Monday, 10 September 2012

I've been training for my second half marathon!

I have been very busy for the past 12 weeks training hard for my second half marathon. I am running the same one as last year, The Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon, through some of the beautiful London parks and past famous landmarks.
I entered the ballot last year to keep Mr Snowballs happy (he is a very keen runner and I am/was a complete non-runner) thinking there was no chance that I would get a ballot place. BUT I did. So I started running, found myself a School-Mum-Running-Buddy and managed to finish the half marathon in 2.37 minutes! I managed to run the first 10 miles but then the overwhelming need for the toilet and the too fast start did me in and I had to walk for a little bit. I ran some more, walked a tiny bit more and managed to do a sprint finish over the line.

My SMRB didn't have a place last year so foolishly when the ballot came around again this year we both agreed to apply and if one of us didn't get a place we would run for charity. SMRB got a ballot place so I had to find a charity to run for. There are so many different charities that take part in all these events that it took some time looking through the list but I applied for a place running for Parkinson's UK. As I know all too well from personal experience (my Dad has had it for many years now) Parkinson's is a disease that hugely impacts the day-to-day life of everyone connected with the disease - from the sufferers to the family carers/support. The charity works to support all connected with the disease and fund research into it to find a cure. It can affect anyone - it was recently announced in the press that Bob Hoskins is retiring from public life having been diagnosed with the disease.

Thankfully Parkinson's UK accepted my application and SMRB and I started training in earnest 12 weeks ago. Most race plans suggest running four times a week but with young children at home and busy lives we decided three was more realistic. I have tried to do things a bit differently this year and have actively embraced the "hills" around us (not that they can really be called hills) as last year I was foiled by the slopes in the Half Marathon (I had foolishly assumed that the Royal Parks in London were totally flat). And I have tried very hard to incorporate some fartlek/interval training and even tried "Kenyan Hills" last week, which were very hard. (Take a look here for great descriptions of what the different types of runs are - courtesy of “full potential” by Keith Anderson).

I am very lucky to have the beautiful Bushy Park within a 20 minute run from my house, so have spent most of my long runs exploring new pathways and enjoying the lovely summer we eventually had. And this time of year is stunning, with stags rising out of the browning bracken and the crisp morning air and early morning mists - gorgeous!
So I have only four weeks of training left. The next two weeks are the biggies - a 1hour 50 minute run this coming weekend and the full half marathon distance of 13.1 miles the week after, before the final taper in the last two weeks. And the big day on Sunday 7 October (just two days after my birthday!).

I know that I will never win awards for speed but I am hoping that this year I am able to run the whole race without any walking (or toilet stops).

If anyone out there would like to sponsor me, you can do so here.  Many thanks in advance and wish me luck - looking at the map again it looks an awfully long way to run ...

© 2012 Nicola Noble: Please observe the rules of copyright and blog etiquette. If you use my ideas, please link back to my blog. And do let me know - I'd love to take a look.

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