On the sixth and seventh days of Juneathon, I went to the dentist (a lot)

I’m managing to keep up the actual Juneathoning, but fitting the blogging in is becoming a bit more difficult, not least because I’ve had so many trips to the dentist in the last few days. For the last ten months I’ve been wearing Invisalign braces to straighten my teeth a bit, and on Monday the top ones came off and were replaced with a fixed wire retainer behind my front teeth. That necessitated three trips to the orthodontist in twenty four hours, but I am really pleased with the results. Only another 12 weeks and the bottom ones will be gone too.

On Monday, I had thought about trying to run to and from my lunchtime dentist appointment like I did during marathon training, but annoyingly work appointments wouldn’t have left me enough time for a shower.  So I went to a spin class in the evening instead – fortunately no fictional evil overlords in this one, although the 15 minutes abs clinic immediately afterwards was a killer.  Yesterday I managed a quick gym trip involving the cross-trainer, rowing machine and weights as I try and tone my arms.  I also walked the couple of miles to my cousin’s place for dinner – a lovely evening stroll along the river in the sunshine that I used to do every week when we did pilates together with Claire last year.  The additional exercise might have been slightly undone by the large Dominos pizza and bottle of wine we shared once I got there.  Need to get a grip on that, because a week into Juneathon I think I am more out of shape than ever, which is not how it is supposed to go.

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Taper (or running out of steam)

I fear that I may have peaked too soon.  Since the 20 mile run the other week, I have been feeling far less motivated about running, and even training more generally.  The taper period has started now, so I deliberately took it easy last week in an attempt to help my poorly quad recover from whatever it is that is ailing it.  It did appear to help – my first-thing-in-the-morning limp is less pronounced – but the general apathy that has come with the tail-off has taken me by surprise.

Admittedly, work has been busy, but since my last post ten days ago I have only managed the following in terms of training:

Wednesday evening: short gym session on the rower, cross-trainer and free weights;
Thursday morning: Spin and Tone session (unfortunately the toning session focused on the same upper body muscles as my own workout the night before, so it was a struggle);
Friday:  30 minute yoga/pilates class;
Sunday late afternoon:  ten mile run/walk; and
Tuesday evening: a 5k interval session on the treadmill. 

All of which is OK for what it’s worth but is much less than I had intended.  The plan was for the long run on Sunday (a whole week after my last run) to be 16 miles rather than 10, but my heart just wasn’t in it.  I dithered all day and am pretty sure that if it hadn’t been such a glorious day outside I wouldn’t have gone at all.  I decided to do a river loop between Barnes and Putney, and had it not been warm and sunny I would have turned towards home when I got back to Hammersmith Bridge at 5.5 miles rather than continuing on along the south bank.  But even though I resolved to keep going, it was with the promise to myself that provided I covered the 10 miles one way or another, I could just walk it and enjoy being outside in the lovely spring weather instead of pushing on through.  I did run bits of it but got a nasty stitch two and a half miles from home and just meandered my way back from there.  Hardly gritted determination to succeed at all costs.

Yesterday’s treadmill session was more of the same.  My schedule suggested 7 x 800m intervals, which I thought was optimistic even before I started and so I resolved to do six.  I did three reasonably happily, but without my iPod and with the gym hot and sticky I was tired of it after just three.  In the end I did manage to push on for a fourth and made a point of making it faster (flat out sprinting the last 200m), but it was really just a lame attempt to justify quitting before I was done.  Rubbish really.

I’ve also deliberately slept through 2 morning spin classes so far this week, which isn’t great.  I’m hoping it’ll be third time lucky tomorrow.

Lots of people are asking me now whether I’m excited or nervous and how the training is going – all I can tell them is that I just want to get it over and done with now.  I know its common to feel strange and frustrated during a taper period but I don’t feel like I want to get out and run, I just feel apathetic and want it to be over.  Anyone else felt like this?

The plan for the weekend is to go home to Warwickshire tomorrow night for a brief Mother’s Day visit, and head out Saturday morning for the same 15.25 miler that I did back in February.  The good thing about that is that really there’s no turning back once you’re committed to that run, and I’ll have my parents to kick me out of the door in the morning, so I’m hoping to get my mojo back that way.  Fingers crossed anyway.

PS.  I’ve been invited to a Cheesefest the Friday night before the marathon, which is exactly as it sounds – a bunch of friends and lots and lots of lovely cheese.  A wonderful idea as far as I’m concerned, but I’m not sure whether the timing is so great.  Any thoughts on the possible implications of cheese overdose 36 hours before a marathon greatly appreciated!

Stats (2 runs)
Distance:  10 miles; 5k
Time: not sure; 00:29:26
Terrain:  river path; treadmill
Time of day:  late afternoon; evening
Weather:  wall to wall sunshine;  just walls, no windows
Notable features:  lethargy, grumpiness and not finishing the job

Day 8 – Penultimate pilates

Sounds like lots of Juneathoners got soaked today but I was more fortunate – at 7pm when I left the office for the 2.5 mile walk to my pilates lesson the sun had emerged and it had turned into a glorious evening, perfect for a walk and a bit of gentle Juneathoning.

As I crossed the wobbly Millenium Bridge I could see that Tower Bridge was open, but I wasn’t close enough to get a good picture or see what the big ship was, and by the time I got closer the drawbridge was down again and everyone was getting on with their evening.  But by then I had some more elephants to keep my camera happy.

As I wandered past all the lovely restaurants lining the river it made me feel hungry as it does every week (not surprising since there are such tempting smells and I always go past at dinnertime) and the people having a drink in the sun after work made me want to stop too and just sit down with a glass of wine instead of doing pilates. But (a) its Juneathon and that kind of attitude just won’t wash, and (b) its my penultimate session with my lovely trainer Claire before she disappears back off to Edinburgh for evermore (sob!), so I have to make the most of her. So I kept going and didn’t give in to the temptation (not that I was ever really going to).

Anyway, once there my pilates session was lovely, up in our little observatory on the sixth floor, with floor to ceiling glass and views over the entire city and with a fabulous sunset to boot. Not at all a bad way to unwind from a busy day, and it actually burns calories instead of adding them as wine has a nasty habit of doing. Claire did give us a fairly hard session though and it was warm in the observatory so it felt like a decent workout even in spite of the chilled out setting.

So even though its been the most sedate of all the Juneathon days so far, I suspect I will be feeling it tomorrow.

New bed

I bought a new bed today – check it out (the image is from the Feather & Black website, so it’s not of my bedroom).  It’s to go in my new flat when I move in a few weeks. I feel very grown up.

No official exercise today – hoped to go to spin but the online booking system we have at work means that if you don’t hit the “Book” button within 2 seconds of the system going live for the day then there’s no spaces left. Today the time it took my browser to load was too long. Probably just as well though as I am in pain from PT yesterday.  Instead, I walked to the bed shop from the office – Fleet Street to Tottenham Court Road – and back again this evening, a round trip of 4 miles in the evening sun. That’ll do nicely.

Ministry of funny runs

Tuesday is Pilates night so I fled the office at 7.15 for the nice walk from Blackfriars to Tower Bridge, where my cousin’s building has a fab seventh floor observatory that makes a perfect studio for our private lesson. Temperature had dropped a bit and I was in a sleeveless dress so had to layer up with my pilates hoodie – probably not a great look.  But the walk is a simply fab one, especially now that herds of exotic baby elephants line the route! Sadly I didn’t have a camera with me last night but here’s a pic of one of my favourites with a journalist from the Evening Standard.

There were loads of runners out, which was nice to see. I haven’t yet figured out a way of running with my pilates mat or I would have joined them. But was was most interesting was that a lot of them seemed to be cultivating very unique running styles: running with hands tucked under armpits (well it was chilly in the wind); running in a sort of diagonal fashion as if about to take off over a high jump bar; and one chap whose knees were so high I can only assume he had been training with the Thunderbirds boys. Now, I’m far from a graceful runner myself, but the multitude of odd styles did make me wonder whether the Ministry of Funny Walks has been hit by the Chancellor’s budget cuts and turfed all its civil servants out onto the streets…