Rock n Roll Liverpool Marathon Weekend!

About to Rock the World!

About to Rock the World!

Before I start off with what a FANTABULOUS weekend the Hubs and I had, I want to add this little, yet important, full disclosure: As part of the Rock ‘N’ Blog 2015 team I and the Hubs received free race entries & VIP experience. However all opinions regarding my experience are entirely my own.

Phew. We got that straight out into the open!

After I ran Paris I was still riding high with emotions and pretty much decided immediately to change my race entry from the Half to the Full. I had the feeling I could have done it just a tad better, a tad faster, and thought, “what the heck”! I had the km’s in my legs and I continued with several long runs so that my body wouldn’t go into complete and utter shock at running 42 kilometers again after only 6 weeks. If I could do it all again, I would NOT run a marathon only 6 weeks after a marathon… yet I say that now and pretty much I will be doing back to back marathons in October… but I digress… *don’t be a dope like me, let your body recover!!

Anywhoo! Liverpool Weekend!! A week before we were meant to go to Liverpool I got a wee bit of bad news regarding my job and so I wasn’t sleeping very well (still not) but I did my best to stay positive. After all I wasn’t in trouble financially and the weekend was already pretty much planned so on the Friday Morning after my bad news we headed to the airport for our weekend of fun!

Flying over blighty

Flying over blighty

Since we arrived too early to check into the hotel, we dropped our bags and then walked to the expo! I love going to Race Expos and had no idea that they weren’t much of a thing in England! I expected it to be HUGE, after all it was held at the ECHO arena!

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We were wanting to not only pick up our 5K race packets, but also our marathon packets and hopefully our VIP passes. My understanding was also that we would be provided with a bag that we could use for both races for our after-race clothing. I also wanted to try and find George Melichar since he is our badass Rock n Roll Marathon Series Ambassador and just happened to be running Liverpool as well! Little did I know the Expo would be so tiny! We didn’t get a bag and we didn’t bring one, but we were sorted out with the guys from RunGeek who were selling official RnR Liverpool merchandise. It was super easy to find George since you really can’t miss the guy with the green mohawk and the VIP passes were in my marathon envelope so we were pretty much sorted within 10 minutes. We did get our finisher’s shirts already, and at first I was confused because I thought that was to be collected after the race!

rocking his new hoodie

rocking his new hoodie

We did have a look at the stands that were present and we spent time (and money) at the High5 Nutrition booth where I fell in friendship-love with Julian (we shared a love of the same flavour sports bar and the music of Marc Almond). After an hour or so, however, we were just really done, there was nothing more to see or do. As an expo lover, this was kind of a bummer, but I understand it’s just not a thing in England, so I’m ok with it.

showing off BOTH race numbers for Liverpool Marathon Weekend!

showing off BOTH race numbers for Liverpool Marathon Weekend!

We made our way back to our hotel via LiverpoolONE shopping center (tip: don’t walk miles and miles before you are running a race, you will regret it later!!), both put on our shirts for fun and headed off for a beer and a burger for dinner.

Selfie with our finishers shirts (not yet earned of course)

Selfie with our finishers shirts (not yet earned of course)

Oh for the Love of Pete!  WHY, Universe!!?  WHY???

Oh for the Love of Pete! WHY, Universe!!? WHY???



*Fun Fact – The Hubs has never had a KrispyKreme donut until our trip to Liverpool of all places. He agreed it was a good thing we don’t have KrispyKreme here in the NL since it’s like the cake-donut form of crack.

We didn’t want to be out late, so after dinner we headed back to the hotel and got flat Pinky and flat Fonzie ready for the 5K the next morning. There were some VIP events happening on the Friday night but we chose not to go so that we would be fresh in the morning.

Saturday Morning

Breakfast was at 7am and the race started at 9:30 so we wanted to be sure that we ate on time (no one wants to run even a 5K with a full belly). We arrived somewhere around 8:30 and ran into George almost right away (after of course a spectacular intro on the stage and a mohawk giveaway). I like to be at a race at least an hour early but I think we could have been a bit later in this case as it was a fairly small event. Hopefully this race will only grow in size because it was simply AWESOME!

Rocking With Geo!

Rocking With Geo!

shoe shot 5K

shoe shot 5K

Our 5K faces

Our 5K faces

I did not plan on “racing” this 5K, but I realised on Friday that it would be my very first OFFICIAL 5K! In all this time I’ve never run a proper 5K race, so I thought, hey, if I could get it at 30 min or less that would be pretty cool. In the end I ran it in 30:48, which is totally great by me! The 5K went pretty much around the docks and was a fun and easy run thanks to the participants and the crowds!

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With the 5K there was already a bit of music, which was a pleasant surprise, and quite some cheering going on. The weather was very fine and it wasn’t crowded at all. For a first time running in the UK I was just very happy overall with the experience. Maybe I’m imagining it but it just seems to be a more laid-back and friendly group of people than what I had expected. The funnest part? The 5K finished INSIDE the Echo Arena!! That was super cool, like running into a concert and you are the rock star everyone is waiting for!

After the 5K we were treated to VIP brunch which turned out to be quite a small affair; me, the Hubs, a few people from the organisation (Hi Jessica!) and a few friends from Running the World (a Facebook group). And, the lovely George as well!

After brunch, lots of coffee and chit chat we walked back to the hotel, showered and changed and then walked BACK to the Expo (I think we’ve now seen the Expo and the docks at least 10,000 times) to officially meet some of the Running The World group under the wheel for a meet and greet. After some photos and more chatting, we said “so long” and headed back to the hotel, but this time via the shopping center and shopping street. We had a reservation for dinner at 6pm, so we wanted to just take it easy, rest up and bit and then go for our carb load session and Jamie’s Italian.

Thanks to Karen for the photo!

Thanks to Karen for the photo!

YES!!  I puffy heart Jamie Oliver!

YES!! I puffy heart Jamie Oliver!

Jamie's Menu

Jamie’s Menu

OMG, dinner was SO good. Honestly, I was not at all surprised, only surprised I didn’t know there WAS a Jamie’s in Liverpool. I didn’t really do much Liverpool homework before we went though.

We ate, arranged a few items we needed (water mostly) and went back to the hotel to get our stuff ready for the next day. The hotel luckily had enough requests to do a (mostly) cold breakfast bar so at least we could eat there since we weren’t super sure what the VIP breakfast would be like. If I could do it all again, I would do something like a self-catering place so that I could truly eat properly before the marathon, like I did in Paris. But, ok, we learn stuff with each endeavour, right?

Liverpool – Marathon Day coming right up!

The Marathon Recap – Paris, the Big Day (Part II)

After a fairly restful night’s sleep, the alarm woke us at 05:10 so that we could eat on time and meet up with the rest of the group around 6:30am < insert yawn here > to take the Metro towards the Arc du Triomphe. There were 6 of us running and coincidentally a pair of each of us in 3 different starting pens. The earliest pen started at 8:50, then 9:15, then 10:05. So we wanted to be at the race no later than 7:45 to be sure that we could check in our bags, go to the loos, take pictures and walk each other to the starting pens to say goodbye and good luck.

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As we ascended onto the street near the Arc du Triomphe, we joined the manageable crowd making their way towards baggage drop off. There was a lot of nervous energy between our group and plenty of nervous-looking people arriving at the race. It was sunny, but not yet very warm but we were prepared to stay warm for that moment with layers and the plastic vest given to us in our goodie bags. Queues were forming at the porta-loos and people were randomly warming up or standing around chatting and laughing to get rid of nervous energy.

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We did some of our own group photos, the guys dropped off their stuff and we eventually headed towards the first starting areas.

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Suddenly, I panicked. By the time we walked to the starting pen for Ron and Martijn (who started the earliest) and then for Chantor and Vincent, maybe Kim and I would be too late getting back to the baggage area again to use the loos, drop off our bags, etc., so I stopped to make an announcement: Kim and I would not be going further. We would have to say goodbye and good luck and see each other later. I so wanted to see the Hubs off at his corral but couldn’t take the risk. I hugged my man and cried just a tiny bit which of course set Kim off as well! Now all of us exchanged hugs and kisses and Kim and I made our way back.

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We still had what felt like hours so we stood in line for the loos and made jokes and small talk with others in the queue as if we all knew each other and had been friends forever. The temperature was rising by now and the layers were coming off (I had space in my pack as did Kim).

Finally it was time to walk to the corral. More waiting for the loo (you never know!!) but this time it was too crowded and impossible to go again. We never made it before our start time, the line was just too long! Suddenly it was time to go, and that we did!!

Kim & Pinky in the Pen

To be honest the first few kilometers were like floating on air. While it was crowded and people were running a bit willy-nilly, I just felt incredibly happy. This was the day! We were running the Paris Marathon!

We were on target the first 5 kilometers. We stopped briefly at the first waterpost and continued onwards. The sun was out, it was getting warmer, the sights were amazing and the crowds were incredible! The bands along the way gave us so much energy. Before we knew it, we were 5 kilometers further and still on target. We planned on stopping at every post to be sure to stay hydrated (even though we had our packs – that water was for if we needed it in between). Sometime after 10KM Kim started to feel a bit off. We walked a bit, then ran again. It was still getting warmer. It was affecting how she felt. We walked again quite a bit around 16 kilometers. At 20KM we were slightly over our planned time but nothing major. By now I really had to stop for the loo. My 46 year old bladder could no longer continue.

Between 23 – 30 kilometers we walked and ran. But mostly a lot of walking. I was still happy and didn’t care much about the time.

Pinky and Kim Paris Marathon

We were running along the Seine and through tunnels with DJ’s and laser light shows! But Kim wasn’t feeling well at all. My right foot was hurting a bit. I knew what I needed to do and I felt pretty guilty about it. I was going to have to leave Kim behind. We made it through another couple of KM’s, hit another loo (for Kim; I stood outside and ate a raisin bun with honey) and then finally Kim convinced me to go on by myself. I cried when she said “Don’t worry! I still love you!”, we hugged and I started off on my own (well, with thousands of others on the course).

Some point soon after, around 35KM, everything just became a bit of a blur. I kept seeing the numbers… 36… 37…38… but honestly I did not notice much around me. Putting one foot in front of the other was the goal. I stopped a couple of times because my foot and calf were bugging me, but otherwise pressed on. I was in so much of a fog that I missed the wine stop somewhere around 40 kilometers!

Somewhere around 41KM I snapped out of my fog, came around a corner and saw my man and a few friends from our group cheering for me! I was nearly there!!

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Somehow my legs and feet kept going and I crossed the finish line at 5:12:52 and yes, I definitely cried! That ugly, chest-shaking, snotty cry!

I walked over to our baggage area and camped out waiting for Kim. She wasn’t far behind me, about as long as it took to get my bloody toes into compression socks! We hugged, sat down together for a bit and then finally made our way to the exit to meet our people again. tons of hugs and kisses and of course, the obligatory photo near the Arc du Triomphe.

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Afterwards the Hubs and I went together to FINALLY have a couple of beers and some grub and then joined the rest later at the apartment.

Celebratory Beer

I am now officially a marathoner!!

paris marathon map

Marathoner Pinky

Highlights of the Race:

1. DUH!! It’s Paris!
2. Crowd Support – absolutely phenomenal.
3. Drink and Fuel stations every 5KM. Also small bottles of water to take rather than flimsy cups.
4. The music along the way; rock bands, traditional horns, drum bands. ALL amazing!
5. Organisation in general. From the Expo and packet pickup to baggage drop off to clear instructions along the way to get to starting corrals, etc.
6. The bling is gorgeous!

Slight Irritations:

1. Not enough loos in the starting corrals
2. Bottle caps and orange/ banana peels all over the street at water/fuel stops. Pretty dangerous.
3. Groups of people running on the right, left and in between, very willy-nilly (that’s not the fault of the organisation per se, that’s people not really running by the “rules” ). It was hard to maneuver in the beginning.

Would I do Paris again? Well, I’ve already signed up for next year!! It’s a definite YES!

RockNRoll Baby! Liverpool Half or Full Giveaway!

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Ladies and Gents, as you know, this year I am a PROUD member of the RockNBlog team for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon Race Series! I had the pleasure of running Lisbon Half a few years ago and absolutely LOVED the experience. But then again who doesn’t love awesome entertainment along the route, plenty of water and fuel stops, and a great atmosphere? Oh and have I ever mentioned the BLING? The bling just ties the whole package together!

This year I’m going to be running 4 races in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon series:

Liverpool- 5K Saturday and Half Marathon Sunday, Jun 13th and 14th for the REMIX! What is the remix you ask?

“Run the 5k on Saturday AND a race on Sunday and you’ll earn a third medal – the Remix Challenge Medal”

EXTRA BLING YOU SAY? WHY THANK YOU, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!*

HOW AWESOME IS THIS????

HOW AWESOME IS THIS????

Chicago - Who is nuts enough to travel to the US for a Half Marathon? THIS GIRL! To be fair I lived approximately half my US iife in either the suburbs of or the city of Chicago and I still have friends there that I haven’t seen for a long time. Chicago happened to be cheaper than Denver (which was originally my idea, to go to Fitbloggin) so I signed up for the REMIX as well (hello more bling!). One of my friends from High School lives about an hour away and she’s going to run with me. EXCITING! The Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Weekend July 18th and 19th.

let's hope the bling is just as gorgeous as last year!

let’s hope the bling is just as gorgeous as last year!

Dublin - Another city and another race (Half Marathon) I am looking forward to visiting! The only time I was in Dublin was in 1996 for a long weekend and I didn’t have the same lifestyle then as I have now. So running Dublin is something I’m really looking forward to do. My bestie M is coming with me to support me during the race, but also afterwards with all the celebratory drinks. M and I can be found in The Fair City from the 31st of July until the 3rd of August. The race is on the 2nd of August.

DUBLINRNR

Lisbon – It’s pretty much nuts, but in Lisbon I will be running the FULL Marathon on the 18th of October. As I mentioned, I’ve already done the Half and figure with it’s 6 hour time limit I may as well go for it. Hubs convinced me (took a lot of arm twisting – NOT) to sign up (and sign him up) because he wants to get his World Rocker medal. That’s right, running a full or half in TWO or more countries earns you the WORLD ROCKER MEDAL.

photo from @ourkev on twitter, hope he doesn't mind!

photo from @ourkev on twitter, hope he doesn’t mind!

The Lisbon bling is also cool – this one from 2014:

If this is the Half Marathon Medal, imagine the Full!

If this is the Half Marathon Medal, imagine the Full!

So, here’s the fun bit – Liverpool is my first race this year in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series and because of that I have a SPECIAL GIVEAWAY. I have here one free ticket to the Half or the Full Marathon on the 14th of June. Though I can’t giveaway the 5K race the day before, I highly recommend signing up to go for the REMIX challenge (3 Medals, 2 races, 1 Badass!). All you have to do to enter to win is COMMENT on this blog post and let me know why you would LOVE to run in Liverpool. After you’ve commented, go to the Rafflecopter widget to unlock that option, plus have the possibility for a few more entries. You have ONE WEEK to enter and win! Feel free to share with your friends as well!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Not able to do Liverpool? Want to run another race instead? Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series continues throughout the whole year all over North America and the above locations in Europe. Using my discount code gets you $15 off registration of any Half or Full this year in North America or GBP 3/EUR 3 off a European race. So fear not, you can run with me in spirit as well, just by choosing another Rock ‘N’ Roll race!

RUNWITHPINKY for a discount!

RUNWITHPINKY for a discount!

*entry with my code is not valid for the 5K to do the remix challenge

So, ARE YOU READY TO ROCK ‘N’ ROLL???

The Marathon Recap – Paris Edition! Part 1

I know a few weeks have passed now but honestly it’s been tough to actually put the feelings into words for my first marathon.

When I initially started training I did have a time in mind for my finish. At some point I realised that time wasn’t really going to matter much, the point was to finish. Still in my head, based on hundreds of re-calculations, I believed I could run this race in about 4:45. Please, G-d, anything under 5 hours. That’s where my head was at.

Kim and I had trained together and had decided to try and run the marathon together as well. I was very ok with this. Kim and I have a similar pace so we both thought 4:45 was more than doable.

Fast Forward to Thursday before race day:

I took the day off work to take care of some last minute things; physio, pick up a headband from RunnersWorld, give keys to catsitter, pack, get a massage. I think I spent more time doing things like cleaning, dusting and reading the internet than packing. I had several lists of things I needed. I kept checking the lists but I also kept avoiding the packing issue. Eventually I got it together and had most of my stuff ready. Hubs came home early and we went out to dinner at our local cafe (and SocialMile meetup point).

Pre-Paris Dinner

Friday Morning – We’re off to Paris!

The 8 of us (one is missing from the photo, since she’s taking the photo!) load up in the van we rented and we head off to Paris.

Social Milers On Tour

It was a comfortable ride, with the occasional potty break (thank you small bladder!), love birds in front of us and hubs doing weird things along the way:

Banana Warrior

Kim_Chantor

back of the van shot

van shenanigans

Basically we got to Paris without a hitch, found our apartment, parked the van for the duration of our stay and since we couldn’t check in yet, we headed off to the Expo by Metro to pick up our packets and get excited about the coming days (because we weren’t excited enough yet of course!!).

paris expo

SalonduRunning

pinky wall

fonzie wall

Paris bibs

Luckily all of us running had our medical certificates accepted and Mr.Fox and Mr. K were able to change their start times (based on faster end times). We then also picked up our shirts for the 5K Breakfast Run the next morning. We looked around a bit at the expo and then left for all of us to get a coffee together before heading back to the apartment.

Once we were back at the apartment dinner was cooked up and served for the 8 of us and afterwards the hubs and I stayed in while the others headed off to the Sacre Coeur. It was time to rest since rest would be crucial for the next couple of days.

Saturday Morning:

Breakfast Run! Super glad I signed up for this and in total hubs, Kim, C., Mr. Fox and I headed off to the Arc de Triomphe after a quick breakfast in the hotel. And, let us not forget Mrs. Fox, our greatest cheerleader!

A kiss for Mrs. Fox

Right before the run, I “ran into” Stephanie, a Fitbloggin friend, and we had a quick chat before the start. Sadly I spaced and didn’t get a photo of the two of us.

The toughest thing about this 5K Fun Run was that it was realllllllly slow in the beginning… we were practically walking. OK, it’s a fun run and we aren’t meant to go blazing through the streets the day before the marathon but for some people the inability to even run at a slow pace (ahem *hubs*) is just a tiny bit frustrating. Anyway. During the run we noticed someone had a WESTERVOORT jacket on and if you have followed me for any length of time this name will be familiar… this is a neighbouring town where I very often can be found running. So Kim and I start chatting with the man and woman running ahead of us and it turns out to be Emma (and her husband), a friend of Sarah (who often comments – hey Sarah!) who I know only from the internet and a very brief encounter at the Stevensloop this past 15th of March. What are the odds, people!

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breakfast run

Also “ran into” Lois, Stephen and Andy from Running the World !

with RTW friends

After the 5K, Mr and Mrs. Fox headed off to do their own thing, Mr. K and S, our other cheerleader were off sight-seeing, so C, Kim, Hubs and I went back to the Expo. We wanted to catch up with Scott Jurek again, like we had the opportunity to do in Berlin.

pandf expo

with scott Jurek

Hubs had noticed that the Garmin stand was selling the Garmin I wanted to buy at a much cheaper price, so we also ended up there where I handed over a huge chunk of change for a new watch. It had to be done.

After walking around quite a bit at the expo we then finally returned to the apartment. Hubs was the chef for this evening and he wanted to get started early on the pasta so we could eat early. While he was preparing dinner I was preparing my stuff for the next day, feeling quite nervous again but ready as I could be. We then had a very tasty pasta dinner as expected. Then, to distract myself I also got myself ready for a short but sweet meet up with a few other RTW’ers:

RTW meet up

Then back at the apartment again and to bed. This was it!! Tomorrow I would become a MARATHONER!

PART 2 to come shortly!

What I learned, Part 2 – Practical Tips

When you sign up for a marathon, your first reaction is probably excitement, fear and shock all in one go. Oh, and then you will suddenly question your mental health. A whole marathon???

what-are-you-crazy

Once you start your training, you’ll get into the groove of things, you’ll be checking out what food is best and you’ll be doing all the stabilty and core work that will put all the other amateurs to shame. You, friend, are a runner, a runner in TRAINING for one of the most awesome distances, a race that not everyone can or is willing to do.

You’ve tested your food, your gels, your drinks, etc. You are now tapering. You’ve got a week or two weeks to go. The nerves are kicking in hard. Here’s how to prepare for the big day:

1) Carb-loading. Instead of eating all of the things, try a carb-loader drink. We used Etixx Carbo GY (not a sponsor, this is just what we used). The hubs used it a bit more than I did; I literally used it the week before for a few days and not the entire recommended amount. I did however use it the morning of the marathon so I did not have to eat a huge breakfast.

2) Eat dinner the night before EARLY. I think I mentioned this before. Eat breakfast the morning of AT LEAST 3 HOURS prior to the race. Take stuff with you for a bit more energy before you start. I took one SIS Gel right before I started. (again, not a sponsor, just what gel I personally prefer). I also had to small raisin buns with honey in my pack. I even ate one during one loo stop (for Kim, I didn’t eat it in the porta-potty! blech!).

3) Write a list of what you need for the race and then set it ALL out the night before. Everything. Safety pins, vaseline, underwear, bra, watch, sunglasses, hat, etc. Everything you could possibly need and want to have should be READY the night before. Do not mess about with this ladies and gents – you don’t want to forget anything!!

4) Check the weather starting a week before. Now check it like a crazy person again 300 times so you can prepare your stuff the night before for exactly what you might need for the race.

5) Get to the race EARLY. You’ll want to go to the loo (several times if necessary) and in fact even if you don’t have to go, stand in the loo queues as early as possible because you really don’t want to have to stop at the loos along the way. Not that it’s a bad thing (I stopped twice), but it will slow you down a tiny bit. Check in your bag and have warm top handy that you don’t mind getting rid of before the race. I had a foldable jacket actually that I stuck in my hydration pack.

6) Your Check In bag – make a list of what you want to check in as well and pack THAT back the night before. Things you’ll want: compression socks, different pair of shoes (some suggest flip flops but that’s not my style), a dry top, jogging/sport pants, a jacket, a small towel, deodorant, blister plasters (compeed) something to fix up your hair a bit, muscle cream, aspirin in case you have a headache.

7) VASELINE - works a charm if you rub it on and in between the toes. You can also use body glide on chafing areas. My underarm chafed for some reason (well, I do have bingo arms) for the first time so now I know to put vaseline there for the next race.

OK. So now DURING the race:

1) Everyone will tell you this and they are right – DON’T start out too fast! Really. You will need your energy for later! Start off at a normal pace and take it all in. YOU ARE RUNNING A MARATHON. If that doesn’t make you smile I don’t know what will.

2) Use your gels! Or whatever you trained with. Take them as specific times (I did one every 45 min, this is how I trained. However, you can take one every 20 minutes, though more than 3 per hour is not recommended. Tinker during your training to determine your gel times) and take them even if you think you don’t need it. YOU WILL NEED IT. TAKE ALL THE GELS.

3) even if you have a hydration pack – stop very briefly at the water stations for additional water, orange slices, bananas, raisins, wine, cheese. Oh wait. Only if you are running Medoc :) Seriously. Stop, take something, smile and move on. Gels and Hydration are going to save you from the Wall.

4) if you have to go to the loo, stop and go to the loo. don’t worry about your time.

5) Take it all in, enjoy the music and the crowds along the way and SMILE. There are cameras and a very expensive photo package waiting for you after the race.

6) The last 10 or so kilometers will most likely seem really odd. Just keep going. One foot in front of the other. Walk if you have to. Again, don’t worry about time. This is your PR for the marathon. The point is to cross that line with all that hard work and effort in those legs.

7) YOU FINISHED! now go and CELEBRATE. Eat all the things. Drink a beer. YOU JUST RAN A FREAKING MARATHON!!

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What I learned from My First Marathon, Part I

Hopefully I can get this down in a coherent fashion and don’t bore the pants off of who is left reading my blog (thank you, kind reader, if you are still with me!).

One thing I’ve learned whilst marathon training; you simply cannot do it all. Especially if you have a job where stress and overtime are constant factors. At some point you have to make choices and try to find a balance. My balance in this particular period has been to stick with the schedule as much as possible, but unfortunately that means I did not really cross-train. Unless you count the walking and biking I do on a regular basis. I also went a few times to the physio and regularly to sports massage. So, in a nutshell, I did everything I could within my means. What I do notice is that my fitness level is quite good – after my longest run in training (32KM), I was sore but nothing more than usual. Also the next day, I only really had pain in my left calf and I went to sports massage that evening and came home taped. I’m so glad that that run went well and that I did it together with Kim; this gave us both the feeling that we could both actually run 42.2KM!

Another thing I learned; carb-loading and maintaining weight is possible! I can’t believe how much I had eaten the last few weeks before the marathon and how hungry I had been! This was not like the hungries I had for years (during my 4 year “plateau”), this was different. This time around I chose different foods in which to carb-load. Fruit, yoghurt, quark, oatmeal, multi-grain bread, crackers, vegetables, nuts. Oh, and the occasional chocolate!

Marathon training has definitely been an experience. Different to Half-Marathon training and with now having run several Halfs (official and non-official) in a very short period of time, 21K now seems as “easy” as a 10K. Sounds trite but how I feel at the moment, as the hubs says, “You eat Half-Marathons for breakfast”.

Here are a few tips I have for those considering running a marathon (because now I’m an expert and these things have never been said before… haha!)

1) Follow a training plan. Really. You can go willy-nilly if you want, but if you want structure and a good feeling that you can run the distance, follow a plan as much as possible to fit your schedule and life-style. Cross-training helps too. You may not be able to train 6 days a week and that’s ok. But then train at least 3 times running and 1 x cross-training (bike, swim, do core work, for example). Don’t just run the same tempo all the time. Do I training as intervals or hill training, 1 as easy / marathon tempo run, 1 long run.

2) if you can, join a local running group to meet like-minded people who you may ultimately be able to train with. Trust me. Running for 2 1/2 or 3 hours completely alone is like stabbing your eyes out with a dull spoon. What an absolutely God-send my running group has been to me! Kim and I did loads of trainings together and when we weren’t training together we were running the races together. Which leads me to my next tip:

3) Participate in local races where possible. Seriously. Run all the races. 10K’s, 15K’s, 10milers, Half-Marathons 25K’s, 30K’s. They exist. Find them, sign up and run them. This not only covers your long runs during training, it gets you totally in the mood for the big day. I’ve run so many races since I started training that I’ve actually lost count! I found this to be really crucial to my training and my progress.

4) Skip alcohol. Yes, I said it. Don’t eat all the things just because you “can” or you are “starving”. This is hard. But possible. You can have the wine or beer and eat all the things in celebration of your 42.2 achievement.

5) Fueling is important during training. Test out different types of gels, shakes, bars (not the kind that serve beer – see tip 4) DURING your training so you know exactly what to do during the race. If you fuel properly, you will not hit the wall.

6) Respect taper week. Basically follow your schedule. Don’t take risks the last couple of weeks. You could get injured and how crap would that be if you decide to go all out your last week (taper week) of training and you can’t run the marathon.

7) Get a few massages. Sports massage. Not that kind of fluffy, nice-smelling, new-age music in the background type of massage. Go for the deep stuff. You’ll need it.

8) Rest. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. You are asking a lot of your body during your training. Get the sleep you need.

9) Test out new shoes, orthotics, clothes, hydration packs, etc., WELL before race day. Don’t do new stuff on the day! This goes for food as well!! Stick with tried and true!!

10) You will be freaked out. You will wonder if you can do it. You can. Trust in your training and you will see for yourself. If you have done everything you possibly could then you truly will be amazing. You will be a marathoner!

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March update (yes, mostway through April)

Wow, I’m great at this blogging thing, eh?
Honestly I do not know how people are able to post weekly let alone daily!

Anyhooters -

March Update!

Tons of running – 205 KM’s! TWO HUNDRED AND FIVE. that’s insane!

Back at Goal Weight Range – 70KG is my goal weight, and a few weeks ago I stepped on the scale at 70.6KG. Officially I’m allowed 2KG over to not have to pay but i would like to actually get down to 68 for a fluffier cushion. Obviously that cushion won’t be on me physically *wink* !

Burpee challenge – Fail! I made it a few days. Yeah. I suck at challenges. I do think they are a great exercise for the core and I did have good intentions. We all know how the road to Hell is paved, though, right?
burpees

Do All the Exercise Fail – yeah. This is hard. I wasn’t able to balance work – life – running – gym. I’m going to get back to the gym next week and make an appointment for a new core program.

Got new orthotics, which led to new shoes – these ones are much, much better than my first orthotics. Unfortunately they did not fit well in my new Brooks I purchased for the marathon (since I was already running in the same shoe, I did not want to take risks), so I had to get new shoes. I ended up with Nike Zoom and against all advise you read or hear, went out the very next day and did my longest run ever with my running mate Kim, 32KM!

New Awesome Neutral Kicks

New Awesome Neutral Kicks

Races in March:
8 Kastelenloop – this was supposed to be 30K, however, I didn’t manage the time limit cutoff so I was re-routed to go straight through on the course and lost 2.5KM from the total. It was hard not to be discouraged, but at the same time it was fine, I still did (at that time) my longest distance. I was well on course to make the time limit to run the full 30KM but there was quite a bit of running on dirt paths which really did my feet in. I did not have my new orthotics at this point, but this is the reason why I chose to get new ones. Also of note, the name suggest Eight Castles along the route, I didn’t really see them! Running with so many great friends made this day a total success in any case!

CPC HALF Marathon Den Haag - I ran this race last year and struggled a bit. Back then I was still trying to get the hang of running and fueling up at the same time. Last year I ran it at 2:30:40. I was also somewhere around 80 KG. This year I was at least 7 KG less and in much better shape. I’ve learned a LOT about food and running since. This year I ran it at 2:13:41. A significant change! Once again running with so many awesome friends. It’s so great to know so many people from such a simple hobby as running.

Stevensloop Half Marathon- this one was brand new in Nijmegen, one we were all looking forward to for a long time (we don’t have a lot of city Halfs on this side of the country, so close to home). SocialMile was in full force this day, most of us participating in the Half (there was also a 10 and a 5K). Amazingly enough, I beat my PR again on the Half, coming in at 2:10:56.

Races Coming Up (besides Paris Marathon)
Hilversum 10K
Gothenburg Half
Amersfoort Half
Liverpool Half
Chicago Remix (5K Saturday/ Half Sunday)
Dublin Half
Arnhem Bridge to Bridge

You could say it’s an addiction!

Hope you all had a great March (and are fully enjoying April!)

Paris Marathon post in the works!!

March is the Month I Hit Goal Again

Sometime right before I started marathon training, I decided I really wanted to get back to my WW goal of 70KG. At that time it was something like 6 or 7 KG to lose and if I would be really serious about my training and my food, it should be possible to do that by the end of March. The Marathon is on the 12th of April, so that would give me a few weeks cushion, but really, the idea was end of March.

Reality is sometimes different than desire, as we now know.

And as we also know, the only one responsible for all the decisions and choices I make is me. And the same goes for you. We can blame work, school, the kids, traffic, holidays, whatever… but actually we all have the choice, right?

And I’ve had a couple of months where my choices and decisions weren’t great, but at least I’ve still got my running which keeps me in a fairly safe place for now. However, yet another thing we know:

bad-diet

I can’t complain too much because I have lost a little bit in that time. Last week I went down 800 grams… this week I went up 800 grams… reminds me of the 4 years I spent going from 80 to 81 to 80 to 82 to 81 to 80 … get my drift? Not fun. I don’t want do that again.

So, how do I intend to reach my goal of 70KG by the end of March? (by the way this would be 68 on my home scale!!) So glad you asked!

1) Food logging – has to be done and needs to be honest. Of course it’s a royal pain in the arse and sometimes makes me feel even more like food runs my life but let’s be really open here – when you have “always” (even if in your head) had a weight issue, food will “always” be somehow in the forefront of your mind. Well at least in my mind. Food has always played a really weird role in my life (from not being allowed certain things to watching my family members being unhappy about their weight and dieting to sneaky eating and disposing of evidence so no one would know) and perhaps if I accept this it won’t be such a big deal.

2) Water Drinking – will this have profound effect on my weight loss? I don’t know. What I do know is that I have not been drinking enough water lately and that effects how I feel after longer runs. This can be easily rectified. 2 litres per day, minimum.

3) Exercise - all of the exercise!

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this includes more than just the bare minimum that I’m currently doing (running). Therefore I will be not only covering my running program outside or at the gym, but I will start up on my corework again. And just for fun:

4) 31 Day Burpee Challenge – BRING IT ON! #496burpees – want to join me in the challenge???

5) Zero Alcohol (actually until race day). I managed to get through most of February without, but I know of one night in particular that I had a beer or two, one evening I had a shot of Ouzo when we were out for Greek, and a few weeks ago I had a glass of prosecco at a local expat friends shop open-house. So, from now until race day (and, to be honest, I probably won’t be able to drink much anyway), not a drop.

6) No candy, cookies, junk at work (also not at home, but work is the place where it’s most available). And I’m not saying I can’t have this stuff, I’m saying “I don’t eat {insert what I don’t eat}” so that it’s a statement of behaviour rather than restricting myself from it. To be honest, this crap ADDS ABSOLUTELY NO VALUE to my life, my body or my state of mind. I’m eating this crap because of stress moments and this is not the way to handle stress.

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So, 3.8 kilos in a month. Is it possible? Sure. Is it realistic? I don’t know. But I’m going to try like my life depends on it, because actually, my life DOES depend on it in the long run.

The ups & downs of marathon training

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It’s week 10 and to be perfectly honest, the last few weeks of training hasn’t been going that well.
at least as far as following the schedule goes anyway! And already I’m starting this week with skipping today’s workout. I’m going to rectify that by leaving work at 3pm tomorrow to do my intervals and THEN run later with my running group.

I feel fine physically, in fact I feel better than ever!
Last week I went to Weight Watchers my official weigh-in was 73KG.
73!
Remember the days of bitching about how I’ll “always be at 80KG”?
Those days are OVER my friends!

I’m having less issues with my feet (foot tingling issue) – but back at fysio just to see if it’s related to my back and if there are any signs of a hernia. Fingers crossed it’s just needing to learn a better way to sit to protect my back and nerves from getting pinched.

Recovery is pretty amazing too, after long runs – I expect to be sore the next day but no real twinges of any pain or discomfort. I’m getting regular massages as well (but trust me, these are not the relaxing kind!)

The biggest issue? My head is not in the game.
Work takes so much out of me and even when I say I’m not going to work late or that I’m most definitely going to go to the gym, I don’t keep my own appointment with myself.

Why is it so hard to keep appointments with ourselves?
Honestly I think most of us are concerned with not letting others down, being on time, etc.
Yet I’m the first person to cancel with myself.
I know that this is partially because I’m kind of SICK of intervals on the treadmill and it’s nearly impossible to get up to the right speed outside AND maintain it.
Then my brain kicks in “Why is it so hard for me? why is it easier for everyone else? why can’t I just be faster without all this effort?”

problem

Seriously. I would consider myself a fairly ridiculous person in this scenario. After all this time still my biggest enemy is myself.

The mileage numbers are pretty insane though. Since I started I’ve run almost 400KM. 400KM in 9 weeks. Good thing I bought new shoes already! And while I’m skipping workouts I’m also freaking out about the actual marathon. Will I make it? Of course I will. At least I think I will.

and seriously? how awesome will this be??

paris1

Do you also have issues keeping your own appointments? how do you keep your focus?

PS: I’m trying to get to Fitbloggin15… but, the flight is way out of my budget and I’m thinking of not going now. I really hate to ask, but Robby suggested I give it a try… I set up a GoFundMe account to raise the balance I need plus a cushion if the price goes up again. Would you consider helping me? Even $1 would get me closer. I would be so very grateful. My budget for the flight was EUR700 and the flight is now EUR1000 (and I want to get to Albuquerque to see my family afterwards, but if I spend the EUR1000 on the flight to Denver I can forget about that *sobs* )

Hello, friends, it’s been a while…

Good grief, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted. That was totally unintentional. For real. Lots has happened and that is one of the reasons it’s been difficult to sit down and write.

All the good things + all the things I didn’t want to talk about, of course. Silence is not always good. Especially from someone who shuts down when it’s all too much.

Anyway, here’s some of what’s been happening:

I’ve done 6 Races. 6! Of these 6, two have been Half Marathons. Exactly one week ago I ran the second half marathon, and I broke my PR (from Brussels- which I sadly didn’t write about, even though I was training for it all summer, which I PR’d from Berlin) by 5 minutes! FIVE MINUTES! And guess what? I wasn’t even trying. Another of the six races was a 25KM race. In my opinion this is completely nuts but of course there is a good reason…

Marathon Training!

Yes Marathon training is in full force. I’ve officially finished week 8 of 16 training weeks. To say I’m slightly freaked out about the marathon is an understatement. I ran 26K today, which is now my farthest distance and honestly, lots of kilometers actually hurt. It makes me sound like a jerk maybe, but I can just run a Half Marathon now. I know the distance. I know how to fuel for it. My legs and body understand the distance. It’s after 21 kilometres where it gets interesting. I still need to learn to fuel and hydrate properly. I need to test out compression. I need a new hydration pack that doesn’t sway back and forth on my back. Obviously this will continue to get interesting. I’ll keep doing races and organised training to keep up the motivation. Let’s face it, if you have to run alone and figure out a route of 30KM or more by yourself that’s pretty tough.

After the marathon we are signed up for several races, and there’s another reason for that as well!

I am officially a 2015 Rock ‘n Blog team member for the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon series!



So on top of Gothenburg Half Marathon in May (not part of the Rock ‘n Roll series, just something we planned a while ago), we will be totally rocking Liverpool (Me the Half, Hubs the full) and I will be doing Dublin (hopefully with some friends from NL but at least I’ll be able to hook up with some people from the Running the World Facebook group.

The cool bit… I get to GIVE AWAY an entry to Liverpool and I will be doing that very soon! The Rock ‘n Roll series is supercool; maybe you remember that the Hubs and I ran Lisbon in October 2013? Great organisation, live bands along the way and an awesome party afterwards! I an AWESOME discount code for my friends and readers to use, and believe me, you WANT to run at least ONE of the RnR races! Watch this space, the info will come shortly!

The thing I haven’t been wanting to talk about… my new job. I’m fairly miserable (to say the least) and even though there are brilliant side-effects (no commute, more sleep, weight loss), that’s about it. The stress is getting in the way of my training and makes me feel like hell. I am not certain how much longer I can take it. In the meantime I have to deal with it as much as I can, but it really is not a happy situation

So that’s the nutshell version of the last however-many-weeks. As of next week I’ll be back on the regular blogging circuit again.

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So, what have you been up to in the new year?