Tuesday, 23 April 2013

All's well that ends well!

Well I did it J Unlike a good wine though, I clearly do not improve with age!

There was a point at Mile 1 where I wondered if I would actually do it at all as the stupid groin injury reared it’s very ugly head and I thought ‘uh oh’ but then I thought as long as I can get to the end that’s all that matters. After that I had a ‘very’ different race to what I expected in the months leading upto it and strangely I had a simply awesome time!

So how did it go?

Well, on the Friday night I had a MAJOR meltdown of mega proportions. I was trying to stretch my painful back out and felt my groin pulling and got really upset and nervous. Cue, mass hysteria (that was Jamie when he realised the implications!) and me sobbing into my pasta meal (god I hate pasta right now). It was that sort of ‘convulsive sob’ that children do at times when you don’t understand what they are saying. Then Saturday came and my mate turned up from Dublin which meant I couldn’t act like a ‘prima donna’ anymore so I was forced to relax! I think Jamie may be forever in Deborah’s debt for that one
J Throughout the Saturday evening I was starting to see facebook pictures coming in from all over the country of people in their ‘Go Trish’ T-Shirts and was dumbfounded. They were all uploading them to show their support for me and I was so moved by it all. Yet AGAIN I marvelled at the efforts of people on my behalf. On Marathon Day I therefore woke up calm, collected and pretty happy.
I went through my morning routine and started ticking items off my list in a very well organised manner if I say so myself. I stumbled at ‘check weather and put suncream on’ though. The weather report was indicating sun in the afternoon with cloud and I figured any suncream on at 6am would be sod all use come 11am so didn’t bother. In hindsight I should have asked Jamie to take it with him and slather it all over me when I got to him on the course as boy was the lack of suncream a bad decision! London Marathon 2013 turned out to be a ridiculously HOT HOT HOT day! Just look at me afterwards!

So Jamie dropped me at the station and I said my goodbyes to him and the kids and felt my first emotional pang – there were so many more of those to come.  On the platform the buzz began, so many other Marathon runners immediately identifiable by their red VLM bags slung over their shoulder. There were some silent nods and smiles and then more exuberant exchanges with others – all of them complete strangers. As the train pulled up I decided to take the carriage with the EMU! Yep my first costumed Marathoner of the day was sitting on my train and I journeyed with him and his family all the way to Greenwich. My first real hiccup came when the DLR train tried to do us all serious injury before we even started. It was horrendous, we kept falling far short of 3 platforms and were being jolted in and thrown everywhere – not ideal for my back at that point and I felt slightly stressed out by it. Once out of Greenwich though I started to smile to myself as it was seriously good, all of us in droves walking collectively towards Greenwich Park.

In the red start I realised with a shock  what little time I had left before it all began. I joined a queue for the toilet which I did not realise was a queue FOR the toilet as I couldn’t see a toilet anywhere. Turns out that the 4 or 5 queues snaking around me would eventually lead to one WAY in the distance and it would take me 40 minutes to get to it. WOW!  This left me 10 mins to suddenly get my kit bag on the right truck, stretch and find my starting pen. It was thus that my first run of the day began with me charging to pen 9 with just a couple of minutes spare before the designated silence for Boston began.
And WHAT a silence. I’ve never been IN a crowd that does a designated silence before, although I’ve seen it on TV and been struck by how awesome it is.  My boss wrote me a wonderful congratulatory email after the race wherein he describes ‘how it seemed even the wind held its breath’ as he had gone to view the start line and been amongst it. It was like that though….a massive hive of activity and noise suddenly in a complete instant halted and everyone respectfully and purposefully thinking of Boston. It was a complete pleasure to be a part of that wonderful moment. Not for the last time that day would I think to myself that this turned out to be in fact THE most perfect day to run London than ever before.

After this I got talking to a young girl on my right and we walked to the start line together which took nearly 30 minutes in all. She was so so nervous and worried about running and I tried my best to encourage her along that walk. I’ve seen nerves at the start line before but she honestly looked scared. I looked at her name ‘Rosanna’ and afterwards I searched on the VLM site to see if she made it. Her pictures made me cry and rejoice for her. She made it in 7 hours and 15 minutes and I could see the pain in her face in her pictures and I just thought ‘wow girl, you made it!’ and then I donated to her cause. You see THIS is what the London Marathon does to you J
So MILE ONE lol! I had been prepared for the groin to go, it was the ONLY injury over all of those months where my Osteopath went ‘Ah’ when I showed him where I was hurt. He’s a pretty good Osteopath and got me through all other injuries so for him to say ‘Ah’ and then start asking if I wanted him to write me a deferral letter I knew it was a problem. So yes it was daunting to only be one mile in and feel it start to go. I’d gone through so much to get to that start line though so I simply refused to let it stop me. Alter my game plan …yes. Stop me….no! In hindsight this was probably a blessing in disguise as if it hadn’t happened I might have pushed really hard and then found myself really ill because by Mile 22 I already felt like I had sun-stroke. 

The London Marathon is a wonderful course to run/walk/hobble/crawl. Londoners are simply AWESOME at supporting you. You are constantly bombarded with ‘come on Tricia, you can do it’ and ‘TRICIAAAAAAAAAAAA, OWN IT GIRL’ and so on. You get to see ALL of London’s best bits from a great vantage point and all to the accompaniment of music as well. You are surrounded by amazing people and can’t help but laugh each time a Rhino or a Bumble Bee goes past faster than you.  Each time I crossed a 5k marker I knew my tracking device would update an app that would tell friends and family where I was…how cool is that? Although it didn’t stop people asking Jamie repeatedly where I was though lol – has nobody SEEN Donkey in Shrek? TUT!
VLM organisation is quite magnificent it has to be said.  Plentiful drinks stations, lots of marshals and the effort that goes into securing entertainment along the course is second to none. No matter what mile you are at there is something going on to help lift you up and keep you going. The music is often powerful and emotive. There was an awesome drumming band at one roundabout, rock bands outside pubs, brass bands on street corners, gospel choirs on steps and then rather bizarrely around Deptford there was what looked like a traditional folk dance group ‘of sorts’ holding hoops and standing on a stage side-stepping them. No music, some slight sound and a rather bizarre routine. It was for me ‘the’ most out of odds entertainment on the entire course. I went from sensory overload to this weird little set up and it just made me giggle so much.

Then just after Mile 12 I knew I was going to be seeing lots of friends and family and most important my wonderful Husband and kids J In my building elation I got stuck between a Rhino and a fellow runner for Beating Bowel Cancer and ‘high fived’ him, my fellow charity runner that is …NOT the Rhino …he had enough of an undertaking without having to High 5 me J Then suddenly the noise was TREMENDOUS, and a sea of WHITE T-SHIRTS was ahead of me and I spotted my Brother John first and started wolf-whistling towards him to indicate it was me. Words will NEVER EVER explain to you what the ensuing 5-7 minutes meant to me, did for me and how it helped me conquer the rest of that race. To be faced with such a massive crowd of people screaming your name, singing songs to you, hugging you, clapping you, crying to flipping SEE YOU (yes you Anna) and then be part of the moment ‘with them’ is an insurmountable experience. My beautiful children handed me sweeties and looked so excited in their oversized ‘Go Trish’ t-shirts with the Trish crossed out and replaced aptly with ‘Mummy’. My mate from Ireland was sitting ON TOP of a phonebox in spite of the Police demanding she shouldn’t! Marvellous.  It was a shared experience like no other and I didn’t want to leave them.  Yet leave them I had to. Besides, I don’t think the other revellers knew what on earth do make of it all, I must have had THE nuttiest, craziest, loudest and biggest set of supporters on the entire Marathon course. Really makes me smile that does.
So it was onwards I went passing rather happily the vital half-way mark, seeing the runners on the other side of the road to me snaking back towards the finish line as this part of the course couples with the return 22 mile mark. Later I would discover that THIS was where Mo Farrah finished his race and got off of the course. Pah! Mo Farrah couldn’t finish but I could and would! Who cares why he got off ‘blah blah blah’……. I was going the whole hog, no practice run for me J

Further down the road I made the almighty stupid mistake of stopping to use the toilets. I didn’t even NEED the toilet but logic told me I should stop around half way and try. TWENTY MINUTES I queued for that flipping toilet and when your body is screaming at you and seizing up this is not ideal. I took the moment to return a message sent to my blackberry by a friend wishing me luck and thanked her. She in turn firstly thought I had finished and then when she realised I hadn’t was gobsmacked to realise I had my Blackberry with me at all. Another moment to make me smile.
Time ticked by as did the miles. At around 17 miles people start hitting the ‘theoretical wall’ and I was saddened to witness for the 2nd time in doing this that people were indeed faltering all around me. When this happens you really question yourself. Why am I here? Am I ok really? Will I make it? We all know why I was there and we all know that I am ‘never ok’ and as for making it…….there was never a doubt in my own mind. At 22 miles I really honestly do think I was suffering sunstroke as mentioned. My head was pounding and I did feel some nausea and I simply could not believe that after training for months in the cold, London had brought me a ridiculously hot day to run in. So I stopped to walk a bit reminding myself that nothing was more important than to be safe – that I had family. This did work but my body was suddenly REALLY REALLY falling apart in all other areas then …knees…ankles…pelvis etc (all normal stuff to be fair for that distance) and I wondered if I would be able to pick up again and then the most amazing thing happened…

The DJ on my left played M-People….’What have you done lately to make me feel proud’!!!
I swear to god I could have gone over and kissed him. I couldn’t believe it – they were playing my/our song! It felt like a sign that all was good, all was well and I could certainly do it. In that little moment I cried to myself and I picked up my legs and started running again. I honestly felt a massive strength to me and felt lifted. If Stephen needed to find a moment on that course to remind me he was always with me, then I figure he picked that moment!

And so the end of the course drew closer, the amazing sight of Big Ben looming ahead. I managed to see my charity at their cheering point and they gave me a big hug. I texted Jamie to say how close I was much to the amusement of the crowds ‘PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY TRICIAAAAAAAAAAAAAA’  and I used the remaining energy I had to make this last section ‘count’ for me on a personal level. 10 years ago I had nothing left in me at this point, yet somehow this time and with a dodgy groin I somehow had the energy to pick up and go faster, letting Jamie know I was going for a ‘sprint finish ‘ and that I would call him once over the line. And I did! I flipping did! The crowds were ROARING and as I swung past Buckingham Palace I could see myself on a big screen and again I really giggled. Then I stared at the Finish Line ahead of me and smiled and raced to go get MY MEDAL!!!!!!!!!! Outstanding!

Over the line and with my medal placed over my head I was deliriously happy. It may not have been the race I felt I had trained for, it may have been ridiculously hard to keep going with the stupid injury but it was without a shadow of a doubt the most wonderful marathon EVER. With my VLM goody bag and my gammy leg I set off to find Jamie and the kids. Jamie, standing in a section beyond the finish was very nervous whilst waiting for me as there were people throwing up around him and looking seriously ill. It was with a mega surprise to him therefore that I appeared looking pretty intact and happy! I know I trained well, I know I committed properly and I know I have the right attitude to do a Marathon – what I don’t seem to have is a body that wants to support that knowledge lol
And so it was, the year that Tricia ran London again! With all its ups and downs I made it through and got to go have a party after! Pulling up locally to find family and friends waiting to celebrate with me was simply brilliant. My Sister Veronica did me so proud and allowed me to enjoy myself without having to worry about organising it too for which I’m eternally grateful. In the 10 years that has gone by lots has changed but it showed that friendships don’t have to.  I have been stunned by everyone’s support. I have been introduced to wonderful people who did not know me and yet supported me throughout. I have been amazed to reconnect with old friends and ’friends of friends’ and realise how many amazing people I have in my life.


Thursday, 18 April 2013

It’s the Final Countdown

It’s the Final Countdown…
(Yes I really do expect you to all sing/hum that in your head now whilst reading my latest musings J)
So here we are with  ‘M-Day’ on the horizon… and in spite of recent events leaving me heavily subdued I still remain a mixture of nerves and excitement! Just a thought, but does that mean you are all now ‘M People’? …in which case…what have you done lately to make me feel proud? Quite a lot as it turns out!…
Firstly let’s start with the sheer fact you sponsored me and this is nothing to be scoffed at. I won’t be the only person tapping you for money no doubt and I obviously won’t be the last. I am so thankful to each and every one of you though, it’s hard raising money, but nothing is harder than knowing some people ‘really’ can’t always afford to donate and yet they somehow have.  Please know it’s meant a lot to me and taken the pressure off of me and allowed me to concentrate on the job at hand – running on the day!
Then there has been the immense support from you all in the lead up. Reading my blogs, pretending to like them ;o) and daring to ask how my training is going when you see me (as we all know that THAT is a scary question to ask!). I don’t know what it’s like to train for the Marathon without raising money and just going through the ballot as motivationally that would be hard for me. I suppose it ‘would’ mean though that I’m a real runner and not this temporary version! It’s nice though, people rooting for you…so can I just tell you all of the general ‘life events’ that I’m upto this coming year post-Marathon and perhaps you can keep on rooting for me as I’ll miss it?
10 years ago I finished the Marathon and said ‘never again’ which as you all now know was swiftly followed by ‘if I ever do this again’ and ‘WHEN I do this again’ and here we now are with me actually doing it once more! I didn’t intend for it to be 10 years later when I said that, crikey I tried getting through the ballot the first few years (in the hope of getting the guaranteed slot that comes after I think 5 attempts of trying?) and then forgot to enter one year and that was that! Children came along and life changed further and further and I feel un-recognisable to the me of 10 years ago in so many ways. I would have to have an extraordinarily good reason now to want to run the Marathon and everything it entails again.
That reason is Stephen x and John x
The Marathon is an inspirational race, full of people running ‘just like me’ for all kinds of good causes, it brings out the very best in people from all walks of life and backgrounds.  It’s why it’s such a great, fantastic and uplifting day out for anyone that comes along to watch. It’s also why what happened at Boston was beyond incomprehensible and downright disgusting.
On Sunday you’ll not help but be moved by the masses of people, pain etched across their faces for the most part struggling on past you. The elite runners will pass you by early and you’ll feel pleased to see them no doubt, especially so if you get a glimpse of Mo Farrah along the way and you may even spot the odd celebrity going past you too of which Mo Farrah is now one as well obviously! BUT it will be the masses of ordinary people that will move you, draw your support and get you shouting their names and handing them jelly babies (yes please DO bring jelly sweets with you and have them ready to hand out!).
For me running the race amongst all of these people is something I can’t adequately conjure up for you all (unless of course you’ve done it yourself). It’s extraordinary to be a part of.  The mood, however, will be somewhat different this year sadly. Although, I rather suspect that the utter ‘defiance’ that will be demonstrated by Londoners will turn a nasty negative into a positive. I shall be wearing a black ribbon alongside many others to demonstrate my support for those affected by Boston. You will see this camaraderie demonstrated amongst the runners if you are coming to watch on Sunday and it’s yet another reason to be moved by those running London.
This time around I will be travelling to the start line alone which is going to odd in itself, however  I absolutely know that I will be talking to strangers all day and loving it. I will be talking to them on the central line no doubt (and hey that’s no mean feat) and I will be talking to them on the DLR too.
On a lighter note, I am sooo looking forward to seeing the funny Marathon signs along the route as well. Some of my favourites in recent years have been “staying up all night making this sign was hard too” (that’s the sort of sign I’d expect from my supporting crowd) and “Pain now, Beer later” although in my case it will be a glass of wine – large please? These signs, people cheering your name, children handing you sweeties, various live music along the entire course and some of the most hilarious costumes ever are some of the reasons why I’ll be having FUN, yes I did say fun….on Marathon Day.  You’re not shitting on my parade whoever you are – do you hear me?
And then there is my little ‘M People’ J Those of you coming along to watch the Marathon on Sunday, a lot of you all together like one extended family and others spread out at various other iconic parts of the course. Not only do I expect you to have a flipping great day, I defy you not to… but do know you’ll all be playing an integral part of my performance too. Every runner breaks the course down into ways they can cope with to get them through – seeing friends and family is a high incentive for many.  The thing is, you’ll only get to see me for a matter of mere minutes (this is going to shock my kids when they realise this!) but just running ‘towards’ you all knowing you’re out there is the best way to start my race and keep me going. And when I HAVE seen you all, that will lift my spirits and take me through the next vital miles happier J
So whilst you may think it’s just me out there ‘doing this’ on Sunday, know it’s you doing it with me too, every single painful, blister-filled, dog-tired step that I take! Ouch – sorry!
My ‘tapering period’ (from hereon not so fondly remembered as the two weeks Tricia lost the plot completely) did not go as it should have with me picking up a last minute injury of the ‘worst kind’ in the groin as opposed to the ‘not so worse kind’… and I’ll be honest, there have been shed loads of tears from me and everyone has been treading on ice around me, whilst I apply ice to myself.  Then this week I pulled my back ‘doing absolutely NOTHING’. On the plus side (as I have to find one) I will now be able to tell you first-hand about the benefits of ‘Kinesio taping’ that my Osteopath, Bruce has been using on me. Don’t know what that is? Well it’s not to gag me that’s for sure, although I imagine Jamie has mulled over the idea. It’s those strips of tape that you see in different colours appearing on various parts of the body of top athletes. Aha! I hear you say.
So this will be my last ‘real’ blog now until after the Marathon at which point I hope to regale you with tales of how I effortlessly finished in a sub 4 hour run without any injury issue. Yet we know it’s more likely to be how I crawled across the finish line at sub 6 hours screaming “how the hell did you let me do this Jamie?” as anyone who knows me knows I blame everything I can’t control on my Husband J
One last word, if you are WITH my Husband on the day…please be kind to him, he will be stressed. Buy him a beer …but not too many as he needs to collect me at the finish line and shake his hand and wish him luck for later as he has ME to then deal with.
Over and out all – BRING IT ON!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Keep Buggering On

Keep Buggering OnWinston Churchill
I’ve had ridiculous weather elements to train in, too many injuries to mention and a number of chest infections followed by a bout of Norovirus to name but a few of the obstacles during my Marathon Training. There have been highs and lows along the way but absolutely ‘nothing’ has prepared me for how I feel in the wake of the blomb blasts at the Boston Marathon yesterday.
I vividly remember standing in the foyer of my office watching the big screens as 9/11 unfolded having received a frightening call from Jamie who had witnessed the second plane going in unexpectedly on a news site. The rest as they say is history.
Last night, alerted by friends we switched our programme off (a cheesy American weekly programme that Jamie and I both enjoy to watch and designed to keep me calm ironically in light of my ensuing Marathon this weekend) and turned on to the live news channels where in that instant I felt the similar feel of ‘dread’ that I felt many many years ago for 9/11 and then later for 7/7 (which ironically was my first day back to work after Kaede was born).  Twice already I have put Jamie through the fear that ‘my location’ couldn’t be worse when these events have unfolded. For 9/11 he worried that Banking Institutions were being targeted and that ‘I should come home immediately’ and for 7/7 we certainly knew that London Transportation was under attack and I walked the majority of that journey home from the City.
Last night I could see the instant fear etched on his face as we watched, stunned, as the news footage came in from Boston.  It’s one thing to watch this ‘from a distance’ and feel appalled and then it’s another to know ‘your Mrs’ is running London just a few days later. I understand how he feels as watching it I felt the same way.
I couldn’t/can’t/won’t understand how ‘anybody’ could target people at an event such as this. There are no credible reasons for any form of atrocity such as this wherever it may be anyway. We all know that. The ‘aggressors’ may cite a whole host of so-called reasons to back up their actions – but it’s white-wash at the end of the day. It’s designed to instil fear and to that end it succeeds – at least for a while. It’s designed to force people to change their way of life, their freedoms and again to that end it certainly succeeds for a while. After all, I have just spent a whole night redressing my own situation, the fact I am not ‘just me’ but a Mother…a Wife…a Daughter…a Sister and a Friend.
Will I still be running London this weekend? Well yes I will.
Will I still expect people to come along and support me if they are uneasy doing so? Absolutely not.
We are tasked constantly in life with making ‘difficult decisions’. I had to go back to work following 7/7 and take the underground too. It was an unsettling feeling and I’ll admit I AM unsettled.
What I am also though is…pissed off!
Pissed off that this happened in Boston at all. So many people running for so many good causes, raising money, working hard and pulling together. Pissed off that a wonderful occasion has been tarnished in such a way. Pissed off that I had to read news articles that begin ‘Murdered at the Marathon’ as it’s an unthinkable headline. Pissed off about the knock-on effect for London this weekend, as whatever way you look at it, there WILL be a knock-on effect.
Yes folks, I am indeed pissed off.
I had written a blog to send to everyone tomorrow, naturally in a ‘very different tone’ to this one. I was excited about sharing my thoughts with you all for the upcoming race. Ironically I was going to send it tomorrow as Jamie calls Wednesday ‘Hump Day’ as most people are just getting over the hump at being back at work after the weekend and are feeling happier and looking to the following weekend. I thought this would be a nice timing to make you all smile.
There is no shying away from what has happened yesterday though. I also know a lot of you will be wondering how I am feeling in light of it all. So this is how I feel. When I set out last year to write my blog I never imagined I would be writing one like this. I am utterly shocked.
Maybe I will still send my ‘light-hearted’ blog later this week, who knows. I just don’t feel light-hearted currently.
Please take a moment of time to say a prayer for those affected by Boston.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Taper Tantrums

I wasn’t going to blog again until next week…
I am having what can only be described as ‘Taper Tantrums’ during this hideous little necessary part of Marathon training called the ‘tapering period’. It’s when after months and months and MONTHS of training you finally 2-3 weeks before the big day itself have to cut back your training considerably in order to be fully prepared for actual Marathon day.
Sound good? Well in theory it does and you do spend every little weary week of those months in the build up quite looking forward to the moment when they say you can cut it back and rest more. Until you get there of course!  Then ‘this’ is what happens to you:
·         Extreme Anxiety
Worry over every little thing to do with race day from getting up late, eating wrong, trains breaking down or forgetting crucial things like your race number and chip.

·         Restlessness
A wickedly stupid symptom that has leaves you frustrated each time you have to sit down and do nothing

·         Insomnia
I seem to be able to fall asleep at the drop of a hat when I want to relax and watch something on telly, but then spend all of the nightime awake and going insane watching the time tick by.

·         Nightmares

Yep, these are now in full effect! I seem to get them just before I wake up each morning so then I invariably awake panic-stricken.

·         Headaches
I don’t get headaches (finally something I don’t normally get eh?) but now I have them in abundance.

·         Psychological pressure
I am looking forward to Marathon Day. I am unprepared for Marathon Day. I am ready and rocking for Marathon Day. I have not done enough. I want to run now. I don’t want to run. I am letting myself down. I am letting everyone else down. I am deliriously happy to be this close. I am stunned and stressed that I am this close.

·         Phantom pains

My toe hurts. My ankle hurts. My knee hurts. My toenail looks odd. Are those blisters? My hip hurts, my back hurts. Did my knee just click then? Is that my throat? I feel sick. 

·         Real and problematic pains

My toe hurts. My ankle hurts. My knee hurts. My toenail looks odd. Are those blisters? My hip hurts, my back hurts. Did my knee just click then? Is that my throat? I feel sick.

·         Tons of energy

Woohoo – Let’s clean the house, the car, the garden, the house again. Let’s go shopping in Westfield, take a walk through the Forest – anything PLEASE!

·         Absolutely NO energy

Go AWAY, leave me alone, let me lie down on this sofa, in this bed, in this bath. Pass me my drink, my hot water bottle, my duvet, my drink again, my dinner.

·         An urge to run all the time

So NOW you bring me Spring weather after months of flipping NARNIA!!! I want to go do a long run now, not the other week in the ice and freezing cold snowy wind. Are those RUNNERS I spy from the window beside my desk? I want to go and join them.

·         Panic each time you run

Shite, was that my knee again? Achilles? ITB? Iliopsoas muscle or Glute? I have turned into a medical dictionary of utter panic.

·         Panic Attacks generally

OMG I have overslept. OMG I am late. OMG I can’t find my trainpass.  OMG, where is my security pass?. OMG my purse my flipping purse. OMG what day is it?

·         Paranoia

Are they discussing me? Are they worried about me? Is everyone worried about me? What is wrong with me? Am I doing something wrong? Is there something wrong with me? Why does nobody care about me?

·         Irritability

Get the HELL OUT OF MY FACE! Do it now, quickly, run (oh GOD …the running word) just go away PLEASE.

·         Obsessive behaviour with weather forecasts
Will it be sunny on Marathon Day? Will it be cold on Marathon Day? Will it be raining on Marathon Day? Will it be sunny but with a slight breeze on Marathon Day? Can you get an accurate 14 day/12 day/10 day/7 day weather forecast? Don’t like the answer?...try another google search until you do.

·         Crying
and then there is crying. ALL OF THE TIME (except in public) Just simply add the word crying to the end of ALL OF THE ABOVE and then you get my current psychosis.

So why have I decided to suddenly share all of the above with you? Because if you just think this is me ‘usually’ you are very very wrong (although I get why you might say that). This is me on a ‘speed version’ of myself. This is me for the last week already, for the next week yet to come and this is going to be me right up until the one and only solution for Taper Tantrums – and this is actual Marathon Day itself – where most (and hopefully ALL) of the above symptoms magically disappears!

Have your ‘game face’ ready for me when you meet me…I am extreme versions of myself. Stay clear if you possibly can and save your sympathies for those that have to live with me until the day!

Much love all


Monday, 25 March 2013

Things I learnt along the way

So, with just a mere matter of weeks to go now to the ‘BIG DAY’ itself I thought I’d share my thoughts on the last few months, the highs, the lows and the just plain down the road middles which are equally important!

The Low’s…
When I found out I would be categorically running the Marathon this year you may recall I had an ankle injury I was nursing (along with a hangover too). I was incredibly nervous about my training but little did I appreciate the full-on stress that results in ‘trying NOT to get injured’. The fact is I started training in a state of panic and then remained that way. I’d like to say nothing happened to cement that feeling, however that trip to the Osteopath last year wasn’t going to be my last! No folks, I spread the injury somehow to my other ankle and knee joint too. I have learnt that my body is clearly not a temple but a full on battlefield were I’ve never been quite sure if I’m winning.

Ice has become my new Best Friend (sorry to all my other ‘Best Friends’ for forsaking you lately) but when you’ve spent as much time as I have with a packet of frozen peas attached to your leg by an elastic band at work then you’d understand!

Ice baths replaced hot showers to give Jamie his best ‘instagram’ on Facebook yet – I worry it may not be his last though.

Thank you to everyone who laughed, I heard you all from my bath of torture!

It’s also been ridiculously hard to find time to squeeze everything in. I do know one thing about myself though and that is I thrive under pressure. I don’t actually want the pressure but for some reason I seem to be unable to do anything but rise to it. If I have a million things to do I’ll get them done with icing on top. If you give me some ‘free time’ I walk around useless - sad fact.

Oh, and what is it with those stupid exercise induced endorphins? They’ve had me non-stop cleaning my house for months now…so why is it that it continues to looks a wreck?

The Middle’s…
I realised that I am actually quite a committed person when I want to be and that the reason I’ve joined (and dropped out of) a gym now at least 10 times over the years is not because I like losing the cost of an annual direct debit …but because it lacked a real goal for me. Plus I have issues with training ‘with people’…I think it goes back to school and communal showers etc.. but I just hate getting into physical exercise unless nobody is watching me and I can clean in private afterwards!

I’ve been asked how it can be that I hate ‘running with people to train’ yet am happy to take part on Marathon day alongside thousands of others? You see this is fine…as ages ago I read you should treat the Marathon just like one big Street Party….and anyone who knows me well knows what to expect from me on a street party day: karaoke, drinking and table dancing – easy!

I’ve also learnt some strange things about running too – but not one of these was that I actually enjoyed it I might add! I’ve discovered that depending on how I’ve ‘fuelled up’ and how much distance I am covering at any given point I tend to smell like metal! ‘Disgusting metal’ was how Jamie described it (thanks honey) and nobody can be around me after I come in from a run smelling like this. It’s the weirdest thing ever and I’ve had to be extra careful as my mileage stepped up to pay attention to this ‘sign’ that perhaps I am not fuelling adequately. If you are planning on being around me after I complete the Marathon you may wish to equip yourself with a bottle of Fabreeze and just periodically squirt it at me.

The Highs
Fact is - I’m really quite looking forward to Marathon Day itself. I really am getting excited now about the buzz of the day and it really is a massive buzz. To reach the start line and know without a shadow of a doubt that I deserve to be there is a feeling gaining momentum. I’m not a runner, I know that. I am though surprisingly good at seeing things through…especially if I treat it like a project. I can’t wait to get that medal around my neck (although in fairness it’s the last few months of training that I truly deserved a medal for).

I’ve been stupefied to discover that people with the most ‘tenuous links’ to me have been giving to my cause and this has stunned me each and every time. On a few occasions I’ve actually had to ask ‘who on earth is that person that just donated?’…that’s amazing, really it is.

I have also discovered that my Brother John missed his vocation in life as a PR Agent………he has been going around all of the local restaurants trying to raise money on my behalf…I’m not sure how convincing he was as I reckon he gave THEM more money whilst he ate and drank his way through the spiel. Likewise, I discovered that my Sister Veronica hates Facebook yet will get over that irritation and join forces with my ‘inherited Sister Scooby’ to design and sell t-shirts to support me on the day – especially if it means raising more dosh for me!

Rather bizarrely, I have reached the conclusion (gasp) that waking up without a hangover of any varying sort is really rather nice and more conducive to a good weekend. The makers of Cava are no doubt disappointed in their profits margin lately since I’ve been on the barrel but my pocket has seen a surprising turn for the better! I might put that surprising turn into a rather nice weekend away now – where I will no doubt consume lots of Cava!

Then there is of course one of the major things I am looking forward to and that is seeing everyone I know and love along the course on the day. Everyone has been so supportive of me (apart from laughing at pictures of me running in the snow) and I know that the realisation I have such support on the day will be ‘enough’ to get me around the course.

Lastly, my beautiful children. I know that they don’t understand fully what the Marathon entails and don’t understand why I laugh when they ask if I will come first… they just see me training and just think ‘Mummy will win’ bless them. Then again they don’t entirely understand why Mo Farrah wont be stopping to collect sweets from them at the road-side – but hey…maybe he will! I do hope to make them proud though and look forward to telling them that Mummy’s not going out running ANYMORE!

(I should point out that Jamie has made me sign a contract to this extent as apparently he will divorce me if I mention running again in 10 years’ time)

Anyone would think this had been stressful J

Sunday, 24 February 2013

10 signs Marathon training has taken over your life

The title is quite a giveaway really and it was in fact Item 1) on this list that led to my latest blog:

1)      Googling everything ‘Marathon-training-related’ that I could get my hands on.

Whilst perusing Google for yet more articles on the various facets of Marathon training, I stumbled upon a list of ’10 signs that tell you Marathon training has taken over your life!’ I read it with a chuckle and added it to my favourites section along with ‘26 uses of Vaseline during the Marathon’ and  foam rollers – a Marathon trainers must-have!’…amongst others! Yes, I have started constantly reading anything I can get my hands on to aid me in my training quest. I’ve even stopped reading DailyMail online for the first time in ages (my guilty pleasure) and replaced it with google searches such as: “can you run a Marathon without training?” Answer – apparently YES…Jedward did! Those amazingly irksome Irish X-Factor twins with the quiffed up hair! So, it got me to thinking about what signs there are that perhaps Marathon Training has indeed taken over my life. Here are the remaining 9 for your pleasure J

2)      Reactions to other runners on the streets.

This is quite a mega one for me as Jamie will attest to. I can’t go ANYWHERE now without constant referral to it. If it’s a training night and I spot runners I’ll quip: “that’ll be me later” if it’s a non-training night it’s “that’ll be me tomorrow” and god forbid I am mid-injury of some varying kind …”that should be me…sob…”.  I note the time of day they’re out, what they’re wearing, who they are running with, the route they appear to be taking and so on. I mean I just NEVER noticed these people before unless they were running across the road as I was navigating a corner in the car, and that would be to curse them. Now I’m the person running across the road. I read a really funny quote recently that said.. the difference between a runner and a jogger, is that a jogger waits to cross the road by jumping up and stretching, while a runner waits by standing there, looking annoyed  - well I kind of do both but the fact is I am now that irksome runner!

3)      Baby Talk

I called this Baby Talk simply because when you have a baby you invariably find any way to bring the conversation around to them. You just CANT HELP IT and it’s the same with Marathon Training too.  I just can’t help bringing almost every conversation I have around to it. Someone mentions the weather?  I have to train in that! Someone mention a meal out? I will be filling up on pasta tonight as part of my training regime. Someone going out for a drink? Whoa, I can’t drink I’m Marathon training! Buying new clothes? I’m getting a running belt! I tell you, I can bring any conversation around to my training!  If you want to know how I managed to bring round a conversation about nappy brands recently to Marathon training – just ask me!
4)      Multitask Stretching

I don’t have a lot of time on my hands in the evening in fairness. The kids rightly need every inch of time they can get with Mummy and I have to say they have been amazing to me during these months of nightmare nightime training! I’m also trying to maintain my blog, keep my presence up on social media etc, eat dinner and maybe watch one thing before I fall into bed. Stretching is an evil necessity. I only say evil because it just eats into so much time and I lack time. I have to do it though and religiously….so if I can multitask so be it. So now I find myself standing up to ‘facebook’ whilst trying to maintain ‘lunges’ ‘squats’ and ‘quad stretches’. I join the children on the ‘wobble board’ they got for Christmas so I can carry out important ankle stabilising exercises whilst maintaining some semblance of ‘playing with them’ and if you take phonecalls whilst standing you are apparently more professional. Nobody has to know I’m standing on one leg though!

5)      Music takes on new meaning

I hear songs differently now. I suppose it’s what it’s like for Drivers in a way..there will always be that song that makes you want to accelerate ..not mentioning names ‘cough’ ‘Jamie’ ‘cough’. I feel this way with music currently. It’s motivational at times, comforting at others and overall a really rather necessary distraction as you run.  So I no longer ‘hear’ songs and simply tap away to them with my feet or in my head, I actually visualise runs based on them. I see myself syncing in time to the rhythm and as I don’t like running with anyone...it’s almost like musical company.  Apple aren’t daft by teaming up with sports company’s – there’s a clear correlation between the two. There are ‘running CD’s’ and even a ‘Now that’s what I call running’ one… but don’t get me started on that playlist as that’s for another blog! For now I shall stick with the old classics like Kate Bush or Bruce Springsteen to name but two! The Proclaimers is mighty good for ‘pace’ running for sure!  Though I can’t help but hear the them from Rocky in my head each time I leave the house to start a session!
6)      Food has become fuel

This is rather depressing for me actually. I love love LOVE my food. I’ve mentioned before how I can be eating one meal and planning the next one at the same time. It’s a bit of a family trait…our day revolving around where, when and what are next meal is. I hate being dictated to though in what I eat, I’ve just never bowed to that kind of pressure, not ever. To dictate to myself is truly a big battle and one of the worst parts of Marathon training for me. I feel like a slave to the training nutrition plan in much the same way someone must feel about varying diet plans. I can’t bear the idea of taking something off of a food shelf and then turning it over to check it’s ingredients or calorific intake before purchasing. Yet here I find myself all of a sudden with a poxy spreadsheet measuring out my week by ‘glycogen windows’ and bypassing the alcohol aisle in the supermarket whilst I head to the energy drinks section. Normally Jamie rings me each day to ask what I want for dinner (yes I know, I’m spoilt!)…but now I find myself answering in relation to my running programme both in terms of what I eat and when I eat it.

7)      Nightmares

Already my recurring marathon dreams have begun. I vaguely remember getting these last time around too. This time they are worse though and perhaps that comes from the knowledge of having gone through a Marathon before. I’ve always suffered from what I describe as ‘Krypton Factor dreams’. For those who used to watch the show I always regularly have to undergo krypton factor style assault courses to get away from people trying to kill me, regularly. My dreams are often exhausting and I’ve suffered with them for years. So now I’m having Marathon-related ones. So far I’ve been on the start line several times with varying end results. I’ve had ones where I ‘try to run’ but I can’t go forwards no matter what I do, I can only run sideways like a crab. Then I’ve had ones where I’m running the Marathon, but the Marathon involves scaling buildings like Spiderman and running through work floors. At other times, the course is going through winding underground tunnels and my colleagues are there running it too and I’m annoyed by this as they keep stopping me at mile 2. Either way, I’ve yet to reach the end of the Marathon in  any one of my dreams.

8)      My life is measured in running cycles

Every Monday now my nice little outlook diary tells me what week of my training plan I am on. My life is now measured out by these ‘weeks’ and what my short runs and long run entails. I already know I am no longer socially available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday  evenings as I’m running. But then again, on Tuesday and Thursday and Saturday evenings I’m exhausted anyway so going nowhere really. Don’t even think about asking me about Sunday as its long-run day and after that I’m not really planning on doing anything at all. I have a constant stream of ‘reminders’ hitting my pc and blackberry and whereas in the past they used to say things like: ‘buy a birthday card for Mum’ ‘pay council tax’ etc…..they now say ’10 min brisk walk, 35 minute easy, 10 min brisk walk, 45 easy’ and so on. Depressing!

9)      Bathroom planning ;o)

No I don’t mean navigating mornings with a house-full of people! I mean planning your running route carefully so as not to be ‘caught short’ when Mother Nature beckons. I used to joke about planning my running routines around pubs last time around but actually it’s not a bad course of action.  This is particularly important on my Sunday long-run. When I propose meeting Jamie several miles down the road at a country pub following one, it’s not because I’m desperate for a glass of wine (much as I’d like to) it’s because by then I probably need the Ladies (and a lift back home!). There’s actually not that many places to take such a pit stop in all honesty and pubs are the best bet. Jamie is very supportive of me in these endeavours, but seems to reach the pub ahead of me far too early for some reason!

10)   Romance has hit rock bottom

And last but not least, in at number 10…. Romance!  When you have been together for 15 years, married for nearly 12 of them….you have a tendency to take each other for granted. So imagine Jamie’s delight when last week after the kids had finally gone to bed  I appeared downstairs with some bottles of massage oil!   The delight was short lived though. I in fact was after a very much needed lower leg massage …it just so happened it was also Valentine’s Day.

Proof after all, that this training has in fact TAKEN OVER MY LIFE!


Friday, 25 January 2013

Cool Runnings

Q. What’s the difference between the 1988 Winter Olympic Jamaican Bobsled team and me?

A. Nothing – both of us were stupid entering ourselves into competitions far out of our reach!

So seriously now, since entering for this Marathon I have succumbed to an ankle injury (ok, so it wasn’t training-related granted), dealt with the fact Xmas and New Year festivities fall right slap bang in the middle of crucial training and got my head around dark miserable nightime running. So what does January bring me by way of thanks? SNOW! Blistering, freezing weather conditions, icy winds, dangerous ground to run on and did I say it?….SNOW!
Research lately indicates that after you have been for a long run, jumping into a cold shower or an icy cold bath can do wonders for your sore muscles, help reduce the impact of swelling and stiffness etc blah blah…..so basically … just stay outside then Trish as it’s FREEZING out there.

To take a quote from this, one of my favourite films… "Cool Runnings" means "Peace Be The Journey." Nothing peaceful about what I’m encountering though I can tell you.
Take the woman de-icing her car last week when I was out on a Friday night run. Yes folks, FRIDAY NIGHT…whilst you’re all probably having a nice drinkie somewhere, I was out pounding the streets.  There I am, just minding my own business, running up a local side road, trying not to throw up etc…when I hear “excuse me” and then again almost immediately “excuse me, you in the road”. I assumed she wasn’t talking to herself as she, too, was standing in the road de-icing her car so I slowed slightly to look at her. “Why are you in the road?” she says to me. Me, slightly bemused…(do I know her? does she know me? why is she talking to me? Is it the police AGAIN?) didn’t immediately answer and so she repeats “WHY are you in the road?, there are cars on the road don’t you know!” and she was just standing there begging an answer from me. So I answered “You know, I didn’t know that, about the cars…THANK YOU so much for enlightening me, much obliged” and continued to run. There were other less-sarcastic responses I wanted to use, the only problem was they were also somewhat rude – so maybe best I couldn’t get my ‘cold’ little head around her interruption.

The thing is though, running in the road is actually the safest place for me to be. Obviously, not out on main roads amongst the traffic…I mean that IS just asking for trouble, but on my local side roads I feel far safer running in the street itself rather than on pavements in the dark alongside little alleyways and nooks and crannies as I fear ‘baddies’ lurking ready to pounce on me. Ok, so they’d have to defrost me first before they’d be able to steal my blackberry from my frozen solid hand – but still.
So anyway, I decided to look up some tips for ‘running in the cold’ as this weather looks set to stay at the moment and got the following ‘top 10 tips’ from Runners World:

1.     Get motivated

Well I decided to run to Kaede’s swimming lesson on Sunday and meet Jamie and the kids there. So I set off in advance and was so frozen within 5 minutes that I had to leave my bottle of water by a tree as could no longer hold it. Halfway there and struggling on uphill terrain, I was suddenly ‘beeped’ by a passing car. No, I wasn’t in the middle of the road again. It was actually Jamie and the kids bypassing me with BIG waves and smiles and the music blasting. Motivation for me is wiping that smirk off of Jamie’s face at some point in the future J

2.     Arm Your Feet

Not quite sure about this one, I take it they mean wear suitable running shoes and not attach artillery of sorts to my trainers? Although then perhaps, I could aim my feet ‘towards Jamie’ and well… you get the picture J

3.     Get Dressed

Naked running is quite frankly – NOT for me. This one I can accomplish easily.

4.     Be Seen

What if I don’t want to be? What if I want to skulk?

5.     Warm up Prerun

This one is easy for any Parent quite frankly. I am up and down those stairs so much I’m surprised I’ve not been given a loyalty card.

6.     Deal with Wind

Er…how very rude.

7.     Forget Speed

What? And all other narcotics too?

8.     Change Quickly Postrun

I can do this so quickly now that I’m aiming for Britain’s Got Talent next year. I can put that ‘Quick Change Act’ to shame.

9.     Deal with Rain

This is quite funny advice for someone who lives in England. I’ve been dealing with rain now for 41 years!

10.  Go Someplace Warm

Why thank you. I’ll get my passport ready now J

So there you have it folks! Easy eh?

Now before I sign off, I’d like you to join me in my running prayer à la ‘Cool Runnings’ style:
Our Father, who art in Woodford
London Marathon be thy name
Thy Marathon done
My medal won
in Pall Mall, as it was 10 years ago
Give me my day, as you did back then
and forgive me, if I must stop at times
as I forgive those who stop in front of me
and lead me straight to the nearest pub
and deliver me a large glass of wine! Amen.