Marathon training week two

Well there’s a title I never expected to be writing again.

I don’t normally enthuse about anything but I’ve had a great time since entering the Loch Rannoch Marathon. It just feels so right to be working towards something big but achievable. Better still the doctor has cleared me to run. She asked a few questions and then took my blood pressure. It shows how much I want to do this that before she tested it I told her that my blood pressure is always considerably higher when I visit the doctor due to “white coat syndrome.” In the event the pressure was fine, almost normal in fact.

And I’ve had an early birthday present of two very important helpers :

It’s a rubbish photo but it is in fact a Garmin Forerunner and a heart rate monitor. Don’t ask how they work but they tell you everything you need to know when running about time, distance, pace, cadence(strides per minute), heart rate, elevation gain and so on. After the run it produces reports which geeks like me can pour over for hours :

 

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Because I’ve been running regularly all year my basic fitness levels aren’t too bad and as a result the first week of training has been pretty straightforward. It will get harder though!

Loch Rannoch Marathon

It won’t be a great surprise for you to learn that I’ve entered the Loch Rannoch Marathon on October 16. It’s a flattish race running round the loch on quiet roads with lovely scenery.

There are three hurdles to jump before I line up on 16 October.

Firstly I have to get medical approval. I’ve made an appointment for 22 June.

Secondly I have to carry out the required training without getting injured. I’ve started an 18 week training schedule today.

Thirdly I somehow have to overcome the fact that I’ll be on a boat for two weeks in the middle of the training with extremely limited opportunity to exercise!

All that being said I think it’s possible and I certainly look forward to the challenge. I’ll try and post an update once a week.

Decision making

Is there anything other than suffering which is more difficult for humans than decision making? No wonder lots of different ways of doing it have been invented.  You can toss a coin. You can draw straws. You can ask a friend. You can draw up a list of pros and cons. You can imagine potential outcomes of a certain decision. You can even take a guess. You can do what inwardly you think you want to.

Perhaps the worst thing you can do is postpone a decision indefinitely.

Personally I like the pros and cons method even though if it doesn’t work out the way I want I sometimes follow my heart.

So here are the pros and cons for attempting another marathon :

Pro :

Gives a definite target to aim for

Gets me fit, healthy and positive

Gives me the chance to get a personal best in an event where I think I can

Wonderful sense of achievement if I succeed

 

Con :

As I get older there are some health risks both in training and the event itself

Training will eat up a lot of time and impact other aspects of life

It’s selfish to do and I need to consider other people in my life

 

The pros are leading 4-3 and I think that’s the way I’m tending.

 

The difficult time of year

It’s just over three years since I completed my first and last marathon. It was something to tick off the bucket list and the considerable amount of time required to train for the 26.2 miles run was reason enough never to contemplate another one.

But for those who make that decision this is a difficult time of year. The Edinburgh Marathon Festival weekend is just past and I know loads of folk who were running in one of the events. To see the sense of achievement in their faces; to read their exhilarated posts on social media and to read the varied blog posts about their experience inevitably makes me want to do just one more marathon. I need to have a goal or target to work towards. After marathons those who want to go to the next stage start doing ultras (even more than 26.2 miles) or triathlons. Neither of these options hold any attraction whatsoever to me.

So what do you do? I’ve gone as far as looking at other marathon possibilities. Without succumbing I hasten to add. Meanwhile on the weight-loss task I’m ashamed to admit that I’m still a kilo off my target. No excuses – it’s very straightforward but I haven’t had the necessary willpower!

The empty tent

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There’s an image in my head that I’ve been struggling to let go off. It’s the one above of the empty green tent belonging to two young climbers from Bradford missing on Ben Nevis since Valentine’s Weekend. Rachel Slater and Tim Newton were experienced climbers but no trace of them has been found despite extensive searches. How must it feel for family and friends as day after day passes without any positive news? The hope they are clinging on to getting more fragile with each passing day.

The weather has not been conducive to running but I’ve been keeping to a regular schedule – aiming for at least 50 miles each month. I’m mixing it up with easy runs, tempo runs, interval training and some new routes – not easy when I think I’ve tried every possible combination in the neighbourhood. Much as I would like to record that I’ve reached my target weight, I still have 1 kilo to lose. This time last year I was training for the Alloa Half Marathon and I miss that sort of focus.

Random Acts of Kindness

I think most people are familiar with the concept of “random acts of kindness” where a stranger will do something for you or give you something unprompted. It seems that it originated in the States when in 1982 a woman called Anne Herbert wrote on a placemat “practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty”. It came to me today when a Chinese lady walked up to me at the level crossing and thrust some chocolate in my hand. Better still it was Lindt chocolate. I’ve heard of people asking for their bill in a restaurant only to be told that someone  has already settled the bill for them. My aunt went into her handbag to pay for her shopping at Marks and Spencer, realised she had left her purse at home only for the lady in the queue behind her to settle her bill without expecting to get the money back. “Do the same for someone else” she said. Things like these brighten up life and show us we don’t exist just for own selfish ends. There is something about giving and helping out our fellow human beings.

All that being said I’ve been pretty selfish this month so far. I’m trying to keep up a programme of four runs a week while at the same time reducing my food intake. My aim is to run 50 miles each month this year. I’ve lost a little bit of weight but not as much as I would have liked. Next official weigh-in is next week.

Happy Christmas!

I’ve lost half a kilo since the last post which is pretty good during the season of excess. I’ve started trying to run regularly and that has helped restrain the appetite a bit. When you’re struggling during a run due to excess weight or unhealthy eating choices it does provide an incentive to tackle the problem.

Realistically I will put some weight on in the next 10 days – an experience which I suspect a significant proportion of the population will mirror.

I hope you have a lovely Christmas and wish you the very best for 2016!