So I'm officially in the London Marathon for 2012. It's on 22nd April.. which is basically 28 weeks away and I have a 'Good for Age' place! Ha! A lot has happened in the 2 years since I gained the qualifying time at Paris Marathon.. and I'm about as far from being 'good for age' as I could be. I think I'll be better off running with the fairies and rhinos off the red start. Do I think I can do it??? Honestly I have no idea. It's not for the lack of desire.. I desperately want to be there and am motivated to train, but it might just be too much too soon. On the basis I can currently run for 5 miles (walking up hills I might add!) it seems like a pretty big task ahead. I think I'll just build the miles and see how things go..
Looming closer though, is Brighton 10km which is 7 weeks away on 20th November. I'm taking a big group from my beginner running group (over 30 of us!) which is fantastic, but I have a feeling most of them will actually run faster than me! They all know about my surgery and what I've been through and everyone is very supportive and lovely, but it's going to be a tough one to watch them all disappear into the distance..
My training is going ok though and I'm beginning to build the miles, but I'm really nervous of doing too much and pushing myself. I'm religiously sticking with my sub 140 bpm heartrate training and hoping I'll start to see an improvement in pace soon. But I'll admit it's getting boring! However I've got some great friends (and an amazing hubby) who are happy to run or cycle slowly with me and I feel really lucky to have such great support :-)
On the nutrition front, since I've started doing more exercise, my blood sugar levels are all over the place and I find myself scoffing bags of the kids sweets in desperation! Not great I know. Because of the ileostomy, things I eat can whizz through my system and be out and in the bag in less than an hour, and consequently my energy levels are really inconsistent. It's almost like being diabetic at times (I'm not) and I found myself in Marks and Spencer the other day shaking with low blood sugar and having to buy (and eat) an entire bag of Percy Pigs! A healthy low GI diet (with lots of fibre, seeds and nuts etc) which helps to stabilise blood sugar just isn't working for me at the moment and last night I was close to having a blockage after overdoing the salad, nuts and jacket potato skin. It's all a massive learning curve and I'll admit I'm finding it tough to get it right.
I have to be honest, there are times when I look at the bag and wonder how on earth it got there! the last 18 months has been such a weird journey and here I am now with a permanent 'colostomy' bag and the challenges it entails. Without wanting to complain, sometimes it just doesn't seem fair.
I also still haven't quite gotten on top of the leaks and haven't felt 100% confident with the security of the bag. There are times when I can feel it starting to itch and feel sore.. and the inevitable leak begins. Then I know it's time to rush home for an emergency shower and change. It shouldn't have to be like that and we shouldn't have to suffer embarrassing leaks. So I finally gave in and tried what is called a convex bag. This has a hard ring which goes around the stoma and pushes it out.. even though it's more uncomfortable and obvious under clothes, I've tried it over the last few days and it seems more secure and trustworthy! so for the moment I'm feeling pretty happy with it and more confident. Phew..
On another note altogether, my 12 year old did a local aquathlon on Sunday. He had to swim 200m and then run 1500m. He's not hugely competitive and his training has left plenty to be desired, but it was all about having fun and being proud of himself. He was very nervous to begin with, but had a great time and did really well! But for me, just being part of the 'triathlon' scene again was amazing and I loved being poolside watching the swimmers and mixing with the other obvious 'triathlete' parents (their Ironman T-shirts gave them away). Setting up transition and helping him get ready was really inspiring and exciting and just made me want to be part of it all again.... So whether I do the London Marathon in April or not, I know that whatever happens I'll be signing up for a triathlon next season. I wonder if they'll let me compete as a 'novice' again?!