Trying not to dwell on the fact that I’m running a marathon in nine days. Did I mention I’m running a marathon?

There are 9 days until my first marathon and I am calmly freaking out.  This basically equates to looking 100% laid back, but inside my brain my thoughts are basically an endless stream of what-the-fuck’s.  I know my physio said to avoid running (and any impact activities) until the big day after the Crathes half, but I am a grown ass woman, and I can make adult decisions on my own, thank you very much!
Translation: Last night I went for an 8.5 mile run in the rain on the trails at Hazelhead Park.

The colder weather is coming in, the sun was out (when I started), and I guess I needed to know that I could still run a decent distance without collapsing in a heap of pain.  Plus, I figured if I was going to create more pain, it would be better to test things this week rather than merely days before the marathon.  It turns out my calf/shin is still sore, but it has majorly improved since last week (and the 2, 3, maybe 4 weeks – how long did I ignore this – before).  So I might have to have another test run (like 6-7 miles) this weekend, and then maybe a short run next week.  You know, just to be sure, or something.

Anyway, in less boring injury related news, I am celebrating my Friday off (I get Monday off too, thank you September long weekend!) in style!  I went to an abs class this morning and then did Body Pump.  After that I met Ian for lunch (a curry and beer – still in my gym kit, nothing but class), and I’m feeling suitably merry as I type!  I also picked up some essentials for next weekend (and have one or two things I’m going back into town for later).  These include:

  • high 5 gels, even though they have Cliff Shots along the course – I am not used to them.
  • Smuckers peanut butter and jelly (strawberry) from a shop that sells unhealthy American food for about 10 times the retail price.  This is my ultimate pre-race meal, with bread, obviously.
  • a cheap ipod shuffle, for ONLY running tunes, and so that I don’t risk destroying my fancy (and not cheap) Sony mp3 player
  • New running tights (because why not?)
  • Beer (for my fridge, to greet me upon arrival back home)

Anyway, the beer I consumed with lunch is telling me I need a siesta before I head back out, so I think I’ll get on that, STAT!

Cold beer tastes good, and other obvious things.

Well I am currently sitting on the sofa after my longest training run to date: 16 miles.  It was slow.  It was painful.  But it is now behind me, and I have inhaled a croissant, a Rice Krispie Square, a Dr. Pepper, a lemonade, and a Sprite.  And shortly I will be cooking chorizo carbonara!  It’s from a cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and it is TO DIE FOR.  This is not a recipe blog, but I warn you, I might stick the details for this up because it is like sex for your mouth.

Anyway, the sun made an appearance today, but the forecast for tomorrow is rain.  My schedule called for 8 miles today and 16 tomorrow, but because I hate rain, I thought I’d get the long run out of the way so I would hate my life less tomorrow.

Background: my gym. Foreground: building being demolished. This photo was taken a couple of days ago, and most of the building was gone when I ran past it today.

My plans to make parkrun and then blast out another 13 miles were scuppered by what I got up to last night (more on that to come), but sometime around 1:30, I made my way outside and headed for the beach, where I had decided to do uninspiring laps.  Upon reaching the promenade, I spotted one of the Fetch girls, Naomi, chugging along and decided to join her, since I knew she was somewhere along in her 20 mile run.  It turns out she had 4 left, so I stayed with her until she finished, and then continued on, glad that the first 6 miles had flown by.  Soon after going solo, my fan from the Stonehaven half marathon ran past me, going in the opposite direction and shouted hello (I really should catch his name one day).  The sun was out, I was smiling, life was good.

And then it wasn’t.  At about mile 8 everything started to hurt.  My shin splints resurfaced.  My calves felt like they were being flogged every time I put weight on them.  Even my neck felt like it was stiffening up.  I took some walk breaks, and soldiered on, knowing that when it was all over and done with, I could relax and stuff my face.  I was toying with the idea of writing about my thoughts during the second half of the run, but they’re all pretty much unpublishable.  I’ll just say I’m glad it’s done.

Anyway, life is not all about running.  It’s also about beer and enjoying yourself.  Last night was a time for both of those things.  Prepare yourself for photos of me that are actually flattering, because as this is primarily a blog about my running endeavors, this does not happen frequently.  It was Ian’s friend’s 30th, and we had decided to make an appearance, since we don’t go out nearly as much as we used to (translation: we’re getting old and boring).  I spent a considerable amount of time making my face look presentable (10 minutes, tops), and Ian may have showered.  Because I spent so much time prepping, I felt I needed to document this with a photo*:

Self shot

I asked Ian to take a couple as well:

I guess he felt the laundry basket added something, so he didn’t crop it out.

But I do sometimes question his photography skills…..

Seriously unskilled, I mean, he totally cut off half my face.

Anyway, we arrived at the party after the band had played, but during the karaoke.  We heard some splendid renditions of ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ and ‘Bat out of Hell’.  And then?  Party games, of course!  And what better way to get the party started than by playing ‘Pin the moustache on Nicholas Cage’? Yes, seriously.

The ‘pinner’ had a variety of options…

We have a winner (and a not-so-successful participant)!!

After the party games, I dove right into the food spread and gobbled a few profiteroles (delicious), before settling into a comfortable seat and enjoying some beautiful cold beer.

Delicious.  I even shaved my legs!

Ian found another luxurious seat and reclined with his adult beverage, basking in the glory that can only be felt by a wearer of the 3 wolf moon t-shirt:

Stylishly, and effortlessly, seductive.

It was a later night than planned, and I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that I exercised some self-restraint last night (this morning) and DID NOT eat my two leftover slices of pizza, instead choosing to save them for the morning.  Thank you, slightly beered-up Rachel, you’re a gem.

Anyway, a good night was had, a horrendous, but successful run was had, and very shortly a cream-laden carbonara will have been had.  I’m excited, guys.  It’s the little things.

*Yes, I am totally fishing for compliments.

Customized shirts, latex and getting oiled up and rubbed down by an Aussie.

Well, this week hasn’t been a high-mileage one, for sure, but I’ve been hitting the gym classes hard while I give my knees a break.  Hopefully next week I can get back on track, since the half-marathon is in March!

I feel like I haven’t had much time to myself, and next week isn’t going to be much better – not like I have much time to myself anyway, after work and the gym.  I did, however, manage to do a few interesting things this week.

The first experience is a new experience – something I have meant to do for some time now, but have put off.  Not because of the reputed pain or even the cost (although £42!?), but because I have had no time.  Ladies and Gentlemen, on Friday I went for a sports massage.  It’s oddly comfortable having someone’s elbow rammed into one of your butt cheeks, and you feel totally relaxed and refreshed afterwards (and in ‘slight’ pain).  I would definitely recommend!  Also, turns out the masseur is from Albury, my mum’s hometown in Australia where I spent Christmas!  Small world.  Anyway, apparently my shoulder is ‘rock hard’ and I need to do heaps of stretches and go back next week for more pain.

In addition to the excitement of the massage, I have been spending my weekend on an

Black and transparent leopard print dress - HW design. Trashy bra - model's own.

exercise theory course in Banchory.  Which is a pain in the ass to get to at 9am on a weekend when you don’t drive.  I mean, when I signed up to the course, it stated that it would be held in Aberdeen, but clearly the folk that set it up need to hit geography lessons, STAT!  Anyway, it’s really interesting and there are some nice people on the course, but when I finish in early February I will be glad to get my weekends back.

To add to the expanding list of contributing factors as to why I am lacking sleep this weekend, I was out last night to celebrate a friend’s 30th birthday.  After my course in Banchory I managed to convince myself to go out for a run before going out to the pub, and although I was pretty grumpy running head on into some pretty cold, blustery conditions (anyone outside Scotland might call this ‘hurricane force winds’), once I’d finished I was glad I’d managed to get out for a 6 mile run.  Especially as I didn’t want to feel bloated wearing my new dress (that I got for Christmas).  It was a late night, but thankfully not an overly drunk one, so managed to get in to Banchory on time and awake.

The last little glimmer of sunshine in my sunless, Scottish world involved a delivery.  I had ordered a custom t-shirt from zazzle a week or so ago and it arrived on Saturday.  I ordered from them because they will create a custom print on a technical, wicking shirt instead of just a plain cotton t-shirt.  I’m pleased so far, and I’ll have to try to remember to wear it for my next parkrun for a laugh!  My only complaint is the only colour option is white – not my favourite.