Green Park Royal Berkshire 10k

Since London, I’ve taken part in two races, both of which had extremely different outcomes. The first, and one I didn’t blog about, was the Oxford Town and Gown 10k. Three weeks after a marathon, and I thought I would be fine, everyone jokingly said I still had it in my legs but it was the total opposite. I wasn’t looking forward to the race, I hated every mile, it was hot (why I was even complaining about this, is beyond me!) and my legs felt empty. Luckily, I had the support from a lovely group, who I ran the race with, and the only highlight of the morning was the coffee and breakfast we had after!

The following weekend, I had another race, the Royal Berkshire 10k. I toyed with pulling out of it because of what happened the following weekend, but I’m really glad I didn’t. We were all dressing up as fairies to run for the Teenage Cancer Trust. A fantastic charity, and one I wanted to help my friend support.

As the weekend got closer, I saw the weather and temperatures were meant to be amazing, another hot run on the cards. I’ve decided I must have attract hot days and running races, this is the 3rd one in a row now!! Regardless of the weather, I was really looking forward to dressing up, seeing a few friends and running a new route.

We met quite early, but I’m glad we did as it was a bigger event than I thought. And, as always, there weren’t many toilets resulting in a quick dash to the start line moments before the gun went!
I started off at quite a good pace, not pushing myself and settled quite quickly. The course was good and the neighbors were out supporting us, but boy was it hot! There wasn’t a great deal of shade and only two water stations, both using plastic cups. It’s wonderful to see all these races ditching the plastic bottles and being aware of plastic use.
Half way round and I was kind of wishing I wasn’t wearing my tutu and compression socks, plus I started to feel quite sick. I ended up doing a bit of walking and running towards the end, being picked up by other runners encouraging me on. I crossed the finish line, desperate for water and to sit down!

I found a few fairies sat in the shade, so headed over to join them, have a chat and check my time! I had managed to shave 9 minutes off my last 10k and felt extremely proud and quite smug!
After a quick catch up, I said my congratulations and goodbyes, before heading to get a post race photo then make my way back to my car.

A fun race, for a great cause, with friends and on a lovely sunny day! One way to spend a Sunday and one I wouldn’t have any other way!

Happy Friday everyone, have a lovely long weekend!

Emma xx

 

Happenings 11.5.18

Inspired by the beautiful, Heidi.

 

Doing – Sitting at the kitchen table, watching mum sort ingredients for supper.

Hearing – The tumble dryer and the television

Drinking – Green tea. A love of mine, especially in the morning.

Eating and cooking – Hmm, recently I’ve been craving fresh and colorful salads with a form of protein. After months of eating pasta and lots of bread, during marathon training, admittedly I’ve slightly gone off them. I’ve not been doing as much cooking at work, but I have been at home. I made the most delicious tofu burgers for my parents and I last night, which went down a treat. This afternoon I baked my dad his favorite ginger cake, which he’s already devoured a quarter of!

Wanting – More sunshine and warm weather, like we had over the bank holiday weekend. Wearing shorts and summer dresses was such a treat, and to feel the warm sun on my skin, made me feel like I was on holiday.

Wearing – My pyjamas. And yes, it is only 5.30pm here in the U.K. No shame! I’m pretty tired from a very hard week.

Looking – For somewhere to go away at the beginning of June. I am in need of a break, change of scene, some time to rest and regroup. However, with a few uncontrollable events happening, I’m not sure its going to be possible. Keeping my fingers crossed and my search on!

Deciding – What to have for supper…

Enjoying – Rest and a break from training/running. I have to say, I have loved not setting an alarm for 5am to get up and run before work. I’ve also enjoyed having weekends free and that don’t revolve around a long run. With that said, I am ALWAYS up for a run with Charlie, and am actually starting to miss my runs, now I’ve had a good rest period. I’ve signed up for a few fun runs and will keep my legs moving until training for NYC starts in August!

Watching – ‘Friends’ on Netflix but other than that, not much. I don’t really have time to watch tv. I sometimes climb into bed and think I’ll start a new series or put a film on, but actually, I’d rather go to sleep!

Reading – Charlie recently gave me The Tattooist of Auschwitz. Which I read in about 4 days. I couldn’t put it down, it was so exciting, sad and very easy to read, that I became excited to get into bed at 8pm and read as much as I could before my eyes started closing!
I’ve just started Still Me, by JoJo Moyes and I love it! I would also recommend, Me Before You and After You, which are a lead up to this one.

Buying – Not a lot…really trying to save my money, for a holiday, or my trip to America with my parents in August. As well as a house fund and general savings…I feel I have nothing left from my paycheck, anyone else with me?!

Planning – A holiday and lots of running!

Craving – Fresh, colorful foods, especially cold pink lady apples! Also really into smoothies at the moment!

Loving – Sleep…and lie ins!

Savoring – Moments with all my family.

Playing – Scrabble…strangely! My mum and I enjoyed a few games over the long weekend, sat in the garden with snacks and wine. I scored one of my highest games, but didn’t manage to win against my mum! Nonetheless, it was the switch off and distraction we both needed.

Feeling – Sad, emotional, tired and drained.

 

Emma xx

Tough Mudder 2018

I’m not sure many would enjoy spending a cold, grey Saturday morning caking themselves in mud, diving into freezing cold water and climbing over many wooden obstacles. A week after running the London Marathon, many people called me mad, but I couldn’t wait. I’d attended the event last year, so knew what I was in for and this time with new obstacles and course.

We arrived at the event filled with a mixture of excitement and nerves. Our wave was at 9.20am, so after meeting at the tent, greeted by the Black Tower Wines and Sonya (our Mudder tour guide!), we had a few photos taken and then headed to the warm up zone. Here we were made to show complete strangers our cat walk, completely embarrassing ourselves before starting.

With a pledge and a short cheer, we were off. Ready to take on whatever was waiting for us! The route, this year, took us through a lot more of the grounds/woodland and the obstacles weren’t as close together as I remember them being. Nonetheless, it wasn’t raining, we were all smiling and enjoying getting to know each other. We shortly came to our first obstacle – the Kiss of Mud! Sonia showed us the most efficient way of getting through, without getting attached to the barbed wire or face planting into the mud. However I failed at this and got trapped by it twice…!

Running on, we came to the Block Ness Monster! I openly admit I didn’t do this last year…however, I had no choice and I actually really enjoyed it. It involved plunging into chest deep water, climbing onto the rotating square shaped obstacle and letting it carry us over. It was FREEZING but a lot of fun and we all quickly got moving to stay warm!

Soaking wet and with stone and mud filled shoes, we said our temporary goodbyes to the camera crew and headed around the rest of the course. We met more mud, climbed over vertical walls, pulled ourselves through tubes, trekked up a monster hill and climbed a hay barrel tower.
We then went on to tackle our last obstacles, Everest and Pyramid scheme. Both of which were two of my favorites last year and was excited to give them another go!

With the finish line in sight, we all grabbed each other and ran. Soaked and freezing, we were handed our finishers t-shirt, a snack and made our way back to the tent for a few more photos.

Feeling very proud and full of smiles, we thanked and said our goodbyes to the brilliant camera crew and Sonya, for taking us around the course safely! Yes, we were all covered in bruises and I definitely felt like I had been hit by a bus the next morning, but I had the best time. Making new friends, supporting each other and taking on a new challenge together is what this day was all about and it was so much fun!

A huge thank you to Black Tower Wines and Charlie for an awesome morning!

Emma xx

London Marathon 2018

Where do I even begin…I’ve felt very ready to talk about London since I crossed the finish line. I’ve carried around my medal all week, like it’s my newborn baby, feeling proud and wanting to tell everyone about my experience.

Sunday morning, my alarm went off at 6am. I wanted to give myself time to wake up, get dressed, eat and feel awake and prepared. The charity had organized a coach to collect us from the hotel and take us to the start line at 7.15am. Plenty of time, I thought…yeah right! I said some teary goodbyes to my parents and made my way down to the reception. I’d never felt so alone and nervous in my life.

We arrived at the red start and walked to meet the other runners for a group photo. It was great to meet everyone and be part of such a wonderful charity. Throughout the past 6 months, they have been nothing but supportive and there on the end of an email if I had any questions or concerns. Then things were about to get real. It was time to head to the start zone, use the loos and find our starting pen. One of the runners, Nicky, and I decided we would stick together until we parted ways just after we crossed the start line. It was really nice to have someone to talk to and calm each others nerves before we set off.

Miles 1-5 – I couldn’t believe the atmosphere as I crossed the start line, the amount of people out cheering us all on was amazing, and I couldn’t believe I was actually running the London Marathon! I had been warned that the first few miles were downhill, so carefully kept an eye on my pace as not to go too quickly or get caught up with racing other runners. At mile 3, all of the starting lines merged, I was running a comfortable pace, and taking it all in. The crowds continued to be thick and loud for the next 2 miles, but the heat was already making me slow. I knew at this point I was going to be running a hell of a lot slower than I had liked, meaning my sub-4 marathon was out the window. My plan now was to take it at a good place, listen to my body and make that finish line.

Miles 6-11 – Approaching mile 6 and 7 was brilliant. The course took us around the Cutty Sark, which I’ve not visited, and the cheers and signs were definitely making me smile. I had this in the bag. I felt great, both mentally and physically and comfortable with my pace. The course quietened a little but still the small crowds were cheering strong and at mile 9 I saw my parents and my friend, Becky! This was the boost I needed, I carried on with a huge smile on my face knowing I was about to see my college friend on Tower Bridge and nearly reached half way.

Miles 12-17 – Tower Bridge has to have been my favorite part! The crowds were amazing, the view was stunning and the sun shining strong on us all. I spotted my friend, her partner and their little girl, stopping to give them a hug and kiss before carrying on. At this stage I tried not to get emotional and focused on what was to come. I was very hot and uncomfortable at this point, but so thankful for the showers set up for us to run through and attempt to cool down, even if it was only for a mile or so, as we then became bone dry again!
I pushed on through, making my way through the snacks I’d packed in my shorts and bra – literally! The lululemon ‘stuff your bra’ is the BEST invention ever! I also put a good luck coin in one of the pockets, that a good friend gave me before the race. As I headed towards Docklands, I knew this would be the quiet part of the course, which I wasn’t really looking forward to. It starts where mile 21 is, so you can see runners coming towards you on the other side, knowing they were nearly done. Not a great feeling but I dug deep and continued to focus on me. The thing that got me through was knowing I would see my parents, and Becky, again at mile 18. I pushed round, continuing to take water at every station, munching my trusty Clif bar and occupying my mind with my surroundings and giving lots of small children a high five! I continued to feel strong and happy.

Mile 18-23 – As I approached mile 18, I perked up, knowing my family were somewhere in the crowds. My dad shouted my name and I instantly ran over to see them and give them a hug before carrying on. I was still smiling, albeit feeling pretty tired and starting to feel a little heavy in my legs. My pace had slowed slightly but I was okay with that. It was boiling hot, more and more runners were collapsing and the medical tents were getting full.
I saw mile 20 and thought, right, I can do this. Two park runs then I’m done. By now my knees were starting to hurt, something I had never experienced, and I got slightly concerned. I went on to see a few more friends before reaching Tower Hill. The crowds had picked up, which was a huge relief as I was really flagging. The noise, support and encouragement from complete strangers gave you the most amazing boost to carry on. The finish was so close but boy it felt so far.

Mile 24- 26 – After seeing my friend waving me through before I hit Embankment, that was honestly one of the few things pushing me on. After standing on the sideline at mile 23 last year, I knew that there would be a lot of people around cheering us on, and I was going to use that to get me to the finish. With that said, it still felt like the longest 4 miles of my life. I was so hot, thirsty and ready to be done. I’d really slowed now and my knees were still hurting. Random people were shouting my name, encouraging me to keep going and I grabbed more water to drink and dowse myself with.
Then, just like that the finish line was there, I crossed over the timing pad and I was done. I was almost in shock and couldn’t believe I’d just run my first marathon. 26.2 miles. Wow.

I walked to collect my medal, where I nearly burst into tears at the lady who handed it to me, and carried on to have a very awful photo taken of me by the photographer…! I was thankful to another runner, also running for Children’s Wish, who called my name and congratulated me. We chatted until I met the A and B section of runners meet and greet, and desperately started looking for my parents. Minutes were flying by and I was starting to feel really unwell and upset. All I wanted was a hug. Then I saw two of my good friends, instantly burst into tears and fell into her arms. I was so relieved I had found someone I knew and moments later my parents arrived. I squeezed my mum so hard, I didn’t want to let go. Hugs and congratulations were exchanged and photos taken. I couldn’t wait to sit down and whip off my socks and shoes.

We soon headed back to the hotel, where I couldn’t wait to lie down. I wanted to update family and thank everyone for their messages. My dad ran me a magnesium bath – thankful it was super low to the ground, otherwise I’m not sure how I would have got in and out of it! I was SO glad we had a late checkout, the best plan and super thankful to the hotel for arranging this. I got into some comfy clothes, stuck THE best sticker I found in my goodie bag, on my chest and popped my medal around my neck. We heading to find some food and get on the train.

I was congratulated by so many people I passed on our way to Paddington. I can’t describe the feeling but it was amazing. I was happy when we arrived home and I was able to flop on the sofa, eat and go to bed. I had the most horrendous headache, felt very sun kissed and sore. I slowly climbed the stairs, brushed my teeth and climbed into bed with the biggest smile on my face.

When I told people I was running London, the question was always “what time do you want to go for?” and now it’s “did you enjoy it?” or “would you do it again?”…the answer to both is YES!
I’m excited to announce that I will be running the New York City marathon in November and I couldn’t be more excited!! For now, though, I’m going to enjoy casual runs with friends and at events, before my training starts again.

Before I go, I want to thank each and every single person who has donated, wished me luck, supported, encouraged and congratulated me over the past 6 months. I never once doubted that I couldn’t raise the required amount for the Children’s Wish Charity, and I’m beyond proud of myself for raising over £2,000, along with all of your help. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone <3

Much love,

Emma xx

 

London Marathon Expo

I have to say, this, along with the marathon, was something I was really looking forward to attending.  I headed to the ExCel after work on Thursday afternoon and met a friend before making our way in. It was 2.30pm, the sky was bright blue and the sun was shining heavily down on us. The raised temperatures had been the hot topic in conversation amongst many of us runners over the past few days and to say we were nervous about Sunday, was an nothing more than spot on.

We made our way through the cool building and into the expo. I was collecting a friends number, along with mine, which was quite nerve wracking. A big responsibility and I was so nervous of loosing it! Before we entered the main area with all the stalls, we were able to get our photo taken with our number and explore the superstore, filled with lots of goodies from New Balance.

We spent the next few hours exploring, picking up snacks, sampling new products, picking up a few free goodies and listening to one of the talks. At this point I felt very excited but I could feel the nerves growing inside me.

Before we left, we made our way through the lounge, where we were able to take part in fun challenges that would donate £5 to our chosen charity. My friend and I decided to take part in the bowling and came away with £10 towards my charity and a big smile on our faces. A few more pictures later and we were ready to call it a day. The long trek back to Paddington was waiting and I was ready to get home for a bath and some food!

I felt ready, extremely ready and Sunday couldn’t come soon enough.

Watch out for my race recap coming in the next few days!

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading.

Emma xx