Fallen out of love with running


Ever since my accident last year I haven’t really enjoyed running, it’s something I do because I have to, I could of and probably should have walked away from the London Marathon but I know I would have regretted that forever and I am glad that I took part and I am proud of how I ran on the day, but since then not so much.


I think what I need to do is go back to basics again, at the moment I am struggling to run a mile let alone 5k & the thought of a Half Marathon petrifies me even though I have one less than a month away.

A few years ago I was able to run a 5k in just under 30mins now I am struggling to do them in under 35mins, I got my 10k time down to just under 1hr 5, my most recent 10k was nearer 1hr 16, my first Half Marathon was my fastest 2.26 (if you ignore the 12 minute delay mid way through, thanks Run to the Beat) I think I will struggle to complete Royal Parks in under 2hrs 45


I come up with every excuse not to run, so after Royal Parks I am not booking anymore races until I have re completed C25k and hopefully refound my love of running.


But in the meantime I do have to face up to the fact that I have Royal Parks Half in 2.5 weeks, in an ideal world I would try and come up with a plan for even just a few runs between now and then but with the Shine walking Marathon this weekend (a sore throat, achy body and a bit of a temperature that I am desperately trying to ignore, in the hope that it will be gone by Saturday) its really not looking likely, so the plan is to get Shine out of the way, hopefully then I will be able to get a run in towards next week & a one or two again the week after and then the plan for Royal Parks race day will very much be to go out and enjoy myself, I will be the queen of selfies & take in the atmosphere and the sights.


Have you ever fallen out of love with an activity you had previously enjoyed, what did you do to reignite that flame?


Race Recap – Brighton Half Marathon – Am I a better spectator than a runner

Sunday 22nd February, should have seen be standing on the start line of a very cold Brighton Half Marathon

I was really shocked when we woke up that morning to see thick ice on the windscreen of our car, as I runner I find I overheat quite easily so dress quite lightly but today I was spectating and I really wasn’t dressed appropriately.


We left the hotel and drove towards the seafront, even thou I wan’t running I was nervous about today I was going to be standing and walking a lot more than I had over the last few weeks, I had looked online and there appeared to be a car park around 1/2 mile from the start, and I had discussed with Jason that as soon as we got across the road and onto the Seafront he should head off to the start line and I would take my time to find the Diabetes UK Cheer Station, sit down etc where necessary.

Getting to the start line was a nightmare and possibly one of the most chaotic starts/race villages I have ever seen, for those of you that know Brighton the race village (actually was there even a race village? If there was I never saw it) and the start were on Maderia Drive, a long straight road that was closed off for the start pens leaving all 15,000 runners trying to walk along a slim pavement that also homed the charity tents, race registration & radio station, this also meant that spectators then were crossing the race pens to get onto Marine Parade to go and cheer on their friends and family, really as there was no actual Race Village that I could see there should have been Marshalls at the start of Maderia Drive stopping spectators going down the road thus easing the congestion and probably preventing a few of the slip and falls I saw as people went over on black ice

As a spectator I didn’t see any toilets either although I presumed there had to be some somewhere on the course, but my husband said he didn’t notice any and I’ve seen a few runners comment that throughout the whole course there was less than a dozen portaloos. Really Brighton Half Marathon on a chilly February morning you are gonna need a lot more than that, people pay a lot of money for these races and train hard for them, if you are caught short and need a loo you’d expect to see some every 3-4 miles & having so few on the course leads to queues which in this weather can cause injuries, it’s no wonder runners squat behind bushes


Enough of the complaints & onto the race, Diabetes UK had a spot just overlooking the start/finish and which also put us at the 2 & 6 mile point, the confetti at the start looked amazing from my viewing point high up on Marine Parade.

I love cheering at races & If you have recently started running I would always recommend getting your name printed on your vest as everyone will call your name & it really will give you a lift and keep you going when your legs maybe saying stop

I managed to Jason at 2 & 6 miles along with many running & Instagram friends I have made over the last few months including Beki aka Miss Wheezy who bagged herself a PB by an amazing 18 mins


After I’d seen Beki at mile 6 I decided to try and get back to the finish line, the problem is Marine Parade is much higher up than Maderia Drive meaning you either have to go down around 50 steps or down a very large slope and around a final few steps, neither of these are easy options on crutches, I decided to take the slope very slowly, then a very kind lady helped me down the steps

I was very lucky and managed to find myself a spot along the the last 500ms of the course, and finally after 3 weeks I found probably the only positive for being in a cast, no one wanted to stand to close, they wanted to leave me room to stretch my leg and balance my crutches meaning I had plenty of room to spot friends coming along the course and in those last 500ms I managed to spot almost everyone I knew who was running


If I was a runner if have a final gripe at the 200m point they were letting spectators cross the race to get back over to the ‘race village’ REALLY, there was no reason for spectators to be allowed to cross the course and be on that slim bit of pavement again causing more congestion. In those last few hundred meters you’ll have runners going for a sprint finish, others (like me when I am able to run)  who are just concentrating on continuing to put one foot in front of the other, I have one pace from start to finish, I can’t go quicker I can’t go slower, and more importantly I can’t stop when someone suddenly walks out in front of me


That said everyone I spoke to loved the race, the bling is gorgeous and the course beautiful, was I jealous of all my friends running…… Erm no, I think I make a much better spectator than I do a runner but I still hope to be back out running soon

My Great South Run

Race No. 22 – Great South Run, 10 miles


It’s taken me a few weeks to write this blog post, because it’s taken a few weeks for the race to sink in, 3 days before the race I was convinced I wouldn’t make it to the start line after being taken ill at work and spending several hours at A&E

But even if I wasn’t running there was no way I wasn’t going to Portsmouth for the weekend as I had made arrangements with my friend Alice as she was also running & if I couldn’t run I would be her cheerleader

I hadn’t told Alice about my being ill as I didn’t want to make her nervous, it was her first race in a while & I wanted her to ace it! We met up Saturday afternoon and headed into Portsmouth for a bit of sightseeing, some dinner and to get our bearings for the following day


The views from the top of the Spinnaker Tower were amazing, if you are ever in the neighbourhood I highly recommend a visit, after about 5 minutes of umming and arring, I faced my fears and stepped onto their glass platform 100m up in the air, just thinking about it makes my stomach flip again but I am glad I did it, even if it did take encouragement from both Alice and a total stranger

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Before we finished our visit we decided to partake in a little bit of carb loading ahead of the following days race, but being good little Weight Watchers we decided to share a scone with clotted cream.. *polishes halo*


A quick wander around the shops before dinner lead to a few purchases from the Nike store, then it was back to our hotel to get our kit ready, a bit of X Factor and sort out what time we had to be up and out for the next morning



The next morning we got up early and headed over to Southsea Common, Alice works for Bupa so we were lucky enough to get entry to their VIP area, meaning somewhere warm to wait, free food, clean toilets and no baggage tent queues


Alice was in an earlier wave to me so she headed out first, I decided to leave going out into the cold until the last possible moment


I was really nervous about this race, things hadn’t been going well lately, I won my spot in this race through a Facebook competition, and my original intention had been to try to beat my previous 10 mile time of 1.52.06, but more recently I had had to change my expectations, I wanted a sub 2hrs but after Royal Parks (see how I got on at Royal Parks here) even that was looking unlikely, and after being taken ill a few days earlier I just wanted to complete the course

My running recently has been awful & I have lost all my confidence, as I crossed the start line I challenged myself to the first 5k non stop no walking, for most this would be easy but not for me with my recent running record, the first two miles went well, I felt quite strong, I wanted to take in the sights, I loved running through the dockyards, it reminded me of my younger days when I had friends based in HMS Nelson & HMS Dolphin, somehow though I managed to completely miss the HMS Victory, I think I must have passed it just as I was starting to struggle and I was focusing hard on not stopping until I had seen the 5k marker, the next mile or so were quite tough, we were on a long straight road that went out and back, but the crowd support was amazing, there were very few points of the race where you didn’t receive cheers (If you are running a big race like this wearing your name on your top is a must, hearing people call your name really gives you a boost) approaching mile 5 I started to feel a little dizzy so I took a couple of Dextrose tablets and walked for 2 minutes, I knew I was getting close to the seafront and my energy levels started to lift

I am part of a Facebook running group called Run for Fun and seeing a fellow Funner standing on the sidelines cheering us on around mile 6 gave me a huge boost, mile 7 my energy levels dipped again, but this time I really thought it was game over, my eyes were struggling to focus again like they had done on Thursday, I really thought I was going to have to quit the race I took it down to a very slow walk, sipping my water and taking another few dextrose tablets, that mile was hard, I tried to run a few times but there was nothing left, I had no energy, we had hit a fairly residential part of the course, people were standing in their front gardens music blaring and cheering us on, I wanted to smile but even that took energy I didn’t have.

Eventually the 8 mile marker came around, and then we were on the sea front, I started to try to run but I was only lasting a few 100 meters before I would have to walk again, as we passed the Royal Marine Museum, I got a huge cheer from a group of Marines sitting on a tank, there is something about men in uniform that gives me a boost and off I went running again

Soon the 400 meter sign was in sight, and we were right beside the 6 mile point as well, I hung around for a bit looking out for Alice, but I couldn’t see her, I was disappointed, I really wanted to give her a cheer and say well done, the last 200m was a killer, my legs felt heavy, for the last mile or so there had been a chorus of people cheering for me and a guy called Martin who must have been just behind me, it had been making me smile as my name is Nikki Martin, I wanted to try to grab him at the finish and get a photo but the finish was manic and I think he probably passed me anyway while I was looking out for Alice.

 I crossed the finish line, I had finished!! It had been tough but nowhere near as bad as I had expected, as I turned off my watch I noticed my time, 1.52.38, OMG I was still in the 1.52’s, I knew there were parts of the race I had felt good but there were parts I felt dreadful, I can’t believe my time, that’s by far my best run in months, suddenly I had a burst of energy, after collecting my goody bag & medal (that’s my one complaint with Great Run events, don’t put the medal in the goody bags, I want my bling, nothing else just my bling!) and raced through the race village, I wanted to find Alice, I wanted to cheer her on if she needed it & I wanted to see her cross the finish line


I quickly ran into the VIP tent, dumped my bag, grabbed my hoody and headed back out, my plan was to head to around mile 8 but I didn’t get a chance, my phone bleeped and it was a text from Alice saying she was through mile 8, I plonked myself near the 800m board and cheered on all the runners, when all of a  sudden I saw her ALICE!!!


I am so proud of us both, we both exceeded our expectations, the smiles on our faces remained for hours & it’s definitely given us both a confidence boost with our running


Another plus for this run was that I managed a small 2 mile run 2 days later, normally anything over a 10k leaves me unable to run for a week after, my legs were tired and heavy but I done it, 2 slow but steady miles less than 48hrs after a 10 mile race, go me!!

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*As mentioned in the post, I received free entry into this race but all opinions are my own, and my entry was not dependent on me writing a review*

My Royal Parks Half Marathon

Race No 19 – Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon

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It started so well, the night before I happened to notice that Leah from Naturally Leah, had retweeted her race recap from last years Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon, learning from Leah & knowing how much I hate early starts & that I had to leave home just before 7am, I decided to gather all my kit together ready for the following days race

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Just as well I did really because as predicted, I snoozed my alarm clock twice & then dithered around the house meaning I left 15 minutes later than planned & had to eat my trusty pre race breakfast of peanut butter on toast on the way to the station

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Despite me running late & their being problems on both the tube lines I needed to use I still arrived with 30 mins to spare

The race village was busy, I hadn’t planned to use the bag drop, I had taken an old hoody that I was going to dump, but at the last minute I changed my mind and stored my hoody before heading off and joining what seemed to be the never ending queue for the loo

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The start pens were easy enough to find, it was a little strange no having anyone with me, this was my first time running a Half Marathon without having friends in the start pen with me or knowing I had anyone to meet with at the finish, but even so I was still quite excited, for months I had secretly been hoping for a PB at this event, and watching last weeks Great Scottish Run on TV had really left me pumped and ready to run, just enough time for a pre race selfie and then we were crossing the start line

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& thats where my race started to go wrong, literally that quickly, only meters away from the start, I think I stopped 3 times in the first kilometer, I wear knee supports as I have a problem with my IT Band, both knee supports kept feeling like they were falling down, I kept trying to pull them up, but they were just twisting and becoming uncomfortable, I wear a small bag around my waist that carries my phone, travelcard and a few gels, this has never bothered me in the past but today it kept bouncing and one of my gels had already started to slip put of the holder, and then my capri’s started to feel like they were falling down, what was going? I think it was all the plling about I had been doing with the knee supports had just made me feel uncomfortably dressed and had been a total waste of time because the next time I looked down the right support had slipped so far it was becoming visible from beneath my capri’s, in the end I gave up and stopped at the first set of toilets to try and sort out my knee supports, almost as soon as my race had started my chances of a PB had slipped away

I started running again, but still couldn’t get comfortable, I had forgotten to take my paracetamol before I left home and already I could feel my shin niggling (a not so happy reminder of the Spitfire Scramble), my earphones kept falling out, I never run with music, but being on my own today I hoped it would give me a lift, but that didn’t last much past the 2 mile marker either & because I wasn’t listening to any music, I hadn’t noticed that my ipod had become unclipped from my waistband and was dangling down, trying to wrap itself around my leg until someone tapped me on the shoulder

I thought about just running for fun, taking out my phone and taking some photos as I was crossing Westminster Bridge but I felt silly to stop so early on so I just kept moving, then at 4 miles I started to feel funny, I have lost count of how many races I have taken part in, I know I wasn’t in the best shape of my life but I shouldn’t be hitting a wall at 6.5k, I just felt really lightheaded, dizzy and absolutely exhausted, there was a toilet just ahead so i decided to take myself out of the race for a few minutes, have an energy gel and some water and just stand quietly for a few minutes and regroup.

Because I was going to stop for a few minutes I done something I have never done before, I paused my Garmin, except I didn’t, I switched it off..

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Seriously what else could go wrong?! I love my Garmin, it keeps me on track & lets me know whether or not I am on track, I paniced for a second, expecting a full on meltdown, but instead I had a strange sense of calm, I was very near Embankment Station, I had two choices, go home, or shut up and just get on with it and get to the end of the race no matter how long it took

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I had seen the above quote on Instagram the night before and I decided now more than ever I needed to embrace it, I had completed 5 walking marathons, no matter how long this took, I couldn’t let this race defeat me, so I reset my watch and started to move again.

Around the 5 mile mark just as we were running down The Mall, I spotted a girl called Becca, we had passed each other a few times already along the route and had spoken to offer words of encouragement a few times, just as we reentered Hyde Park I spotted Becca again, she was taking a short walking break so I gave her a wave and said come on, you can’t let me beat you! immediately she started running again, and just like that we both found ourselves a running buddy to get us around the rest of the course, the next few miles literally seemed to fly by as we ran, chatted and walked for the odd few minutes

I knew Leah one of my fellow Spitfire Scramblers was hoping to be around the 9 mile mark and honestly I don’t think I have ever been happier to see anyone, running with Becca had rebuilt my confidence, we were running strong, so when I saw Leah I literally ran towards her waving my arms in the air & a smile on my face, a huge contrast to how I felt earlier in the race and after that first Spitfire Scramble lap & I thank you so much Leah for being such a fab photographer because I don’t think I have ever had such a good photo taken while running


Photo Credit – Naturally Leah

The final few miles passed quickly, with Becca and I still chatting as we went along, finally the finish line was in sight, now I don’t think Becca will mind me saying that I helped her around the last few miles, she was suffering from Shin Splints and I promised I wouldn’t leave her, so we ran intervals that I had timed on my watch, while we were running she had mentioned that she used to be a sprinter and that distance really wasn’t her thing & in those last few 100 meters Becca really come into her own, as we passed the 200m sign she grabbed me and said come on, and out of no where she was off like a rocket, with me chasing along behind her, I have never been one for a sprint finish but I am very proud to say Becca helped me achieve this in this race  & I have the photo’s to prove it (2 photo’s in one race with me smiling!! I’d never have guessed that when I thought about quitting at mile 4)

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This race really was a mental one rather than a physical one, I had been so tempted to quit but I am so glad I carried on, I want to give a big shout out to Becca again on completing her first Half Marathon, to Rebekah on a PB & to Tanja & Leah on being fantastic supporters

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Last but not least the second half of my time

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The Bling

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Oh and the most amazing goody bag I have ever received at a race, which included a £25 Hello Fresh voucher (I have been wanting to try Hello Fresh for ages), Whole Earth Peanut Butter, Yorkshire Tea Bags, Dorset Cereal, a Bounce Ball, plus much much more

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Would I do the Royal Parks Half Marathon again, probably not, the £50 race entry is pretty steep but I would definitely look into volunteering, I think after the marathon 2015 should definitely be about giving something back to all the races I have previously ran

The Countdown is on

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Sunday marked 30 weeks until the 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon, and as I’m very slightly ahead of the game knowing I have already secured a spot having received a coveted You’re In magazine last year, I have decided to start planning already, so Friday night I created my training plan, 30 weeks may seem a little excessive but as I have only completed 2 non stop 10ks, without a few teeny walking breaks, its time to start taking my training a bit more seriously


My plan is to run 3x a week, gradually building my miles and incorporating lots of races, for anyone that’s interested my training plan is below, along with detail of the races I have entered, it would be really great to meet some fellow blogger/runners at some of the races, its amazing how a friendly face or an encouraging smile can get you around a few extra miles

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4th October 2014 – International Parkrun Day, 5k

12th October 2014 – Royal Parks Half Marathon

24th October 2014 – The Poppy Run, 5k

26th October 2014 – Great South Run

9th November 2014 – Royal Parks Series, 10k

16th November 2014 – Movember, 5k

22nd November 2014 – Norwich Half Marathon

7th December 2014 – Santathon, 5k

14th December 2014 – Royal Parks Series, 10k

18th January 2015 – Royal Parks Series, 10k

1st February 2015 – Winter Run Series, 10k

22nd February 2015 – Brighton Half Marathon

28th February 2015 – Race the Pace Half Marathon

15th March – Essex 20

29th March 2015 – Hampton Court Half Marathon

26th April – Virgin Money London Marathon!!!


To aid my training I have also rejoined Weight Watchers as a member, because lets face it, its got to be easier running when you are carrying less ‘excess baggage’ so along with weekly updates letting you know how I am getting on with my running I will also share my weight loss progress

I found these photo’s on my Instagram account a few weeks ago and I really want to get back to this weight in time for the marathon

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I understand the 2015 You’re In & Sorry magazines are hitting doorsteps as I type, my husband has just received the Sorry, but I think he is secretly relieved, he has been offered a charity place and luckily I have already raised his minimum fundraising through work but I think he is going to have to pass on that also as he has been suffering with Plantar Fasciits all year.

Good Luck to everyone who is waiting on the postman, please let me know how you get on, it would be great to have some fellow VLM’rs to follow and share training with