4 at 40

It’s my birthday today. When I woke up this morning I had slept myself happily into my next decade. It was still early. Kath was even still in bed next to me and the cats had only just started pestering. Kath got up and I enjoyed a cup of tea in bed and a lazy start reading and cuddling cats – until they had enough. I think Shackleton’s face says it all!

After another cuppa and a West Wing re-run I had birthday pancakes and opened my presents. All very exciting and lovely. After a while spent looking at today’s and yesterday’s goodies I wanted to go and get some air and move a bit. I was looking forward to a run. We toddled off nice and gently starting with the first part of what we call our sheep loop. It’s called that because it goes past the fields where we used to have our sheep. The name has stuck even though we no longer have the flock.

We plodded through the wood and down the golf course and just as we turned onto the canal towpath Kath saw the kingfisher cut across the canal. I missed it. Never mind, there were plenty of ducks, geese, pheasants, sheep and dogs with their humans to see. We headed towards Silsden a bit and then turned round. Running felt normal, just something I do. Not hard or laboured, not really easy either, it just was. It felt good.

At 4 miles I wanted to stop – somehow it seemed right to do 4 miles today. 1 for each of my decades. I felt like I could have kept running for a long time but I didn’t want to. I wanted to have a leisurely walk along the canal and up home for the rest of the loop and I wanted to maintain the symmetry of 4 at 40 – so that’s what we did.

The rest of the day will be taken up with setting up my new camera (thank you Dad!), having a bath (there is something so luxurious and indulgent about having a bath in the middle of the afternoon) and then tucking into lots of yummy picnic food when the mothers arrive later. It’s been a lovely birthday already!

If you’d like to help me celebrate, seeing the fundraising total for mine and Kath’s London Marathon for Mind creep up a bit more today would really make me smile so if you can, please do send a couple of quid their way.

Happy Boxing Day everyone!

50 Days

So it’s 50 days to the London Marathon. Wow. So in 50 days I am going to put myself through the emotional rollercoaster that is running a marathon. Hm. So why am I doing this again? Well, I’m beginning to realise just how big a deal it is. Two marathons in relatively quick succession is hard – emotionally rather than physically. But I won the place and I am committed to it. Julie Creffield of Too Fat to Run teamed up with the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund to put a team together for the London Marathon. If I’m honest the Memorial Fund is probably not a charity I would have picked or even paid much attention to in the past. However, I have spent a fair amount of time looking at what they do and the more I read the more impressed I am and the more proud to be running for them this year. Ultimately they are about helping people achieve their dreams – I’m all for that and the focus of grants is on practical stuff – equipment, travel… It’s an obivous and down to earth sort of approach and I like that. It’s straight forward. The focus is on helping young athletes make the transition from junior to senior level and this also makes a lot of sense to me. So many promising young people never achieve their potential and the fund tries to ensure that young athletes have all the support they need to make the step up to senior level.

I have a couple of fundraising bits and pieces planned but I’d really appreciate your help to raise as much money as possible to help the next generation of athletes make it to the top. Help them be the ones we cheer on at future olympics, help them be the role models of the future, help them translate their hard work into success at the top level and in doing so inspire the next generation. Or just sponsor me for me. I’ll be honest. I’m struggling. More so now than before the Dopey challenge I am worried about whether I can do this. I am terrified of failing and not making it. I am also much more self conscious about this and more worried about what people think. It’s the London Marathon for goodness’ sake. I am craving the recongition and the belief in me that seeing that sponsorship trickle in brings with it. A little pathetic I know but that’s how I feel and I am so scared of letting people down. I know it’s a big ask because so many of you just recently sponsored me very generously indeed but if you can please help me focus and work hard over these next 50 days and show your support. You can donate via my fundraising page here.

Thank you

 

 

Final Push

We went for a short run this morning. Temperatures have dropped a bit and it felt cold. We both struggled a little. Kath was really struggling to breathe in the cold air and I wore some trainers that I bought ages and ages go and hadn’t worn to run in yet. I think I picked them up cheap and I don’t think they’re right. My feet were aching a mile in. It might all just be taper paranoia though.

One more training run left. Just one more and then we travel and then the big event is here. The countdown says 5 days – that’s to the Expo at the start of the Disney event. I can’t decide if I am excited or terrified today.

We’re really not far off our fundraising target overall although it would be lovely to get a bit closer to it online! Can you help? Can you make the hours on the road, the sore muscles and the chafing in places best not mentioned all even more worthwhile?  If you can help, our justgiving page is here. Thank you.

As a reminder of what this is all about – we are running for Panthera, a conservation charity focusing on the Big Cats. They do great work and you can read all about it on their website and follow them on twitter (@pantheracats) and facebook.

Thank you to all those of you who have already sponsored us – you are brilliant and you help ensure  a future for gorgeous creatures like this:

Lion cub Panthera
Picture from Panthera

Tapering….

13 days to go to the big Walt Dinsey World Marathon Weekend kicks off with the expo, 17 to go to the marathon. I sort of feel ready and sort of totally not.

In case you haven’t sponsored us yet – you can do so here and help us support the brilliant conservation work Panthera do.

For the first 3 days of tapering we might have taken the ‘take it easy and rest’ theme a bit too seriously on the running front. We did bugger all. Having said that though the weather was nasty and we were pre-occupied with a dog attack on one of our sheep and nursing the poor little thing back to health (more on that over on the sheep blog).

Yesterday we finally got out for a 45 minute run and it felt great to be out. It was a sunny day  – far too warm for December – about 12 degrees C. We set off down our road to the canal and turned left towards Bingley. We turned round after roughly 25 minutes and headed back. We ran all the way, no walk breaks. Didn’t feel like I needed any. When we finished I was surpirsed to see we’d run exactly  4 miles. I think we’ve only ever managed that pace on a 45 minute run once before. Now I did feel like I was pushing a little bit but I honestly thought it was just one too many mince pies and not nearly enough water that were making it all feel like hard work. It didn’t feel that fast.

I had a good dy yesterday. I felt almost well. My brain felt like it might just work normally. I felt good after the run. It felt like a normal day. I struggled later in the day when I got really tired after we’d walked round the neighbourhood dropping off mince pies at our mothers’ and the last of the Christmas presents but yesterday was a good day!

The Official Race stuff

First a quick sponsorship update – we are over half way on our JustGiving site and have a couple of pledges offline. Thank you! You can donate by clicking here.

I mentioned in my last post that the race guide has been released and the corral info is now also available so I was a little bit (ok, a lot) excited. It felt like the first day in weeks that  was not somehow dulled by the fog of depression. I ended up having a pretty good day with a 6 mile run and doing some useful stuff like sorting out expenses claims that have been lying around for ages. I was going to do more but I ran out of ‘brave’ pretty quickly – still, progress.

Anyway, the race guide etc:

When I ran the half marathon all I really wanted to do was make sure I didn’t have to start right at the back for this marathon. And look at this, I am in corral J based on the the half marathon time I set at the end of September. So so pleased with this

Corrals

The event guide is 36 A 4 pages… I keep picking it up every now and again and sometimes I giggle with excitement and sometimes I just wimper.

Mickey event guide
Snapshot from the cover of the event guide

The guide contains all the info we’ll need, like start times, recommended arrival time, transport options… It’s all there. Here are some of my highlights, scary things and ‘oh my goodness’ moments

  1. The Marathon starts at 5.30am, transport starts at 3am
  2. The Cool Down Party starts at 2pm – I will just about have finished the marathon!
  3. We have to pick up race packets at the expo and the floor plan for that looks insane. Kath will have to get one of those toddler leads for me so I don’t accidentally wander off!
  4. The Pasta in the Park Party we’re going to on the Thursday before includes a viewing of the Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot from a reserved viewing area. I probably knew that when we booked but had forgotten
  5. They say there will be clocks at every mile marker – nothing like keeping the pressure on!
  6. 19 water stations, 5 food stops (bananas, Clif products and candy at 22.5 miles), sponges at mile 17.1.
  7. The Course. Oh the course. Of course there are long stretches along the road etc but basically we go from the Epcot parking lot to and through the Magic Kingdom, to and through the Animal Kingdom, to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and on to Hollywood Studios and finally to the finish in Epcot. If I can do a marathon then it will be here. Course map below.
  8. Disney bans selfie-sticks. That makes me very happy
  9. There will be photographers everywhere on course – so there will be evidence of this total and utter madness.Course map.jpg

So reading all this has given me a bit of a final boost. Body and mind have been pushed quite hard over the last few weeks and now there is only one long run left before we do this for real. I am more excited than petrified – but it’s a fine line!