Loch Ness Marathon 2013

Time: 4:43:32 (personal worst)

Medal: Yes

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I feel it’s necessary to preface this post with a few facts:

  1. I take great offence to weird things.
  2. Once I decide something, no matter how terrible of an idea it is, I am too stubborn not to follow through.
  3. I often have terrible ideas.

I hadn’t planned on running Loch Ness marathon again this year (after my painful début last year). I had already signed up for the Texas marathon on New Year’s Day, 2014, and that seemed like enough of a challenge. However, easily swayed by the fact that the majority of my running friends had signed up, for some their first attempt at the distance, I entered. Because who likes feeling left out? Nobody, that’s who.

The goal for this race, however, was not speed.

 ***

Rewind ten months. I was about to start my training for the Paris marathon after a bit of a running hiatus in December, caused by psychological trauma following my first marathon, naturally. It was an average day – I had gone to work, gone to the gym for a bit, come home, showered, and eaten – and I was relaxing on my sofa browsing the internet when I came across this meme:

Oh-you-ran-a-marathon-How-heavy-was-the-sledNow, I don’t even know why I can’t control my emotions like a rational human being, but seeing this awoke a mighty rage within me, and I wanted nothing more than to punch that smug husky in the face. With a speeding bus. Admittedly, it’s kind of funny, but the pain of my first marathon was fresh enough in my mind to trigger a loathing so all-consuming that it continued to gnaw away at me for the best part of 2013.

You have maybe already guessed where this is going.

Step one was buying a sled. I wanted something pretty (of great importance), and made out of wood. Thank you, Amazon, for this beauty:

sled

It was a bit heavier than I had anticipated, but the highly scientific test of dragging it 6 feet across my living room was enough to convince me that this was still a viable idea. But it would need wheels.

Step two involved searching gumtree for a used pram. I found one a few miles away for £10, and decided to run there, buy it, and then run home to test out the wheels. They were a great success, but pushing an empty pram around a city center acquires many an odd look. It was worth it for the advantage of carrying home a lot of shopping from the supermarket:

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Step three was taken care of by one of the technicians at school who removed the chassis and wheels of the pram from the baby-carrying bit, and then used cable ties to attach the sled, which fit perfectly. That was blind luck, which I took to be a sign that I was not completely idiotic. With some rope attached to the frame, I took it for a test run, which yielded more confused looks from the general public.

From this test run, I established very quickly that the sled was going to be a burden, but also that attached to my rucksack with a bit of rope, its movements were unpredictable and out of control. It veered off the paths on several occasions, and whacked into the backs of my legs on the downhill sections.

This was remedied by attaching telescopic walking sticks to the frame, which would allow me greater control over the sled’s movement, and prevent it from hitting me, whilst also behind handy for storage. These were also attached with cable ties. On Friday night. Trusting my mad engineering skills, I decided I did not need to test out the contraption at all.

The finishing touches for the sled included a cool bag for my lunch, and two stuffed huskies, Mukluk and Storm (they had names when I bought them). Add into the mix a relatively secure harness with a D-ring on the back and I was ready to roll.

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Race weekend had arrived, and on Saturday Ronnie picked me up at about 11:30. When Ian helped me carry the sled and my bags downstairs, Ronnie just shook his head and said, “So you’re still doing this.” With some Tetris-level manoeuvring, we managed to get everything into the car, and then we set off for Inverness, which took about twice as long as it should have done thanks to road works and people who drive on main roads at 40mph.

Once registered, Ronnie dropped me off at my B&B before checking out his swanky hotel. I watched women’s cycling on TV and took a nap before dinner with some Fetch runners, and was tucked up in bed by 9. As I was falling asleep, I remember only being nervous about organisers not letting me run with my sled for health and safety reasons. I don’t think ‘running a marathon the next day’ was even registering.

I was up at the crack of dawn for a shower, and to get dressed and get everything packed for checking out. Breakfast of toast, orange juice and a banana was at 6:30, and 15 minutes later I was hauling the sled along the dark streets of Inverness to where a few of us had arranged to congregate.

On our way to the bus

On our way to the bus

I was met with laughter and heavy sighs (I hadn’t told everyone what I was planning on doing, and nobody had seen the finished masterpiece). Trying to avoid crippling any of the other runners, we all made our way towards the buses, where I managed to get a wheelchair spot for the sled with no questions asked, other than “How much for a lift to the finish line?”

[side note: a stuffed husky is an adequate replacement for a neck pillow on an hour long bus journey]

The wait at the start was broken up by queuing for the toilet, making last minute adjustments to the sled, and wishing everyone luck. I was glad for the distractions because it was pretty cold.

L-R: Naomi, Sheri, me

L-R: Naomi, Sheri, me

Beginning to reconsider my idea.

Beginning to reconsider my idea.

Ronnie and his stylish foil cape.

Ronnie and his stylish foil cape.

At the start line!

At the start line!

Time seemed to fly, because before we knew it, we were edging forward towards the start line. I just hoped the sled (and my legs) would hold out until the end, and crossing the starting mats, I broke into a run.

The first 6 miles or so of the Loch Ness course are downhill, with much of the middle section being ‘undulating’. I know you’re not meant to go out too quickly at the start, but I also knew that I would struggle pulling a 25 pound sled up hills, so I thought I would take advantage of fast miles while I could, and blazed ahead of my much more sensible friends. Apart from the awkward arm position from holding onto the walking sticks, ‘pulling’ the sled on the downhill sections wasn’t as bad as I was anticipating. And the walking sticks gave me great control over the sled’s direction. As long as the cable ties stayed in one piece, it would all be ok. At least that’s what I kept telling myself.

This optimism lasted for about 58 minutes. Then came the first of the undulations. The weight of the sled tugging behind me meant that unless it was a very gradual incline, I would need to walk – at least if I wanted to conserve energy for the later miles. It was around this point that the adrenaline at the start and my positivity about the sled began to dwindle. I recognized parts of the course from last year, and I knew that there were some steeper, longer climbs in the later miles. I had to keep breaking the race into manageable chunks to stop myself from feeling overwhelmed, so after 6 miles, I told myself 1 10k down, 3 to go. At 9 miles, I told myself this is where you were hurting last year, and your legs feel ok. At 13 miles, you’re halfway there!

When that stopped helping, I promised myself treats. At 15 miles, you can pull over, have your lunch, and text Ian. At the start of the hill at 18 miles you’ll get to walk for a mile. At 20 miles you can listen to music.

And then I had less than 10k to go, and crowd support started appearing. I was really struggling, and had to stop to walk a few times just to give my legs a break from the pain, but as soon as I saw the sign saying we had 3k left, I told myself I wouldn’t stop until the end.

I had to take off my rucksack and swing it round so I had a chance of finding a photo.

I had to take off my rucksack and swing it round so I had a chance of finding a photo.  This was somewhere after 15 miles, I think.

The crowd support during this section was amazing, particularly the Macmillan cheer crews (when they see you wearing one of their shirts they make you feel like a rock star), and I was lucky enough to see a few familiar faces cheering me on. I’m not going to lie, overtaking people when you’re hauling a sled is a pretty kick-ass feeling, despite the sub-kick-ass feeling I was experiencing in my legs.

Less than a mile to go!

Less than a mile to go!

At the finish!

At the finish!

Though I wasn’t going for speed, my goal for this race, other than to not collapse at the side of the road, was to finish in less than 5 hours, so when I saw the clock by the finish line started with a 4, I couldn’t help but smile. Except it was probably more of a grimace/smile. I heard my name called out over the loudspeaker, and heard an always enthusiastic Jeananne (who had run the 10k earlier) screaming my name as I came into the finishing chute exhausted, in pain, but most of all, relieved.

After receiving my medal, t-shirt and goody bag, I limped to our meeting point to find Susan had successfully finished her first marathon in a very respectable 4:37, and Naomi had run a new PB! Her boyfriend, Stu, had also managed to destroy his 10k PB earlier by finishing in under 36 minutes, which is just insane, quite frankly.

Me and Susan

Me and Susan

Sheri, me, and Susan

Sheri, me, and Susan

I found a better use for the sled.

I found a better use for the sled.

After a banana, some water, and some catching up, Susan and I decided to take advantage of being charity runners and qualifying for our free massage, which was a good, satisfying kind of pain.

While most of the people had today off work, I was not quite as lucky, so after hobbling back to the B&B (stopping once to give a very nice man the link to my fundraising page) to make use of the spare shower room, trekked with Suzy, who had come all the way to Inverness to cheer us on, to her car AT THE TOP OF A HILL, and we drove back to Aberdeen, where dinner and a strong, sled-carrying boyfriend was waiting for me.

I still can’t quite get over what I did yesterday, or how dumb an idea it was in the first place. I’m also amazed that nothing went horribly wrong, and that I can walk (awkwardly) today. Even Ian told me he thought I would go through with it, but that I would ditch the sled along the way (sorely tempting at times). But am I glad I did it? Yes. Partly because it means I’ll never have to do it again, partly because I can now look at the picture of the smug husky and feel smug myself, but, most importantly, I’ve managed to raise over £400 so far for Macmillan Cancer Support, who have been great this entire weekend.

Now, it’s no coincidence that I’m posting this on payday. If you’re been slightly entertained by my stupidity, and are willing, any donations are gratefully received. If you think I should get a grip – because why would total strangers donate money to someone who did something so that an internet meme would stop giving her high blood pressure? – then you don’t have to. It’s totally up to you. But I’ll just put the link right here. Just in case.

CLICK HERE! 🙂

Oh, and Mr. Husky?  25 pounds, bitch.

The Worst Kept Secret

No, I’m not pregnant.  Or engaged.

Since before Paris I’ve been struggling with a sharp pain on the right side of my abs that, over various points of the year so far, I worried was a hernia.  While on the waiting list for a scan at the hospital, I was reluctant to enter any new races, especially ones that required a significant commitment, in case I was going to be sidelined by a month of recovery after an operation, but thankfully, that has been ruled out.  I’m still experiencing pain, which is thought to be scar tissue (fabulous), but I have been assured I can keep doing everything apart from weights for the time being.  The super sleuths among you may have worked out that my list of ‘things I can still get on with’ includes running, which I am obviously pleased about.

Before I got my results back, I became increasingly jealous of all my running friends who were excitedly planning (and getting on with) their training for the Loch Ness marathon, the first marathon I ever ran.  For a lot of my friends, it will be their first.  For others, it’s a return to form, or an attempt to slay the beast that got the better of them last year.  I watched the deadline for guaranteed entries creep closer, and hours before they closed, I entered.  And booked the same room I had at a B&B last year.  And didn’t tell anyone.

But I started upping my distance, and joining friends who were out and proud about training on some of their longer runs “for fun”.  I started making plans to just turn up at the start line and casually ask my friends if they were in the mood for a run, while also happy that if I needed surgery, I could just slink away from the training plan without having to tell anyone that I had pulled out.  Then I got my results.

My plan to keep my entry a secret and surprise my friends became more elaborate (and ridiculous, because how am I going to fit into a cake that I can also fit onto a single bus seat?) and after LESS THAN 7 DAYS, I cracked and told everyone.

So yeah, I guess the Loch Ness marathon is the main hurdle I need to get over before the Texas marathon in January, but I’m looking forward to seeing how pacing myself a little more wisely can affect my experience of a race.  And running with a bunch of my friends.  And eating afterwards, obviously.

Training has been going well so far, and unlike Paris, I have actually been able to run more than once a week, which has been reassuring. The last three weeks of training are below.  Anything that has no mileage is likely a spin class.  Any ridiculous mileage (30+) is on a road bike.

July 8-14

July 8-14

July 15-21

July 15-21

July 16-28

July 16-28 (Tuesday’s 13 miles were climbing two mountains, not running)

You might also notice that my long runs have been on a Thursday, and the simple reason for that is, I am a teacher, and the word ‘weekday’ does not register on my summer holidays.  Leaving Saturday and Sunday free means that I have time to cycle with Ian, be lazy, and not worry that any races I have entered don’t match up with my long run distance.

Of course, in three weeks I won’t be so smug when term starts…

Baxter’s Loch Ness Marathon 2012

Time: 4:30:08

Position: 1663/2551

Medal: Yes

As I type this, my legs are still in agony.  In fact, my legs have been in agony from around the 9 mile point yesterday, and have become progressively worse.  But I’m skipping ahead.

I woke up on Saturday morning at 3:15am when Ian sent me a text message (under the influence) detailing some events of his night out in Edinburgh where he was attending a wedding that I had chosen to skip for the marathon.  I then slept on and off until my alarm went off at 5, forcing me to drag myself into the shower, and then get dressed.  Grant (because in a tiny room there really isn’t much choice) got up with me and we headed down to breakfast.

I had porridge (not appetizing at that time) and some toast and OJ.  Grant, who was only running the 10k, tortured me by having a full Scottish breakfast.  It looked delicious.  It smelled delicious.  I wanted to punch him hard in the face.  Especially as he laughed in between mouthfuls and kept talking about how delicious it was.

After breakfast, I packed everything I needed and we set off for the buses to the start of the marathon.  The Bed and Breakfast was pretty close to Bught Park, so it was only about a 10 minute walk.  At dawn:

Walking along River Ness, following all of the runner-looking types.

Ronnie, ever the keen bean, texted while we were on our way saying he was there and next to the buses.  When we eventually caught up to him he was nursing a coffee and chatting to someone he knew (he seems to know about 90% of the population in Scotland).  I decided that, since there was time, I’d use one of the toilets before the 90 minute bus journey.

The bus journey was uneventful.  I’d like to be able to say something about nerves, or feeling like it was the start of something magical, but it was just a cramped, long bus journey that I tried to sleep through (partially successfully).

In hindsight, the choice to urinate (further details removed) before the bus trip was a wise one, as the first thought upon hitting the ground and fresh air was ‘I need a slash’.  Cursing my lack of penis as I gazed at the colourful sea of dudes pissing into the bushes, I took my place at the back of a mammoth queue and steeled myself against the freezing wind.  Thank god it was going to be a tailwind!

I dumped what I needed (high 5 gels, crappy old phone with my sim card, a tenner, and my ipod shuffle) into my fanny pack, strapped it on, and ditched my backpack at the luggage drop before scooting to the start with a mere few minutes to spare.  Before I knew it, we were shuffling our way forwards and crossing the start!

That start line looking forward (Ronnie’s photo)

This was such a crappy idea.  I could be hungover in Edinburgh in a comfortable bed with my boyfriend, is what I wish I could tell you I wasn’t thinking.  But it was.  The thought of 26 miles was not appealing, and I tried to make the most of the sunshine, downhill start, and fresh feeling in my legs that was sadly not to last beyond 9 miles.

Ronnie stuck with me at the start, and soon we got chatting to a guy in the RAF (I feel ashamed that despite finding out about his love life, wedding plans in December, and some of his goals for the future, I never found out his name) wearing a charity vest and a beanie.  It was his first marathon too.  We were soon joined by a veteran marathoner who said he’d stick by us because we had a good pace.

Our group stuck together until about mile 5 when some hills decided to join the party.  We were sticking with 9:00-9:30 minute miles, and I was feeling pretty good.  When the hills hit, I walked up the steep bits, and soon found myself left behind.  I made up lost time on the downhill sections, and soon caught back up to beanie-wearer and marathon-vet (I didn’t get his name either – I’m so terrible).  Ronnie had seemingly sped off ahead, and upon hearing this I had a bad feeling that I’d see him again later on.
Soon, marathon-vet had to take a comfort stop in the woods, so RAF-beanie and I went on ahead.  Things were going smoothly until mile 9, when I felt a sharp, stabbing pain in my left quad.  Not even in double figures, I was mildly concerned.  My left calf, shin, and arch were giving me problems from the start, but that I had expected, and as a familiar pain, I knew I could ignore it and soldier on.  But this new pain was unlike anything I’ve felt whilst running.  Like, ever.  I informed RAF-beanie of my pain, and he was very supportive, telling me to blast up the hills ‘like Rocky’, and checking frequently how I felt.  I told him I’d stick with him until mile 13, and then I would take a walk break to stretch, take a gel, and check my phone (which I had unsuccessfully tried to set to ‘silent’ before the race).
True to my word, I left him to continue ahead while I started a walk break.  I sent Grant a message to let him know I was at 13 miles.  I planned to update him so he knew roughly when to expect me at the finish.  He wanted to take a video of me finishing, despite my request for ‘photos only’.

After about 30 seconds, I tried to run again.  The result?  Eye-watering pain and the feeling that my legs no longer belonged to me.  What the fuck, legs?! I went back to walking and thought maybe another 30 seconds would sort out my legs.  Turns out I was wrong about that.  I stopped altogether and stretched for a bit, resumed walking, and then tried to run again.  Agony multiplied by about 43.  Panic was definitely starting to creep in.  And then, out of nowhere, I spotted Ronnie up ahead, walking to one side of the road.  I called out his name and hobbled up to him.

‘How are you doing?’ I asked.

‘Terrible.  Why did we agree to do this, this was a stupid idea, I am in so much pain, you’re the most horrible person on the planet for suggesting this bullshit idea to me, I hate you and I want you to die a slow, painful death, like having to run 1,000 marathons with no break only to be stabbed at the end,’ was the reply.  (NB I may be paraphrasing a bit)

‘Yeah, I’m experiencing pain too.  Want to walk a bit, jog a bit?’

‘OK.’

We struggled on for another couple of miles, but Ronnie’s belly was unhappy, possibly due to trying out new carb gels (Cliff was one of the sponsors, so there were shot block, gels, and electrolyte drinks along the route), and when he saw a couple of port-a-loos, even the queue snaking around them wasn’t enough to keep him going.  When nature calls, she makes you her bitch.  He asked if I was staying or going, as I could have also done with a bathroom break, but I knew if I stopped running, it would take a monumental effort to get started again, plus I knew I’d be walking on the uphill section after Dores, so I told him I couldn’t stop, but I’d probably see him again on the hill, and carried on.

If only he had his phone on him (which he would have if the screen hadn’t recently cracked) then I could have let him know that less than a mile further was a hotel with its toilets open to runners.  No queues AND relative luxury!  Though tempted to go in for a crap and an excuse to sit down, I continued.

And then I passed Dores.  And reached the hill.  I entertained thoughts of powering upwards, but after 20 painful, breathless paces, and with the realization that I still had several miles left, I slowed to a walk to conserve energy for the last 10k.  It was somewhere on this hill, around 19 miles, that I first started involuntarily crying.  I was in so much pain my face was a constant grimace, and I had to fight hard to keep going, and just as hard to fight back sobs of misery.  As my sun block and sweat trickled into my stinging eyes, my Garmin beeped to let me know I had run 20 miles (even though the 20 mile sign wouldn’t appear for another .2 miles due to the whole slight inaccuracy thing), and I thought just 10k to go.  Near the top of the hill, I caught up to a girl who had passed me a few times, and I her, and we gave each other pained smiles.  She was chatting to another girl and I walked the last uphill section with them.  As soon as the downhill part began, we all decided we would start running.

Loch Ness Marathon elevation profile

The pain I experienced when I tried to get going again is something I’m finding difficult to put into words.  It literally took my breath away.  It felt how I would imagine several sharp blades being plunged into your thigh might feel.  And it felt like that every time my foot hit down on the road.  The girls I was with were obviously feeling pain as well.  We all agreed that we should run through the pain until it went numb.  After a couple of horrific minutes, they both fell back to go to the bathroom, and I went ahead.  I was in desperate need of some inspiration, so out came the headphones.

Ten songs.  By the time you listen to ten songs, this hot mess of an experience will be done.  Lana Del Ray’s ‘Born to Die’ made me long for the sweet relief of death.  The Red Hot Chilli Peppers assured me that they liked pleasure spiked with pain, but I doubted they’d felt pain like mine at that moment.  Nero’s ‘Promises’ helped me start building momentum and I was shocked to look down and read 8:xx for my mile pace on my Garmin (not constantly, but at times).

I was delirious by this stage, so I can’t remember exact details.  I do remember passing the 23 mile marker and telling myself not to stop running.  I also remember soon after catching up with RAF-beanie, who was walking – and patting him on the shoulder as I passed, shouting back that if I stopped, I’d be done, and keep going ‘like Rocky!’.  I’m not sure how much of my garbled speech he heard, but he grinned (or grimaced), and set off at a jog.  When I looked back, though, he was walking again.

I remember hitting the 25 mile sign and turning into the city center, along the river, and several enthusiastic, cheering, smiling supporters were cheering everyone along.  I locked eyes with an older woman and she gave me a look of pity.  I realized that my face was still contorted, and I think I was wincing every time I took a step.  Less than ten minutes to go.  This part of the route was like the Inverness half marathon in March, which back then seemed never-ending.  I felt no differently about it at this point, but knew that the finish line was close.  As we crossed the bridge and turned, heading in the opposite direction on the other side of the river towards the end, the tailwind became a strong, unpleasant headwind, and I remember feeling grateful that we’d had the good fortune of having it behind us all day.

Attempting to smile through the pain for the photographer just after mile 25.

My legs were beginning to seize up, and it felt like I was running on peg legs.  My Garmin beeped for 26 miles, but I knew I’d have slightly further to go.  I also knew I might have a shot at making my ‘B’ goal of 4.5 hours, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t speed up.  Salt ‘n Pepa’s ‘Push it’ started at that point, and I continued grimacing and carried on.

When the finish line came into sight I was overcome with emotion.  I smiled.  I winced.  I wanted to cry.  I dread seeing the official finisher’s photo.  I heard my name called out through the speakers and used the cheers of the spectators to give me that last bit of strength to cross the finish line.  Then I cried like a baby.  Slowing to a walk, the pain I’d been ignoring for the last couple of hours suddenly became extremely noticeable.  I hobbled forwards for my medal, shuffled a bit more for my goody bag, and dragged myself far enough for a t-shirt.

I was in such a pitiable state that the woman at the information desk offered to escort me to the baggage pick up (I gladly accepted her help).  Once I had found my bag, I called Grant, who told me he’d seen me finish and would wait for Ronnie to get a photo.  He had managed a PB for his 10k and was feeling pretty smug.  I’m amazed his calorific brekkie didn’t weigh him down!  I headed for the massage tent.  Even the 20 minute estimated wait wasn’t enough to put me off parting with a tenner.  I was stiffer than Charlie Sheen in a whorehouse.  At least I was reassured by the other pathetic creatures around me, as we gave each other knowing looks through weak smiles.

While I was waiting for my number to be called, Ronnie and Grant arrived at the tent.  Ronnie managed to cross the line in 4:56:39 – slower than he had hoped, but he was glad to have the experience behind him at that point!  Plus, it’s decent going for having his longest training run at just over 17 miles!  Ronnie left to sort himself out, and I was called up for my rub down.  Worth every penny.  For sure.

Once I’d hobbled back outside, Grant and I found Ronnie chatting to someone else he knew (of course) and he gave us a lift back to the B&B, where the landlady had promised me a shower.

When we arrived, she looked pretty amused at the state I was in, handed me a towel, and pointed me in the direction of the shower room.  UP A FUCKING FLIGHT OF STAIRS. I grabbed my toiletries, and 15 minutes later, I was locking the bathroom door and switching on the shower for one of the best, but also most painful washing experiences to date.  More crying ensued at this point.

Once I’d managed to get downstairs, we decided to set off for home.  I’m amazed I didn’t fall asleep, and we got in just after 7.  Luckily, Ian had made it back and was waiting at mine, so I had much-needed assistance getting myself and all of my belongings up the stairs.  We went out for a curry (delicious) and beer (also delicious), and then we hobbled back where I did very little, and went to bed.  Considering the pain I was in, I was delighted when I saw my mail:

Rejection magazine for a ballot place in the London Marathon

Today (Monday) at work was ridiculous.  I had to walk up stairs like a geriatric, and I had to walk down them backwards.  I had many a strange look from some of my pupils (and some of the staff), but I made it through the day, and now I’m lounging on my sofa, where I intend to stay for the remainder of the evening.  Caressing my medal.

3 days and counting.

Paranoia about the marathon (Will I finish?  Will I get an embarrassingly bad time?  Will I shit myself, or fart really audibly in front of a group sans music?  Will I end up in the hospital instead of the pub?) has well and truly set in now.  I can’t remember a Thursday (at least in the last few years) when I have wished to have Monday back so badly.  I feel unprepared.  I feel fat (thanks a bunch, tapering).  I feel terrified.

It is not normal for me to exercise so little during a week.  I have only done a couple of weights classes, one (ONLY ONE) spin class and a yoga-esque class.  And now I’m done until the big day.  Where did my week go?!
At least I have made things slightly easier on myself.  Followers of my posts may remember that I was planning on going to a wedding in Edinburgh on Saturday, ending up in Inverness around midnight, and waking up at about 5am on Sunday to get registered.  Well, that’s off.  There were too many things that could have gone wrong (not least having me wearing heels and enjoying an adult beverage), that I have decided not to attend the wedding.

I’m not a complete bitch, as this is the couple’s second wedding.  Their first (and legally binding) ceremony was last October in Edinburgh, and was attended by about 10 of us in total.  The ceremony was at the registry office, and we all went for a meal and drinks afterwards.  As proof that I don’t just skip people’s weddings on a whim, here is photographic evidence of me (the mature one giving bunny ears) with the bride and groom on their big day!

I’m available to ruin any photos: weddings, anniversaries, christenings…

Even though I now have a bit more time to get organized (and continue to freak out), there doesn’t feel like enough time in between my impending shower (give or take 15 minutes in the future) and the impending marathon (less than 72 hours away – it’s not cool I can count down in hours instead of months).

18 miles!

Gallery

This gallery contains 9 photos.

So I’m sitting on my sofa, totally naked apart from my socks and sports bra (but sitting on my somewhat sweaty shirt, for everyone that visits me and sits on my sofa), and I am exhausted. I am exhausted, not … Continue reading

Hasta la vista, July.

Well marathon training is in full swing, and I am feeling it.  A lot of people have been saying that despite the love/hate relationship you develop with long distances, as soon as you cross the line after running your first 26.2 mile race, you’re already thinking about the next one.

I’m going to go ahead and call bullshit on this, without having completed my first marathon.  I just have a feeling I’m going to buck the trend on this one.  I like running.  Until this year, 10k’s were my happy distance, but I have really taken to the half marathon distance.  In my head, though, I still break it down into 2 10k’s and a bit.  And as much as I like the idea of cracking out a couple of marathons a year, the reality is a LOT of training goes into preparing, and I miss my gym classes.  I also kind of miss running for no reason, instead of dreading 9 miles because it’s ‘on my schedule’.

The mileage buildup is evident when I look at my dailymile training statistics.  Just so you guys don’t think I was Miss Lazy Beans, I only joined dailymile on New Year’s Day (in Australia), so it’s not like 2011 consisted of lounging around on a chaise longue whipping buff men when they draped grapes into my mouth too slowly.  I had, however, only run a handful of times thanks to injuries and operations, so no wonder I’ve had so many niggles!

 

139 miles in a month seems like an awful lot, and that was with a week out because I had pulled a muscle in my neck!  Also, what this doesn’t show you is that I also did 7 spin classes, 6 Body Pump classes, 5 yoga-esque classes, 2 abs classes and a Body Combat class.  No wonder I’m tired!

But the real kick in the teeth is this number, according to my laminated training plan, is only set to get worse during the month of August, which shall henceforth be referred to as Augross, or possibly Arrrggghhgust, or maybe even just ‘Shit month, 2012’.

Still, let’s not forget why I’m doing this.

Yes, I have colour-coordinated.