Final training cycle and 1 week to go…

To say this final month of marathon training has been uneventful, would be a total understatement!

Week 1 – I’d been craving banana bread all weekend and because bananas don’t last long in our house, I had to go out to find the brownest ones I could! I used the recipe from the Run Fast Eat Slow cookbook, which I can’t recommend enough, and thought it would last me at least half the week. Oh how I was wrong…my mum and I pretty much devoured the loaf in a matter of days!
Admittedly the rest of the week didn’t really go to plan. It was the Easter weekend and we had planned to visit my godmother where I would also do my 20 miler run (you can read more about that on my last post). I missed my morning run on Tuesday, so ended up going out in the evening with friend. Well, that was a bit of a disaster but getting out and just running was definitely what I needed. A much needed rest day and sports massage was planned for Wednesday, and Thursday an early morning interval run, watching the sunrise, was enough to kick me back into the game. Friday morning we headed up North for a fun weekend of catching up, running and lots of Easter egg eating!

 

Week 2 – Bank holiday, and a much needed one if that. I joined Charlie for some shake out miles, before heading home for a bath and a long foam rolling session. My first run after my 20 on Saturday, and my legs felt really good. However, things suddenly changed and the following morning I woke up feeling very unwell…I just about made it into work and within an hour I was leaving to return home to my bed. I felt horrific. With lots of sleep and rest over the next few days, I definitely felt better, and returned to work and running but slowly. A light, but very sweaty training session on Friday was much enjoyed and by the start of the weekend I was feeling myself. Then I ended up with no voice. I thought nothing of it and spent the day in London with a friend, running and going out for lunch. It wasn’t until that evening, that I ended up on the phone to the local out of hours hospital where I was told I had laryngitis…Great, now I was really panicking… Not the best timing, 2 weeks before a marathon, but actually it was. I had 2 weeks to get myself better, the training had been done and all there was left to do was sleep, eat and keep my legs moving. I was determined to do my last run, 10 miles, with my friend and that is what we did. We took it slow and the rest of the day I spent at home catching up with my Grandma.

Week 3 – This week started off with a very easy reformer pilates class. I haven’t been to one in what felt like ages, but I fancied a change and booked in last minute. It was a very quiet class, of 3, and we focused on hips, hamstrings and abs – perfect! Tuesday morning rolled around and I treated myself to a lie in, as I was meeting Charlie for a run that evening. After a testing day at work, for both of us, it was JUST what we needed. My usual rest day on Wednesday was enjoyed at a friends house, and an evening on the sofa.

I managed to sleep quite well, as the following day was my birthday!!! I started the day off with a long interval run, followed by breakfast with a nanny friend and our charges. After work I went out with my mum for lunch and spent the afternoon opening presents and eating THE yummiest vegan coffee and walnut cake I’ve ever had!

My birthday celebrations continued onto the following day at Daylesford Farm in the Cotswolds. I went with my mum and a friend, where we stretched our way through a yoga class, ate delicious food, drank the tastiest coffee and treated our feet and legs, to one of the best pedicures I’ve had! I felt like I had treated my lower body like a queen and felt extremely relaxed when we left.

Yesterday was another treat day for my legs. After the best lie in, I popped to GoPerform, a sports injury clinic in Reading, to use the NormaTec recovery boots. Followed by a coffee in the sunshine and some diary organizing. A beautiful warm and sunny day, that I spent enjoying the rest of in the garden before heading out for dinner with a friend!
To end the first week of taper, and prepare for the final week of training, Charlie and I enjoyed an 8 mile run along the river ending at one of our new favorite coffee shops in town. Our final last long run, a gentle pace and much enjoyed.

I’m feeling super excited and ready for London now. I feel strong and my body feels great. This week I’ll be focusing on sleep, hydrating lots and eating nourishing and filling food.

I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine we had. Have a great week!

Emma xx

 

 

Long Easter Weekend and 20 Miles…

The long Easter weekend couldn’t have come round at a better time. The few days away and change of scene was very much needed and I felt recharged, ready to take on the last few weeks of training.

On Friday, my parents and I headed up to Oakham, not far from Leicester, to stay with my godmother. I’ve visited Stamford a couple of times, with a friend I went to college with, and have to admit I’ve really fallen for the place. It’s so beautiful and I find it so peaceful. The main reason for heading up there was so I could run around Rutland Water for my 20 miles, and tie it in with staying/spending some time with her. We arrived just in time for lunch then my parents headed out for a walk into town. I decided to stay behind and rest on the sofa, knowing what I had in store for me the following day.. When I went to bed, I could hear the rain pounding on the window and prayed that it would either pass or slow down before the morning rolled round.

My alarm went off at 6am…I headed downstairs to eat breakfast and try to calm myself. For some reason I was super nervous. I felt sick and started questioning myself. A lot of other people I knew were running the same distance today, so I didn’t feel like I was the only one about venture into the unknown. I got dressed, sorted my hydration pack and packed my snacks, it was 8am and I was ready as I was ever going to be. The rain, thankfully, had stopped, and it was quite mild out, which was a really nice change.
I headed around the back of my godmothers house and looped onto the main road then headed for Rutland Water.

I will admit that my mind and legs were just not interested in running this distance. I reached the entrance around mile 5 and wanted to give up. So, I decided to break it down into sections, telling myself I will run 5 miles around the water and then 5 miles back to this point. I could do it, and I WAS going to do it! At mile 7 I was strangely quite hungry so munched on my Clif bar and at mile 10 stopped for a few moments to gather myself and have a little cry. Crying not because it was painful but crying because it was an emotional battle I’d not experienced before. Knowing at this point it was time to head “home” was the only thing getting me through the last 10 miles. Again, 5 back to the gate then 5 back to the house. At mile 16, just as I was running over the bridge, my parents drove past and waved frantically at me. THIS was what got me to mile 20. The push I needed.

 

When I got back to the house I couldn’t quite believe what had happened. I’d done it. I had RAN 20 miles….I slowly let myself in, ran a bath and started stretching. I grabbed some food and soaked in the bath with a smile on my face.
When my parents arrived back, I wanted nothing more than a hug from my mum. Waiting for that felt like years and boy was it one of the best hugs I’d had! We then gathered our things and headed out for lunch.
I continued to feel good for the rest of the day, a little stiff and hungry, but good. The evening consisted of more stretching and foam rolling, whilst nibbling on my Easter egg and watching a film. I headed to bed and was thankfully asleep within minutes. Sometimes after my long runs I find it super hard to get to sleep and end up tossing and turning for what seems like hours.

The following morning I was awake super early. I was not impressed! I was hungry, so made myself a huge bowl of porridge, tea and water before setting up camp on the sofa.
After lunch it was time to say our goodbyes and head home. It was so lovely to see my godmother, and my godson, catch up and enjoy being together. The time away was very much needed.

On Easter Monday I met Charlie for some morning miles along the river…or what we thought we could do along the river! Turns out that it had rained more than we had thought and most of the footpath was flooded/not worth risking. So we settled for our normal early morning route and ended 8 miles with much needed coffee. My legs felt really good and I used this run as a shake out/chance to get my legs moving again. I ended up doing just over 6.50 miles, which I was happy with.

I’ve learnt so much on this marathon training journey, about my body and myself. Its been a whirlwind of many smiles and a few tears but I wouldn’t have chosen it if I knew I couldn’t do it.
As you all know, the reason I am running London is for the Children’s Wish and the support/fundraising for that has blown me away. So thank you, again, to everyone who has sponsored me and generously given to such a great charity.

As I sit here, waiting for my friend to arrive so we can do our last long run, I feel quite sad that its all coming to an end. I will miss the Sunday long runs the most, I think. Getting out with friends and knowing other people are doing the same. Strangely I feel like we are all connected in this running journey, but equally all live so far from one another and lead completely different lives. Regardless of that, I couldn’t have done it without the support from everyone on social media, as well as family and friends. I feel like I know all of you so well and can’t wait to, hopefully, meet you on the day!

A huge well done to everyone for smashing their long runs. Enjoy your last one and taper can begin!

Have a lovely Sunday guys <3

Emma xx

 

Third Month of Marathon Training

I keep having to pinch myself that I’m now less than a month away from running the London Marathon…! I am starting to get really excited, especially as training has continued to go quite well for another month.

Week 1 – This week started off with a rest/half day at work and lunch out with my mum. It was also the week my boss was having her second baby, and one hell of a snow storm was due to hit the U.K.  I’m glad I planned to run my 5 tempo miles at the beginning of the week, as I ended up being stuck at work. It definitely ended on a high though, as I met my new charge and got to meet and FINALLY run with Charlie! 7 snowy miles together, was just what we both needed, and I finished 6 solo before meeting my parents for much needed hot coffee and a cuddle!

 

Week 2 – Another fun week enjoying newborn cuddles, beautiful sunrise runs, celebrating International Women’s Day, a much needed sports massage, 15 tough miles and spoiling my mum on Mother’s Day. A bit of a sore end to the week and I cried a lot, but learnt even more about myself and my body, than I think I ever will. I’m beyond proud of myself everything I’ve achieved so far on this marathon journey.

 

Week 3 – If there is one thing I struggle with after my long runs, its having no appetite. Literally no desire to eat or crave anything. Thankfully it comes running back, literally, and at full force. Does anyone else suffer with this or experienced it?
This week was a nice short week at work, which I thoroughly enjoyed and made the most of. I also held a bake sale on probably one of the coldest March days to date…however, I stuck it out with my mum and a friend for a good 2 hours, selling most of my home made goodies and adding another £80 to my fundraising.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week was also the week of the Reading Half Marathon. Unfortunately, due to another dumping of snow *rolls eyes*, it ended up being cancelled. However, with 17 miles on my plan, I decided I would get out anyway. I gave myself a lie in, ate breakfast and prepared myself for literally the unknown…It was icy along my lane but once I got out onto the main roads, it was pretty safe and it was one of my favorite runs to date! I arrived home to a homemade medal, from my mum, shortly followed by an email from the Reading Half team announcing to all runners, that they could collect their medals from the Stadium. So that’s what we ended up doing, even though it wasn’t the way many of us thought we’d receive them.

 

Week 4 – Buzzing from my long run the day before, this week started off on a real positive note but soon took an unexpected turn. I felt really good after my 17 miles, and after a fun run with Charlie on Tuesday, continued to feel positive. I then hit a bump in my week, which I didn’t quite expect. I woke up early Thursday morning expecting to run but I actually couldn’t think of anything worse. So, I listened to my body, climbed back into bed and missed my run. I had mixed emotions, I won’t lie. I felt guilty, as though I’d let myself down but equally proud and confident that I chose to take the day off. Many of you messaged me and I’m extremely grateful for the support and reassurance that I’d made the right decision. Missing one run wasn’t going to harm me or my training, in fact it was going to benefit me. My body needed the rest and so that’s what I gave it.
Training on Friday with my PT gave me the boost I needed and I enjoyed switching off and spending time with a friend on Saturday. This week has been mixed and I will admit I’m pretty knackered. However, it has ended well with 13 miles along the Reading Half route, organized by the local Sweatshop. I felt honored to be asked to pace a really sweet lady, which took the focus off my super sore and tired legs, and instead, was on her to get around the “course”. It was tough, the hill in the middle (meant to be at the start) was rough, but we stuck together and smashed it. I’m super proud of her, and I can only imagine her mum would be too <3

 

Nestled in bed with a film, I’m feeling positive and determined to enjoy and smash this last month of training. A feeling of mixed emotions, to say the least. Sad that my training will be coming to an end, but equally super exciting to run London!

I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading this and had a wonderful weekend – yay for Spring like weather – long may it last!

Much love,

Emma xx

NormaTec Recovery/Compression Boots

I first came across these recovery/compression boots on Instagram and was instantly intrigued as to what they did and how they worked. After speaking to a few people, I found out that they aided recovery and help reduce soreness in the legs. However, they also came with a pretty price tag! I assumed they were only available in America, so my investigation stopped there. 

Oh how I was wrong…

It wasn’t until Anna posted a photo of her sat using a pair, at a sports injury and performance centre in my local town, that I instantly jumped into looking at what other treatments/recovery options they offered.
The centre is called GoPerform, and they “help individuals of all ages and capabilities get strong, healthy, overcome injury and maximise their performance potential.”  You can find out more about what they offer and much more, here.
After being given an extra day off work, I decided to contact the centre about going in to use the boots. They were really quick at responding and so helpful. I turned up and was greeted by Dan, given a tour and set up with the boots. I was really impressed with the centre and how fresh, clean and tidy it was.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For £10, you can use the boots for a 15 minute treatment. Now, I don’t think that is a bad price and for what I got out of using them, I’d be prepared to pay that again.

Once I was zipped up and connected to the pump, air started to fill sections of the boots, moving up the legs. Once they were full, giving a tight/compression feeling, they released and the process started again. The compression, or pulsing, helps move the fluid in the legs and is done in sections, to prevent it flowing the wrong way. You can find out more from the Normatec website, with a great diagram showing how the boots work!

 

Once my 15 minutes were up, I instantly noticed a huge difference in my legs. They felt light and ‘fresh’. Just what you want before run 17 miles in a few days!! Dan made it clear that I was to stay as long as I like and use the gym/mats to do anymore stretching or recovery exercises that I wished. I really appreciated this, as in no way did I feel rushed to put my shoes on, pay and leave. Another reason I will be going back – I felt extremely welcomed and very comfortable there.

As I continue on my marathon journey, I am becoming more fascinated about the body and how training has such an amazing affect on performance and how you feel. My long runs have jumped up recently and I have noticed a small change in how I feel. I’m mainly exhausted and only ache a little but I have a feeling that has a lot to do with how I recover and the methods I use to help my body after pounding it into the pavement for a few hours. Ice baths work a treat, providing I can jump in one straight after my run, alongside stretching with a band and the foam roller.

Has anyone else tried these boots? Did you find they worked? I’d love to hear your experiences!

Hope you have a great weekend and enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed sharing my experience with you!

Emma xx

 

Fundraising Target Reached!!

Admittedly, when I first accepted this challenge to raise money for the Round TableChildren’s Wish, I was really quite afraid. After I signed the form, I instantly felt sick and questioned if I could do it. Could I do it? How would I do it? Work was already full on, and to add to it, my boss was due to have her second baby a month or so before the marathon. I knew the training itself would be hard, but regardless of this, I never once doubted myself.  My passion, dedication and determination is so strong and when I accept and set my mind to something, I will give it my all to complete it!

With that said, I am extremely proud to say that I have already reached my fundraising goal, and I couldn’t be more excited! The support my friends and family have shown me over the past few months has been amazing and I can’t thank you all enough. I still plan to raise more money, it definitely doesn’t stop here, but I couldn’t not share this news with you all!

Again, I can’t express how much all your support and kindness means. I definitely couldn’t have done it without you all!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Emma xx