Pre-Race Jitters

Way back in October this seemed like a good idea –Paddock Wood, a not too taxing half marathon to test my running recovery.  Now, with four days to go, not quite such a good idea!  Why do I do this to myself?  (I wonder if Mo ever feels like this!)

The pre-race nerves have started!  I’m distracted and can’t seem to settle to anything.  The sooner Monday comes around, the better!  It’s not like I’m under any expectations to win.  I’ll just be one of 2750 runners taking part but like a lot of runners I want to do “better than last time”.  And pressure’s supposed to be good for you, right?!

Perhaps I should have checked the diary first and not made matters worse by entering a run which just happens to be the weekend when the clocks go forward and we lose an hour’s sleep.  As if I was going to get a good night’s sleep anyway, terrified for some reason I’ll sleep through three alarms – in case we have a power cut overnight or the batteries run out if you were wondering!

My race pack has arrived safely and my “in case of emergency” details completed.  Also safety pins have been located; outfit (?!) selected and nicely laid out in a heap; left and right socks identified; regular hourly checks of all three weather apps on my phone taking place – and all possible weather scenarios have been forecast for Sunday over the last week!   And my pre, post and mid race energy supplies assembled and tested.  Indeed, more jelly babies have had to be purchased – the initial pack was just a trial to make sure they were satisfactory.  Yes, okay, I finished them off and had to buy more!!  And this time the pack remains sealed until Sunday morning! 🙂

So why do I feel so ill prepared and why am I having this confidence crisis?  I did most of “the distance” the week before last (I knew a half marathon was 13.1 miles, I just hadn’t realised this also equated to 21 point something kilometres and I missed out the point something kilometres).  And the only time I walked was for about 15 seconds when I saw a funeral cortege coming towards me and it felt like the appropriate thing to do.

I have afterall done more training for this than probably any other run, even marathons (that makes it sound like I do marathons all the time – wrong, it’s just that I’ve done more than one – okay, two but that still makes it plural).  And I have to be honest, all this earnest training is probably down to the jantastic “effect” otherwise known as the “making me do it” technique!

One of my concerns probably relates to a little niggle in my right leg/knee area which made its presence felt at the end of last week.   I’m hoping it’s down to overtraining.  The weird thing is it hasn’t stopped me being able to run (yet), it’s more of a problem when I’m standing around.  Anyway, I cut back on distance last week and lots of icing, elevation (or watching the television upside down with my leg in the air) and massaging has taken place.  Fingers are crossed, though obviously not while massaging – that would be silly!

Tomorrow is my last “training” run, just a 5k to keep the legs moving and hopefully not aggravating the niggle.  And then two days in which to keep myself calm, very busy and eat lots of pasta and drink lots of water.  I’ll see you on the other side 🙂

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The Railway Bridge

Just under three weeks until the Paddock Wood Half Marathon or to put it another way, three weeks and it’ll all be over!  My first half marathon in two years, the last one being Paddock Wood, a “preparation race” for London where it all started to go horribly wrong.  That’s not strictly true, it started to go horribly wrong long before then.  My marathon training in 2012 consisted of various struggles and a longest run of 9 miles.  Believe me, splitting a marathon into “5 mile chunks and a little bit at the end” doesn’t work, it might on paper but it doesn’t in body.   I was probably also working with an “I’ve done it before, I can do it again” mentality.  That doesn’t work either.  Anybody contemplating a marathon, one piece of advice – respect the distance!

Anyway, I digress!  Paddock Wood, described by the race website as “mostly rural and very flat, with only one hill of note at 1.25 miles. Most other slopes are railway bridges”.   And even though the elevation plan bears this out, the reality is slightly different.  Because of the scale of the elevation plan, that first hill looks fairly ominous, from memory it wasn’t quite that bad (I may live to regret that statement).  It’s “the railway bridge” between miles 10 and 11 that’s the killer and was my undoing last time.  It was at this point that I gave in and began a walk/run effort.  It had such a traumatic effect that the bridge still lives in my memory.

The Elevation Plan

The Elevation Plan

I’ve been trying to tell myself that I’m a lot fitter this time than last and Jantastic has been inspirational in my training – don’t think I would have managed quite so well without it!  And parkrun has played a big part too in getting me used to running with other people.  Hopefully this time I won’t go hell for leather at the start, trying to overtake everything that moves.  So all I need to do when I get to this particular slope (!?) is put my head down, pump those arms and go for it, remembering the gentle decline towards the finish line once I get to the top.

That’s what’s going on in my head anyway.  Then last week I bumped into a running acquaintance I haven’t seen for nearly two years, he who is a marathon veteran.  We were catching up, as you do, and when I told him about Paddock Wood, his response was “oh yeah, flat until you get to the railway bridge” – aaaarghh!

So this week see’s my last attempt at a “long” distance.  Last week I managed 17k reasonably successfully, no walking anyway and I was still alive at the end.  I even contemplated continuing to try and do the full distance, but not for long.  This week Jantastic says I have to do 18k, actually Jantastic doesn’t say, I committed to 18k.  The plan is to go out tomorrow armed with jelly beans and water – I swear it was the jelly beans that got me through last week although I probably should  have waited until a bit further than 4k before starting on them.

Then the next two taper weeks are going to be concentrating on hills, basically running up and down them again and again and this time I’m gonna conquer that b@#”r!!

Supplies :-)

Supplies 🙂

Sleeping Satellites

Catching up on other people’s running blogs this morning I came across this picture and just had to post it.  So many times in the past could I be found lurking around corners waiting for my Garmin to “locate satellites” before I set off on my run, hoping I was out of sight of any curious neighbours.  Now I put the Garmin in the garden and let said satellites be found before I strap on the watch, lock up and dash through the house and out the front door, all before the satellites get lost.

Well it made me smile anyway 🙂

PS – Younger readers may need to know that Sleeping Satellite was the debut single from Tasmin Archer in 1992!