Reading Half Marathon – Being on the ‘other side’…

As you all know, I had to pull out of the Reading half this year, due to a hamstring injury, which I can now say is completely healed and I’ve had clearance from my physiotherapist to start running/training again – woohoo – and so decided to volunteer instead. On Friday morning, I saw a post on the Reading Half facebook page, looking for volunteers to help out on race day. I thought to myself, why not, I’m not running and being part of this large event, would be fun. I emailed the events manager and was set up ready to go by the end of the day – plus my mum decided to come with me too!

Sunday morning arrived, 6am to be precise….a quick breakfast before loading into the car to be at the Madejski Stadium for 7am briefing! We were given our stations (handing out medals!), food ticket and t-shirts and hoodies before heading off to find coffee and warmth! The conditions were grey and very windy, not the greatest running conditions, but it wasn’t raining – a real plus!

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Finish line in the Madejski Stadium

Once we had found coffee and layered up, we headed to the ‘funnel’, where the medals for both the Green Park Challenge and the half, were waiting for us. We were given tables to lay them all out, ready to load our arms up before the runners started arriving. I have to say, I haven’t seen so many medals in my life!
As the first group of runners started finishing and coming through, it was really great to see a mixture of different ages and abilities running. The smiles on most of their faces, from both runs, was priceless. A real sense of accomplishment, and I can totally relate to how they all felt.
I also managed to meet a few wonderful people who I follow on Instagram and have been chatting to, as well as running with, that day! Charlotte, Charlie (who is my 5am running buddy) and The Reluctant Guru all ran great times, despite the windy conditions and unexpected hills! It was lovely to congratulate and give them a well done hug, too!!

As the rest of the runners filtered through, many looking slightly dazed/overcome with emotion after running their first half, to some jumping for joy and excitement to collect their well deserved medal, I got a real sense of respect and completely different view of these races. Being on the ‘other side’/not running, made me realize how important volunteers are at events/runs like this. They play such a huge role in making it all happen and run smoothly, which I didn’t really appreciate as much as I thought.
So, to all of you who are reading this and have volunteered at such events, thank you, because without you, they wouldn’t run half as smoothly as they do!

We arrived home, exhausted ourselves, but happy that we had the pleasure of being part of such a fun and well put together event. I would definitely recommend volunteering, if you are a runner/sporty, or not! The atmosphere is buzzing and there are smiles all around!

A huge well done to all of those who ran! Have a lovely weekend 🙂

Emma xx

P.S. Here’s the link to a great vlog from the run guru, of Sunday’s race, which I’m excited to say I’m featured in!! If you don’t follow him on Instagram or youtube, go and do it now! He’s a really positive person, with a great sense of humor and really inspires me to run!

My worst nightmare…

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11 miles…amazing! A new PB and I felt great. However, the next couple of days proved otherwise…

I was sore. Expected. I kept well hydrated and refueled my body for the following couple of days, as well as took epsom salt baths, foam rolled and stretched. However, none of this seemed to help and I knew on Sunday evening, that I was in trouble. My right hamstring was not happy. I’ve never before suffered with hamstring or any kind of muscle problems, in my legs, so this really started to worry me.

Monday morning came around and after speaking with my trainer and a really lovely friend, I thought it might be worth going for a sports massage to help the muscles. I have to say, it was really worth it. The next morning I felt like I had new legs, but as the day wore on, the soreness and pain continued. Wednesday quickly rolled around, and after the last two rest days, I thought I’d give my interval run a go. I was in a good mindset, prepared and ready to go after work. I started off at a good pace, not pushing myself, just running and felt good for the first set, but things quickly changed. Into the second set, my hamstring started cramping and I gave up, walking slowly back to my car and doing some stretches before heading home. All I kept thinking was, the Reading Half is in 10 days…this is not good.

As there was no let up, I decided that it was best to see a physiotherapist. This is where I am extremely grateful for my aunt owning her own practice, in Henley, so was able to be slotted in yesterday afternoon. He was great. Very thorough, reassuring and confident with his practice/diagnosing me. At the end of our session, he sat me down and told me exactly what I didn’t want to hear…I wouldn’t be running the Reading Half. Deep down, I had kind of known it from the past few days…the pain was bad and even staying positive wasn’t going to help it.

I’d be lying if I said I okay about the decision. I’m not. I am very upset, disappointed, frustrated and sad. I’ve trained for months to run this, a very hard couple of months, but not for anything that won’t happen. There will be other races and lets face it, there are worst things going on in the world then having to pull out of a race!
I’m extremely thankful for everyones support, love, get well wishes, kind words and advice. From people I know and don’t and I’m very thankful to know those people. The social networking world/community can be a negative place, but it can also be a very positive and helpful one.

I want to wish those reading this and running the Reading Half, the best of luck. I’ll be there to support you guys, waiting at the finish line!!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone <3

Emma xx

St. Lucia – Island of dreams!

Firstly, let me apologize for being quiet recently, its been a pretty full on couple of weeks and I’ve been away, which is what I want to focus this blog about! So, lets get started…

This year, my parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary, a huge milestone, and what better place to go, than the gorgeous island of St. Lucia. I couldn’t believe it when my dad suggested it and before we knew it, the hotel was booked and the countdown began! I’ve never been to the Caribbean Islands, which made this trip even more exciting and summer weather during our winter – YES PLEASE!!!!

Our flight left early on Sunday morning, which worked great, because we landed late afternoon and made it to the hotel as the sun was setting. Giving us time to settle in and freshen up before dinner. Now, little did any of my family members know what I had up my sleeve…about 4 months prior to our trip, I visited my aunt and uncle one weekend and casually mentioned our trip. Little did I know that the next day, I was at the travel agents with my uncle, and they were booking the same trip to surprise my parents! Keeping it quiet was pretty easy and I couldn’t wait to see their reaction. Once we arrived, my uncle and aunt, along with my cousins, placed themselves by the hotel reception, to surprise everyone as we walked out – mission complete!

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Catching up! 

For the rest of the week, our days were spent by the pool, down at the beach, sunbathing and catching up. We planned two trips – zip lining in rainforest and a day out boating around the island, covering ourselves in mud and soaking in hot springs – which was brilliant! The weather was unreal, blue skies and highs of 28-30 oC, cooling slightly at night. We slept with mosquito nets over our beds, enjoyed the freshest of fruit and amazing juices at breakfast, drank THE tastiest coffee EVER, explored the local towns, drank coconut water from fresh coconuts on the side of the road, climbed a mountain, ran with a pack of crazy dogs on a trail run and experienced some pretty hairy car rides! My parents were spoilt on their anniversary and we were really taken care of. It’s safe to say we dragged ourselves to the airport to go home…! A truly wonderful week!

Emma xx

Back in the game, thanks to a new friend!

Roll back 2 weeks ago, and my mindset on running and training, was at the negative end of the spectrum! I am happy to say, that has now changed, and it was all thanks to a new friend I’ve made, Charlie.
I first ‘met’ Charlie on Instagram. After messaging a few times, following her on IG and reading her blog, we finally met for our first run a few weeks ago. I’d not run with anyone before, so this was a new experience in itself, and one I won’t forget. Her passion and love for running is contagious, because I felt very inspired to get back into running and my training plan after our run. Since then, we’ve met a couple more times for some (very) early and longer runs, which has been great. She is such a sweet, friendly and kind person, who’s been a real help, giving me training tips from hydration through to clothing/shoe recommendations!
If you don’t follow her yet, do, and take a look at her blog as well! A real inspiration to all bloggers/runners out there!

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Photo credit to Charlie. Definitely looking forward to more runs and coffee!

Although the past 2 weeks have been very full on, I’m feeling pretty damn good and extremely grateful for all the love, support and encouragement from friends and people I’ve never met! It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one who experiences these running lows, so thank you to all of you 🙂

Have a lovely weekend and happy running!

Emma xx

I’ve hit a wall…

I’m into week 9 of my training for the Reading Half and I can’t quite believe race day is only 8 weeks away! I’m super nervous, but I’ve got time, so I’m focusing on getting stronger and my training schedule.

Saying that, however, over the past 2 weeks, I seem to have hit a bit of a wall. Admittedly, I’ve lost all interest in running and my training schedule. I was quite hesitant to talk about this, because running is a true passion of mine, but things aren’t always sunshine and roses! I’m not sure if its the cold, s**tty weather, dark mornings and early, sunset evenings, or that I’ve had to do a lot of my runs recently on a treadmill. THEEE most boring and painful piece of equipment, EVER!…I’ve felt like a caged animal and acted like one too!

So, after chatting with my trainer, and having a bit of a load off, we’ve decided to reduce my weekly runs for the next 2 weeks. This takes a bit of pressure off and enables me to rekindle my love and the joy I get, from running. Most importantly, it gives my body the rest it needs, and is telling me it needs.  I honestly don’t know how a lot of you do it around work and general life happenings, so kudos to you all!

I hope that this little break will get me back on track and back to loving this sport, because it pays a huge part in my life and if I could never run again, I’d be devastated.

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Emma xx