Edinburgh Marathon - DNS

A Pretty Place to Play - Edinburgh Marathon DNS

Did. Not. Start. 

Two weeks ago I came off a tough long run and started coughing. I thought pollen had hit the back of my throat, or worst case scenario some bugs had flown in my mouth. Gross, but no big deal. But the cough didn't let up, and by Wednesday I was leaving work early sick. Thursday was spent in bed, and although I started to feel better, I couldn't quite shake the rattle on my chest. Last Monday I thought I was on the mend, I ran for a little bit and felt fine, I was sure it'd be ok, so life got back to normal. Until Saturday morning. Five minutes of running and I felt like my lungs were trying to jump out my throat. Not exactly what you want a week before a marathon. A few calls later my Mum had told me I had no business running a marathon and a doctor had put me on antibiotics, concerned my infection was bacterial. I'd already started toying with the idea of withdrawing from Edinburgh, but now my gut knew it was the right thing to do. So I did it. 

And you know what? It didn't feel bad. 

The decision not to run actually feels pretty good. I'm listening to my body and what it needs, and have the confidence to follow through. So often I think we're afraid to follow through and commit to doing right by our selves, not least when it comes to running. Mindful movement is being in tune with your self, and putting your self first. No ego. Going with what I need is a relief, it gives my body the time and space I need to be sick and to recover. I'm less stressed because I'm not wondering if I'll be well in time, which should help my recovery over all. 

I'm still headed to Edinburgh to hang out and cheer, I might even run the 5k if I feel like it, but if I don't that's cool too.

I might not take away a medal from this marathon, but I have become a better runner, which is what marathon training is all about. Strong Mind. Strong body. A mindful mover.

*image: Anna Rachel Photography

Marathon Essentials

A Pretty Place to Play Marathon Essentials

I can't believe it's only a week and a half until Edinburgh Marathon! I know I keep saying it, but this training cycle has FLOWN. True, it's been a bit shorter than the usual. Plus my milage has been lower. But still, it has whooshed by, and now I'm sorting out all the 'stuff' for the big day!

Packing for marathons is something I always put thought in to. I've never run a marathon 'at home' so I need to make sure I have everything I need in advance and that it makes it with me to my destination. I travelled to my last two marathons by train, so there weren't too many restrictions on how much I carried (although I did learn that hauling a massive suitcase on the Paris Metro the day after a marathon just isn't a good idea), but this time I'm flying up to Edinburgh, and I'm one of those awful people who refuses to check luggage. In part its paranoia about my bags getting lost (which would be a nightmare right before a marathon - remember, no new kit!), but there's also the fact that it's cheaper not to have hold luggage. Plus I that like to pretend I'm an airport ninja bossing it through airports at ludicrous speed. You can't do that with checked luggage.  

A Pretty Place To Play Marathon Essentials

Going hand luggage only has it's challenges. There'll be weight restrictions, size restrictions and limits on the fluids you can carry. Which kind of stops you carrying all the stuff. So I need to get a little more discerning and only take the essentials. It's taken a little work (and a lot of lists in the back of my training journal), but I think my list is down. 

What's essential on marathon day is a really personal thing, so this is just what works for me, your list of essentials might be different, but as a starting point I reckon it's a pretty good list!

clothes

  • shorts, vest, bra, running pants and ProCompression socks for the marathon (Corey, I'll be thinking of you!)
  • leggings, vest, bra, running pants and socks for the 5km shakeout
  • Aptonia recovery compression socks, OOFOS and warm comfy clothes for post marathon
  • chuck away clothes for before the marathon
  • 361 Spinject running shoes
  • sunglasses (I recently lost my Adidas running sunnies, so I'll be wearing my everyday ones)

nutrition

stuff you never knew you needed

  • instant cold packs (handy if your hotel doesn't have a bath)
  • Aptonia Anti-Friction (trust me)
  • Aptonia factor 50+ suncream
  • Aptonia Recoup massage cream
  • Mini Foam Roller (so much smaller and lighter, so great for travel!)
  • lacrosse ball (I swear by this to ease out my feet)
  • lipbalm
  • safety pins (the thing that I always forget, so I've bulk ordered from Amazon)
  • hair ties
  • blister treatment
  • painkillers
  • magnesium gel
  • resistance bands (mobility the night before a race, always!)
  • headphones, charger and a curated list of podcasts, playlists and audio books (I'm going to be on the road for a long time, I may as well catch up on some pop culture)
  • nice shower gel to clean up after the event (after all that work you deserve good smells)
  • watch and charger (I'm going to be managing my pace pretty tightly, so this is an essential)

paperwork

  • race packs - shake out run and marathon (my Mum has my marathon race pack...I really hope she remembers it!)
  • ID and flight details 
  • training journal and my list of positive affirmations (I'll be preparing mentally in the lead up and my A, B and C plans are in my journal)

I think that's everything! Have I missed anything? 

*images: Anna Rachel Photography

**many thanks to Decathlon, OOFOS and 361 for supporting me on my journey to ultra - while these brands do provide me with products, all opinions are my own. 

Why Keep a Training Journal?

A Pretty Place To Play Why Keep a Training Journal

If it's not of Strava it didn't happen. Runners LOVE to log their training. Stats and charts really get runners going, and nothing beats seeing your milage stack up, after all there's a reason why milage challenges are so popular. Bt while it's satisfying to track the miles, you can get way more out of your training journal. 

I'm pretty old school when it comes to my training journal, I love to write things down and much prefer a notepad and pen to logging my runs on Strava or RunKeeper. I like how I can flip through the pages and look back on what I've done, track changes when I feel anxious about my training (which has happened quite a few times since I changed things up and reduced my milage) and remind myself of all the work I've done. 

One of the reasons I like keeping a written journal is because it gives me space to reflect on how my training makes me feel, in a way that the various apps can't. I can jot down notes on what I ate, how much I drank and, more importantly, where my head was at before, during and after each run. As a mindful mover those reflections are invaluable, and I've learnt so much about myself and my performance. It's made me braver and helped me develop more trust in myself, which is particularly important when you're on a year long journey to an ultra marathon. That's a long time to train, to focus on training and to maintain belief in the process. 

The biggest take away from this training cycle (which I can't believe is nearly over) has been understanding more about what I need psychologically to perform. Part of the reason I chose to work with Chevy was because I knew that spending a year training for an ultra marathon would be mentally tough, and I wanted a coach who understood, really understood, what it's like to have a mental illness. Since we started working together he has encouraged me to think hard about how I feel and where my head is at, and then to adjust my training accordingly. I've learnt that I have no business doing speed work when my head is distracted by stress and anxiety, that it's better to take the day off than push through and damage myself. I've also learnt when I perform the best, when I'm well rested, when my mind is peaceful and happy. I've learnt that getting my head straight the night before a run is key, positive affirmations work and that when I trust my training and my body things come together. 

Two weeks to go and my training journal is really coming into its own. As maranoia grows (not helped by a chest infection that has had me sidelined for the best part of a week), my journal is like a soothing blankie that reminds me where I've been, where I'm going and crucially that this marathon is just a piece of a much (much) bigger puzzle. Which is really nice. 

Do you keep a training journal? What do you reflect on?

*image: Anna Rachel Photography