Reading Half Marathon

The day had FINALLY arrived. Two years of trying to run this race and this time, I wasn’t going to let anything stop me!

I woke up quite early to the birds singing and the sun shining. The weather looked great for the whole day, as well as the temperature. I was excited and feeling very ready to go. My friend, Lauren, and I munched our bowls of porridge, banana and peanut butter before getting dressed and heading out. We planned to catch the free bus from outside the station, and I have to say, it worked so well. They did a fantastic job of having plenty of buses, making the who process really easy and quick.

We arrived just after 8.30, into the race village and made our way to the bag drop. Again, everything was very well sign posted, laid out and easy to find. Once we dropped our bag, we found Miriam, my friend I was due to run the race with, and huddled in the tent to keep warm. By now we had all hoped that the wind would have gone, but it was definitely a lot better than the weekend before, and for that we were thankful for! Around 9am we paid a visit to the toilet before heading to the start line. I didn’t realize the starting pens were quite a walk from the race village, so to anyone planning to run this race in the near future, allow plenty of time to queue for the toilets (which had doubled back!) and get to the pen on time! A few people ended up running to get to theirs before the gun!

I had the privilege of meeting James – such a sweet and super friendly guy! He’s taking on the Marathon des Sables in less than 2 weeks and I’m so excited for him! You are going to do GREAT!

Feeling cold and very ready to get started, we were hustled to the start line, the gun sounded and we were off. Our plan was to start off slow, pacing ourselves for the first 3 miles before the hill. The crowds were pretty great, throughout the whole course, and definitely played a huge part in the race! Unfortunately around the 3 mile mark, I lost Miriam. Our plan was to race together, but this didn’t quite work out. So I set off on my own but told her I’d be waiting to cheer her in at the finish.

As I pushed myself up the short and sharp hill, I continued to feel good and knew I had more in me than I thought! Winding through the grounds of Reading University, my pace was faster than what I expected it to be but I tried to not look at my watch, so I focused on the atmosphere and just ran. At mile 8 I saw my best friend, Becky, and her boyfriend Tom, to which I ran over and hugged hard. I teared up slightly as she pushed me on. Little did I expect to see them again at mile 10! I was in complete shock but it gave me the boost I needed to get through the last 3 miles along the A33.

Shocked to see Becky and Tom at mile 10 but also SO thankful! I needed it to get me through the last few miles!

This part of the race had now turned into a mental game. I decided to go through the alphabet naming animals, and then countries. As I reached mile 11, I’d lost interest and decided to focus on people in front of me and seeing my mum at the end. At the last half a mile, I dragged a young man, who had started walking, along with me. I told him he had to keep running, to chase me to the finish line, and that’s what he did! Heading round past the medal area and down into the stadium, I gave everything I had and strongly crossed the finish line with a PB. Grinning from ear to ear, I made my way out of the stadium, and launched myself into my mums arms for a much needed hug! She gave me my medal (she was volunteering) and shuffled me on to go warm up! I couldn’t leave the finish area until I’d seen Miriam come in and when she came round the corner I shouted and screamed her on! We met up in the race village, I gave her a massive hug and congratulated her. I was proud of her for pushing herself around the course alone. It wasn’t what we had planned but I hope that it proved to herself that she has the physical and mental strength in her, regardless of her doubts. I’m beyond proud of her and can’t wait to join her in a few more runs and races!

Back to the shuttle bus, Lauren and I then made our way to meet Becky and Tom for lunch and a much needed catch up!
I really enjoyed this race, and after two years of waiting to run it, I have to say it was truly worth it! They did a wonderful job at organizing, the crowds and the support from local communities, bands and the choir dotted around the course, was incredible.

So, what’s next. Well, some time off training, to be honest! I have a few 5 and 10k races that I’ve signed up for, as well as Pretty Muddy (Race for Life) and the London Revolution Ultra, in May.
I will, also, be volunteering at the London Marathon this year, at the Finish Baggage area. So if you spot me, do say hello and I shall be waiting with open arms for congratulation hugs!!!!

Again, a massive well done to everyone who ran last weekend, getting a PB or not, you should all be so proud!

Emma xx

Goring 10k

My first race of 2019 and most excitingly, with Laura and the LPPT Team F!T gang! With Storm Freya coating the U.K. with torrential rain and strong winds, I knew this run wasn’t going to be fun….

Last year they had to cancel it due to the snow, and the year before we had sunshine and warm (ish) temperatures! Now Goring is not a flat area, at all. Nestled in the South Oxfordshire countryside the only way in and out, is over rolling hills, so you can only imagine what the course was like!

We arrived, probably with more time than we needed, but it gave us a chance to get our numbers then head back to a kind family friends house, where we stayed warm and were able to use a decent loo! With time whizzing by, we soon found ourselves heading to the start line to meet some other members of the team. By now the rain had stopped, hallelujah, but the wind stuck.

We started at the bottom of the main/monster hill, which I was quite glad of, as it gets it out the way so to say. We then headed away from the village and over the main road, turning back on ourselves, through a little village, up another hill and finally back down into the outskirts of Goring, to the finish line.

It’s not an easy 10k, I won’t lie, but it is challenging and definitely makes you feel good once you’ve completed it. I definitely didn’t expect to come in under an hour, due to the weather, and the fact I’d ran 11 miles the day before. However, I surprised myself and felt good, so I powered my way through the course and was very happy with my time!

I crossed the finish line, had my chip taken off and grabbed some water, flapjack and a banana. Now the highlight, and one of the reasons I love to run this race, is because you get the most amazing chunk of flapjack from Pierrepoints Cafe, at the end! A delicious reward for all the hard work!

With the rain starting again, just as we had finished, we took a group photo and quickly marched our way back to our cars. I couldn’t wait to get home to a warm bath with a coffee and some dry clothes!

Everyone did amazing! I was so proud of each and every one of these guys, for taking this challenge on and owning it! Massive well done to you all!

My next race is the Reading Half marathon, next weekend, which I’m excited to pace my friend around and more runs with this amazing team throughout the year!

Thank you for reading and have a lovely weekend everyone!

Emma xx

Happenings 2.2.19

Hello everyone and happy February! We survived January, and that in itself is a huge accomplishment! Here’s a happenings post for you, inspired always by Heidi. Happy reading 🙂

Doing: Sat next to the fire with the rugby on, but paying 0 attention to it!

Hearing: The roaring and crackling of the fire. A sound I love and reminds me of these winter days nestled inside, as well as when I’d stand with my Grandfather watch the bonfire, in the garden.

Drinking: Water…trying to desperately get rid of this lingering headache I’ve had for the past 2 days.

Eating and Cooking: All the greens and fresh fruit. I’m really into kalettes, basically a cross between kale and a sprout, they are super delicious! Both my parents and I have been eating a lot of vegan and vegetarian meals recently. Mostly from the Happy Pear boys and I’m seriously considering buying their cookbook. We had ‘creamy’ pasta with mushrooms (my other obsession) the other night and wow it was so good! Don’t get me wrong, I still love chicken and lots of fish, but recently gone off red meat. Of course, theres always granola in a large jar, from the Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow book, which I love and sometimes a baked good in the glass cake tray on the table.

Wanting: This recent, and rather large, dumping of snow to magically disappear. I hate the winter/cold months and am desperately longing for Spring to arrive. At this rate it seems ever so far away.

Looking: Forward to a week off work. Seems like I’ve only just had some time off but its been nonstop recently and I’ve been longing for this break. Using it wisely and not planning much, doing lots of sleeping and resting!

Deciding: What to do about my long run tomorrow….first world problems! This is what I mean about the snow – annoying and plan destroying. I fear the treadmill shall be called upon, but that decision will have to wait until the morning!

Enjoying: Meeting friends for coffee and brunching! Its the one thing I really look forward to at the weekend, especially finding new places to try and not forgetting a great cup of coffee too!

Watching: Not a lot…I’m lapping up Silent Witness, which has recently returned to BBC One with new episodes, and Call the Midwife, but that’s about it! If anyone has any recommendations, please send them over!

Reading: ‘The Dry’ by Jane Harper and I actually can’t recommend it enough! I’ve also got two more books waiting to be read, which mum gave me for Christmas.

Wearing: All the layers! I bought a Sherpa before Christmas from a small company called Always more, and I’ve been living in it! Fluffy socks are high on the list too and my Ugg slippers!

Buying: My flights to Chicago for the marathon in October, and a few pairs of trainers in the January sale. Apart from that I’m still just trying to save, save and save!

Craving: Fresh fruit, probably because I’ve been full of cold recently. As well as good coffee, hearty meals and all the sourdough bread!

Loving: My heated blanket in my bed! Ha! I’m such a granny but there is nothing better than climbing into a warm bed and it does wonders for my muscles too!

Planning: Some bits to do during my week off, weekends with friends, and quite a few races!

Playing: Sleep catch up! I’ve been going to bed before 9pm recently and I can’t tell you how good it feels, even if a few nights are broken.

Savoring: The winter sun, both in the morning and evening. Starting work early, or getting out for an early morning run, means I’ve witnessed some impressive sunrises!

Feeling: Grateful. For so much and so many people I have in my life. Life is good at the moment and I’m loving it.

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading! Have a lovely rest of the weekend!

Emma xx

Happy New Year and Recent Happenings…

Hello everyone! Extremely sorry for the radio silence recently, but I have been super busy back at work, running, seeing friends and so much more. Firstly, Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful evening bringing in the New Year, and that it’s been a good one for you so far!

Mine started off on a high, and has continued to since. I started my training for the Reading Half, which is in March and I’m mostly really enjoying attending the long runs with Sweatshop, in Reading. My friend has asked me to pace her again, and this time she wants a sub 2 hour, which I believe is very possible! She’s come on leaps and bounds with her running recently, and I’m really proud of her!

Last weekend I hosted a friend, Cortney, from Canada and who also ran the New York City Marathon back in November. We had a little reunion with Charlie and Anna, which included Cortney’s first Parkrun and brunch, a visit to Oxford, a long run then hot yoga and eating all the typical ‘British’ meals! She’s back in April, I’m so excited and I am counting down the months!

Riding a high from a brilliant weekend, I was then hit by a nasty cold, which seems to be doing its rounds. I took a step back from my training and focused on sleep…what I could get of it, anyway…Feeling rotten and working with two very energetic children was a challenge, but the oldest took great joy in taking care of me! I enjoyed a gentle early morning run with Charlie, which felt good to blast some cobwebs and get the legs moving. Before I knew it, the weekend was here again, I was feeling better and ready for the fun plans I’d made.

On Saturday, Charlie and I ventured up to Birmingham to attend The National Running Show. The second year and boy what a bigger, and better, show it was! We arrived early, and I’m glad we did because within an hour, it was heaving and stalls were starting to sell out of their stock. We browsed a little, bumped into friends, then listened to a talk by Alexandra Cook (@thesportsdietitian) which I really enjoyed and suggest you check out her blog for some winter running tips and much more!

It was wonderful to meet a lot of people I follow, who follow me and who I have daily contact with, on Instagram. A very good but tiring day, followed by an evening catching up with a best friend of mine, Becky!

After an early, and solid nights sleep, Becky and I made our way to Windsor to meet a friend. We went for a beautiful, sunny, yet cold run along the Long Walk, followed by brunch at Millar’s Eatery, which I’d seen a friend visit. The food was delicious, coffee very tasty and it was so nice to just sit and chat. If you’re ever in Windsor, check it out!

Ending another fun weekend with a very early night, ready for a packed week at work and training schedule. Thank you to everyone who made my weekend the best! Enjoy your evening and thank you, as always, for reading.

Much love,

Emma xx

Westin Rise and Run photo shoot

Saturday morning, 4am, and I’m climbing into a car with Charlie, about to head off to London to be part of a very exciting photoshoot! All I had been told was to wear a pair of black leggings, so was very excited to see what the day had in store! It was cold and wet as we made our way to our meeting place, outside the Tate Modern. Here we congregated with a few other runners/friends of Charlie’s and waited for the film crew to arrive.

Once we had been briefed on the plan for the day, we headed to a van where we could keep our bags, stay warm and wait to be called to start the shoot. I’m so thankful for all the layers we were given, along with a Westin t-shirt to wear and a pair of New Balance trainers.

We started, and spent the first few hours of the morning, on the Millennium Bridge, where lots of photos and some filming was taken. It was freezing cold, but so quiet, empty and we got to witness the most beautiful sunrise. After a breakfast and coffee break, we split up and made our way along the Thames to Blackfriars Bridge and Southbank. Here more filming was done, individually and in the group. When we weren’t in front of the camera, it was really nice to chat to everyone and get to know them a little more. We spoke about our year of races and running triumphs, along with plans for 2019, both running and in general life.

Around lunchtime, the final shots were taken and we were ‘dismissed’ from our running duties. We made our way back to the van to collect our belongings and said our goodbyes.
I really enjoyed being part of this shoot for Westin Hotel’s new running club, Rise and Run. They’re about to open a new hotel on the Thames, and will offer a free monthly running club, starting on the 8th January! You can find out more information, times, the location and sign up, by clicking this link – https://www.runwestinlondon.co.uk/
I know Charlie will be there for the first 5k run, so if you can, why don’t you take yourself down. I wish I could be there!

Thank you, Charlie and Westin, for a fun morning of running and meeting new friends! Wishing you all the best with your new hotel and the running club!

Emma xx