Thinking, Planning, Panicking…

ZeEF%DznSiO%e%mKWvVt+QRight, well, it seems I didn’t dream signing up for another marathon. Oh well. It’s taking a little time to fully sink in and I am still not entirely sure how I feel about it. I went for a little walk/run up towards the Moor earlier but turned off to run/walk a loop rather than straight up and back down when I saw how many people were walking up/down the road to Keighley Gate. As I was walking I was thinking about the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon and how on earth to get ready for it.  26.2 miles is just such a bloody long way. Remember what I said after London when I was reflecting on the things I learned out on that course? I said ‘You have to really want it’. After Dopey 2019 I said ‘I am really not a marathon runner’, after London 2016 I said I was done with the distance and after Dopey 2016 I said ‘I have done a marathon! And yes it was awful for the most part…’. After every marathon I have had both a sense of achievement and the sense that I could do better. I have also felt like I didn’t really want to do another one even though I am yet to run one where everything comes together in really good conditions. Dopey 1 was overwhelming, London 1 was ok but with patches of feeling poorly and was too soon after Dopey, that same pattern repeated in 2019 (but you can’t choose when you get a London place!) and Dopey 2019 was close to perfect but marathon day was so hot… London 2019 was just horrible…

I have been thinking about all of this and wondering whether I want another 26.2 enough. I think I do – we’ll see as time goes on I guess. My Dopey 2019 marathon is the fasted I have done at 6.18.49. Part of me really really wants to go under 6 hours and London 2019 suggested that was within reach until I fell. Anyway, while I was thinking about that I was also thinking about my training plan. I was settled on the Disney plan until my silly little brain caught me off guard. As I was thinking about the plan it occurred to me that running two 30-45 minute runs during the week and then a long run at the weekend getting longer every 2 weeks was actually not a huge amount of training. I panicked about whether that’s going to be enough, whether I need more. But then I remembered the London training plan I used last time – it didn’t work for me. It was too hard (mentally I guess) so I ended up skipping runs and going in under trained. If I can stick to the Disney plan, I can run the marathon. I know this. So I tried to put that particular little wobble to bed.

Then came the next one. I have been struggling for motivation. I feel like I was waiting R3NzJfMTTuK8GnIFHbqsnAfor the plan to start and didn’t quite know what to do with myself in the 6 weeks before that. Rather than taking pressure off it seemed to be putting it on. I felt like I needed to be somehow ‘plan ready’ although I have no clue what I think that means. That feeling lost and not knowing where to start was so overwhelming that yesterday I never made it out for my run in spite of having looked forward to it all Friday. So today I had a little re-think. There is no reason why the plan can’t be extended a little. It would solve to things that we’re obviously bothering me. First it would solve the waiting and being plan ready problem. If the plan starts now, the plan starts now. Second, it would allow me to build in some consolidation. I like the plan because it is gentle in one sense. It has a long run and the week after drops to low mileage at the weekend and then increases mileage the next weekend and so on. It’s like one week on and one week off. However, the mileage on the ‘on’ weekends increases pretty relentlessly and arguable in relatively big jumps. Looking at it jumping from 15 to 17 seems like big jump, never mind 17 to 20 miles. I have re-written the plan, starting this coming week and have added some repeats of distances at regular intervals to consolidate and build confidence.

The reason I like a plan is the same reason I like rules – so I can do something different… No, more seriously, the only thing that makes me less likely to run than having a plan is to not have one. If I have a plan I tend to do something even if I am constantly changing the plan, moving things around and making a new plan. If I don’t have a plan I don’t run in any way consistently at all and consistency is going to be key. So while I have mapped out each week until marathon day, I fully expect things to change, for me to decide I don’t need a consolidation week at a particular distance and just crack on, just to find that the next distance seems impossible and needs doing more than once. I feel happier now there is contingency built in for niggles, colds, can’t be bothered days and I didn’t quite make the distance runs. It feels safe. And maybe because of the current situation with Covid-19 or maybe just because I no longer have the luxury of not really knowing what a marathon entails, having a safe feeling training plan is important. Without it I simply won’t go out as much as I need to.

jtHQDqJPRue1IKKqqBGavQSo, week by week rather than in bigger chunks I will share my plan with you and then check back in to see how I am doing with it. Oh and I am bringing back Sunday Weigh-Ins. Expect I will do them on Monday mornings because I don’t want to ruin Sundays! I usually get some stick about talking about weight loss and weighing myself etc so before you feel the need to get in touch, let me be clear, this is not about being thinner or looking any different, it’s simply that I know what running feels like at this weight and at my, let’s call it Dopey weight and the latter is significantly easier. I have more to say on running while fat but that’s another post. For now, here’s the plan for the coming week:

  1. Monday – 30-45 minute run: Run the long way round to the Co-op to get some shopping
  2. Wednesday – 30 -45 minute run: Head up the hill for at least 30 minutes and try some run/walk rather than just walking up, then run down pushing the pace a little
  3. ‘Long’ run Saturday – 3 miles so maybe get up early enough to run the sheep look without fear of people.
  4. Yoga of some kind every day

 

Which 2021 Disney Distance?

This is my birthday present! How awesome is this. But now I have to decide which of the races to do – Mickey’s marathon, Donald’s half or both for the Goofy or do I add the 5k and 10k in too and make it Dopey number 3? My heart is of course saying Dopey. Dopey is my thing, my impossible, it’s Dopey. Even having done it twice three years apart I can’t actually believe I have done it. Dopey is something special and of course I want to do it again. So now would be a really good time to remind myself why, after the last time, I said I was (probably) done with Dopey. I think this is maybe one of those occasions where I need to be more sensible. The getting up early and waiting around wasn’t fun and the 4 day challenge took an awful lot out of us and also out of our holiday. We either go to do Dopey or we go for a Disney holiday – I’m not sure both works.

So that leaves the Goofy challenge but I was also pretty categorical about not wanting to do another road marathon. Ok so for the Disney marathon I wouldn’t be doing it alone. Kath would be with me and there is something absolutely fab about running through each of the theme parks but there are long long stretches which are on pretty boring roads. So if I am not actually doing Dopey then I see no point in running 26.2 miles at all. I’m not bothered about Goofy. If I am going to train to run a half and full marathon back to back I might as well add a 5k and 10k… So

Well really that means decision made – half marathon it is. It is my favourite race distance. It’s a proper challenge. You have to respect the distance – well I do anyway – you can’t just go and run it but training for it doesn’t take over your life and running the race doesn’t take over the holiday – or even the day of the race – we will be done before breakfast. This sounds like the sensible plan, the thing to do, the thing that will actually be most fun all round – for training, for running, for playing in the parks… but there is a tiny bit of me that will always have my heart set on Dopey, those 6 medals and that feeling of just having achieved the impossible.

Dopey 2019 Reflections: The Celebrations

Our celebrations started with a long sleep like most good celebrations do. Then we went for a lovely dinner at the California Grill which is located at the top of our hotel. It was a lovely celebration meal with gorgeous food, a blissful glass of wine and gallons and gallons of water. We watched the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the viewing area at the top of the hotel, had chocolate cake and went to bed. After that Dopey joined in.

Coming with us to all the parks

Drinking ALL our booze

Then he got a bit silly including behaving inappropriately in the toilets (probably Stitch’s influence)

So we limited him to beer and made him drink lots of water and coffee and put him on a time out

Once he’d calmed down a bit we let him come with us and play in the parks until he got a bit tired

So we thought we better feed him

He likes cake!

Dopey 2019 Day 2: 10K

Oh my goodness this morning’s run was just beyond brilliant. It was just perfect but I am getting ahead of myself. After 5k day we were tired and I turned my light out and fell straight asleep at about 8.30pm. I slept well until 1am ish. Then I dozed and eventually got up and made coffee at about 2.20. I felt a bit crappy. I felt like maybe I had a cold starting and my tummy was a bit off. I also felt incredibly nervous. I don’t know why but the idea of 10k day was really freaking me out. I was terrified and my body was physically reacting to that.

I suppose the anxiety is partly why we get everything sorted the evening before, I didn’t have to think, all my things were laid out for me so I just went through the motions and got dressed, had my banana, went to the loo about fifty million times, put my trainers on, pinned my race bib on, went to the loo again and then set off for the bus from our hotel to the start line. Again we were on one of the first buses leaving at half past three. Being on the bus didn’t much settle nerves.

We were better prepared for the cold this time and had bin liners to keep the wind off and space blankets we got yesterday after the run to wrap round us too – the reflection seems to have created a rather spooky selfie effect!. Once in the start area we found somewhere to sit and then took turns going to the loo again. We wrapped up and huddled up and stayed much warmer than yesterday. It probably helped that it was a good few degrees warmer anyway. Once the corrals opened we walked to ours -D this time- and found a spot to sit. It was lovely and warm out of the breeze and being sheltered by 100s of legs belonging to other participants around us. The hosts did their thing on stage, we got a rather screechy version of the National Anthem and then we soon started moving.

Somewhere I had found calm. I’m not quite sure when. Before moving to the corrals I had had the urge to lock myself in a toilet and not come out again. My tummy was still all fluttery and I felt a bit panicked by the idea of putting one foot in front of the other. By the time we started moving slowly towards the start line I was calm and just focused on getting it done, not looking forward to it exactly but wanting to get it done. I ditched the bin bag and then the space blanket and then we were off.

As I started running something happened. I’m not sure what exactly but with every one of those first few steps my mood lifted, I felt better, stronger, more settled and calmer than I had all morning. It took me a while to be conscious of how I felt but when it clicked it hit me: I belong here, I can do this and I’m happy. I started smiling.

The 10k route is really all about pretty standard and potentially dull road running for the first half. You leave the Epcot parking lot and loop around the road. Mary Poppins was providing encouraging snippets from high up on a bridge – it’s nice to be told you’re practically perfect in every way as you run along so I blew her a kiss. We saw Chip and Dale, the evil queen from Snow White in witch form, and Wreck it Ralph. We didn’t stop but seeing them as we went past broke up the road stretch. Before I could really register that I’d been running a while we got to the mile 3 marker. I asked Kath if that could be right. I still felt incredibly strong and this was all feeling a bit easy.

Shortly after we entered an Epcot backlot to the end of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and the the park itself just at the side of ‘Mexico’. As we approached something really odd happened. Kath told me to slow down. She was reigning me in. I’d got excited and had sped up. We still have a half and a full marathon to go so we needed to take this one easy. I hadn’t even planned on running it all, I’d planned on some walk intervals. Running felt amazing though, I didn’t want to walk. The World Showcase was again spectacular. The light was a little different today because we were that little bit later. I really tried to soak it all up. We turned left after ‘France’ again to leave Epcot but this time kept going and did a loop around the Boardwalk area which is an area we have not really explored at all but it looks really pretty all lit up. The best cheering definitely came from ‘Canada’ although ‘Norway’ had a lovely encouraging rhythmic clap and chant going.

We came back into Epcot through the same backlot as yesterday and into ‘the UK’ and from there we made our way into Future World, alongside the ‘golf ball’ and out into the car park and to the finish line. I’d got faster and Kath kept telling me to not push but that if I wasn’t pushing and if I was still running easy I was fine to go on. I wasn’t pushing, I was just running. I have never felt this strong or happy at the end of a 10k. I usually have a moment somewhere where it gets hard or I wonder about a walk break or whether to just slow down and those are the good runs! I didn’t think about running at all really. I didn’t look at my watch so I had no idea about pace. I knew I felt good and I knew I wasn’t pushing. I was just running, happily running. It came as a bit of a surprise that this is possible for me. I always enjoy having run and I occasionally enjoy running a short distance or little bits of longer distances. Today I genuinely enjoyed every step of the 6.3 miles I actually covered. When we were done I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. I hadn’t expected this.

I really like the medal, the red is really vibrant. We picked up our water, space blanket, banana, snack box and headed for the bus stop where we got on a bus immediately. On he journey back to the hotel I tried to let it all sink in but my brain couldn’t quite grasp what just happened. I was really happy and a bit confused all in one. Back at the room we had a Tailwind Rebuild recovery drink, got changed and then headed into the Magic Kingdom for our breakfast date with Winnie the Pooh and friends. After breakfast we had a little walk in the park and then we came back to the hotel and had a nap. I’m coming up on 25000 steps including the 10k and we’re heading back into the park for dinner in a little while. Again that’s still a pretty low step count for Disney and I feel ok so I think we’re getting our half marathon prep right. I’m excited about tomorrow. A little anxious because I know this is going to be a lot harder but mostly excited.

2 down, 2 to go; or in distance a fifth of the way there!

Holiday Running

Right, cards on the table: I am half a stone (pretty much exactly) heavier than I was before my holiday. I can feel it. My pants are tight, I feel heavier and our run today was evidence that booze, Mickey waffles, puddings and Disney World sized portions for 10 days plus jet lag make running when you’re back home pretty miserable. Still, no regrets, not really. Just need to refocus on moving my butt more now.

August was a high mileage month. I clocked up 84.05 miles and the plan was always for the first half of September to be a bit of a rest. We wanted to run in Florida but shorter distances and not every day. Well, we did run. We managed 4 short runs. I was hoping for a few more miles but it was hard going. So, run 1 was on the 7th September, we got up early and headed out in the dark. We left the hotel and headed towards the Magic Kingdom. We were hoping to pick up the path towards the Grand Floridian Hotel but as we got level with the Magic Kingdom entrance we were turned back by some self-important Disney employee who insisted it wasn’t safe for us to be running there. It was annoying but we just headed back and went round the hotel running loop instead. The loop is only 0.9miles long but it’s not an unpleasant route. It was hot and humid – oh goodness the humidity. Running in that was hard, harder than I’d imagined. Anyway – here’s run number one on Relive – and me hot and sweaty at the end of it.

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The second run was another early morning run and the humidity was again intense. I did two loops of the running loop. Kath did a bit more. Then I was done. It was just too hard to breathe. How do people run in that? I was soaked in sweat before I even started running and basically just a giant puddle within a few steps. Still, going out for 1.8 miles was better than no miles! Here’s the loop.

Runs 3 and 4 were either side of hurricane Irma. We had watched the news coverage of the hurricane making its way towards Florida and into Southern Florida. It looked scary. We were being told that we were in the safest place around and the hotel were great at reassuring us and giving us information on what to do. We were under curfew from 7pm on Sunday to 6pm on Monday. So on Sunday afternoon we went for a little trot round the hotel loop before the curfew kicked in. It was already very windy and there had been a significant amount of rain already. It was raining a little while we ran but it wasn’t anything compared to what we saw later in the day, overnight and on Monday. It was still hot but not as humid so actually the 2.25 miles felt much easier than the previous 2 runs. Just at the end of this run I hit my 350 miles year to date milestone too so it felt pretty good and the towels at the door came in handy!

Once we were allowed out again on Monday we went for a walk round the hotel grounds and surveyed the damage. There was surprisingly little damage and the clear-up had already started.

Tuesday morning we set out again. We’d celebrated Irma passing the evening before with a bottle of wine and more pudding so we both felt sluggish and bleurgh and the humidity was back so I just managed 1.25 miles but I did run a little stretch of it with a squirrel who seemed to have forgotten that stepping off the path was an option for it.

Now we’re back home and today I went for my first run. I was actually supposed to run on Friday after landing but jet lag is a bitch and there was no way I was running anywhere, I was barely functioning. Kath ran yesterday but I was in London for work so today I just had to get it over with. It was fairly horrible. I managed to run the first mile, then I ran walked the second and then walked the third. My ankles tightened up really badly and my feet were achey. Still, it feels good to have the first one out of the way and I am sure the next run will be better. Here’s a reminder that actually, mostly, we do enjoy running!

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