Category Archives: Training

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

Starting 2019 with a Bang! (and a Crash, and a Massive Wallop!)

I have been planning to do a blog update for a while now, but I wasn’t planning it to be this! I was planning to write a “Training for the London Marathon with a Baby” type post, talking about how it’s going so far and what I’m planning on doing next, the internal battle I had with myself before deciding whether to ask for sponsorship or not and a few quips about motherhood 7 months in and I’m sure I’ll still cover some of that, but January 1st blew all of this out of the water. My training is stalled, I can’t look after my baby without help, and at the moment everything is far from rosy, all because of a lousy, but quite spectacular, trip over a poxy speed bump!!

So there I was, cruising through my marathon training plan that I had carefully written in snatched moments when my daughter was happy to let me put her down to play, I had lined up races, planned rest weeks and carefully considered how gently to up my mileage. I started it in October and had by and large stuck to what it said. I had re-started Weight Watchers and my weight was slowly coming off,  I was back down to my pre-baby weight, although my body was nowhere near back to how it was before, and I was up to about 10miles at a time in distance. I had a good scheduled that allowed me to get out and train around Baby S and her needs. It wasn’t easy, but it was working!

Fitting running in with the baby sometimes means taking her along for the ride

Over December my Personal Trainer went on holiday and I cut myself some slack. I still did my 3 weekly runs (mostly) but that was it, and I indulged in a festive mince pie or two, and a few Christmas beverages but I figured in January and beyond I’d be hitting it hard, back on the healthy eating bandwagon and hitting the training with renewed vigour, London would only be a few months away…

So on the 1st of January, after a relatively tame New Years Eve, I lined up to run the Lamberhurst 10k beside my husband, who had the baby in the running buggy, and off we went, ready to kick start the new year in a healthy way. It’s hilly, Lamberhurst, but after getting up the first couple of KM I was starting to get into my stride, picked up my pace a bit, mind wandering, wishing I’d remembered to actually download my Spotify running playlist as there wasn’t enough signal to stream it, and I still hadn’t been able to try out my new headphones I got for Christmas when suddenly I wasn’t running any more, I was on the floor surrounded by people telling me to breath, and everything hurt! It took a few more seconds for me to realise that I would be pulling out of the race and not carrying on, another few to realise I couldn’t stand up and probably a full minute before I realised I couldn’t move my left arm properly.

Not quite comprehending how serious this all was yet

My husband happened to come back past me just after the fall so stopped also, and eventually the medics arrived after having to navigate their car through the runners. I was looked at, picked up, a bandage put on my arm, then driven back down to the start where I was advised to go to A&E. By now the pain is catching up with me, i’m in shock and my daughter is crying causing me massive distress. I could barely even touch her with my hands bleeding everywhere to help calm her down. Hubby drove me to the hospital and left me there to go and feed the baby – I couldn’t do it – what were we going to do?!

The people in A&E were fab, it didn’t seem like I was waiting around, but the news wasn’t good, my left elbow was fractured, which would be problematic enough without my right hand side also being bruised with cuts across my whole hand and elbow. I basically had very minimal use of either hand!

Somewhat delirious on the way back from A&E

Now a few days on I am left having to ask people to come and look after me and the baby while hubby is at work as I’m unable to look after her by myself, my cuts are healing slowly which will help and I’m using my left arm as much as I’m able trying to get movement back. I’ve been to the fracture clinic but have to go back in a few weeks to be re-xrayed and until then I’m not supposed to do exercise. Not the start to the year I was hoping for!

Now as I laid in bed in the early hours of this morning, having just got the baby back to sleep (thankfully I’ve cracked being able to breastfeed despite my injuries) I decided that I wasn’t going to let this sink me. I can hold the baby again for shot periods to at least comfort her, which was my most pressing concern after being able to feed her and I have a fantastic network of friends and family who have me covered for the next week so that leaves me with just me to worry about.

It would be so easy to fall back into my pattern of comfort eating and drinking so I’m going to make a concerted effort not to. I’ve already made a meal plan for the next week along with a shopping list to get my nutrition back on track which is especially important as I can’t do my normal amount of exercise, and my next step is going to be to look into what exercises I CAN do with limited use of my arms. I can’t afford to sit around losing fitness for the next month, I have a marathon to run!

And run it I will! I’m going to sit down and re-write my marathon training plan taking into account this unscheduled break in my training and i’ll just have to work at it twice as hard once I can run again.

I decided a while ago that I was going to do this for charity after all, as anything I can raise, even if its only a small amount, is more than they would have if I didn’t. I wouldn’t usually ask for sponsorship to run these days as its something I do all the time, but as I say on my fundraising page, this is a bit different, as its a marathon, and not only that but its a marathon I’ve got to train for after just having a baby with all the rebuilding of strength and fitness that entails, and now I’m going to try and turn this arm break into a positive and say it’s another good reason to sponsor me, as I will also have to recover from this and try and be marathon ready over a much shorter time frame!

I’m raising money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity again, as it very sadly keeps being a background feature of my life, treating friends and family when the dreaded disease rears it’s ugly head and you can find my fundraising page here if you feel so inclined.

I’m going to need so much help and support in the coming months to recover and get going again. It really was spectacularly bad timing, but it is what it is, and I’m determined that a little break wont be the breaking of me!