Madness 11

Part 1

Travel day – so there will be bitty updates as and when I can.  Basically, all systems go.  The  upgrade at work has gone relatively smoothly and a co-manager will follow up a non-urgent issue for me while I’m away.  I was able to check in online and confirm a seat in premium economy this morning, so that’s sorted out yesterday’s worries.  Now for breakfast and journey starts.

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Madness 10

So 10 days in to the challenge.  It’s a Friday, so usually a sports therapy massage and rest day.  Nearly a rest day, I ended up having to run over to a local pharmacy and pick up some Lanacane Anti-chafe gel, my weapon of choice in combatting bleeding nipples and worse.  The massage didn’t pick up anything much, a little tight in places, but not too bad and the touch of tendonitis doesn’t feel inflamed.

I also gave into temptation and called for a seat upgrade.  I’m not sure if I would have bothered if I’d known how much hassle it was going to be getting through and although I now appear to have checked in online, I’m going to have to get boarding pass and check seat allocation at airport.  Still, it wasn’t a bad price to upgrade to premium economy and it means that my bags should come off sooner at the other end.  That could be valuable if we’re going to try and get to the expo from the airport instead of a special trip on the Sunday.  I don’t think I’ll be able to fly hand baggage as I’ll have a case and a rucksack for my laptop since Tuesday will be spent working at our office in Nashua where my boss is based.

One of the things that I’ve looked at over the last couple of days is a planner for the marathon itself.  I remembered looking at it a few years back, but had forgotten the details.  Basically, it’s a spreadsheet that gives you a short description and a recommended pace for each mile once you’ve entered your target time.  The only problem is that I work in kilometres and although it translates the mile pace into km for me, I have to then work out where I need to be in 1.6km segments, which is going to be too much for my brain.  So, I’ve gone through it and kind of worked out a max and min pace.  If I keep between those numbers, I should hit around 3:15.  Of course, that’s a more than ideal time.  What I’d like to do on this run is

  • Justify my place at the start
  • Get a qualifying time for London
  • Which will give me a good time to return to Boston

Whether I do return is not something I have to think about until September.  And I think, funnily enough it depends on whether I get into London because that gives me a chance of 3 marathons in 3 weeks and that’s a pretty good challenge.

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Madness 9

This is another post for yesterday as I was busy with work and trying to work out the notation of ‘The Model’ by Kraftwerk so that it can be played on electronic saxophone and ukulele.

I managed to get out on a run.  I concentrated on the hills.  Where I live, Guildford in Surrey, is in a river valley, so it’s not hard to find ways up.  But, I avoided any kind of hill training – just concentrated on getting up them (and down the other side) efficiently.

Hill training is hard – well it’s supposed to be.  Strava has made it worse.  Since I started using that as a way of showing training progress to Joe, I’ve discovered that you can race people on segments of your run.  So, I am the course record holder for Tangier Road Upper, which means every time I run it, I have to check whether I’ve managed to shave a second off my time.  So far, no joy, but it’s a tough segment of hill – about a minute of lung busting ascent where I manage to get to the point of wobbly legs through sheer effort.

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Madness 8

I’ve got a personal trainer. She’s called Jane and we haven’t been together for that long.  Before that, I was working hard with Joe, an extremely fit young rower who moved to the US.  Jane’s still getting used to me, I think buy it’s difficult to know what Joe would have done in the middle of the madness – sure bet it wouldn’t have been Pilates.  But, thinking about it afterwards, what is there to do in the week between two marathons apart from making sure that everything still works after a fashion

This was my first complete session of Pilates and it was fun.  It was hard in that I’m not used to thinking about my body in any other form than running and it turns out that me and my lower back are really not on speaking terms – how do I move that bit of my body independent of everything else?  Still, nothing hurt and I felt strong, if not coordinated during the exercises.  Well, my bruised knees from the fall were a little bit of a problem, but nothing to write home about.

Jane asked me what I was thinking about Boston.  To be honest, not very much at the moment.  I think it’s one of those things that’s not going to start getting real until I get to the expo.  I remember the first time I was going to do Boston was when we had the volcano in Iceland.  Friday night found me on the phone to a journalist bemoaning my fate as the last hopes of flights receded.  What rubbed the salt into that wound was that I was at Oxford Folk Festival just for the Friday and not drinking because I’d planned to get on the plane the next day.  Now, I could have the weekend at the festival, but they’d sold out, so not even the compensation of folk music with real ale was available.

But, I’m working on my list.  The new ukulele has been delivered and measured and all I have to do is work out how to get it home and through customs safely.  I’ve also done some maths and started thinking about a target pace.  I’ve never tried the virtual training partner on my Garmin, but it could be something I set for my target pace.  The only danger is that I could get despondent if I let it get too far ahead like the human pacers.  Maybe it’s better to just keep an eye on my pace every kilometre and adjust accordingly.  I’ve just remembered a few years ago that there was a specific pace guide for Boston out there.  It’s apparently available in metric for download.  I’ll have a look and see whether it’s going to make things too complicated.

Well, it is complicated.  Interesting, but the ‘metric’ part of it is simply a translation of the mile pace to kilometres and the descriptions are all mile based.  So, I would have to remember 1.6 km at 4:46 and then 1.6-3.2 at 4:43 and so on – that’s already sounding beyond my normal brain power – let alone at the end of a marathon.  I think the trick could be just to aim for 4:30-4:45 all the way.

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Madness 7

So, the recovery run today.  It was going to be a workout of sorts in the gym, but the sun’s shining and it’s 20 degrees out there.  I chose a trail through a local nature reserve and wore my chunky trail shoes rather than my minimals.  It was surprising how much heavier they felt, although it’s not been that long since I last put them on.  But, the thinking behind the shoes was to be a bit gentle on my feet, while the trail was to give my ankles and core a bit of a workout as well ensuring I didn’t go too fast.   It didn’t feel too bad.  My knees are sore from the bruising I inflicted on them when I fell and the muscles would not have cooperated in any kind of effort at a pace, but I didn’t feel that Boston in 6 days time was out of the question.

Brighton booked for next year now.  If I can get a London place, that will be two marathons in three weeks – child’s play.  It’s a big IF, though and not one I’m going to be chasing in Boston, I think.  Honestly, my best hope of a 3:20 is Edinburgh, that’s the largest gap for recovery and it’s downhill overall (well, so is Boston, but it’s quite a small gap).  I can’t remember what time I forecast for Brighton last year, but probably over 3:30.  This time I felt quite justified in forecasting a 3:15-3:30 slot.  After all, that’s my last three marathons have been sub 3:30 – feels good to be a little bit back in the game after the years I lost after the Dingle disaster.

And today, right at this moment – I’m quite looking forward to Boston.

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Madness 6

Well, I’ve had some time to reflect on yesterday and realise that the previous post from this morning was a tad on the negative side.  In fact, I think it was probably a pretty good summation of how I felt yesterday, even though it was written this morning.  For me, there’s always a bit of a down after a big event and any race is followed by a feeling that I could have done better.  It’s only when I’ve had a bit of time and looked at the stats, that I start to get some perspective.

So, perspective:

  • I came 9th out of 274 in my class. Top 3%
  • I was 629th overall, not sure how many – somewhere around 12-14 thousand, so top 5%
  • Very consistent pace 4:35 give or take the odd second for the first 30k.

I think I need to look at nutrition during the run.  I started with intentions of having a gel every 30 minutes.  I can’t remember how long that lasted – but my stomach rebelled.  Of course, that might have been the early morning start meaning that I didn’t really get a useful breakfast as well.  Perhaps I would be better having something like shot blocks and fewer gels, but that would mean taking more water on board at the time because the SIS gels I use at the moment are isotonic. On the other hand, and this has just occurred to me (value in this blog after all), perhaps I should take a bag of ginger sweeties (crystallised perhaps) as well.  That would provide a sugar hit and the ginger is supposed to be good for nausea.

So overall, not bad at all and 5 minutes faster than last year is not too shabby.

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Madness 5

ok – I should have posted yesterday – but I was too tired and most of the day was taken up with running, recovering and playing ukulele in a pub while drinking beer.  So, a report of yesterday

So, yesterday was Brighton Marathon. The advice from the park and ride people was to arrive before 7 and remembering how busy it got at the roundabout last year I was up at 4:50 and eating breakfast on the road 20 minutes later. I was the second car. Anyway, half an hour later the first bus arrived. Tip for people doing this next year. If you pay with an Amex card, you get free access to the Card Members area – this year that included loos, coffee, bag drop and a chance for a pic and a chat with Jo Pavey. She’s lovely.

I was glad that I arrived early and got a chance to use the loos. The queue for the Amex ones was ridiculous and outside in the main area, they were insane. People I talked to afterwards reported waiting at least 45 minutes. That might explain the quiet start area.

We got underway. All was well until about mile 3 when I tripped on some rough tarmac. There was an ‘oooh’ from the crowd, followed by an ‘aaaah’ as somehow I managed to roll and be back on my feet without losing momentum. “You’ve done that before” commented the runner next to me.

Soon after that I managed to find the 3:15 pacer. I decided to keep with him this year, even though he was running slightly under my preferred pace. This good intention lasted until the halfway point, when he seemed to slow. I kept to what I thought his pace should be and assumed I was still running with him, just a little way in front. No, I must have been gradually pulling away. All good, until we reached Shoreham and the wheels fell off. Not much left in the tank and a stomach that refused to contemplate another gel. I consciously let my pace drop and gritted my teeth. The last 10k were horrible – I haven’t looked at my Garmin yet, but I barely seemed to be moving. But, it couldn’t have been that bad, every time someone took over, I was expecting it to be the 3:30 pacer, but no. I managed to stagger over the line at 3:25. That’s 5 minutes faster than last year – so not a bad result.

Reflections later today

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