London Marathon (24th April 2016)

1 day to go(Pics from left to right: I won a £5 donation at the expo for getting a strike at bowling…big achievement as I’m rubbish at bowling! Obligatory photo’s at the expo, awkward ‘running,’ shot and champagne motivation)

I don’t know where to start this post or what to even say… The London Marathon 2016 is over and what a day it was. Rewind to a few days ago… The Saturday before race day I felt a mix of excited and nervous about what was to come. I found it hard to concentrate on anything but the marathon (this was basically the whole week leading up to the day) and my brain was going into overdrive. The Friday night and nights in the week leading up to it there was a lot of interrupted sleep. Reading comments on the marathon Facebook page helped me to realise all these emotions are quite normal for first time marathoners and helped ease my mind somewhat. The night before race day I thankfully slept really well and I woke up with a calm feeling, the day had arrived and I was ready (as I’d ever be.)Marathon finishThe day began with my alarm waking me up at 6:30am (I’d set three, just to be safe… the maranoia was very real) My clothes were laid out ready and waiting (the decision of what to wear nearly drove me to insanity) a breakfast of porridge, banana & honey with a matcha latte was had and Chris and I were off out the door to head to the start line in Greenwich. A few London underground toilet breaks, some train changes and we were there before we knew it. Time to say goodbye to Chris and join the other nervous runners in my pen.

The atmosphere of excitement and eagerness was rubbing off on everyone as we waited to see what London had to offer. Some shimmying forward and some tentative steps in the right direction we were about to begin. I set my garmin, took in the moment and that was it the race had begun!Marathon picsI won’t go through the arduous task of describing mile for mile the race itself for two reasons: one this account is possibly boring enough and two I don’t really remember it all that well, I experienced it in a haze of euphoria. The marathon itself was two things: one it was not what I expected at all and two it was better than I could ever have imagined or dreamed. You see, my dreams involved discomfort, inner battles, the wall etc. etc. I don’t say this to be smug (trust me most of my previous race experiences were certainly not in likeness to this) but it honestly was an amazing and very happy experience for me.Marathon pics2Some of the things I do remember were actually feeling confused, I couldn’t believe I’d got to a certain point, I almost convinced myself I was hallucinating and was really way back near the start or somewhere in between. The time was going fast and I almost felt a little disappointed that it was nearly over. The feeling of time slipping away so quickly made me appreciate each and every moment and mile and soak it all in and I think this really helped me to embrace the whole experience. I can honestly say I didn’t have any moments of battling through negative thoughts or discomfort. I feel this is partly thanks to my beloved medjool dates (although trust me when I say I don’t want to eat them for a good while) they worked really well in keeping my energy even and I used them in combination with some apple juice I made on Saturday with some added salt (I can’t recommend this combo enough.)

From experiencing such an awful 20 mile training run and injury at the start of my training, the marathon was the complete contrast. The training was the challenge, the marathon: the celebration… It was awesome!

I will stop gushing now. Nearly… one more… a HUGE thank you to each and every person who donated to my page, read these posts, text, messaged or offered words of encouragement and support. For everyone who cheered me on, on the day or at home following along the race progress, I really appreciated everyones kindness. In fact I was completely overwhelmed by it all. The running total raised for a hugely worthwhile charity, Children with Cancer UK currently stands at £2237. There’s still time to donate if you would like to please visit my page here. Also a big thanks to the race organisers, participants and all the amazing spectators who make London Marathon what it is.

Thank you again and I promise to stop going on about it now ;)

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Marathon training week 14

Marathon training week fourteenJust a quick update for today. I am now tapering off for the marathon which meant on Sunday I ran for an hour and a half and is the longest time I’ll run now until the marathon! I did a couple of shorter runs in between time. This week I’ll be running three times and my longest run on the weekend is only 70 minutes! Funny how that now is an incredibly short running time!

I have been preparing for the marathon by testing out a few different weather appropriate running outfits for the day. Stocking up on medjool dates, that I’ll be nibbling during the race. Spending time running in the sunnier weather, going for nice walks with the pooches and Christopher. Drinking smoothies, lots of water and eating super healthy (minus the big old veggie roast on the weekend!) Ironing my name to my running vest, making lists of things I need to have ready for race day. Preparing my running playlist. Dreaming about the chilled out day after the race (which will hopefully involve a massage and some cocktails!)

Giveaway!I am currently running a giveaway for every donation of £5 or over made this week I will be giving away a handmade greeting card of your choice. (See pic above for all the details!)

If you would like to sponsor me and to donate to Children with Cancer UK please follow this link. Thank you so much if you do decide to sponsor!

This is how your money can help:-

  • £5 could help scientists research less common forms of childhood cancer.
  • £10 could help to fund vital research into brain tumours, accounting for a quarter of childhood cancer diagnoses.
  • £15 could help fund pioneering research into preventing devastating side effects.

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Marathon training week 12 & 13

Marathon training week twelveThere are twenty days to go until the marathon! Fear is slowly subsiding and I’m starting to feel excited for the day. Having said that I had my worst training run on Saturday – it was my last long run before the taper. I’m not going to list all the things that went wrong (I’ve already done that with a counter list of all the things that will go right on marathon day, yup I’ve reached insane obsessiveness) but the main thing that went right was that I came home 20 miles later. I was determined to do the miles in whatever shape I could and I did so that box is ticked so to speak. Like I said there were a few things that I shouldn’t have done and trust me I’ve learnt my lesson. Number one, trying to adapt new fuelling techniques on my very last long run. Stupid, yes. Oh well, you live and learn.

Other than that I have been finding running in the sunny weather quite hard to adjust to. I started running in Winter and in the past have always avoided running when it’s sunny or warm. The weather has been lush and don’t get me wrong the sunshine is such a boost but give me overcast, grey running days and my body copes a lot better. It’s all good practise though and who knows what the weather will be like on the day…

In terms of recovery my body is feeling pretty good. A rest day after my long run and Pilates the next day my hips and hamstrings are a bit tender but nothing major. Thank you body, you are doing so well! I’ve been really trying to clean up my nutrition lately and drinking loadssss of water (which isn’t conducive to good work productivity with the constant toilet breaks!)

Work has been very busy lately and life in general with trying to buy a house and keeping up with all other life related things but I’ve loved working towards this goal and I won’t know quite what to with myself once it’s over! If you’re training too I hope it’s going well and you’re starting to feel excited too! I’ve been looking at instagram for marathon inspiration lately but everyone seems to be SO fast and sometimes it makes me feel the opposite of inspired. I read an article in the May issue of Runner’s World at the weekend by Lisa Jackson who is running 100 marathons (wow!) and she talks about how there’s more to running and life than going faster. I really recommend reading the article – there’s an accompanying quote by Anya Lester “If a marathon is an endurance event, who shows more – the runners who finish in under three hours or those of us who take over six?”   

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Marathon training week 10 & 11

Haruki murakami quoteI didn’t post an update last week as I didn’t really take any pictures and I haven’t this week either. For training it wasn’t the most positive week although I learnt a lot. During my planned 16 mile long run on Saturday I had a real discomfort in my right knee at mile 7 – I persevered for another 4 and a half miles but in the end had to stop. I was part limping, part running so thought it best to rest up before I did any real damage. Missing chunks of running is really not good for confidence and it’s hard to know with all these niggles what is something to expect with training for a marathon and what is just discomfort that you have to work through. I decided to book another physio appointment at a sports clinic just to put my mind at ease and give me the opportunity to ask some questions. It was good because it gave me a moment to re-focus, the physio suggested going back to my old trainers (which is something that I’d been considering) so it was positive. My knee was feeling fine at this point (Tues) and I probably didn’t have to visit a physio but it did help to have a professional’s insight and help my peace of mind.

This week my legs have felt a bit heavy and tired but it’s been a really good week. I’ve been running every couple of days on the treadmill in the evening to get the miles in and Sunday I ran my furthest distance of 17 miles. It was a nice run after a slow start, my legs did well although my right leg was tender for a lot of the run but nothing too bad, so perhaps that’s a new normal for me. After the run I had a little cry haha, I don’t know if it was sheer relief of finishing or shock (…or the thought of having to run another 9.5 miles on top of that!) But it was happy tears. Sort of… this whole experience is very overwhelming!

I’m looking forward to this week – adding a few more miles on and keeping my legs moving. The marathon is so very close now! If you would like to sponsor me and help raise money for Children with Cancer UK please visit my page here. I’m very near my fundraising target which is super exciting and keeping me going during the more challenging moments!

Hope you have a good week!

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Marathon training week 9

Marathon training week nineThis week has had its ups and downs. I had my usual Pilates session on Monday followed by a trial session at a running club on Tuesday. I wasn’t sure if I was doing an induction or a run and when I got there were two groups, one that was tapering off for a half marathon at the weekend and the other doing a speed session for marathon runners so I opted for that. It was good as speed sessions are something I haven’t done lots of. We did 5 laps of 5 minutes at a comfortably hard pace with a 2 minute break in between. My leg felt a bit sore after the third lap and by the next day it was quite tender. Other than that it was a good session but I felt disappointed that my leg was playing up. On Wednesday I did some Yoga at home and some foam rolling to try and stretch out my leg but on Thursday it still felt a bit tight. I set off for a run as my plan was to cover 6 miles. I lasted about 2 before I stopped as my leg was really sore as well as my instep. I ended up walking home from the run. It was tempting to carry on but I thought better of it as I really wanted to have my leg rested for my Saturday long run.

On Saturday I started out with my leg still feeling a bit tender. Armed with my homemade energy drink, a large handful of dates and a couple of Serial podcasts downloaded I set off. I wasn’t really ‘feeling,’ the run but had the mindset of just wanting to get it over with. I guess it’s inevitable that some runs will feel like this. I must admit the run itself wasn’t great. My left leg and foot felt very sore for most of the run but I managed to last the 15 miles so I was pleased by the end. At about mile 13 I had to run up a hill on route home, I put my music on and kept my head down and felt so proud to get up that hill and keep moving. It was a personal marker as I’ve taken on that hill before and struggled to keep running after it. This time I did and ran another 2 miles and it was actually fine. It shows me how far I’ve come with my fitness. It’s a strange thing marathon training as the markers of what you achieve are always being pushed forward. Running 15 miles is no easy feat but in my head I know I have another 11 to go so I am definitely not complacent.

My feet were not so pleased after my long run, I think I recall saying I was in a world of pain… A possible exaggeration but none the less I had a swollen left foot and a dent in confidence (again thinking of the miles to add on!) However today I’m excited again and ready for another week of training. My foot is feeling better and my attitude more positive. At the end of the day I know I will do it, it doesn’t matter how long it takes, I want to embrace it and enjoy the day. Here’s to moving forward, 7 weeks to go!

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Marathon training week 8

Marathon training week eightThis week started off with a hard Pilates session, some daffodils (yay for spring!) and a (really good) green juice. I’ve been doing fitness Pilates for awhile and I love it. Monday’s session left me shaking for not only the full hour but for a good few hours afterwards. I love that it makes me feel stronger and more capable.

I can’t believe that I am now halfway through marathon training! It is going super quickly. I’m so pleased that I’m not far off my fundraising target for Children with Cancer UK. If you would like to donate you can click here to visit my page, any amount is greatly appreciated, thank you!

This past week was a good one. I did some strength training at the gym and my long run took me to 13 miles this week so exactly half way. The run itself was good (I fuelled again with medjool dates and listened to a podcast for the first half and music for the second.) I did get a bit over excited at mile 10 and upped my pace quite a bit, I felt great but then realised I don’t normally run this fast so slowed down – it left me feeling dizzy and light headed. I think it’s good to experience things like this in training as it’s taught me to be aware of pace and know my capabilities within it.

My training is lacking structure at the moment. I went from having a very clear idea of the type of programme I wanted to follow to improvising a bit. As marathon day is fast approaching I want to really try and focus on quality training, nutrition/hydration and everything else that goes hand in hand with running a marathon. As much as I kid myself good hydration does not equal wine (shame…)

I’m going to try out a running club this week as I think it will really help to spend time with other runners and get some advice. Plus the fact I’ve slightly been avoiding tempo and hill runs. I’m hoping this will kick start a more serious training approach and encourage me to run in the evenings instead of sitting drinking the aforementioned wine ;)

The countdown is definitely on now! I can’t believe London Marathon is so close!

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Marathon training week 7

Marathon training week sevenFrom left to right: Embracing the cold, early morning run with my little whip-jack. Latest lunch obsession: smashed avocado & cayenne pepper on rye bread, homemade houmous & veggies. Post 10 mile run selfie, on a high! Post run stretching with a cuddly staffie usually looks like this…

I started this week off after doing a bit of a rubbish run on Sunday. I wanted to do something small just to keep myself moving but it wasn’t a great idea as I think I was still feeling the effects of being ill. On Tuesday Chris dropped me off on his way to work and I ran home with Lilly. It only ended up being a 20-minute jog but it was something to pick up my training with. It was a frosty early morning, clear bright skies and crackly frost under foot. Running on frost = such a satisfying sound. On Wednesday I did nothing but a dog walk and sat at my desk and drew. I’m feeling really inspired to work lately which is so good however when I’m in this mood it’s hard to focus my mind on anything but creating work. All else can easily go out the window! Read more

Marathon training week 6

Marathon training week sixThis week I’ve learnt a lot about listening to my body. It’s strange, I’ve never really had to before. I mean I’ve noticed things that have made me feel good or bad in myself but I’ve never really listened and taken much note of it. I had a positive start to the week with my usual Monday morning Pilates session then a short jog on Tuesday to ease me back into running (it felt good!) On Thursday I went to yoga and I planned on another short run on Friday and a longer run on Saturday. In between this time a small rash appeared on my arm and rapidly grew, it covered my arms, hands, torso, back, legs and face, basically the entirety of my body. I naturally went to the doctors who were a bit bemused and thought I could be fighting off a viral infection that had presented itself in this way. They gave me two different types of antihistamines and steroids, told me to take it easy and gave me a follow up appointment, it was a bit of a mystery to be honest.

It was a pretty rubbish end to a good week and definitely left me feeling fed up, self conscious and not my best. The medication made me feel drowsy and certainly not up for doing a lot. Luckily the rash is slowly subsiding. I went back to the doctors this morning and they recommend I continue with the antihistamines until it’s gone, healthy eating, lots of water and take the week to rest. I told the doctor I’m training for the marathon and she suggested I take the week off. I’m going to see how I go but I will try and do some easy jogs if my body feels up to it.

This whole training thing has turned into a bit of a battle. I will get there in the end, it’s not going to plan currently but I guess that is the plan. I know I have to trust the process, listen to my body and keep moving forward, even if it’s little steps and not full on strides! I’m enjoying documenting my journey here, I just wish there was a bit more running involved!

I hope your week is off to a good start. The sun is shining today and I’m all set for a week of drawing and audio books in the studio. Hope you have a good week too :)

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Marathon training week four & five

Marathon training week four&fiveThe above pics from left to right: Attempting my first short run with both dogs…it will be my last ;) the sun setting on an evening run that went from blue to black…trusty head torches at the ready! Quote by Ijeoma Umebinyuo and pic from ‘Meet the experts,’ Virgin London Marathon day.

This weekend was the Virgin London Marathon ‘Meet the experts day.’ I was on the fence about going, slightly apprehensive about going on my own and wondering if it was worth dedicating a day to something I could possibly read about. After a couple of weeks of feeling a bit dejected with my still injured leg I decided to go with the hope of gaining some insight into how to pick up my training and get back on track. I’m so pleased I went and if you’re considering doing London marathon in 2017 I would recommend going, purely for the inspiration and positive boost it gives you. It made things feel very real but also achievable. I finished the day having learnt new things about glycogen, fuelling during the race, where we should be with our training, what to expect on the day & lots more.

If you saw my last post you may already know that after a trip to the physio I was told to rest for 10 days with no running as I developed tendonitis in my left calf. I ended up having a 14 day break and started to ease myself back into running with a couple of short 20 and 30 minute runs at the end of the week. I felt fine during the runs but after the second one my leg felt very sore in recovery. I couldn’t help feeling disappointed that the rest hadn’t done the job and nervous of the time I’m missing out on when I want to be running and gaining confidence.

After going to the ‘Meet the experts day,’ and listening to their advice about how to adapt your training when injuries happen I’m feeling comforted by the fact I can build up my training without running and there’s still plenty of time to get prepared. We were told February is the month for getting strong, building stamina and being consistent. I’m not going to lie I’m certainly not feeling these things right now but they’re things I’m going to focus on instead of feeling fed up that I can’t run and anxious that time is ticking. This week I’m going to book another physio appointment, rest my leg, stretch and use heat where I can, adapt week 6 of training to focus on strength, stamina & consistency and focus on nutrition.

I’m leaving week 5 feeling a little sore, somewhat petrified but mostly positive. Sending you positivity for your week ahead too.

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Marathon training week three

Marathon training week threeI feel a bit of an impostor using the title marathon training as this week it really didn’t feel like I was in training for a marathon. It started with missing Pilates and a bad run on Monday evening. My plan was to do a 40 minute treadmill run and after 30 minutes I had to stop running after suffering with a very uncomfortable left calf. It has been niggling for most of my training but nothing that warranted me stopping or feeling too worried. After not being able to continue my run I decided to visit a physio and give running a miss for the few days leading up to my appointment on Thursday. On Wednesday I did a cardio core class at the gym instead of running, my leg felt fine and it was good to mix it up with the class. When I went to the physio he said I have tendonitis in my left calf, gave me some exercises and recommended heat and no running for 10 days(!) Read more