Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Marathon Countdown - Weeks 12 & 11

My laptop broke last week. Well, when I say broke, the moral of the story is don’t drink tea near computers kids. Its lack of functionality meant I wasn’t able to write a blog update until getting my hands on another, so I suddenly have two and a bit weeks worth of pre-marathon-ness to cover. It is pretty scary to think about how quickly the last fortnight has flown by when there are just eleven weeks left to the BIG LM. So, best not to think about that and just get on with some more training I think!

What can I update you on? Well, hill sprints have entered my life, courtesy of Coach Cotsen. As Mr C ran the London Marathon a few years ago and has been offering me welcome tips based on his real-life experiences I’ve decided upon the nickname. During a late evening training session, Coach C decided upon a starting lamppost at the base of a Cyncoed hill, and one towards the top. The aim of the game was to run up from one to the other as fast as possible, walk down slowly afterwards to recover, and repeat, ten times. It burned, but was fun, and no doubt a great fitness boost. I found myself repeating on the following Wednesday, February 1st, and managed eleven that time. I hope to add an extra rep each week.

On Sunday January 29th I decided to go for a long, slow run, taking in the Cardiff sights and a few photographs along the way. Here they are, mapping my 10.7 mile journey around the city. I felt very entertained by all there was to see, so I’m hoping for even more distraction in London when I’ll be passing heaps of landmarks.

1. The Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay, during the Britain's Got Talent Auditions

2. I ran over the Cardiff Bay barrage, planning to head to Penarth but the bridge was up so I reversed my route instead!

3. Next section : along the Taff Embankment, past the Millennium Stadium (one of my favourite parts of the city) into Bute Park.

4. Past the RWCMD, onto Cathays Park (pictured, and looks amazing at night!) back to Roath via Cathays.
Oh, and another noteworthy feature of my recent running has been THE NIPPLE SPLINTERING COLD. My method of encouraging myself out of bed and out the door? Pre and post running hot showers. But in spite of my shower trick, the cold has disrupted my training a bit. I’d planned a long valleys run when I went home for my dad’s birthday last weekend which had to be cancelled as the pavements were too icy, so I went to the gym instead. However, a 9 mile run early on snowy Saturday felt great and it was quite entertaining to see the seagulls skating on the frozen Roath park lake. And, whilst leaving my cold flat to run in the cold weather might initially be a wrench, once I'm out I love it. Cold weather running beats hot any day for its invigorating effects, plus it makes me less beetrooty looking than when I'm outdoors in the sunshine.

My shins hurt as I type – no connection between the two - but as such, I’m going to make more of an effort to fit in yoga and swimming to increase my stretching and promote muscle soothing. I’m also being kneaded by a chiropractor which is hopefully helping but not very soothing! I may give physio a try soon. Any other suggestions gratefully recieved.

This weekend I plan to find a new long route, possibly via an early morning run along the Swansea seafront into Mumbles. I will continue to follow this man’s super motivational tweets. And I will also continue to reward my efforts now and again with incentive such as this white chocolate panna cotta.

Worth a month of cold weather runs! 

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