Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Berlin Marathon 2014 - Race Report

This time last week I wasn't sure I would even get to the start line of the Berlin Marathon. On Sunday, with little dose of determination I managed to do not only that, but also made it to the finish line in 3:55:06.

Sure it wasn't my fastest time, but it was a course record for CrandonRuns and after 2 months of training plagued by injuries, I was MORE happy with that!


But my goodness, what a blub-fest! This time around I was seriously overwhelmed by the emotions of running the marathon. You name it, I probably cried there on Sunday. The platform at the train station on the way to the race? Check. The start line? Check. Baggage check? Check. On a rock after collecting my bag at the end? Check (fist bump to the girl from Nottingham who talked to me here whilst I was having a little cry-fest - thanks lady for taking my mind off it!) The finish? Check....check...CHECK.

At about mile 17 I could feel a sob bubbling up in my chest so badly that it was affecting my breathing, and all I could do was walk and sob to get it done with. I wasn't sad, I wasn't in pain, I was just extremely overwhelmed by it all. I was also trying to show that I was actually happy, so I was trying to smile whilst sobbing. Word to the wise - do NOT try this - I can only imagine what this looked like to the crowd as I passed.

Sob done - it was time to get back to it! I was glad I got that out of the way and felt much better afterwards. Thanks to the German lady here who called out 'Go Sarah, you are a Superstar!' which made me pick up my tired little legs and start running again. And this is what I love about the marathon, the support from absolute strangers cheering you all on together as you all run to reach your own individual goals; other runners helping each other out and supporting them when the going gets tough; the lift you feel as other runners see their own supporters on the course; not to mention the many emails and good luck messages I had from friends and family. I kept thinking of all of these messages as I ran, and they definitely kept me going when it got tough, as did focusing on getting to the next check point.
35k mark

I had tried to break the run into four 10k sections (and worry about the extra 2k at the end!) with my champion supporter Jamie planted at three other designated places. This was fine until my brain went all strange about 34k. I was on my way to seeing Jamie at his last point and all I could think by this time was that I needed to know the remaining distance in mileage - but my exhausted brain wasn't playing ball and was unable to do the most basic of maths. I was thinking I would just have to run to Jamie and ask him what 7 x 6 was....thankfully I refrained from sounding like a total loon, pulled myself together and got over it! At 35k I just managed to keep the tears at bay as Jamie gave me a little pep talk and told me it was less than 7k to go. I said I'd see him at the end and soldiered on for the remaining 4.35 miles (in case you're wondering).

Throughout the run I kept thinking that this was my last marathon, so I had to make it count. Then the next minute thinking, 'If I carry on like this I might just qualify for London Good for Age Time' then back to, 'Never again!' Who knows?!

The brilliant Chrissie Wellington said on twitter before the London Marathon, 'There's no pressure, no expectation other than to do the very best with the body and mind you have on the day. That's success and perfection'

After all the weeks of training and the injuries, on Sunday during my third marathon, I feel like I achieved just that.

Thank you to all of you who sent kind and supportive messages both before and after the run. The amount that this support carries you through the race is immeasurable and I am truly very grateful.
Champion supporter

Saturday, 20 September 2014

New injuries - new goals

Another week, another injury in my marathon training.

After weeks of taping and a week of swimming, cycling, yoga and absolutely NO RUNNING, my Achilles problem finally seems to be on the mend and I managed a pain free 10 miles last weekend. 'Brilliant' I thought, 'I can do my final taper runs and get back on track with the training.' Wahoo! Mojo back, leg back, BERLIN HERE I COME.

My body, however has other ideas. With a little over 7 days until the Berlin Marathon my knee seems to be having some sort of paddy. I am now spending my final week resting like this...

It is torture. Tapering is always an odd part of marathon training - the part where you feel like all your hard work thus far has instantly evaporated because you're only doing shorter runs to conserve your energy. It plays tricks with your mind. But with this knee injury and not seeing my Physio until Tues, I have new bigger, and much more realistic worries.

Earlier in my training my goal in Berlin, as always, was to get a PB. Best scenario, I was hoping for 3:45. More realistic scenario I was hoping to break 3:50 and take just a minute 50 seconds off my PB from London earlier this year. 

Well with 6 weeks of injury under my belt, and this new knee issue, my goals have changed significantly. My new goal is to get to the actual start line, something I won't know if I can do until Tuesday....

Next goal is to get to the finish line. Whilst I will still want the PB, and definitely will give it my all on the day, I stubbornly realise that with the real possibility of not being able to take part at all, just getting through next Sunday will be the ultimate goal. And really, who cares if it's not my fastest time? No one. I figure as long as I give it all I can on the day, then that medal will be well earned and well deserved regardless of some silly numbers.  

Tape, tape and more tape
My last, but certainly not least goal is to enjoy it. In all the stress of injury, training, resting, not being able to run, worrying about running, let alone all the other maranoia that comes with the Marathon, its hard to forget that this is meant to be FUN. I need to make sure I look around, enjoy the sights, enjoy the cheering, the crazy outfits, the cowbells, the atmosphere and have a bloody good time. Because otherwise, really, what's the point?!

I just need to get to the start line first.

Think good, leg healing thoughts people.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

MISSING - If found please return.

I am done, spent, exhausted.

Currently training for my third marathon in Berlin, plagued by fatigue and injury over the past few weeks, my running mojo seems to have up and left. I've been deserted. This is not good with only 25 days to go until I run the marathon.

With the London Marathon also earlier this year, I feel like I've been running since December. I'M TIRED. And with only a couple of weeks break after London before embarking on Berlin training, I just feel so over it. This coupled with a hectic (but I must say absolutely bloody brilliant) year of 30th birthday celebrations, weddings and hen dos, not to mention a very busy work life this year, it's been difficult to fit it all in. And my heart just hasn't been in my training this time. 

Twitter, usually a source of encouragement and motivation, makes me think I'm not like these people I follow who are clearly brilliant superheroes, able to bash out 200 mile runs for breakfast, followed by a marathon for lunch and an Ironman for dinner.

And this Sunday just gone, I totally sacked off my long run altogether in favour of staying in having a nap and a curry. I have never contemplated not doing a long run during any training before,  but I just couldn't face it. 

So if you find it - pleeeeaaase send me back my running mojo. Preferably within the next 3 weeks.

Until then I'll be over here, pretending that I still have it. I'll continue on my training plan, run my crucial 20 miler, get myself to yoga, treat myself to some snazzy kit, eat right and perhaps the most crucial of all, get some shut eye. 

Maybe this is where it's hiding all along?