Happenings 17.1.20

Hello Friends! Happy New Year!! A little later into January than I had planned, but its not February – so that’s a plus!!! Here’s a happenings post to start the year, happy reading!

Doing: Sat in one of my favourite cafes eating breakfast and drinking coffee after a run with a friend.

Hearing: The sound of the coffee machine buzzing away and the couple chatting with an old friend next to me.

Drinking: The most delicious soya flat white!

Eating + Cooking: Eating a LOT! Marathon hunger has smacked me in the face and I have an appetite of a horse. I’m quite glad, as I struggled last training cycle with hardly any appetite, and I’m hoping this time, it stays! I’m making sure I get a lot of iron into my diet too, as it really helps with tiredness, that seems to be quite bad at the moment.
Cooking wise, I’ve not done a lot recently, except for the girls who I nanny for. I am very lucky in the fact that I come home from work and my mum has supper waiting for me. I’m very spoilt but equally feel very guilty that I don’t contribute to cooking. However, I certainly make up for it on my day off and at the weekend!
As a household, we meal plan for the week ahead, at the weekend and generally cook a lot of veggie and fish recipes, from cookbooks, weekly recipes in The Times Magazine and a lot from people I follow on social media. I’ve been really craving all the fresh, steamed vegetables and baked fish as well as cold fruit! Very random, I know!

Wanting: Payday and January to be over…WHY is it such a long month after Christmas, total torture if you ask me!!

Looking: forward to a lie in and a quiet weekend. I haven’t had one since Christmas, and after being ill over the festive period, I feel I need a slow and quiet few days to catch up with myself and enjoy not rushing around.

Deciding: What food and drink to serve at my 30th birthday party!

Enjoying: Time to just sit and slowly eat and drink my warm coffee without any disruptions!

Watching: Silent Witness (oh Jack!!!), White House Farm (based on a true story) on ITV and Call the Midwife! TV at the moment is brilliant, especially because I save it for the end of the week/weekend to watch after my long run!!

Wearing: All the active wear! Ha! Currently in my favourite and super cozy Sarah Marie Design jumper, that I have had so many comments on!

Buying: Not a lot. As always, trying to save as much as I can.

Planning: My 30th birthday party. Hoping to finalise the plans this weekend!

Craving: Chocolate Chip Cookies!! Haha, and I have a friend who’s on the case!!!!

Loving: Running with friends! It definitely makes the miles more enjoyable and go quicker! I really struggled last week with getting my miles in and at one point really questioned what I was doing but I am super thankful to Yasmin for joining me for most of my long run and listening to me ramble!

Playing: Catch up…with life admin, sleep, tv and myself!

Savouring: The puppy fun! As full on and crazy as Mungo can be, I know this stage is short, but fun and enjoying seeing him experience the little things in life.

Feeling: Content and relaxed. I’ve felt quite anxious and tense the past couple of weeks, especially about my training. I wasn’t sure how I would mentally feel with juggling the runs, work etc and how my body would take to having the miles ramped back up. Admittedly I was very nervous, and despite a little niggle on my shin, all seems well at the moment.

This post was inspired by Heidi.

Hope you enjoyed reading and have a lovely weekend!

Emma xx

A wrap on 2019

“What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.” Vern McLellan.

As 2019 comes to an end, I can’t help but sit here and think of what another amazing year of fun, laughter, opportunities, experiences, new friends, good food and coffee, it has bought. Yes, there have been more rocky areas than I imagined, but that’s life, right?! Instead of rambling on, I’ve decided to do a year review in photos for you.

 

Spent time with friends at the beginning of the year. There is now another addition to our group <3

 

Together again after all the fun in NYC!

Lucky to be part of the launch of the Westin Running Club!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We said goodbye to our 12 year old boy <3

Got absolutely soaked at a local 10k with this awesome gang!

FINALLY got to meet this awesome guy!!!! At Reading Half where I got a new half PB!

PB’d at a local 10k!

 

Almost died to heat exhaustion at this Easter 10 miler but wonderful to see Steph and have Cortney stay!

 

FINALLY got to Harry Potter World!

 

Most amazing experience was volunteering at the London Marathon!

 

FINALLY met these 2 awesome ladies!

 

Enjoyed MANY running adventures with my favourite running friend!

 

FINALLY learnt how to make sourdough bread with mum and our amazing friend/teacher, Laura!

 

Took up bike riding for all of 1 day…and got burnt to shreds!!!

 

Came first lady at my local 5k!

 

Escaped to my favourite country, USA, to stay with a friend, and FINALLY met this wonderful and hugely inspiring lady!

 

Dragged Alex to a SoulCycle class…..! Bribed her with bagels and cookies!

 

Caught up with my best friend, who I miss dearly!

 

Spent summer days, in matching clothes, by the beach with this wonderful person!

 

PB’d in Chicago, all thanks to Charlie and met some wonderful people!

 

Died on this half marathon course but had the best company!

 

Escaped to the beach for the day with a friend. Packed a picnic and people watched all afternoon!

 

Ran a local half marathon with this beautiful lady!\

Enjoyed MANY 6am PT sessions with the one and only PT I trust!

 

Celebrated a year of fun and love with my goddaughter!

 

Ran another marathon!

 

Celebrated a big birthday for my dad, at a dreamy location, with friends!

 

Made a new running friend 🙂

 

Spent Christmas day as a family, which hardly happens now, and it was wonderful! Sinus infection in tow!

 

All I can say is I am content where I am now, but not completely happy. There is change on the horizon, and I am excited for what 2020 is going to bring. London Marathon, my 30th birthday and so much more and I can’t wait to take you on my journey with me!

Thank you to all my wonderful friends, and family, for making another year so much fun!

Emma xx

LPPT FitHub aka my second home!

I’ve been saving this post for a while now because it deserves the time and passion, just like Laura has and gives to all her clients and classes. I can’t quite believe it’s been four years since I rocked up to the Henley Rugby club AstroTurf, with a friend, to Laura’s Bootcamp and have never looked back!

To be honest, and from what I can remember, I definitely wasn’t sure what I was about to get myself into but it clearly didn’t put me off. I was welcomed with open arms by Laura and a lovely group of ladies. Every Saturday morning at 9am, rain, ice, frost or sun, we would be out flipping a tractor tyre, running up and down the turf with bags on our backs, doing rounds of burpees, oh the list goes on! Now, not all her classes were outside. She had a small studio, where she held evening weekday classes as well as PT during the day. I attended at least one a week and absolutely loved them. Alongside my running, which I’d only just picked up, I was enjoying being part of this great team 🙂

A few months later, and my mum started joining us on Saturday morning. She really enjoyed it and also started coming to the weekly evening classes. We’d made some lovely friends and even bought friends with us to trial the classes. I could feel myself getting stronger and was really enjoying the sessions.

Fast forward a few years and Laura breaks the news that she has to move from her building. Now for us, it was a plus, as she was moving closer to where we lived but outside of Henley. Unfortunately for some, the journey was going to be too far, meaning they could no longer come. Sad to say goodbye but we’ve not lost contact.

With one door closing, another one opened, bringing more opportunities for Laura and her growing business. The building she’s moved into is bigger, FitHub became the new name, word quickly spread and more people started attending her awesomely hard sessions. She had increased her weekly classes and now holds two on Saturday morning, providing everyone with options to exercise and fitting it in around families and general life.

Now, not all the fun happens at the Hub. Although she hates to admit/do it, Laura has joined and even organised quite a few runs. At first we would head to some of the local 5k and sometimes 10k, races together, shortly followed by few more friends joining us. Soon groups were being formed and now a both Race for Life Pretty Muddy 5k and Tough Mudder, have become yearly events! And we can’t forget the social side of things, outside the hub including brunches and an annual night out!

Rewinding back a bit, I approached Laura about her being my PT. I’d unfortunately had to say goodbye to my PT in Oxford at the end of the summer last year and couldn’t think of anyone else I’d rather have, or trust, to keep me strong and injury free. I was thrilled when she said yes, and over a year, 2 ultras and 2 marathons later, I have a lot to owe her. Not only has she changed me for the better but she’s been one of my biggest supporters and I can’t thank her enough.

So, Laura, thank you for another wonderful, hard, sweaty, fun and awesome year of friendship, laughter, smiles and fun. Its been wonderful to see both you, and your business grow so much and it’s been a privilege to be part of the journey! Here’s to 2020, I can’t wait to have you by my side as I take on London Marathon again (not literally) plus everything else that it may hold!

Much love and thanks, always, Emma xx

Toronto and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon

The Tuesday after the Chicago Marathon, Cortney and I woke to a half empty house. Robbie, Tamsin and Al had headed home, Charlie and Ellie went to an early workout class and the others were still sleeping.

We crept out of the house and took our lead/sore legs for a gentle mile run to meet Charlie, Ellie and Michael for breakfast, where my smoothie bowl cravings were truly satisfied!! We had a small chat and then said our goodbyes. Coffee grabbed, we made our way to the Lululemon Store, a few minutes walk from our air b&b, to attend a free yoga class.
I knew this wasn’t going to pleasant but it was so needed! The teacher was brilliant, making sure we were all okay, coming round to check us and slowly explaining every move and where the stretch should be felt. A wonderful hour of flow and release!

After yoga we headed to the supermarket to buy lunch/snacks for the journey, headed back to the air b&b to shower/change and say our goodbyes. Ready to take on another adventure – road tripping to Toronto, Canada!
With the drive being over 8 hours, we decided to stop half way at a small hotel nestled right next to an outlet mall – which was a huge disaster but we had fun browsing! The drive wasn’t too bad, Cortney did great, and I can happily tick two more States off my list that I’ve “visited”!

The next morning we were up early to get on the road. We made our way to the boarder, just over an hour from the hotel. We stopped to grab coffee and stretch our legs etc before crossing, and carried on our way to Toronto.
Finally we arrived, in the early afternoon and unloaded all our stuff into Cortney’s apartment. We then decided to have a wonder around the city and grab some food.

After a good nights sleep, I had a slow start to the morning. We were both up early, Cortney had to go into work for the morning, and I was off to meet my aunt and uncle for coffee/breakfast and a wonder around St. Lawrence food market! They were over visiting my cousin, who now lives in Toronto with her fiance! It was wonderful to catch up with them, and following on from that, my aunt and I headed to meet my her to do some wedding dress shopping!


I then made my way back down into the town, to meet Cortney for a much needed pedicure, take some time out to chill before heading back out for an early dinner, then collecting Anna from the airport!

Off to collect Anna in style!!!

Not believing that it was already Friday, we all slowly got up and made our way to the brunch on the other side of the city, before heading to the expo to collect our bibs for the 5k and half marathon. Anna, unfortunately, had to drop down to the 5k as her knee was giving her a little trouble and Cortney and I stuck to the half marathon. We wondered the expo, collected a lot of freebies, had a look at the merchandise and took a lot of fun photos! Afterwards we wondered back into the main part of the city, munched on donuts and explored a bit. We were all quite tired from both post marathon and jet lag, so headed back to Cortney’s apartment for an evening of tv, ordering in and the sofa!

Saturday morning we were up early to head out of the city to Duffins Trail parkrun. This route was beautiful. Through the trails, the sky was blue, the sun shining and the trees were starting to turn. A great way to start the day, followed by bagels, coffee then off to do some pumpkin picking!

Having had our Halloween/pumpkin fun fix, we hearded back to the city, grabbing drinks on the way back and I tried my first PSL (pumpkin spice latte) and let’s just say, never again!!!! Sorry Charlie 🙈 we were all pretty knackered, so we got changed and wondered to find bits from the shops before I parted with the girls for the night. I was off to have dinner with my family, at a really small, family ran Italian restaurant – perfect for night before/pre race carb loading! It was a lovely evening, catching up and having a laugh. I ended up not staying out late, only because I was really nervous about the half the next day. For many reasons. I didn’t sleep great that night and was up early the following morning.

Race morning and the nerves were high. Physically I felt great. I had been pretty sensible and recovered well for Chicago, so that I was ready for the Toronto half. The weather was great, blue sky and a little chilly. We waved Anna off early with Cortney’s friend, and we shortly followed to the start line in the centre of the city. We were a bit late getting to our start pen but I wasn’t bothered, the less hanging around the better in my eyes! The gun sounded and the first wave was off, followed shortly by mine. The crowds were great, I passed lots of pacers, first time marathon runners (the course is also a marathon course) and some great fancy dress costumes.

The route was pretty simple. Up to the top of the city, back down and then out along the waterfront, round and back into the city. I kept an easy pace, enjoyed the views and high fived a lot of little supporters. I continued to feel good and comfortable. Heading into the city and ending outside the town hall, the crowds were amazing. I crossed the finish line, grabbed my medal and headed to find my uncle, aunt and cousins. It was great to have them waiting for me, mainly for a big hug and I’m hugely thankful to them for coming to support me. Our meet up didn’t last long but it was enough and I made my way to meet Anna and Cortney’s friend at our brunch spot. Free beer drunk and lots of food consumed, we were all proud of our efforts, especially a week after a marathon! People have called me crazy, a machine and wild but I enjoyed this half so much. Seeing cities by running through/around them, has become my favourite way of exploring them!

Slowly making our way back to Cortney’s, we showered and packed up. We walked Anna to the train station and said our goodbyes then grabbed my belongings and found some food before it was my turn to head to the airport.

Ending the best holiday filled with lots of running, fun, laughs and exploring two new cities, with two great friends, on a serious high! A massive thank you to Cortney for driving me around both Chicago and Toronto, putting me up and to both of these amazing ladies, for making my holiday the greatest!! I can’t wait for our next adventure together!

Thank you to everyone for your continuous support, motivation, love and congratulations. I can’t express enough to you all how much it means to me!

Emma xx

Chicago Marathon

Well, I can’t quite believe it’s been a week since Chicago marathon.

Early Friday morning, my friend collected me, and kindly took me to the airport. After a good luck hug, I checked my bag and made my way through to the departures lounge. I was excited, both to be going away, to see friends and run.

I landed mid afternoon, and was collected by Cortney, who I was BEYOND excited to see! Tamsin and her husband, Alasdair, landed a few minutes before me and were also staying in the same air b&b with us. We loaded Cortney’s car and were on our way to meet everyone.

As you might remember from last year, at the NYC marathon, I stayed in an air b&b organised by Charlie. As most of us got a place through the ballot, she decided to get a group together again, for Chicago. If you have ever considered running either marathon, definitely get in touch with Charlie to find out more about the air b&b. It’s so much fun, stress free and super well organised! She’s doing it all again next year, so get in touch if you want to be part of a super fun weekend!

That afternoon, after meeting everyone and dropping bags, we made our way to the expo. I was super excited, as there is always a real buzz, and lots of shopping, freebie collecting and photo taking to be done! We grabbed our bibs for both the 5k shake out run on Saturday and the marathon on Sunday.

Once we had explored the expo, I made my way to meet my parents for dinner, whilst the others headed back to the air b&b. They arrived on Thursday afternoon and were staying until Monday, to cheer me on and explore Chicago! It was wonderful having them and I’m so thankful for all their support they give me with all my crazy running adventures!

Saturday morning we woke early and headed to the centre of Chicago to run the 5k. It was FREEZING and the wind so bitterly cold, that I lost the feeling in my hands within minutes of starting the run. Al, Tamsin, Saskia and I all started in the same wave and I stuck with Al and Tamsin for the entire run.

It was a beautiful, clear morning, the sun was shining and the buzz was pretty electric at both the start, during and end of the course. We made our way through the streets and ended in the park/where the marathon started. After the run, we had quick photos and then made our way to breakfast!

After brunch we headed to do some shopping and to try and find some Nike kit that the expo didn’t have. With no luck, I ended up ordering what I wanted online, to be shipped to my friends, then on to my house. Slight palaver but 100% worth it!!! Off to find warmth, some lunch and other snacks, we then made our way back to the air b&b to shower and sort ourselves for the next day. We ordered food to have in, that night, and after dinner, I made my way to my parents hotel. They’d kindly upgraded their room (my dads the best!!!) so I could have my own bed, a good nights sleep and a short 5 minute walk to the start in the morning.

A tummy full of pasta and flat-lay done, I was settled in bed feeling okay. Nervous but okay. I had trained hard for this race and I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from what I came to Chicago for!

My alarm went off at 6am. I got up, ate my breakfast, used the loo about a thousands times and got dressed. My parents were up and getting themselves sorted, so I said my goodbyes, they wished me good luck and I was off. A sick feeling in my stomach but ready, I made my way to my corral.

Due to the high rise buildings and the majority of the race being in the city, I was told my GPS would be off from the start. Having no clue of pace or where I was on the course, Charlie told me to stick with the 4 or 4:05 hour pacer, so that’s what I did. We started pretty much on time and for the first 5 miles I felt good. I’d ditched my throw away jumper but kept my gloves as I knew I’d struggle to keep them warm. The course had been tight so far but the atmosphere amazing – especially for such an early start!! I saw my parents around mile 5.5, which was amazing and gave me the little pick me up I needed.

Continuing with the pacer, Charles, the miles flew by. He was brilliant. Updating us with pace and asking how we were doing. Around mile 12, I missed my parents but continued to feel good. My hips a little sore, I knew I was running a bit too fast but I also knew this wasn’t going to be easy. I knew it was going to hurt and be a battle, either physically or mentally, but I was ready for it.

Along the course we continued and so did the miles. I went through bursts of feeling good and then not. An instagram follower ran past me, congratulating me on my efforts and telling me how inspiring I was. That gave me a real boost and looking strong, he ran on. At mile 20, I could feel myself slowing down. I’d lost Charles at this point and now it was down to me. The crowds had been, and continued to be, brilliant the whole way round, so I used them to keep me going for the last 10k. I broke it down in my mind to two park runs. I focused on my surroundings for distraction and felt strong. At mile 25 I saw my parents then heard Charlie. She ran into the course screaming in my ear telling me how great I was doing, as I sucked back the tears. I picked up my speed as I saw the 800 metre sign, just half a mile, I’ve got this. Round the corner and UP A F**KING HILL, a medic was standing at the top encouraging us on. I hit the 400 metre sign, felt sick and thought I was going to throw up but continued to run hard. There it was, the finish, finally. I ran as hard as I could and crossed the line. I had no idea of time, my watch had said I’d ran 28 miles but I couldn’t care, I was beyond ecstatic. I bumped into Charles, who’d just finished seconds before me and knew I’d come in close to the 4 hour mark. 4:00:09 to be exact.

Proudly making my way to collect my medal, I couldn’t stop smiling. Everyone was congratulating each other as we made our way to collect a foil wrap, water and food. I made my way to where I’d planned to meet my parents and gave them a massive hug. I’d done it, I am a marathoner (again!) and beyond proud of myself for it.

Slowly, we moved on to join a few of the other runners from our group, for brunch/lunch! It was really lovely to see them, have a quick race catch up and congratulate each other. Some food eaten and coffee drunk, we made our way back my parents hotel so I could have a bath and rest a little. I wanted to get back to the air b&b to see everyone, but my parents joined us that evening for dinner, as it was their last night in town. How we lasted for as long as we did, I don’t know! I was beyond ready to get to bed, and surprisingly slept well that night.

Monday morning and we all slowly woke, quite early. We made our way to the Nike store to get our medals engraved for free, before meeting some of the others for breakfast. Our plan was to then visit a few shops, The Bean and other parts of the city. It was another beautiful, sunny, cold day but the walking around was definitely helping our legs. What an amazing weekend it had been!

We said goodbye to Al and Tamsin before heading off to skate at the Chicago Blackhawks ice rink and watch them play against Edmonton. It was a really fun night! The skating easier than I thought it might be and the game so much fun to watch! I’d not been to game before, but it was great fun, fast paced and eventful!

And just like that it was Tuesday. Cortney and I met Charlie, Ellie and Michael for breakfast before saying our goodbyes and heading to yoga then the store, before checking out and loading up her car. Our plan now was to drive to Toronto for some more exploring and running fun – but I’ll save that for another post!

Chicago, you were amazing. I got what I came for and had so much fun along the way. I worked so hard for my, nearly, sub 4 hour time. I can’t thank Charlie enough for all the support, tough love, putting up with my pestering messages and so much more. You truly are a wonderful friend and I wouldn’t have achieved what I did, without you.

To my parents for their continuous support, love and for standing on the side in all weather conditions, shouting me on and waiting for me at the end of every training run and race.

To the wonderful group of friends, both to those I have met and to those I haven’t, thank you. Thank you for your supportive and congratulating messages, always being there when shit, literally, hits the fan, offering advice, answering questions and so much more. I am the runner I am, because of you all.

Photo credit goes to Michael for this one! An awesome shot!

Thank you everyone for reading, I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have running and writing it!

Emma xx