Tag Archives: Marathon

Running’s funny

Ok running friends, I couldn’t stop myself taking a pic of this funny sign seen on the walk from the train station to the starting line of the London marathon at Blackheath. It gave me a giggle.

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A Royal Run at the London Marathon

You never know who you might see at a big city marathon!

Just less than a week ago I ran the London Marathon and had an amazing day soaking up the brilliant carnival atmosphere. I hadn’t done any proper marathon training for it (ie no long runs!), but there was enough endurance in my old legs to see me around the 26 and a bit miles without suffering too, too much  – the last hour, though, as always, was hard! But I loved every minute of it and was awe-struck by the mind-boggling number of runners taking part. I was even more awe-struck by the mind-boggling number of spectators; crowds and crowds of cheering people lined every inch of those London streets. And the roar of support was never ending. It pushed you on and on.

Yes, the atmosphere was incredible, and my plan was to run/walk, soak it all up and take some photos along the way.

And talking of photos … well, I got one with The Royals! At around the 10 km mark, just before the Cutty Sark, I saw in front of me a crew of people from the Heads Together charity, recognisable by the blue colour of their banners and the blue headbands some were wearing – the same headbands that were given out to all us runners this year in our Expo goody bags.

Heads Together is a mental health charity and was the London marathon’s Charity of the Year for this year. Representing the charity were no other than The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. And guess what! There they were, up ahead of me, William, Kate and Harry, in the middle of the Heads Together crew, cheering and supporting their runners. I just had to go up to them and take a selfie…

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… and this shot too …

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I fumbled with my iPhone camera buttons for many minutes while taking the shots and one of the bodyguards said to me, “well there goes your three hour marathon”. Ha, ha, funny guy!!

It’s awesome that a mental health charity got centre stage at the London marathon. Not only that but support from Royalty!

About the charity – this is taken from the Heads Together website:

Too often, people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health. This fear of prejudice and judgement stops people from getting help and can destroy families and end lives. Heads Together wants to help people feel much more comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing and have the practical tools to support their friends and family.

Being the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year was the perfect springboard for the Heads Together campaign. Seeing hundreds of runners hitting the streets of London during the marathon to end the stigma and change the conversation on mental health once and for all was incredible!

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are spearheading the Heads Together campaign to end stigma around mental health. Heads Together aims to change the national conversation on mental health and wellbeing, and is a partnership with inspiring charities with decades of experience in tackling stigma, raising awareness, and providing vital help for people with mental health challenges.

Also, I caught the three Royals for a second time! That’s to say, at the world famous finish line on the Mall where they were giving out medals. Here are William and Harry again …

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I was in line to receive my medal from Kate, but she saw me hobbling towards her and did a runner before I got to the front of the queue and my medal. Never mind!

Another great day of running and of memories. Yeah!

Have a great day!

Last Chance marathon, Bellingham, 31st Dec 2016: Race review

Hello and happy new year.  I hope your 2017 is off to a good start 🙂

So, I managed to find a race to run on the very last day of 2016. I can’t think of a better way of finishing off a year than with a race – a lovely trail marathon at that. The race was The Last Chance Marathon in Bellingham, Washinton. That’s just a hop, skip and a jump over the border to the USA from home-sweet-home in BC, Canada.

There were two events, a marathon and half-marathon. For the marathon, we ran two out-and-back sections on the interurban trail, starting at Fairhaven Park Pavilion with the turn around at Clayton Beach. You can probably guess that the half-marathon was one out-and-back section. There was an early start if you wanted it, an hour before the main start at 9 am.

It was a lovely route on undulating soft trails, under a canopy of trees and peering through the trees in some places you could see the ocean. The day was damp and chilly, and towards the end, we got to run under falling snow which didn’t come to much but, hey, it was lovely to run with the snowflakes floating down in front of you.

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Happy Runner at the Last Chance Marathon. Thanks to Takao Suzuki for photo

I really enjoyed this marathon. The last one I’d done, I started too fast and finished with a painful hobble for the never-ending second-half. This one, I paced sensibly and finished strong. Always a good feeling 🙂 I finished mid-pack which I’m always overjoyed with when doing any marathon or ultra.

This was a great event: a lovely course; great aid stations; great organisation; great post-race food (vegan option of yummy spicy soup)

I used this race as my final long training run for my next ultra. Hmm….that’s going to be the Coldwater 100 miler on 21st January. I can’t believe that I’m trying another 100, that I’m heading into that great unknown again…yikes!! As well, it’s in the desert. Hope it’s not too hot as it’s freezing here. I’m thinking about going to the sauna for heat training 🙂

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Hoping to finish strong! Takao Suzuki photo

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Everybody got a nice ‘buff’ and finisher’s medal. Billy’s showing mine off.

Musings from the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon

I was in Toronto last weekend! It was marathon weekend!  Another great training day for my ultras. Bonnie’s Dream Team tell of the conditions for marathon day.

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Bonnie’s Dream Team FB post

 

People who come out as cheerers are so amazing. The push they give you is priceless. Lots of Love to you, Bonnie.

I’m amazed I got myself to the start line. The night before a race is always restless but this night-before was almost torture. My hotel room was right next to 2 rooms hosting a rowdy party. Grrrrrrr. I politely phoned reception twice and politely yelled in the corridor. The revellers eventually trouped out to take their party elsewhere. They came back at 3am. The only consolation was there were less of them at 3am than 11pm. I was so stressed by the whole thing I got no sleep. Not a wink. I told myself running sleepless would be good training for my 100 miles!

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The Start

Like Bonnie’s Dream Team said, the marathon was cold, wet and windy. The last 8k, as always, was hard! I thought I had blown my pacing and at 8k could see myself slowing and slowing then slowing some more to the end. But, at 4k to go I found myself running beside another girl and without saying anything (we were too knackered) we helped each other to pick up the pace for those last kilometers; a LONG straight section. The fine rain was pelting into us. I was cold. Every piece of me and every piece of my clothing was sodden. It felt so awesome to run with Danielle (I saw her name on her bib). We were wet marathon sisters trying to finish strongly. And we did.

Crossing the oh-so-welcome finish line Danielle and I emotionally thanked each other for the support. Then I looked around for a space blanket. I was freezing. I had been thinking about a space blanket for 4K. In fact, I thought I would ask nicely for two. Sadly there were none. Never mind. I would use my ultrarunning mental training, be mentally strong and transcend the cold. Not easy!

Onwards to the medals. Wow! The medals! All I could think of was “that’s a big medal” Truly, it was the biggest marathon medal I had ever seen. All I could think of was – this is going to ruin my “travel-light”journey. I had a plane to catch the next day!

Laden down, I hauled the medal to the bag collection area. Thankfully I had wrapped my change of clothes in plastic bags. Our bags were outside and my bag was almost as wet as me.

Where to change?! I spied 2 small white tents. One had a W on it and the other an M on it. I opened the flap on the tent with the W. Yes, it was the right place to change. I squeezed myself in among wet, shivering runners all unashamedly stripping off wet clothes and replacing them with dry stuff. This wasn’t easy in the cramped, cold, wet tent. It was fun, though. We all chattered about how hard the last part of the race was, how cold we were and how hard it was to change our socks while having to hobble on one leg; there was nowhere dry to sit. We were a tribe of warriors. Or nutters! It was so good to get these dry layers on.

I later found out that my time of 3 hours 55 mins and 6 secs counts as an age-group Boston Qualifier and a “Good for Age” qualifier for London. Woo hoo what an awesomely, brilliant day! Thank you Toronto.

 

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The Large Medal

 

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MarathonFoto pic. Heading to the finish line. Yeah!

Resource: If you’re interested in a route description for the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon here’s a link. I did a quick piece of pre-race googling and this was the first page my clicking took me to. It seemed a comprehensive route description so I didn’t look further.

Two inspiring women marathon runners.

While driving to work yesterday listening to the latest Marathon Talk podcast my ears pricked up at one of the news articles. Podcast host Martin spoke of a new marathon which had been run in Iran. His news story was about two women who ran the marathon despite authorities not allowing women to enter the race.

Wow!

I immediately wanted to find out more. Here’s a Runners World article published on 13th April about the story that caught my attention. The two women who finished were Masoumeh (Mahsa) Torabi and a woman called Elham.

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Mahsa Torabi

It seems women were able to sign up for the race but their entries were rejected! The authorities, not the organisers, prohibited women from entering. Mahsa and Elham decided they were going to run the race anyway! They started the race a couple of hours before the men. Both finished and both were given medals.

By way of the Runners World article I discovered Ultrarunner Girl and her extremely interesting blog post on the subject which gives a lot of detail. She tried really hard to have the European organisers of the race cancel the event on account of gender discrimination. They wouldn’t cancel 😦

I also found out that Ultrarunner girl founded the Free to Run charity. Awesome charity!

Free to Run is a nonprofit organization that uses running, physical fitness and outdoor adventure as a means of empowering and educating females from conflict-affected communities to overcome the harmful effects of gender, religious and ethnic discrimination. By creating and supporting an environment for women and girls to participate in sport and physical education, Free to Run aims to use the power of sport to change lives and communities in areas of greatest need.

It turns out that Mahsa Torabi is an ambassador for Free to Run. Read what she wrote about running the Iran marathon. So inspiring! She is running the Iran Silk Road Ultramarathon next month. Good Luck Mahsa!

It was really interesting doing this little bit of research. Reading the comments attached to Ultrarunner Girl’s post gave me even more insight.

I’ve no concept what it must be like to live in these two women’s shoes but from an outsider looking in what they did seems extremely courageous.

Next time I toe the line in a race I will think of them, I’ll be inspired by them and I’ll run my best. Because I can! Because we can!

Lets hope women are running the Iran Marathon as equals free from discrimination in 2017.

50th Birthday Marathon🎂

Yesterday, 14th February 2016, was my 50th birthday (also it was my twin brother, Graeme’s 50th birthday-Happy Birthday Graeme!). I love running on my birthday and I had sought out a marathon for the day. That marathon was the Birch Bay Marathon, not too far from home. It’s a low key marathon on a lovely course and takes in all that is beautiful about the Pacific North West. However, yesterday there were no ocean or mountain views, just chilly constant rain but I had a fantastic day. Peter and I travelled over the border on Friday evening and had a weekend away. As always Peter cheered me on from the roadside and had warm clothes for me at the finish.

I ran 4 hours 4 minutes and the second half was 4 minutes quicker than the first. A negative split! Pacing improves with age no doubt! I felt a wee bit tired throughout the event as I hadn’t tapered at all, this being a training run/birthday treat. I was ready for the bonk but it just didn’t happen. I finished feeling just a  bit worse than the start.

All I ate during the 4 hours was 3/4 of a tiny sample-size Cliff Bar (I looked at the wrapper-110 Calories, 17g of carbs). I had 2 or 3 gulps of water at each aid station-no gatorade. This is a large reduction in fuel compared to my previous marathons. Could I now be a fat burning machine?? LOL. I guess my consistent running with moderate mileage for the last 3 or 4 years has had a good training effect. Running long, eating “high fat” and running when fasted are techniques people use to improve fat burning. I enjoy my breakfast far too much to try running fasted and my diet is not “high fat”. My own experience shows me that fat burning for the average runner can be gained by consistency without fasting or eating a lot of fat (regular long runs will inevitably cause glycogen depletion and glycogen depletion is the stimulus for the body to adapt from carbohydrate burning to fat burning)

I enjoyed yesterday enormously and had a fantastic birthday. Roll on the 100 miles :))