Longest Day Run

I’d signed up for the Longest Day Run months ago without really thinking about it, and after roping in a pal, Jen, to join me, we decided to go for about 40-50 miles.  She’d never run more than a marathon, and me not further than 34 miles, so it was going to be a test for both of us.  We’d also never run together, but knew that we had a 5 minute difference in marathon finishing times so couldn’t be that much different.

The week of the run had arrived and I didn’t even feel nervous, even went out for 2 run commutes and a sprint session on Monday night, which very nearly put an end to things as I pulled my right calf when pushing off for a sprint.  Spent some time icing that and I was blessed to receive a call from G4Physio asking me to come & have a 1/2 hr massage for free, they had a new therapist that they wanted me to try and give some feedback on, Oh yes please!  Wouldn’t say no to that offer, and boy did Sarah do a great job, she sorted out my calf and then some!

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Looking pretty pleased with my delivery!

I didn’t even really carb up like I would before a marathon, normally starting 3 days before; I did have pasta for both lunch & dinner on Friday and increased my hydration on Friday.  Made all the more easier by a fantastic delivery from Vita Coco full of hydrating coconut goodness.

Saturday morning was D-Day, and I got up to enjoy my first taste of Mountain House Europe freeze dried scrambled egg with ham & potato.  See my review here.  Off for an early train to Kidsgrove where I was to meet Jen for the start of our adventure.  The weather forecast wasn’t looking promising so that meant ensuring I had some back up gear packed as well, I took a punt thinking it wouldn’t get too cold, and took a pair of gloves, buff, long sleeved tech tee and my spray jacket.  All of which thankfully I didn’t need, I did put the long sleeved tee on for the bus trip back home though, more to hide my stink than anything 🙂

I think the lack of nerves was down to the fact that it wasn’t really a race, just a challenge, so there was no pressure.  We met and hit the canal path at 8.30am.

We ran from Kidsgrove along the Macclesfield canal, taking us through Congleton, Macclesfield, High Lane through to Marple which was at about 27 miles.  We had a short rain shower along the way, but apart from that one we had pretty good weather the entire way.  My goal of today was to work on my long distance nutrition too, and to make sure that I ate something every 5 miles as this is one of my weak spots, I tend to stop eating after about 15 miles and then start to suffer after 25 when the fuel tank is empty!  I had a variety of food for the trek, with a mixture of Clif double espresso gel, 9 Bar, Salted pretzels, Salami stick & pork crackling; all of which worked really well.  I find I like the sweet options for the first few feeds, but then have a craving for salty, savoury items.  This was my first try of pork crackling along the way and this worked a treat.  I hydrated with my camelbak filled with Nuun Kola flavour and this worked really well up until about 35 miles, when I started craving plain water.  This will be solved when I get my pack for Kalahari as it will have 2 water bottles on the front, so I can have one with Nuun and one without, so I still get my electrolytes and some flavour but can mix it up depending on what I feel like.

Aqueduct Viaduct

That’s the viaduct, & the aqueduct is beside me – Thanks Jen for the lesson!

We stopped in Marple and met up with my Mother in Law and her partner for a well deserved cup of hot, sweet tea and some crumpets for me, and Bakewell tart for Jen.  After a half hour rest, sufficiently refuelled and seizing up, we made a comic departure with our stiff bodies struggling to find the momentum again and got onto the Peak Forest Canal.  Out momentum did come back after about a mile and we carried on running & chatting, with a few more stops to stretch out our tired muscles.

At about 36 miles we were onto our 3rd and final canal, the Ashton canal, one I know well as I run this as part of my run to work, so it was nice to see familiar signs.  We pushed onto Manchester and made it to Piccadilly Station spot on 43 miles in 7h39mins.  Elated & exhausted we hugged each other, causing a spectacle of people wondering what on earth we had just done.

We made our separate ways home, and I ‘treated’ myself to an ice bath before my hot shower.  OMG!  Try getting your tired body into a bath full of cold water without screaming, I couldn’t, I wonder what the neighbours thought!  My cat was in a panic, worried because I was shrieking so much!  After about 5 mins all was good and I settled in for a soak.  It definitely works for me followed by sleeping in my compression tights; my muscles the day after felt pretty good, I was taking stairs as normal and wasn’t overly sore.

A total of 61 miles for the week!  Unbelievable, epic achievement.  I am really pleased with how my training is progressing and I am becoming stronger and able to endure more every time.  It is great to see the progress happening.  As one of my colleagues put it; “Your long runs are like our nights out on the razz, you get all pumped up, go out & run, then recover!”.  I think that’s the perfect way to describe it!

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From the start gazing thoughtfully at each other at Kidsgrove to Manchester Piccadilly station – 43 miles!

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Boston Qualifying Time!

Dubbed as the flattest marathon in the UK, and being in my home city, I entered this marathon with the dream of qualifying for Boston.  For my age group this means a sub 3:35, or possibly 3:40 as I go up to the 35-39 age group for next years Boston.  Given the recent disturbing events at Boston, this felt even more important to achieve now.

Race day dawned and it was perfect running conditions, a cool 6 degrees, maxing out at 11 degrees, with just a slight breeze.  Fuelled up on carbs and plenty of fluids the last 3 days I got to the start line in plenty time to find my place in start area B next to the 3:30 Brooks pacers.  We had a 26 second silence followed by 26 seconds of applause for the Boston Marathon which pulled at the heartstrings.

And then we were off.  I set off at a blistering pace out of Old Trafford at 7:40/7:45 which worried me that I might have set off too quickly, but I thought stick with it, you’ve got to give it your all.  I passed the 3:30 pacers and settled into my pace which was feeling surprisingly comfortable.  Keen to reach mile 8 in Sale, where hubby & a friend would be, I kept the pace up and was soaking up the great atmosphere from all the supporters.  Hubby was super pleased to see me so soon and ran alongside me for some quick words of encouragement and an offer of half a flapjack which I declined.

Headed out through Brooklands & Altrincham, then back through Brooklands where hubby was again at mile 16 for a strategic bottle swap, and again some words of encouragement and a running hug!

The next 4 miles went past quickly, still holding my strong pace out past Carrington, where Manchester United train,until I hit mile 21….that’s when the pain started, my right quad was screaming pain, but I just kept thinking its only 5 miles to go, its not even your run commute to work, don’t let this awesome pace go now.  Things did slow down, I had another friend out at mile 23 in Urmston which gave me a boost, but still 3 miles to go.  I checked my watch and I could see a sub 3:30 slipping away, I needed to keep 8 min miles, but at this stage I was on 9 minute miles, this gave me a kick and I managed to keep my speed in the 8:30/8:45 to see me home.  It was an amazing sight to see the majestic Theatre of Dreams up ahead and the last 200 yards down to the finish were in a world of hurt, I couldn’t see or hear the crowds, it was just me & that finish line!  3:33!!! I could hardly believe it myself, there were tears and plenty of smiles & hugs too.  Absolutely elated!  I even rang my Mum in Australia and got her out of bed to share my news.

The support along the way from all the Mancunians that come out was immense, if you are looking for a fast, flat marathon with great support then sign up for next year!

ImageBefore the start, looking fresh & happy.

ImageMile 8, looking fresh & happy with my progress.

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Mile 16, looking pretty happy still, but pain about to kick in!

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After! Looking very pleased with myself, my medal, my PB of 3:33 and a qualifying time for Boston.

 

 

 

Week of Wins!

I never win anything…..until now!  I started off my week with a call from Rosso Restaurant in Manchester, I had one dinner for two with a bottle of wine after putting my business card in the draw over a Christmas Networking event held there.  How exciting!  I immediately got hubster and I booked in for the 15th Feb, the night before we go away on holidays for 3 weeks in India, just perfect!

Then a fellow twitterer, @chrishorricks31 , tweeted me to tell me that my Letter to the Editor had been published in the latest issue of Runners World, which means I have won a pair of Saucony running shoes!
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Now I’m thinking I should buy a lottery ticket as these things always happen in 3’s.  Though I don’t want to give my 3rd away, I am secretly (or not so secretly) hoping that I will win with Ashmei http://www.ashmei.com to be selected as one of their ‘Face of Ashmei 2013’ places.  That would just top it all off.  Apparently I won’t find out if I have been successful until around mid February so fingers crossed until then.

I finally took 2 rest days after the excesses of Janathon, had Sunday and Monday (3rd & 4th off) after a massive bike ride on Saturday.  I went out with hubby and 2 other mates for a 75 mile (yes 75, not 7.5) ride from Didsbury, up Wizards Hill, up past the Cat n Fiddle outside Macclesfield (stopping at the Peak Tea Rooms for a bacon sandwich & coffee), through Buxton and up to Castleton (stopping again this time for a seriously tasty hot choc with the works and a massive piece of choc fudge cake to boot), taking a peak at Winnats pass (which we will be attempting in the Summer I’m promised) and back through Stockport to home.  Absolutely shattered after that.

Been testing out my Brooks Project shoes, a pair of Pure Grit trail shoes.  Getting to trial them out for free from Up and Running in Deansgate.  Even had a bout of snow on Tuesday to really put them to the test this week.

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Unfortunately I have got a months break from Bioticfit classes as we are off on holiday, so thought I would try out Crossfit (got a deal through livingsocial) and headed there last night, but couldn’t find it!!!!  Need to do a foundation course to learn before you can attend, so looks like that will have to wait until Tuesday next week.

Thursday morning meant the day of my long run, I was on a late shift at work, so perfect to knock out 18 miles. I thought I would combine my run with getting to work, so did 11 miles around Didsbury to Salford Quays and back, grabbed my backpack and ran the last 7 to work. Only had a glass of water at home at 11 miles, silly move not grabbing some energy, so the last 3 miles were pretty nasty, but 18miles completed so feeling pretty pleased with myself! Was absolutely starving when I got to work so Chef cooked me a BLT bap and a cup of tea and I am back on form! Bring on the 20miles as part of the training plan next week. Getting ready for Manchester Marathon in April, it is only supposed to be a 8 mile run next week, but then I am on holiday for 3 weeks in India and fitting the 20 miles in there might prove difficult so I thought I’ll get that out of the way and do the 8 miles (and then some) in India!

Marathon effort, no mileage Day 18 Janathon

Today was to be the final taper before our first ultra, but alas it was not meant to be! We pushed on from Manchester to Holyhead, after hearing the statement at 10am that the event was going ahead. It was a tough old trip, dangerous driving which completely sapped the energy, we would have been in no state for a big run! We thought we’d end up spending the night n the A55 after we were stuck for over an hour as 4 lorries has jack knifed. We made it to Holyhead just in time to hear the news that the event was cancelled. Not keen to end up stuck at the Travelodge in Holyhead we turned the car around and headed back.

Fosters fish n chips with a few beers was the order of the day, followed by chocolate cake and a dram! Not how I pictured our night that’s for sure. Although very disappointed not to be running the 32 miles the next day, after seeing the conditions ourselves, I can see that it would not have been safe, it is ‘just’ a run after all. Now to find another one to do……

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Shattered by Saddleworth Day 12 Janathon

Here I was thinking that I would get a lie in this morning & take what I would term as a day off and maybe just knock out 3 mile run later in the day……but no, hubby had other ideas……Manchester Wheelers had a ride planned today, so we headed off at 8.45 to meet them at the Velodrome ready to head off at 9.30. it was our first group ride bit feeling a bit apprehensive considering my legs felt knack erred by the time we got to the start point, it’s been a tough week! So off we went, 9 of us in total, heading out through Mossley to Saddleworth and back around. The first half was my lowest, I hadn’t taken enough fuel on for breakfast so after the first few gruelling hills I was in a world of pain, and resentment towards hubby for ‘making’ me do this 😉.  It was bloody freezing, my hands and feet had lost feeling and the wind was so strong it was nearly pushing you backwards when going downhill! About 23 miles in we stopped for a very welcome cup of coffee and a bacon & egg bap, delicious! Just what the Doctor ordered! Amazingly I found another wind, or was this actually my first wind? And managed to get home in high spirits. It was a tough day, but this is how you get fitter & tougher that’s for sure. 52 hard miles done with 1.35 km of ascent, job done! It physically hurt to have a shower, my feet were so cold, I think it was initial signs of frostbite, my toes were all tingly, felt itchy and turned a yellow/grey/purple colour! Some toasty warm socks on, a hot cuppa, feet up on the couch and all is well with the world again!