The real reason I ran the London Marathon

I arrived in London seven months ago after nine months of backpacking through South America. Those nine months were the best and the worst of my life. The best because I lived my dream of returning to South America to write. The worst because I came out the other side of it with a broken heart.

So, as I usually do, I retreated. From familiarity to the other side of the world. To hide for a while. I didn’t really consider the consequences of doing that. I just needed something to jolt me back in to life.

It’s usually at times like that, that I come up with some hair-brained idea to distract myself – like running the London Marathon.

You see, there is something deep in my psyche that is restless, easily excitable and always looking for moments of deep contentment. Like the ones I find when I’m sitting around a camp fire in the middle of the Bolivian jungle with mates or when a good story falls out of my head on to a page or when a donation comes in for my charity or when I run.

When a colleague at work convinced me to give the marathon a go, I thought ‘bugger it’ and applied with the Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre because MS is important to me. It’s a horrible disease.

If there has been one down side to this it was that I didn’t reach my sponsorship target. If you still wish to sponsor me, you can do so at www.justgiving.com/KirstenLodge.

It’s taken me well over a month to recover from the shock of believing that I actually trained for, ran and finished the marathon. In fact, I don’t think I’ll ever quite believe it. In the lead up to the race, I had been desperately hoping that the marathon would be easier than I thought. I’m not sure what planet I was on when I was thinking that.

Lining up at the start, with my heart pounding so hard that the bib on my chest was visibly moving, I reflected on how far I’d come since the day when I turned up in London with a backpack, feeling and looking like dog’s mess (I got called a ‘peasant’ as I arrived into Heathrow).

Moving to the other side of the world, recovering from a failed relationship, taking a different tack with my job, moving in and out of a psycho’s house, and setting up life on Mars – all while training for a marathon through a bloody cold winter has been no easy feat.

Crossing that finish line was like giving the world a big ‘HA HA!’ (*fist pump*).

It took me 5 hours and 20 minutes and was the most physically and mentally painful thing ever. It killed me. But the training was a welcome distraction.

My marathon medal hangs proudly in my room in London. Running the marathon taught me that your mind can push your body a hell of a lot further than it thinks it can go. When you want to quit, keep going and your efforts will be rewarded.

I’m not sure what’s in store for me next. Maybe my next challenge will be to just sit still. Doubt it.

Yet again, the best thing about this experience has been the people. You. You that week after week cheered me along, encouraged me to get out of bed on a freezing Saturday, cheered when I got out of bed and cheered when I got back home after a long run. You that tweeted and followed me the whole way. You that phoned, emailed and messaged me with humour, kindness and good wishes. You that turned up on race day and gave me a wave. You that sponsored me. Especially you that sponsored me.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

It has been an incredible ride.

For Linda x

Taper time

This is my fourth attempt at a post in nearly two weeks. Every post I’ve drafted has sounded woeful. I sound like I’m being sent to the Western Front.

It is true that now, while in my taper mode, I’m feeling slightly more energised. But I’m very nervous.

Even the event organisers seem to be finding it hard to muster up some inspiration. This week’s London Marathon e-newsletter had this quote at the top: “You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming.” – said by Olympic gold medallist marathon runner, Frank Shorter.

Surely they could come up with something a bit better than that? Or did I miss the point?

Then I saw a tweet leading to the wiki page on the history of the London Marathon. Apparently, half a million people will line the streets of London to cheer on 40,000 marathoners.

Half a million? Imagine that? It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.

I love all your words of encouragement by the way – they give me so much courage.

I know that it is natural to be nervous but, really, what am I afraid of? Ridicule? I’m OK with that. Injury? Been there. Walking? Hell, where’s the shame in that?

It is a growing tradition to print your name on your race t-shirt so that people can cheer you on… “C’arn Lodgey!”

So as I iron my name on to my Team MSRC t-shirt in preparation for the race, I will think of this: I am so damn lucky to have this opportunity.

Bring. It. On.

K xo

I am only half way towards my fundraising target. So – GO ON – if I can run this race, you can throw in a penny or two http://www.justgiving.com/KirstenLodge

MSRC

The mental battle of a marathon

In my last post, I blogged about my fear of running 14 miles. Did I do it? Yep. 14.3 miles in 2 hours and 36 minutes. One word. Pain.

I didn’t blog about it because I was too delirious with exhaustion to even think about writing after the run or in the days following after work.

Fast forward to the Sunday just gone where I knew that it was one of my last chances to get in a significant run ie up around the 18 – 20 mile mark.

I have come to dread the weekends. It means fretting about running, running and recovering from running. BORING!! I can’t even sleep in. I lie quivering under my duvet, running shoes winking at me (*blink blink*), until I can muster up the courage to hit the pavement.

So I spent all day Saturday worrying about whether I was physically strong enough to run a distance that can only be described as delusional. But actually, when you run that far, it’s not your physical strength that determines whether you can do it; it’s your mental tenacity.

One of the results of my injury is that it now takes me over an hour to prepare for a run. I get up an hour and a half before a run to eat. Go back to bed for a bit. Then by the time I get dressed, do my prescribed warm up exercises, ice my shins, stretch and gaffer tape my chafing bits, half the morning has gone.

Eventually I head off… watching the miles tick by… as well as the hours.

What goes through my mind? I try to distract myself by thinking of bits to include in my blog (they’re often quickly forgotten), listen to music or podcasts. Sometimes I get so caught up in my imagination that a large chunk of time has passed. Thank god for my wild imagination.

It’s a bizarre thing running long distance. It’s a constant mental battle between determining whether you feel good or bad. You can switch from feeling great to ‘hitting the wall’ in a matter of seconds.

Last weekend I hit the wall at about 7 miles – WAY too early to feel rubbish. I was busting for the loo, I had horrible pains down the backs of my legs and my legs felt like lead. I plonked myself down on a shop step, said a few choice words, stretched, had a drink and kept going. God knows what the natives thought. It wasn’t until I got to about mile 12 that I felt kind of OK. From then on, I swung rapidly and often between feeling fine and feeling dreadful.

For those of you familiar to London, this was my course. I ran from Angel to Clissold Park, did laps of Finsbury Park, Arsenal and back to Angel. Then I ran down to the Thames, passing St Pauls and the Tower of London, across Tower Bridge (stopped to take a pic), headed towards London Bridge, back through the city and up to Islington. By the time I reached home, 18.5 miles, 3 hours and 40 minutes later, my run was a shuffle and it was only when I took my ipod off that I realised I was grunting in time with my step. Classy.

Back home, I could barely get the key in the door.

I sat for a long time in the kitchen sipping water, waiting for the pain in my throbbing legs to subside and forcing myself to eat to aid recovery. Nutritionists say that eating good quality carbs within an hour of finishing a long run significantly optimises your recovery. Food was the LAST thing I felt like.

I was completely battered. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Even my shoes looked upset.

I have no idea how I ran that far. Maybe I’m a bit tougher than I give myself credit for.

But I took that picture of Tower Bridge for a reason. I was looking for a bit of inspiration. I knew that in four weeks, I’d be crossing that bridge on race day. They say the roar of the spectators as you get close to Tower Bridge reduces many to tears. It’s literally the end of a bloody hard, long journey.

Will there be tears? In four weeks, we’ll find out.

I’m raising money for the Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre. So far I’ve raised £607. I still need to raise £900. You can donate at www.justgivin.com/KirstenLodge

K xo

See you in four weeks baby!

Wish me a little luck

Well, who needs the fun police when Lodgey’s in da house. Right now, my life is about as exciting as a big fat can of cat food.

Let me set the scene. It’s Saturday night. I’ve just bid my flatmates a GREAT night out (*sob*) and I’m watching some complete load of bollocks on TV. At least my ugg boots aren’t feeling neglected.

I’ve eaten so much pasta that it’s just about coming out my nostrils (possibly took the carb-loading a little too far). I’m even too stuffed to eat chocolate.

I’m so water-logged that I need to pee as soon as I’ve returned from the last one.

And, of course, there’s my poor iced up legs – quivering at the prospect of the complete and utter battering they are about to receive.

Tomorrow, I plan to run for two and a half hours. Oh. My. Flippin. Heck. God.

I’m not quite sure how far I will run in two and a half hours. I’m hoping for 14 miles. I should be up to 18 miles but the shin splints set me back.

I can not actually fathom how I will do it. Or whether I will be able to do it. I feel SICK just thinking about it. But I will do it. Or at least I’ll give it a red hot go.

So this is it. Wish me a little luck.

K xo

http://www.justgiving.com/KirstenLodge

Flo Jo and the Physio

Whenever I’ve heard the news that an athlete has had to pull out of the Olympics due to injury, I’ve felt kind of sorry for them. But now, myself injured, I can somewhat appreciate the mental torture these athletes must go through.

Not that I’m putting myself in the same category as Olympic athletes – even though I feel like Flo Jo when I’m pounding the pavement (minus the ‘roids, of course).

My shin splints are healing and I should buy shares in Neurofen. My running has ground to a halt. And it’s been hell. Mentally and physically.

Right now, I’m down. But I’m definitely not out.

Last night, I went for round two of deep tissue massage with my Australian physio. Surely the pain was comparable to child birth. It made me sweat, swear and I even dribbled on the carpet through the breathing hole in the table. I had the physio in stitches. For an hour, she dug her fingers into the muscles next to my shins. I tell you, I nearly burst the veins in my neck. The physio told me they were the tightest calves she’d seen in a while… Arnold Schwarzenegger calves on a puny Pee Wee Herman body… no wonder my darn boots don’t fit anymore!

To let my legs  heal, I spend all day with my legs in the freezer, I chew anti-inflammatories like tic tacs and I swim. Swim in the mankiest, skankiest pools in the entire world. London – your pools STINK!!!

This weekend I’ll attempt to get back into my running shoes. 10 miles – 5 miles then walk to check my shins are OK – then another 5. I’m a nervous wreck.

So I’m still working towards that goal. 26 miles in just over six weeks.

It seems like a long shot – but it ain’t over till the physio sings.

K xo

Just because I’m injured, don’t think you shouldn’t sponsor me! http://www.justgiving.com/KirstenLodge

A moment of silence

Saturday’s 12 mile run followed by a steady stream of donations had me feeling quietly confident. Pah! This marathon thing? It’s in the bag, baby!

And considering I ran that whole way without using any of the sports gels to keep my sugar levels high, I was feeling pretty darn pleased with myself.

But 24 hours later, I was dashing up the stairs when I felt pain in my shin. Oooo… that doesn’t feel too good, I thought.

By Monday I was in so much pain that I could barely walk. I contacted a running colleague and sports massage therapist for advice. It could be shin splints or squashed, tight muscles but let’s be positive, he told me. After an hour of having my calves massaged, I left feeling better in the legs but extremely worried. Shin splints can take months to heal.

Tuesday morning I was racing to catch the train to work, when I caught the news. I was sickened and deeply saddened to hear of the earthquake in Christchurch. How on earth could this happen? But years of growing up with earthquake drills and regular tremors had taught me to know otherwise.

Normally I can’t bear to run without music or a running buddy. But that night after watching the devastation unfold in my beloved home country, the thought of loud music and noise just felt wrong. So I left all my gadgets behind and ran. Free of all the crap I usually cart with me and free of the noise. Just me and my thoughts and my heavy breath. It was strangely satisfying.

I ran confidently through the streets until an enormous pain shot up through my leg. It was so strong, it made me gasp.

Shit! I thought. What have I done?

I walked for a bit and it eased so I broke back into a jog only to get the same jolt up my leg. I was miles from home. I hobbled back feeling deeply worried and a bit pissed off… even more so when some prick allowed me to cross the road and then honked his horn as I crossed in front of his car. It scared the shit out of me. I fought the urge to give the bird but I’m sure the look on my face said enough.

The next few days were nothing but a concoction of ice and painkillers until I managed to see a physio who confirmed shin splints. She told me that one side of my body is weaker than the other. My shin just happened to bear the brunt of all that uneven activity. She told me that with dedication to some exercises, ice and anti-inflammatories, we MAY get to the race. I have already pulled out of the Silverstone Half Marathon this weekend which was to be my practice race.

I was gutted. I AM gutted.  My body has let me down. But shit happens, right? It’s ony a race. And it’s not over yet.

After all… “life is not a journey with intentions of arriving safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming… WOW! What a ride!”.

For New Zealand xx

http://www.redcross.org.nz

Collateral damage

No one said this would be easy. But c’mon. Really?

20 kilometres yesterday. 12 miles. FOR A TRAINING RUN!

I always thought I had a low pain threshold. Maybe when it comes to acupuncture or the dentist, I do. But running over two hours.? Well.. here it is.

You think, after two hours, with all that jiggling there won’t be any collateral damage? Big bum, big boobs, bouncing their way round London. No wonder people look terrified when they see me coming.

And the chafe. Ohhhhhh. The chafe. I harped on with such confidence that THIS time I didn’t get chafe. Let me tell you. I got chafe in places I didn’t think possible. Where the sun don’t shine.

Showers and chafe don’t work well together either. My flatmates must think someone is being murdered when I have a shower after a run.

This. Is. Torture.

Thank god for my running buddy, Polly, who yesterday turned up in the UK drizzle to run with me. She cycled over to my house (in addition to running the 20km) just to run 20km with me. Pol, you are an angel! She still had a smile at the end. The wind must have changed along the way because my face still bears the grimace.

So a day later and I’ve had to commando roll out of bed. The pain in my buttocks and legs is so great that I doubt I’ll ever walk, let alone run, again. But I have to. Today is a light 30 minute ‘easy’ run. ‘Easy’? Sure. I’ll do my ‘easy’ run. I’m going to wrap myself head to toe in gaffer tape so that nothing moves. And then laugh in the face of adversity.

K xo

I’m not doing this for the love of it. This is all about the money: http://www.justgiving.com/KirstenLodge

A footnote:
My fundraising total is now at 507 pounds. Can you believe that?? I am humbled by your generosity and support. Thank you.

Cream crackered

How’s my training going? Well, this week I’m cream-crackered. Knackered. Absolutely bone-achingly tired. I ran 11 miles last weekend. 17 km. Did I tell you that already? Sorry. I’m so blimmin tired, I can’t remember.

I’ve reached that point in marathon training where it goes from serious to life-alteringly boring. No booze (pretty much), gobs and gobs of food, and evenings at home with a blankey over my knees. Last night I got home, hopped straight in to my PJs and hurled myself with such force on to the sofa that it gave a little jump. All before 7pm.

And then there’s the… ehem… body changes. My calves are bursting through my pants giving the legs an ‘incredible hulk-ish’ look. My boots don’t fit either. Not happy.

Lastly, there’s the mental exhaustion. Do you know what happens when you run for hours? You start to feel a bit funny. It doesn’t matter how much sports drink you consume or goobbery sports gels, your body scream’s empty. When you stop, all that blood that’s been pumping like mad around your body, crashes into your brain and you get an enormous rush of endorphins – ‘the runner’s high’. It lasts about 30 minutes, giving you just enough time to wolf down the pantry and climb into bed.

I’ve run half marathons before. But this is different. I’m pushing my body to a new limit. They say that running a marathon is 90% mental. Yeah it’s mental alright.

Tomorrow, hopefully, if my training goes to plan, I will have run the furthest ever. I don’t know whether I can do it. I will set my alarm an hour before I run so that I can eat a proper breakfast and let it digest. Then I’ll go back to bed and wait… in dread. The run should take me about two and a half hours. God I’ve lost the plot. Crackers.

I’m supporting multiple sclerosis by running in the London Marathon. Sponsor me here: http://www.justgiving.com/KirstenLodge

My donations have gone up to £417.48. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. It’s all I think about when I run. Thank you.

K xo

A running sex bomb

I’ve digressed. Where was I? Oh yeah. Back to running.

Last week was a training bonanza. Spin class and pilates on Monday. 40 minute hard run on Tuesday. Personal training sesh on Wednesday. Running drills on Thursday. Eat like a pig and have NO life on Friday (night). 10.5 miles or 17km run on Saturday. Mild hangover on Sunday.

That’s it. That’s my life. I’m either sweating profusely, sleeping or stuffing my face. In other words, I have no life. I have two more months of this. And it will only intensify.

A month ago, I didn’t think the marathon was possible. I was nowhere near as fit as I am now. But I’ve been fine tuning my “pathetically weak legs” so that I look more like an athlete and less like a spaghetti-o flopping all over the footpath.

It’s bloody hard though. I’m always tired and my legs hurt. A lot. And my brain hurts from constantly thinking about it. It’s ALL I think about. April 17. Everything is measured in relation to that date.

Today I tried to remember what I thought about for two hours during my long run.  I actually don’t think of anything other than oscillating between feeling like Flo Jo and wanting to punch a tree.

I do try to get inspiration for my blog when something happens along the way.

At the 9 mile mark yesterday, Tom Jones sang ‘Sex Bomb’ to me. I cracked up. Sex bomb? More like sweat bomb. Smell bomb. Puffing, panting, pathetic heap of a human bomb. Dropping the ‘f’ bomb. But thanks, Tom. I’ll take that one.

I’m running the London Marathon to support multiple sclerosis. Please sponsor me at http://www.justgiving.com/KirstenLodge

 

K xo

One for my friends..

The last few weeks I’ve rambled on about life. My life here in London. How stressed I am. Flatmate this. House of horrors that. Blah blah blah. But you know what? My life is actually great.

I know. It’s a change of heart. I’ve had a reality check.

Friends of mine, close friends, are dealing with more than just ‘stress’. Their stuff is real and painful. Mine will be forgotten or laughed about later. Theirs is so heavy, it’s palpable.

So I have taken a step back. Out of my own head. Taken the blinkers off.

Maybe it’s because I’ve worked in birthing suites and aged care that I have such an enormous sense of mortality. Life and death. You just never know. I’ve never been into saving the good china for a ‘special occasion’. And I have a bucket list. On it are things that I plan to do when I’m 90.

Someone asked me the other day if I think about ‘settling down’. For once I couldn’t think of anything to say. Not even an expletive. Settle down to what?

Nope. I’m off to see the world. Why? Because I don’t want to miss a thing. Not one. Sure. I don’t have a house or a horse float. But I go places. I see things. I meet people.  I wish you could come with me.

So this week I dedicate this post to my darling friends who for various reasons are reeling from the shock of a sharp blow. I think of you constantly and I’m here for you.

K xo