Friday, 22 November 2013

London Royal Parks Foundation Ultra

I've just done the craziest thing and signed up for my first ultra!

As you may know I was pretty upset about not getting a London marathon place again so have been looking for another way to run London.

As soon as I read about the London Royal Parks Foundation Ultra I knew it was something that I really wanted to do! I tried to get into the London Royal Parks half marathon last year but that was also a lottery. There are only a few public entries open for the Ultra so I've been keeping an eye on the site all month waiting for the entries to open and they did so this evening :-)

The route is fantastic as I will be running through parks, over many bridges crisscrossing the River Thames and then following the Thames many kilometres out of London!

It's a 50k Ultra so I should be able to manage it as it's only 8 kilometres more than a marathon and when I ran Copenhagen Marathon 2013 nice and slowly I could have easily kept on going for a while after I finished so I believe I'm ready for this Ultra!

And if not, I have until October 12th 2014 to get ready :-)

Woohoo London here I come!!!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon 2014

I have bought myself a great birthday present for next year.....I have a place in the Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon 2014 :-)

It's on the 4th August so is just after my birthday. I've never been to Dublin before so I also get to add another city to my European tour :-)

This will be my third Rock 'n' Roll race unless I run another before then, of course. I did have my eye on Nice in February 2014 but I'll be running Barcelona and Rome marathons in March!

I also have my eye on either New York marathon 2014 or London Royal Parks Ultra race in Autumn 2014. (that's if I can get a place in one of them).

There are so many places I want to run! Unfortunately I can't travel every month! (even though I really want to)!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Valencia Marathon 2011

31st Edition of Valencia Marathon 2011!!

My official Valencia Marathon time was 4 hours, 31 minutes and 55 seconds! (I had run 44k)
My official Copenhagen Marathon time was 4 hours, 43 minutes and 33 seconds

I stopped my watch after marathon distance (I was only at the 40k marker when my watch said 42.2k) and it said 4 hours, 21 minutes and 13 seconds.
It's the 'official' time that counts though.

MY VALENCIA MARATHON FINISHING VIDEO (around 1 minute in) I look finished quite literally!!

 Setting up before the marathon

 Setting up the finish before the marathon

On marathon morning I woke up, had some breakfast and an espresso. Then I put on my usual Running Copenhagen orange t-shirt, black shorts and pink trainers. At 8.30am I made my way to the start line 10 minutes away. The weather was around 12 degrees with some light cloud. I didn't like the look of it as I could see that the sun would be out later!

Once at the start line I queued for the toilets and took in the atmosphere. It was fantastic, even better that Copenhagen Marathon. There was a 10k race starting at the same time as the marathon. The marathon runners were starting on one side of the bridge and the 10k runners were on the other side. We would run around the first 4k together but on different sides of the road. 

I started almost at the back and then heard the fireworks which meant the marathon had started. It was much quicker to get over the start line and only took 4 minutes.

The photo below shows how great the start was:-
 Valencia Marathon Start

 Just before 3k a really cool Spanish guy started talking to me. It was his first marathon. He was running with a video camera on his head and wanted to interview 42 different runners about a dream they have for the future. I thought this was a fantastic idea :-)

In my interview at the 3k point I told him that I wanted to run a marathon in every city in Europe before the age of 50!

While he was doing his interviews at every kilometre mark I ran with his sister. It was also her first marathon. More and more of the people that had given interviews to her brother started running with us. There was a really cool family of 5 that were having the best of times :-)

I really enjoyed running with all these people but started dropping back from them at 19k. This was when the weather started getting a lot hotter!!

I did the same as I did during Copenhagen Marathon which was to walk through all the water stops. Valencia had better stops in some ways and worse in others. The water was in a bottle so you could run with it and take sips all the way until the next stop but there was only water there. No oranges! No bananas! No energy drinks! From 20k onwards I started taking 2 bottles, 1 to throw all over me and 1 to drink. I was very glad that I had 9 energy gels with me this time instead of just 6.

From 7.5k and then every 5k (12.5, 17.5, etc) there were 'firemen?' hosing the runners down with water if they wanted it. I ran through everyone of these and enjoyed being cooled down, if only for a little while.

I started really beginning to struggle with the heat from 28k onwards. By then the temperature was around 20 degrees. It was around 22 degrees when I hit the 38k marker. I just looked at the green marathon line on the floor, listened to some Justin Timberlake and kept on running!
I had planned to only walk at the drinking stations but at 38k I walked for a minute and just took my extra energy gel that was for emergencys!

At 41k I began to speed up as I knew I was nearly there :-)

Just before I started to run on the platform on the water I got the crowds on either side to cheer really loud for me :-) That was a great moment! It was like I was in front of everyone and was about to get my gold medal!!

Once I crossed the line I was so happy! It was a harder run than Copenhagen had been simply because of the sunshine. I always knew if the sun came out I might be in trouble. I hadn't expected the weather to be quite so hot as everything I had read said it would be between 12 and 17 degrees.

 Me and my Medal

 The finish line

 With all my Valencia Marathon gear

My Official Time

To sum it all up I would say that this is a fantastic marathon, very well organised and certainly worth running! The Spanish crowds are great and really get behind you. Their cheers really helped me along and gave me such a boost each time :-) This is a marathon that I would run again :-)

Friday, 27 September 2013

Two Marathons in One Week!

And so I'm out of the running for a London Marathon place again! I found out yesterday and was pretty sad so I automatically began looking for some other running goal to cheer myself up.
I am already signed up for Rome on 23rd March 2014 so started considering running Madrid marathon again as that's in April. Then I realised that if I also run Copenhagen in May I would have run 3 marathons in 3 months which will mean I can become a Marathon Maniac!

There were two problems with this idea though; 1: I've already run Madrid and, even though I loved it, I'd like to run somewhere else, 2: I've run Copenhagen marathon twice now and really I'm not that interested in running it again! I only did it the second time because I got a free race number.

So I started thinking about what other marathons I wanted to run. While I'm doing this my older son is watching TV and sees a Barcelona football advert. He shouts 'Barcelona' at the TV and I type Barcelona marathon into google.
I can see it's on 16th March 2014, only one week before Rome. I really like the idea of running two marathons one after the other. But it's not just two marathons, it's two that have been on my bucketlist for a REALLY long time. My husband says it's fine for me to be away for two weekends in a row and I'll just travel out on the Saturdays and back on the Mondays.

So I sign up for Barcelona marathon 2014!!!

I am very excited about this challenge and know that I have to prepare and train properly this time. My plan is to train for a 4:30 Barcelona marathon and then run it in 5 hours. This way I won't be working myself to the limit and should have a nice easy time in Barcelona. My plan for Rome is and always has been to treat it like a tourist run around the city with my camera so I don't care if this takes me 6 hours to finish :-)

Because I will be running two marathons so close together I can still join the Marathon Maniacs!!

What have I got myself into this time :-)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

A Perfect Day in Barcelona

I do like visiting Barcelona once in a while and eating tapas by the harbour, wandering around Barri Gótic, strolling down Las Ramblas, and enjoying the work of Gaudi. I prefer to visit Barcelona alone and just enjoy the atmosphere.

It is very strange how the three Spanish cities I have visited have three different kinds of people living there:-
In Barcelona the people are friendly and treat you as a tourist
In Valencia you are more left to yourself
In Madrid you are treated as a guest to the city and nothing is too much trouble

Friday, 6 September 2013

Berlin Marathon 2012

With Berlin marathon 2013 coming up I want to share my experience of Berlin marathon last year :-)
First things first:-


I had such a strange month leading up to this marathon that I knew it would be hard! I managed to get in a 25k run 4 weeks before and then a 17k with three weeks to go but it was all downhill from there.

I had a mole removed so wasn't allowed to run for 10 days until the stitches were out and then, the day before they came out, I caught a very bad cold so I couldn't breathe very well. I wasn't going to run like that and make it worse! So my goal for the month before the marathon was simply to make it to the start line.

My friend Paul from was my pacer for the whole race! I was so glad he was with me especially at the end but I'll get to that later :-)

The weather marathon morning was sun with a big blue sky! It was going to be a hot one....

At 8am on race morning Latimer (my son) and I met up with Paul and Toni. Toni would be looking after Latimer while I was running :-) Latimer and Toni both had huge cowbells that Paul had bought for them so we would hear them in the crowds of spectators :-)

We said goodbye to them and headed down to the beginning of block H where we would be starting from. Of course, I just had to go to the toilet before we got penned in. I actually starting bleating like a sheep as that's what I felt like. It was very squashy waiting to begin running.

At 9am the first wave of runners started their marathon and lots of blue balloons were let up into the sky. It looked very pretty! At around 9.10am the second wave of runners were off. We started walking towards the start around 9.15am and were over the start line and on our way by around 9.20am.

The blue race line
For around the first 7 or 8k it was pretty crowded and very hard to keep an even pace going. There were so many runners. I haven't done a large race like this before so it was a completely different experience.

At the first water station I knew that my fear of plastic cups all over the ground was going to be a reality :-( The stops were every 5k to begin with and then became every 2.5k. So every time there was a stop for around the next 300 metres or so you had to watch the ground and hope that you will not step wrong and slip over! It seemed that everytime a water stop came up it was on a narrow road so you would grab your drink and try to keep running while watching the ground for cups. This made it impossible to get an even pace going again until the stop had been left behind. Paul actually saw a man go down from slipping on a cup at a water stop later in the race!!

We looked out for Latimer and Toni (and listened for their cowbells) at the 7k mark but didn't see them there. We found out later that they didn't make it there in time. They were also standing at 21k, 32k, and 42k and we saw (and heard) them at each of these stops :-) It was fantastic to be able to run over and give Latimer a kiss before running on again!!

For the first half marathon I was pretty high and talking lots and just enjoying the whole atmosphere :-) There were so many Danes (around 30000) cheering the runners on and Danish flags were everywhere. I didn't have a danish top on but I found out that if I waved my arms like crazy and shouted out 'Danmark' they would all shout back at me :-) They really helped me along! Thank you so much to all the Danes that were there!!

I didn't do my usual stop at 30k where I play my own mind games and pretend I'm just about to start a 12k race. I still did try and pretend I was just starting the run for the day but I did it this time after having my water and continuing to run. I just clenched my fists together and started saying out loud 'it's a brand new day' 'it's a 12k run'. This helped for a little while.....I remember starting to count down the kilometres from there but stopped after saying 'nine to go'. This is where I started getting into a little trouble!!

Thank you Paul for being by my side!! He had done a great job of trying to keep me doing an even pace and we had even started to make up a little of the time we lost at the beginning with the crowds of runners. I was so tired by 40k that I just had the urge to stop and walk but I didn't. I could hear Paul behind me telling me that I was looking good and that my pace was still on track. This helped so much!!  I had nothing left to give and just tried to run the same speed as before. I think we slowed a little for the last 2k though. I was struggling so much! I didn't hit the wall but it was so hard to keep up the pace!!

Then there it was! The Brandenburg gate was right before me!! What a fantastic sight :-) We ran through the middle gate as Mike from mikes sightrunning had said we should! Paul had been trying to get me to speed up since around 41.5k but I kept saying that it wasn't possible and I couldn't do it. Then with the finish line around 150 metres away I shouted 'sod it! Let's go!' It wasn't exactly a sprint finish for me but I did speed up my pace and just crossed the line while clenching my teeth together :-) A great video that will make!

I finished in 4 hours, 27 minutes and 19 seconds so got my new personal record!! There is no way I would have done it without Paul as he really kept me going the same pace for the last few kilometres!! By myself I would have slowed down!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you Paul :-)

After crossing the line I was breathing very quickly and loudly. Someone asked if I was ok and I kind of said yes and waved them off. It was time to become a sheep again! We had to queue up for our medal and then to get past the plastic sheets being handed out. All I wanted was some water but it took us about 20 minutes to get to the people handing it out. Then me and Paul went for the beer :-)

Then we made our way to the family reunion area and found Latimer and Toni :-) We all had dinner together that evening too. It was great to see Toni and Paul again and we talked about meeting in Spain when they travel there :-)

One last thing here which is very important:-

I do think that there were too many runners for the course. Maybe if there were 30000 runners instead of 40000 it would improve the crowding at the beginning and also the waiting around times?

My overall experience of Berlin Marathon was fantastic!! And I would recommend everyone to try it at least once!!! Oh yeah and the medal looks great :-)

Knightley, Lynne-Deanne (GBR)
Overall: 4289
Overall: 696 (in Agegroup: W35)
chiptotal: 04:27:19
clocktotal: 04:47:43
First half: 02:13:11
Second half: 02:14:09
Time per km: 06:20
Speed: 9.47 km/h
5 km: 00:31:33
10 km: 01:03:33
15 km: 01:34:50
20 km: 02:06:08
25 km: 02:37:43
30 km: 03:09:38
35 km: 03:41:34
40 km: 04:13:07