April running update

April can only be described as the month with the marathons. I started and ended with a marathon and the weeks inbetween were recovery and tapering! My final run before Manchester marathon was the Elvington Flyer. A 10 mile run around a runway.

There can only be so much said about this. The race organisers are fantastic. If there is an opportunity to run one of their races, do it! Homemade cakes, fantastic medals, and great support, I really enjoy the races they organise. However running 3 laps of a runway is very monotonous. I mean really. The first time isn't too bad but the subsequent loops seem to drag. You see every point on the course, at every point on the course so it feels a lot further as you watch the runners at the furthest end of the runway loop back round. Runways are also flat, so if you like flat running then this is one for you, otherwise if you need even a small undulation every now and again this is one to avoid. I got out and did it though and it was a real test of mental strength to complete.

The following week was all about rest ready for Manchester. I had developed a slight niggle in my knees and grew concerned that week over how they would cope. Come race day I was to find out. In preparation I had them taped up, just in case. I was worried when I stood on the start line as to how they would hold up.

By mile 2 I could feel the niggles, the first mile for me is always a settling into it mile so I don't tend to listen to the odd aches but that niggle was persisting. That niggle continued and by mile 8 it was really painful. It felt like someone was snapping the knee cap exactly in half and every step sent a shooting burning pain across the knee cap. It was now decision time. Stop or continue. I chose to continue. Continue as I am, the pace felt easy and I could have continued or slow it down and see if the pain goes away. I decided to slow it down. At mile 10 I had a pain by my left shoulder, which I later learnt was a graze from my bag rubbing, but I pushed through regardless. 

Other than the pain in my knees I was comfy. The pace was slower than I wanted as I was trying to reduce the severity of the injury so I could still complete London, but at least I was doing it. Mile 20 came and the pain was intense. I wasn't going to stop now, so decided to walk for a mile or two to try and ease the pain whilst asking other runners for pain medication. I bumped into 'My Bump' and we had a chat about our marathon experiences and how all he wanted was a pizza. We passed a guy with hot dogs, but no pizza.

A random turn around to run backwards for a bit, don't ask it just helps sometimes, and I happen to see my friend Nikki! I was so excited and thankfully she had medicine on her! After taking those I proceeded to run the last 3 miles in absolute agony. That finish line seemed to take forever.

An ice bath, sports massage and cryotherapy treatment all followed that week in an attempt to get me ready for London. I decided to do a spin class to keep my legs moving which certainly helped and a nice steady 10 mile at the Vale Of York which I really enjoyed.

The final week before London was a bit of a blur. No running just rest. I attended the running awards bloggers forum and actually found it really inspirational. First I got to meet Claire from Wild Ginger films, I must have watched her video on training for hills in a flat place 100s of times that it was lovely to meet her in person. I was in awe listening to Ben Smith, he is really inspirational and definately well worth listening to if you ever get the chance. As is the very lovely Helena Hills from truestart coffee. I love people who took an idea and turned it into reality but have stayed true to what they believe. William Pullen was another great speaker who I could understand a lot of what he was saying regarding mental health. Paul Hobrough had me in hysterics and I am wanting to read his book. Alex Cook is just amazing. I wish she was closer to me as I would love to go and see her and work out some of the nutritional issues I have, mainly I eat to much sugar! The final speaker was Dion Leonard and Gobi. What a story. I have a copy of the book which I am hoping to start reading soon. Gobi was so lovely too. The event was sponsored by Altra, and Andy Norman from the company gave us an overview of the Altra shoes. They sound great but I wasn't lucky enough to win a pair.

I left the forum feeling rather positive and motivated to make a change to my running, which is perfect just before the London Marathon. I had a goody bag bursting with products, many I am unable to use though as I have a caffeine allergy, but still feeling happy. I made the train with less than 10 seconds to spare and was now ready for marathon weekend.

I won't dwell too much on the London marathon, you can read my experience here, but what I can say is now the dust has settled I have been able to focus a lot more on the positives. I raised over £2000 for Meningitis Research Foundation, which is simply incredible. I completed the London marathon without the need for any medical assistance and have come away with no injuries. The team of medical staff did such an amazing day that day to assist the increase in numbers who needed help. It might not have been the experience I had dreamt of, but I did it and raised money for a charity which means a lot to me. 

Since London I have taken a bit of a step back from training and running. I did a steady 5 mile recovery run on the Wednesday after and had a steady play at Trunce the following Monday. I intend to take May really easy too and have no major plans. I just need a break from the structure before it all begins again for the next marathon!

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