My current training and new adidas clothes

What am I currently training for? Well, actually nothing right now!

I only have one race close on the horizon and that’s the Romsey 5 Mile Beer race which I love. Due to COVID, of course, it hasn’t been on for the past two years so I’m excited to do it again. It’s always a fun day.

But other than that I only have the New Forest Marathon planned for September and then the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon in December. There aren’t really any marathons nearby that I want to do and to be honest it’s probably a good thing to let me body rest for a bit. Obviously I’ll still be running but the long runs won’t be as long.

Running at the moment is just a way for me to refresh myself. Sleep has been tough going with an ill Isaac (all the nursery bugs…) and it’s been a little bit stressful. Running is my constant though and it helps energise me, chill me out and just blow out any bad moods. So it’s not so much training for any race but rather getting through harder times!

And I love that about running. It isn’t just exercise or trying to get PB’s. It’s just a significant part of my life that helps me be a better human, helps me feel better and keeps me sane.

My current week looks something like this: running Tuesdays and Thursdays (nursery commutes), parkrun on a Saturday and then a long run on Sunday, but probably nothing more than 15 miles. I also try to squeeze in two strength sessions a week and keep Mondays as a day of rest because it’s my day with Isaac.

Recently I got sent some adidas clothes which are both perfect for summer training and also summer resting! I’m a BIG fan of leisurewear and to be honest would wear leggings every day if I could. And a hoodie, you cannot beat a hoodie for relaxing round the house in or popping to the shop in the evening when it’s cooler.

Tho it’s a dangerous colour when you have both a dog and a baby, I love the cream of this hoodie. I normally go for darker colours but as it’s summer I thought I’d branch out to be a bit brighter. Yes it’s summer but you can’t guarantee constant warm weather in the UK!

The hoodie is so soft and slightly oversized, which I love. Perfect for slouching around the house in or throwing on at the end of parkrun when it’s a bit nippy but you don’t want to bring a coat.

I also LOVE these leggings (Loungewear essentials high-waisted logo leggings in Black / Gold Metallic). They’re more loungewear leggings than running leggings but definitely good for the gym. They’re very flattering, don’t slip down and are nicely high-waisted. They’re thick enough to not be see-through as well when you bend over or squat. An essential requirement for leggings!

One thing I’ve been in big need of was another good fitting sports bra. Since having Isaac and breastfeeding my boobs are a lot bigger than they used to be. I never used to have to worry too much about high support while running or HIIT during workouts but now it’s definitely something I have to be wary of.

This sports bra has good support for running and jumping. I feel nice and secure and get no back pain or discomfort. It holds everything down 😉 I like the white colour as well as I only have black heavy support sports bra at the moment but I have a lot of lighter tops. So it blends in perfectly.

I like the cross back as well. It’s a really nice design.

I also have a new summer running top which is super light-weight and airy. Perfect for those hotter runs!

I really like the colour as well (Rose Tone / White). Again normally I veer towards blacks and greys a lot of the time, so it’s a nice change to have a bit more colour in my running wardrobe.

Like I’ve said before, I really do love adidas and their sports clothing. Always good quality and lasts a long time. I’d rather pay a bit more money for items that last years then buy cheaper for things to stretch or rip soon after.

What’s your go-to sports brand?

Have you got any big races lined up?

Getting back to running after having a baby and my adidas haul

I actually cannot believe I have an eight-month-old. And that eight months ago I gave birth. Time has flown so quickly.

What I also can’t believe, and I want to stress that I know I’m very lucky and I’m so grateful, is that my return to running and fitness in general has been so smooth and, dare I say, easy. I use the word “easy” here in terms of experiencing no issues, rather than effort level. There was a lot of effort in getting back to it, as with any comeback.

I took it slow though. I didn’t return to any fitness beyond pelvic floor exercises until six weeks and I didn’t return to running until 12 weeks, after I’d seen a women’s physio for a Mummy MOT. The Mummy MOT was fantastic. She tested my pelvic floor (yes this did involve her examining me while I did the exercises – so it was rather, er, intimate) and doing different body movements. From there she gave me homework of what to improve upon. I cannot recommend having a Mummy MOT enough, runner or not. It’s so beneficial. She taught me how to really tune in to my body and ensured I was doing all the exercises correctly.

I won’t lie, my pelvic floor was definitely weakened from being pregnant and giving birth but doing the exercises literally three times a day massively helped. I felt weak during my first few runs. And when I say I felt “weak” it was like towards the end of the runs I’d feel like I’d need to have a wee, or that I could lose control potentially (thankfully this never actually happened). But like with any training plan, I got stronger and stronger until now I feel back to normal.

I took my comeback slowly. Building the miles gradually. I didn’t attempt any sort of speedier runs at all in the beginning, because that really tested things and it wasn’t a particularly pleasant feeling.  However as I got fitter I naturally got faster and my body got stronger and stronger. Now I can comfortably sprint, jump and skip without any risk.

My advice to anyone would be DO THE EXERCISES. I had a reminder three times a day on my phone and basically did the pelvic floor exercises when I was feeding Isaac as I was sat down without much else to do. They take like 5 minutes in total. And don’t push yourself too much too quickly with coming back to “proper” exercises. Take your time. There’s no rush.

My running is back to how it was pre-pregnancy. And if anything, I feel stronger and fitter. I’ve run two marathons since Isaac was born and while I don’t necessarily recommend this as a comeback strategy, for me it’s exactly what I wanted. I love marathons and getting back into marathon training, something I truly enjoy, was exactly the right motivation and drive I needed. I had a focus, I had a rough plan and I had an end goal to reach.

Now I’m regularly running long runs every week, knocking out some faster parkrun times, hitting strength PB’s with my personal training and just feeling good. I could do with some more sleep (as every parent agrees I’m sure) but honestly I’m really enjoying where my fitness is currently. I mean, of course, this is when I’ll get injured but… fingers crossed!!

This isn’t a post to brag about how great I am, but it’s a reminder that pregnancy and having a baby doesn’t mean the end to the things you love. It just takes patience, perseverance, the right advice from educated specialists, and a lot of privilege of course. My situation is that I have a lot of support and patience from loved ones (especially Kyle) who understand my love for running and help me reach my goals. I mean, they adore Isaac so it isn’t too much of a hassle for them 😉

Anyway I was recently sent some incredible kit from adidas as part of their Blogger Community and let me tell you, having some awesome workout gear to wear is another thing that massively motivates me to exercise. There’s nothing better than exercising while feeling confident in clothes that are both flattering and comfortable. adidas for me is one of my absolute favourite brands and they always deliver the quality.

I received a mix of gym clothes and running clothes. For running, I was glad to have tank tops as well as a light weight long sleeve top (the Parley Adizero Long Sleeved Running Tee) – perfect for this transitional period of winter temperatures to spring-like mornings.

Fast Running Shorts and Parley Adizero Long Sleeved Running Tee

It’s slim fitting and really airy so keeps you feeling cool as the run goes on. I also love that it’s made with yarn containing plastic waste (40% in total). What with climate change and excessive plastic consumption, I love brands that are putting in an effort to be more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

To pair with this, I have the Fast Running Shorts which I adore. They’re also made with recycled content so that’s another tick for me. And they have a pocket! Perfect for your parkrun barcode, keys or a gel. They’re quite short but they have inner briefs and they’re really comfortable and don’t ride up – an absolute essential for shorts.

And obviously as a legging loving, I’m so pleased with the lovely green pair of Optime Training 7/8 legggings. They’re super flattering and squat proof (a must!). And again, made from recycled materials. I really like these leggings as they’re high-waisted and give such a nice silhouette.

Optime Training 7/8 Tights and Badge of Sport Tank Top

To pair with the leggings the Badge of Sport Tank Top is perfect for gym and home workout sessions. But I know I’ll also be wearing this when it gets warmer for running. It’s really light-weight and moisture wicking so you know it won’t get heavy or uncomfortable when you start working hard.

I really love the pieces I got and can’t wait for the weather to get warmer to wear the sleeveless tops outside – get that tan going again! Especially the tank top (Parley Adizero Run Tank) version of the Parley Adizero Long Sleeved Running Tee. And I have to say I really love that adidas is doing more recycled materials range. The quality isn’t compromised, which really shows that companies can be making more headway in this direction.

**Full disclaimer: I was sent the adidas products for free in exchange for a blog post. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Working out when pregnant and Latched maternity workout clothes review

When I first found out I was pregnant, one of the things that was really important to me was staying active.

Of course I’ve never been pregnant before. I had no idea how pregnancy would play out for my body. I followed a few running mums and saw from their experiences that there was very little you had control over and sometimes (or often-times) your body just said “no, I’m too busy growing a baby here”. So I didn’t set my expectations too high. I would continue to exercise (run and strength train) for as long as my body allowed me but I would always prioritise the baby’s health above everything (as any mother-to-be would I’m sure).

I’m therefore so lucky, grateful and happy that I have been very active throughout my pregnancy without any real discomfort or issue. The only problem I had was a running niggle that cropped up in my calf around week 32 which took me out of running for over two weeks. But I can’t be certain pregnancy had anything to do with this. Afterall, I am a notoriously injury-prone runner so maybe this was just par for the course after so long of not having any niggles or injuries.

I didn’t suffer from any great hip, pelvic or back pain and running wasn’t uncomfortable. That said, it wasn’t “peak” comfort like when I’m not pregnant. I weigh more, my centre of gravity has changed and if the little man is in an awkward position or low it can add pressure which doesn’t feel amazing. And of course the feeling of needing a wee throughout the run can be distracting. But in general there was no pain and no aches that made me not enjoy the run (except for the dreaded run where I had Braxton Hicks which was awful, but thankfully that hasn’t happened again).

Of course I was slower. Straight away almost a minute slower per mile – sometimes less, sometimes a lot more. I had to adapt a few things; no more evening or lunchtime runs because I wouldn’t have the energy (morning was my most energy-filled time) and to be super careful about hydration and over-heating. I also had to be conscious of my running form to ensure I didn’t slouch over or pull too far back to overcompensate for my bump.

One of my main issues was what to wear. This wasn’t a huge issue for quite a big chunk of the pregnancy because my bump didn’t pop until later into my second trimester. I could still fit into clothes but later as I would start running I had the dreaded Rachel Green effect of my belly peeping out under my t-shirts. This meant I had to constantly drag down my top during the run.

Amazingly a wonderful company called Latched offered me some maternity workout gear to try out which came at perfect timing. I’d been following Latched on Instagram and loved their gear so I was super excited. I was sent a pair of leggings, a long sleeved top, a sports bra and a pair of shorts.

The leggings are a gorgeous blue colour and fit so well over my bump! I was getting to the awkward stage with my current non-maternity leggings that I was stretching them over my bump or they were awkwardly sitting just below my bump, which wasn’t entirely comfortable.

But the leggings were fantastic. The high-waisted section covered my bump nicely and kept me well supported. The fit was lovely and  flattering, they didn’t go see-through when I squatted and the material was lovely.

The sports bra,  firstly looks gorgeous. Love the design. Secondly it fitted so well – my boobs have gotten so much bigger and it’s definitely been something I’ve now had to be careful about. Pre-pregnancy my boobs were quite small but now  I definitely have to make sure they’re better supported! This sports bra definitely does that. And they have the ability to be cross-back or just regular straps, which I like. As well as having a nursing feature too so later on you can breast feed  easily in this. Perfect!

The long-sleeved top was perfect for running as it was long enough to cover my growing bump and it was lovely and warm during those super cold weeks a couple of  months ago.

The material didn’t make me feel claustrophobic or sweaty and kept me at a nice temperature. And no need to continually pull it down!

And my favourite… the shorts. They are INCREDIBLE for running (and strength training, and walking!). The high-waisted section covers my bump completely and keeps it feeling fairly secure without restrictive (anything that presses on my bladder during a run is a horrible feeling!) So even if I wore a top that wasn’t maternity so sat slightly above the bottom of my bump I was well covered by the shorts. This hugely helped options of clothing for running!

The shorts didn’t ride up and the bump bit didn’t slip down, so this was perfect. They’re super flattering and even have pockets!

So all in all, I’m a big fan of Latched. Their clothing is such good quality, flattering and comfortable. I’ll definitely still wear these items post-partum and beyond too. I fully recommend getting some items if you’re pregnant and wanting to continue to be active.

I really hope to continue being active right until the end, but we’ll see. I’m running less (a couple of 5ks and maybe a longer run at the weekend) but walking evey day and strength training 2-3 times a week. I’m really enjoying it and find it hugely helps my comfort level and my mental well-being. So fingers crossed it continues!

If you’ve been pregnant, were you active during your pregnancy?

**Full disclaimer: I was sent the items from Latched for free in exchange for some Instagram content**

Things I’ve Been Loving Lately – October/November

So we’ve almost survived Lockdown 2.0, hurrah!

Christmas is just around the corner and I’m feeling positive for 2021. Here’s what I’ve been enjoying recently.

MINI Runner’s Gift Box

The lovely people from Adventusaur sent me one of their personalised running letterbox hampers which I think is just the sweetest and fun idea.

Basically it’s a little box full of handy running essentials. It’s such a great gift to send someone before a big race they’re about to do. It contains things like Vaseline (we’ve all been there…), a gel, Haribo (of course), a protein bar (handy for post-race recovery), amongst other items.

They’re a small up and coming business so I really hope people go for this sort of thing. During these COVID times it’s nice to be able to send someone something like this if you can’t actually see them. I guess it doesn’t even have to be for a race – but someone new to running as like a starter pack for them.

Free Train

I’m a big fan of taking my phone out with me on a run – whether for listening to music or a podcast or for the standard mid-run selfie/photo.

This is a very secure way to carry your phone and what’s handy is that you can fish it out very easily on the move, or if you want to stop.

I do love a running belt and the Koala Clip I have that attaches  to my sports bra, but it’s tricky to get my phone out easily if I want to quickly change a song or whatever. It feels super secure, doesn’t bounce and didn’t rub. It’s a great idea!

Floreseca Dried Flowers

I saw this on Instagram and just fell in love with their dried flowers. I’ve become a big fan of flowers in general but they never last long (obviously). However dried flowers obviously last a lot longer. And I knew they were about to launch their Christmas collection. They’re a small business so sell out quickly so I set my alarm for when they were launching and managed to snag myself a one of their Winter arrangements.

Ahhh they’re so beautiful! Love our sparkly and Christmassy they are, but not overly in your face Christmasssy, you know? I could potentially leave them up after Christmas – so very much worth their money!

Care packages

My amazingly talented baker (and runner) friend Emma sent me the sweetest care package recently.

It contained one of her freshly baked sourdough loaves, brownies and a GIANT 1kg bag of peanut M&M’s.

This was such a lovely thoughtful gift! I will have to show great restraint not to eat too many M&M’s in one sitting though haha.

Hello Fresh

So I’m back on the Hello Fresh train again. I really do love it. Previously I’d find myself scouring the Internet for recipes and wondering what to cook every week night for Kyle and I. I wanted healthy, filling and tasty but I was finding we were just falling into boring routines and bad habits. And takeaways, while I do love them so, were becoming easier to just fall back to if we’d had a particularly tough day.

Now we have three guaranteed week night meals of healthy, exciting and very tasty meals. I thoroughly enjoy cooking and this is just perfect. I love listening to a podcast while I prepare dinner. And then Kyle and I will sit down to something new and see what we think.

Most of the time we love the meals, occassionally (though it’s rare) we’re a bit “meh” (there was a Mexican tostada meal that didn’t float our boat for example) but we always enjoy trying them regardless and always feel full and happy. There nice and balanced too. It’s made my week far less stressful now! I also like that the company is very eco-focused too.

If you’d like to get £20 your first week you can use my link HERE (I get money off as well then too FYI).

Bare Grill’s Smokehouse and Mrs Potts

A few weeks ago I saw two of my close uni friends and we went out for an epic lunch at Bare Grills in Bristol. It was GIANT and exactly the type of meal I love. BBQ ribs, pulled pork, smoked sausage, chicken wings and brisket with a mountain of deliciously seasoned chips. It was epic!

How we then had room to go to Mrs Potts for dessert I have no idea. It was a good job that we had to queue for a 10-15 mins to get a seat though. It’s a very popular café in Bristol and serves so much chocolate-related items, like hot chocolate made from melted chocolate, brownies, cookies, cake… it’s incredible.

I went for a brownie hot chocolate and took away a slice of cake (with a pot of melted chocolate to drizzle over), a stuffed cookie and a white chocolate rocky road.

Kyle and I shared and the cake and cookie later that evening after I’d gotten home (and made space!). They were absolutely divine. The cookie was definitely the best out of the bunch but the cake with the chocolate over it was incredible too.

Caithness Paperweight

My grandad who lives in Stoke-On-Trent sent Kyle and I such a lovely present. He called it a “glass dump” which just doesn’t do justice to the beauty of the gift. I guess it’s a kind of paperweight, but it’s basically a unique hand-crafted glass ornament.

It’s such a gorgeous gift and will sit proudly in our house. I do worry about my grandad living alone in Stoke in this horrible time but I ring him regularly. He does so much volunteering which had to stop during the lockdowns so I worry he’s a bit out of sorts, but he seems in good spirits. He has such a positive and happy outlook to life.

So here’s to just as happy a December 🙂

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the Free Train and Adventusaur for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Goodwood Marathon 2020

I was so nervous going into the Goodwood Marathon race.

What with one thing and another, I hadn’t done a proper marathon race since Chicago last year. Yes I’d done my “lockdown marathon” in April but it wasn’t an official race. It was just me running round my local area for 26.2 miles.

So when I heard that the Goodwood Marathon was still going ahead, and the fact it was just 30 minutes away and that I’d successfully done a few 16 milers, 17 miler and an 18 miler… well, it was far too tempting to not sign up for. Especially as this year I’ve signed up to so many marathons for them to be cancelled/postponed (Rotterdam, Southampton, Iceland and a local lapped event) . At this point I just wanted to run a damn race!

With around two weeks before the race, I’d signed up and was feeling excited. But then as the days crept closer I started to really feel not up for it. Originally my parents, Kyle’s mum and Kyle would be coming to support, until we realised that would be pretty reckless considering it was likely to be fairly crowded already and they were trying to discourage spectators. So just Kyle and I then (and even having Kyle watch me wasn’t guaranteed).

I was nervous and just feeling flat about it. It was just up the road so the commitment to go was minimal. It was lapped, so I could stop anytime really without issue. And ELEVEN LAPS. All these things just weighed against me.

Kyle massively helped hype me up though. He suggested that I could dedicate each lap to something or someone that would keep me entertained or focused. He could hold up a photo on his iPad each lap I passed him. We came up with 11 fun and random things and then Kyle was going to surprise me with the photo. I also made the best music playlist I could. One for just plodding through the miles and one for 20 miles onwards (high tempo go go go music).

Saturday I did a gentle 5k shakeout run with Kyle and had a my usual pizza for dinner (I go to the pizza counter in Asda – I get a BBQ based chicken and veg pizza with less cheese – while I adore cheese, they put loads on and I didn’t want it to be super heavy).

I prepped all my stuff ready for the next day: bag packed, clothes out ready and porridge ready to be made. Then I got a fairly early night.

The next morning I was up at 6:50am, got dressed and washed, had a small but strong coffee (in a fun mug Kyle got made for me with my face on haha), took Alfie for a 10 minute walk, ate my porridge and we were ready to go.

Because I knew the only toilets available were within the race village (which is a faff to get to from the course itself) I wanted to drink as little as possible in the morning to prevent me needing to go during the race. I wasn’t concerned about dehydration because I had drunk a lot the day before and had had some water during the night. I also knew there would be water available every single lap.

We arrived half an hour before the start, parked and walked over to the Goodwood Motor Circuit (parking is super easy, it’s in a field literally next door, and it’s free).

Before we could get in we had to sanitize our hands. The COVID safety measures were really top notch for this event – we felt very safe. All marshals wore masks, everyone was keeping apart and there was minimal contact (no bag drop for example). I kept my mask on in the race village (you didn’t have to) but mainly because it was so cold!

And because I wanted to keep going to the loo beforehand (that sounds excessive, I went twice!).

Kyle leant me his coat and we milled around a bit before they called over the marathon runners for a warm up. It was so cold! I mean I know compared to like November or January it’s not that cold, but considering the previously temperatures we’ve all gotten used to, it certainly felt cold.

And it was windy. Really windy.

The marshals then called out waves for what times people were hoping to finish – starting at 2 hours 30. Blimey! (Spoiler: the winning guy did it in 2:29:56!). When they shouted out 3:25 I decided to go for it. I knew it wasn’t likely to get that time unless I really felt good but I wanted to give myself a good shot… just in case.

We were directed over to the start in lines with markers to keep us 2 metres away from each other and they started four people at a time every 10 seconds. It was like a conveyor belt of runners. Very strange but obviously the safest way to do it.

And then I was off. We had to do a little out and back bit to make up the distance for the 11 laps (2.3 miles per lap) straight into the wind before turning round and heading off in the direction we’d be going round the track each time. 11 laps. Here we go.

I looked up at Kyle who was stood on the balcony bit to watch me and he held up the first photo on his iPad. It was a picture of Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s a bit of a random one, I know, but we’ve really been enjoying watching the Buffy series (again for me, first time for Kyle) and I’m Team Spike rather than Team Angel. It made me laugh as I headed off.

Looking up for Kyle

The wind was right behind, pushing us forward nicely. But it was cold. In my vest and shorts I really felt quite exposed. I kept my music off and told myself to do at least two laps without it (always better to use musical sparingly during a marathon as then it’ll have more of an impact). We were all spaced out on the track so it felt a little lonely but it was nice and flat so I just focused on plodding away.

As we turned round the corner I felt the wind now pushing my side. Not quite as easy as it pushing behind but not too bad. As we continued round the lap we were now starting to face the wind. Urgh it was now very cold and getting harder as we were heading into the wind. It was one of those “head down, grind teeth, push forward” times. And in my head thinking “10 more times of this”.

In reality it was probably just a mile of into the wind pain, and then as we turned again it was back to the wind going across us – but definitely a relief from before. And then as we continued on as we followed the loop round, the wind was back to behind us. Whew. And then it was easy running back to towards the start again. Each lap this was the best part, turning that corner, the wind behind and heading to finish the lap and seeing Kyle. It really was a tale of two halves for each lap. A hard grind followed by easy running.

As I got close to the end of the lap I would raise my arm and wave towards where I knew Kyle was on the balcony. He would wave back and then I could spot him easier when I got closer so I could see him and the photo he would hold up. As I finished the first lap I looked up and saw the next photo: apples 😀

Then it was off for another lap. Now I knew what to expect and I knew where it would be hard and where it would be easy. I just zoned out and kept my pace as consistent as I could (well, effort level I guess). While this marathon is quite boring as there isn’t much to look at and you’re doing so many laps, it does go by fairly quickly because you’re just trying to complete the lap your on and 11 laps mentally go quicker than 26 miles. To be honest, I stopped looking at my watch for the miles because there was no point. I knew the number of  laps I had left so it didn’t matter about the miles.

The next lap Kyle held up a photo Thor (I always joke that I love him). And during that lap I made up a little song in my head to repeat over and over to just keep me occupied (don’t laugh) “Thor, Thor, I am Thor” over and over. It was just so rhythmical so it just worked (I don’t have desires to actually be Thor, I must stress). I still kept my music off. I was good for the moment.

The next lap was a photo of a dinosaur (this then went round my head as “di-no-saur, di-no-saur”) and then I starting thinking about how far I’d need to be away from a T-rex to be able to outrun it… the weird things that go round my brain during a marathon, eh.

I think at this point I’d definitely been lapped by the front runners – who were insanely fast! And they just seemed to glide along, despite the wind. I passed a guy who said “urgh this wind” and he seemed to be about to fall into step with me and moan a bit more, but I really didn’t want someone next to me unhappy and I also didn’t fancy chatting much. I needed all the positive energy I could get. Luckily I manage to up my pace a bit more and lost him.

At some point the 20 mile racers joined the course and it got more busy. Eventually they’d be the 20 milers, half marathoners, 10k’ers and 5k’ers out on the track. So throughout the race there was an eb and flow of busyness. It was cool to see the other runners join – even if it was just to keep me occupied by watching them zoom past or me pass them.

Kyle held up a photo of my parent’s dog, Dylan, for lap five. Sadly Dylan passed away a few weeks ago so it was a nice way to remember him.

At this point I was feeling very warm and decided to stop and grab my drink. There was a drinks station just before each next lap and (because I remembered how it was last time) decided to bring my own water bottle so I wouldn’t need to waste any water bottles and could keep as contactless as possible. I’d also attached a gel to the side with tape in case I wanted it. It was really nice to have my own drink – I’d even popped a couple of Nuun tablets in it so it was lovely and refreshing (in the end I didn’t use the gel).

Lap six was a photo of a cake (of course). Then on the 7th lap Kyle had gotten his times muddled and as I waved over to him I didn’t get a wave back… and as I passed he looked panicked and hadn’t got his iPad ready. He looked completely stricken bless him. It did slightly stump me tho as lap 7 was supposed to be a surprise photo so I was a bit disappointed.

At this point I was listening to my music (I had started it on mile 10). I was in the zone and just trucking along. I would be making no crazy moves for a while. Just keep running at the same effort, just stay focused.

Lap eight came around and Kyle quickly held up two photos: chicken wings and the 7Eleven logo (would have been apt for lap seven… lap 7 out of 11).

Lap 9 was a photo of my family. I thought this would be the hardest lap because three laps is still so far from the end (actually it was lap 10 that was the killer). I was around 20 miles now, but not ready to change my music and start running faster. I was feeling the drag. Then my headphones made that little noise which means they’re low battery. I had some spare in my FlipBelt so decided on the 10th lap I would change my music and my headphones and be ready to go go go.

Lap 10 was a photo of Alfie. I grabbed some more water and then headed off. I swapped my headphones and tried to get the new headphones to connect to my phone’s Bluetooth but it said it wasn’t possible… grrrr! So I switched back the headphones, switched the playlist and hoped the battery would hold out. Right, now was time to jump on a the pain train for a little bit. Now I was counting the number of times I would have to run into the wind.

The final lap there was no photo – it was “Kyle” and so he just gave me the biggest cheer and shouted “one more to go!”. And that’s all I needed to be like, “right let’s do this”. To be honest, my pace didn’t dramatically get that much faster but I definitely felt more motivated to get to the finish now. The final time through the wind was tough but I knew it was the last time. Then when I turned the corner, the wind behind me, I picked it up as much as I could and headed for as strong a finish that I could manage.

I could see Kyle cheering me on and I felt spectacular. Oh how I’d missed this!

My official time was 3:33:44 and I was over the moon. Going into this I was going to be happy with a sub 3:45, maybe  push for 3:40. When I was racing and feeling good I considered being near 3:35. So 3:33 was a big win in my book.

I finished and picked up my medal from the table, still wrapped in its plastic and walked towards Kyle. He was there with a man who I recognised lived on our road. He’d just done the 10k, what a small world!

My legs were definitely tired and done. This is what happens when you don’t have a solid lead-up to a marathon – a few long runs does not make for a proper marathon training plan! But I was chuffed nonetheless. At no point was I going to stop, like I feared I’d be tempted to. Once I had started that was it. I had so missed the race atmosphere, people running with you all trying their best, and then the flourish of a sprint finish. It just felt so nice to be doing something like this again. It’s definitely sparked me up again 🙂

But I can definitely say that I never want to run round Goodwood Motor Circuit ever again.

Have you done any races?

Have you got any races planned?