Tag Archives: running

Dublin Marathon race recap

Technically I ran the 26.2 miles on my own two feet, but my Dublin marathon experience has almost nothing to do with what I did that day, and everything to do with my amazing friends, family, and people of Dublin.

IMG_20141027_153920

I entered the Dublin marathon last spring after Laura mentioned that Team Rainbow was making it a part of their annual adventure. I wasn’t sure I was ready to train for a marathon, but I did know that with women like Laura, Katie, Liz, Jen, Nicola, Josie, and Cathy with me I would stand a good chance of getting around in one piece. Plus there is nothing I like more than running in a new city.

There were major ups and downs during my 16 weeks of training but the one thing I really enjoyed was that it never took over my life. I still ran the races I wanted to, I went on holidays and ran on volcanoes instead of 20 miles, I ran a 24 hour race, I went to track sometimes, I ran with friends, and I ran what made me happy. Every month I got to go to Six Seconds High clinic and get a sports massage and mental boost from Simon.

8 weeks before the marathon Alex decided to sign up to run the marathon, and my parents booked their flights to spend the weekend in Dublin too.  Flights & hotels were booked and all that seemed left to do was get my Team Rainbow t-shirt and run the distance.

IMG_20141025_125723

IMG_20141026_164421

We arrived in Dublin early on Saturday morning and made our way straight to the hotel. After a quick nap we were off to the expo which was only open on Saturday & Sunday. It was rammed but some good queue management meant we were registered in about 30 minutes and spent the rest of the time wandering the gear stands. I bought a branded windbreaker jacket (first marathon and all) and Alex bought a Dublin Marathon touque (beanie for non-Canadians). We also picked up some important bodyglide.  We received our marathon bag which included a big bag for gear check, a towel, a race guide, some fancy smancy foot cream, wart removal cream (thanks), a pinwheel, a giant box of pasta, an energy drink, and a pack of oreos (sorry Phil).

IMG_20141025_152136

IMG_20141025_152324

IMG_20141025_153610

We went straight from the expo to the Guinness Storehouse for lunch and the tour. The food at the Brewers Dining Hall was just what we needed. I ended up having the stuffed baked potato but defo regret not having the Irish stew. Beer Tour & free Guinness carb loading done we headed back with my parents for quiet night and dinner.

IMG_20141026_101122

Sunday was spent eating our body weight in carbs at a breakfast buffet and with our feet up the wall. We wanted to go to the Breakfast Run 5k organised by the marathon, but I was still feeling a bit of a cold so decided a warm bed was a better idea. The rest of Team Rainbow arrived throughout the day and a few of us met up for a great pasta meal at Marios Taverna. Even I managed to get a bit down before the nerves really kicked in. Alex on the other hand had lots of room for all the doughnuts we found…

IMG_20141026_203952

IMG_20141026_210303

IMG_20141027_081336

B1MIgBTIEAEYIj5 bluewave

I woke up half an hour before my alarm and got stuck in to my porridge, nuun, and coffee breakfast. After a full-body application of body glide, my race outfit was on and it was time to go. Being so close to the start line we didn’t need to leave until 8am (even that was too generous – 8:30 would have been fine) With 14,000 runners the baggage drop and start funnels were well organised and marked. The toilet queues were ridiculously long but a few houses and businesses had opened up to let runners in which was nice. Right before the start there were a dozen portaloos with almost no one in line! Amazing! I  lined up and who comes out of one of the doors? Only JOSIE! It was a marathon miracle! Quickly Josie, Alex, and I were at the start of our pen and then all of a sudden

OMG I WAS RUNNING A MARATHON

Being a the back of the last wave we dodged a lot of walkers for the first bit but had no problems going super slow and steady. We caught up to the 5 hour pacer, then the 4:50 and by the time we had to 4:40 pacer in our sights we were half way up the huge hill in Phoenix Park (which on Marathon Monday included a nice headwind). Josie mentioned it would be a good idea to stick with this group for a bit and keep this more than respectable pace. Before I left for Dublin, a friend told me that if it gets hard remember, “You like running” and that became my mantra for the day. I had enjoy it! tattooed on my arm and it became a good reminder during the race.

pic1

The 4:40 pace group was one of my highlights of the marathon. The amazing pacers were funny and chatty and kept us all entertained with their banter about what pub their mom’s were waiting at and the 99 marathons previously run. Check out one of the pacer’s article about the day here.  Unfortunately, during one of the chats I got a massive stitch and spent miles 7-9 trying to get rid of it. I had to walk through a water station to finally kick it, but felt a lot better after that.  I knew my parents & Team Rainbow cheerleaders would be around the half way point so I started to look forward to that but as I took my gel at mile 10 (I planned to do 5,10,15,20) things weren’t looking good for my stomach. It was sloshy and because it was so hot out (hello Irish heat wave!) and I was taking on at least half a bottle of water at every stop I think I was just full. The nauseousness hung around for a while but I managed to smile at my parents and give Liz & Banana-legs-Cathy a high five as we ran past them at the half way point.

Just after I saw everyone I had to pull over and sort out my stomach. Nothing came out but the resulting walking break made my throat close up (a new thing my body’s been doing lately, annoying) and I was finding it a bit too hard to breathe. For the next *a lot of * miles Alex and I took many walking breaks. I know we did the whole “Till death do us part” vows thing at our wedding, but I seriously didn’t think that included “till your wife has a meltdown, is cursing at the wind and doesn’t want to run another 13 miles ever again in her life” Alex was an absolute saint walking with me when it was needed, pointing out signs or traffic lights we’d start running again at, and grabbing me extra water or lucozades. It was his second marathon and afterwards he said it mentally felt a million times easier so he knew how I was feeling.

At the top of one of "those" hills

At the top of one of “those” hills

There were a lot of hills during these difficult miles and I just tried to keep focused on moving forward even if walking. Much to my surprise the miles kept ticking by and by mile 20 I felt it was time for another gel to get me to the finish. Mentally I was back on after that. I think I hit the opposite of the wall and really felt that after mile 20 I could do this and surprise! my legs could still run. We started to run more than walk and I set the goal of running the last 2 miles no matter what. Before mile 24 though there were some grim stretches along a very busy highway which were no fun for anyone involved. But as we turned off the highway just before mile 24 Alex and I started running and didn’t stop.

I always dedicate hard miles to important people in my life and the last 2 miles I had one of my best friends in mind and knew that if she could get through what life was throwing her way then I could damn well run 2 miles. The last 2 miles were packed with spectators and with my improved spirits I really did enjoy every second of it. I found my legs again and with Alex beside me we wound through the streets and towards the finish line. I was totes emosh during the last mile seeing my parents, Liz, and Cathy again and could not believe it when we saw the green finish gate ahead. I had a teeny bit of a moment where I thought “I don’t want this to end” but then quickly snapped back into reality and just wanted to get over the finish line. The lovely 4:50 pacers encouraged us to sprint the last 100m and suddenly there I was. Finished a marathon with Alex beside me.

image4

BEFOREAFTER

IMG_20141028_111134

We were medalled, then given a finishers t-shirt and a goody-bag filled with everything-but-beer and corralled back to the baggage pick up and meeting areas.  Suddenly nothing in my body was moving so we had a little sit down, ate some Tayto chips, and tried to stretch what we could.  We found my parents, who had watched their first marathon and were absolutely amazed with the sheer amount of people who could complete it. Inspiring folk you lot! After a slow hobble back to the hotel I quickly ice bathed, got my legs in compression tights and threw them up a wall until it was time for dinner.

IMG_20141027_152640

Even enjoy the ice baths

Lazygirlrunning's Team Rainbow selfie

Lazygirlrunning’s Team Rainbow selfie

Over burgers & beers we met the rest of Team Rainbow family and friends and shared our stories of the weekend. Some of us were falling asleep on the bar stool, but didn’t want the night to end. The whole day (and weekend) was everything I enjoy about running, challenge, exhaustion, friendship, fun, and beer. I’m over the moon I ran a marathon in 4:48, but even more excited about how amazing the whole weekend was.

IMG_20141029_190858

If you’re into more of the hard racecation details and less of the totes-emosh-Laura see below:

Entry: Around £60 depending on when you enter. It’s a very well organised race, with loads of freebies and kit, and a real “big marathon” vibe to it so if that’s your thing I highly recommend it. Especially for first time marathon runners. I loved every second.

Flights: BA Eurotraveller. If you don’t know about these then find out. £69 return almost everywhere in Europe and you don’t have to catch a 3am ryanair flight from not-actually-in-london-airport.

Hotel: Doubletree Hotel. We found a deal for £59/night and could not recommend it more for anyone heading up to run the marathon. The staff were amazing, the food (if you say were too lazy to move from your bed the day before the marathon… ahem) was plentiful and carby, and the beds huge. I’m usually a big fan of Airbnb or a smaller hotel, but when it comes to marathon weekends convenience is king and being 10 minutes from the start/finish plus all the amenities of a chain (daily cleaning, toiletries, room service, COOKIES ON ARRIVAL) you can’t go wrong.

I didn’t run this marathon for a charity, but have made a donation to the Down Syndrome Centre one of the official charities that is doing great work in an important area. I encourage everyone to take a moment to think about where they can help out too. 

2013

I do a lot of great things with Nike Training Club and Nike Running here in the UK. They’ve asked me to set some goals with the other ladies in the Nike Community as a part of their #makeitcount campaign.

I’ve got loads of goals for 2013, but in the interest of keeping it Nike+ based we’ve set out to achieve 1,000,000 fuel points in 2013. 

So it will be more NTC Live classes…

And more yoga classes…

And more Running Clubs…

And especially more races with good friends and husbands…

I really do believe in a lot of what Nike has been promoting to get everyone (especially women) out and more active in easy and fun events. I don’t work for Nike nor have I been asked to promote anything in return for freebies or cash.

trail running in London’s longest linear nature reserve

I’ve been sticking to running the roads of London (with a few parks thrown in) for the following reasons:

Excuse #1 – I didn’t know of any good trails.

I had heard rumours of an amazing trail that started at Finsbury Park (a mile from our flat) and followed a disused railway along a ridge for 7k up to Alexandra Palace.  This trail achieved myth status when I actually saw Finsbury park with my own eyes and could not believe there was a woodlands anywhere near it. 

Solution #1 – Trust the map and just find the darn trail. 

Excuse #2 – I needed daylight

Running alone in the dark as a woman isn’t the safest thing even along busy, well-lit streets.  I wasn’t about to go for a jog in a dark, unknown forest alone. (Even with my SafeGirl personal alarm – thanks Boutique Sport!)  The winters in London are dark, and my weekends are busy. Finding some daylight hours to test out the trail was near impossible.

Solution #2 – My office closes from December 21 – January 2 and since we’re not going anywhere for the holidays I suddenly have a lot of daylight hours that will not be spent at a desk in an office buildling.

Excuse #3 – I didn’t have trail shoes

As far as excuses go, this isn’t a good one. I know I could have ran a trail easily in one of my 3 pairs of running shoes, and short of some mud stains, nothing would be much different.  

Solution #3 – Have trail shoes magically show up on my doorstep one Monday evening

I saw that the Brooks Running had some samples left from their Pure Project tour to still give away (why interacting with brands on Twitter is awesome) and low and behold, they sent me a pair of their Women’s PureGrit! They’re so orange!

No more excuses TIME TO RUN.

My first impression of the PureGrit shoes were how tight they fit. They’re technically minimalist shoes so they hug your foot much more than my normal road stability shoes.  Since I have size narrow 5.5 feet (same size as Kate Middleton if you’ve forgot) it’s rare running shoes fit me this well.

My second impression was how hard it was to stand up on London side walks in them. They have psuedo-spikes on the bottom and since it’s about a mile and a half to get to the park/trail, I slipped and slid down the big hill to Finsbury Park. Much to the delight of the Halal butchers unloading goat carcases.

I made it in one piece to Finsbury Park and ran straight to the muddy grass. You can see what a beautiful day it was in London. 

The Parkland Trail was easy to find and filled with people walking their dogs. It made me super envious and more determined than ever to find a running dog to rent on Saturdays. Check out this French Bulldog kicking it in the mud.

The trail is really cool as it’s an old railway that was almost completely built before WWII, but after the war was abandoned. There are old platforms still there like this old Crouch End Hill station.

The shoes were so great on this trail. It was mostly muddy, but lots of pebbly parts and the shoes gripped the ground in all conditions. Plus going through a lot of puddles my feet weren’t annoyingly soggy for the whole run. My hairband didn’t last as it flew off into a puddle, so was relegated to my leg for the rest of the run.

All in all it was a (very slow – taking pictures and running isn’t my forte) wonderful 10k run and possibly my favourite run of 2012. 

I’m 10km away from completing the #80milemonth for December and am on the verge of signing up for a Spring half marathon, so hopefully there will be more trail runs like this in my future.

NTC Train to Run classes are awesome. Over 40 girls sign up each week and only the most hardcore seem to show up at Regents Park on a Saturday morning in the cold to get a serious workout with Nike Master Trainer Gil.  All for free!

Photo credit: Gil Cramer

Sorry Nike, I’m back with Garmin

I just treated myself to a new GPS watch.  For a few months now I’ve been moaning about the high price and massive size of GPS watches for running. They’re all ugly expensive bricks – and may do wonders for tracking your runs, but who can drop a couple hundred pounds on something you truly don’t like.

Then Garmin came out with the Forerunner10. In green, pink (US only) and black it’s finally a small-ish GPS watch under $100. It has all the basics you need to track your runs. It times the laps, provides a lap pace estimate and you can also see your calories and stuff.  But if you’re like me you just like to know how far you’ve been running and for how long.  (Sometimes I wish it would yell out LAURA WOW YOU’VE ALREADY RAN 12K BEFORE 9AM?!?!? but I’ll have to wait for the Humble Brag edition….) It connects to your computer via usb and uploads to the Garmin connect site like all their other watches and you can track all your stats from there.  The battery is better than my Husband’s Forerunner110 and the GPS picks up pretty quickly except when I’m trying to run in Central London under all the big buildings.


Check out my Forerunner10 watch being awesome on my teeny wrists at Le Grand Classique Paris to Versailles race last weekend.

So it’s great, but why did I buy it when I had the Nike+ (not GPS but pretty accurate and most importantly free) fitness app on my iPod that tracked my pace and distance on the Nike+ running website? Because Nike hasn’t convinced me with their new fuel measurement. Essentially they’ve made up a unit of measurement that tracks all exercise during the day and adds it up to an arbitrary number called fuel. I didn’t want to invest in an upgrade to my Nike+ setup to include GPS just to know how many fuel points I had. I want KMs and time. And Nike has less than stellar reviews on their ability to collect those on their watches.  They have great apps for people with iPhones and such, but I’m not one of those people nor do I like to run with weird looking arm bands to hold large phones. 

So, I’m back with Garmin and still keeping track of my progress on the Daily Mile which I like so much more than any other tracking site (both Garmin & Nike+ have pretty mediocre tracking sites). I still have a lot of love for Nike Running but just didn’t love their GPS/tracking aps.

If you didn’t believe my “If it isn’t neon it isn’t on” motto, then this photo should prove my dedication. Neon lululemon running top > Face.

commuter challenge

My love of pies and pints is no secret, but with an upcoming wedding I’m not sure I want to see those pies reflected in my wedding photos.  After spending a few weeks helping Alex carbo-load for the London Marathon, I have decided it’s about time to work on a somewhat more healthy lifestyle. Thus the Commuter Challenge was born!

                                    

Back in University my friend Erin saved enough money biking to school instead of taking the bus to buy a seasons pass to Whistler! With that in mind I’ve set the challenge of running home from work as much as possible. I would try to run to work – but the shower facilities in our office are abysmal, and I would not want to put my co-workers through my “au natural” for 8 hours. 

Running home from work is 5.3km and takes less time than taking the bus. So I’m saving time/money and losing pounds. Not a bad trade off? The only hard part has been the getting used to running everyday.  While training for the Brighton half and spring 10k races I strictly ran every other day and let my muscles rest and repair.  

On day 3 of the Commuter Challenge my legs feel like tree trunks and it’s hard to put on a smile when running past Hummingbird Bakery for the third time without stopping.

Lately I’ve been thinking how far the 1.35 saved will go in Croatia while we’re there in May. According to Pintprice.com that will get me a pint of lager while sitting on the beaches of Hvar. Perfect motivation.