Saturday, 17 March 2012

The Miracle of the Blessed Mars Bar

Only just over a month to go before the marathon, and things are going well. We're nearly at two thirds of our fundraising target, and last week we did our first 20 mile run, the furthest I've ever gone.

It was a tough one compared to the relatively easy 18 miles the week before - it's certainly convinced me (if I needed convincing!) that the two week taper (where you reduce your mileage dramatically in the weeks before the race) is a fantastic idea. I was struggling from about 14 miles and I was ready to give up at 17. My legs were in agony, although cardiovascularly I felt fine. I certainly wasn't exhausted, just really, really sore.

We stopped at the Riverside Museum, about 3 miles from home, for Jen to pop to the loo and for me to have a rest. Fortuitously, there was a wee ice cream van outside, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to grab some fuel. I don't know what the family in front of me, who were taking what felt like three hours to make a ridiculously complex ice cream order, thought of me dancing from foot to foot and moaning quietly behind them, but I was willing them to hurry the hell up and let me get at the sugar! Once they finally had their mint-choc-chip-vanilla-wafer-cones-with-raspberry sauce or whatever it was they were ordering (ice cream in March? Really?) I ordered a Mars Bar from the nice wee man. He tried to engage me in conversation, so through the pain I managed to convey that I was training for a marathon and really needed some food. I gratefully grabbed the proffered Mars Bar and hobbled to a bench to eat it. Jen came out and ate her Milky Way, and we decided to set off again and get the final three miles over with.

We started walking, each step sending stabbing pains up my legs. Then my poor limbs started to ease off and we progressed to a slow shuffle, then a steady jog. By the time we'd been going for five minutes, the worst of the pain was gone and I felt able to face the last wee bit of the run. Before I knew it we had finished, and at a significantly better pace per mile than we'd managed for our 16 mile run a few weeks before. It felt wonderful to be done, and even better to know that that was the longest run in our training programme! I also now know to carry emergency Mars Bars, as the Lucozade Sport and sports jelly beans just won't cut it.

This week we had a relatively short 16 miler (when did 16 miles become short?) It was a lovely day, cool but bright, and the run was a breeze. We ran round leafy Bearsden and then along the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Kelvin Walkway, so it was a scenic and fresh run in perfect conditions.

Next week we have a rest week with three short runs and no long run, and the week after we once again do the 20 miles. After that the taper begins and we just have to look forward to the big day.

All we have to do now is reach our fundraising target! If you can help with a small donation we'd be really grateful. Barnardo's is a wonderful charity, and as teachers we know how much help some of our young people need with their lives. Any help you can give would be wonderful. Click here to go to our fundraising page. Thank you!


  1. Just want to wish you all the very best in London - I don't know if you are a seasoned runner or not but I just completed my first marathon last week and it hasn't put me off doing another because I enjoyed it (yes, actually smiled pretty much all the warY round) so much - despite the intense heat in Barcelona, and folk keeling over due to heat exhaustion, I just kept plodding on, remembered to look around and take in the sights, and ultimately I realised it was very doable - I didn't make my optimistic sub 4 target (I entered last June and didn't figure on injuries, chest infection, and two demanding under three's and little childcare!) but came in at 4 hours 52ish, in one piece and still smiling - so, whatever happens, smile, enjoy, and make yourself, your other half and wee Izzy proud.

  2. Thanks for making the time to comment - well done on your marathon, that's a brilliant time! I'm aiming or 5:30 but sub 6 will do me fine. I've been running (well, plodding along) for years, but this is the first time I've gone further than the half marathon. Really looking forward to it though!

  3. Thank you so much for the sponsor! That was really kind of you :-)

    1. My pleasure - most of my friends thought I'd taken on too much when I decided to do the marathon, but I can honestly say that running was my sanity, and despite setbacks, I rarely went out and thought "I shouldn't have done that". I applaud any mother who makes the decision to run, whatever distace, and finds precious time and determination to get through it - after childbirth I reckon most things are a doddle! Plus it's great for kids to see that Mums can do stuff too. Good luck - don't foret to update your blog soon after your finish.