Taper week two:
Sunday – I awoke feeling full of energy but with an horrendous headache! I’d really hoped to have shifted my cold, but it was certainly still lingering. Paracetamol helped but I desperately wanted fresh air, so grabbed my waterproof and a bag to go and pick blackberries. I didn’t find many but enough to go with some more chocolate cake at supper.
Monday – With being on holiday and tapering, sleep is hugely important and something I could give time to, so I had a slight lie in before my recovery run. I felt energised and upbeat! I could easily have set off like a rocket…I’d been as bad on Sunday…so much energy that I’d even said to a friend that I could gladly have done my marathon a week ahead of it’s big day!
The Valley was shrouded in mist…which I ran out of as I entered the local village, hitting a band of warm air…oddly warm…almost oppressive! It actually made breathing feel laboured and made me concentrate on keeping my pace slow. I desperately wanted to go further and do more but my watch pinged 5K and I knew that was it done. I’d kept to heart rate zones 2 and 3 as I’d originally wanted, so got home happy.
Unknowingly, somewhere along the road during my 5K I achieved my 1000 miles in a year goal – something it would take until Thursday to realise!
I’d set the target thinking it would be hard to achieve and well into December before I ever got close – I’d just had chemo cycle 3 and really thought I’d soon have to stop running, the 1000miles goal being something to get me going again as soon as chemotherapy finished…sometimes we astonish ourselves by our own resilience.
Back from my run I had breakfast and rested but then grabbed my mat for my daily yoga practice. My hips ached and I needed to stretch badly – yoga was a huge help but my mind needed calming too and I felt on edge. Not helped by my GP running nearly an hour late, but it did give me time to rest. She has agreed that I can now do a phased return to full time work over the next few months. I’m not able to only go back part time, and I don’t know if in the longer term it would have been exactly what I wanted. I do feel more confident and comfortable knowing that my Doctor is happy with the decision that has been made. She administered my hormone injection…it doesn’t get any less painful, BUT, I didn’t bleed as much as the month before and I had no residual hip pain all day. A huge help as we spent a few hours at the National Trusts Longshaw Estate having a fungi finding adventure.
There was such a wealth of varieties and colour – nature blooming beautifully.
I felt tearful all evening, my injection starting to have a reaction on my body, part of me can be practical and say…yes that’s why I feel this way. There’s also the anxious, fearful, doubting side of my brain though that just crumbles a bit.
Tuesday – It didn’t just rain, it poured! I got absolutely soaked, so once my 5K was finished I did lots of puddle jumping and splashing about on the way home.
I again kept to the lower heart rate zones and felt fresh and energised. Once finished my anxious brain kicked in. I felt overwhelmingly daunted that it was my second to last run before my marathon…it felt surreal to think of it as only days away.
Inspite of a rainy forecast we caught the train to Manchester for a day of culture. Starting our day out by visiting the Manchester Museum.
Then a delicious lunch in China Town before popping to the Manchester Art Gallery to view a new renaissance inspired exhibition and a sculpture display.
Before a bit of shopping and making ready for home, we took time to visit Pot Kettle Black to celebrate National Coffee Day the more civilised way (apologises to all who queued for the free chain alternative on Tuesday) to drink some Antipodean inspired coffee.
Wednesday – My last run before my marathon! I had a small lie in so that it was light enough to not need my headtorch and fluorescent gear on. I chose a route that meant power hiking uphill and a long slow descent down afterwards.
It felt over before it started, but during it everything flowed well and I felt good. My quads a little tight if anything but nothing that concerns me, plus my head cold felt like it had finally gone.
I kept mostly to heart rate zone 2, took my time and made sure to have my usual half a kilometre walk home afterwards.
I stretched as I got in but didn’t get changed straight away, instead I had a leisurely breakfast, long shower and started the day feeling rested.
Thanks to subscribing to emails with Chatsworth House I periodically get car parking vouchers, we decided to use one to give ourselves a free day out. We had a lovely walk in the sun!
The smell of wood smoke in the air near Beeley, the crunch of beech nut husks underfoot in the woodland…it was so peaceful.
Back home it was nice to take time to rest before doing my first kit lay and bag check…stage one of marathon and travel prep.
Thursday – It felt so nice to have another lie in and know that I was well rested…I’d woken in the night feeling really wide awake and my mind going over start line scenarios. My biggest worry…the weather!
I had a slow start with some Greet The Day Yoga before my upper body strength training and then 10minutes of core exercise…my last main workout pre-marathon. Once done, showered and sat having a late breakfast I got brave and checked the weather for the marathon – the forecast showing heavy rain all morning…we may get a dry finish line but certainly not a dry start line. With a race that starts in the middle of nowhere, miles from friends and family to keep us motivated, with no phone signal for messages to keep the hearts buoyant…it will be the collective spirit of each of our fellow runners that will get us through the wait before the start is announced.
Thursday marked a big occasion – my first post treatment hair cut! I decided chemo curls are adorable to all those except the person under them trying to tame them! It felt invigorating to leave with a new runner chic, streamlined do.
I spent the afternoon packing, doing housework and putting pen to paper to plot out the next couple of sections of training – my pre-Christmas downtime interspersed with races, then a running break to end the year before going back to marathon training in preparation for Manchester.
Friday – With not wanting to leave too early due to traffic, it meant I could have an hours yoga practice before a light breakfast and the start of our journey.
My fiance was super and drove all the way so that I could rest as much as possible ready for Sunday. It mean I didn’t use my legs but actually my hips and back suffered slightly. Everything tightened up and I was pleased when we finally arrived at our cottage.
Following a warm welcome from Simon, the owner, we set about putting our things away and settled in for the evening.
Saturday – I was supposed to be giving myself a lie in but by 7am I was wide awake. Thoughts of start line preparations still going through my mind. In the end I got up and read for half an hour.
We did a dry run of getting me to the Event Village, there would still be a 10minute walk afterwards on Sunday morning but it gave me an idea of where everything was. We arrived at the expo mid-morning and collected my number and details easily, then browsed the trade stands before finding seats near the stage ready for the guest talks.
It was an absolute privilege to meet Vassos Alexander…reading his books inspired me to sign up to my first Ultra, gave me ambition to run at least one marathon and the determination to continue setting myself goals. Although he’d be miles infront of me and finish well ahead, knowing that we would be running a marathon together made everything feel even more special.
Expo done it was time to head back to the cottage, look over my kit and drop bag and start getting into long distance mindset.
Sunday – My first 26.2, in my favour place, with what is actually my favourite weather to run in…let’s do this!