Saturday, 28 February 2009

MORE aches and pains

HB-PB, 8m, 1 h 13m 09s. Very warm.

Fear is setting in. 20 miles in less than 2 weeks' time? Nutter. Am conscious that I should take it easy in the run up (ha!) to my 2nd race, but I also want to put in extra training for my confidence. I have stumbled along 17 miles, and properly run 15. There is no reason I shouldn't manage 20...Is there? 

This doubt is good practice for the Big Event. I just read an article on what nervous adrenaline does to your bowels. It seems Immodium is the marathon runner's most treasured item, second only to Vasaline (or 'Bodyglide', the pro alternative and entertaining Google search). I wish to maintain some level of dignity on race day. I do not want to do a Paula (and I don't mean running 26 miles in 2 hours and 21 minutes).

My knee (right) hurt (right) from the beginning of today's run. I stretched it and persisted, it didn't trouble me again until the home stretch, but the left side of my back is hurting now and I wonder if it was compensating for some of the knee strain.

Thursday, 26 February 2009


To PB and return on the northside, 8miles, 1h 21m 28s.

Tried to be relaxed despite achey knees, and sweaty
 skin rubbing on sweaty polyester. Annoyed by lots of diversions on the path. Left at 6pm, running is really boring in the dark. I didn't realise before how much visual stimulus helped to put one foot in front of the other.

Was pretty effortless effort though, after 4 days off.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Glorious day, it could cope with a bit of pain...

PB-Twickenham Railway Bridge (17.38 miles!) 2h 38m 04s (9.1 minute miles). Sunny!

I slapped on the suntan lotion today, and wore no second layer! Dare I dream the winter is over?! Must get a cap...

I took two water bottles, as suggested by RW, to even out weight distribution, but had to ditch one after a mile- I need a free hand to manage my watch, my 'loose' earphones and the usual batch of tissues of course. I alternated carrying hand instead.

I had high hopes of cracking 17 miles today, but my right knee was cranky from thursday and my head was cranky from red wine so I was prepared to fail and just took it really easy. A sunny saturday, it was busy of course, and I had to concentrate hard to not toddler-trample, or fall victim to the often uneven path. Every legitimate slow down (shoelaces to tie, sticky gel to navigate to mouth) brought pain, it seemed easier to keep running. Failure hurts more than anything, I am learning. Even so, if it wasn't for the afternoon play on Radio 4 (Alan Bennet and Maggie Smith in The Lady in the Van! A tonic for any affliction...) I might have given in at KB, and settled for the 12 mile option.

I made it to the first bridge past KB, but on my return I was limping. I stretched my right leg as advised by a yoga expert friend, which got me home, but no such remedy came to mind for the red raw skin under my armpits, on my back and on the top of my arms which had both been subjected to my iPod band. I winced on.

My last 2 miles took me passed four busy pubs, the agony etched on my face kept strollers out of my path. I crawled up the stairs and cracked open my own beer. Sod the Gatorade. And the stretching. Beer and bath and Sudocream is my holy trinity.

I have signed up for a 20 mile race in Cornwall in 2 weeks' time. That means another 3 miles to bear, and in my experience it will be hilly, probably wet, and the prize pasty that will be handed to me on crossing the line (if....) will be full of illegal meat. I need a new dose of hope.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

"You'll get even fatter if you're not careful"

New route: Corney Reach-KB-HB (10.91 miles) 1h 36m 38s. 10ยบ

I got up at 6.30am today and cycled to Victoria for work, at lunch I cycled to Hammersmith for more work, then I cycled home. Arriving an hour earlier than anticipated, I decided to squeeze in a jog. I wanted to re-visit that ugly bit of Chisiwck I stumbled upon the other week when I got lost. This time I discovered a big park on the river I never knew existed! And a rubbish stretch of the 'Thames Path' which diverts you distinctly away from the water at every opportunity.

The quote above is direct from the man who loves me. He has a point. Finally stumbling home for good I headed straight for the fridge. A few obligatory sips of Gatorade (yuck), glass of chocolate soya milk to counteract the taste of metal, 2 slices of toast, jam and high-protein peanut butter, a nobbly bobbly and a fondant fancy (the yellow one, my fave) later, I felt sick. I am getting "even fatter" actually. I don't want to come over all Bridget Jones, but my waist has grown at least an inch since starting training in November. It's just that the contents of the fridge is all that gets me home sometimes.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Focused and fast

HB-PB (8m, southside first), 1h 07m 25s. 12˚C

Completely inspired by sunday (it was a struggle to enforce the prescribed Rest Day yesterday despite my sore bottom muscles) I went on a speed mission. I have never been keen on sprinting but invigorated today, every time I felt myself slowing I just pitched a little further forward until it became the norm, but still an effort. It's time to get serious now. No more plodding along every run, counting miles but not really being concerned by speed. Today I was pounding. And overtaking! Compared to the Kent Elite, these Thames-side runners are wimps!

I read that Paula Radcliffe's favourite running theme track was Kanye West so I put on Late Registration, and my old trainers on a whim. No need for a hat today, and before I got to HB I had to strip off my fleece too. It's so much nicer without layers! Hmmm, looking forward to the warmer days and lighter nights coming!

Monday, 16 February 2009

The Dover Mercury Half Marathon.

OK, so I already felt I was going to survive this because fate had given me a sign. Synchronicity smiled and it was with a shriek of delight that I discovered my name on the excel spreadsheet of race registrations next to the number 444. My favourite number! 4. Four. 4444 would have been perfect. But there were only 600 runners. 444 is grand.

4 is the number leftover from my adolescent OCD angst, it still comforts me in times of need.

This was a time of need. I was battered and bruised. Had nervously, barely slept. Was suffering from that third portion of Lemon Meringue pie the night before, and was about to run 13.1 miles of hilly terrain with hundreds of Runners. They qualify for the capital letter because they were all sporting vests with club names professionally printed on to them, and had belts with water bottles around their waists. And mainly long legs that looked almost good in their tights. It was Serious. Serious Running.

The exception to this was a chap dressed as Buzz Lightyear. I kept up with him for the first circuit of the venue grounds, for the photo opportunity, then he overtook me before the 2nd mile marker. 
Actually everyone was overtaking me! Swarms of sweatbands glided past. I had nervously wriggled to the front for the start so that I could hear instructions about the water stations, and see the Mayor. This backfired on my ego, 4 or no 4, what if I came last? What if I had to walk? I haven't trained on hills. What if I get an attack of low blood pressure and collapse like I did in the last event I took part in, the MoonWALK marathon? ( I was casualty number 17 and got a lift back to East London in an ambulance via QEH to check that I didn't have internal bleeding.)

I comforted myself with the titbits of advice I had gleaned from Runner's World magazine. Pace yourself, run a Negative Split, listen to your body, lean forward positively. Relax!

When people stopped overtaking and a quick glance behind told me I was
not bringing up the rear, I almost relaxed. I started to take in the scenery, breath deeply, smile back at the clapping marshalls who directed me consistently downhill (reversing the proverb brought concern, 'what goes down...' ). I enjoyed being the priority for a change, being given right of way over cars, and I forgave these 4x4s anyway as they had a smear of genuine mud on them and had not been purchased from Landrover Mayfair. Although one car radio selfishly dumped On The Wings Of Love in my head for a few musically agonising miles.
I was still glad I had ditched my iPod last minute to soak up the atmosphere, the scenery made a lovely change from London, running through organic manure, yum! And the conditions were pretty perfect, 5 degrees, windy but dry. I was keeping up now. I was diligently making that pleasant little beep on my watch to record my time for each mile, and at the 7 mile marker I noticed I had been clocking 8 minute miles! Was I going to burn out at the sight of the first 'significant' hill, and what about the big bad mile long climb looming at the end of the route?

I found myself filling my head with numbers:
8 minute miles x 26.2 = something like 210 minutes, that's 3 hrs 30 mins.
Half that is 1 hr 45 mins.
My fastest 13(.5) miles was 1h 55m I think, that works out at...etc etc.
Calories burnt ≈100/mile, that's 1310, plus a bit for the hills, lets say 1500.
Will that get me a full fat vegetarian roast dinner?
And 2 pints of refreshing lager (400 cals)?
And a Cadbury's cream egg from that packet in the car, or even a second, guilt-free? (180 cals/egg)

This felt nice.

This distracted from my niggles: the inside balls of my feet were rubbing, maybe my socks are too big. And the skin on my back around by sports bra was very itchy, like I am allergic to my own sweat. And no-one else was suffering from snot! There was the occasional spit, yes. But no tissues dangling from anyone else's sleeve. What is wrong with me that is causing this industrial mucus production?

I also noticed some interesting running techniques- one man ran with his elbows at right angles, like his armpits were just too full of sweat. Another had one arm held tense in front, and the other hand just flopped about like it was hanging off. And a woman's left knee looked like it popped out with every stride. No-one spoke to me. I guess you don't. I don't think I could have responded. Especially on the hills now coming into action at the less desirable positive gradient. A guy heavy breathed at my shoulder for a while, but that was as close to communicating as it got.

Going uphill was surprisingly fun, an interesting diversion, 'digging in' and working those gluts. I tried to fill up on water handed out by keen kids (Gatorade gave me heart burn) and felt like Paula Radcliffe when I extravagantly tossed the sloshing cup into the hedge. Drinking while running is hard, sucking from a bottle is much easier. Still it washed the sweat off my face.

Then it happened. At about 10 miles I started overtaking! People were actually WALKING up the hills! I wasn't doing 8 minute miles anymore but there was no way I was about to give in and walk! Now I felt like the clever expert, the seasoned pro, the Runners World subscriber. And when I saw the familiar robot silhouette of Buzz ahead of me I knew I had to get my revenge. To Infinity and Beyond! I really wanted to do the fist in the air action too but as I ran passed a character more like Puff Lightyear I knew that it would be mean.

I was smiling! And I smiled to the end, even when the marshall at the gates cruelly fibbed that there was 'just 0.1 to go now'. I sprinted for glory, desperately searching out the finishing line, and felt faint when I saw the last flourescent 13 mile marker still a good 500 metres ahead.

Finally over the tannoy, "And here's 444. Kate Rawson. Smiling away! It's nice to see someone smiling, we don't see enough of that!"

After running 13.1 miles, I stopped and smiled some more. Then I felt sick. Then cold. Then ELATED! 1 hour 52 minutes 53 seconds. I was 243rd, and 30th woman!

Now where's that cream egg?


Saturday, 14 February 2009

Valentine's warm-up

HB-KB (via Stagecoach Kew to retrieve my watch), 8.5m

Having to wait for a potential purchase on ebay to mature (a wooden clarinet, I lost it to a professional, boo) was a convenient excuse to maintain my 'not before midday' jogging policy. I was also a bit tired after last night's thai curry and wine, and bruised from falling off my bike on the way to work yesterday (I winded myself by cleverly breaking my fall on my fist, and bruised my left leg and knee. I was on the scout for potentially liable 4x4 drivers but had to confess it was just me and the pavement to blame..)

I was determined to do a gentle run in the warm up to my first race tomorrow- the Dover Mercury Half Marathon. My knee seemed ok, the odd wobbly bruised bit of shin and sore shoulder was only a little distracting, I decided it wasn't going to impede my debut on the prestigious race circuit of Kent, but would equally serve as a convenient excuse if I came last..

Listened to comedy on the radio which is not great for one's breathing technique. Was laughing too much and I nearly fell over, had to tune into Heart in its element on Valentine's day.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

nervous tummy

PB to HB (8m), 1 h 15m (roughly- I have mislaid my watch temporarily...)

Snotty, muddy, same old, same old.

Very sunny today though, do runners wear special  sunglasses?

Was thirsty and my tummy was nervous and excited for some reason. I don't usually get that since running longer distances- when I was just squeezing in a quick 3 miler, a butterfly tum was the norm. Maybe the enormity/stupidity of what I will be doing in 2 and a half months hit home with the first sunshine..

Sunday, 8 February 2009


To PB and back to Syon House, 14.96m!!!!! 2h 15minutes..

Am trying to keep to some type of Runner's World recommended schedule for clocking in a time of sub 3.45, which means I can do the marathon for free next year, it's a pipe dream, but it's good to have a focus so what the hell...

And Hell it was! I needed to do 14 miles today and prepared by not drinking too much the night before, but I had been tottering in high heels and my feet were sore, and I was tired before I even started. 

It was an angry run. Snot was back in full flow- I went through stores of tissue, the complete circumference of my sleeve and both gloves. Then I just had to stare out the walkers who gawped in disgust at the female, running version of the Bad Santa boy.

I was hot, then cold. Left shin got a weird cramp thing after K.B but I managed to run through it. Took full water bottle (which was heavy, it must slow you down?), and some blackcurrant flavour goo which was less grim than expected and really did perk me up at 12 miles.

The stones and uneven track annoyed me. Last night's discussion about veal that lead to me declaring myself a born again vegetarian annoyed me. Walkers who can only move in rows of 5 and don't get out of the bloody way annoyed me. Mud really annoyed me. Earphones falling out of my ears annoyed me and that guy from supermarket sweep on radio 2 reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally annoyed me! Tunes from 1972 or whenever are fine, but why play his inane commentary at twice the volume? Had to switch to the only other channel i could get that wasn't pirate rap, Classic FM. I ran my last hour listening to Evensong, and it got me home which truly was a miracle so maybe there is something in it after all...

There was little joy and lots of scowling. And a tired, bored pain. But I soldiered on and that feels like a very big accomplishment.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Wakey wakey!

My first pre-midday run of the year!! Ho hum, complete failure. Running on empty (not even choccie milk substitute) was a mistake. And it rained (I was without jacket), and it was cold (ditto, gloves), and I got lost (found a new distinctly ugly bit of Chiswick called Corney Reach), and...I forgot to charge my Ipod so had my Iphone which was so NOT RANDOM. 

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Running on ice

KB-HB, all road route after I gave up ice skating, 8.5m. 1h 26m

Wow, that snow was amazing! But not so fabulous for training on. Evil ice hiding everywhere. Had to run on the road and annoy drivers. Went out after dark and could smell fires burning in cosy Kew cottages. Spooky atmos, snowman corpses abandoned, and a kind of soft glow on ugly roads, hardly anyone about, just me and the Arctic Monkeys.

Got a permanent cough from breathing chilly air. 

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Siberian Malice

HB to CB (6.7m), 1h 4m

Tried to do a "fast run" today but legs really tired from yesterday's exertions, and the much anticipated siberian wind was revving up.

The snowflakes became my fairy friends, jogging along the black pavement, blowing me along prettily. Until I headed north on CB and they turned on me.

Saw a beautiful Airedale, Rusty Rawson RIP.