Latest posts by MsE

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Sub 3h15

Posted: Yesterday at 20:07

Great report. That was an impressive and gutsy performance, Birch.  76% WAVA is fantastic and to equal your highest WAVA rating tells you that you are still on the up, marathonly-speaking.  Well done! 

Sub 3h15

Posted: Yesterday at 18:37

My other one is nothing like that in case you were wondering.

Sub 3h15

Posted: Yesterday at 18:37

 My sprained cankle that carried me 23 miles to my first sub-3! 

Sub 3h15

Posted: Yesterday at 12:40

Sorry that was a bit me me me and loooooooong 

Sub 3h15

Posted: Yesterday at 12:22

On reflection, Lorenzo and Poacher are right and I should take pride in having run sub-3 on my first attempt at it.  I am my own worst critic and it is something I have to work on.  I can see so many areas where I could have done it better and saved time.  My legs were not too tired and my lungs had plenty to give.  I think the mental aspect is one I still need to work out. 26.2 miles is a long way to be in your own head and while I am used to being with my own thoughts on the trails, this is a very different sort of run from road racing.  I have a trail marathon in a couple of months before buckling down to train for another road marathon in autumn and I am looking forward to seeing how much I can knock off my time. 

Sub 3h15

Posted: Yesterday at 12:15

Miles 19 (6:37), 20 (6:34), 21 (6:45)

As suddenly as I felt a lull in my mood and energy levels, I recover and am trying to keep my feet pitter pattering as the coach has advised.  Final gel at mile 20.  More caffeine.  I start dedicating a mile to each of my children. Mile 20, I think of MsEtte1. Ah MsEtte1.  My lovely little munchkin. How I missed you last night.  God, the crowds are noisy. Mile 21, the lovely MsEtte2. Sweet MsEtte2, the family peacekeeper.  How I adore you.  The noise is deafening.  I am overtaking people. This is good.

Miles 22 (6:49), 23 (6:49), 24 (6:59)

I am still contemplating MsEtte2 in mile 22.  I think it is the noise of the crowds and also a large bottomed lady who looks like a charity runner but is running strong who distracts me.  She clearly has so much talent. Mile 23, time to switch to MsEtte3.  Loopy but adorable MsEtte3.  Mile 24, MsEsq.  The loveliest boy a mum could hope for.  But I seem to be losing focus as I am doing battle with a lady from Winchester who has a lovely gait and pace. She seems to know what she is doing. So I lock onto her until I realise by locking onto her I have inadvertently started slowing down.  Pace judgement is much harder these final few miles and I realise it is a mistake to assume others are running evenly. I continue to overtake people.  

Miles 25 (6:49), 26 (7:02), 0.46 (6:47)

I overtake Winchester Lady and push on myself making a mental note not to lock onto others.  MrE, mile 25.  Amazing MrE who could not be more supportive of my running goals since he has realised how much running means to me.  Admittedly, it has taken him the best part of 15 years to realise it.  The final mile was meant to be for dad but suddenly there seem more runners to navigate and They Are In My Way.  I cannot run as fast as I would like for all the people around me.  I realise it is because they are all hanging onto their sub-3 goal.  which must surely be just around the corner. I have not given it a second thought until now as I have just been running each mile at a a time.  I know I must be close as I think my pacing was fairly even, The signs are encouraging with just 800m to go, 600m to go, 400m to go when a man shouts out, “who wants to hold hands with me?!” and for some inexplicable reason, I hold out my hand. I instantly regret this as it is actually impossible to run properly holding someone’s hand.  We cross the line together and part ways before I have a chance to see who it was who I was clasping.  I have no idea of my time although I feel confident I have come in under 3 hours.  It is only when I see my club team mates and their families later on that I find out I have run it in 2:59:12.  This was a bit close for comfort and had I known at the time, I think I would have focused more in the final 10K, ignored other runners, not held hands and, in the style of those men at the start of the race, pushed on for the finish line!

A huge thanks to those who cheered for me. I knew it was you because I didn't have my name on my vest and when I did hear a cheer, it made it all the more special.  While the noise was generally an unwelcome distraction, the cheers I heard from you were certainly a welcome boost and for that I cannot thank you enough!

Oh and I checked. I beat Winchester Lady Final thoughts?  I must keep a better eye on the gun time. And stop locking onto others and run my own race.  The entire way.

Sub 3h15

Posted: Yesterday at 12:14

Miles 7 (6:44), 8 (6:44), 9 (6:42)

Getting into a rhythm now I am not thinking about my foot although it is clearly not right.  It is not the first time I have run on a twisted ankle however. I take gel number 2 at mile 8. The crowds are rather noisy.  Hmm. I recall this from my first marathon. 

Miles 10 (6:42), 11 (6:43), 12 (6:43)

I am noticing the gun time on the mile markers and I think I am on track, possibly a bit down, at mile 10. Feeling quite comfortable, however, and holding form.  I have decided that form is King.  The time is immaterial (I change my mind about this later of course).

Miles 13 (6:50), 14 (6:44), 15 (6:47)

Tower Bridge is suddenly looming and the noise is deafening.  Looking up I feel slightly choked at the beauty of the bridge and the sense of occasion. Then I spot the camera and, remembering my friend Elly’s advice, smile.  Gel  number 3 is taken at mile 14 and the first injection of caffeine welcomed.

Miles 16 (6:47), 17 (6:47), 18 (6:52)

I somehow miss mile marker 16 (I have form for missing the giant balloons) and am pleasantly surprised to see mile 17 already.  My Garmin shows pace on track but I am aware that it is beeping before the mile markers.  I do a manual reset in the hope this will correct my average pace.  Not that I know how this all works really.  After the pleasant surprise of mile 17 suddenly appearing when I was expecting mile 16, I feel a sudden drop in my mood.  No matter. I.  Am.  Prepared.  I have been expecting you, crap feeling.  Come on.  In the words of Delia Smith, let’s be having you!

Sub 3h15

Posted: Yesterday at 12:13

The race 

I was in a group with my club team mates (Susanna, Cecilia and Caroline) and Sally feeling quite relaxed in the pen (it was nice being in a smaller huddle than the mass participants’ pen).  I shared my bin liner dress with a lady who looked like she was about to keel over from the wind chill as I had a top on underneath as well.  This was quickly shed as we moved forwards ready for the starting klaxon, the Club runners being given the front section with the Blue pen runners held back.  

After hearing Paula Radcliffe and the elite men being announced, the race began somewhat discreetly and it didn't take long to cross the start line.  

Miles 1 (6:40), 2 (6:41), 3 (6:37)

Downhill.  Rolling with the crowds. Trying not to get too swept away with those pegging it and yet go with the slight downhill. I take a gel at mile 2.

Miles 4 (6:45), 5 (6:50), 6 (6:50) 

Not quite finding a rhythm yet.  We have been joined by the red and green starting pens by now and I am finding myself being jostled by runners (mostly men) who seem intent on getting in front of me. This is off-putting and making it difficult to find my stride. This also makes me overlook the many discarded water bottles that are already littered on the ground and I step on one twisting my ankle quite badly.  I gasp out loud and hear those around me catch their breaths but decide to keep running.  I realise that if I stop I will lose the rhythm I am starting to find and if I continue I can determine if it is bad enough to need to stop and bow out.


Sub 3h15

Posted: Yesterday at 12:13

The race preparations

The night before the race I stayed with friends who live on Shooters Hill in Blackheath.  The perfect place to be pre-race.  After a childfree evening and fitful night’s sleep (which involved dreaming about mum’s gambling habits and negotiating with a casino as to why they couldn't continue to take money from a widow in her mid 80s), I woke early to swallow a small slice of toast with honey  down a non-too-enthusiastic oesophagus.  I then showered, dressed in race kit, foam rollered and rested watching Paula Radcliffe’s documentary on the BBC to get into the mood but try stay relaxed.  With the requisite further (internal) ablutions achieved, I sauntered over to the Championships Enclosure at 9:30am.  I spotted some club members, a Thunder Runner (Caroline)  with another mutual friend (the super speedy Michelle), a handful of RW forumites (Jools, Literatin, tinyrunner) and the lovely Sally who I had met while training with the coach, and suddenly it was time to get to the start line.  A short trip to the baggage lorry, a quick wee, waiting no time at all in the small queues, and we were on the Blue start line.


Sub 3h15

Posted: Yesterday at 12:12

Training for VMLM 2015

Having not run further than 16 miles in training for the last marathon, I thought that increasing training volume alone would help with my endurance and so entered the UK Club Championships for the London Marathon 2015 with a view to increasing mileage.  I decided to try Pfitz’s 18 week 55-70 mile plan but after the first 4 weeks of base building had to take three weeks off training when I sprained my medial collateral ligament slipping on a muddy grass bank watching my son play football.  As annoying as this was, I was actually quite pleased that it was not a running-related injury that was the cause of the interruption to training and was able to bear this much better as a result.  My time off running in San Francisco had taught me to take advantage of enforced rest and focus on alternative forms of body conditioning so I upped the yoga and strength work.  I switched to the 12 week plan (feeling strong) when I was able to resume running and while I didn’t follow it to the letter (I skipped a lot of speedwork and volume, peaking around the mid 60s, and a few minor Achilles niggles that necessitated a few days off at a time), I successfully completed the 12 week training schedule, pretty much uninterrupted.  Towards the final few weeks of the training I also signed up with a local running coach who now advises me on form and will take me through a weekly speed session on grass. Just a few sessions with him before the race flicked a lightbulb on in me and I felt like I was finally understanding what I was doing wrong all these years.


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