Latest posts by mamafox

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Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 16/08/2016 at 07:20

Morning everyone!

Big G - Loved reading about your travels in Vietnam. You're really making the most of your visit.

Cal and Jugula - Great results for you both in your race. That must be really reassuring for you Jugula after all your struggles with your Achilles.

Lily - Have a lovely holiday, hope your mum is ok too.

Louey - I didn't realise sports massages were so expensive.. 20 quid for 30 mins sounds a bit steep to me. What are pokemon that you find by a canal?

Ian - Good luck with your half next weekend.

Shades - I really enjoyed reading your report. It was an interesting read and a great account of the race and your whole weekend. It must be lovely to have a world of running friends to meet up with regularly.. that's a long streak you've got going with Hilary!

I'm off back to Wales to stay with mum for a bit so will be lurking on my phone but will catch up with you all properly when I get back.

I'm taking my trainers

Good running everyone  

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 10/08/2016 at 09:44

Steve that was an ace report. The idea of an ultra is kicking around at the back of my mind and that was a great account of what it's really like. It sounds a wonderful choice for a first ultra too. Briilant.. well done you. Also, on another epic note.. well done for getting your report done and posted a couple of days after your race instead of taking two months to do it like SOME people 

Big G - I loved reading your account of Hanoi too. Lol at all that rushing in and out from outside those bars!

Mowzer - Fab report from you too. It sounds a good city course as well. that must have been very stressful at the start though.

Cal - Hope your knee is ok. Hope those shorts are clearly labelled as to which is the back and which is the front too 

Shades - Sounds as if you've shaken off that cold quickly. I forgot to reply to you about the prizes at Carcassonne. No, I didn't get anything.. just the first three women finishers were placed. Prizes didn't look great anyway. A bit of a naff glass trophy and some wine for the first woman finisher. Not a pot of paté in sight. Good job I didn't pull the stops out and win it.. I would have been well disappointed 

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 08/08/2016 at 15:22

Jugula - Great getting that long run in the bag. Rest up now.

KK - I would say that counts as a long run with a good tempo section.. plus some quality cross training afterwards 

Cal - Thanks...Try some of that white pen "After bite" that stinks of ammonia, I've found it good for itchy mosquito bites.

Shades - I can't keep up with you, forgotten you were doing IOM. Glad to hear you're feeling better.

Saw my doc this morning who says it's definitely not normal that I'm still suffering with my injury. My body should have healed itself by now so there is something else wrong. He gave me a prescription for a barrage of blood tests and I have to go back and see him when I get the results. I walked over to the analysis laboratory after, there was no-one ahead of me so before I knew it I had four test tubes of blood taken from me and was back out on the street in 10 minutes. My appt with my doc was at 8:40 and I was back in my car after seeing him and having all tests plus paperwork by 9:10 which is pretty good going, even for here 

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 07/08/2016 at 15:51

Steve - Well done on completing your first ultra! 

Cal - I am no stick insect but regular running has enabled me to keep at an acceptable weight in spite of eating like a gorilla most of the time. After nearly two months off running the weight is creeping back up so not the moment for strappy green tops unfortunately 

Iain - Thanks for the triathlon info.

Shades - That's a shame about your DNS for Gloucester. Summer colds are horrible too, hope it clears up soon. However, much more important that you're on fighting form for your Irish race next week 

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 06/08/2016 at 09:49

Morning everyone

KK - Mr Fox always takes loads of spare parts with us but he got caught out big time when the tyre exploded on the Renault 5 the other week. He hadn't brought a spare with us as it's an unusual size and he couldn't get hold of one and the other one doesn't fit in the storage place under the bonnet etc etc etc..He also refuses to pay for any roadside assistance with our insurance so we had to wait while his mum's boyfriend found and bought a spare tyre and then drove out to rescue us. Happy days. With regard to sloe gin I don't think I've ever tried any.. like the idea of rum and ginger beer though.

Absolutely nothing useful to say about intervals I'm afraid.

Big G - That was clever of you putting that audio file up. Amazing sitting here listening to all that wailing and imagining you walking to work!

I would love a green strappy top like that girl. Unfortunately I don't think it would look as good on me. Think of a Toulouse sausage with a piece of string wrapped tightly around it several times

Iain - Glad you enjoyed the report! For a relay triathlon do you do a bit of each discipline or will you just do the running bit?

Mowzer - Thank you for your comments on my report. That grass starts giving you a hard time I'll come over with my strimmer.

Shades - Was that drug dealing sports drugs amongst runners or did you see people on street corners when you were running? LOl at you forgetting you'd run and announcing a rest day! 

Good luck racers this weekend.

Another stirling non running post from me 

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 04/08/2016 at 10:49

Thank you for your lovely comments everyone 

Jugula - I think one of the best things about doing marathons in different places is that it gives you a chance to have a good look round an area and discover places which you wouldn't necessarily have found otherwise. One of my favourite pastimes is having a drink whilst people watching and that spot by the bridge was really lovely. Thank you for the good wishes re my ankle. 

Ian - Not sure where the girl in the green top came in as I didn't see her. Behind me is all that matters 

Shades - Thank you for your comments, I am a terrible rambler and have a notebook where I scribble my thoughts down as I relive the race in my mind. This is great for noting things which I'd probably forget afterwards but it does leave me with a monster editing task! With regard to the results they told me that I would only hear anything if there was a problem. At the time of writing I have no comeback so I guess I'm off the hook there.

Cal - Thank you..I think I only got caught up in the drug testing bit because it was a small field with a small percentage of women so as fifth woman finisher I ended up in the top group selected for testing. When I jumped the queue to have a massage I was squeezed through by the marshalls who announced loudly that I was a "Priority drug testing runner" If I'd got around a 3hr time I'd have been lapping this up but as it was I felt a bit of a humbug to be honest.

Good couple of hours strimming done this morning. Much cooler here today which is nice.

Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 04/08/2016 at 06:38

I was hanging around with the five other girls who had finished in the first six women and gradually they all left. The test itself was a right performance. I had to be accompanied to the toilet to be supervised(!) then participate in the filling and labelling of a plethora of tubes plus another mountain of paperwork to get through. One good thing was that the doctor set my mind at rest regarding my Nurofen consumption.. prison could wait until another day.

I finally hobbled out of the gym to tumbleweeds rolling around and everyone packing up and going home. The walk back to our apartment was painful and slow but compensated by the sheer bliss of finally sinking into my hot purple spa bath which was everything and more that I'd dreamed of.

 Later on that evening we went out and found a lovely little restaurant at the foot of the medieval city itself and had a superb meal. I started with a glass of Crémant de Limoux à la violette which is a local fizzy wine with a sort of parma violet cordial in it and absolutely delicious, followed by a multicoloured tomato salad with goat's cheese, then followed this with a bowl of homemade Cassoulet – a stew of white beans, duck and thick sausage and finished things off with a Clafoutis aux cerises (Cherry flan). I must however concede to the superior choice of Mr Fox who had gone for the Crème Brûlée which was actually much better so I had half of that too.


As a footnote to this I can confirm that I suffered afterwards from the worst DOMS that I have ever had. My thighs were still killing me more than a week later. I'm repeating myself here but I hold that Canal du Midi fully reponsible for my suffering. My ankle injury also flared up with a vengeance but that was to be expected.


Would I do it again ? No. In spite of the varied course and the vibrant and beautiful town that is Carcassonne itself I don't think I'd risk doing another marathon in that sort of heat.


I'm definitely going back for a beer by the side of that bridge though.



Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 04/08/2016 at 06:36

At the same time as the marathon a marathon relay race had been going on. This involved a team of four people, each doing 10k, then (by some organisational miracle) meeting up and running the final 2km together. I had been running near a girl who had been doing the last leg for her team and it was great to see them all meet up – the cameraderie and banter was infectious and it lifted my spirits.

I was struggling doggedly on when they all started running alongside me and congratulated me on getting this far. When they asked me what exact time I was on for I replied that I was hoping for sub 4 but had gone past caring and it was all I could do to keep going. Immediately they all decided that they would help me get to the finish and formed a group around me. I groaned inwardly as their rallying cries urged me to keep going. However, they did make me laugh and in spite of myself I found myself gradually picking up the speed. God alone knows how.


We were running in formation, myself in the middle and my four new friends in a « V » shape around me. I was close to tears of relief as I saw the arch approach and realised I was going to get under the four hour mark, that bloody girl with the green top hadn't overtaken me and I could finally stop running.

I crossed the line in 3:54:08, we had a group hug and I staggered a couple of paces on to throw myself on the welcome figure of Mr Fox. It wasn't that I was particularly ecstatic to see him, he just seemed to be the nearest stable object I could see. The relief that I could stop was overwhelming. My joy was short lived however. An official looking woman with a clipboard swam into view and informed me I was to accompany her as I had been selected for compulsory drug testing.


My heart stopped.


I don't know if you have seen the film Midnight Express but I was immediately transported into the body of Brad Davis. That awful moment when he is stopped trying to get through Turkish customs with several kilos of hashish strapped to his stomach. Everything went into slow motion.. I could hear my heartbeat and see the sweat trickling down my cheekbones. I started gibbering on about Nurofen and tendonitis as she firmly ushered me into an adjoining gymnasium (I'd be no use as a drug mule). Another marshall was assigned to stay with me until the clipboard woman came back and fired numerous questions at me which I stumbled over. My brain is like mush after a marathon and it always seems to take a huge effort to string a sentence together. I was then given several bottles of water and informed that I would have to produce a urine sample before I could go. The next problem arose when it transpired that I had no proof of ID on me. After consultation it was decided that a marshall be assigned to drive Mr Fox back to our apartment to pick up my driving licence. In the meantime I just waited.. and drank water. The only thing of interest during this point was that I jumped the massage queue and passed a thouroughly enjoyable 15 minutes having my thighs massaged by a burly rugby playing physiotherapy student from Toulouse. Apart from that the waiting was all very boring. Mr Fox came back and hung around a bit but then sloped off to the beer tent and stuck his head round the corner every now and again to give a cheery wave at my increasingly bleak face. The combination of running a hot marathon when I was probably a bit dehydrated to start with meant my body wasn't giving up any of its remaining fluid easily. When I remarked irritably to the marshall that I didn't particularly care if my time was official or not and asked what would happen if I left I was informed that I would be liable for a fine of 7000€ and up to two years imprisonment. I agreed to stay.


Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 04/08/2016 at 06:32

The half way point came and went and I was still finding my pacing comfortable. I had settled into around 5:30/5:50/km which I calculated would bring me in just under the 4hr mark if I could stick with it. I tried not to think too much about the heat. Every water station I tipped a bottle over my head and rubbed the water over my arms and legs and made myself power walk whilst drinking another bottle. I heard after that quite a few people had been taken ill as a result of the heat and a fair few had not finished. Regarding fuelling I took one of my jelly sports sweets before each station (every 5km) and kept this up until about 30k when I just couldn't face eating another one.


Around the 25k point we climbed up to the top of the village of Bouilhannac and for the first time I actually walked. This wasn't so much due to being wiped out but a conscious decision as it was incredibly steep and I figured I'd lose a lot of energy in trying to run up it. I picked the pace up on my way down, helped by a cheery marshall telling me that I had run my last hill.. it was downhill from now on. We followed country roads and white gravelly paths the brightness of which hurt my eyes before arriving at the picturesque town of Trèbes and taking a right over the old bridge to join the path running alongside the Canal du Midi.

I passed people sitting outside cafés idly watching us run past as they took long drags of lovely cold beer and vowed in my head to one day come back to Trèbes, sit in front of that café and drink an ice cold demi pêche (beer with a dash of peach cordial) and watch the world go by.


The last remaining 12kms were to be run alongside the canal. In my mind canal = flat so I just figured that if I could hang on in there and keep my head down that sub 4 would be in the bag. How wrong could I be.

The one thing I hadn't taken into consideration were the numerous locks along the way. These involved a short, steep run up a gravelly incline then back down again pretty much straight away afterwards. I think I can safely say that I hold the Canal de Midi singly responsible for completely and utterly trashing my legs during the last stages of this marathon. I knew the last kms were going to be tough. Due to my injury problems I had been sadly lacking in long runs and knew I would be paying for this in the latter stages of the race. Things were starting to fray a little around the 30k mark. My ankle injury was rearing its ugly head and my old friend the « wooden leg » feeling was setting in too. By 35k I just wanted to stop. My legs were killing me, my ankle was killing me (I took my second Nurofen), I was forcing myself on feeling like I was running through mud and slowly and surely my pace was dropping. Those inclines felt like mountains, I was skidding on the gravel and every cell in my body was screaming for me to stop. I can honestly say that this was absolutely the toughest stretch of any race I've ever done. What kept me going ? Sheer bloody minded determination that I'd trained through this injury, spent months anguishing whether I could do another marathon this year, organised everything to actually turn up on the start line and I wasn't giving up with just 10k to go. On a more superficial note I also couldn't bear the thought of that girl in the lime green top loping casually past me as I staggered in the gravel behind her. I willed myself on. My Garmin showed each km and I repeated the number like a mantra until thankfully it rolled over into the next one. At km 39 we left the canal and wound through some residential streets towards the football stadium and finishing line.


Shades Marathon Training

Posted: 04/08/2016 at 06:28

Around the 12k mark I could see the 4hr pace group not too far ahead of me and resolved to try and keep them within my sights. A couple of km further on I realised I was gradually gaining on them and before I knew it I was on the edge of their group. I hate running closed in by other people so decided I had no choice but to crack on a bit to get past them. There were two girls at the front of this group and they looked amazing. They were dead slim and muscley and had fab kit on. One in particular looked awesome.. she was bronzed all over and was wearing this beautiful lime green top with a complicated cross over strappy back. I was immediately consumed with jealousy and vowed to myself that if I passed them there was no way on this earth that I could ever let myself be overtaken by them again afterwards. I pushed on past without a sideways glance and kept my pretend fast pace up for a good while before allowing myself a sneaky flick back to check they were a safe distance behind and slow down again.


Things were really going well and I was beginning to believe that I was on for a comfortable sub 4 race. I think my high point came around the 13/14km point. I was running easily, floating along and boy did it feel good. I was even « holding myself back » (I can count the times I've had to do this on the fingers of one hand) and was convinced I could run on like this forever. The field had really spread out and I often found myself running completely alone. This part of the course followed a long, long straight road through the middle of a wide open valley surrounded by distant mountains. It was really hot by now and the road in front of me shimmered far into the distance. Think Nevada's Death valley but with vineyards. I may be exaggerating a bit but you get the picture. It was really weird, I was hot but I was not really sweating that much – I knew if I stopped it would be pouring off me – but actually felt fine. I started to think about what would happen if I stopped and keeled over (there was no shade at all as far as the eye could see) but immediately stopped this particular mind ramble for fear of giving myself an anxiety attack.


The road eventually climbed out of the valley before descending and taking a surprising right through a housing estate which felt a bit surreal. As it was a small marathon marshalls were few and far between and it wasn't the first time I was grateful for the strong blue line which showed me the way to go. Leaving this we crossed a relatively busy road to an adjoining village. I could hear horns beeping from a distance and ran on into sheer chaos. Marshalls had been equipped with red and green paddles to direct the traffic but all of this had gone horribly wrong resulting in a complete deadlock in both directions. We had to run up a winding hill between the two lines of traffic lifting our arms to avoid knocking them on wing mirrors or gesticulating arms from the cars' occupants. People did actually complain about this section afterwards but to be honest I found it quite funny.


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