Saturday, 31 January 2009

Hungover determination

To RB, (10.31 miles), 1h 34m

Bearing in mind that fewer than 24 hours ago I was literally blind drunk, (it took me over an hour to navigate my way from bomb scared Green Park to the 94 bus on Oxford St), today's effort was a testament to mind over matter (it's not only the body you need to train for the marathon!).

I spent friday night applauding my own training efforts, while consuming tumblers of toxic alcohol, and maintained well beyond midnight that I would be out running the next day.

Loving a challenge, but still burping tequila, I was really grateful for my recently purchased waterbottle (a long distance running badge of honour), and was determined to map a new route all the way to Richmond Bridge. This was all good on the way there, goal achieved, but the return journey was windy and cold, friction burns rubbing friction burns, and a real case of every step counts.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

vanity strikes

To Richmond Lock (9.91m), 1h 27m 32s

Wasn't keen at all tonight. Spent the whole sunny day indoors sporting my running kit with hopeful intention. Finally ventured out at 4.45pm to subject my poor rosacea stricken skin to the cold night. The pigment of my face belongs to a middle-aged farmer’s wife who has spent all her adult life weather beaten, chasing bulls around the Scottish highlands.

I also gave into the pressure and got a bit vain, I’m ashamed to write it, but I actually put on make up to jog in! I happened to catch myself in the mirror, vpl glorious in lycra tights and greasy hair from 3 whole days without washing, and I couldn’t bear to go out and make my skin even redder and my hair even more mank, so on went the slap to compensate.

Still it seemed to work, I got a wolf whistle, and I ran 10 miles. In the dark! (dig for the logic in that.) It was a bit scary, on a new route in little light. I had to really concentrate on the undulating ground and got all dizzy. I got dull brown blindness. It was like the seconds of grey fuzz during laser eye surgery when they cut the flap, but it went on for longer and the happy ending was the tower blocks of Brentford rather than perfect un-aided vision.

I got stitch for the first time too. Ran through it and eventually, after a good 45 minutes, it went away. Toe aching too. 

New Year, New You! (begging email 2)

Before I let you read any further, I had better inform those of you who had no idea that I was taking part in the London Marathon this year (or indeed that I was still alive), that I am taking part in the London Marathon this year! (and consequently..)

As I am sure you are aware, such an honour doesn’t come cheap. I have to raise £1800 of charitable donations, which means contacting everyone who I have ever met and some that I haven’t…

If this is the first you have heard of it count yourselves lucky that a) I considered it too cheeky to beg your sponsorship in December.
And b) that you are not hearing about this in April, when out of desperation I will be contacting people I’d really rather not have anything to do with but seeing as it’s for charity…:)

To those who have so generously coughed up already, thank you.

So, here I am, asking you to lend an ear to my plea and sponsor me on behalf of the Richard House Hospice. I warn you I may be rude, I may be brash, because marathon training is just too painful for niceties. And it’s not for me, it’s for the kids…

If you can’t be arsed to read anymore then just go to now, give me your money and tell your computer that any future emails from me are spamspamspamspam. I warn you, I will be persistent…

New Year, New You!
New year, New addiction!

Chocolate soya milk. Actually, not just soya milk, but oat milk too. And rice milk if I’m desperate. So long as it’s chocolate flavoured, and derived from non-GM sources.

I have given up all other forms of the cocoa devil after my boyfriend abandoned me for silicon valley mere days after present-opening-day, and left me to devour a whole tin of Celebrations by myself.
In my defense, I figured it was just another marathon training themed gift: money for trainers, watch to monitor my progress, spa voucher to massage tired muscles, sweet and sugary treat to replace lost carbohydrates? I started counting the Bounty ones towards my five-a-day, figuring the combo of coconut and protein packed Snickers was the ideal pre-training breakfast. Something had to be done.
December was HELL. Cold cold cold. Nevermind runners’ trots (I’ll save that for the next installment..), I had runners’ snots. And festive party hangovers.

January has been a bit warmer and last weekend I finally felt ready to run a half-marathon. I had it all sussed out- no alcohol, lots of sleep. Friday was a premature Burns’ Night celebration, so I allowed myself a sneaky dram. We toasted the Haggis and in return it fueled me along 13.5 miles of Thames towpath the next morning. I don’t know if it was the protein or the sheer wind power but I got home in under 2 hours, knocking 4 minutes off my 2 week old time for 12.5 miles, and I felt like wonder woman!

So maybe the cheeky sneaky choccie milk is not my new drug. Maybe running is my new drug (NB I am not a Drug Addict, just an addictive type of person.) You have no choice when you are long distance running but to relax, and give in to the inevitability of the next tread. Everything is positive and achievable. And when the golden sunset is reflected in a full pint of stout at a riverside pub, it is so beautiful, your body pumping, working just like it is meant to. Yum.

Actually. Truthfully. There is a rival for my affections…Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock. Scoring 97% accuracy and 76 consecutive notes on Sunshine of My Love surely constitutes a successful indoor training session.

So. You know what you have to do. Whether I have inspired you awe, or your sympathy. I do not have many rich friends, I am relying on quantity of donations rather than quality so I need EVERYONE to sponsor me! The minimum amount is £2 and I will be sooooooooooo grateful.

However, if you aren’t an actor/temp/subsidised individual, rather you serve a big multi-national conglomerate and can afford a nice round figure of a donation, then I am expecting great things.

Remember it’s not for me, (when WAS the last time Rawson bought a round??) it’s for the kids…

In fact I shall lead by example and hack into my boyfriend’s Paypal account right now.

If u are really bored, you can read a more factual (and less silly) training diary at

Thank you, thank you and thank you again, kate x

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Legitimate half marathon, and more!

To PB, back to KB and .5 mile beyond towards Richmond (13.5!), 1h 49m 18s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh my god, amazing! I can't believe that time! Bloody Dermot O'Leary was obviously hungover and kept getting the time wrong on radio 2, making me speed up to beat the clock.

I had an achey left shin for the first few miles, and an annoyingly hungry bum (underwear choice is very important, I am discovering. Maybe Sweaty Betty in her thong has the right idea...) But after half an hour I was settled in and for the first time ventured beyond Kew Bridge. More tweed appears the closer you get to Richmond. 

Nackered but dead chuffed.

Monday, 19 January 2009

New trainer success!

Oxfam-PB (8m), 1h 15m

Was really up for it today, hadn't run for 5 days and finished early at the studio, so could squeeze this one in. Was getting dark though so did the woody and puddley south side first. 

Sprinted to the river, then my bra pings apart. It has removable straps! How ridiculous, anyone who can be bothered to change the format of their sports bra to suit a halterneck top, well...The less attractive the gear, the more serious the runner (the excuse for my trampish outfit). I cross the road to avoid comparison with the hair-straightened, strictly-no-vpl hipsters of the Sweaty Betty brigade.

Anyway, with the help of a passing friend I was strapped back in and flying! Managed to swap my trainers (big fan of Sweatshop now), and needed to rebel against a horrible 30 minutes on a treadmill to test them out (gyms-yuck). New Asics GT 2 series feels like running on air, glorious.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Bored run, good time, bad skin

HB to PB (8m), 1h 10m 52s

Bored run, no music. No knee pads, but it was ok. 

Sports bra chaffing, this is why runners love vasaline..

Misty. Lots of prams and groups of ramblers in the way.

Meant to have a fresh, early run but procrastination happened as usual (the toughest step is the first one to the door!) Haven't done a morning run for months. Might need to reset my running body-clock before the big day, what time does it start?!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

NEARLY half way!

HB to PB back to Kew B (12.5 miles!), 1h 54m 31s.

It wasn't easy! Relaxing sunday radio helped (until my battery died). Then I relied on positive thoughts: memories of jogging along the beach in Costa Rica last january, what food I will treat myself to when I get back, fitting into my new bargain skinny Diesels, and imagining the big day! Then I will have to run more than double this distance! But my family and friends and thousands of strangers will be cheering me on, it's gonna be amazing! 

It was a lovely sunny sunday, sailors and rowers out in force but not getting in my way and annoying me today, I was just chilled. Nice joggers too, smiling in camaraderie.

Had to sprint home as I had a celebratory thai massage booked, really achey now. Need to get a water bottle to run with.

The main event feels achievable now. Yay!

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Shorty in the snow

HB to CB, 1h 04m 27s (in OLD trainers!)

It snowed! Much less snot today but tense feet and shins coz I was worrying about my knees and damage from the Saucony trainers. Right knee a bit achey at start.

Did 3 sprints up Sutton Court Rd to home.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

New trainer debut

HB to CB, via road (6.6m) in 1h 23s.

I went to The Sweat Shop to get kitted out with proper trainers on monday. After a pretty thorough fitting I left the shop with some bright white Sauconys (the exotic, unfamiliar name convinced me of their 'shoe for the serious runner' pedigree.)

Within 20 minutes of their debut my knees were aching again, by the time I was on the cobbles of Barnes towpath (the danger zone), there was proper shooting pain. Damn it. I was scared of injury of course, grateful I had worn knee supports, and pissed off that the experts hadn't given me the right shoes, will I even be able to get any money back after I've worn them outside?? Why didn't I just buy another pair of my trusty Asics- I had taken both of my old pairs of trainers but the fitter hadn't looked at them. 

Another angry and tense run with lots of stops. Breathing was a bit better though. Gonna have to sweet talk them into an exchange...

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Women and running!

I thought I would include more extracts from The Marathon Book, on the topic of Women and running.

Nevermind the vote, it wasn't until 1975 that women were allowed to compete in distance running, and that was only 1500m!

It was an historic prejudice, apparently women had been barred on pain of death from even watching the Ancient Olympics. In the 1970s Old Wive's Tales abounded: we were 'more prone to injury' (prolapsed uteruses and damaged breasts were listed concerns!); 'fertility was impaired'; we 'lost femininity and became muscular'!!! As Brucey points out, "More probably women's exclusion was the result of male pride". Good on ya bruce.

Physiologists support the female cause- the longer the distance the more even the balance between the sexes.

In the 60s, amongst the excitement of the Women's Liberation Movement, women were forced to protest by running the marathon unofficially- no number, no official time. In 1967, Katherine Switzer entered the race as K. Switzer. She skipped the medical examination and turned up to run, complete with registration number. She started the race, but not far into it an official spotted her from the accompanying bus and attempted to push her out of the race!!

The Boston Marathon was the first to allow women in, but even then integration was not complete as the numbers issued to the nine women were all prefixed with the letter F. In 1975 women's participation in long distance events was made permissible in the UK (previously only family friendly 'fun-runs' had been allowed), and in Los Angeles in 1984 women marathon runners made their olympic debut. Wow!


HB to CB (6m), 1h 04m.

You are supposed to have a training plan when you attempt a marathon. So far, I have just been running as much as I can for as long as a can. But to do it properly you are supposed to do hill training and vary the terrain you run on, and speed training. My energy and enthusiasm to get out on the road is not waning but I cannot be bothered to sit down and think about it. 

I have, however, read a 1970s running bible by legendary long distance runner Bruce Tulloh, (on loan to me from another legend, one-eyed "Rocket" Ron of Falmouth Road Runners!) He advocates drinking plenty of beer to rehydrate you after a run, and using deep heat: "I like to head off to the start with muscles pleasantly tingling from an application of Deep Heat type liniment." Bless. 

He is also a fan of Fartlek training. This is when you sprint whenever you feel like it, and there are no hazards in the way (children on scooters are my favourite hazard), this is good for endurance. I figure endurance might be important when attempting 26 miles so I try this out tonight. You are supposed to get your heart rate up to well over twice what it is at rest. Seems a bit dangerous, but it's a massive buzz!

My house key in my back pocket was rubbing my cold bum, but apart from that, good run!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Running at -2 degrees

To PB and back to CB (10m), 1hr 38m 24s

4 jammy dodgers, a bowl of chocolate weetabix and 16 celebrations did not shield my internal organs from the freezing temperatures today. Nor did my aggressive mood. Everything annoyed me today: fat people hogging pavements, skinny runners who look good in their Ron Hill tights, cars that don't indicate and plead visual imparity despite my day-glo jacket when they nearly run over my precious toes, various london borough councils for hazardous pavements, laces that don't stay done-up and SNOT! Where does it all come from??? Gotta try going non-dairy...