seconds.

conflicting emotions.

gah! Stupid 46 secs, why did you walk Sandra?
 yay! PB by over 6 minutes, walk if wan to , walk if you want to.....

I'm not complaining. I'm very happy with that. My last speed training was in March/April leading up to Fling/Double day. Spent nearly all of May injured then ran WHW race. No long runs since then with the exception of  Speyside Way Ultra, none. To get results, you have to do the work.

It makes me think of what I could actually do with some proper Marathon training.

Met my pink tutu wearing twitter  friend Mike & Simon at end, they'd finished 5 mins ahead, literally seconds ahead of Ian who incidentally got a seasons best.  I should've used them as pacers!

SDW100

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