Monday, February 15, 2016

Marathons 65 & 66

What a weekend that was; bitterly cold on Saturday with intermittent rain and a biting wind but then dry and much warmer, with a bit of sunshine for a while, on Sunday!

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Before I start my race reports I must mention that Denny, one of my oldest and dearest friends, collapsed in a meeting at work the week before last and was rushed to hospital for brain surgery after which she was transferred to a specialist Neurological hospital. She'd been doing really well for 5 days when her condition suddenly started to deteriorate on Friday and she was taken back into the Intensive Care Unit.

I'd been in constant contact with her lovely partner Russell who had been putting updates on Facebook so her friends and colleagues knew what was happening. But then I noticed that what he had written on FB was not what he'd said to me and I began to realise that things were worse than I thought and I was even more worried than before. Then it dawned on me that Denny was in serious trouble and that someone who I think of as my younger sister was fighting for her life.

All I could do was send her positive thoughts and prayers and I also dedicated my first marathon to her and wrote a message for her on my running number:

Thank you to everyone who read my message and offered supportive thoughts for her. Much appreciated.

Now I'm a very private person and come from a family of the stiff-upper-lip tradition and so I had to get my mind completely focused on the task ahead and in the words of Charlie Chaplin, "smile though your heart is aching".

Day 1 was held on the same route we ran a few weeks ago for the Jeskyn's Challenge and what I'd forgotten was the oil seed rape, some of which was blooming ridiculously early, which affected my asthma even though there was only a bit of the horrid stuff in flower. Thankfully, the rain seemed to have damped the pollen and it didn't trouble me as much on Saturday.

There was the usual banter with fellow runners and there was even a bunny taking photographs:

But who was inside?

Aha, it's Paul (last seen running dressed as an Oompa-Loompa running at the Chocathon)! The bunny only did 2 laps 'cos he had a sore back.

The other thing was the weather which was really unkind to us with a biting wind and some rain for almost the whole time. I was running really well for the first 5 laps but even though I'd worn extra layers the cold got to me and I slowed right down for the last 2 laps which were shared with the lovely James again and our chatter helped pass the miles and take our minds off the cold. I'd already decided not to go beyond marathon distance that day as I had another one the next day which was more than enough for one weekend.

The ladies did a grand job at the aid station and Andrew stood marshalling out in the cold for the whole day, bless him. He said I should have knitted him an all-in-one whilst I was running - I said something rude in reply! There was lots of hugging between us runners, as usual, and Andy declared that the next day should be 'hug-a-marshall' day and I don't think he was disappointed although he might not have enjoyed the sweatier hugs he received after the sun came out!

On lap 6 we thought we'd get a sub 5 hour finish but we just couldn't find it within our legs and we walked a large past of lap 7, the last lap, to finish in 5:13:39. Not too shabby considering how cold we were and it was worth it for the magnificent medal:

Isn't it wonderful!

As I headed off to my car Paul, aka Mr Ambassador of the 100 marathon club, took this photo of us together:

See, he's not always a miserable ******, he's quite a softy really!

The weather forecast for the next day, Valentine's Day, was much better so I wore my pink/red outfit and took some extra layers with me just in case. The race didn't start too early and so Mike was up and about to take a photo of me before I left:

I spent ages deciding between red or pink tights - as if it mattered!!!

It was nice not to have to leave at silly o'clock as it only took just over an hour to get there.

Rachel was busy handing out race number and registering runners whilst Traviss chatted

Not many puddles and a slightly brighter sky

Lots of people had gone for the red/pink theme and this was my favourite (with Brian in the background)

Amanda & Paul in the foreground

Before we set off there were the usual announcements plus a couple of prizes for the best fancy dress but the thing I wanted to share was the presentation to Martin who was about to complete his 800th marathon. Oh my goodness that is an impressive tally. I managed to catch this photo of him on lap 2.

But it was Anna who staged the best photo. Seen here on an impromptu podium we have Brian (1135 marathons) Martin (800) & Anna (156):

I really wasn't sure how my legs would behave the next day and when I got up out of bed there seemed to be a lot of creaking and groaning emanating from my right leg - tight hamstring, twangy ITB, sore inside knee. After I'd been out and about tending the horses etc it felt a bit better but when we set off I wasn't quite as sure! After about 10 minutes of niggling my legs just settled into it and got on with the job in hand and I have to say that they felt fantastic by the time I'd finished.

As this was hug-a-marshal day, Andrew was indeed hugged by all and sundry so I hope he enjoyed it! It's jolly hard work being a marshal, standing around all day and I'm looking forward to celebrating his 100th marathon in late May.

The route was different from the previous day and I much preferred it as it included an off-road section with some undulations but many people hated that section. Given a choice between tarmac and trail I'd chose trail every time as it's much easier on your legs. The loops were slightly longer as well, which I prefer, and for marathon distance we had to complete 6 laps.

I shared some miles with an assortment of people and had banter with many others and I just love the camaraderie of Traviss's events. There were 2 couples running together and it was wonderful to hear that Trisha completed her first ever marathon hand in hand with her hubby Karl despite having had a nasty fall at 14 miles in which she cut her arm and hands and bruised her ribs. What a lovely way to spend Valentine's Day and don't you just love their outfits!

I'd seem James at the start and he said he was still tired but he shot off like a whippet right from the start (oh the joys of 24 year old legs and boundless energy!). I saw him from afar on a few laps and thought he'd finished but as I was coming to the end of my 5th lap he was standing chatting with Andrew (who I gave another hug) and he said he was waiting for me as he'd already done 6 laps and fancied going ultra. That was nice as the last lap went really quickly and I completed marathon distance faster than the day before and he had completed an extra lap quicker than we'd done marathon distance the day before.

But it didn't end there for James as we'd already established that as he was feeling OK he needed to get another lap in the bank (he has ambitious plans which require a Herculean effort) so after a hug I sent him on his way to complete another lap whilst I headed for home! When I checked his results I saw that he even went on to complete another lap after that ending on 39.30 miles and running the furthest on the day. Excellent work James.

I was especially pleased with my finish time of 5:08:11 which was 5 minutes faster than the day before and just look at this super medal:

See the tank? That's Traviss asserting his masculine side!

When I got home Mike was so proud and we opened a nice bottle of wine to celebrate. This was my first alcohol of the year and it went down a treat with the curry I'd made to celebrate Valentine's Day.

Sadly the evening ended on a sad and very worrying note as when I spoke to Russell to see how Denny was she had been rushed into surgery again as her condition had deteriorated so badly and he had been told that the prognosis was not good. When Russell spoke to the surgeon afterwards he was told that her survival chances are poor but Russell told him that he doesn't know Den. I am hoping with every bit of me that Russell is right and Denny can find the strength to fight this. 

1 comment:

Lowcarb team member said...

I don't know Denny, but I too am sending positive thoughts ...

It was a cold weekend wasn't it but you seemed to enjoy it.
Love all your photo's but especially the first one of, who is that bunny taking photographs!

All the best Jan