Monday, 7 April 2014

6 Days to go.........

…….and I’ve done all I can now, yesterday was my last run of any major miles, a gentle 10 miler to signal the beginning of the final prep and the build up to Marathon Sunday. The taper as I guess with most, has been difficult, almost sitting on my hands or feet as the case may be, to stop myself from over doing it. Since the taper began I’ve felt the niggles more and more, my glutes especially have been quite literally, a pain in the arse! The taper miles have been gentle because to be honest, we all know that with two weeks until the marathon, if you haven’t got the right sort of training in before that, the last two weeks are not going to do any more than keep the legs ticking over and recuperate the body for the challenge ahead. I, on the whole have been pleased with how my trainings gone, but I must admit with the intensity of the niggles I was beginning to question my ability to cope with 26.2 miles without swearing a lot because I hadn’t been able to make it to the start line feeling as good as I could do.

I know I’m my own worst enemy, my stretching routine is non-existent and has been since I started running at school, I never saw the point of stretching pre-work out as stretching cold muscles seemed like a waste of time, and after work out, I was too bloody knackered, nothing’s changed in that regard, however I must remember I’m nearly 42 and flexibility and looking after the muscles needs to be considered if I’m to carry on putting myself through the grind of these events. The intensity of the problem in the glutes or top of the hamstrings was beginning to become excruciating, I was beginning to feel it in the very first strides and I would get home feeling despondent, despite the fact that I was still running well. I was beginning to feel worse than I ever had at any point through the 10 weeks of training. Caz could see it in me, and I know it was beginning to play heavily on my mind. I could handle feeling shit after 18/20miles but dealing with deep pain in the butt, that I knew would then creep into the hammies and eventually the calves for the whole of the marathon wasn’t a prospect I was looking forward to, certainly would mean digging in more than usual that’s for sure. Mentally I know I’m capable of that, but I think the disappoint stems from knowing I have put the work in to give myself a chance of not just completing the marathon but running well. All of a sudden the realisation during the taper was, that maybe despite how much effort I had put in, that I was just going to have to grin and bear it, instead of being able to enjoy the occasion as I should have been able to, because of the effort I have put in.

I know that in previous events I have relied too heavily on my stubbornness, my doggedness and my ability just to put my head down and get the miles done, and I’ve probably achieved that because I’m able to call upon the inspiration and pride that I have in Lloydy. However the target for the VMLM was always to, "not just do, but do well". I can reflect on my training now and know I’ve done all I can and given myself a chance of not just finishing, but performing and I’m proud of myself for that if nothing else. By the time I line up in the pen with all those expectant hopes, alongside all those other people on very similar journeys I will have run (most of) 500 miles plus in 10 weeks, gone through countless pots of Vas and medicated talc, two pairs of running shoes, two pairs of running trousers and a weary wife from all the additional 'training' washing, not too mention losing a stone and a half! So reflecting again, that despite the soreness and the niggles, sacrificing sleep for 0500 alarms, it has been worth it and I can honestly say I've enjoyed it, and know regardless of how I'm feeling come 10am Sunday morning, I'm in the best nick I've been in physically for a little while.........

My 10 week training plan complete!

After much advice, Saturday afternoon, I treated myself to a sports massage. Waking up Sunday morning with very little stiffness (in my legs) was something I hadn't experienced in a while, at that moment I just felt as though a massive weight had been lifted. Don't get me wrong, out on the 10 miler I still felt some little niggles (mainly down my left side), but in terms of pain or discomfort it was insignificant and ultimately very manageable in comparison to the weeks before. Not only has that 30 minute session made me feel more comfortable but terms of the confidence it has instilled in me and the training I've done, is immeasurable. I now feel ready to take on the marathon, I know I won't be setting the tarmac alight or indeed setting any records, but I know I'm capable of hitting the target I set myself and now I know I can give it everything I've got to try and achieve it. 

When I set out on this journey, I don't know what my expectations really were, other than trying to pay tribute to Lloydy, by doing my bit for The ABF The Soldiers Charity. Of course I still have 26.2miles standing between me and realising that tribute and ultimately realising 'my bit', but as I write this post I'm £13.99 short of my £1600.00 target. That's the financial bit almost sorted, when I began, I looked at following a sub 4 hour training plan, knowing I was coming in to it 6 weeks late due to taking part in the Fan Dance, but I hoped 4 hours was a realistic target. When I was younger (as I guess we all do) I found training easy, progression was easy, now older and wiser I know that to achieve a goal, takes time and considerable effort, especially for marathon running. I've knocked some serious minutes off my first projected times, but I know I need many months more to bring sub 4 down to 3:30. So come Sunday, if I manage to hit the magic sub 4, I'll be over the moon, but conversely if I don't I will know it's not because I couldn't, but because something happened on the day, that meant I didn't, 10 weeks ago, I couldn't have dreamt of that. 

I often blub on about the support I receive, and I can only apologise if it's tiresome to some reading but I couldn't have got to this point without it. I'm often left in awe of the support I receive and humbled by the generosity of those around me and even more so by strangers that are willing to support me, especially when they've never met me. Sunday will be an emotional day, and I know come the finish I'll be a blubbering wreck, maybe just maybe, on the eve of what would have been Lloydys birthday I can be proud of my to all of you I say thank you from the bottom of my heart, for getting me this far!