Saturday, 28 April 2012

Mental attitude

One thing that I read quite a bit about, and put in to practise, was the mental training needed for marathon running.

26.2 miles is a long way.... and running for over 5 hours is a long time !

The marathon course in Brighton doubles back on itself a few times so if, like me, you are not one of the faster people you will have people passing you coming the other way and you KNOW they are miles in front of you !

This may sound slightly arrogant but from the moment I got to Preston Park for the start I didn't ever doubt that I would finish the marathon.

This is the first important point - You have to believe in yourself that you can do this. If you start out thinking that you are not sure then, as soon as it starts to get tough or hurt (and it will hurt) you will lose all faith in your ability to complete the marathon.

When you first enter a marathon you may not be sure that you can do it... but you have entered, so something inside you obviously thinks that you can :) What you need to do is to develop positive self talk, look in the mirror every morning and say out loud "I am a marathon runner" this may seem totally out of place to start with but over the weeks and months you will begin to believe it....

This brings me on to the second point - Realistic expectations. I had never run a marathon before, I didn't know how I would feel, how I would cope with the fatigue or how I would cope with the pain. My goal was to complete the marathon, if I managed it under 5 hours that would have been a bonus. My other goal was to enjoy the race. After all, I was spending 4 months training for this day, running in all weathers, quite often on my own..... for me this was going to be a 26.2 mile lap of honour. This was the public recognition of the months of training and boy was I going to enjoy it ! I wasn't aiming to beat anyone, or the clock, I just wanted to go out and have fun :)

If you set time goals then you set yourself up for possible failure BUT it does depend on your mental attitude as to how you deal with it. Last November I had been aiming for a sub 2 hr half marathon. It didn't happen, afterwards you always think of the bits where "maybe" you could have gone faster but in general I just think that it wasn't meant to happen that day.... and there is always another day..... If I enjoy the run then it is a success :)

During the marathon when I saw the people in front coming back the other way I didn't think "I'm so slow, they are miles in front...." I thought "Wow, look at them go, aren't they great !"

I also thought about all the spectators standing there for hours on end... I'm sure they were colder than I was and no-one gave them a medal... so the least I could do was smile and wave back when they cheered me on and shouted my name.

I met some lovely people on the way and chatted to them for a while....

The last few miles were difficult, but I knew I was going to finish this marathon and I could picture crossing the finish line in my head. In fact I have finished so many marathons in my head you would be amazed ! I had also split the run in to sections; a jog round the park to warm up, a run through the streets of Brighton, a run up past the marina to Ovingdean and back, a run through Hove, a run to the power station and then the final stretch back past the pier to the finish. I had pictured me running each of these sections over and over again...

I am a great believer in a positive mental attitude and that you make your own reality. I don't know who first said it but "If you think you most probably can, or if you think you most probably can't, you are most probably right".

Monday, 23 April 2012

It's good to be back !

I went out for a very gentle 5 mile run over the South Downs yesterday evening with Holly. It felt really good to be back running on the Downs again. It was rather muddy in places but not impassable....

I know I still haven't fully recovered from the marathon, I think that will take a couple of weeks....

It was great to see the bluebells in the woods and the lambs in the fields :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 21 April 2012

So what did I learn....

It is now nearly a week ago since I ran the Brighton Marathon, there is so much that I want to say about it so it may need to be over several posts...

Running a marathon is almost a surreal experience. I spent over 4 months of my life training for this one race. I went out in the pouring rain, freezing cold, wind and sunshine and ran literally hundreds of miles.

The training brings its highs and lows. Some of the highs are the feeling that you get after a really good run, you know when everything just comes together and you feel invincible as though you could run forever. The low point for me was the 19th Feb when the injury to my knee really surfaced, mixed with tiredness and feeling a bit emotional and I though I was going to have to pull out of the marathon.

Running the actual marathon is an amazing high, yes, it is painful, but I loved every minute of it. I have met people that I wouldn't have met any other way and made friends with a group of runners whose only aim is to support each other, no matter how fast (or slow!) each person is. I think it is this that has restored some of my faith in the basic goodness in everyone that took a bit of a battering last year.

I know everyone says the stretch by the power station is hard, not that many supporters, a long "stretch" and coming at 20 miles... but I found the quite sound of everyone running quite reassuring, people in front of me, people behind me and people coming the other way. I used this time to collect my thoughts and have a few miles of "quiet" time before returning to the crowds cheering along the seafront.

I can't get over how many people cheered for me, people I've never met, including the guys outside the pub in Hove, pints in hand shouting encouragement; above all I think it is the support from the crowd that made the marathon such fun.

About mile 25.5 I saw my son Ollie who was a marshal for the marathon; It was great to see him, I was beginning to think I had missed him completely. After that I did begin to cry, I suddenly realised I was doing this, I was actually running a marathon and I WAS going to finish ! I had a sudden surge of energy and my legs seemed to come back to life and want to run faster.

I was sobbing as they gave me my medal and then someone asked me what size t-shirt I wanted; all I remember is thinking "How do I know, I've just run 26.2 miles, I don't know anything about t-shirts !"

I carried on walking for a while so I didn't seize up completely and thats when I realised quite how much my knee was hurting so I took some ibuprofen, had a banana and drink, collected my bag and got changed.

For me it was quite a slow hobble back to the station, bending my right leg was quite painful although I did make it round with only one little blister on my feet :)

Would I do it again ? Yes. Maybe not next year but 2014 I hope to be back running a marathon again. I have some other things I still want to achieve but they will be separate posts...

Important lessons learnt

1. I drank too much, it cost me 20 mins queuing for the loos....

2. When queuing for the loo choose the que with no/very few men in it... If they need a wee they normally use the bushes. Enough said.

3. Have your name on your shirt. Just do it !

4. The mental preparation is as important as the physical

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Brighton Marathon Data

Well, here it is... my Garmin data for the marathon....

If you click on the "view details" you will be able to see my mile splits, no prizes for guessing when I stopped for the loo !

26.2 miles of fun !

Well, I did it ! I completed the Brighton Marathon in 5:10 :) if I hadn't stopped for the loo 4 times on the way round my time would have been 4:50 (I'll post the Garmin data later) but a mix of nerves and drinking too much early on meant I really needed to stop !

I have to say I loved every minute of it, I think I was smiling like a Cheshire cat for most of the way, right up until the last few hundred yards when I realised I was actually about to complete my first marathon and I burst in to tears and crossed the finishing line with tears running down my face.

My knee started hurting at about mile 18 but somehow it didn't matter, it was hard work at times to keep going but the crowds shouting my name made such a difference, it was as though they had all come out to support me :) putting my name on my shirt really did help !

Anyway, this is a photo of my medal :) I will post more details of the race and more photos later...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 9 April 2012

Eat, Breathe & Dream Marathon

With only a few days to go now this marathon seems to be taking over my life.

I'm looking at weather forecasts trying to work out quite how warm it will be and what I should wear...

I'm looking at the route map visualising the route and landmarks....

I'm thinking about each meal in terms of carbohydrate intake...

I'm looking at each person I meet with a cold thinking please don't give it to me !

I'm thinking about the timings on the day, how long I need to leave to get to the start, how long it will take me to run it, how long the queues for the toilets might be...

I'm feeling each tiny niggle in my legs praying it doesn't develop in to anything...

I'm avoiding alcohol (but would really love a glass !)

I'm wondering if I can really do this.....

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Still running...

It has been a bit of a strange week in many ways; with the news last weekend of the death of Micah True, a really inspirational person that really did take everyone by surprise. I still don't know how he died but he did die doing something that he loved, running.

I'm heading back to the physio on Friday for some more treatment on my knee, I've been busy massaging it at home with Phills electric sander, hopefully this has been working but we will see what the verdict is on Friday.

Anyway, this time next week I will be knackered and nearing the end of the marathon... I still can't believe how fast the last few weeks have gone, during this next week I will be hardly running at all, just resting and making sure I reach the start line in the best condition I can....

This photo is from this mornings run, one of my favourite routes :)

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

When not to run

1. When you have a hangover

I know it sounds obvious really, but I have tried it and it really isn't a pretty sight. One particular New Years Day run springs to mind...... On a more serious note you will most probably be dehydrated from the alcohol before you start as well as tired, possibly with a very "uncertain" stomach and a headache... Start running and you may very well wish you hadn't.

2. On a rest day

I know the temptation, a lovely day, you feel great and someone says why don't you come out for a run ? The danger is that you don't replace your rest day.... And before you know it you are running 7 days a week without a break.

Your body NEEDS time to rest, recover and repair between runs, if you don't do this then you may it hurt yourself this week or next week but gradually you will find those niggles don't go away and before you know it you have developed an overuse injury...

3. When something hurts

If it hurts, stop running. I don't mean the normal aching muscle feeling, but when something starts hurting that doesn't normally ache, or if an ache starts turning in to a pain then stop ! If you don't stop then you may not just miss one or two runs but potentially months of running...

Go and see your doctor or a sports physio and take their advice. If they tell you to take a break from running then do so; they may tell you that it is ok to continue if you can put up with it hurting but pain is your bodies way of letting you know something is wrong. Don't ignore it..... What starts as a strain/pain can end up as a stress fracture that will take months to heal. If you even suspect a fracture don't run on it !

PS I'm not a doctor, or medically qualified, always seek a professional opinion rather than just what you read on the Internet or what your mates say :)

I'm sure there are other times when you shouldn't run..... But these are my top 3

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 2 April 2012

Running Style

As part of me trying to "fix" me and make sure the ITB problems with my knee don't come back Phill filmed me running to see what my foot strike looks like. We have a very high frame rate camera that we use for work so he used this to film me....

Slow motion running from Lisa Beaney on Vimeo.

It was very interesting showing this film to a few different people and the different conclusions... However, the physio says that looking at this, and from what he has found, that the problem is with one hip and the way that I have been sitting for the last few years. He is confident that he can sort this all out for me and that IF if do what he says then the problems are very unlikely to re-occur.

I also had a good chat with him about barefoot running, something that I have been quite keen on trying. His advice to me is don't. With my bone and muscle structure he said all I will do is damage my cartilage and that I NEED cushioning in my trainers if I am going to continue distance running.

I must admit it has been very enlightening talking to him about my running and the various minor niggles I have had, it looks as though they all have a common cause, but, luckily for me, it is all "fixable".

Sunday, 1 April 2012

National Lottery Olympic Park Run

Yesterday I was lucky enough to spend the day at the Olympic Stadium with Holly & Dorian. Holly was one of the lucky 5,000 to take part in a 5 mile run round the Olympic Park and be one of the first to cross the finishing line in the Olympic Stadium.

After all the wonderful sunshine we had during the week it was decidedly cool, overcast and windy but that didn't dampen anyones enthusiasm.

This is most probably the only chance I will get to go to the Olympic Stadium, I don't have tickets for any of the events and if it ends up as a football stadium I doubt I will ever go there !

The Stadium has an 80,000 capacity; yesterday there were 15,000 people there.... it was quite a queue to get in and go through the airport style security. We were all sent a long list of things that we couldn't take with us... or wear.. including anything that made a political statement. This does make me wonder what sort of country we are living in; this is the sort of level of control and censorship that we would have said was unacceptable in communist China, but it is here, now, in the UK...

I think it s fair to say that there is still a fair amount of building work to finish, I guess being late with this project is not an option !

Due to all the security controls and restrictions I only took my handbag camera with me; these are just a couple of the photographs that I took, I still need to look through the rest and also the video !

It was a fantastic atmosphere and lots of the runners were stopping to take photos or holding their cameras out to film themselves running !

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