London Marathon? Completed It Mate!

It’s been three days now since I took on The London Marathon and I think I’m finally ready to write down my thoughts. Had I done this any sooner it may all have come across a bit negative, and if I leave it any longer I might romanticise it all a bit too much. I need to write this while I still remember how much it hurt!

The beginning of the day went mostly to plan, with the exception of my baby, who nearly always wakes for a feed at 5.30am who did not, in fact, wake up this morning meaning I had to try and rush a breast pump in just before I was due to leave, but that aside, thanks to my PT Adam, who picked me up, got me on the right trains and delivered me to the blue start with no fuss and plenty of time to spare it was a fairly stress free start.

I said goodbye to Adam, and went into the blue athletes holding area, stripped off my joggers and used the bag drop then managed to find my friends Dom and Kev with relative ease considering the number of people and questionable phone signal

Waiting in the blue start area with Dom, Kev, and our friend Tony Jarvis

We hung around trying to keep warm, used the loos and soaked up the atmosphere, a heady mix of nerves and excitement, until it was time to head to the start pens. Dom and I wished Kev good luck as he was starting in zone 3 ahead of us in zone 4, and joined the people waiting in our zone. As we waited for our turn we could see the big screen and we watched as Andy Murray pressed the buzzer and the elite men took off from the start line, knowing that before too long we would be crossing that same line.

waiting in the start pen

we slowly moved forwards until eventually the start line loomed into view, we edged round the corner then people started to jog, and then there we were, about 20mins after the elite start, crossing that line, starting our watches and getting ready to run the 26.2 miles to the finish on The Mall. It all started well, keeping half an eye on the pace we had to keep slowing down to stick to our plan and not get carried away and it all felt nice and controlled.

The first part of the marathon is fairly unremarkable, mostly through suburban streets, until around mile three where you merge with the red start, the crowds started picking up around the 5 mile mark, the noise so loud in places it drowned out the music from my headphones completely. Going  round the Cutty Sark between miles 6 and 7 is the first real “iconic” part, and the streets are jam packed with spectators. my knee was aching a little and this was worrying so early on but so far we were sticking to our pace plan. After this it just feels like more pounding the streets and it occurred to me I wasn’t exactly loving it! Saw some of the ASPT guys who had come up to watch and that was a bit of a boost, but I was really worrying about my knees now!

Dom and I were still togetherans still pacing ok as we were getting closer to half way. You see The Shard loom ahead then turn a corner and there in front of yo is tower bridge. This for me was one of the highlights of the day. The crowds under the bridge are so loud, as you hit the 20km timing mat and its pretty special. This is the bit you see on TV and now you are here running it! Then its back the way you came just on the other side of the river and towards Canary Wharf.

Tower Bridge coming into view

Its at this point where you see all the faster runners coming back down the other side of the road passing the 22 mile maker as you are just at mile 13! The second half of this race was where I really started to struggle. Both knees have been hurting for a while but now my feet, hips, IT bands and glutes all join in one by one until both legs hurt from hip to toe and each step is becoming more and more difficult. At around mile 17 Dom looked back at me with concern on his face and told me I looked like I was in agony. He insisted we take a walking break to help my legs recover a bit. The miles left to go were in single figures now, but 9 miles is still a long way to go!

As I limped on with Doms help, sometimes running slowly, other times walking, I was getting more frustrated as my energy levels felt fine, my legs just weren’t cooperating. I would have loved to just zone out to my music but my stupid Spotify had decided to stop and wouldn’t load, despite the playlist being downloaded to my phone so it wasn’t streaming, and after trying to get it working twice I gave up and turned it off, all it was doing was sapping my phone battery, so I had no tunes to take my mind off the increasing pain in my legs. I told Dom he could go on if he wanted but he stuck with me.

Now running in some kind of personal hell, it was with absolute glee that I turned the corner to see my friend Young Henry, The Relentless MC, standing with his mic at the side of the road, I ran over and got the biggest hug as he announced to the spectators my name and told them I was a badass, and the crowd went nuts cheering and it was the biggest moral boost and very much needed at that moment. I carried on!

Now its all very well saying a marathon is 26.2 miles, but that is only if you stick to the racing line (painted on the road in blue) but in reality, in the masses this is all but impossible, you can’t even see it all the time, and my watch was getting more and more out of line with the distance markers. It was about 0.3miles out at mile 3 but as I crossed the 22 mile marker my watch had already beeped off 23 miles, it was well out and this was so demoralising, how far was I actually going to have to run?

The second half of this race really was just a blur of pain, and the crowds now were now annoying me rather than giving me a boost, as we got to the tunnel before the embankment I finally lost Dom, he got ahead and I had to stop and walk as I thought I was going to be sick. I couldn’t take on any more gels or shot blocks, I just needed to get to the end now, but there were still a couple of miles to go and my watch was no use to me for judging the distance left. I saw the London eye round the corner in the distance and knew I had to pass it but it looked miles away. It actually came by sooner than I expected as I continued to stagger along the embankment, then the houses of parliament were ahead, and you turned the corner. The mile markers had stopped but as you head up the road you see the 1km left sign, then 800m, then 600m. You turn the corner, there is the palace, turn again under a bridge with 385 yards (what does that even mean?) and you’re on The Mall, and there it is, the finish is finally in sight. I tried to pick up the pace on my screaming legs, but started to feel distinctly wobbly, was I going to be one of those people who collapse?

No, I made it! I wanted to raise my arms up in triumph but I just didn’t have it in me, I managed a little “yes” fist at my side as I staggered over the line but barely even cracked a smile. I didn’t feel elated, I felt a bit like I had let myself down in the second half and everything hurt. The time on the clock was 5 hours some, and so I knew I’d managed sub 5 but not as fast as I’d wanted. My chip time was 4.44.37 but my watch told me I had run the marathon distance in 4.29.38 which strava tells me is a PR. My watch said I had run 27.5miles in total!

I staggered forward off the line, someone asked if I needed medical attention, I shook my head, and funnelled forwards to get my medal, snapped a quick selfie, someone grabbed me for an official photo and I continued to move slowly on-wards to the baggage trucks, got my goody bag and found my number section to reclaim my belongings. I just wanted to sit down. My legs hurt with every extra step, how do you get out of here? I kept moving, it felt like miles, up to the end following the signs to the meeting points. I was spat out at the top under the arches and asked a marshal where are the meeting points, they directed me down another road, it was so busy, runners, spectators and just general London traffic buffering me one way and another and I;m struggling to move in a straight line. I finally make it down to “E” where Adam and I were meeting and wondering why I had to walk so far after what I’d already put my body through. I made it there and collapsed against a statue texting Adam where I was. Some ladies there helped me get into my jumper and joggers and I waited to be found.


Once Adam had found me we headed back up the road to Charring Cross station and again Adam took charge of getting me home in one piece. It was finally all over!

I finished saying I hated every step and I was never ever doing a marathon again, and three days later, with my legs still hurting (although less than the last two days) I can look back and see that I didn’t hate all of it, but It was one tough ride and needless to say I’ve not entered the ballot for a place next year!

I have achieved something many others never get the opportunity to and I’m grateful for that, and I managed to raise over £600 for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity in the process and eventually I’m sure this will all feel like a very positive experience (you can still sponsor me here)


Now people often equate running a marathon to giving birth so being that I have done both of these things in the past 12 months here is my take on that sentiment based on my own experiences:

Marathon Childbirth
Preparation 6 month 9 months
Duration 4h 44 6h
End Result A medal that doesn’t require any looking after A tiny baby that is utterly dependant on you
Recovery A week or so, I don’t know yet At least 6 weeks
Pain Level 7 out of 10 10 out of 10
Worth it? Maybe Definitely
Would I do it Again? Hell No Hell No
Do I really mean that? Probably Probably


And with that, I think my marathon blog is done and concludes my marathon journey and the only question now is… what should I do next?

Road to London – 26.2 Miles to Go!

It occurred to me I haven’t updated my blog since the beginning of February. I was going to update after Lydd 20 and the Hastings Half Marathon but opportunities to actually sit down and write something can be few and far between, especially when you are using any baby free time you get to train, but shes off to swim with her Dad and so I’m going to try and write a quick update before soaking in a long bath in preparation for tomorrow, as the time has finally arrived and I’m actually going to have to run a marathon!

After doing all the training for Bournemouth marathon in 2017 but finding out I was pregnant, then getting into London straight after and deferring, this moment has been hanging over my head for almost 2 years! If you read my previous blog you’ll know that the training this time has been far from smooth, most notably the fractured elbow in January which completely derailed me for a month, but I adjusted my training plan and got back on track, managing to chip more and more off my average time for a long run and actually completing the Lydd 20 faster than my fastest estimate.

Finished after 20 miles at Lydd

Lydd really did deserve it’s own blog. That race was insane. The winds that day were gale force, and it was the first time I’ve ever been running and wished I weighed more, the wind kept blowing me off course! It’s also the only road race I’ve ever done where I had to crawl under a fallen tree on route. It was bleak and tough, but I still managed to run well for me, and this was a massive confidence boost. I then managed an even faster average pace at the Hastings Half, which although shorter has a lot more elevation, and took 15 mins off that fist half I had done post pregnancy back in February in just a month, although frustratingly still took just over 2 hours!

Running the Hastings Half

By the time I was doing my last few long runs I was so bored of running, I had gotten to the point where I just wanted it all to be over. Months of training, many difficulties to overcome, from the aforementioned fractured elbow, several colds and finally a sickness bug which scuppered one of my final long runs, all on top of the mammoth task of getting myself marathon fit after having the baby last May which has been hard enough without all the rest of it had taken it’s toll!

The baby weight is technically gone now, but I’m no where near as fit, and my body is not as toned as it was pre baby. I’m still breastfeeding and that doesn’t really lend itself to running and race photos make me want to hide away and never come out they can be so unflattering! It’s been a battle on both the physical and mental front and I’m pretty much exhausted from it all (the constant lack of sleep isn’t helping this!) and If anyone asked me how I felt about London I’d say that “I can’t wait for it to be over now” but then I went to the London Running Expo to pick up my race number and now, finally, I’m actually excited!

Collecting my number with my friends Kev and Dom

I had a great day out with two of my very good friend’s who both also got ballot places, and the buzz of the day was infectious, so now, finally, it’s the day before. My kit is ready, I’ve put in the training, almost 500 miles worth since having Susannah, I’ve tried my best to raise some money for a good cause, and I’ve improved my fitness to a point that getting to the finish line is actually possible! So, wish me good luck, track me on the app, and chuck me a bit of sponsorship if you are able (click here) and watch this space for the after race update that I’ll get round to writing…. sometime!

Atishoo, Atishoo, We All Fall Down!

Wow, it’s only the last day of February and so far 2019 has already been rough! Husband has been ill a couple of times, baby has been ill for the first time (and that was really tough!) She’s also cut no less than 6 teeth all at once, and learned the art of the temper tantrum and then there was me, fracturing my elbow and  also being ill myself 3 times since the beginning of the year!

All of this has lead to some very inconsistent training on my part, not what I really wanted 3 months out from the London Marathon! I tried to get running as soon as I could after my elbow fracture, and truth be told it was before I was given the go ahead from the hospital, but it felt OK and I took it easy, but with cold after cold hitting me, running has been hard going and sometimes the very last thing I wanted to be doing! We also went on a 10 night all inclusive holiday, not a bad thing in itself at all, but bad for diet and training that’s for sure (plus that’s when cold number 2 took hold!)

My one and only run on Holiday

So beginning(ish) of February, once I was home from my holiday, I really had to work at getting back to my training plan. I re-wrote parts of it, having to increase the mileage more steeply than I had originally wanted, and my god it’s felt like hard work!

I was out on one of my mid-week runs, on a route I’ve probably run hundreds of times by now, round the park. 6km from door to door, abut 90m of elevation, not a particularly tough run and I felt like I was struggling. I had to keep stopping to walk, running the hills felt laughable and it felt like I was running through treacle at a snails pace, and I thought to myself “God, it feels like I’m back at square one, AGAIN! How many times have I had to start again now?” and that’s when it hit me, this was great! Seriously, how many times HAVE I been back at square one? Loads! When I’ve just lost my way a bit, eaten too much, drank to much. When I was so  stressed I left my job, when I had my miscarriage, when I hurt my knee, ankle, ankle again, when I got pregnant, after having the baby, now after my elbow fracture…. I could go on and on, and what, despite all of this, do I never, ever do? Give up! It occurred to me that being back at square one means one thing only. I. DON’T. QUIT!

Who actually cares, other than myself, if I can’t run as fast as I once could, or I can’t lift such a heavy weight anymore? What does it really matter? What matter’s is that I am still out there, still working hard to achieve my goals. Is a 5 hour or a 6 hour marathon any less of an achievement really than a 4 hour one? To someone like me I mean, someone who is not a natural athlete, not looking to win anything, just wanting to push myself out of my comfort zone, do something good for myself, maybe make some people proud of me, hopefully raise some money for my charity (The Royal Marsden – sponsor me here! ) It honestly doesn’t matter how fast I reach the finish line, what matters is that I will make it there!

I ran probably my slowest ever non pregnant half marathon  the other week and it really took it’s toll having not built up to it, it honestly made me wonder if I do have a marathon in me, but the next week i went out for a 14 mile training run and with better fuelling it felt miles better despite being just as slow (much more hilly though!) and next weekend i’ll be trying for 16 miles. After that it’s the big one (well before the actual big one that is!) The Lydd 20 mile race. If I can get that right it will be a much needed confidence boost. Then it’s a slow taper back down, Hastings Half marathon, some 10 mile training runs and then it’ll be time for the main event. London! It’s starting to come round very quickly now. 8 and a half weeks to go….

Running my first half marathon in 11 months

Mostly about running races with some other bits and bobs

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