Tuesday, 31 March 2009

My last long run...until the reeeeeeeeeelly long one..

Twickenham Bridge to Putney Bridge, 17.46m, 2 hrs 37m 23s

This was zen-like running, a beautiful, calm, LIGHT (at last!) evening, where my knees behaved, posture was easy, Helly socks were ace, my earphones stayed in my ears and snot stayed in my nasal passage. Even fat/with child/with dog/oblivious with mobile pedestrians seemed to get out of my way (did my charity vest command more respect than the smelly tshirts of previous months?). I thought back to starting my training, in the dark and cold, how angry I used to get while pounding the streets, and it felt so unfamiliar today. Today it felt EASY! 17.4 miles of comfort! Wow!

There were a few niggles- my back ached towards the end, maybe from holding a water bottle mainly in my right hand and consequently twisting, and I am giving up on lucozade gels, they seem harder to digest that the apple and cinnamon flan that was saturday's failed training fuel. Plus the latest dilemma to preoccupy me: is 26.2 miles in a thong a good idea? Or should I be resigned to wasting a few kilojoules of energy on underwear-realignment on the big day?

I went to a Putney pub to refill my water bottle and was offered 'Fosters?', if I'd had money on me and he'd had Amstel on tap I might have been tempted...

Sunday, 29 March 2009


HB-KB, 9 miles gentle, no time.

Beeping my watch could only exacerbate the pounding in my head, so I didn't. 

My usually enjoyable sunday run was impeded by hangover 
and sore feet from saturday night tottering in silly red heels. The Pimms tents set out for the Boat Race today didn't help either. Fortunately my new sports sunglasses were a hit, £4.99 from Millets, bargain.

I need to limit alcohol consumption now, I have decided the best way to tackle this is to only drink bubbles.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Speed Training 2

Too many people have pledged to double their sponsorship if I clock a sub 4 hr marathon. 

The words roll off the tongue, they are familiar, as I currently dedicate every 'stuck in front of a computer with nothing better to do moment' to Running Forums (overtaking previous obsessions on Genes Reunited, Ebay and the obligatory Facebook). The reality check on this challenge tells me I have a need for speed in my training plan if I have any hope of grabbing the extra cash. 

With 4 weeks to go, and a better late than never attitude, I grab 30 minutes break in the rain and set off to Ravenscourt Park for my first Interval Training.

This means running asap ('s' for speedily) for a kilometre, and then recovering for a minute before doing it again. 4 times. 

So, not really having mastered the nutrition bit of my program, I wolfed down an apple and cinnamon flan for energy and set off. It was really tasty, gooey, my indulgent second piece of the day. It lingered on my fingers and by the time I was jogging through Acton Green's temporary fairground, the combo of apple, cinammon and ripe candyfloss was nearly fruitful.

Made it to Ravenscourt Park, flan still in belly, and tried to sprint.

I am not sure of the precise definition of the verb 'to sprint', but I managed at least 10 paces very fast, another few paces quite fast, and then a fairly fast spurt at the end of each lap, with the 5 aside football pen-my finishing point- in sight (and a consistent cry of something about a 'Cheese Grater' coming from the west london youths in it?). I managed 3 laps before I thought I might die.

I much prefer plodding. But, in the same way as 20 miles in adversity (gales/hail etc) has given me the confidence that I can do 26.2 miles of flat, hopefully kinder weather. If I can 'sprint' for 10 paces laden with sugary fruit, I hope the next speed sesh will be a bit easier...

Lap 1: 5m 08s (2m int)
Lap 2: 5m 17s (1m 10s int)
Lap 3: 5m 24s (stagger home)

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Proud to be running for Richard House

HB-KB, 9m, 1hr 18m 40s

Much better run tonight, followed by a trip that could only aid my training- a visit to Richard House, the children's hospice I am running for.

The wobbly journey on the DLR to the dump around City Airport didn't fill me with positivity about the visit. I had armed myself with waterproof mascara and tissues, and was ready to put a brave (andpatronising!) face on for the kids, but also to be sad and upset and to count my
blessings. But I needn't have bothered. Honestly, I have never been to a place so full
of joy and humour and life. And the fact that it is joy, humour and life in tremendous adversity
heightened the positivity further.

True, I was not party to painful treatment of course,
and the rainbow sign that is hung on the door to the Rainbow Room when a child dies there was absent, but what became glaringly obvious to me, who had presumed hospices to be all about comfortable death, was that Richard House was all about LIFE! And living as fully as possible, as far as the wheely oxygen tank will allow. And you'd be surprised....

Richard House and it's staff are dedicated to fulfilling the dreams of the 200 children and young adults on its books, and it's not all Micky Mouse and football stars, but simple things, experiences we take for granted. For example, children who were not expected to make it to their teens, with advances in science, can now find themselves on the cusp of adulthood and with all the desires that go with that. So, one of the hospice's recent trips was to go clubbing in Blackpool! 

Another project has been making their own films. This weekend they are having an Oscar Ceremony, complete with red carpet and Victoria Wood to hand out the awards!

I know it sounds like I'm painting a rosy picture of what must be one of the most traumatic experiences you could go through, to lose a child, but the point, I think, is that Richard House distracts from the pain, and supports during the pain, and makes as much living alongside the pain as possible, possible. We are all
 dying after all. And a desire to live as much as possible makes foolish people like me want to run 26.2 miles.

So, now, in a very tiny incy wincy way, I feel proud, and certainly boosted with energy for training, and for fundraising!

Monday, 23 March 2009

smile though your heart is aching

HB-PB, 8m, 1h 14m 59s

I was nervous about this one- I hadn't run properly since Cornwall. I returned from the mountains mercifully uninjured, only having inflicted artistic bruises on the rest of the group. My own wounds stopped at a strangely creaky right thumb and a sun blister on my lip. Neither excuses for poor running. Still, my first run in over 2 weeks started off quite hard,I had familiar aching in my right knee and I worried about having indulged myself with a holiday so close to the marathon. But after about 3 miles, I settled into it. 

This seems to be a pattern, as soon as I distract myself from checking for discomfort, I am much more comfortable! I read about consciously relaxing muscles that tend to, but needn't, be engaged when long distance running, like frowning. Energy efficient running, I will try to smile! 

Thursday, 12 March 2009

cop out

To HB and back

I had planned to run further but my body kept reminding me that I had run 20 hellish miles mere days ago, so I turned back at HB. A week of snowboarding now, I'm hoping it counts as 'cross-training' and that an enforced week off running will do my body good. Fingers crossed for no accidents...

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Money for my Pain (begging email 3- Duchy 20)

Oh yes, it's that time again. Forget Comic Relief, with 6 weeks to go to the London Marathon (how so soon??) I still have a *grand* to charm out of you, all for the benefit of the Richard House Children's Hospice.

I had intended to visit the hospice last week but work got in the way so you are spared the guilt-trip. Instead I thought I would focus on my suffering.
Since my last plea I have gained bruises, sweat burns and weight, and given up meat, weekday alcohol and smoking (except on special occasions), I have raised £750 for charity, and I have run in 2 official races: the Dover half Marathon and, at the weekend, the Duchy 20.

A 20 mile race through scenery I know and love seemed a really good idea a month ago, but the build up was stupidly nerve-wracking, and full of self-doubt; my training had got me as far as 17 semi-limped miles, 20 was a number unknown to my knees.

And there were added complications to running in Cornwall: hills to consider, family and friends to juggle, food that was so not on my pre-race nutrition plan screaming to be enjoyed, and hysteria to control (my dad had studied the contours on the ordanance survey map, ‘driven the route’, scheduled lunch with one-eyed Rocket Ron (venerable veteran of Falmouth Road Runners) and packed the car with blankets, Soreen and hot water bottles 'just in case...', before I had even booked my westward-bound MegaBus).

And then there was the weather...

The whimsical western weather woke me up all blue and sunny on raceday, and on the drive to the starting line Radio Cornwall was laughing off the forecast threat of galeforce winds and 'snow on high ground'.


Thinking back, the hail storm that burst into action at my humble 3rd mile, was never mooted. My gracefully gloved hands were clinging on to as much exposed face as possible as I passed my damp family, and their cheers had a distinct note of concern to them, I managed an upturned thumb in reassurance. Then, when I turned on to the coast road, the wind was so strong that my efforts were translated to practically jogging on the spot. Heavy rain, gales, hail. I had to laugh through the agony, both of body and of brain.

Occasionally the sun came out and I had the energy to avoid excited worms and enjoy fields of daffodils and the confused faces of sheep as a few hundred heads bobbed by their usually peaceful meadow. I sped up and felt amazing when I overtook a runner, and then another...

But the last 2 miles were hell. I remember nausea, hill after hill through the ugliest parts of depressed ex-mining communities, and a persistent painful stitch. All I could do was repeatedly count to nine ('and you'll be fine') and trust that the sheer momentum of the last 3 hours would propel me to the pasty waiting for me at the finishing line. I daren't imagine the sublime moment when I would be allowed to stop.
2 hours 59 minutes 50 seconds after starting, I stopped. I have moved as little as possible since.

So, what's that worth? All that pain? £2? A fiver? Even a tenner of your well-earned cash?

And don't forget to consider the sweat burns on the inside of my arms, I am grateful it is a cold spring or I would have to constantly reiterate that I am not self-harming. Well, not in the traditional sense...

The best pain relief would be for you to visit www.justgiving.com/katerawson and SPONSOR ME! Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease?

Thank you, thank you, and thank you again,

kate xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, 9 March 2009

Duchy 20

I survived. Hail. Rain. Gale force wind. Bastard hills. Ugly Redruth. Dodgy memories of Twilight Zone. The last hideous 2 miles of nausea and stitch. 20 miles in 2h 59m 50s! That makes me smile. But now I have to bathe my aching limbs. More typing when I re-gain my strength..

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Last training before the big one..

HB-CB, 1h 2m 38s

Beautiful day, rowers on the Thames and pretty shadows dancing on the sunny towpath. Was a bit doubtful about this one-a concoction of curry, vodka and nerves bubbling in my tummy-but all went well. Must remember to RELAX!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

not very mobile mobile

HB-PB (no time)

IPhones are very heavy. Have to jog with it in this time of sparse work so I don't miss any of it. But it pulls my leggings down, or rubs my thigh, or bounces about in my bum bag, and I never identify the cause of that pleasant tingling until it is too late and I miss the call anyway...


Rain was forecast so I zipped up in Ripcurl. No rain materialised but there was a really gusty wind to fight against. 

Tried to compose my next plea for sponsorship, should I induce guilt? sympathy? Or pure violent threat? 

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Soggy trainers

HB-KB, 1h 14m 37s (8.5miles?) 11ยบ

Tried to do a 'speed run'. I am rubbish at maintaining pace!  When I lean forward it feels great but it is effort after a while and really works your bottom. Though I sprinted the last mile tonight with glee! Hmmm, always like the last mile!!

The tow path was flooded by Kew Bridge, so had to squelch for a few miles but it was quite beautiful so I didn't mind.