No Hackney for me.

Defer! The one word in any racers vocabulary that one never wants to hear and one that so far I have never had to use. However after last Sundays London Marathon, and the stress it has put on an old ankle injury, I have not run once this week and simply not in a position to complete the 13.1 miles tomorrow.

At the time of booking Hackney Half Marathon I was buzzing from my endurance for long runs increasing and I believed that I would be in a peak level of fitness to be able to take on this race for a second year running. And, fingers crossed, improve on my bad performance from the previous year.


So, all with good intentions, I contacted the race organisers (now Virgin Sport) to explain my situation in the hope that they would be able to defer my entry to the following year or even offer me a spot in another race.

The response I got was rather unsympathetic. I was told that I was neither allowed to defer my entry nor move my place to another race. The only option, even though I had already paid a hefty sum of £49 to enter, was to volunteer as a Marshall to be given a free spot for another race. After complaining further to head office, I was promptly sent an email spouting the terms and conditions I agreed to when signing up for the race and, a rather patronising staff member asked if I would like to be sent a full copy of these terms!

Yes, I signed up to the terms and conditions at the time of booking. However, at that time I had no intention not to run. I had no idea that an old injury, that I had not suffered with once during my marathon training, would re-surface and cause me issues.

The fact that Virgin Sport have no policy in place for those suffering with an injury or have any empathy towards those racing is disgusting. Never before have I experienced races where you are simply told “sorry, tough luck. Come volunteer instead.” I have many friends who have had to pull out of races at the last minute and every time the race organisers have allowed them to defer or transfer their entry to another race that suits them.

It is downright rude and quite frankly shows very poor customer service on Virgin Sport’s part. I suppose it is also a great way to make extra profit. Rely on a percentage of drop outs or no shows and simply say “sorry, its in our terms and conditions.” In other words, give you the finger.

Sadly I have already booked another race with Virgin Sport in the Summer, previously Run London run by Vitality, so that’s more of my money in Virgin’s pocket. I will have to ensure I don’t do anything between now and then to jeopardise running this one – as that too came with a hefty entry fee.

After this, I am going to re-consider entering any Virgin Sport events, which saddens me. All the races they have taken over from Vitality are throughly enjoyable and always a great experience.

However, what I have learned over the last few weeks is there are plenty other 10k’s and Half Marathons out there, with new races such as London Landmarks Half and The Big Half both released for 2018. So, as Virgin Sport do not care enough to show empathy to their customers I will simply take my custom elsewhere!




The London Marathon

It has taken me days to finally be able to sit down and put my London Marathon experience into words. I have never experienced child birth myself, but I can only imagine this is how marathon training and the day itself compares.

For months you are training your body for one of the biggest days of your life, your body is not your own, you have aches and pains all over, your appetite changes and some days you feel physically sick.

Then the big day comes. You experience pain like you have never felt before, that goes on for hours. But you know at the end you will receive something that is so worth the pain – so you don’t complain, you don’t grumble, you push through.

The moment you have been waiting for arrives. You finish. The hard part is over, but you are still in pain. You have achieved this amazing thing and you have something to show for it – but you are in a fog and you cannot fully process what you have just done.

Then slowly, the pain subsides, the fog lifts and you look at this beautiful thing in your hand that you have not been able to put down for days. And you think – “I want another one!”

I am of course talking about my medal.

Now that my legs have eased up slightly, and I am starting to master the stairs again I am starting to kick myself when I analyse my performance. I know I could have performed better than I did, I can run faster – I have done it before. But in the moment, it just does not seem humanly possible to push yourself to go faster, you do the bare minimum to ensure you can finish. And in the second half of the race that is exactly what I did.

The run started off well. I was in the zone, I was not paying any attention to the runners around me, spectators were a blur and I was just focused. Until mile 4 and I realized that I should have lined up for that third toilet break before the start. Watching numerous runners (including some in fancy dress) fly past as I waited what felt like hours for the toilet I tried to not let myself panic. And there was no need. After a ten minute wait – I got back into the zone and over took all those runners who passed me whilst I waited in line.


So I carried on. My legs and mind were working together in harmony, round Cutty Sark through to the seven mile mark where I heard people screaming my name! My friends were there to cheer me on, telling me how well I was doing. Quick hugs and I was off again. I knew I had another friend and the Willow Foundation waiting on Tower Bridge, so I kept on, in the zone never focusing further ahead than the next mile marker.

I knew the approach to Tower Bridge was coming, as the crowds started to thicken. When I ran over the bridge I did not stop. I have heard many people give an account of their experiences running over the bridge, and I have to say it is just like they describe. There is nothing like it. The shear volume of the cheers is deafening. Despite looking out for my friend here, I did not spot him and would not have been able to hear him shouting my name due to how loud the crowds were. It didn’t matter anyway – as many people told me – Tower Bridge is the place where you have to fight back the tears. And I did just that.

Just after Tower Bridge you turn right down the Highway, and here is where you will become broken. I was told – “don’t look to your left.” And for a very good reason. As you are approaching the half way point you will have runners coming towards you reaching the 22 mile marker – on the home straight. This part of the course is what got me. My mind went dark and I found it hard to keep going. Weaving in and out of the slower runners and walkers had impacted my ankle – it was throbbing and I just wanted to stop. So I did – I walked it out for about five minutes before getting back to a slower pace than the first half. Mile 14-17 was a hard slog, running round the Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf was the worst part of the course for me. Not only did I have in my mind those runners (who were probably now finished) but I was trying hard to refocus and push through, plus I felt physically sick from the heat and the amount of sugar that was rushing round my body.

My friends appeared just before mile 17, the same guys who I first saw at mile 7. I took a longer pause to talk to them, get hugs and take on some paracetamol for my ankle, which was now making me question whether I could continue. But I carried on, pushing through when I could and then slowing down to a quick walk when the pain got a little too much.

Before I knew it I was back along the river. The crowds were thickening up again, cheering was deafening and everything remained blurry. I knew I had people waiting to see me on in the home stretch. So I kept going – trying not to break out into a walk – but running in a rather disappointing slow pace. I heard my name being screamed around Victoria Embankment, it was my Sister in Law and her husband. I sprinted towards them giving them a big sweaty hug. Seeing them was just what I needed to see through the final few miles.

Big Ben was ahead, I just had to turn right and my family and the Willow Foundation would be there to see me through the final turn. The crowds around Big Ben were unbelievable. Thousands of people stretched out, screaming names of strangers to get them through to the end.

Running into Birdcage Walk I knew I had to keep running. I could not walk in the last few miles, I had to be running when I saw my family. When I finally spotted them, hearing them roar and cheer, I sprinted over so happy to see them. Issy, from work, and my Brother were telling me how proud they were, my 11 year old Niece was sobbing, my Nephews were saying “you did so well” – but I had not finished. So with my heart bursting with love and pride I sprinted to the end. When others around me looked like they wanted to die, walking along, I ran my heart out to the end. The fancy dress camel, who had been in sight all the way, was in front. And he was not going to beat me to the end. The Marshall shouted to me “don’t let that camel beat you.” And I didn’t – I whizzed passed and crossed the finish line without him around me.

I had done it. 26.2 miles (or 26.8 according the Garmin).

The crying came as another Marshall placed that beautiful medal over my neck. And then I realized I cannot walk! For miles and miles I pushed on, running. But as soon as I crossed that finish line walking through the funnel to collect the goody bag and my kit bag seemed like another 26 miles.


Finally through the production line and re-united with Ross I was guided by a Willow Foundation volunteer to the “Recovery Center” where Willow had hot showers, massages and refreshments waiting. Also waiting were my friends and family – those who had chased me throughout the day and those who were waiting at the finish line.


Pain forgotten I had photos with Bob and Megs Wilson, beaming with my medal. I had done it. The journey was over.


As I look back and reflect on the day, and the training leading up to it, I know that I had the ability to perform better. I think about the training runs I missed when I just could not take any more and know I could have pushed myself through – I just didn’t want to. I think of the day itself and the times when I took a pause, knowing that If I fought my mind harder my legs would have kept going.

I suppose this is the point post marathon, when you are starting to forget about the pain through training and race day itself, that runners do the thing they say they would never do – book another marathon. So far, I can happily say that I have not caught the bug. I am frustrated with myself, because I could have done better, but not so much so that I feel I need to chase a PB.

Right now, I am happy to have survived, to have finished and to be at the point where I can start thinking about running again without clocking in the miles.

There are many races to come my way in the next few months. So for now, I’m still resting and focusing on getting my running speed to back where it was and enjoying the freedom of running.

As a final note, I wanted to express my thanks again to everyone who played a part in my journey. The support I had throughout training and in the lead up, was nothing compared to that on the day. Family and friends, near and far, were sending me messages, tracking my progress and cheering from the side lines. It took me until the following day to respond to all the messages and comments I had received.


In a world where there is so much focus on hate and evil, the London Marathon showed me that love is so much more powerful.

At the beginning of my journey I read a quote “If you are ever loosing faith in human nature, go out and watch a Marathon.”

There has never been a truer word spoken.


Lots of Marathon Love


Just over six months ago I wrote a post announcing that I was running the London Marathon. All of a sudden, time has flown by, and in two days time I will be in a pen waiting in Greenwich for the biggest day of my life.

Getting to the start is an achievement itself. Many miles of training your mind and body is something that breaks even the strongest of people. Tears, frustrations and joys of hitting set targets have all been experienced. And I would not got by without the love and support of family, friends and colleagues.

Whilst I wait out the final two days, with little much else to do but rest, I wanted to take some time to reach out to everyone who has helped me on my journey. This week alone I have received numerous messages of well wishes from people far and wide; whether it is simply to wish me “good luck” or to offer me advice, all have touched my heart. And it is time to show my marathon love and offer thanks.

I first met Jackie Scully through the Willow Foundation at the beginning of this year. Hearing her story touched my heart. Not only did Jackie have her pelvis rebuilt in 2007, but she was also diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks after getting engaged. Not allowing to let her illness define her she took to running and will be running the London Marathon on her wedding day! Yes – she will be getting married on the Cutty Sark whilst most runners are making their way to the race. Jackie’s story has been something that has kept me grounded throughout training. I am in constant awe of her accomplishments, her will to keep going and determination to not let illness beat her. Jackie – you are an inspiration and it has been a pleasure to meet you. I am sure that no matter what race day brings it will stay with you for ever.

Amber has been what I like to call my “virtual training buddy.” We did not run together once, due to different abilities (i.e. Amber being a whippet and me more like a giant tortoise), but she has been an amazing support for me throughout training. Every time we faced the longer runs we shared them, we discussed them, we cried about them and with her help I shook off the bad runs and got back up again. I know now that I would not have got through the long Winter months training without her being there.

Ross – my best friend, my partner in crime, my knight in shining armor. For the last few months he has had to put up with me being in one of two states of dress; running gear or pajamas. Listening to me go on about miles, discussing dodgy looking toe nails and at times coaxing me out the door when I just don’t want to go! Many nights runs were planned one way to Sainsburys – where he would be doing the shopping. And on a couple of occasions he was at the end of the phone, ready to rescue me on long runs when I just could not finish. I don’t say it enough – but I could not have done it without him.

Jon – three weeks ahead of me in the marathon schedule, he was running the Rome Marathon. Over the course of my training he was a great support; reassuring me that i’m not alone, that he had been where I was, it will get better and I will finish.

Friends and Family – of whom there are far too many to mention. If I did I would be here all day. But, every single one of you have been amazing. Whether it is donating money, liking my numerous Facebook posts, commenting on my progress or sending messages full of love and well wishes. The last few weeks in particular has brought me to tears with all the love coming my way. These wishes will keep me going during the darkest times on Sunday.

Red Letter Days and my amazing colleagues, who I have pestered with raffles, bake sales and my tuck shop. The support has been phenomenal. In particular, special shout out to a couple of you past and present, you know who you are, who have donated an amazing amount between them. They have been my cheerleaders from the beginning, donating and buying tickets, bringing me back up when I am down and for some of them, even coming down to cheer me along with the Willow Foundation on Sunday. You guys have a special place in my heart – thank you!

To the amazing running community, all who I have never met in person. It has been an amazing journey having you beside me. At times, when I felt I was annoying pretty much everyone in my life with stories of running, having the running community with me was a great comfort. Giving advice, telling me I am not alone and giving me the courage to keep going – it has enabled me to be a stronger person and carry on.

And finally to The Willow FoundationThank you (I think) for giving me the opportunity to tick the London Marathon off my bucket list. If I only ever do one marathon It would have been a dream to run London and at the same time raise money for an amazing charity. I am looking forward to seeing you guys on route and most importantly I will very pleased to see you at the end, once I have hobbled to the recovery center.

For anyone wanting to track my progress you can do so by entering my race number (52825) either online or via an app – information can be found here

So that’s a wrap. The next few days will be time to relax, rest and carb load in preparation for Sunday. Time to switch off!

See you on the other side!



Tested: Floatation Therapy

In attempt to ease the constant ache in my legs from training I have tried many remedies over the last few months. Deep heat, deep freeze, magnesium oils, tiger balm….you name it, I’ve tried it. I have lost count on the number of sports massages I have had or the number of times I have visited the local pool to take advantage of their spa facilities.

Despite trying a variety of things to help with the pain, the ache did not seem to want to go away. Sports massages are great to help loosen the muscles and target the troublesome areas – however, due to the brutality of these sessions, they do leave me staggering away rather bruised and battered. And despite enjoying the sessions, I was starting to feel like my legs would never feel the same again.

Until I tried a Floatation therapy session at Floatworks. Working for Red Letter Days I had been aware of this treatment for some time, many colleagues had tried it, but I had never got round to trying it myself. So after researching the benefits and getting feedback from others I decided to go ahead and book in a session – one week before the London Marathon.


What is Floatation Therapy? 

The experience involves lying effortlessly in a i-sopod floatation tank. Delivered through a super-saturated Epsom-salt solution, 25cm deep and containing 525kg of magnesium rich Epsom-salts.

Heated to skin temperature, the environment in the tank is controlled so that the air is also skin temperature. All you have to do is lie back and imagine you are floating in the Dead Sea.

The therapy is known for a whole list of benefits. Training for the London Marathon, I picked out a select few that applied to me.

From all the research I have found on this treatment, all providers state that floating promotes total calm and relaxation, improved sleep and diminishes anxiety and fear. All helping towards a better general wellness.

Mental benefits includes creating mental clarity, alertness and deepens meditation.

Now the physical benefits are more interesting to me; decreases the production of cortisol, lactic acid and adrenaline, speeds up rehabilitation and recovery, relieves pain, improves athletic performance, reduces blood pressure, pulse, heart rate and oxygen consumption. All the physical things you want to hear as a runner.

The list of benefits from floating seems endless and continues to grow as the treatment becomes more popular.

During the treatment itself I did not seem to be able to switch off, though I am told this is normal during your first float. I just kept thinking how strange this was floating, wondering how much time has passed and trying to calculate when my time was up.

Floatworks recommend turning the light off inside the pod once you are settled. For around five minutes you will have relaxing music before it stops completely. So then, all you have is darkness and complete silence.

When my time was finally up, I did not feel like it had worked. I had spent some of my time trying to defy nature and make myself sink. The rest of the time I spend squeezing my eyes shut telling myself to “go to sleep”.

However, within an hour of the treatment being up I entered into a very zen state of mind. My legs felt pain free, my mind was clear and I generally felt the most relaxed I have felt for months.

And it continues, over the last few days since having the treatment, I find myself freaking out less about the impending London Marathon and I have let myself relax a little more. I have barely run since – but have allowed myself accept that this is okay. I have walked more, slept better and generally feel more at peace.

It is safe to say that floating is definitely something that works for me. And it is something I hope to continue doing on a regular basis – not just for the physical benefits after training but for the general well being I feel that it has given me over the last few days.


I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone. You don’t have to be training for a Marathon to reap the benefits. Floating can help with anyone; from those who are suffering from anxiety and fertility issues to those suffering from injury.

Try it for yourself at Floatworks. Not only are you welcomed by a friendly team, but the facilities they have enable your stress free experience to continue. All you have to do is bring yourself.

Fears of the first time Marathon runner.

Training alone for months. Something that I would not wish upon anyone, yet It is something that I have done in order to get “marathon ready” and there are many others I know who have done the same – for what ever reason. Not having that running buddy next to you throughout can leave your feeling such despair. There has been no one to keep me going – everything I have done I have done alone. Getting out during the cold winter months, running the long miles – It has been me pushing myself to get out there and continue training.

In my final days, as I reflect on what I have achieved and how far I have come, I still have many fears that I cannot shake. Some are irrational and some are expected, either way in 9 days time I will meet what has become my biggest fear and I know I will not be alone.

In the meantime, as a way to help me rationalise these fears, I document them to help myself and hopefully help others.

Boredom has been a continued fear for me. As the miles started increasing I had no one to keep me going and at times I even cried and talked to myself. On a few occasions I stopped some long runs early simply due to the fact that I was bored. Bored of the same streets, my own company and not having comfort of another person next to me. I have been assured that this will completely different come race day. I will have runners beside me feeling all the pain and anguish I am. I will have spectators – some strangers keeping me going when all I want to do is cry and give up. I will also have loved ones – friends and family who have promised to be there to get a glimpse of me – to scream my name, give me a hug and if needed a kick up the ass to get through to the end.

Loneliness, which I have felt so much over the last six months. I suppose will come hand in hand with the boredom. I will not be alone. I will have the company of 39,000 fellow runners and anyone who has come down to cheer people on.

What if it is too hot? Something that has been in my thoughts lately with the higher than normal temperatures. When I think about the heat I get flash backs to Hackney Half Marathon last year and the souring temperatures. If I remember correctly it was heading towards the very high 20’s towards the end of the race and I keep remembering how that felt after training in the cold winter months. However, I would like to think I am slightly more experienced now and I don’t have the same health issues as I did back then. I need to shake this one off and deal with the temperature In a sensible manner.

How am I going to do this? I don’t think any day has gone by throughout training when I have not asked myself this question. And I think the one thing I have discovered is that I would not be normal If I did not ask myself this. There is a reason why It is something that only a select few do – it is bloody hard. Not only on your body, but on your mind. I think throughout training my mind has hurt so much more than my actual body. Even now, after hundreds of miles of training, I am still questioning myself. Asking why on earth did I sign up for this, how could I possibly do this? Answer is – I’m just going to have to. I don’t have to get a amazing time – I just have to finish – and on the day itself I suppose I am going to have to channel all the will power I have to get through.

I’m going to die, is one of the irrational fears that has been placed in my mind by non-runners. When I first accepted my place I had people saying “didn’t that guy die last year” or “you had pneumonia, you should not run.” Yes – sadly people have died running in previous years, but we don’t know what underlining medical problems they had. And, yes, I had pneumonia last year and It was scary. But you know what, I picked myself back up. And, okay I am no where as fit as I was before it happened, but if the consultant gives me the okay then as far I am concerned I am good to go. Plus, I now know the signs and I am far from where I was when I hospitalised. So the scaremongers among us can do one! Listen to your own body!

Pain. It is going to hurt, it is supposed to. Throughout training, there have been many, many days when something has caused me pain. I developed a groin injury at the end of February, which kept causing me grief until recently. Today, I developed pain in my shins – something I have never suffered with throughout my training. Pain is inevitable – but there have been times when I have just kept going through the pain and when the pain hits on race day I am going to have to find a way to do just that. And if the worst comes to the worst and find the need, I will have to walk. There is no shame in that.

The unknown. Something you cannot train for. I managed to get up to 18 miles during training (disappointingly, for silly reasons I did not get to 20) so I have no idea what to expect beyond mile 18. I have not go a clue how I am going to feel or how the last 8.2 miles is going to effect me. All I know is that I am capable of running eight miles without issue, I have done it over and over again during training, so I am going to have to adapt to how I feel on the day. The day itself brings a fear of the unknown – I have never run the route, I don’t know how I am going to feel on race day or what the weather is going to bring. It is simply unknown and the unknown can be scary!

So these are my fears. Rational or irrational as they may be – they are haunting me and will continue to do so until I cross that finish line.

9 days remaining. To all my friends who are running and to those I have met along my marathon journey – we can do this!

Sponsors welcome here






Enter the “Taper Tantrum”

This week it seems that my mind is running on over time. The only way I seem to be able to work through the thoughts is to note them down so I can reflect and, hopefully, realise that I am not alone.

So the critical “tapering” period began on Monday, and I was extremely hopeful about what the week would bring. However, it has proven to be just as stressful as getting the miles under the belt.

Day one – Monday – I went off to my regular Spinning class, though only staying for the one class when I would usually complete the back to back classes. Perhaps a little too sensible for me, but it meant that I was in bed nice and early.

Day Two – Tuesday – I got home and straight into my running gear. It started drizzling and I paused at the front door. After warming up I attempted to run and my legs simply hurt. My quads were stiff, heavy and had a constant pain at the very top. So I stopped, and completed an hours walk instead.


Day Three – Wednesday – I ran! Happy days. six mile loop through the woods and across the fields behind my house that I re-discovered the previous day whilst walking. I even sped up for the last half a mile, getting back to my pre-marathon training pace of 10:30 minute per mile.

Day Four – Thursday – A much needed sports massage was booked. I was not imagining the pain in my quads. My IT band was tight, along with my calves and hamstrings; both of which I had not been suffering with at all. After I had planned to get out for a run. However; after the brutality of the massage I could barely walk – so I just did that – a three mile walk.

Day Five – Friday – Social plans cancelled so I was determined to get a run in before the weekend. The sun was shinning and my legs felt okay – until I tried to go. My legs and my mind were simply not having it. I suddenly felt bruised and battered from my massage the day before and a wave of fatigue came over me. Another night with a walk instead of running.


At this moment in time I don’t know if it is my mind hitting a wall, my legs just being fatigued or all the miles of training just catching up on me – but I need to shake this off pronto.

Running only six miles this week has left me feeling on the verge of a taper tantrum this evening. The plan is not going my way, I have hit a new level of fatigue, my mind has lost track and self doubt is setting back in again.

With time literally slipping through my fingers there is no time to catch up on the runs missed, which stresses me out even more. I know that whilst tapering you are supposed to slow it down, get more rest and recuperate – but is it supposed to slow down so much that you feel like you have hit a wall?

16 days remain – sponsors welcome.

To eat all the Carbs…….

Now that the 3 week count down marker has passed, and anyone running the London Marathon is now into the tapering stages of training, it is time to really focus on adding more carbohydrates to the diet.


I put my hands up now…..throughout the bulk of my training my focus on nutrition was rubbish. Thinking about running, planning with the runs and dealing with the aftermath of those runs took up so much time that nutrition fell to the back burner. I know for a fact that I did not take on enough fuel during runs, I almost passed out in Sainsbury’s on one occasion post run. I did not eat well post runs either, due to the fact that I felt physically sick after training – so I usually just made sure I had chocolate milk to hand, the only thing I seemed to be able to stomach post run. I also did not give up alcohol either. I am not saying I drank every day or was I out partying. I simply used the promise of Prosecco to get me through the long runs at the weekend. And I have been partial to the crisps that are sitting by my desk for the “tuck shop” I am running in order to help hit my fundraising target.

So, it is safe to say I have not been the model runner when it comes to nutrition. The next few weeks fill me with dread. Not only to I have to get in my last runs and keep a level head, but I also have to think about adding more carbohydrates to my diet. As a woman who has always steered away from eating too many carbs for the sake of my PCOS condition this is going to be rather hard.

However, over the last few months during training, science says my body would have been depleted of the glycogen stores needed to maintain the level of energy my body needs to complete such a race as a Marathon. Now is the time to restore these levels in preparation for the big day, the greater the amount of stored muscle glycogen, the greater endurance potential of the body.

There are so many difference sources that tell you how you should Carb load for each week of tapering that it makes my head spin. Working out how many grams of carbs per meal is something that stresses me out.

The last few days I have started my day with a bowl of porridge (which makes me hungry by 10am). Lunch has usually been a jacket potato, which sends me into a food coma around 3pm, or a salad with avocado and boiled eggs. Then dinner has been green vegetables with Quorn sausages, something light as I tend to be in bed by 9pm and don’t like heavy food sitting in my stomach at night. In addition I have clean brownies at my desk for snacking and sadly the “tuck shop” bucket is still next to my desk, so every now and then I have been enjoying a packet of Wotsits!

Maybe I need to get researching a bit more, find out what is recommended. But If I’m honest – I am so damn tired of everything to do with the Marathon. The thoughts, the training, the research, the fundraising – it is exhausting! So I just cannot bare anymore research. I just want someone to throw a meal plan at me and say “eat this.”

evolutionofthemarathon copy

But if I plan to complete this Marathon then I am going to have to buck up and get my head round this. I don’t want to find myself crawling to the finish from lack of fuel!

So time to reduce the mileage and add more food, in the hope that I don’t end up the size of a baby elephant by race day.

Time to Taper

So this is it. The final countdown. At this time in 3 weeks, I would have completed the toughest challenge I have ever faced.

Despite the fear of whats to come, I cannot wait for the day to be here and the long six months training for this day to be over.

Today, I had high hopes. I thoroughly believed I had it in me to complete the longest run of 20 miles. It began so well. Changing the scenery slightly I got the train to the next big town along, Bishops Stortford, planning a route that would bring me back into Harlow and finishing with a 10 mile loop round the streets I have completed most my training. BIG mistake. The new part of the route went well. 8-10 miles was spot on. Then as I hit the roads that have formed the bulk of my training, my mind went dark and my mind flipped – furious at every single hill or slight incline. Stopping regularly to take on fuel and water I plodded on through to 16 miles, then ran out of water!!

Usually this would not bother me, training during the Winter months has not seen the need for me to take on extra water, but today I felt panic.  Hitting the Pinnacles, where there was literally no where to purchase a bottle of water, and with the weather being warmer than I have been used to of late – I cut my losses and finished my training run at 17 miles. Furious at myself, I sobbed all the way back to the car – not understanding why I simply could not push myself to finish. It was only 3 miles – in the scheme of things, that was nothing!

However, at this point in time during training I kept thinking what if I carried on without water on a rather warm day and got into difficulty? In a rather secluded area on a Sunday afternoon there would be no body to help me if I got into trouble. And If I somehow injured myself due to the fact that I was getting myself into a tizzy that would jeopardise everything I have worked for over the last six months. What then?

So I frustratingly stopped.

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With just three weeks to go until the big day, it is not about your longest run. It is about the training you have put in. No one really asks “how many training miles have you completed?” You only get asked “How far was your longest run?” It’s all wrong. I wish people asked me how many miles I have covered, because that number is far more impressive than the longest run I have completed.

21 days. 3 weeks remain. And tapering begins. “Tapering” – a word that was completely alien to me in relation to running before I took on this challenge.

It is word that fills me with hope and with promise. I watched a live video a few weeks ago from a Personal Trainer, Stuart Amory, who discussed tapering and it’s importance. It was the greatest reassurance I needed. A warm hug!

At this point in training, the miles you have logged are the most important. It does not matter if you did not reach 20 miles in your long run. Every single run has enabled you to build up your stamina and your strength. This is what will enable you to see this through to the painful end. And after I have spent the afternoon angry at myself, beating myself up – it is this that I am focusing on this evening.

I have spent months putting in miles. I know my endurance and stamina has improved, even if my speed has dropped. I can run for miles without thinking about stopping – many races and training runs have proved this. So it is time to stop giving myself such a hard time.

It has been a long, long lonely road training. Race day will be completely different; I will have people, I will most certainly have water and (touch wood) I will have a relatively flat terrain.

It’s time. Time to drop the racing miles, but keep the legs ticking over. It’s time to embrace the extra time – time to relax, time to get in some sports massages, time to sleep and recuperate. Its time to allow the body to adjust to the long training slog and get ready for Marathon day.

Its time to Taper!

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