Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Raise your glass...

Katherine Switzer will always be best known as the woman who challenged the all-male tradition of the Boston marathon and became the first woman to officially enter and run the event. Her entry, (using a gender neutral name, K Switzer) created an uproar and worldwide notoriety when a race official tried to forcibly remove her from the competition. Pulled to the floor, she eventually got up and finished the race.

‘Every time a female runner enters a marathon, a small offering should be made to Kathrine Switzer. Through her tenacity, stubbornness and belief that women can too run 26.2, she scaled the male bastion of the Boston Marathon that barred women from its race and helped to open its doors to women’

Training: Day One

So it all begins here, Day 1 of training. Some may think I'm starting far too early, but given my previous confession it's safe to say I'm not in the best possible shape, and want to give my body as much time to get used to the idea that I wasn't joking when I pressed 'send' for my Golden Bond place.(I think its still in shock)

Training Day 1: I awoke, refreshed, alive confident. So far, so good

Ok, so now to get my gear on. I was sporting a grey tracksuit bottom and top, (bought pre-New Year when I had high hopes to hit the gym and get fit. That went well)

 I can honestly say at that very moment, without any shame, I felt like Rocky, the theme tune circulating through my brain: ‘Dun, dun dun dun...dun, dun....duuuuuuuuunn’

Its almost as if I had completely forgotten that a couple of weeks ago before all this marathon palaver started, I had taken part, on a whim, in ‘Race for Life’ for Cancer Research.  A 5k dash in my local park, without any training, none, nada. What’s the worst that could happen?.  It rendered me nearly dead. The finish line picture, wherever it is, probably has me pushing the vomit back into my mouth.  Lovely thought. I was walking like John Wayne for 3 days. Why on earth had I then considered running a marathon? I have no idea. After the pain had passed, and the feelings of nausea had faded, something inside me thought: ‘Hey you just did 5k, now time for 26 miles'.

So, time to dig out those trainers. Now where had I left them? I rummaged around my closet, trying to find even what resembled a running shoe, tossing out stilettos, purses and sandals in the process.

Bingo! From the bottom of my closet, right at the bottom, where light rarely ventured, right where I had hidden them, soooo far down after my 5k attempt, in the hope I would never have to see them again, I  pulled out my pristine Lacoste Tennis shoes, - Not ideal, but, well its a start.

 I stepped out of my house, stood on the porch, preparing myself for a one hour sprint along the seafront. Stretches, knee up on wall, looking good, looking good.

 I began to run, I felt free, exhilarated, I was a running goddess, I was one of those people I hate, one of those joggers that look effortlessly cool: look at me go. I was going to run a marathon, nothing could stop me, I was Rocky, I was unstoppable....oh wait: stitch.


Training Day 1- take two.

Nothing to be too alarmed about. Just a minor set back, but that wasn’t going to faze me. When my delusions of grandeur faded and I realised I was, in fact, the girl that vomited at the end of a 5k, I realised I might have to take a more realistic approach, taking it slow at first then building up momentum. So I was no Usain Bolt, so what, get real Rowen.

I logged on to the official London Marathon website:,
and had a look at their training plans.

'Rate your ability'. My mouse hovered over the options...


The mouse went back and forth over the two,

Suddenly an image of the morning’s Rocky-esque antics appeared in my head. I held my side firmly.

...’Beginner’ - click. ‘Definitely beginner’.

The plan consists of 24 weeks, 10 min jogs each day of the week, followed by a long run at the weekend, building up by 10 mins each week, that didn’t seem so bad. That could be done, no problem.

So, with a deep sigh, this evening I stepped off my porch for the second time, and lightly jogged at a snail's pace for just under 10 minutes, I still felt like I was going to die. This was just the beginning; how was I ever going to manage 26.2 miles - 4 plus hours of solid running - if I couldn’t even run for 10 minutes?

I passed other runners on the street.
They must have got quite freaked out at this out of breath, sweaty, mad woman jogging past, holding my side, with a look of utter contempt on my face.

‘Evening’,  one lady runner said timidly, a look of concern on her face, a weak smile, and quickly sprinted away.

I have decided.

I either need a jogging partner (to keep pace with) or to join a running club, because otherwise I’m slightly afraid I will get jogger's rage and kill someone.That would make an interesting piece on the 6 o’clock news, wouldn’t it?

 I will keep you posted.


And for your entertainment......

(Far right): Mini me at the starting line eyeing up the competition.
Am I winning? I think I am.

Just what the doctor ordered...

Before I begin training. I wanted to check all the right parts were where they should be, and the old ticker was still  beating away okay.

 I got myself down to my local GP for a check up.  Your doctor will be able to offer advice tailored to you, taking your medical history into account.

A fitness test isn’t always enough to detect heart problems, so if anything in the list below applies to you, it’s best to get a full cardiac assessment before you take up running.

  • There’s a history of heart disease or sudden death in your family.
  • You suffer chest pains or discomfort when you exert yourself.
  • You experience sudden shortness of breath.
  • You have rapid heart palpitations. 

In my case it was surprisingly all clear (dam it, no way out) 

Apart from the common response ‘are you completely out of your mind’ I was all set, ready to go.