Happenings 25.11.18

DOING: Eating Ben and Jerry’s dairy free ice cream, with lots of fruit, in my pyjamas, snuggled in bed!

HEARING: The odd noise down below in the kitchen, by my parents, but other than that, pure silence.

DRINKING: Water, as per usual!

EATING + COOKING: Poached eggs and sourdough from my favorite cafe! I can’t get enough of it at the moment! I’m also really enjoying cooking a lot of vegan recipes that seem to have appeared in the weekly Saturday paper and local supermarket magazines. Tofu has become a firm favorite in our household, slowly followed by tempah – which holds an amazing amount of protein in it!

WANTING: My two weeks off work to arrive now! Only a 3 day working week, so I shouldn’t complain!

LOOKING: For gift inspiration from anyone!

DECIDING: What to get family and close friends for Christmas…so far its not going well…..

READING: I’ve just finished ‘Then She Was Gone’ by Lisa Jewell. Admittedly it took me a while to get into but then it suddenly changed gears and got so exciting, that I was hooked for days! I can’t recommend enough! I’ve asked for her other book ‘I Found You’ and Jodie Picoults (my favorite author of all times) new book, ‘A Spark of Light’, for Christmas.

WATCHING: ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ I am HOOKED! I absolutely love this show, and you know its winter when it comes on! Definitely enjoying Holly Willoughby presenting it but equally missing the banter between Ant and Dec!

WEARING: My favorite and coziest pyjamas from a company called Hush. I discovered them in John Lewis and they are the best pair of nightwear I’ve owned! They have some beautiful jumpers and dresses on their website too.

ENJOYING: Not having a running/training plan but equally missing the routine in my life. Its taken a few weeks to adjust to no very early runs every week, even though I’ve still run early, twice before work…! I’m loving running deciding when I want to and for however long! Hopefully joining Charlie on some of her long runs too!

PLAYING: Lots of games, mainly with the little one I look after.

PLANNING: My life for the next few weeks leading up to Christmas. I’ve got a lot going on, birthdays, a wedding and seeing lots of family and friends.

CRAVING: A new challenge/race to work towards. I entered the Chicago ballot and keeping everything crossed for that. I should find out in a few weeks time! However, thats not until October, so I’ll definitely be keeping eyes peeled for some bits in between!

LOVING: Getting back into workout classes! I’ve really missed them during my training, but now I’m not training, I want focus on building my strength! Plus I’ve missed this gang of awesome ladies!!

SAVORING: The quiet evenings to myself, especially after a crazy day at work!

BUYING: A few items in the Black Friday sale, as well as a couple of Christmas gifts. As I mentioned before, I still haven’t touched the sides of my list yet…!

FEELING: Content and warm. I’m very much looking forward to some time off, a sense of relief and relaxation will flow through my body on Wednesday evening, I’m sure of that. It’s been nonstop for months and this break has come at the right time. For both my employers and I.

Inspired, always, by Heidi, for these posts <3

Much love, friends, have a great week!

Emma xx

New York City Marathon 2018 Part 2

5am on Sunday morning and movement begins on the second floor of our apartment. It had hit me in the early hours of the morning that I would be running a marathon today, a slight scary but exciting thought. Before my alarm, I climbed out of bed, made my way downstairs to greet the girls, and gathered my breakfast, throwaway clothes and water. I opted to collect a race poncho, rather than do bag drop, as I figured it would be one less thing to have to collect/worry about at the end.
Our uber collected us at 6am, and we made our way to the ferry terminal, as the sun began to rise. The weather was due to be blue skies, sunny and 12oC – perfect running conditions! Chat was all about our nerves, in the car, and before we got out, we blasted “Welcome To New York” by Taylor Swift. This has became our theme tune for the weekend, and my now favorite song. I’m sure the driver considered us mad, as we then climbed out of the car wearing our old and very baggy clothes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After using the loos we decided to board the slightly earlier ferry and I’m really glad we did. The queue from Staten Island Ferry port was so long, just to board the bus to the race village. Once on the bus, I was able to eat my breakfast, as the banana I had at 6am definitely hadn’t even hit the sides of my stomach! I found timing when to eat my breakfast really hard, as I’m so used to getting up, eating and going out after a certain time. Definitely something to practice and remember for my next marathon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once at the race village, we all split up. Anna and Steph ran on as their wave was due to go, leaving Elaine, Cortney and myself to use the loos again and get ourselves ready for our wave. We all thought we would have hours to wait around but I’m actually glad we didn’t. I was worried I’d be cold and find it hard to get going but it was the opposite. The buzz was incredible, everyone so helpful amongst the panic of finding the right corral to get into, and the good luck wishes from the volunteers were coming from every direction. Cortney and I started together, meaning I didn’t feel the loneliness that I had felt at the London start line. I was still nervous, scared that my legs had forgotten what to do and all my training over the last 4 months felt like a blur. Finally, when the gun sounded, Cortney and I said our goodbyes and wished each other good luck. We were ready and excited to witness the five boroughs and run New York City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting off by running over the Verrazzano Bridge was incredible! The views were spectacular! I’ve never driven over this bridge, or been this far down to Staten Island, so to see the city from this angle was amazing. For those of you who don’t know, the course starts at Staten Island and takes you right up through New York, ending in Central Park. You run through the five boroughs and over the three main bridges. No one believed me when I told them that New York is hilly and when I started my training, Charlie warned me A LOT about them. Hence the hill work, combined with living in a pretty hilly part of the country, I felt pretty confident about them.

Miles 1-5 were great. I felt strong, happy and running at a comfortable/my race pace. The crowds were great, along with the many signs people had made.
At mile 6 I fueled up, continued to feel strong and comfortable. The crowds continued to be really supportive and there were a couple of bands out. I was told my cousin would be at mile 11, but it was so busy along the streets of Williamsburg, that I missed him. Even though I didn’t see him, mentally it helped me to get there, knowing I might.
At mile 13 I had to stop to pee. Something I was trying to forget about and not consider doing, but it was getting uncomfortable and I’m sure it’s why I got cramp. I got going again and munched a bit more of my cliff bar as I climbed the Pulaski Bridge. I had reached half way, and was excited to soon be seeing my mum and high school friend, Nina, at mile 16. Knowing also, that this would get me over the Queensboro Bridge.
As I reached mile 15, I paid no attention to my watch. As we began to climb, my quads turned into concrete and I was so desperate for there to be some form of release. I’d reached the top of the bridge, where another runner shouted out congratulating us all and cheered us on, before making my way down the other side. Hips forward, and as I got to the bottom, something released in my quads, and I ran towards my mum and Nina. I burst into tears and gave them the biggest hug. I was full of adrenaline and ready to experience 1st Avenue, which was like being at a party! From then until mile 18, the support continued to be great, lots of signs, bands and people shouting random runners names. I tried not to look up and ahead of me as all I saw was a swarm of runners. A pleasant surprise at mile 18 was the cold sponges the volunteers were handing out. I gladly took one and continued on my way.
At mile 20, I ran past Chris Evans and am SERIOUSLY regretting NOT getting a selfie with him! Haha! I saw my mum and Nina again at mile 22, I grabbed water off my mum and gave them a hug, which gave me an extra boost to get to the end. I continued to feel good, except very thirsty and eating did not appeal. I was taking water on at every mile and felt like I could drink a bottle, not a cup. I knew I was close to the finish and that there would be some waiting for me.
I was super gutted to miss Charlie and Anna at mile 24 as I was frantically looking for them. I was feeling very ready to be done now. Up the last hill, into and then out of Central Park was a bitch, then there it was, mile 26 shortly followed by the finish line.  I looked up at the camera and smiled hard as I crossed the finish line! I was done, I couldn’t believe it. New York City marathon, a dream I’d had for years and my second major in 1 year, complete.

I was handed my medal and frantically made my way through the zombie like swarm of runners, to grab my finishers bag and some water!

Slowly after, I made my way to collect my poncho. This felt like miles, I was beginning to get very cold and everything started to seize up. When the lady finally wrapped one around me, I made my way to meet mum and Nina. I couldn’t wait for a hug, and when I saw her I burst into tears. Their support, has meant the world to me. When I told my mum I was running New York, she instantly said she’d come too and I’m beyond thankful to her for doing so. Even though we only had a few hours with each other, it was the best knowing she would be around the course and at the end, waiting for me. What she doesn’t realize, now, is that she WILL be required to attend more marathons with me, because I honestly don’t think I could do it without her!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t think of a single negative to this race. The amount of water and gatorade (American version of Lucozade) supplied at every mile, was beyond my expectations, the crowds amazing and the constant congratulations after, from everyone on the streets, incredible.

After taking some pictures and putting on extra layers, we made our way to a juice/acai bowl cafe, to grab one to take back to the apartment. I was craving this and after being thrown out of our cab to walk the last 5 blocks to the apartment, it was the only thing keeping me going!

When we arrived back, I was greeted by the girls and a lovely hug from both Anna and Charlie, before finally planting myself on the dining room chair. It was so nice to be back together again, congratulate and chat about our experience/the run. After showering and dressing into comfy clothes, we made our way out to dinner, medals in tow. We devoured many bowls of guacamole and chips and delicious Mexican plates. After a lovely evening, I said goodbye to my mum and Nina then slowly climbing into a cab to get back to bed. We were all beyond ready to sleep!

The following morning, a few of us were up quite early, so we decided to slowly make our way to the local coffee shop, again!, to move our legs. I actually slept quite well but moving around was hard and I definitely felt a little sore. Once everyone had woken up, we sorted ourselves and left the flat to head to Penn Station where we had planned to leave our luggage for the day. Afterwards we headed to our brunch spot, in the pouring rain, ready to devour pancakes, eggs, coffee and much more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few hours had passed, spent chatting and taking photos, then it was time to say our final goodbyes to each other. Anna and I headed to a few shops and Chelsea Market, before starting our donut hunt, succeeding twice. We then headed to 5th Avenue, where we grabbed dinner to take to the airport with us, browsed in a few shops and visited Whole Foods. Feeling shattered we were both extremely excited to get on the plane to sit down and hopefully get some sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before I end this post, I just want to say a massive thank you again, to Charlie. Not only for training me for this race, but for always being there at the end of a text, putting up with my late evening (and demanding) texts asking for my weekly runs, offering support and advice and generally being a truly amazing friend.
To Anna, Elaine, Steph, Cortney, thank you for the best weekend. I’ve not smiled or laughed so hard in a long time. I’ve made four new friends, and am extremely grateful for you all. The weekend would not have been what it was without you all.
And finally to all my readers and followers. The good luck wishes, messages, support and congratulations during both my training, before and after both London and this marathon, has meant so much. You all inspire me, in very different ways. This year has been an amazing but also difficult one, for me, but without you all just offering a few words, its helped get me through.

Thank you again and much love always,

Emma xx

New York Marathon 2018 Part 1

8.30am on a Friday morning, and as I made my way to the airport, I was feeling every emotion! The week leading up to the marathon I felt mainly nervous, about not only the marathon but the traveling, getting to the expo, having enough time to collect my bib, oh the list went on! After chatting with a few friends and finding out that Anna, who I know through Instagram, was on the same flight/staying in the same apartment, I felt a huge sense of relief! Also slightly stupid that I had worried about the silliest things…!

After saying goodbye to dad, I headed into the terminal, dropped my bag and made my way through security. Anna and I had planned to meet in the waiting area, and when I finally met her, I knew we were going to get on really well. Anna is a pro at marathons, New York was her 16th! So I definitely felt like I was looking up to her for a bit of moral support and she was very helpful with all the questions I asked her!
Fast forward 8 hours later and we safely arrived into JFK airport, along with a few other marathoners on our flight! After navigating the subway and running 4 blocks from Penn Station to the Expo, suitcase and all, we arrived just in time to collect our bibs. We also managed to browse and purchase some bits from the New Balance shop before heading to find Charlie, and the rest of the girls for dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following morning, a few of us were up quite early thanks for jet lag, so headed out to the local coffee shop. We returned to find the others up and all got ready to head out for a shake out run around Central Park, followed by brunch that Charlie and her friend Zoe, had organized.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After brunch, Anna, Elaine and myself decided we wanted to explore New York and visit a few bakeries and shops. We made our way to Levain Bakery. Hands down THE best cookies you will ever taste and delivered to your hand, fresh and warm! We grabbed a few, of course munching on one, as we made our way to Times Square for M&M World, stopping for a few picture opportunities then to the expo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was extremely excited to go back to the expo, not only to browse the stalls and pick up a few items, but to also see a high school friend. I’ve been back to America many times to visit friends, but only a certain few. So 10 years after our graduation, I was beyond excited to see Luke and meet his wife, Lauren. We explored the expo for only a short time, but enough to catch up, check in with how we were both feeling and spend some time together. I am SO glad we got this opportunity, because its not everyday you and your high school friend run a major marathon!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the expo we headed back to the apartment to shower and change before organizing ourselves and sorting dinner. The nerves were definitely set in and I was praying I’d sleep well. So, with a tummy full of pasta and kit sorted, we said our goodnights to each other and hit the pillow. Knowing we were going to run 26.2 miles around New York City in the morning was beyond imaginable but about to become very real…

One week to go….

I can’t quite believe where the past 14 weeks have gone…it seems like yesterday that Charlie and I were sat organizing the whole weekend, and to think that I hadn’t even run London yet…craziest thought in the world and I have no idea what possessed me to sign up for my second marathon, having not even ran my first! Regardless, I am SO glad I bit the bullet and decided to run, because with one week left to go, I am more than excited to be heading back to my favorite city in the whole world!

This weeks train has gone really well. I’ve given the speed sessions my all, maybe too much, ending in me feeling rather sick after…..a small PT session, with the BEST PT in the world, because I’ve been craving it recently, parkrun with two friends and my last long run this morning. My legs have felt amazing, I’m really in awe of my body and how its adapted to my training. I feel great and I am beyond ready to race now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having also been half term this week, that’s enabled my charges and I to have a bit of a break/more down time. It’s such a whirlwind of a week with preschool, classes, playdates and everything in between, that the slow mornings/days have been welcomed with open arms! We’ve been pumpkin picking, to the theatre and out for lunch. Everything we love doing, with lots of time playing at home and watching films.

With my suitcase out and packing well under way, I want to reflect for a moment on this training journey. It’s not been the easiest, hell I have felt many times like I wanted to pull out of the race and stop there and then, but I didn’t, because I have the determination, motivation to finish what I started. Running is my passion, its more than just a speed workout and many miles on the plan each week. So I wanted to thank every single person who has supported, sent messages, encouraged, run with me, been there when I’ve been reduced to tears and when I’ve been jumping for joy. To the friends I’ve never met, through social media, and to those who are my best and most beloved friends in the world – you all mean so much to me and I can’t thank you all enough for your constant love and just being there for me. I live my life A LOT through social media and I LOVE chatting with every single one of you.

I honestly can’t say how ready I am to run next Sunday, with you all there cheering me on from the sidelines or 3,000 miles on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Get ready to be taken on the most exciting weekend of your life, I can’t wait to have you all follow and experience with me, what may be another most amazing day of my life!

Much love and thanks, always,

Emma xx

 

 

It’s been a while…

I can’t believe its been nearly two months since I last blogged….Life has been a rollercoaster of a ride for my family and I, and I actually don’t know where September went. Most of it was spent in the hospital visiting and spending time with my dad. He’s been extremely unwell since we arrived home from our trip to America in August, but he’s FINALLY on the mend, albeit very slowly.
Work has also been crazy, we went away to Cornwall the last week of the summer holidays, and the day I returned was the day everything went down hill. Since then, preparing my charge for preschool and afternoon activities, has made the days, and weeks, mould into one.

Along with many trips to the hospital and weekends spent keeping my dad company, with mum, I find it quite overwhelming at times to continue with my work life and marathon training. I struggled with a few of my runs, ending in tears and thinking many times about pulling out of the marathon. I had to keep reminding myself that running is my passion, not my career and if I missed a few runs, it wasn’t the end of the world. I’m pretty hard on myself, and very dedicated to my training, but I knew I had to pull myself back and think realistically.

As the weeks have continued, Dad has gotten a lot better, and we’ve managed to settle back into normal life. Training has continued to go well and last Saturday I ran my longest run – 20 miles. It went really well. I started off on my own, running the first 8 miles to a friends house and we finished the final 12 together around the pretty country lanes. It was great to catch up, as its been months, and it made the miles fly by. Although admittedly, the last two were extremely hard and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to cry, vomit or lie down at the end!

I feel like this run gave me a confidence boost. I was really nervous, as the last 20 miles I did was for London, and lets just say it didn’t go too well…I’ve also really enjoyed this weeks training, even getting up at 5am to run 800 meter repeats (mad woman, I know), I’ve felt good. I’m determined to give the next 2 weeks my all, and even though I’m nervous, I’m very excited to run my second marathon in just over 2 weeks time.

I hope you’ve all had a good week and enjoy the weekend! My brother is home from university, with his stinking cold (insert eye roll), I get to spend time with family and am running the Henley Half on Sunday. Hope you all have fun weekend plans, running or spending time with loved ones. Enjoy!

Emma xx