Posts Tagged ‘training’

18 Miles is a Long Way

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

Last weekend I discovered that 18 miles equates to 28.9 kilometres which concurrently equates to a really long way. I also discovered that 30 kilometres is even further and that your thigh muscles really, really hurt if you run that far. Prepare yourselves for a bit of bragging, my friends, because I am about to get on my pedestal of “Look at me” and declare that I RAN 30 KILOMETRES LAST WEEKEND!

I joined a group of 20 or so runners who are all planning on completing the Manchester marathon in four weeks’ time. We met at the sports store Up&Running and after signing up, doing some nervous stretching and asking each other what on earth we were doing this for, we headed off. The planned route had been split into two parts – a 10 miler which returned to the store where we could refuel before completing another 8 miles. At the start this seemed like a great idea as it would split the run into two manageable parts. It was two short runs instead of one stupidly long one. But then we started running.

It was a remarkably beautiful day in Manchester – the sun was shining, the birds were singing and it was weirdly hot. When it has been below seven degrees for the past six months and it suddenly reaches temperatures around 12, it’s as if you have just walked into desert and forgot to wear a hat. It’s remarkable how 12 degrees can feel like 35. And this sudden heat wave made it significantly more difficult to run long distances. We were sweating.

I managed to complete the first 10 mile run fairly easily, sticking close to a group of three guys who were setting a steady pace. It was good for the ego to be one of the runners in the front third of the pack. And I wasn’t dead yet. Excellent.

Stopping at the store was both good and bad. They had a toilet; that was good. We stopped running; that was bad. We had lost momentum and starting off again felt similar to stabbing multiple forks into my legs. Luckily my new running buddies were very supportive and stuck with me. I really needed it when we were two kilometres into the run and discovered that the first half of the run was predominantly up a hill. The second half was then back down aforementioned hill. Having already run 10 miles, when faced with an endless upwards slog, your legs are not happy chappies.

It hurt and at one point I felt all of the sugar rush out of my body and I resulted to walking. But thoughts of eventually being able to go back down hill and the support and encouragement of my fellow runners, I made it to the turn around point and could head back for home. Unfortunately the homewards journey wasn’t a walk in the park as running downhill really hurts tired muscles. And basically I just wanted to stop running. But I continued on and made it back to the store with a miraculous time of under three hours. I amazed myself with my time and am now quite pumped to see what time I can get for the marathon. But I just need my thighs to stop hurting. It didn’t help that I moved apartment the following day.

Weekend Plans

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

It is Friday afternoon. I haven’t achieved anything of any economic worth since I walked into the office six hours ago. I have written a meandering, fruitless piece about ‘Home’ but it isn’t what I want it to be and it severely lacks a conclusion. I went for a walk in the sunshine; that was nice. And I found out a guy I share my office with worked (and danced) with Alison Goldfrapp. Very cool. But that’s about it really. Not the most productive day. Having said that, I don’t think Fridays at work are ever productive. When I worked at Curtin, my co-workers and I would bring out the wine and cheese at 4pm having had an extended lunch break and a lot of general chit-chat throughout the day. At the Co-Op, no one would call and ask for IT support after 2pm on a Friday. So really, I have achieved a lot today. I feel better now.

The weekend is almost upon us which should bring joy to my heart and a spring to my step but this weekend isn’t shaping up to be a great one. I have two main tasks to complete in those 48 hours, neither of which spark much excitement or happiness.

Task #1. Pack everything I own into boxes in preparation to move apartment. Woo. I am trying to lessen the pain by reminding myself that the last time I moved it was much worse. Last time it was from Paris to Manchester and I had to send everything by post plus cart two suitcases and a backpack to Gare du Nord, onto a train to London, then walk to Euston Station, then get onto another train to Manchester, before wedging everything onto the back seat of my cousin’s VW Beetle and carrying it all up a flight of stairs to her spare room. Now that was FUN. This time I am moving two blocks away and my cousin, Caroline, is providing me with the services of herself and her car. And there are lifts.

But who likes packing? I have put a few things in boxes but every evening this week I have returned home with good intentions of packing EVERYTHING but then convinced myself that I may need to use each and every item that I own sometime between now and Monday and if I pack then I will just need to get it back out of a box. So it has come down to this weekend where I will have to take a no-excuses attitude and just get it done. I am gaining some enjoyment from the fact that I am packing my things into boxes branded with Salt ‘n’ Vinegar, Char-Grill Steak, and Sweet Chilli flavoured crisp packets. I asked my local Sainsburys if I could have some boxes and the manager left a note for the unpackers to ‘leave 4-5 crisp boxes for a lady named Jess.’ I’m not sure why crisp boxes are the best for apartment relocations but they are working out well.

Task #2. Run 18 miles. The time has arrived for me to do my longest training run before the marathon and a sports store that is sponsoring the marathon (Up&Running) have organised an 18 mile practise run on Sunday. As running 18 miles on your own is really, really boring, I have decided it is a good opportunity to do the run and not fall asleep in the process. I am actively avoiding converting 18 miles into kilometres because then I will have a far better understanding of how far I will be running and then I might cry. Best to just whack on my shoes and follow the crowd.

So basically my weekend is going to involve a great deal of pain. However, in between all of this I am also going to watch my friend Nat play roller derby (which is probably even more painful than my two activities combined) and eat food. So I guess it isn’t all bad.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Time to Start Running

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

I received an email on the weekend reminding me that there are only 12 weeks to go until I die. Well, death may be an extreme outcome, but suffering greatly is definitely accurate. Apparently, in 12 weeks time it is the Manchester Marathon, a piece of information I had managed to squash into the deepest, darkest corners of my brain so that I could live happily and worry-free. When I signed up for the marathon there was still a long time to go until I would have to even contemplate thinking about it, but all of a sudden the new year has arrived and April 6 is just around the corner. And I haven’t started training yet.

My current requirement to be at work by 9am every morning has cut back my running schedule. I can only fit in a 5-7 kilometre run each morning, getting up at 6.10am so that I can be showered, dressed, breakfasted and lunch-packed in time for work. This isn’t anywhere near 42 kilometres and I need to start doing longer runs to prepare myself. This morning I managed to get up earlier and completed a 9.5 kilometre run which was relieving and oddly enjoyable. It is good to know that I can still run that far. I am planning a long run on Saturday morning – hopefully I will manage to do 15-20 kilometres without collapsing. Hopefully over the next few weeks the sun will decide to stay in the sky for longer and I will be able to do a few long runs after work and actually be able to see where I am going.

Marathon Training Run #5 or Am I Dead Yet?

Monday, February 4th, 2013

I am starting to fear Saturday mornings as they now equal “Long Training Runs.” I suspect this fear was part of the reason as to why I couldn’t fall asleep on Friday night and only ended up having about 4.5 hours of sleep. Woo. My alarm went off at 7am and I had a long discussion with my pillow about why it should let me rest my head for another few hours. But I lost the argument and up I got.

As per my previous runs, I set myself various distances that could be achieved.

  • 15 kilometres was the minimum distance unless my leg had physically detached from my body
  • 20 kilometres was good
  • 25 kilometres was my ultimate goal for the day and would result in a parade thrown in my honour (by myself).

I headed east, aiming to reach a ring road that runs in part just inside the peripherique and that is now the route of Paris’s latest tram line. I was planning on running south of the river and as I don’t know that area very well and would most likely get lost, I thought that following a tram line would be a smart idea. And it was! The roads have recently been done up, there’s new art work at some of the new tram stops and the footpaths are generally quite wide and nice to run on. It is good to run in places you have never been before because it is distracting and I found myself going further and further much more quickly than expected.

I managed to find some very impressive hills in a city that doesn’t really have hills. In fact there were quite a few inclines that I had to remind myself would go down eventually. By the time I reached the polar opposite side of Paris to my apartment, I had completed 17 kilometres and feeling good. So I kept going.

By the time I weaved my way back to the centre of Paris and then along the river and back towards my house, I reached my apartment having completed 29 kilometres. I couldn’t exactly stop there. So another lap around the block and I stopped my run at 30 kilometres over three hours. There was more than just a parade! I think Paris went into a state of shock as this weird, red faced Australian started jumping up and down making primate noises. That is the longest distance that I have ever run. The last time I did 30 kilometres we walked the last two. There was no walking this time and I did it on my own. I was pleased with myself and relieved by the fact that I can make that distance and the idea of running further wasn’t the most ludicrous thing ever. It was perhaps the second most ludicrous but not the first.

Statistical satisfaction.

Statistical satisfaction.

Marathon Training Run #4

Monday, January 28th, 2013

As I am attempting to keep myself accountable I am informing everyone that I completed my Marathon Training Run #4 on Friday morning. More perceptive readers may notice that there never was a Number Three because it was snowed out. Last week I could finally return to my normal morning runs on Tuesday after having gone slowly mad from my inability to exercise since the previous Friday. My legs sang with joy as I finally left my house and dodged piles of snow and patches of ice on the footpaths.

Friday morning wasn’t exactly warm. In fact, it was -4 degrees when I left home. Two hours and 21 kilometres later I returned home, still cold. The problem with running in the cold is that while your body heats up, your extremities don’t and the poor circulation in my hands and feet meant they were ready to fall off despite being gloved and socked. The cold air is also just a lot harder to breathe, making it harder to run. At least, this is the excuse I like to tell myself as I returned home having only completed 21 kilometres and feeling like it was 20 kilometres too many.

The cold air also makes my muscles much tighter and I get sorer quicker. I don’t know how people run in countries where it is cold all winter. I was surprised by the number of people who continued to run in Paris despite the snow and slippery ice – I attempted it on Monday morning and got half way down the street and realised it was a stupid, stupid idea, returned home and did laps up and down under the verandah (haha… verandah. How Australian of me.)

There has been a visible increase in the number of joggers over the last few weeks. While I am normally the only person stupid enough to run through Paris, there are lots of people training for the half-marathon in March and the full marathon in April. It is nice to see other people out running, although I find it funny how most of them have shiny new shoes that have clearly never been worn out on the streets of Paris before. My previously white shoes have a very strong tint of Paris-Black to them.

Marathon Training Run #2

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Another Saturday morning has passed and therefore another painful long-distance run in preparation for the marathon. The weather forecast said it was going to be rainy and so I told myself 10 kilometres would be a minimum, 15 would be good, 20 would be better. I figure there isn’t much point in getting myself sick while training and everyone likes telling me that running in the rain equals instant cold. I don’t actually believe this fact, however am willing to go along with it if it means I don’t have to run so far.

As I set off at 8.30am, it was cloudy, cool but not raining and the weather was fine for the entire morning. In fact, it was great running weather without too much wind. So good weather, new music on my iPod, feeling good and getting somewhat lost resulted in me running a total distance of 23 kilometres. That’s more than a half marathon! That’s more than half way! Sure, I suspect the second half is going to be significantly harder than the first, but I am still very, very happy that I can run that distance and not be intense pain at the end.

I think I need to work on relaxing my shoulders when I run, because one day later and my neck, shoulders and back are extremely sore. I also need to watch what I eat before and after as I spent the rest of Saturday in a very weary state and just wanted to keep eating, eating, eating. It wasn’t until after I had had lunch, multiple afternoon snacks and a very large ramen noodle soup and a fondant chocolat for dinner that I felt somewhat normal again.

But in case you missed my previous announcement, I RAN A HALF MARATHON! Go me.

She's going the distance. She's not going for speed. She's all alone (all alone), all alone in a time of need.

She’s going the distance. She’s not going for speed. She’s all alone (all alone), all alone in a time of need.

Oh wow. I just wrote the caption for that photograph and for those of you who don’t know, I stole the words from a band called Cake and their song “The Distance” and I have just realised that that song is now about me and I need a tshirt for the marathon that says “She’s going the distance” on the front and “Powered by Cake” on the back. Yes. Brilliant.

Marathon Training Run #1

Monday, January 7th, 2013

With only 89 days to go until I run myself to death in the Paris Marathon, I am starting to get serious about this running thing. While in Sheffield, I only managed to do two eight-kilometre runs, as the rest of the time I was busy stuffing my face with portuguese custard tarts or serving customers (or both at the same time. Multitalented.) So my plan of completing a long run on Saturday morning after returning home to Paris on Friday afternoon seemed slightly daunting.

I managed to do 18 kilometres in one hour and 40 minutes – not bad considering I was full of pastry-goods. The problem with Paris is that it is so small so I managed to run all the way to the Eiffel Tower and then back along the river past the Louvre, Notre Dame and up to the Bastille, then I followed the canal back to my place. How I am supposed to find another 24 kilometres, I’m not sure. I was pleased with my run, although became acutely aware that 42 kilometres is a ridiculously long way and that my body is clearly not up to the challenge at the moment. I spent the rest of Saturday saying “Owww!” a lot and walking like an old lady. Sunday, however, I was fine so I guess I’m not too unfit.

My training program involves regular, shorter runs during the week, a break on Friday and then a long run Saturday morning. Anyone in Paris who feels like entertaining me on these longer runs, please let me know! They are really quite boring and I would be thrilled to have someone jogging, bike riding, rollerblading or segwaying along next to me!

Left, Right, Left, Right

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

The weekend before I returned to Paris, my friend and running buddy, Becky, completed the Paris Half-Marathon. Impressive stuff, although her boyfriend, Vivien, a man who runs very infrequently, completed it too, which is potentially even more impressive, but I am on Becky’s team. Anyway, Becky is now in training for the full marathon – a decision that has made me question her sanity, but she is a neuroscientist so she must have a fairly functional brain.

She has been going on long runs and this week I put up my hand to accompany her on her Saturday morning death-jog. What can I say? It was early in the morning, I wasn’t fully awake and my brain was clearly in some sort of self-harm mode. So this morning, at 10am we met in the front courtyard, kitted out with water-bottle holding waist belts and GPS watches. We looked impressive.

I must say that the great thing about going for runs in Paris is that time and distance passes very easily due to all of the distractions. We spent most of the time either looking at beautiful buildings, pointing out newly blossoming trees, or dodging Parisians and dog poo. Constant distractions. We ran down to the Seine and then along towards the Eiffel Tower. By the time we had reached there, an hour and a half had passed and we were 13km from home. Time to turn around and go back.

Our total distance was over 23km and we ran for two and a half hours. Considering the longest I have run previously is about 15km I was extremely pleased. My knees are currently yelling at me and I want to go to sleep, but knowing I am capable of running those sorts of distances is very good for the old ego. If I have managed to recover from this run within the next week I might agree to go again on Becky’s next cross-city adventure.

Paris run

Look at us go!