Adverse Camber

I started this blog to get me through the London Marathon 2011. It was quite a challenge as I only started running on the 3rd of May 2010. I finished the marathon with painful blisters and quite a lot of money for a great charity!

This blog is now taking me on a new journey - to a fitter lifestyle aided by running.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

VLM “Meet the Expert” 29th January 2011.

VLM “Meet the Expert” 29th January 2011.

Here are the notes I took regarding the actual race day.
Race start:
The colour of your race number tells you which start you need to get to (green, blue or red).  Make sure you go to the right tube/DLR stop for your colour and allow 15/20 minutes to walk there.
Trains and tubes are free for runners, but it will be very busy.
Only runners can come to the start so say goodbye to your loved ones earlier – there’s no point them walking you to the starting area.
The race starts at 9:45am.
You’ll need to wear a bin liner to keep warm before the start.

Kit bag:
You pick up your kit bag from the Expo the week before.  At the starting area this is where you need to put anything you want at the end of the race; my choice will be warm clothes and sandwiches!  These bags are put in number order and taken to the finish line to meet you.

Water/lucozade stations:
Water – after 3 miles on every mile.  Bottle are 33cl so easy to carry and have a sports top so they are easy to drink. Please don’t pour it over yourself, there are run-through showers just off the main course should you need a brief cool down.
Lucozade sports drinks – every five miles from mile 5 to 23.
Lucozade carbo gels – miles 14 and 21.

There are lots and lots and lots at the starting areas – take your own toilet roll though. There are also portaloos en route and these are well signposted and only slightly off the route.

The race:
Keep to your pace, people who start even slightly faster than their marathon pace struggle.  Keep to YOUR pace and you’ll do fine.  There are pace teams if you want to meet one at the start (see for details).

The finish:
Think about your finish photo and who is in it!
Once you finish you go through a secure finish area where your chip will be taken off and you can reclaim your kit bag.

Avoid all the popular spots; Greenwich, Tower, Embankment and the last mile.  These places are very crowded.  A good spot is along Surrey Quays or where your charity are set up.
The trains will be very busy – it will be like rush hour.
The official meeting place at the end is Horseguards and these are alphabetically ordered (XYZ is a good place to meet).  It can take 40 minutes to get through the finish area so plan this in with the people you are meeting.

I'm back!

I know, I know - it's been too long. Forgive me.  I had swine flu and that confined me to bed for a while, I haven't been out running for a week and am starting to get itchy feet!

Today I managed to get the train down to King's Cross and to a 'Meet the Expert' marathon seminar run by Virgin London Marathon.  I feel inspired and also on the right track (although the week of not running doesn't make me particularly happy).

The Race Director is one David Bedford, who you probably know from his ripped-off alter-egos the 118 men off the TV.  He was hilarious and at one point appeared in drag.  His talk on the actual basics of race day was very useful.  Also there were nutrition and fundraising experts as well as Liz and Martin Yelling who were really nice and obviously knew their stuff.
This photo is from the end of the day when they were taking questions from us.  Some people asking questions were very obviously not on the right track for the marathon yet, quite a few had not run more than 6 miles or had suffered injuries.  Liz Yelling told them not to panic, but in the next 7 weeks mileage needs to increase up to 20-22miles on the long run (18 as a minimum), so that ten needs to be got in asap.  Of course, the three weeks after that are tapering so we're not too exhausted come race day.

A few of the interesting things I learnt were that runners travel free on the trains/tube and to bring your own toilet roll!  I'll try and write up my notes so they make sense and post them on here (should anyone be interested).

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Running with Friends

I have some lovely friends, they are just as crazy as I am and sometimes I can even involve them in my mad schemes.  Someone suggested we run together after school one day a week and this week we had our first 'Run Club' with running, walking and run/walk divisions. 

Run Club was great news for me as this means I only have to suffer the treadmill twice a week, as I can run outside and feel safe in a group.

I mapped out a three mile route and after some last minute faffing and excuse making we were off!  We walked to warm up and then a couple of us went into a gentle jog.  We talked, we de-stressed and do you know what - my pace was better than it normally is.  I am not quite sure how this happened as we weren't exactly tearing around the park, but it's all good!

In the park, which resembled a bog, we met the usual dogs and snogging teenagers.  This park is actually quite beautiful in the summer, but we had to keep to the paths as it was so muddy.  I am sure we will be able to enjoy it when the good weather comes.  My colleagues are plotting a summertime halt halfway round for tea and cake in the cafe when the weather is good.  Don't tell them - but I am plotting we do a Cancer Research 5k in July.  Who knows - maybe we can do both?  Have our cake and eat it!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

What I was doing when I should have been running!

Yesterday I was in Swindon (yes, it is a real place) so I didn't get a chance to go for my long run. I was going to go straight to the gym and depress a groove into the treadmill for an hour and a half, but due to the high price of food at the hotel in Swindon I hadn't eaten and didn't fancy running on empty.

I'm going to go off on a non-running tangent now and I'm going to tell you what I was doing in Swindon.  There is a fantastic writer by the name of Jasper Fforde who writes books which are unique, humourous and compelling.  Last year I went to the Fforde Ffiesta which celebrates Jasper's work and the worlds within them.  I have never felt so at home with equally bizarre and  like-minded people!                                                    

This year I am on the organising committee and yesterday was one of our regular planning meetings.  I can't tell you everything that went on in that meeting - but look out for Crusty Cards, collectable spatulas and more dodo schenanagans!

If you are tempted, please check out the Ffiesta website on Jasper's website which tells you all about the Ffiestas of 2010 and 2011For an unbelievable £85 you get a Bank Holiday weekend full of fun and in the presence of Mr Fforde himself.  We have even managed to get you a Ffiesta discount on the hotel rooms so you can stay there as well!
Last year attendees came from Australia, the US and...five people came from Swindon itself!

Features this year involve an optional tour of Swindon in a vintage bus, taking in all the 'sights' of the Thursday Next novels; Mid Life Crisis Angst poetry; Lobster Space Invaders, Secret Cheese Tasting; and no Ffiesta would be complete without Spot the Lobster, the March of the Danvers and Name that Fruit!

I hope I'll see you there - 27th May to 30th May 2011 - the De Vere Village Hotel, Shaw Ridge Swindon.

(And it's okay, I went for a woodland run today instead.)

Monday, 3 January 2011

The Gym

I was a little later getting to the gym today and the treadmills were all being used so I had an extra long stretch whilst I waited and then hopped on the first one that became free.  I then noticed the man on the treadmill next to me was just stood on the machine without it moving. I don't know if he was waiting with a friend, but I was getting really annoyed for all the people who were waiting.

The guy who was on my other side had eaten onions and garlic last night, it was coming through his pores.  Hmm, lovely.

I did 1.4km and then managed to get my arm caught in my headphones and sent my poor MP3 player off on a journey through the air, so I had to stop the machine to retrieve it.  After another 1km I needed to go to the loo.  I left the machine and found another one a few minutes later (free from garlic man).  Now I knew I had to knuckle down and put the kms in!  I had an aim of 4.8km, but agreed with myself to do 6.4 if I could as this is tomorrow's aim and I thought it might be easier to run further on a day off rather than the first day back at school.

I tried to take the speed up to 8km/h when I could and did take it to 9 on one point, but then I kept taking it down to go slow or have a drink.  On the TV I had a choice of 'Bargain Hunt' or 'This Morning', so I chose to listen to the LA Fitness music channel.  When 'This Morning' became a Hattie Jacques documentary I did flick between the two.  For anyone who doesn't know her, she was an amazing actress who never got the parts she could have played because of her size and died aged 56 of a heart attack.  That was motivation to keep running!

To cool down I went for a brief swim.

The treadmill has it's uses, I admit, and I hope it will see me through these dark evenings. 

Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Year - New You?

We all know resolutions actually start on the second of January, everyone is far too hung over and craving bad foods to start on the first.

What is your resolution for this year?  I am not in the habit of setting resolutions, instead I used to set myself 'goals' as a teenager, things to achieve.  Unfortunately I often set these in a dreamy state of mind and without much practical idea of how to achieve these goals.  It became quite depressing at the end of every December to realise I had yet to achieve many of these.  This year I am going back to that old habit, but I am going to set goals that I can achieve if I apply myself and work hard.  Here they go:

  1. Finish the London Marathon on the 17th of April 2011
  2. Defeat ill health and lead an energetic and normal life - eat well and get fit
  3. Get my work/life balance sorted by not working over and above
  4.  Actually go on holiday
  5. Find time to enjoy the things in life that make life worth living: read more books, go to the theatre, spend more time with my often neglected boyfriend, visit my friends.
So, five possible-to-achieve goals for 2011.  

I don't want to go into all the miseries, but I am very glad to see the back of 2010 and am full of hope for 2011.  Onwards and upwards!