Monday, 21 September 2015

#Together42 #WeAreMarathoners

When everything else seems to be going wrong, at least running will always be right.

It's race week, baby!

Despite having a complete arse of a work week, I'm in the final phases of tapering for my second marathon and finally things are coming together. Finally my chewed up and blistered toes are healing and they held up well yesterday afternoon. 

I never wanted them anyway...

Yesterday involved a 4.30am wake up call, a drive up to Perthshire to don some hi-vis and marshal my way through the morning at the awesome Iron Ride cycling sportive, a drive back down the road, a quick bagel, a nap on the sofa and then a speedy wee 8 mile run. 

The nap really made it. 

I may or may not have had to dance around the flat in my pants before I was geared up enough to get outside and do some real exercise though. And I may or may not have had peanut M&Ms for my dinner while sat on the sofa watching Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. 

Oh, the shame.

Overall this taper has been different and possibly less anxious than the run up to LA Marathon. Sleep hasn't been too forthcoming over the past couple of weeks but it's ok, I'm trusting my body to tell me if it needs a nap. I'm also getting up at 5am every morning so my body clock can adjust in time for Sunday. This time round I've been consumed with fear that my poor toes wouldn't heal in time for race day and that I'd be distracted by painful blisters which would scupper my chances of a good finishing time. 

I haven't ever suffered with blisters before - this suddenly started about six weeks ago and seemed to only affect my tiptoes! But ouch...I was massacred with it, and never being able to leave more than a day between runs wasn't helping matters. The misery was tough to run through and it's what started me on my negative funk that day when I hit the wall - the start of the slippery slope to absolute doom. 

Thankfully I've finally cracked it - but I was getting worried. What I couldn't accept was that I'd done all this training, strategically lost 11lb through some seriously controlled calorie intake, and gone without my cherished vino for a small eternity...yet I was about to have everything scuppered by sore tiptoes. It seemed ridiculous! But thankfully it's becoming less and less of a threat as the days creep by. 

I'm running faster on my mid-distance runs, and I mean noticeably faster. I ran a 21.4mile negative split and my fastest miles were 20 and 21. I am averaging 9min miles on anything up to 10k. I'm seriously excited to see what I can pull out of the bag on Sunday, but need to keep calm and not get too ahead of myself. 

I enjoyed a bit of FaceTime with Tully last night - she applauded my projection of my anxiety into some pretty hardcore list-making. You should see these bad-boys though - I have lists that are so beautiful they'd make you weep. Tick boxes and everything. Beasts. 

True to form then, here's a few condensed facts that every Marathon runner will live by this week, and every normal person will have never needed to consider:

  • We will travel in our race shoes, making sure that even in the event of luggage being lost by an airline, we needn't worry about our feet. We probably already have our travel outfit and hand luggage ready to go.
  • We have mapped the route on our fitness apps and can almost taste the smugness of swiping that sexy sexy "Share Workout" button. Ohhh yyyyeah.
  • We have every meal for the next 5 days meticulously planned; oats and sweet potatoes are the order of the day.
  • We don't take kindly to people assuming we can eat whatever we want just because we run.
  • We don't take kindly to people telling us that running is bad for our knees. 
  • We are taking buses or the car for even the shortest of journeys so as to conserve energy and only run the precise miles we have scheduled into our tapering plans.
  • We will run the day before the Marathon. It is just a thing that we will do.
  • We have a selection of lists for hand luggage, case, race bag and a separate one for how to get to the start case following 40,000 other lycra-clad people wasn't going to give it away.
  • We can't explain why we love putting ourselves through all of this...or why we are quite so excited.

Thankfully I don't need to think about a playlist because I've not run with music or anything other than the sound around me for the past two years now. Hearing the patter of thousands of rubber-soled feet purring on hard tarmac is a beautiful noise and the feeling it evokes is unlike anything else. I can't wait to get to Germany on Thursday.

It's hard to explain. Other than to say, we are marathoners...

Next one will be the big one. Thank you so much for being really patient, supportive and kind to me over the past months. Here's to an uneventful 26.2miles in beautiful Berlin. 

Nikki. xxx

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