Running has taken over my life

Sounds like a pretty obvious statement, right? Especially for someone who writes a running blog and whose Twitter bio starts ‘Mostly just running’.

But it wasn’t until last week, when I found the photo below, that I realised how much it’s become the case.

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I’ve been a runner for four years. I can say this with certainty, because it wasn’t a gradual process. I never ran, not really even at school. Then one day, I signed up to my first race, and I ran. I pretty much became a runner overnight. Simple.

That photo up there is my medal rack as it was after We Own The Night in 2013. Just five. Now, one year and one week later, this is what it looks like.

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I’ve gone a bit crazy, huh? But like I said, I genuinely hadn’t realised quite how much. In the last year I’ve run a marathon, four half marathons and countless other shorter races. But running is the least important thing. People, experiences, travel, friends, support. That’s why running has taken over my life.

Paris marathon training update: (less than) 1 week to go

I’ve taken all this week as annual leave to ‘prepare’ myself for the weekend. It hindsight, work might have been a good distraction.

I’m a fully paid up member of the ‘running is a journey’ cult and all this time I’ve now got on my hands is allowing me far too much space to think. A lot has happened to me over the past six months (new big girl job, newly and surprisingly single, new house and housemates in a new part of town). I think to a certain extent, marathon training has been the glue, the focus, the one constant thing, whatever you want to call it through all of these things. It’s been the one thing that’s always been there, that I knew I had to keep ploughing away at whilst everything else was changing around me.

And on Sunday it will stop.

I’m terrified of the race, but I have also accepted that I can be no more ready than I am. I’m more terrified of the anti climax.

But I’m so glad for everything that training for this race has given me before I’ve even done it. I needed the distraction. I needed to know I was strong enough to do it. I needed the truly dear friends I have made. And I’ll still have all of these things AND MORE after Sunday.

Paris, I am ready.

 

Paris marathon training update: 3 weeks to go

I’m writing this from my sofa, under a blanket, surrounded by screwed up tissues and half packs of Cold & Flu tablets. I feel like my body has finally realised what I’ve been putting it through recently. And unfortunately it ain’t too happy. My skin is terrible, I am very tired ALL of the time and now to top it off I have a lovely head cold – streaming eyes, snotty nose, annoying cough, husky voice… basically, the whole works. Suffice to say, I am VERY glad it is taper time.

This is probably the perfect time for this to happen though – I’m done with all the super long mileage, yet I have (hopefully) enough time to shift this cold before race day. It’s all about good food, lots of vit c and even more rest. I’ve booked the whole week leading up to the marathon off work, so I’m not too worried, as I know I have enough sofa hours ahead of me to see me feeling better.

Before feeling ill, I actually had a very good training week. I had a seven mile run with Run Dem Crew on Tuesday, where I (very badly) lead greyhounds for the first time. It was my first time leading a group of runners – I really want to do it again to build my confidence and ultimately, actually get good at it.

On Thursday, it was a gorgeous evening, so on a whim I decided to run home from work. I had my rucksack on, so inevitably had an awful run. As it’s less than 3 miles from work, when I got home, I ditched the rucksack, and ran some sprints up and down the canal outside my house for a couple of miles too.

It was time for the big one on Saturday. The much anticipated 20 miler. I had arranged to run with Charlie and Laureen, and I planned a route that covered the Regent’s Canal from Warwick Avenue to Limehouse Basin, before joining the river and heading west past St James’ Park, doing a lap of Hyde Park, before heading down into South Kensington to where Charlie had chosen this week’s lunch (not brunch, as we would finish too late) place – Muriel’s Kitchen.

We were also joined for the first 10 miles by Cara, who is training for the Berlin half in a couple of weeks (and who will be my roomie for the weekend whilst we are out there!) It was a glorious morning and all four of us really enjoyed the first half along the canal – none of us had ever covered the whole thing before and it was lovely to spot new places of interest as well as familiar sights from a new perspective. Cara left us just after we reached Limehouse, and after a quick stop at my house for the loo and a water top up, we continued along the Thames.

At the 13 mile mark I remember thinking that I hope I feel stronger than I did then at the halfway point of the actual race. About a mile later along the Embankment, I was starting to really struggle. For the first time during training for the marathon, I started to feel the panic rising in my chest. I haven’t had that feeling since last year, so I had to stop to compose myself.

By the time we got to Hyde Park, I was really ready to call it a day. I managed a sort-of lap and headed down Exhibition Road, adding a little extra side road on to make it exactly 19 miles. I feel a little like I failed on this run because I didn’t get to 20, and that I should’ve pushed through and made it to the distance, just so I had more experience of the mental struggle. But in reality, an extra 11ish minutes of running isn’t going to affect how I do or don’t feel come race day.

Photo by Charlie – making me look a lot happier than I actually was

And then it was time for lunch, which more than made up for the almost four hours of pain that lead up to it. The service was quite slow when we first arrived (although extremely friendly when it picked up) and it was fairly pricey – the three of us paid just over £25 each for lunch, cake and two hot drinks/juices each. However, the food was very good – fresh, tasty and filling. Myself and Charlie had chargrilled salmon, Laureen had beef and fennel meatballs and we all shared a plate of salad consisting of seasonal greens, spiced cous cous, roasted cauliflower and beetroot mash – yum! We were about to leave, but instead decided to stay for tea and cake. I chose the orange and coconut loaf which I definitely didn’t regret.

Later that evening, me and Charlie celebrated the start of taper some more with dinner and one or two (*cough* …or eight *cough*) drinks in Shoreditch. Of course, that has absolutely nothing to do with how I am feeling right now…

Photo by Charlie

And then the sh*t hit the fan

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A couple of weeks ago, my two best friends (the ones I talked about it a post published a mere 36 hours before), were in the pub together, and they read my blog, along with my Twitter feed. What was revealed to them was the life that I had been hiding from them – all the people I talk to and interact with over Twitter and various blogs. My decision not to drink anything during November. And my motivations, fears, thoughts and pledges that I have been putting out there, into the virtual universe.

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