Last year, I just didnt have time to keep up with my marathon training blog, but yes I completed the Newport Marathon a 2nd time, a bit slower this time, and there were less people running and supporters so I was on my own most of the time. So 3rd time lucky to get under 5 hours 30 mins! I have entered again next year. I have also got my eye on some Ultra’s just need to work out how to get to start and home from the finish when they are not in the same location!
Yes, I’ve entered the Newport Marathon again, I have an aim of under 5 hours 30 this year!
I’ve run two half’s the Severn Bridge and Cardiff since the marathon, but due to events in life in June, my running mojo had disappeared and I didn’t really enjoyed them, I’ve also had a 24 hour heart trace to see any reason why my heart rate goes up so fast when I move, I’ve not had the results yet – 3 month laster so working on they would have contacted me if any issues!
I’m already on week 5 of my 26 week training program, and so far my schedule is a 5k run with a local social on a Monday, Zumba on a Tuesday, long run on a Thursday and park run on a Saturday.
It was the first Newport Marathon, so I was fully prepared that not all things may go to plan, I could see the difficulties they were having trying to find volunteers even the day before .
I had booked the Park and Ride option, so no worries about trying to find somewhere to park. It was the opposite end of Newport from where we lived so we left home at 6.30 am and arrived there at 7am. Having had horrendous trouble at Swansea P&R on 1/2 marathon day with traffic I’m glad we took the early approach, since they did have lots of trouble later on.
On the P&R bus by 7.15, double decker bus and every one keen to sit at the top! We were in Newport by 7.35, the weather was a bit cold and blustery, but found a seat and had my banana. Met with some local runners at 8, then went for a coffee at the University and to keep warm.
8.20 went to drop my bag off, the que! it was snaking around, they were security checking every bag, so I started getting ready in the que with a panic but then they must have had a rethink and just let us all through. Quick change, old jumper on to keep me warm and bag handed in.
Saw two other people that I knew and we made our way to the yellow pen. Got to 8.55 so took my jumper off and left it on the side, it was then the message was passed back that due to delays with P&R the race would not start until 9.30 (there had apparently been another message earlier about a delayed start, unfortunately those at the back did not get this message, my husband in an earlier pen, heard and went back inside the University to keep warm), It was very cold and most of us were shivering, I did look for my jumper but there was another lady wearing it!
At nearly 9.30 we started moving forward so bit of a damp squid start, at the back we didn’t hear any official start we just started moving. Crossed the start line, and lots of support with crowds lining the street, as we headed out on our first mile, nice and wide road so plenty of space, felt completely happy to start Jeffing from the start since we were not bunched up but every time my timer went off there was a photographer ahead, and I didn’t want walking photos!
Off we went out of Newport and on our way to Magor, mile 3 drinks station saw a friend and had first ‘you can do this hug’. Another RMR saw me and thought that my intervals were the same as hers, so we stayed together until mile 15, when she stopped to talk to her dad, she kept me going at a reasonable pace as I think I would have gone slower initially if I had been on my own. Mile 4 my first snack a chocolate crepe.
Breaking the route up I knew at mile 6, my fathers cousin was at the drinks station so that was my next aim, at each drinks station I tried to make sure that I had a swig of my tailwind and then half a bottle of water. Passing mile 6 we started to see the lead runners on their way back! Fortunately there wasn’t that many but did get to see the Fairy.
Next aim get to Magor where my parents and children would be waiting. The route to Magor had some of the narrower paths on the route, at my speed it was fine with plenty of space though my husband said at the 4 hour pacer he was with they were still bunched up with no passing room, so not sure if they had even more entries they would have enough space.
Into Magor and the support was amazing, collected my next food Banana baby food pouch, there were loads of people in the square, lots of support, but it all went by in a bit of a blur… I certainly went a bit faster through that bit as well, collected my water and out of the square, then a little bit of a walk to drink my water.
On to Redwick still managing to stick to my 30:30 ratio but at mile 12 did start finding it hard, and didn’t like the buzzer! Mile 13 water station and our local brownies so some more familiar faces, and some of them of disbelief that I was actually running this distance! Unfortunately it was at this stage that I realised I had forgotten to put my body glide on my arms, and they were starting to rub, unfortunately the first aid post had no vaseline available, so I knew the next half was going to get painful.
Half way there, now the the way back to Newport (Its all in the mind!) I started feeling better by mile 13.5 so think my sugar levels had picked up, the lady I had run the earlier 10 miles with went to talk to her dad and I never saw her again, back along the long stretch to mile 15 drinks station, lots of ‘extra milers’ cycling back and forth to ensure we were al okay and with words of encouragement, which was much appreciated. Along this stretch of road they had an extra music station which was also appreciated , didn’t make that stretch of road feel so lonely.
Then on to Goldcliff, I’ve run this route a few times (though in the opposite direction) and normally don’t see a soul, so it was quite nice to see people around me, the RMR skirt once again helped since I would get the odd shouts of run Mummy Run, I know some didn’t like the lack of support on these quieter sections, but for me having someone in front was enough, and the few locals that sat in their gardens. I know some who have run London and they have said the constant support gets a bit too much sometimes when all you want is peace and quiet. Another top up with a chocolate pancake and it was mile 20 and on our way back to Newport, just 10k to go 90 minutes maximum was in my head, and even the thought that there was a slight chance that I might make under 5 1/2 hours, my 26 mile training run came in at 5.55 and I didn’t think I would be any quicker on the day. At this stage I was still managing to keep up with my 30:30 ratio.
Then cramp struck, it seemed to be a popular milage, there were a few others suffering, I thought the sodium in my pancakes would be sufficient so didn’t make my Tailwind as concentrated as I had planned. I swapped to a fast march and downed the remaining tailwind, I kept on walking for 1/2 a mile for the tailwind to kick in and then started my 30:30 again but by then my legs had enough and really didn’t want to run, so swapped to a fast march for most of the remaining time (in hindsight I needed to take on more fuel), mile 21 and a quick hug from my friend at the water station and a reaffirming you will do this and off for the remaining 5 miles.
Lots of fast walking and not much running on these miles, and the pain in my feet started increasing, by mile 23 seeing signs of toenails optional I was also starting to think would I have any left, I really didn’t like the mile 24 up and down the transporter bridge , the stretch up seemed so long. By the end of mile 24 a blister was excruciating and I started to think could I manage the end in no shoes (there was one gentleman who ran the whole thing bare foot and in traditional dress). Last few mile’s very little support on the roads for us slower ones, which also meant I didn’t feel like I had to run, any hopes of getting under 5 1/2 hours had gone by mile 21, now I just wanted to finish. I fast walked all the way to just past mile 26 then started running again before the crowds started lining the streets, I thought I was managing to run okay at that stage though video/ photographic evidence disagrees.
I passed the finish line 5:38:01, – 17 mins faster than my last training Marathon.
Through the finishing tunnel and medal, water and banana, then on to find my bag, there was not many bags left by then! Quick change and into some flip flops and my toe nails were still intact. Found my husband who finished in 3:57 so he had relaxed, and had something to eat and drink by the time I finished.
It would have been nice to stay in Newport for a bit but I had to get back to let my parents go home, so it was back to the P&R, no que for the bus and for some strange reason no one wanted to go on the top deck this time and home.
12 months to plan the next Newport marathon and get my feet and nutrition on the day plan better!
The day has arrived, lots say the marathon is not the hard work its the reward for all your hard training! I may not believe that saying by mile 20.
So I will be up at 5am for my bowl of porridge with maple syrup and a coffee. I have a banana in my bag to eat at 8am to top up sugar levels.
The weather today is supposed to be around 8 Deg which will be a slightly warmer than most of my long training runs, so planning to run in my faithful BAM sports vest, I’m not brave enough to wear shorts, but wanted to have something that is recognisable as RMR so will be wearing their skort over a longer pair of leggings. I will be wearing my faithful Camelbak with 1st Magor Scouts Necker attached the charity that I’m raising funds for, which will be filled with a concentrated Tailwind, I will also have 4 sachets of Ella’s kitchen Banana puree and 4 Chocolate Crepes, this will give me a total of 1400 calories so consume during the run. My faithful trainers Hoka Bondi, will be getting me around the course.
I am expecting lots of the course to have no supporters, so will take some music to keep my occupied, so Bon Jovi and The greatest showman will be playing to keep my mind off my legs moving, and my aftershokz headphones.
Race bag has been packed, so Race number, chip and pins, spare socks, vaseline, hat, gloves (since its going to feel like 3 deg before the start!) Bin liners x 2, one to wear one to sit on, toilet paper, phone, inhaler, food, credit card, £10 note. Old Jumper to wear and throw away, I don’t want to waste vital energy trying to keep warm.
So here goes, off to the Marathon ………..
Final week is here, and I like many others are really thinking how on earth will I run a marathon, which is silly since I managed one 4 weeks ago.
This week is lots of easy carbohydrates and less fat and fibre, for the first time in years I’ve bought white rice. I’ve been having jacket potato for lunch and pots of rice pudding as snacks. To try and help my blood sugar levels I’ve still been trying to fast for 12-14 hours a day, but increasing my carbohydrate intake during the day.
Only 1 run this week, due to hospital visits so rather than 2 short ones I did a slow 6 mile, I did 2 miles on my own at 60:30 ratio and then saw a friend so did a further 4 miles on a 30:30 ratio.
Been sensible on the carb loading, I’ve put on 2llbs this week, which is expected, so hopefully plenty of energy even if my joints are not so happy!
I’ve kept my hydration up, so drinking small glasses of water every hour, the last 24 hours the guide says relax as much as possible and I’m certain Mo did not have to take the dog for a walk, get the school clothes ready and tidy the house! Final 24 hours I’ve grazed all day and tried to keep fat intake low, so 2 small jacket potatoes, as main meals today and rice pudding once again. Jeff recommends last meal of the day at 4/5 pm to give your body plenty of time to digest and not be carrying a stomach full of food, though at 8.30pm my stomach is now protesting at this lack of food.
Only one week left to train, so in full taper mode, two short runs this week and a long run of 7 miles, it was the hottest day of the year so far and those 7 miles were hot, really felt sorry for those doing the London Marathon in that heat.
There were lots of reports of water running out during the London Marathon, I will have my bladder on me, I was planning just having 500ml of concentrated tailwind in there but think I will keep topping it up during the marathon in case stations run out, especially at Newport water is only every 3 miles it could be a long way in between.
Yikes 2 weeks to go so now in full taper mode, the plan for the next two weeks is just 2 x 3 miles per week with a 7 miles on Sunday.
Hospital visiting and school holidays have taken up lots of my free time these last two weeks, my last two runs I have had to abort shorter than planned due to knee pain not sure if it’s injury or just lots of sitting down over the course of these last few weeks. Going to take it easy with fast dog walks rather than running to ensure all my aches and pains recover.
On the RMR boards it seems that we are all getting aches and pains. Read Ben Smith’s autobiography for some inspiration to get me through the final two weeks, there is a lovely quote in the book by Steve Cram, regarding all us taking over 5 hours to do the marathon, a time that many ‘athletes’ look down on us for. I followed Ben’s 401 journey and was fortunate to run with him in Cardiff.. well I say run with him, they were all too fast for me – lots of running club runners – so after 4 miles on my own (8 Mies in total) I turned back then waited for them to have lunch with them all. Since then I wanted to run a Marathon so 18 months later and in 2 weeks I will!.