Friday, April 30, 2010

Bye-bye Asics and hello Mizuno

In order to eliminate all potential source for my Achilles' tendon problems during the marathon I went to a Runners Point shop yesterday. They film you running barefooted on a treadmill and then recommend shoes based on their analysis. Conclusion: my Asics, which I have been buying for years, are no longer ideal for my foot. In fact, the shop assistant thought they were completely wrong. And her criticism made a lot of sense. Which brings us back to "stupid is as stupid does". I should have the fit of my running shoes checked regularly. Running can change the shape of your feet. Especially if you do a lot of mileage.
So what's next? My main goal is to keep running and not fall into a "post marathon motivational hole". Then a couple of half-marathons. I have registered for Amsterdam in October, which is sponsored by Mizuno, the makers of my new shoe. Is that a good omen?

Proof that I got to the start

(taken by Uli)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

London marathon report - part 2

Sunday. Race day. The bus leaves from the hotel at 06:50 am. There is no satisfactory answer to the nagging question "why am I doing this?"

At the start the ballons seem to get bigger from one year to another:

Our group spills out of several buses and marches to the blue start:

The equivalent to the lounge chair towel reservation in the start area is a flag:

Of course, we have the biggest one clearly marking our territory:

The media's interest is not in us, but the elite runners, who start from the blue start just like the overseas runners do:

We had to wait a couple of hours, but there was entertainment:

Achim doesn't snap shot. This camera means business:

Runners relax in various ways: standing up, sitting, lying down...

The race itself was as already reported: first half went well, second half was painful. But there was at least one happy finisher:

London marathon report - part 1

Saturday started with a short morning run. Uli guided us:

... through Kensington Gardens, around the Albert Memorial and past the Albert Hall...

... into the heart of Hyde Park...

... and on to the Serpentine, where some hardened (or mad) people were getting into the swimming area (it's not the temperature of the water that makes me shudder, but the thought of diving through tons of duck poo)...

It was meant to be a relaxing run at easy pace, but I was quite out of breath afterwards. I was comforted only be the fact that Frank's face was even redder than mine.

Because it was a beautiful sunny day, Uli and I decided to take the boat from Westminster to Richmond at noon:

If I was rowing, someone following me in a motorboat shouting "row faster" would be a recipe for disaster. I'd end up with blood on my hands.

Fulham F.C.

After two hours we arrived at Richmond:

A few other people had had the same idea:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stupid is as stupid does

It's done. Finish time 05:06:15, my worst marathon ever. The splits show that I was doing quite well in the first half:

Split Time
5K - 00:31:08
10K - 01:03:05
15K - 01:35:22
20K - 02:08:45
HALF - 02:16:11
25K - 02:44:30
30K - 03:23:42
35K - 04:08:34
40K - 04:48:11

So what happened in the second half? Well, my Achilles' tendon "happened". It started hurting, so I slowed down considerably. Eventually I had to swallow my pride and walk for some minutes, then I ran again and walked and ran and walked and... you get the picture. I am not kidding myself, I would have had to slow down anyway. But not that much overall, I believe.

Today I went to see my physiotherapist for a massage and to get everything fixed that I messed up on Sunday. I love that man... in a platonic way, of course. His hands should be insured like some supermodels insure their legs. When I told him about the Achilles' tendon he immediately said that the tendon was probably not the real problem since I did not have any problems before. He twisted and turned me, massaged and stretched. I could hear a couple of "plops" coming from my spine, just where he predicted they would. So he was probably right. Could all of this have been caused by the fact that I travelled to London by train carrying a very (VERY) heavy rucksack? Stupid is as stupid does.

Travel report and more pictures will follow.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Next stop: London marathon

The sun is shining, it's been a lovely weekend. The forest is full of butterflies; I haven't seen that many for ages. The final long training run has been run. Next week my training schedule will be very tapered (apart from the marathon on Sunday, of course). Three runs of 30 to 45 minutes, mostly in "regenerating" (i.e. snail) pace. Today's three hour run went quite well; at the end I felt that I could have soldiered on for a while. The problem is the pace. I should have run today with an average of 8:38 mins/k (that's VERY slow), but instead I did 7:40 mins/k. That is faster than I should have gone, but still considerably slower than what I am supposed to run next weekend. And right now I just can't imagine going any faster than what I did today, at least not for 42k. It means, I will probably need more than 5 hours next Sunday. I wasn't hoping for a personal best, but at least wanted to be under 5 hours.

This week's total effort:

specific - 528 mins, 68k (longest run: 3 hours)
unspecific - 60 mins

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I am not your lunch!

Training done this week:

Specific: 510 mins, 65.6k (longest run: 21.3k)
Unspecific: 60 mins

Today in the forest I was circled by a bird of prey flying at low altitude. It was so low, I could have touched it if I'd reached out with my arm. I am not sure exactly, but I believe it was a common buzzard. It circled over my head twice, probably pondering if I'd make a tasty lunch. It must have decided to stick with mice and headed over to a nearby meadow to do some more low altitude circling.
Wise decision! It would have had to work through several layers of sportswear and functional underwear to get to my more nutritious parts. Not really worth the effort, I think.

13 days to go.

Monday, April 05, 2010

The M25 has moved to my forest

Yesterday, nobody but little me was out there on the forest tracks. Today the sun shines et voilĂ ... there is more traffic than on the M25 on a working day morning.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Pounding the streets...

...or rather forest tracks. Three more weeks to go. Why am I doing this again???

This week I completed a 29.5k run on Easter Friday. The run has 4 laps and you take short breaks inbetween to eat and drink a little something. Usually the run is a bit shorter although it is officially advertised as a "30k run". But the recent bad weather had caused a landslide in the forest and we had to run a detour. Of course, they did not tell us that the detour was a steep ascending slope! I joined the slowest group and was the only woman until the last lap, when two ladies fell behind their faster group and joined us. I had already looked forward to being the slowest woman and have the shower all to myself. Well, it was not meant to be. The 5 guys in my group were all older than 60, two were even older than 70. I hope that I will be that fit when I am their age! It was a relief that the run went well, no part of my body hurt and I could have gone on for another 10k. So, the marathon seems doable... fingers crossed.

Training done this week:

Specific = 543 min and 69k
Unspecific = 60 min