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Training for My First Marathon; the Stats are in!

26 Sep

16 is the number of weeks I have been training for this race;

465 is the number of kilometers I have run in those 16 weeks;

44 is the number of hours it took me to run all those kilometers;

23,000 is the number of calories I burned during training but 98,000 is the approximate number of calories I consumed in chocolate in 16 weeks… hmm…

15 is the number of visits to my physiotherapist ouch!

4 is the number of thank you presents I need to buy for my amazing supporters;

3 is the number of days to go until the race; and

1,000,000 is the number of buckets I’m sweating in anxiety and anticipation!

Countless training sessions were missed due to injury, countless hours were spent in misery after missing a training session, countless words of encouragement and support were received and countless will be the joy and exhilaration I will have when I cross the finish line on Sunday!

Marathon Training Week 17 : My New Frenemy (aka Foam Roller)

16 Sep

2 weeks to go…

Eeeek! It’s getting closer now. With less than two weeks to go it’s fair to say that I am nervous. Actually, sorry, I lied, I’m not nervous, I’m terrified! I had another bad week of training so it’s no wonder I don’t feel ready for this race.

What I Was Suppose To Do:


What I Actually Did:

Tuesday, 8 x 800m did not happen. I was tired and my legs were still a bit sore from the long run last Saturday. I struggled through 6 rounds before calling it quits. I was annoyed at myself, well actually my legs, but I knew that stopping short was better than injuring myself further. Smart move! I was not so smart on Thursday though. I didn’t get out for my run during lunch so I had to go after work. The problem was that I was going to farewell drinks for a friend of ours that night also, so I needed to get this run over and done with quickly. Bad move! I was running well and completed the 13KM in just over 1 hour and made it to the drinks by 8PM. I was pretty happy with myself until I woke up on Friday morning with sore shins and a sore right hip (newest addition to the family of injuries). I rested all day Friday and headed out early on Saturday morning for my easy 21KM run. Right from the first step I knew I was in trouble. The pain in my shins and in my hip was more than what I had been experiencing lately and after only 2KM I turned around and headed for home. My total 4KM felt like the last 4KM of a 40KM run, not the first 4KM of a 21KM run. Seriously, what has happened to me?! One good run is all it takes to set me back a week. Now do you understand why I’m packing my dacks?!

One thing that has helped slightly is the arrival of a new friend-enemy in our house. Enter foam roller aka tower of terror, inflicter of pain, your worst nightmare.


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Marathon Training Week 16 : Race Fueling Strategy

9 Sep

3 weeks to go…

My Plan


What Actually Happened

If you remember from last week, I had a rather poor week of training thanks to my shin splints, and after a weekend of walking around Budapest I decided to give my sprints a miss on Monday.¬† I was happy to get to spinning on Tuesday as it has been a few weeks since I was at a class but boy did I have a sore butt on Wednesday ūüôā

I decided to run a little further than the planned 8KM on Wednesday and managed a very comfortable 12KM with an average pace of 5:46min/km. Not too shabby at all.

If you’re following my blog regularly you’ll know that Thursday was actually a holiday in Geneva so no Pilates for me. Instead, we took a leisurely day trip to Yvoire, a medieval French town on Lake Geneva. It was probably the last day of summer too b

ecause the weather forecast for this week is for days below 20 degrees C!!

Now comes the long run. I felt really good on Saturday morning, full of energy, no shin pain, the clouds were clearing from the overnight thunderstorms and I had even planned a new route for my last long run. New route huh? Big mistake! I got lost pretty quickly, took one turn too early because most of the “roads” I had planned to follow turned out to be unmarked trails, and stayed lost until 13KM mark. I wasn’t able to get into a rhythm because I was constantly having to stop to read road signs or look at trail maps to figure out where I was and deciding in which general direction I should be running etc etc and at around 13KM, once I had found a road that was actually on my list and I had taken my first correct turn, I need a bathroom stop. Haven’t needed one for the past few weeks but can I just say that I won’t be eating beans before a long run ever again. Ever! Thankfully I was in a fairly secluded spot away from any roads and could easily take a quick dip into a field of Sunflowers and I am doubly thankful that I always carry toilet paper in my pocket. Moving right along, my getting lost added about 5KM to my route which therefore reduced my 13KM grass running to just 8KM. By the time I got to the rugby field at 23KM I knew I was going to have a hard time finishing the next 16KM. I decided to finish at 38KM instead of 39KM but by 32KM my pace had increased to 6:45min/km and I felt like I was dragging my feet and legs behind me. Nothing wanted to move. At 35KM I was shuffling along at 7min/km pace and called it quits at 37KM and 4h08m. I felt OK energy wise but my legs could just not carry me any further. I was disappointed to have not reached 39KM and was equally disappointed that I did not run as well as I did just a few weeks before. Can I run the whole distance on race day? I think I can.

That was my last long run and my last opportunity to sort out my race fueling strategy.

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Marathon Training Week 15 : My thoughts on my training so far

2 Sep

4 weeks to go…

I’m sorry, what? 4 weeks to go. Yes I heard you the first time, I just don’t believe you. How can there be only 4 weeks until the Berlin Marathon? I’m not ready yet and I’m pretty sure I won’t be anywhere near where I had expected myself to be when I registered for this marathon 10 months ago.

I was coming off a high after completing my first half-marathon in Amsterdam in October 2012. There were advertisements and leaflets everywhere promoting the 2013 Berlin Marathon. I had sworn never to run a marathon, what lunacy! I don’t know what compelled me to do such a crazy thing, but on the 25th of October 2012, just days after the half-marathon, I, and 40,000 other mad people, pre-registered for the 2013 Berlin Marathon. What was I thinking?! A few months later I signed up for the Geneva half-marathon in May 2013 thinking this would be a good race and good warm up to my full marathon training. Good thinking 99! I was planning for a 1h45m half-marathon and a sub-4 hour marathon. That’s when disaster struck and my training took a nose dive. Shin splints. The reason for my withdrawal from the Geneva half marathon, the reason for my significantly adjusted training plan and time goal, and the reason for this weeks sucky performance.

There is simply no other word to describe this past week of training, sucky. Ok there’s probably plenty of other more appropriate words and I’m sure my husband will gladly show me a list of them when I get home tonight, but let’s just go with sucky shall we.

My Plan:


What Actually Happened:

If you one of my regular readers you will know what a fantastic long run I had last week and how deserving I was of a slower week of training. As with most training plans I’ve seen, every 3-4 weeks is a “rest” week, and my plan is no different. I’ve been increasing the distance of my long runs significantly over the past 3 weeks so I was looking forward to a relatively easy 21KM run this week – plus a trip to Budapest but more on that later this week ūüôā

Unfortunately my shins were sore on Sunday and Monday following my long run on Saturday and the 6KM of sprints on Monday certainly did not help. I skipped my spin class and struggled through 11KM on Wednesday. Probably a bit too much because on Friday I lasted on 6KM. It was an early morning run on Friday and fortunately my husband was up early as well preparing for his run because as soon as I got home I just cried. My ever supporting and faithful husband was there to pick up my soggy mess from the floor.

Now that I think about it, I’ve had one good long run in August. Just one. Damn these shin splints, damn my crazy idea to run a marathon and damn my determination to be at the start line in 4 weeks.

On a side note, here’s a little pic from my run on Wednesday night. Not such a bad place to be running, even if every step is painful.

Sunset Run in Geneva

Sunset Run in Geneva

Where is your favourite place to run?

Marathon Training Week 14 : Why I Should Not Run

26 Aug

5 weeks to go…

It’s marathon Monday! But you already knew that. You, my loyal readers, know what time of the week it is. It’s time for my weekly marathon training update and boy are you in for a good read this week.

My plan:


What Actually Happened:

As with last week, I’m just going to skip over the relatively boring shorter runs on Tuesday and Thursday (nothing new here; road run, not quite full pace, full distances achieved, minimal shin pain) and get straight into the long run report.

If you have read my reports on my last two long runs (27km and 32km), you will know that I haven’t been performing too well. Well by jolly do I have some good news for you this week. I ran 35km with no stops in 3h38min. Stoked!! I re-jigged my training plan so that I could run on Saturday morning instead of Sunday afternoon. Why? Because we’re off for a weekend away next weekend and so needed to shuffle things around to accommodate our holiday plans (naturally!).¬† I’m learning that I am much more of a morning runner than an afternoon/evening runner. I love the cooler air in the morning and I have no problem with rising early, even on a Saturday. I was up at 6am for a breakfast for Weetabix and a banana before heading out the door shortly before 7am. Thunderstorms were forecast to come through Geneva from 11am so I knew I had to get out early.

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Marathon Training Week 13 : My Lowest Run Ever

19 Aug

6 weeks to go…

My Plan :


What Actually Happened :

This week I’m going to skip over the intervals on Wednesday and the tempo run on Friday since these were relatively uneventful sessions and would not be very good reading for any of you. I’m sure you are all more interested in hearing how my long run went considering that’s my weak point and well basically where all the action happens. Continue reading

Marathon Training Week 12 : Weekly Training Update

12 Aug

7 weeks to go…

My Plan:


What Actually Happened:

This last week was a super week of training! Wednesday was a wet day so I was forced to take my run indoors to the gym Рnot my preferred location or terrain for running. My shins were sore after this run  and I put that down to running on the treadmill. Overall the run was ok but I think I could have done better on the road. Friday afternoon I had a beautiful run along Lake Geneva. It was a hard 10km as I pushed myself  the whole way and I struggled with a very painful stitch at the 7km mark and ended up walking most of the last kilometer but I was really happy with my performance for the faster 7km part of the run where I averaged 5:30 min/km. Continue reading

Marathon Training Week 11 : My New Shoes!!

5 Aug

8 weeks to go…

My Training Plan:


What Actually Happened:

It was a little bit hard to get up early on Wednesday morning to go for a run for two reasons; 1) we had just got home from a 5 day weekend in London; and 2) it was my birthday! But I was excited to try out my new Mizuno¬†Wave Sayonara’s. As I mentioned last week, I picked up a pair of the new Mizuno¬†Wave Sayonara while we were in London, and I was eager to get out on the road and take them for a proper run. So that’s exactly what I did. I started out a bit slow on the first few intervals as I wasn’t sure how I would go in the new shoes but I quickly picked up the pace as they were so comfortable and light. I was able to push myself harder than I would have normally and I felt great afterwards. Very decent first run in new shoes. Friday Tempo Run went much the same as the Interval Training. I haven’t been very specific with my ST/MT/LT paces for the tempo runs now that I’m back on the road but I again picked up the pace for the¬†5K block and averaged around 5:15min/km which is one of my fastest so far (I think!). Again I recovered well and was really happy with my performance and my new shoes.

The Sunday long run was a different story however. After a party on the Saturday night to celebrate my birthday I was in no shape to get up at my usual 5am for this run so it wasn’t until 12.30pm that I set off. Unfortunately, this spell of beautiful weather in Geneva has been continuing and it was probably around 30 degrees when I started out on my run. The rugby field was in full sun and I very quickly felt the effects of the heat and humidity. I was forced to stop every 2-3km¬†for a drink and by 9km I was seriously struggling. I could feel that my heart rate was extremely high for the 6:40min/km pace that I was running and made the decision at the 12km mark to head back home. 15km and 1hr40mins later I ran home and jumped straight into a cold bath. I was surprised¬†by how I was affected by the heat¬†but¬†I was equally surprised¬†by how quickly I recovered. I know I made the right decision to call it quits half way through although the 28km long run scheduled for this Sunday will be¬†just¬†that bit¬†tougher now.

Now for the¬†stuff that you’ve been waiting for. My review of the new¬†Mizuno Wave Sayonara!!

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Marathon Training Week 10 : Weekly Training Update

31 Jul

9 weeks to go…

Sincere apologies to my loyal readers, my usual Monday post is a few days late, but as you will see in a minute, I have a very good reason!!

My Plan:


What Actually Happened:

As you can see, this last week was a short week due to a trip to London we had planned for a friend’s wedding. Needless to say, this will be a shorter post than normal! Continue reading

Marathon Training Week 9 : The Joys of Runner’s Trots

22 Jul

10 weeks to go…

My Plan


What Actually Happened

This week was one of those good/bad weeks; good in the fact that I successfully completed each of the required runs at a reasonable pace and bad because it was a struggle to complete each run.

It had been another warm week and I did not sleep very well at all which meant that I struggled to get out of bed at 5:30am for my morning run. I was tired and lethargic during my runs as well so I had to push myself harder each kilometer than I would have normally.

On Wednesday morning I took the interval training on the road. I was a little bit silly and probably ran a little too fast (around 5:45 min/km) considering I was on the road and not on the grass, but I am fighting the overwhelming urge to run faster than I should. As I am getting more kilometers under my belt and as my legs are getting stronger (touch wood!) I want to run faster and to try again to aim for my 4hr marathon. My shins were a bit sore after this fast run so I know that I am not there yet. The Friday run was fairly uneventful. It was a struggle because I was tired and I was not in the right mood but I did what was required and recovered well again after the run.

On Saturday we helped a friend move house. She¬†actually moved into our apartment and will be living with us for the next 6 weeks before she returns to Canada (boo!).¬†I was on my feet all day until 8pm (very unusual since I have a desk job), cleaning the old apartment, moving boxes, running back and forth, on and off trams with suitcases etc, so needless to say my shins were aching on Saturday night.¬†Nothing that an episode of Masterchef¬†and lie down of the couch couldn’t fix though¬†ūüôā Sunday morning and I was up at 5am again for a morning run. It was forecast to be 30 degrees¬†and I desperately wanted to avoid an afternoon run¬†however I was scheduled on to help out at church¬†that morning which meant being¬†ready at 9am hence the 5am wake up call. I had estimated that it would take me 2.5 hours to run the 22km at the suggested 6:50min/km pace and with the intention of being back home by 8am I¬†set off at 5:30am. This week I was again running laps of the rugby field but it was an absolutely glorious morning with not a single soul¬†in sight so I was thoroughly enjoying my run. I¬†had even been¬†able to empty my bowel the night before so I was pretty sure that I would not need to make a toilet stop this week. Boy was I wrong and at 11km I made my pit-stop. Since this is becoming¬†quite a regular occurrence, I thought I would dedicate this¬†post to this awful topic (apologies in advance). A bit more on that in a minute. I ran the first 11km at around 6:20min/km and the second¬†half at an average pace of 6:10 min/km (again fighting the urge not to run¬†faster). This was the¬†first run where my legs (in general) have start to feel heavy and protesting and the last 4-5km¬†were very tough indeed. ¬†I finished in 2h18min which I was reasonably happy about. I did also spend the day in my compression tights which I can say has resulted in a very minimal tightness in my legs today. Seriously¬†the best purchase ever!

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