Whose Parkrunning this weekend?



In case you don’t know Parkrun is a free to enter 5k event that takes place in hundreds of locations across the globe every Saturday morning (normally 9am in the UK), you just need to make sure your register on the Parkrun website first to get your own personalised barcode to ensure your time gets recorded
While many people are loyal to their local Parkrun, Parkrun Tourism or Parkrun challenges are growing in popularity
I’ve only ever taken part in Parkrun a handful of times, but its something I definitely plan to change in 2020 & have challenged myself to visit a different Parkrun each month, starting with my local events Orsett, Billericay, Valentines, Mile End, Southend, Barking, Chelmsford, Gorleston, Dartford, Harrow Lodge and Raphaels.
As I mentioned earlier Parkrun challenges are becoming popular, with the alphabet challenge being the most popular, attending a Parkrun beginning with every letter of the Alphabet, its definitely not the easiest of challenges I believe J & Z are only possible to complete if you are prepared to get on a plane but a little ‘Runcation’ could be fun right?
Or there’s is the Pirate challenge where you have to complete 7 Parkruns beginning with the letter C & one beginning with the letter R, this challenge is definitely easier than the alphabet challenge and could be a fun one to start with
Or Parkrun Bingo consists of finishing a Parkrun for every second on a stopwatch so all of your Parkrun finish times finish in different seconds
Find out more about Parkrun & each of the challenges below and let me know if you know you’re favourite Parkrun & why or maybe you know of another Parkrun challenge, please share I’m all for making activity as fun as possible
The Alphabet Challenge
The Pirate Challenge
Parkrun Stopwatch Bingo

(Please note that none of these challenges are official Parkrun challenges & you do not have to do the events listed to complete the challenge if you have other local Parkruns that fit into the challenge & the links provided are either to the Parkrun blog or to other Parkrun fans blogs)

Royal Parks Half Marathon – Race Recap


Do you ever enter a race and instantly regret it, that’s definitely what happened to me with this one, I took part in 2014 & swore never again (you can read about everything that went wrong in my 2014 race here) & then a friend asked me to take part with her and FOMO took over and before I knew it I was signed up again.

I am not sure what I really have against this race, possibly the length of time we spend running around parks but the clue to that is in the name of the race so I can’t really complain, but I will 7 miles of running around the outskirts and zigzagging across Hyde Park is to much!!

So after talking me into signing up again, 3 days before the race my friend unfortunately had to pull out of the race, add to that I haven’t really been running in recent months I was really not looking forward to this, I considered pulling out but I figured I had nothing else to do on a Sunday morning so even if I were to walk the whole event I will have still done more than I would on a usual Sunday.


So I got up as planned and had a few couple of slices of seeded toast with some Jim Jams Hazlenut Spread topped with Strawberries and took a banana with me for the train, as often happens in race day  things didn’t go to plan, my train was cancelled with no reason given meaning I only got to the park 15 minutes before the race started.

The loo queues in the race village were crazy long and when the gun went off for the start of the race there were still 10 people ahead of me (they seriously do not put on enough toilets for the thousands of runners & spectators they have descending on the park, at a guess I’d say they have approx 70 toilets for the 20,000 – 25,000 attendees).

After the loo queue you then have another long queue for the baggage drop, but credit where credit is due, this took less than 5 minutes, they were so organised & I whizzed through the long crowd so I could get to the start line.


Despite arriving in my pen 12 minutes late, I still waited almost 20 minutes to cross the start line.


The first 5 miles of this race are run on the roads, the first time I ran this race we got to run a few miles along the Embankment, unfortunately they have since changed the route so you do an out and back along the Strand (yawnsville, seriously if you have run any other race in London this year, London Winter Run, London 10,000 you will have run up and down the Strand, don’t get me wrong, there are still some impressive sights to be seen, but once you have seen them twice, you do not need to see them a third time, only the British 10k, still goes along the Thames, & suddenly maybe their £50 entrance fee doesn’t feel so bad.


So the first few miles see you run through Green Park, past Buckingham Palace through Admiralty Arch, along Whitehall, turning before you hit Westminster, then you do a u-turn back towards Trafalgar Square before hitting the Strand another u-turn sees you head back to Trafalgar Square, back through Admiralty Arch, along the Mall back past Buckingham Palace before heading back into Hyde Park for 7 looonnng miles.

I hear so many people compare this race to the London Marathon in terms of support and I don’t get it, you have whole stretches of the parks where all you see is marshalls or dog walkers (I love dogs, I really do but having them running around off a lead as thousands of people are running along narrow paths is dangerous, don’t get me wrong, the dog walkers probably use the park every day, we are there once a year, but on mile 11 tired legs my legs will not necessarily stop abruptly when your dog runs out of a bush and in front of me & I don’t want to injure myself or your dog).


All of the above said I did enjoy this race the first 5 miles actually helped me to start enjoying running again, for the first time in a long while my legs felt strong & confident, & while I went into the race untrained and fully expecting a personal worst, at  mile 5 I started to believe I might not be far off my Half Marathon average time of 2hrs 36, unfortunately things then started to go wrong, during the London Marathon I suffered with glute pain &  at mile 5 I was starting to feel a twinge & by mile 7.5 I was in agony every few steps felt like I was being stabbed, so I had to stop, apply some BioFreeze, I had already taken pain killers at mile 5 & continued with a limp/walk, around 11 miles I was finally able to start running again, I have yet to see the official race photos but I channelled my inner Becca & Laura (2 friends that I have run with that always manage strong sprint finishes) I felt like I finished the last 200m strong.(My time was a personal worst, but I am ok with that, it was all I deserved, training to run a Half Marathon & walk a full Marathon 2 weeks apart do not really go hand in hand as my legs were always tired, I am taking away that I still took part when I could have stayed in bed and that I enjoyed running for the first time in a long while so it has given me a much needed confidence boost)


My final grumble is in relation to the goody bags at the end of the race, this race hands out the BEST goody bags in respect of content (seriously look at that haul) but the WORST in respect of the actual bag and the organisation of collecting the bag, firstly you queue for around 20 minutes then you are handed 3, yes 3 A4 size bags and you walk along a line while people fill the bags for you, I understand it takes time to prefill the bags and then there is the issue of storage but they could at least get bags that are an appropriate size (in 2014 we had cloth bags that were kind of half the size of a usual cloth bag so once your bag was full you were just randomly given items the extra items to hold that wouldn’t fit into the cotton bags?! Seriously how hard is it to order appropriately sized bags)


This is definitely my last time running the Royal Parks Half but I would be interested in volunteering next year, as the volunteers really were great both on the course, at the finish line, the baggage tent guys were amazing as were the goody bag people (I think they are probably the two worst jobs) but they were happy, friendly and efficient)


Did you run on Sunday, or have you run Royal Parks before, how did you find it?

Shine Marathon Walk – Recap


I can’t remember how or when we signed up for the Shine Walk, it feels like forever ago, I think possibly my friend Mandy may have suggested it after she successfully completed the Shine Half-Marathon last year, this was her first time doing anything like this, before last September she hadn’t even taken part in a Race for Life so tackling a half marathon was a huge accomplishment for her which I think even up until the night she didn’t believe she could do it, but we did, we even smashed her 4hr target. (you can read about last years half marathon walk here)


When we signed up to the marathon we decided to really knuckle down, we were going to train every week, we were both going to lose weight, while I can’t speak for Mandy, I am around a stone heavier than when we signed up, & while I do walk 3-5 miles at least once a week we never managed to commit to the long walks each week like we planned, that’s not to say we didn’t walk, we built up from around 3 miles to 9 miles at a mile a week, but unfortunately that’s where it started to go wrong, work commitments, family commitments, the weather, we have had a crazily hot summer this year and Wednesdays the day we usually walk seem to either be scorching hot 28+ degrees or pouring rain, neither ideal conditions, we done our longest walk (just under 21 miles) on 24th August the hottest day of 2016 – the cold cider in the above pic was calling me for the last 6 miles.


So onto the night itself, we planned to leave home just before 6 & head to a local Zizzi’s for some last minute carb loading, before we jumped on the tube and headed to Southwark Park, we were lucky in that we had been invited as part of #teamsole (more about that later) into the VIP/media tent, which meant we had somewhere to relax before we started.

Whenever I take on challenges like this I have an awful habit of clock watching, not necessarily for speed it’s because I break the races into chunks ie 2.5 miles we have done almost a 10th, 6.5 miles we have done over a quarter, 10 miles is just 10 miles but is always a high, 13 miles is halfway. etc & I always have a rough idea of how long I think the walk will take me ie for Saturday night we were on track for finishing well below 8hrs, so I new at 2hrs we should be a 1/4 way around by 4hrs we should have been through the half way point


Unfortunately, the evening didn’t go to plan, Mandy picked up some niggles during our 21-mile walk last month, that flared up quite early on in the marathon (mile 6) meaning almost every step after that was extremely painful for her.

This was my 6th walking marathon & by far my toughest, probably in some part because I am almost 3st heavier than when I have done these walks in the past, but I also carried the extra weight with me when we walked the 21 miles, I think I struggled because of the extra time on my legs, I have always said I don’t think I had more than 8hrs in my legs 8.5hrs at a push (I have finished previous walking marathons between 6hrs 42 to 7hrs 43) as I mentioned above I clock watch during these walks, so for me the night became as much of a mental battle as it did a physical battle, my problem was time wise I had no idea where that finish line was so I had no idea how much longer I needed to carry on walking & I found that really tough & demotivating, I felt like someone was constantly moving the finish line further & further away.

Several times Mandy told me to go ahead and leave her but that was never an option, there were times when I genuinely didn’t think we would make it & I am not talking about Mandy and her injuries although I am sure she had those thoughts too, I am talking about me mentally at 15 miles I could have happily quit, I knew there was no way we would be finished within 8.5hrs, I was shattered, I had started to trip up a lot where I was walking slower than my usual pace so not picking up my feet properly, which was making my whole body jar from fatigue, at every rest stop Mandy needed to sit down and rest her legs, but I couldn’t as I knew I would never get up, my body seems to know the distance/time I am out for and as soon as I stop everything just seems to seize up (this even happens after running a 10k)


To say we were both happy to cross London Bridge & see that finish line in an understatement.


(Mandy got her medal engraved)

I am so proud of Mandy she walked over three-quarters of the marathon in pain, not that I told her on the night but at mile 4 saw the remains of blisters she still had from our 21 mile walk a month earlier and they looked painful (I didn’t think me saying ouch would help), add to that a tight IT Band meaning she had pain right the way down her leg I think she is a total trooper, all along she was determined to finish no matter how much pain she was in herself or how long it took, she had in her head was why we were walking, to raise money for Cancer Research UK & for her personally in memory of her Nan, Grandad & Uncle.


My only regret from Saturday was not taking in the sights more, but I think we were both to exhausted.(totally gutted I didn’t get a snap of me & Bumblebee the yellow car from the Transformers movies as they were preparing to film along The Mall)


Sunday was spent catching up on some sleep, having a long relaxing bath with some Epsom Salts & giving my feet some TLC, thankfully I had my It’s Your Sole Sports Flips to wear as I am not sure my feet were ready for shoes just year.


(believe me those feet look better than they were feeling)

Did you take advantage of the massages & free socks on offer from the lovely people from Your Sole at mile 13, Mandy did, she had a massage along her IT band which helped loosen up her leg for a few miles.


I had already entered the Shine Walk Marathon when I was invited to be part of #teamsole & was lucky enough to have been sent some socks, Footbeds and the Sports Flips to support me with my training.  I was actually already a familiar with their products as my husband started using their footbeds during last year’s London Marathon and they really helped with his Plantar Fascitis pain, so if you haven’t already checked out their website do so now, I believe they have a sale at the moment as my husband was stocking up on the footbeds at the weekend.


I couldn’t finish without sharing this beautiful photo of the sun rising over the Thames just before 7am on Sunday morning, I am still not sure if it was this colourful sight or knowing that the finish line was just around the corner that made all those miles suddenly seem less painful than they had earlier in the evening.

I have been raising money for Cancer Research in memory of my nan & her sister & brother in law, if you would like to make a donation please text NIKM73 £2 to 70070 or follow the link below – Thank you in advance for your support




Race Recap – City of London Mile


So better late than never, last month I completed my first City of London Mile

The race is in its third year and I had heard nothing but good things about this event so it had been on my to-do list for some time

One of the great things about this race is its price tag… its free, yep that’s right, it cost nothing, nada, zilch! and included in that oh so perfect price tag are closed roads, friendly marshall’s, some of the best race organisation I have ever seen, oh and a really nice medal

In respect of races the mile seems to be a pretty untapped distance, I only know of one other mile race the Westminster Mile ran the day before the Vitality London 10,000, I guess people wouldn’t necessarily travel far for such a short distance race, nor would they be interested in handing over to much cash, but I do feel that for the excellent job they do a small fee could be charged for this race even if the race continued to be fully sponsored, so that all entry monies could be donated to charity


So how did the actual race go, I would love to say it was easy but I would be lying, all week I had been telling anyone that would listen that I would love to have gone sub 10 minute mile, then Saturday it suddenly dawned on me I had been struggling to achieve 11-11.30 minute miles recently so how on earth did I expect to shave over a minute off that time

So on Sunday morning as I headed to the race I was feeling pretty downbeat, wishing I had kept my mouth shut all week, a sub 10 may have been out of my reach but whatever the result I was determined I would have tried my best

As I have already mentioned the race was perfectly organised I was in wave 8 and at most races that would generally resulted in us starting our race a few minutes late, but not at the City of London Mile, we started bang on 11.10am, the first few minutes was spent the same as any race, weaving in and out, until I found a bit of space on the road and could find my own pace, I took a quick look at my Garmin just as I was passing the half way point at my watch showed bang on 5 minutes, I was happy with how I was running and how I was feeling, before I knew it I was turning a corner again at Bank and was on the final 400m to the finish line along Cheapside, there was a slight incline in the road, I felt like everyone was passing me, my legs were getting tired and usually my brain would be telling me it was ok to stop and walk for a second but I really wanted to run this mile, I could hear a father and daughter that I had passed earlier on, the daughter was struggling but the dad was encouraging her, just a little bit further, now is the time to dig deep to push a bit harder to go a bit faster, I should have listened to the advice myself but I couldn’t help but laugh and think go a bit faster, who are you kidding, just don’t stop more like, and then I was over the finish line, as I turned to stop my Garmin I spotted the time and it was under 10 minutes, I couldn’t believe it, the second half of the race had felt so much slower than the first, I was convinced I was running slower but I had actually been quicker


So proud of us both, I managed a sub 9.30 (less than 30 seconds off my PB when I was in a much fitter/healthier condition) and the husband managed a sub 8.30, not bad for his first run since the London Marathon 2015


Life since the London Marathon

So even thou I have spent a fair amount of the last 6 weeks stuffing my face with Chocolate there has also been a fair amount of running & walking taking place


Since the marathon I have taken part in Run Hackney Half Marathon, the London 10,000 & the Kelly Holmes 5k at the Olympic Park & my friend & I have signed up to take part in the Shine Marathon for Cancer Research in September so have been meeting once a week for a walk & I have quite a few other races lined up, a virtual 5k with Astronaut Tim Peake this Friday tonight, its not to late, click on the link HERE, the Amba Hotels City of London Mile this Sunday, the Great Newham Run in July (I have done this one twice before & I am so excited the race is finishing inside the Olympic Stadium again this year) the Colour Vibe 5k in August & finally the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October

I am really looking forward to all the races I have booked and at the advice of my physio I have gone back to basics with my running and have restarted the c25k program, which I have really enjoyed & I am hoping this will help me achieve a few PBs in the above races later this year

Race Recap – Vitality Run Hackney Half Marathon


Whose stupid idea was it run a half marathon, 2 weeks after running my first marathon, oh yes that would be mine

If ever you are looking to book a trip to London in May, check out the Run Hackney dates, because honestly the organisers have a direct line to the big man upstairs because honestly each year they have a scorcher, the weather is glorious, lovely sightseeing or a picnic but running a Half Marathon not so much

I hadn’t really tried to run in the two weeks after the marathon and I went into Run Hackney with the attitude that I would run if I could but that I was happy to walk the whole thing if necessary, but as it happened the first 4 miles felt really good, unfortunately approaching the 5 mile marker I felt a very slight pop in my leg similar to the one I had felt at last years London Winter Run when I tore my calf last year, which meant I had to walk for the next two miles

The support on the Run Hackney route was great, steel bands, live music, the Run Dem Crew cheer squad & the local residents deserve a special mention they were amazing, lots of people outside of their houses music blaring cheering us on & hosing us down & handing out Jelly Babies, unfortunately there were one or two less pleased to see their local roads closed and I saw a few drivers ignoring road closures and literally driving inches behind the runners trying to intimidate them off the road and being very abusive to the marshall’s when asked to find an alternate route

Run Hackney was a really well organised event, with an interesting route, good support, I want to say a fab bling but if I’m honest it wasn’t up to the Vitality Run Series usual high standards & nice Brooks technical finishers t shirt, but would I run it again.. No, well at least not anytime soon, it was to hot for me & as I have previously mentioned this race seems to guarantee a heat wave every year but I will definitely volunteer next year because I want to be part of that happy, party, Hackney atmosphere

Race Recap – Vitality London 10,000


Why or why do I do it to myself, I very rarely drink but the week of this race I had 3 big nights out, drinking more in those 3 nights than I probably have in the whole of the last year, I do not regret the nights out or the drinking but I do regret them so close to the race, especially the Saturday night drinking & the Sunday shots with a race Monday morning.

The London 10,000 was one of my first races a few years ago, at time it was sponsored by Bupa and was extremely well organised, the event is now part of the Vitality Run Series, I am a fan of Vitality events, they are reasonably priced (well the London races maybe a little bit on the high side but I guess that has something to do with road closures) they are usually very well organised and have the best medals.

Unfortunately my first impressions of this years race were not as impressive, considering the amount of runners they seemed to have dramatically reduced the amount of toilets available at the start (actually now I come to think of it, this was also an issue at Run Hackney so is maybe something Vitality need to look into for future events) & the  queues were ridiculous, over 30 minutes & as the queues wound around you wasn’t actually 100% certain where you were queueing for

Thankfully once we were out of the loo queue the rest of the race was up to Vitality’s high standards

Dame Kelly Holmes 5k


I have a real love/hate relationship with running around the Olympic Park, its always advertised as a flat course and it isn’t there are a few short but very sharp hill, but the history, fair enough the London Olympics wasn’t even quite 4 years ago but the amazing things that have taken place within that park, the records broken, the pride felt, always tempts me into entering races within the Olympic Park – that and the fact it takes me less than 30 minutes to get there

Over the last few weeks I have taken my running back to basics and have started the c25k running program again, there have been a couple of reasons for me doing this

  1. my physio wanted to me to take a step back and rest my leg after the marathon as it still hasn’t healed fully from last years tear
  2. for so long now I have been focusing on half marathons and marathons and have been following Jeff Galloway Run/Walk approach, that I struggle now to go out and run a 5k straight out
  3. I want to improve my speed and earn myself some PBs again, it has been years since I have ran a sub 30 5k and I have never managed a sub 1hr 5 10k (well I apparently did once on a Santa run but my Garmin only recorded 9.6km so I am not sure I can really claim that one)

So last Saturday at the Kelly Holmes 5k I was due to run 2x 10 minutes with a 3 minute walk in between, now I knew that wouldn’t get me around the course so I had decided that I would follow the plan but add an in extra 10 minute run

I had gone along to the race with a friend & had said I would love to finish in the 33 minute bracket, my friend didn’t have a time in mind, while she was training for the London Marathon this year she never really timed her runs but it was obvious her running had improved dramatically & I had said I thought she could run a sub 30, I think her last recorded 5k was around 35 minutes, anyway I am very pleased to report a 33.33 finish for me & a 29.41 finish for my friend, whoop whoop!!!

Shine Marathon for Cancer Research



I am so excited to be taking part in the Shine Marathon

Shine is a night time walking marathon or half marathon organised by Cancer Research UK, this is my 4th time taking part, I have done the full marathon twice before and the half once (you can read about last years half marathon here)

I really love these events, they are well organised, the marshalls who are all volunteers can be standing around for hours but will always have a friendly smile on their face, some supportive words & if you are lucky a few jelly babies. Not to mention they raise awareness and money for a fantastic charity

I will be honest thou the reason I first took part was because I wanted the challenge of completing a marathon but wasn’t sure I was up to running one & that is kind of the same reason I have signed up again this year, I am walking with my friend Mandy who hadn’t even completed a Race for Life before completing the Shine Half Marathon last year, she really enjoyed last years walk & as we are both trying to lose a little weight she asked if I fancied walking with her again this year and also help her step up to the full marathon

Over the last few weeks we have been meeting up and walking distances ranging from 3-6 miles, next week the training gets serious and we have 8 miles planned & will be sure to keep you posted with how my training goes

Do you have any races planned? Are we booked into any of the same races, please let me know if we are, its always nice to see a friendly face





My London Marathon


Over a week has passed and I still do not know how to put the 24th April into words

I suppose the best place to start is September 2013 when I first found out that I had received  ballot place into the 2014 London Marathon, excitement, disbelief, shock, I can still remember being at work & staring at the computer thinking WTF?!

I had entered the ballot with a group of friends most of whom had tried for many years to get a place in this world famous race, apparently your chance of being successful in the ballot is less than 15% but guess who got a place…. ME!!!

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Unfortunately in the December of 2013 I found a lump in my left breast, tests in the January showed that it was benign but the lump needed to be removed & I wouldn’t be able to exercise for 8 weeks after surgery, which would mean the marathon possibly being snatched away at the last moment, so after a lot of sleepless nights & tears I decided to defer my place until 2015 & concentrate on being cheer squad for 3 friends that were running the 2014 race

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Fast forward a year and many of you will know the story of my torn calf muscle leaving me in a cast for 3 months, missing out yet again & forfitting my ballot place (if you do not know the story you can read about it here) this left me being cheer squad yet again, this time for my husband and another friend


I am not sure if I even actually had a London Marathon dream but if I did its safe to say it had turned into a nightmare & in October 2015 when I was offered a charity spot by Diabetes UK I really wasn’t sure whether to take it or not. I had spoken to my physio and while my leg was better it still wasn’t 100% healed & the physios advice was while my leg probably could make the distance, it probably wasn’t the best idea to be considering a marathon so soon


I have always had a habit of only hearing what I want to hear when I speak to Drs, so of course I accepted the place and slowly I started to build up my mileage again, with runs at the Olympic Park, the Fords test track & the Roding Valley Half Marathon

Early February the niggling pains in my left calf started to feel a little worse & I was scared that with the increased mileage I might get injured again so I paid for a private scan, the results were erm, neutral, while my leg hadn’t got any worse since the November it hadn’t got any better which I was told under normal circumstances wouldn’t be good news, but considering I was 3 months into marathon training the fact that it hadn’t deteriorated further could be considered a positive.

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Following a discussion with my physio it was suggested that I amend my training plan so that I was no longer doing a long run every weekend, as you can imagine that didn’t go down very well with me, I wanted to give my London Marathon training my all, I had races booked as part of my training, completing all your training is part of what makes you a marathoner

Looking at it now it was probably fortunate that fate intervened  at the end of February with a viral infection that knocked me out for over 6 weeks preventing me from doing any running at all, at the start of April I was struggling to walk a mile let alone run 26 of them but 2 courses of antibiotics, a course of 6 B12 injections & another trip to the hospital for another breast lump (luckily it was just a cyst) 3 weeks before the race you would think someone was trying to tell me that the London Marathon & I were not meant to be


But the marathon had become my dream, I had been training for it for 3 years, I was in the worst condition of any of the 3 attempts to get to that start line I was 2st over weight and massively under trained but there was a medal with my name on it & I wanted it, I wanted it so bad.


The lead up week to the marathon I expected to be a bag of nerves, there was emails from the race organisers, emails from the charity, txts from my friend that was running re going to the expo and getting to the race & well wishes from friends and family I had made a conscience decision to try & not get stressed about the run up to the event & it worked, I took each day as it come, entering the expo & hearing the music that accompanies the BBCs coverage of the race was the first sign of me cracking, as I walked to collect my number the tears started, I was actually going to do this, 2016 the London Marathon was going to be mine!


After the expo we headed into London for some carb loading, we decided to head to Tower Hill in the hope of seeing the route being prepared and we wasn’t disappointed, the restaurant went to was right beside the 23 mile marker, Saturday was mainly spent eating, relaxing, eating, preparing my kit, before heading out for yet more food & the cinema with friends

I  hadn’t expected to sleep Saturday night, I thought nerves would get the better of me but I slept like a baby, my alarm was set for 6.45am, porridge eaten, peanut butter on toast & a banana to eat on the train were prepared & we were off

Again I had expected the nerves to really kick in once we hit Greenwich Park, but we had timed our arrival to perfection, arriving just in time to pop to the loo (we nipped into a hotel on the way to the park they had generously opened up a few rooms for people to use) dropped our bags at the baggage lorries & headed to our pen


The week of the race weather forecasters had predicted snow, so Jemma and I had taken tops that could be dumped if we got to hot and disposable plastic rain macs to keep us warm at the the start, however when we arrived in the start pen it was warm, with lovely blue skies. More or less as soon as we arrived we heard the start gun over the tannoy, we were in the very back oh the final pen so there was plenty of time for us to get ourselves and our music ready, there were a few moments where I felt the tears start, in fact we approached the start line with me tearful hugging Jemma and telling her I loved her & thanking her for always being there for me & then we were off, we were together for around the first half mile and then split up as had always been our plan

The route surprised me, I expected it to feel a little claustrophobic, even when the 3 starts merged around the 5k mark I had more space to run than I had imagined, the first few miles were quite residential & well supported with people cheering us on, the first time I expected to see someone was around the 10k mark so just before the Cutty Sark, unfortunately I missed Julie an old work collegue there, again hearing from friends that had run before that missing friends and family can really mess with your head, I tried not to think about it as I knew missing Jason at Surrey Quays really might upset me, luckily  before I knew it I was at the Cutty Sark, so that gave me something else to think about, enjoy the race take in the sights & soak up the cheers

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(look both feet off the ground.. well almost)

I have gone along to Surrey Quays for so many years as a spectator it was weird being there as a runner, over the years it has gone from being a quiet part of the course as far as spectators are concerned to a busy spot (actually the whole route was pretty busy) but luckily I  spotted Jason straight away and headed over and stopped for quick hug and kiss

The viral infection I had suffered during March and my low B12 levels were already starting to show, I had hoped to get to around the 16 mile mark before the fatigue or any niggles kicked in but they hit me much earlier than I expected, luckily I had come prepared, dextrose, jelly babies, shot blocks and gels, I had enough fuel for 2 or 3 runners but it looked like I was going to need it all myself

At mile 10 a surprise and very welcome hug from Julie of Too Fat to Run fame (If you haven’t heard of Julie go & check out her page to find out more about her fantastic campaign to get more people running)

Just after seeing Julie I stopped for a quick Paula ie a pee behind  bush (the loo queues are ridiculous) & as I started to run again I felt a pinching in my right butt cheek, I tried to run it off but it was surprisingly painful, Mile 11 Jason popped up again, check out my Instagram to see a video clip of me running over for another hug & a kiss, just after seeing him I came across a few TEAMDUK runners so I ran with them to the approach to Tower Bridge where we hit out first Diabetes UK cheer station


When you hear about people running the London Marathon Tower Bridge is normally one of their favourite points & usually I love running over the bridge but this time it was just to crowded & I couldn’t wait to get off the bridge, I had friends around the 13 mile marker so I wasn’t sure if they would be on the bridge or just after but there were just to many people, I was actually glad when I got to the 14 miles and I could stop looking for them and just start focusing on running again

Going along the Highway I expected seeing the faster runners on the other side of the road to be a hard point but something weird had happened, usually when I run my brain is constantly doing maths, I have done a 1/4 of the race a 1/3 of the race, half of the race but this time I didn’t care I remember thinking at the 14 mile point that I still have to do almost half the race again but rather than fear there was acceptance, Mile 15 & Julie who I had missed at the 10k mark popped up so another welcome hug received there, hugs from your friends and family really do seem to give you a boost & recharge your batteries

Mile 16 was the first time that I had slipped below my 5.30 marathon pace, I was 30 seconds slower than I should have been at that point, but again rather than panic or get upset as I knew it was only likely to get worse I just felt, I have ran 16 miles, I have felt shattered for the last 8, had a sharp pain in my butt for the last 6 but I have kept moving forward, so I couldn’t be disappointed


I decided at mile 16 to try and eat half an energy bar, OMG I literally spent a mile trying to chew something that would normally only be a few mouthfuls, this saw me hitting mile 17 4 minutes behind schedule & was where I stopped thinking about my time, the next few miles saw us hitting Canary Wharf, I loved running around here and the miles seemed to pass quickly, before I knew it we were at the 20 mile marker and honestly if I had had to have stopped there, I would have stopped happy & satisfied with what I had accomplished, I remember running through mile 20 passing a pub with Jamiroquai Space Cowboy playing and stopping for a few seconds to have some water a few jelly beans and a bit of a dance with a stranger

Mile 21 I had been something I had been looking forward to, the support of Cheer Dem is well known at London races, not only do they cheer on members of their own running community Run Dem Crew but they also support all other runners, there is a stretch of road that they decorate with giant heads representing members of their crew that are running that day, I had banked on some virtual cheers here to recharge my batteries but while there were still people out, it wasn’t the powerful noise I had experienced at other races & that was the one & only part of the course that I come away from feeling flat


(I didn’t take any photos on the course so I thought I would share my marathon nails)

Mile 21 – 23 were probably the dullest of the route, I had started to feel a little sick (to much sugar) & I couldn’t wait to get onto the home stretch, getting to mile 23 felt like coming home, I have walked and run along the embankment more times than I can remember, I just had that tunnel at Blackfriars to deal with and then we were on the home straight

Just after Mile 24 Jason appeared again, along with about half a dozen friends, quick hugs all round before moving on, it was hard to motivate yourself to run along this stretch as most people were walking so I made a deal with myself run 2 lamposts walk 1, & very quickly I was at Westminster just as Big Ben struck 4pm.


I knew the Diabetes UK team had a cheer squad here so I literally went around the corner skipping and whopping much to their delight, having the whole team erupt into cheers and shouting my name gave me the boost to get me along to Birdcage Walk, again this became a run walk as I wanted to preserve energy to run along The Mall, with 385 meters to go I reached for my phone to try & film my last few steps, its weird how your legs suddenly have the energy  to keep moving when the finish line is in sight, all to quickly I had crossed the finish line, it seems strange to say all to quickly when you have been running for over 5.5hrs but thats honestly how I felt, it didn’t feel like it had taken that long, the wall that people had spoken about had never hit (actually it did about 8,30pm in the pub but thats another story)


I had done it, I had completed the London Marathon & had the medal to prove it, only one thing to do, hit the pub for dinner and drinks with friends


Would I do another marathon, I am not sure, I would love the opportunity to try the distance again, but with a marathon you pin all your hopes and dreams onto one day & there are so many things that are out of your control that can go wrong & I am not sure I want to put myself through the emotional aspect of marathon training again, its not like a 10k where if you need to cancel there will probably be another race locally the following weekend, that said the lure of the ballot caught me, so I guess I am leaving whether I will run the London Marathon again in the hands of fate


Have you ever taken part in the London Marathon, what was your experience? or has reading this inspired you to apply for a ballot place? Entries to the 2017 ballot are now open, you can click here to apply… Good Luck!!


London Marathon – I did it!!

Against all the odds, leg still not 100% healed, a chest infection that lasted the whole of March and made me so run down I had to start a fresh course of B12 injections at the beginning of April, I completed the London Marathon last weekend & I absolutely bloody loved it

I am still struggling to put the day into words but I wanted to let you know I made it and promise you that a full race recap will follow soon I promise, along with more regular blog posts will follow soon


Happy tears, that bling & those nails!

Run Through Victoria Park – Race Recap


Have you ever ran a Run Through race, they offer, 5 & 10ks & have recently started to offer Half Marathons at certain locations, across London with the coolest medal for a very reasonable price (more details of Run Through events can be found HERE)

I have had serious bling envy since I saw lots of friends posting pictures of themselves on Instagram last year with their Battersea Power Station medals, so I made sure I planned 2 into my London Marathon training, this one Victoria Park & of course Battersea Park

I have had heard nothing but good things about Run Through races so I was really looking forward to this weekends race, so I was absolutely gutted that the race just didn’t live up to my expectations

So before I write about what I didn’t like about the event I want to be fair & write about what I did like


  • I love the variety of races that Run Through offer
  • They DO have the best medals
  • They are cheap to enter
  • When I contacted them I was told I could switch from the Half to the 5 or 10k without any issues as per my Physio’s recommendations (most race organisers do not offer different distances or will not let you drop down or defer but Run Through were very accommodating


  • Getting an email a few days before an event telling you the only toilets available will be the public toilets already in the park, none of which are particuarly near the start or have more than 3 cubicles, for 500+ runners plus runners, their friends and family and all the other park users really isn’t adequate (saying that I did spot a few portaloos near the start, although they may have been added due to one of the buildings in the park being renovated)
  • You have collect your race numbers on the day – my pet hate, I will happily pay a few £s extra to have them posted to me, no one wants to be standing around on what you know is going to be a cold/wet or possibly snowy March morning just to collect a race number
  • After collecting your race number being told your baggage label was not in your race pack so you have to queue again and when you get to the person handing them out their poor hands were so cold they struggled to separate them – I arrived quite early but I am guessing this caused delays later when more people were arriving
  • Leaving your bag in the same place you collected your race number only to return and they have taken all the directions down so you have no idea what gazebo to go to as they are no longer numbered (because I only done the 5k I was one of the first to finish so it wasn’t like I was late and they were packing away) and because the bags were placed in no order I imagine this was carnage 30 minutes later, again I am guessing the bags were not placed in any order due to the delay in giving out baggage tags
  • The bling that I have been eyeing up for so many months being the teeniest bling ever, it was fine for a 5k but I think I would have been disappointed receiving this for the half
  • & finally the final straw I do not seem to be listed on the race results even as a no show, I know I switched distances but I even check when I picked up my number and was advised because we had chip timing I could run which ever distance I wanted and the chip would record accordingly

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I am totally gutted I was disappointed by this race as everyone else I know loves them, & as I have said before they offer cheap races most weekends in a variety of locations across London which makes them very appealing and convenient, would I recommend a Run Through event, to be honest no, not based on today’s experience but I am hoping the Battersea Park race in a few weeks time will change my mind, I will keep you posted


Marathon Watch – 50 days to go (& Roding Valley Half Marathon Race Recap)

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So yesterday marked 50 days to go until the London Marathon & I am still feeling strangely calm

Following my Physios advise I have laid off the running a little bit recently, I had a half marathon booked last Sunday and there was doubt over whether I should run but following my scan I decided I would run but that I would take it slowly (not sure who I am trying to kid with that statement I had nicknamed this particular Half the Half from Hell a few year ago.


Roding Valley Half Marathon is a small Half Marathon organised by Woodford Green Athletics Club, as I mentioned above I have ran this Half Marathon before and I swore never again so I am not really sure what possessed me to sign up this year other than the fact that I genuinely believed that if I can cope with this I can cope with the marathon

RVHM is a two lap course which contains 13 hills, yep one a mile and some of them are evil!!

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Based on my running recently compared with my running in 2014 I expected to finish this race in around 2hrs 40, so I was chuffed to bits when I finished in 2hrs 33 a 3 minute course PB something I was definitely not expecting, my strategy on the day was to walk up the hills and to run the down hills and the flats and it obviously worked there is a stretch of the course between miles 4-5 & 9-10 that is pretty flat and honestly I felt like I floated along, my legs must have been so shot from the hills because this bit felt like a breeze, and I wouldn’t usually be comfortably running at 10 miles


Would I recommend Roding Valley Half Marathon, yes I would, its friendly, well marshalled, well supported by the local community and its cheap (I think it was only £18), the negatives & I hate to name them but having to pick up race numbers on the day is a personal annoyance, I would much rather pay a few £s extra for it to be posted & there were no toilets on the course, it may not be a biggy for many but I think for a half marathon they are a must (if you wanted the loo you had to pop into a local cafe or bar or detour off the courses slightly to go back to the start line and use the loo there)

There hasn’t really been anymore running over the last few days as I was waiting to see my physio again, but I had a sports massage Thursday, have been given some strenthening exercises and have a plan for the next few weeks that involves a couple of 5ks a 10, some treadmill, exercise bike & rowing machine work and some stretching

Oh and the weight loss seems to be back on track

Are you training for an event, how are you getting on?



Marathon Watch – 60 Days to go

12733653_10153634958579748_5211876662190030149_nI seem to be struggling for time recently to update my blog so this is a short but sweet 10 day update on how my marathon training is going

60 days until the London Marathon, it was exactly 2 months on Wednesday OMG it’s coming around so quick

I’m actually feeling pretty happy with how my training is going, I have only done two proper runs in the last 10 days but both were my long runs so 8.5 & 10 miles

My left leg the one I injured last year has started to feel heavy, tight & aches constantly so I made a conscience decision to cut back on my midweek shorter runs, opting to walk those distances instead to give it some rest

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My 8.5 mile run last week formed part of my Valentines Run, it wasn’t an organised race it was just a 5k run around a local lake with another 5.5 miles of local streets and a park thrown in to make up the miles, I’d met a friend who is also training for the marathon for the 5k around the local lake it was great to meet up with someone mid way through the run as it really broke it up & earning a bling at the end was the icing on the cake


My 10 mile run last week was 2 laps of the Fords Motor Company test track at Dunton in Essex, the race felt awful at the time, I felt slow, my leg was aching  & the wind on the course was horrendous, I was seriously tempted to give up at 4 miles, but I decided to plod on even if it meant walking the rest of the course, so rather than do my usual 3 mins running 1 minute of walking I ran where it felt comfortable and walked where the wind was pushing me so hard that running felt like a pointless exercise and around the chicanes, I was shocked when I stopped my garmin at the end of the race & saw my 1.55 finish time, I’d taken part in the same race 2 years ago and had finished in 1.52, this year had felt so much slower, I was hoping for 2hrs  or under which would have kept me in line with my 12 min mile marathon pace but on the day just didn’t feel like I had it in me so was just aiming for a finish so was delighted when I saw my time

Are you training for an event, how’s it going?  Or have you ever felt that you were having an awful run only to discover after you were actually holding a really good pace