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

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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

Marathon Watch – 70 days to go

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This week started with a 7 mile run, I had been looking forward to this part race part of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Race Series, for a while as I like the bling (I am so shallow I know) it’s shaped like the London Underground sign, the race is a 10k but I wanted to add on another 1.2km to get me to 7 miles, what I didnt expect was that the extra 1.2km would become a sprint because the trains were delayed, I want to say the race was well organised & the volunteers out on the route were fantastic but those handing out the race numbers were literally stood around chatting as around 40 queued in front of them to get there numbers, admittedly registrations had officially closed but there were  many others like me doing the dash from Stratford station to the start line, they could see us standing there, they could see that people still had to visit the bag drop etc & with less than 7 minutes until the race start time, nothing seemed like it was going to interrupt their conversation until a man in an orange Hi Viz jacket came along and asked why there was a queue

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The race itself was better than I expected, I have run around the Olympic Park so many times and knew it could be quite a hilly course, luckily due to another 10k race being held over the other side of the park the organisers had kindly managed to avoid the hills but unfortunately left us with a fairly repetitive 3 lap course

My run at the Olympic Park was unfortunately the better of my 3 runs this week, my Wednesday run was a disaster, my trousers kept falling down, at one point I was running around with my top tucked in my trousers just to help hold them up, but I felt stupid and it wasn’t particuarly successful, so I ending up giving up, except I didn’t give up totally instead I decided rather than my planned 5k run, I would go for a 5 mile walk, as for some reasons my trousers behaved if I didn’t try and run

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Fridays run unfortunately wasn’t much better, I went out, my leg hurt, I realised I had forgotten my music, dextrose and I hadn’t set my Garmin to intervals, I had planned to run 8 miles & I was desperately short of time and after a mile I thought I can’t do this, I am not enjoying it but again rather than giving up totally I decided to go for a walk again & I am glad I did, when I got home, by poor furbaby was very ill and had I have stayed out the extra time it would have taken me to run those extra miles I wouldn’t have been home when he collapsed, I am pleased to say that after a trip to the vets he is back home and is doing well, but at almost 18yrs old the vet fears next time it will not be such a happy ending

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It sounds like this wasn’t a great week for me training wise but bizzarely I actually feel like the reverse is true, I am happy with how the week went, I didn’t give up, maybe I didn’t run as much as I wanted but I still done 16 dedicated miles & I seemed to make some big gains in my nutrition

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Life seems to feel like a rollercoaster at the moment tearing around at 200 miles an hour with no time for me, well I have finally admitted its time to get off the rollercoaster, my husband wanted me to resign as he feels I have let my job take over my life but
I love my job and I do not want to give it up, but what I do agree with is that it has taken over my life – I am not going to go into the ins & outs of what happens next as to be honest I haven’t decided but what I have decided is I want more me time and the only way to get that is to reduce the hours I do at work & I am hoping for a better balance on that by the end of the month

 

Winter Run Series – Race Recap

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I so wanted to be writing a happier race recap of this years London Winter Run & I will, but before I start I wanted to share my experience of the start line

As we headed to the start line I went to do my usual pre race selfie & Facebook check in, when something caught my eye, my news feed was full of the words RIP Terry, the sad news broken that Terry Wogan had passed away, another life taken by cancer, we are only one month into 2016 and we have already lost so many British icons, David Bowie, Alan Rickman & now Terry Wogan to this awful disease

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While everyone was excited to run, the start line definitely had a more sombre feel, there was even more of a poignance as to why over 15,000 runners were standing in the rain waiting to run 6 miles on a dreary Sunday morning & when the going got tough during the race it certainly made you think, yes this run is tough, but fighting cancers tougher & my struggle is nothing compared to what many others are going through

Those of you that have been following my journey for a while will remember me being so excited about polar bear hugs & snowflake bling at last years London Winter Run and instead I got a free ride to the first aid tent, lots of sugary tea, a plaster cast for my leg and my London Marathon dreams shattered (click here to read more)

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I must admit as excited as I have been for the last 18 months about this run it has definitely been hanging over me like a dark cloud, I know its stupid, this race had nothing to do with last years accident, but pschologically it has been a barrier I had to pass through, maybe its because the 1st February marks a year since the accident but I have felt for months that if I can get through this race then I will be ok

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In 2015 the race route ran along the Thames, unfortunately this years race was more inland (possibly due to road works down the embankment) & a little boring, I love running through London but today’s race was a lot of side streets and doubling back on ourselves, the only sights I spotted were Trafalgar Square at the start, St Pauls Cathederal & the Houses of Parliment at the finish line

Poor route aside the support along the route was great, snowmen, polar bears and penguins cheering us on, snow falling (thankfully only the fake stuff) & a fab bling waiting for us at the finish line

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I ran the race with my friend Jemma, we are both running the London Marathon this year and our training runs have been around 12 minute miles, so baring in mind today was a fun run we were hoping for a finish time of around 1hr 15, so you can imagine our faces when we crossed the finish line in 1hr 8mins, its given us both a much needed confidence boost, I have a few niggles in my leg (I actually typed niggles in my head & I am wondering if that is nearer the truth & that the niggles are in my head) but I am hoping some stretching and a few days rest they will pass as the marathon training is starting to get serious over the next few weeks

If the London Winter Run sounds like a race you would like to take part in, why not click on the link below to register your interest in next years event.

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Marathon Watch – 84 Days to go

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Only two runs this week but thats only because I have runs planned for Saturday & Sunday, Tuesday & Friday this week, the miles have been increased and last Saturdays run was 5 miles & the miles will steadily progress from hereon.. eek, its getting serious

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Meals have been ok ish, I ate out a few times and had friends over one night & we ordered a pizza, something I realised on my 5 mile run last Saturday is it takes me much longer to feel energised when I run these days, I feel sluggish & its problem because I am 2st heavier than when I ran my first half marathon 2 years ago and because where I am working long hours at the moment I am not eating as well and that has to change.

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So for the next few days I am making a conscience effort to fuel my body better in the run up to this weekends London Winter Run, I am hoping it will help me feel a lot more energised and shock me to make some changes that can stay in place for the marathon

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One of the plus sides of the longer runs is taking in some different routes and last weekend saw me running laps of Fairlop Waters Country Park, there is something so peaceful & calm about being near water

& the scales, well the scales went down 1lb, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t have liked more but if I can average a lb a week until the marathon I’ll be happy

 

 

Winter Running & Marathon Training

Hands up how many of us look forward to getting up on a dark morning to go out for a run, or spend all day at work knowing that when you leave the office it will be dark again & there’s still no time to relax once you get home because you still have a run to do..

How do you keep yourself motivated?

I book races, last year before I got injured I had several races booked as part of my marathon training and I will be doing the same this year.

Here is what I have booked so far

November 15th – WestRun, London 10k (enter HERE use the code Sweatshop25 for a 25% discount, entry closes 26/10/15)

December 5th – Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park 10k (enter HERE)

January 31st – London Winter Run 10k (enter HERE & use the code SIMPELLE to receive £3 off your entry price)

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February 21st – Test Track 10, Basildon 10 miles (enter HERE)

March 20th – North London Half, race finished inside Wembley Stadium (Enter HERE)

I probably want another half late February early March, the plan is to add a few miles onto the North London Half to get to around 16 miles that week then I need to find an 18/20 miler, I was booked into the Kingston Breakfast Run last year but I am not really keen on booking that race again, I am a medal whore and for 20 miles I am going to be given a mug rather than a medal, erm no I don’t think so, I can’t even think why I thought this race was a good idea last year other than I have heard its a good route with really good pacers (actually thinking about it, its does sound like a good event I just want a bling for my efforts, come on Human Race Events, get us some bling!)

How do you keep motivated to run during the winter?

Let me know if you will be at any of these events or if you can recommend any others (I am based in East London/Essex boarders)

I have some exciting news!!

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I have accepted a place with Diabetes UK to run next years London Marathon, I have spent a week umming & ahhing, the main thing worrying me being the fundraising but after speaking to my physio who has advised that after completing two 10+ mile walks in the last few weeks with no major issues that I should be ok & that I am no more at risk of injury than anyone else & my issues are now more of fear rather than mechanical

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I managed a nice 30 minute run yesterday and plan to start training properly this weekend, there will no doubt be lots of races being booked as race prep & I have 4 Virtual Races planned as part of my fundraising (more to follow on these but if you are in the UK & would like to join my Halloween race entry is only £7.50 & a minimum of £5 will go to Diabetes UK & you will receive a pretty cool bling, please leave a comment below & I will be in touch)

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Race Recap – Doughnut Dash, Colchester, Essex

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5 Kilometers, 5 Doughnuts, sounded like such a fun way to spend a Sunday morning with some friends, but as race day got closer the reality of actually having to eat 5 doughnuts while running 5km suddenly seemed a little scary rather than fun

I had heard about this race a few years ago but I always seemed to have another race planned for the same day, so this year when I was on a self-imposed race ban, it seemed like the Doughnut Dash could be a great post injury comeback race

Although I wanted to be able to run at this event, I knew this was a race that was definitely more about the fun than the run (although there was one lady at the first doughnut stop complaining to the poor Scout Volunteers that he wasn’t giving out the stickers quick enough proving we had eaten our doughnuts, so we could run to the next doughnut stop.. there’s always one isn’t there)

I was really happy that I was able to run 5k again before the race, it was the doughnuts that were daunting me, don’t get me wrong I am not saying I couldn’t eat 5 doughnuts, after all this blog is about weight loss, as much as it’s about fitness, but eating 5 doughnuts while trying to run a 5k is a whole different story

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The first 1k was quite leisurely along paths within Castle Park, Colchester, that was until we hit the first doughnut station, huge iced doughnuts, I have never seen so much icing, i’m sure they were meant to be ring doughnuts, but the icing machine had been a bit over generous meaning the holes had been filled, lovely under any other circumstances but way to sickly for our first of five doughnuts

The second kilometer was on grass, I hate running along grass at the best of times, I am especially nervous at the moment, scared of dips or holes that I could trip up (I do not want to hurt myself again) add to that a big sickly doughnut in my stomach this race was going to be much tougher than expected

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The second doughnut station gave us yummy chocolate ring doughnuts, I am surprised I actually enjoyed any of the doughnuts, but being the chocoholic that I am this one didn’t disappoint

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The third kilometer saw us start our 2nd lap of the course and for that we were rewarded with an iced ring doughnut, I found this one a little stale but to be honest the staleness was welcome as it made easier to eat as it felt more cake than it did sweet.

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The fourth kilometer saw us back on the grass, I found it a little easier this time around although I am not sure if that was because I just wanted to get finished, our reward for completing our 4th kilometer was a giant iced doughnut with sprinkles, Jason & Jemma had spotted this one on their way around and had been really excited about it but when they finally got the chance to take a bite they just felt to full to enjoy it

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Finally we were onto our last kilometer and the finish line was insight, I had presumed that we would get to cross the finish line and then eat & enjoy our final doughnut but oh no, the organisers had other ideas, instead you had to stop steps from the finish line to eat a sugar covered, jam filled doughnut

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Did I enjoy the race? I think this one is a bit like childbirth, for two or three days after I was saying never again, now I am thinking, yeah why not, its fun running with a group of friends, I’ll just make sure I skip breakfast next time

Was the race good value for money? I think so, at £16 for 5 doughnuts and a medal, I would definitely recommend this race to friends

What if any suggestions would you give to the race organisers? I am a bling girl and while this bling is cute, I would prefer something metal to rubber

Its a slow process, but quitting won’t speed it up

I had physio yesterday and received some really good news & a teeny bit of bad news & all I can focus on is the bad news when I know I should really be celebrating the good news.

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So the good news is my gastrocnemius muscle that I tore at the London Winter Run (if you don’t know about my accident click here) in February is now fully repaired. It’s now just a matter of building its strength up & I was tben told that will be a slow process my physio feels there is nothing more he can do, he is happy with my awareness of my limitations so has said I do not need any further appointments but has not fully discharged me so I can call them for an appointment if I have any major issues

The bad news is because I’m still getting niggles he wants me to drop down to 2 runs a week for the next 2 weeks, (I’ve already dropped from c210k to c25k as that’s 30 mins of run/walking rather than 1hr & now they are reducing that even further) no running for 5 days after the Shine Half Marathon then he’s happy for me to train for the Vitality WestRun London but I’m to run no further than 8k before the race (to be honest I only expected to get to 8.5-9k but it’s annoying to be told no if I was feeling I could go further)

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Then when I mentioned I was beginning to contemplate a marathon again, I could see steam started coming from his ears, I stamped my feet a little & he begrudgingly agreed that if my leg felt ok after WestRun I could slowly build my mileage but to no more than 15k of running by the end of the year, no more than 20k by the end of Feb & he would suggest no more than 18 miles before marathon day and then to try and do my long run 3/4 weeks early so I have a long taper & plenty of time for my legs to rest before the big day.

To be honest all of the above sounds like a marathon is a definite for me when the reality is a marathon may not even be possibility, after watching the Great North Run highlights on the TV yesterday even a half feels like a very distant dream at the moment, a dream that I may never achieve again, but I just want the opportunity to be in control of my own destiny, I’m sick & tired of being told NO, I can’t believe a simple run, a popping feeling, a warm running water type sensation led to a leg being put in plaster, months in a boot & 8 months of virtually no running

I never thought I’d ever want to run so badly, nor that I’d miss running as much as I have, it really helps clear my head, I have always found walking and running helps with my anxiety, after a hard day at work a run may be the last thing I want to do, but I can guarentee if I push myself out the door I will always return happier than when I left, even if I arrive home soaking wet where the heavens have opened mid run

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The positive I am taking from today is that I didn’t reach for chocolate, normally the first sign of bad news or things not going my way,  would have seen me leave the physio session & head straight to the sweetshop for some chocolate

What did you do for National Fitness Day?

Did you know Wednesday 9th September was National Fitness Day?

It was fairly well advertised on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook, if you follow Health & Fitness style accounts otherwise the day could easily have passed you by.

My local council run gym was tweeting about free to attend events but if you tried to contact them to book into anything you were met with deafly silence and claims that they knew nothing about National Fitness Day (shame on you London Borough of Redbridge)

Luckily 2  fitness bloggers I follow PT Mollie and The Fat Girls Guide to Running had organised a 5k run around the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London, so I decided to sign up.

I was a little bit worried about running a whole 5k and running with other people as I haven’t done anything like that since my accident in February, but I needn’t have worried both Mollie & Julie are CiRF qualified and chatted to us as we ran around their pre planned 5k route, they even stayed cool when the route they had carefully planned suddenly became unavailable to us due to an event taking place in the park later that week, instead we made up a new route as we went along I was secretly hoping we would avoid many of the sneaky hills in the park but ended up running up the biggest of them all around the back of the Olympic Stadium.

The run showed me that while I still have to be careful & aware of any niggles, probably my biggest niggle is in my head & things are very much mind over matter for me at the moment & I that need to get over the fear of injury, the boredom of running and walking the same routes and start enjoying running again, losing myself in a run like I did the day of the tube strikes when I got to run along the Embankment (Not letting the tube strikes beat me) so I can enjoy the post run highs.

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Thanks again to Julie and Mollie for giving up your time to organise the run & for giving me the confidence to enter races again, I know my return to running will be slow and that I may have to do a bit of ‘jeffing’ (run/walking, click HERE to find out more about Jeff Galloway’s Run Walk Run approach) when I race but there is no shame in that & if it helps me stay injury free as Jeff claims it’s definitely something I will be looking into more

Not letting the train strikes beat me

A couple of week  ago, London commuters had to endure a complete shutdown of the underground system due to the biggest strike action by Transport For London staff in over a decade,

While most saw this as a reason to moan & arrive at work late, I saw it as an opportunity to do something I had wanted to do since my accident in February, go for a run around London, sure it meant getting up a few hours earlier than usual but it was definitely worth it for what I think will always be my favourite commute to work

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When talking about weight loss and introducing a little activity, jumping off the train a few stops early and walking is often something that is spoken about, but something I have never done simply because I love my bed to much to get up earlier to give me time for the walk, preferring to head out at lunch time instead, but on Thursday 9th July I decided to get up at 4.30 in the morning so I could catch an overhead train to Fenchurch Street and then use my C210k plan to get me the 3.5 miles to work at Oxford Circus

I have always loved walking along the river, but have only ran along the Thames a few times & the thought of having the pavements to myself at 6.30am was just to appealing.

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For weeks I had been putting off my C210k runs, partially because of the heat we have been having and partially because I was really struggling with the 2.5 min run / 2.5 min walks, because I had work after this run I didn’t want to push myself to much, I just wanted to enjoy the route, so I stopped & took photos of the landmarks whenever I wanted to and added on 30 seconds to every run to make up for the photo stops

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Passing Tower Bridge, St Pauls, HMS Belfast, The Shard, Parliament, Big Ben, London Eye, Whitehall, it really was a beautiful morning, I got to Trafalgar Square about 7.10am, I didn’t need to be at work until 8am, I had time for a little detour, but that would take me well over my c210k miles and baring how much I had hated the last couple of runs for a split second I wondered if I had the extra running in my legs, but today hadn’t felt like a run, it had been a pleasure and my legs were feeling ok, so a quick left turn and I was heading through Admiralty Arch & down The Mall towards Buckingham Palace, injury may have prevented me taking part in the London Marathon and running those last few 100 meters of the course but that day I got my chance, to say it was emotional was an understatement, the tears had started crossing the road at Westminster, I passed tthe spot where I had stood and saw many friends race past me at this years London Marathon & when I say race past me I really mean it, I spotted Jason, Leah & Lois and each of them were so in the zone despite me waving my hands about & screaming like a crazy person each of them missed me, but that didn’t matter the pride I had felt at knowing how amazing they had done was still as strong 3 months later & now added to that was the pride in how far I had come since my accident, I remember trying to take my first steps without my cast and I had literally forgotten how to walk, I wanted to move but my brain just didn’t seem to be able to send a message to my ankle and knee to move, they were just rigid, but a little bit of perseverance and a lot of nervous giggles I was soon taking those first shaky steps,

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Next week TFL employees are holding another 24hrs strike, how are you going to get to work, why not try a ‘Runcommute’ like I did