New York! New York!

IMG-20131103-00036When I got on the plane at Heathrow on Thursday morning I was a bit shocked .  It appeared to be full of people wearing shell suits who were clearly from Essex.  ‘Crikey British Airways has gone downhill since the last time I flew with them’ I muttered to Husband.  ‘Bean’ he said sternly, ‘they are runners in proper running kit.’  Ooops…

New York was everything I had hope it would be; big, brash and brilliant.  I was in total awe of the vast skyscrapers, the huge neon signs and even the size of the trucks.  The first two days were spent sightseeing and it was clear that Husband was trying to keep me as far away from any interesting shops as he could. He thought that walking tours of Greenwich and Soho would be far more informative.  Mmmm but not exactly what I had in mind, particularly the day before running 26 .2 miles.  I did eventually get him into Macys but he followed me around like an FBI agent grimacing every time I picked up something more than $2.  ‘Why don’t you go to Starbucks and I will meet you later?’ I suggested.  ‘Ok fine’ he said, ‘I will meet you in 15 minutes.’  ’15 minutes! I was thinking more of tomorrow…’ To be honest the shopping was not very successful for other reasons.   I had an awful nagging feeling in my mind, a bit like the day before an exam at school.  I wanted tomorrow to be over but not to come at all.

On Sunday the alarm went off at 4.50am.  Not that this bothered me as I had been awake worrying since 1am.  We got dressed in our running kit and headed off with a further 40,000 runners to the coaches lined up outside Grand Central Station.  It was still dark and freezing cold as we spent 1 hour 20 minutes negotiating the highways and freeways of the New York suburbs.  We went on and on for miles until the city was just a twinkle of lights in the distance.  ‘Christ’ I thought ‘How far away is this bloody start line?’  I grew more and more depressed with every mile, particularly as I was surrounded by overly excited runners who giggled and made awful jokes like kids on a school outing.  Finally we arrived at Fort Wandsworth, Staten Island.   After massive security checks were in the ‘Village’ and with only 3.5 hours to go until my start time.  There was no shelter, no seats, no drinks apart from water and it was icy cold.  After  2.5 hours huddled together I said goodbye to Husband as he headed to the start line. I felt so alone and nervous.  I decided to kill time by heading off to my starting area and there my spirits lifted.  The ‘over 5.5 hour predicted finishers’ were a much more jovial bunch.  They hadn’t got the demeanour of those who ran too much and ate too little.  They were tucking into Dunkin Donuts and laughing about the fear of falling over at Mile 2.  I felt so much more at home.  As it was so cold we had been advised to wear old clothes  to start the run which we could jettison after a few miles.  I was dressed in a shrunken hoodie and a pair of Hairy Male Teenager’s tracksuit bottoms.  Others were in tiger onesies, check pyjamas, fur coats, and Macs.  In fact we looked more like we had just raided Oxfam than trained for a marathon.  Bang! the starting gun went and off I trotted over a mile long concrete bridge high above the Hudson River with a strong side wind.  Once again the words ‘insane’ and ‘Jayne’ jangled in my head.  When we finally got to the other side and into Brooklyn I was suddenly faced with the biggest street party in the world.  Everyone in this borough was out on the streets shouting and cheering and wanting High Fives.  It was truly amazing.  ‘Go Jayne go’ they shouted for mile after mile.  ‘Looking good Jayne, looking good.’  As I felt it was rude not to acknowledge this encouragement I ended up with my right arm constantly raised in Royal wave fashion.  ‘Nice one, Girl!  You got this one Jayne!’  On and on it went.  I ran faster and faster, loving every minute.  ‘Aaah this is what marathons are all about.’  One old man screamed ‘Go Jayne Macmillan!  I love Scotland!’  Clearly not realising where my name ended and the charity name began on my vest.  I ran one of my fastest ever half marathons through the crowds in Brooklyn then Queens.  Reggae and Jazz bands were playing and we were offered cakes, fruit and Snickers bars as we ran.  ‘Crikey this is easy’ I thought then a voice inside me said ‘just wait until you hit the WALL’.  So I slowed down and slowed down, deciding it was far better to walk a bit and run a bit than burn out too soon through vanity, particularly when I had £3000 of sponsorship resting on my head.  At Mile 16 it happened.  I suddenly felt sick, light headed and struggling to focus. ‘Oh no, here we go’ I thought, ‘the WALL!’  I had taken 40 Nurofen in the 5 days leading up to the race, I had eaten gargantuan-sized pizzas and I had drunk enough water to sink a ship so I had every confidence in my pre-race preparations.  Just then, a god-like Harvard student, slim, blonde and with gorgeous blue eyes (sorry I digress) said ‘Hey Jayne u wanna banana?’ as he held a bunch out across the barrier.  I certainly did.  Yummy Preppie from Harvard saved the day.  Within 5 minutes of eating this delectable fruit I was back on track with only 10 miles to go.  I would be lying if I said this was an easy 10 miles, everything hurt and it was freezing cold and very dark.  Well that was until I realised I was still wearing my sunglasses at 4.30pm in New York in November.  When I came into Central Park and saw the Finish I felt elated.  I astounded myself by managing to do my Usain-style sprint to the line, ignoring the fact that the elite runners had crossed it 5 hours before.  ‘I did it! I bloody well did it!’ I screamed, as an orange poncho-wearing lady put a huge medal round my neck.  ‘Jayne Webb you have run the New York Marathon in 6 hours 4 minutes!’ I yelled.  I then did what all good daughters do.  I phoned my Mum…

This is the end of my Runner Bean blog which I have become very attached to.  Before I sign off though I have to say a ‘Special Thanks’ to the following people:

Little Trevor for not falling over backwards when I told him I was running the New York Marathon, admittedly he would not have had a long way to fall….  He has encouraged me and believed in me so much.

Husband for supporting me tirelessly whilst training and for putting up with all the stick I have given him on these pages.  Many people have emailed me to complain, including my Mum.  Husband’s Mum would have also complained but she thought she needed a ‘blog machine’ to read my blogs and I certainly wasn’t going to tell her otherwise.  By the way, Husband finished in 3 hours 59 minutes, a personal best for him. Well done Darling!

Thanks to my friend Victoria in Devon who has sent me a ‘Runner Bean’ motivation card every 3 weeks for 6 months.  You are amazing.

My great friend Johnny who laughed at my first tentative draft blog and encouraged me to publish it.

My best friend PK who has run my life whilst I have been out running on numerous occasions this summer and who agreed to look after 2 extra teenagers and 2 extra dogs this week with only one disaster; Hairy Male Teenager dyed his hair ginger in our absence.  Big hug PK.

So that’s it.  The ‘Oscar Acceptance’ speech is over.  Thank you to everyone who has run with me, read my blogs and most importantly donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.  I’m off to search for another marathon on the Runner’s World website…

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Ready, steady go!

images[6]This is my last blog before the Marathon.  We leave tomorrow night.  Even Little Trevor gave me a lovely send off this week.  He bought me a coffee at the sports club and drove me home in his little blue car as it was raining.  He then gave me a big kiss as I got out and a hug (or two).

I have become so terrified of forgetting something crucial that I have checked and re-checked my running kit a dozen times.  Despite having bought a new pair of shiny running shoes for Sunday I have decided to wear my trusty training trainers.  They have carried me round 350 miles of Surrey roads so I feel they deserve to share the Big Day.  I will never throw them away.  I might get them dipped in bronze like you do with Baby’s First Shoes.

I even bought a new suitcase for the trip.  ‘Great’ said Husband, ‘that is so big we can share.’  No we bloody well can’t!’  I blurted out.  ‘I need  this space to accommodate all my post Marathon shopping!’  That did not go down well on two counts.  Firstly, Husband’ s attire is once again relegated to a crappie Adidas holdall and secondly he is now fearful for his credit card balance.

I have gone to lengthy preparation this week.  I have had my legs waxed as I read that hair-free legs helps to reduce wind resistance on Olympic cyclists and I need all the help I can get.  I also went for the false eyelashes as I need to be prepared for any celebrity photo shoot opportunities.  I am however a bit concerned whether  the glue will hold up with all the sweat dripping from me.  I don’t want to end up with what looks like 2 squashed caterpillars crawling down my face at Mile 21. Having said that if I get to Mile 21 I will probably be past caring what I look like and more concerned about trying to stay vertical.

On a (rarely) serious note  I would like  to thank everyone who has supported me via donations, advice, encouragement, Twix  and belief in me over the past 6 months.  I promise I will do my very best on the day for you all and I will publish a final blog next week to let you know how I got on…

ON SUNDAY I am running the New York Marathon for Macmillan Cancer Support. If you have enjoyed reading my blogs please donate at: http://www.justgiving.com/jayneandtrevorwebb

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Pain relief

r215423_836584[1]I have not mentioned my plodding injuries in my blog but believe me there have been many.  Ever since I started to do runs over 12 miles I have been plagued by various muscular skeletal catastrophes; hip, calf, hamstring, back etc, etc.  I have taken so many Nurofen that I have to keep going to different chemists as Boots in Lingfield is getting very suspicious of my buying habits.  Last week I picked up 3 packets in Tesco and hid then under the broccoli on the conveyor belt.  At the checkout the assistant said in the loudest voice possible ‘I am sorry madam we cannot sell you THIS amount of painkillers in one transaction.’  I mumbled something about ‘never knowing when you are going to get an awful headache’ and then went as red as my cherry tomatoes.  Before I go off to New York next week I have to say a special thank you to Nikki at Portland Physiotherapy Clinic in East Grinstead.  I started seeing Nikki about 6 weeks ago and on a regular basis she has massaged, prodded and pummelled me to get me through the next week. It has got to the stage when I just walk in and tell her what I have injured ‘this time’ and she fixes it.  She did politely suggest once that perhaps at my age and with my shape I wasn’t ‘cut out’ to run marathons.  So true.  Lately she has been using a lot of Kinesiology tape on me.  This is like giant lengths of neon blue Elastoplast which she stretches over various parts of my body to hold it together. There are 2 plus points to this; firstly it really helps, and secondly, when waiting at the traffic lights in my running gear, I look like a bloody serious runner with all this tape on.  I am however worried that when I finally remove it after the Marathon the entire left side of my body might drop off. We will wait and see.

NEXT WEEK I am running the New York Marathon for Macmillan Cancer Support. If you are enjoying reading my blogs please donate at: http://www.justgiving.com/jayneandtrevorwebb

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Tapering

run-fat-boy-run01_1797[1]I am now in the ‘tapering’ phase of my training which means, for the next week, I have to lie under a duvet watching TV and only venturing off the sofa to eat huge quantities of carbohydrates.  I am liking this phase.  Last night, as I am not allowed to move, we sat down as a family to watch ‘Run Fat Boy Run,’ the Simon Pegg film about a 30-something chain smoking fat bloke who takes on the challenge of running a marathon to win the love of his life back.  Most of the film is taken up with the actual race; how he is tripped over at the start and hurts his ankle, how he staggers for mile after mile, how he hits ‘the wall’ at mile 18 and how he ends up crawling on his hands and knees, covered in blood, to the finishing line.  At that point Hairy Male Teenager reached over to touch me gently on the shoulder and uttered the words ‘That will be you next week Mum.’  Could I have bought into the world a more tactless and insensitive son?

NEXT WEEK I am running the New York Marathon for Macmillan Cancer Support. If you are enjoying reading my blogs please donate at: http://www.justgiving.com/jayneandtrevorwebb

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Only

222px-Mile_Marker_12.svg[1]‘How far did you run this morning?’ asked my neighbour as I staggered up the road yesterday in need of an oxygen mask.  ‘Only 12 miles’ I mumbled.  ‘Only 12 miles, that’s amazing!’ She replied.  Well it is actually. It is curious how your perception of distance changes when you train for a marathon.  I keep on prefixing ever larger numbers with the word ‘only.’  A few months ago I was shocked at the thought of running up to the shops without stopping and now a half marathon is a training run.  The most important reason for this is self belief.  Belief that I can actually run further than I thought I could.  Every time I run a bit further than the last time it gives me confidence that I can go a bit further next time… I was out a few weeks ago with a very good club runner and I asked him why he had never run a marathon.  ‘Marathon running is more about mental strength than physical strength, and  I am not sure I have it’ he replied.  I pondered on this for some time.  I think I have much more mental than physical strength and my tactic in New York will be to keep on visualising the finishing line, right from the very start.  I am hoping that this will make up for my still abysmal level of personal fitness.   Years ago I bought a very fancy pair of bathroom scales which have an inbuilt monitor to calculate your fitness age.  At the age of 43 apparently I had the body of a 50 year.  Now at the age of 48, and after all this bloody training, I  have the body of a 52 year old…  Great.  One thing is for sure I will never ever run another marathon whatever happens.  I am announcing this publicly. Can I ask my friends to shoot me if I ever utter the words  ‘running’ and ‘marathon’ after New York?  Husband has better things to do than kerb crawl after me every Sunday and the kids have had enough late and/or burnt dinners in the past few months to make the NSPCC concerned.   Never again.

NEXT WEEK I am running the New York Marathon for Macmillan Cancer Support. If you are enjoying reading my blogs please donate at: http://www.justgiving.com/jayneandtrevorwebb

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Celebrations

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Our front lawn at Christmas

I have known Christmas is coming ever since 2nd September, the day my kids went back to school.  I went into Tesco wearing shorts and flip flops and tripped over a mountain of Cadbury’s Celebrations  in Snowmen festooned tins. How on earth can anyone get excited over snowmen when it is hot enough to melt them?  More importantly who actually buys a tin of chocolates in September and honestly believes they won’t have polished the whole lot off by half term?  I guess the supermarkets cash in on this weakness and forecast that most devotees will buy at least 10 tins of Celebrations by the time Christmas actually comes.  This morning I opened Good Housekeeping magazine and it had recipes for the ‘Best Ever’ Christmas pudding and Christmas cake.  This was horrible on 2 counts.  Firstly it is only October and secondly I hate Christmas pud.  Give me a chocolate Yule log any day.  Even though I am a Christmas fanatic complete with neon flashing reindeer on the lawn I cannot face any festive thoughts until November.  This year Autumn has clearly been divided into two. Up to November 3rd is Marathon Season, and after that I will consider crackers and wrapping paper.  If I get round in New York I might even nip into Macys to buy the odd Christmas present.  For myself of course….

In just 2 WEEKS I am running the New York Marathon for Macmillan Cancer Support. If you are enjoying reading my blogs please donate at: http://www.justgiving.com/jayneandtrevorwebb

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Soaked

_44993733_liamflood[1]Sunday was a very important day for me as it was my LONGEST RUN EVER.  I was awoken in the night by the rain and before drifting back to sleep I said a little prayer that it would stop by the time I woke up.  God’s mobile was clearly engaged as when I got up it was just chucking it down.  Worse still I could not delay my EXTRA LONG RUN as it had to be done 3 weeks before New York.  I had 7 cups of tea and 5 rounds of toast in the hope that it would dry up before I set off.  But no, it rained and rained and blew the odd gale.  I left with a very heavy heart and was soaked before I reached the end of the road.  After all of the wonderful weather I had enjoyed over the summer I was furious that today, of all bloody days, it was pouring.  I squelched for mile after mile, dodging torrents of water as they ran off the fields.  Never have I seen the Surrey countryside look so bleak.   At one stage I had to wade through a ford which was literally over my knees.  I had just got through this when some a*** hole in a Range Rover powered through the same obstacle and deluged me with a 15 foot sheet of water.  I would have screamed at him but I was concerned I might drown if I opened my mouth.  Husband came along as usual in his shiny black car to offer words of comfort and a flask of coffee rather than water this time.  I was a bit miffed though when he handed the coffee out of his window then he promptly shut it as he ‘didn’t want to get the interior of his car wet.’  He did however help me with the route and told me he would next meet me in Oxted High Street.  He failed to mention that there was a mountainous assault course to get over before then.  A canoe would have come in handy at that point.  Oxted is 2 whole train stops from Lingfield. It seems a long way in the car so to be running it whilst dealing with a tsunami seemed absurd.  The words ‘Insane’ and ‘Jayne’ kept jangling around in my head.  By Oxted I was shattered.  I couldn’t actually get to the High Street as the A25 was flooded.  Husband planned a detour which added on 2 miles and 3 hills.  The next time we met up he had the ‘Goods.’  A packet of Nurofen Express and more coffee.  After I had exceeded the safe dose of painkillers by at least 3 times I started to plod back.  On and on I went with a mixture of jogging and front crawl.  I have never been so pleased to see Home after my 4.5 hour excursion.  I stood under a hot shower for half an hour and applied nappy rash cream everywhere.  I then spent the whole afternoon texting people to tell them how bloody marvellous I was.  Little Trevor agreed  ‘You have done all the hard work. I have every confidence you will be ok on the day.’  I sure hope so.

I am running the New York Marathon 2013 for Macmillan Cancer Support. If you are enjoying reading my blogs please donate at: http://www.justgiving.com/jayneandtrevorwebb

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