Saturday morning came and I took myself off to town as I had a few errands to run, including my usual trip to the market. One job on the list was to get new running trainers, as shamefully I am still in last years London Marathon trainers, the reason behind my dodgy shins! I went into Warwick Sports as one thing I truly believe in is getting your running shoes fitted properly every time you need some. They are so helpful and we spent a good half an hour trying on different shoes and trying them out on the treadmill, the owner had a pretty good idea of what I should have and they were the first that I tried on, but still gave me plenty of options to try to make sure I was happy. I have a pretty wide foot so need a D width, and the New Balance 860's were the shoe for me. Unfortunately they didn't have them in stock so are ordering them in for me, excellent service, I highly recommend them for any sports equipment if you live in the area.
After I had run my errands, I went home to get ready for a planned bike ride with @AnneGwilliam. I am happy to say that I was shitting myself as I was yet to promote myself to the roads from the park, and the purpose of the ride was to get me out on the roads and used to the traffic. If I had thought it would make any difference, I would have used any excuse to get out of it, but I knew I just had to bite the bullet and get on with it. Anne was really great and very patient with me. I am more than capable but just need to get my confidence up. All in all we covered around 8 miles, and celebrated with a cuppa in the garden. I say in the garden, however Anne was horrified to hear that the small piece of overgrown lawn in front of my lounge window is as far as my "garden" goes, so, a correction, we celebrated with a cuppa on the pavement!
Anne lives on the route for Stratford Tri so we have agreed that next week I will ride over to her house, about 4 miles, and we will complete a route from there to Stratford and back. In the meantime, Anne has given me some homework to do to go out on the main roads on my own beforehand.
Sunday morning was of course London Marathon, which I had originally planned to go down and shout support at miles 13&23. Unfortunately I had to miss this as a race I had entered had been rescheduled to Sunday morning so the plan was to get the race done and back to the house to watch the Marathon from the comfort of the sofa.
I was running the race with @Hulahair, and as Warwick Castle is a short walk from my house we walked up, registered then had half an hour or so to chill out before the race started. This gave us just enough time to see the MASSIVE hill leading up to the finish. After the warm up by the crazy aerobics lady, we walked to the start line, where we were set off by an actual Knight. The route included lots of laps of various areas of the castle, which isn't ideal, but it was for charity and something to do on a Sunday morning! We started with a few laps of the courtyard, where Clair seemed to really put her foot down, Clair is much faster than me, but I went with her anyway, why not?! We left the courtyard, down a steep hill and over the bridge to do two laps of the island, which is pretty long grass where you had to dodge the rabbit holes, so after the first lap it was pretty much one of those "fucking hell another lap of that to go", that feeling remained pretty much for the rest of the race. After completing both laps we had that steep hill to climb back up (oh the joys) and taking Clairs advice I just got up it as quickly as possible then headed for the final lap around the grounds, finishing off with that long slog up to the finish. Considering I thought this would be a nice flatish run around the castle grounds, I can assure you it fucking wasn't! It was so tough, that even though I wasn't racing, I was happy with a time just over 34 minutes (the long grass, jumping over rabbit holes and countless hills really slowed us down after the first mile, and proved I much prefer the pavements!) and came in as 3rd women, and 6th or 7th overall! Medaltastic!
After the race I went home and plonked myself in front of the TV and watched London Marathon, whilst stalking the runners that I knew were running via the tracker on the website. Twitter was going mental all day, it was ace! I have to say, London Marathon will forever be special to me, it was the most incredible experience and I would be a fool not to want to do it again, one day. Six months ago I said never again, it takes over your life, but after watching the race yesterday I will revisit it one day, because it is so worth it! Not quite yet though, I have the triathlons over the next couple of years to keep me busy and to get me into shape, but I have a score to settle with that race, a year ago it broke me, I need to show it who's boss. So I will make a return to London Marathon, but this time I will be ready to set a respectable time, and I've been challenged to 4:45, so 2015 here I come!
After an afternoon lounging around stalking my twitter mates (massive congrats to @DanRunning, @StuartAmoryPT, @HelenStothard, @TeamB_O_B, @twentyfourhours and @jlcurrie's brother Stu, along with the 35000 other runners and new members of the #VLMfamily, it's a special place to be) and watching the F1, it was time for my homework.
I had arranged to go for a cycle with Sharon (@buggsie01) on Sunday evening. Sharon had very kindly offered to come to me and to go from my house but in a moment of madness I said no, that I would ride the two miles to her house and we would go from there. Before I had time to talk myself out of it I got ready and pushed the bike out of the house and off I went. Apart from a bus getting far too close for comfort as I pulled off from traffic lights the ride over to Sharons was actually ok. From Sharons we did a further 6 miles back to my house, the route was really nice, I have ran it in the past with Sharon so I knew it well, and involved some right turns, islands and a couple of hills which were hard work. In fact, during the biggest hill I had to stop a couple of times, the road was very narrow so when a car came steaming up the hill I shit myself, then after I got going again I got out of the saddle and promptly steered myself into a bush, so this is me at the top of said hill:
The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, apart from nearly crashing into Sharon and taking her out! What I have established is that the part of the tri that I was dreading I no longer need to worry about, because even though you have to be cautious, it's not as scary as I thought.
Sharon asked me a question when I arrived at her house that really got me thinking. What is more of an achievement, completing London Marathon last year, or this? Because as Sharon said, I could always run, I just needed to run further, but with this, I have got over my fear of water and taught myself how to swim, and got myself on a bike after over 20 years and now riding on the roads, all in the space of a few weeks.