Happy Monday! Back at it with another week. This weekend was a bit of a mad one.
I was sent an email invitation midweek to a blogging event in London on Saturday and made the snap decision to go. It sounded really cool and, though London is such a faff to get to and get around, I’m trying to be more of a “yes” person. I also wondered if I could squeeze in a London parkrun before as the event didn’t start until 10am.
I almost gave up on the idea as it seemed all the parkruns were about 40 minutes from the location of the event and just not doable… until I had a look at Highbury Fields parkrun and realised it would take about 15 minutes on the tube.
I’m terrible at anything to do with public transport or being organised in general so I was a bit worried of all the pieces falling into place. I jokingly said to my dad he should come with me to help and he said that him and my mum had been wanting to go to London for ages so they’d be happy to come. The plan was we’d get a very early train (6.40am) and then get the tube to parkrun from Waterloo, do parkrun, then go to Oxford Street where my event was going to be near and they’d go off shopping while I did my thing. Then we’d meet up later for lunch.
We had enough buffer time to get to the parkrun thankfully so that wasn’t too much of a rush. The tube station is very close to the park and we saw the familiar fluorescent jacketed people setting up the finish funnel as we got into the park. We headed over and they explained the course and start to us and pointed me in the direction of the toilet as well.
The course was five and a bit laps around a smallish park and fitness centre (side note: I saw people running on treadmills which blew my mind as it was a beautiful day and there was a lovely park outside!). There was a slight long incline up one side of the parkrun and a gentle decline the other. I’d been previously warned about this by the lovely Helen that though the incline wasn’t steep it did become wearing as the laps went on.
I started off way too fast and the first stretch was going up the incline. My legs felt drained almost immediately. Today was not my day, I thought. My parents (my mum’s first parkrun experience) stood on the side-lines to cheer us on. My dad had brought his GoPro so got some cool photos.
After one lap my only thought was, “I have to do this four more times?”. I really wasn’t in the zone and was finding it quite tough.
I fell into step with a guy running a similar pace to me and that really helped. He was probably running slightly faster than I would have if I’d have run on my own so it was good to stick with him. We overtook people which felt encouraging.
One more lap
My pace master friend was the guy in blue in the above photo. He encouraged me to keep going on the last mile and I gasped, “I’m trying!”. He helped me pick up the pace.
I finished in 22:06 which was quite surprising (though my Garmin has measured it as 2.9 miles so maybe that’s why!). It wasn’t the best parkrun experience (in terms of actual running) and that incline DID feel more and more horrific as the laps went on. I hugged the guy and said thank you to him as honestly I probably would have gone a lot slower otherwise!
Always smiles when you’ve finished!
Then it was a mad dash back to the tube to get to Oxford Street. On the tube I had to baby wipe myself and freshen up as best as I could. I took my trainers off and put my flip flops on and attempted to sort my hair out. I was sat there doing all this next to a seriously elegantly dressed lady and felt like a right mess! But needs must.
I got there just five minutes late and they were fine thankfully. The event was a Secret London event (partnered with Collective Two) and was to involve getting your hair done by Headmasters, then yoga on a stand-up paddle board (!) followed by some smoothies from Alpro. But I’ll talk more about that in another post. Thankfully I was able to properly change and freshen up.
Bathroom selfie for the win
The event lasted around two hours and was super fun. I then caught the tube to meet my parents for lunch at Barbecoa, Jamie Oliver’s London steak house. I adore Jamie Oliver so was really excited about this!
I was still in my yoga gear so felt a little dressed down but my hair looked cool soo…
The restaurant was fantastic. It had beautiful views of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the service was incredible. Out waitress was so friendly and so helpful and made us feel very welcome and relaxed.
Top left picture is the view from the window
For starter I had chicken wings (I know, I know, so boring and predictable). They were very tasty. Though there were ribs on the menu I decided to try something different for once. I chose the pit beef which, if I’m honest, I didn’t really know what it’d be!
It came with half a romaine lettuce, bacon crumbs and bacon jam. I also ordered a side of charred broccoli with almonds and some parmesan-y sauce.
The meal was incredible. Literally every mouthful I was like, “this is so tasty”. It was very rich though and by the time I’d finished I was really full. I’d fully intended to have a pudding but I just didn’t fancy it. Who even am I, right?? I didn’t want to spoil the meal by feeling overly full so I decided to give it a miss (and hopefully find something sweet a bit later).
Then we headed to Covent Garden for a bit more shopping. Can we just talk about those stairs though at the Covent Garden tube station?! I saw a big queue at the lifts and then saw the sign for the stairs and thought that’d be quicker. I didn’t actually see the warning that there were 192 stairs (!!!). It just kept going and going and I thought I was in some weird tube station nightmare. Everyone around me was puffing and panting (as I was) and I was like “will this ever end!?”. There were two guys behind me and I kept thinking, don’t let them overtake you!
As I got to the top the security guard was congratulating everyone saying we were champions which was amusing. I assumed my parents had taken the lift. I waited for ages, seeing the people who had taken the lift all fresh faced and happy and the people who had taken the stairs on the brink of collapse.
Finally I saw my parents and they fell into the latter category. They looked like they were about to die. My mum, bless her, couldn’t even talk. I couldn’t stop laughing (I know, I’m very mean). I mean I was very proud of them of course but I couldn’t believe it – I’d found the stairs tough and I’m fairly fit!
I only had one shop I wanted to go into… Lululemon. Walking round that shop is DANGEROUS. Honestly I could have bought everything. I do find the whole Lululemon experience a bit odd though as all the staff are very American. NOTHING against them but American retail sales people are a lot different to British. They’re very chatty whereas Brits kind of leave you alone and don’t engage much in random conversation. But anyway, they were very helpful and in the end I bought a tank top, a gorgeous pair of leggings and a long-sleeved top. My credit card needed resuscitating thought afterwards!
Me in my leggings and top at the beach walking the dogs when we got back to my parent’s
Then I topped off my happiness quota by getting a giant tub of fro-yo with strawberries, raspberries and brownie pieces.
It was delicious and perfect to finish the day with!
It was such a good day but it was a very tiring day. I was exhausted when I got to bed that evening and fully dreading my 17 miler planned for the next day…
What do you like to do in London?
What’s been your favourite blogging event if you’ve done one?
Have you done any parkruns in London? I’d have loved to have done Bushy parkrun but it was just too far away to have been feasible.
I only actually realised we had a Bank holiday weekend on Wednesday, so as you can imagine it was such a lovely surprise to know we had a three day weekend coming up! I definitely needed it. Despite only just getting back from my holiday the other week I was still so tired from the jetlag that it was nice to know I had an extra day to catch up with life.
Saturday was pretty full-on as it was my friend’s hen do (bachelorette party). Thankfully it was a day thing rather than a night thing so didn’t involve going clubbing and excessive drinking, which I’m not a huge fan of. The activities were due to start before midday in Bournemouth. I could have gone to parkrun in the morning but it would have been rushed so I decided to give it a miss, which handily works out well for timing my 100th parkrun with my friend’s 250th (I’m three away!).
Instead I planned to run three miles on my own. The weather was lovely and sunny and I slightly regretted wearing long-sleeves (though it was my new Lululemon top which I adore). I ran alongside the beach and in the distance I could see the Lee-On-Solent parkrun going on, the runners running in the horizon like dots. I got my route wrong and it came to 3.7 as I got home so then had to run up and down the road to get 4 miles, as you do
The run felt really good. The day before I’d seen my physio and told him about my niggling hamstring. He did some very intense deep tissue massage on it and I woke up with it feeling a bit tender but so much better. He said I was OK to run the next day though he advised leaving it for a few days…but I just really wanted to run (famous last words? I hope not…). Anyway I finally felt like my running is back to normal post-marathon. All my runs previous seem to have felt quite tough and laboured, so I’ve kept the pace easier. I know this is to be expected post marathon! Saturday’s run felt a lot better though.
New Lululemon top
Then my friend, Lou, picked me up with some of the other girls and we headed to Bournemouth. We only vaguely knew that there would be some outdoor activities, quad biking and an obstacle course (which I was really excited about).
We got into some super sexy camouflage to begin with.
Thanks to Ashley for the photos
And then we got down to some quad biking. I’ve done quad biking before and loved it but this was a little different.
The quad biking I’ve done was over a relatively smooth track so you can get some speed up but this was really bumpy and off-roady. You couldn’t exactly zoom round it. It was still really good fun though, just required a bit more technical skill and more of a risk getting stuck or rolling!
Lou sadly couldn’t take part in all the activities as she’s pregnant but she took lots of photos and was able to join in on some of the welly throwing (yes really) and other fun less-strenuous activities.
The obstacle course was so much fun but also a little insane. We had the usual climb under, and jump over things, and monkey bars…
I was chuffed at getting over the wall myself! And then the last section was literally stepping into a shoulder deep lake and getting to a boat to pull the team across to the finish.
Let me tell you, that lake was bloody freezing. In the end we all had to swim because the lakebed was just sinking beneath our feet. I thankfully kept my head out of the water but it was still horrendously cold. As we huddled waiting for the rest of the team to swim across my friend goes “I have deep empathy for Kate now. I wouldn’t have shared my door either” which was a perfect summation of how it felt.
Though my friend had told me we needed a spare set of clothes because we might get wet I had no idea we’d get absolutely soaked. Some of the girls had sensibly brought towels but I had brought a tea towel at the last minute as I assumed I’d just need something to ‘dust off’ some dampness or mud. We all then huddled in an outdoor sheltered hut thing to get changed. It was horrifically cold but quite funny. My tea towel was somewhat useful!! Thankfully I did have a spare set of clothes with me.
And then it was time for refuelling…in the best possible way.
Afternoon tea! That first cup of tea was SO needed. Though I had nice warm and dry clothes on (not a warm and dry bra however…), I was still very cold. Lots of sandwiches, two scones with jam and cream, crisps and a cupcake helped though. Good grief. So much for eating a bit healthier post holiday! I had intended on eating my second scone instead of the cupcake but then there were cupcakes left-over and it looked to good to miss…
The hen do was such good fun and the hen had a great time
I stayed at my parent’s house that evening as it was easier. The next morning I wanted to run 8-10 miles, depending how I felt. As soon as I started running I knew I wanted to run 10 miles. I just felt strong, happy and relaxed. The sun was shining and it was a little *too* warm but it was just nice to be outside in a tank top for once (another new Boston-themed Nike top). I got to the beach at about seven miles and wondered if I’d see my parents. They often take their dogs down the beach when the weather’s nice. And funnily enough I saw them and the four dogs in the distance (Alfie was with them of course).
It was lovely to stop quickly and say hello to them and Alfie mid-run. Though they had to hold Alfie when I ran off as he wanted to join me, bless him!
The run, despite being very warm, went really well. I felt good speeding up so I kept a tempo pace towards the end. Apart from needing to some long runs for the Cakeathon at the end of May, I have no goals or direction for my running at the moment so it’s nice to go with the flow.
And then my parents and me went to Gunwharf Quays for a bit of shopping (hello Adidas outlet shop) and Jamie’s Italian for lunch.
I had the vegetable plank to start (so tasty, lots of roasted vegetables, cheese and hummus), followed by my usual turkey Milanese and then a white chocolate cheesecake. I’ve never had a bad meal at Jamie’s (though I do tend to order the same thing…).
I’ve had this meal so many times now
Monday was a rather chilled day of doing some chores, catching up with life (and Game of Thrones – the latest episode, OMG. SO much happened) and just generally chilling. Perfect bank holiday weekend!
What did you get up to?
Is there a meal you keep going back to?
What kind of hen dos/bachelorette parties do you enjoy?
Hello! It’s the middle of the week, hurrah! I’m working from home tomorrow so it kind of feels like Friday, but only in that I get a bit of a lie-in tomorrow rather than 5am for the gym. Woop! I’m seeing my Physio again tomorrow so I hope to have another post about my injury (oh the long-standing saga that it is, I’m sorry) another day. But for now, I’m ranting but mostly raving.
Rave: Workout clothes. I can’t stop buying them. It’s becoming an issue. To be fair though, other than food, I really don’t spend my money on much else. Forever21 is my go-to place for good quality and inexpensive gym clothes. Though I do like treating myself to Fabletics some months.
I bought the below ‘muscle tee’ from Forever21 which fits amazingly. It’s perfect for my strength workouts as my arms are nice and free and the side slits help keep me cool. It says ‘No Days Off’. Not true, but still cool.
I bought another muscle tee, a crop-top, a crop-top sports bra and two pairs of Nike Pro shorts (not from Forever21 but Zalando). ENOUGH NOW, ANNA.
Rant: Planning my weekends is so tricky at the moment. I still haven’t moved. My solicitors said it could be this week but then who knows. It depends on some enquiries… This is annoying as I’m meant to be seeing my uni friends in Cardiff this Saturday but now I don’t know if I can or not. In fact, we’ve had to rearrange the whole thing because I was going to give one of my friends a lift back and can’t guarantee it anymore. *Sighs*
I’m also just living out of boxes and reluctant to buy any sort of extra condiments or bulk purchases (which I like to do to with items I use regularly to save a bit of money).
I’m not using my downstairs toilet anymore because it’s a great place to put boxes (especially food items and crockery) so Alfie can’t get to them. As you can see, my Hello Fresh boxes are very handy!
And I have nowhere to work when I work from home as I sold pretty much all my furniture (I live life on a bean bag with a £5 Ikea side table). I’ve had to use my kitchen to work in. For my standing desk obsession it works quite nicely.
Rave: Speaking of Hello Fresh (yes, I know, I’m obsessed)… I finally received the hallowed Recipe Journal. My parents, who also still get Hello Fresh, have two! I introduced them to it first! Anyway, I have one now and it’s already almost full up.
It makes me really proud how may recipes I’ve done (I’ve had 23 boxes – each box contains three recipes). I love it! I eat so many different foods each week and it makes life so much easier cooking a meal and then having another portion of it for the next night.
A few weeks ago I had a lovely warming Mexican broth…
With a good dollop of soured cream. Yum.
If you fancy £25 off your first box I have a referral code ZVUM4A (which would also give me £12 off my next box). I’m not affiliated with Hello Fresh, I just love them.
Rave: I’ve recently bought some BCAA formula, AminoX, to help with me at the gym. It isn’t a stimulant but rather it’s designed to support my strength workouts and recovery. It contains essential amino acids, L-Alanine, Taurine and L-Citrulline.
You just mix one scoop with water and give it a mix. Don’t do what I do and shake it in a bottle vigorously as when you then go to open the lid, it explodes like a foamy volcano. Gentle stirring is required! I got the green apple flavour and it’s really yummy, though luminous green. I can’t say I feel a huge difference but I am lifting heavier weights than ever before – though considering how often I go to the gym and focus on this, that’s not surprising really.
Rant: Alfie’s Halloween costume came last week. Obviously too late for Halloween…and actually too small. For a fiver though I’m not upset.
I’m wondering if I can cut the sides a bit and see if he could fit. He may never forgive me though.
Rave: This ice cream.
It’s called Oppo and has the fabulous tagline of “Eat like a whale, look like a mermaid”. I got the salted caramel flavour. The ingredients are far better looking than Ben and Jerry’s and so are the nutritional stats for 100ml:
Energy (Kcal): 77.3
Fat: 3.8g (saturates: 2.8g)
Carbohydrate: 7.6g (sugars: 6.7g)
I’m a volume person when it comes to eating (more food = better) and will happily admit I ate the entire tub in one sitting, which was around 400 calories in total. That’s comparable to a slice of cake. Though cake always wins in my eyes, this was such a nice treat for a Friday night.
Rave: I saw this picture on Jamie Oliver’s Instagram…him with Orlando Bloom.
Be still my beating heart. I have such a crush on Jamie Oliver it’s ridiculous. I just think he’s so lovely. And I used to be obsessed with Orlando Bloom during his LOTR days. It’s like a dream come true to have them side by side in a photo… *sighs*.
Who’s your celebrity crush? Who did you fancy when you were younger?
What’s your favourite ice cream and ice cream flavour?
Leading up to this race I had had a fantastic training cycle. I’ve never been in such good shape before a marathon before. I had racked up a good number of long runs and running in general has been very good.
Through this cycle I’ve been consistently running faster parkruns, I got a half marathon PB and a five mile PB. I felt pretty good. Apart from my taper panic when my shin/calf niggle came back I was fully prepared and feeling good. The niggle was a problem psychologically though. I fully admit I’m a paranoid runner and part of me honestly wondered if my niggle would blow up during the race and I would have to DNF or limp round. But when I put that worry to one side, without sounding arrogant here, I knew I could do OK barring any uncontrollable factors (because in a marathon nothing is a given).
Race morning started at 5am. I’d had a good night sleep and was used to this sort of wake up time so was raring to go. My only one stress and, sorry if this is TMI, but I didn’t have a successful loo visit. I wasn’t too concerned as I knew I had hours before the race to get that sorted.
I made my breakfast (porridge) and we headed off. I ate it en route as I wanted to leave it as late as I feasibly could (though it was still about 6am – four hours before the race).
Oats, chia seeds and almond milk
We stopped at a services about half-way there and I got a coffee. Hilariously the server asked if I was off to play volleyball. I said no a marathon. She looked a bit blank. Ah well.
Anyway we got to Liverpool in more than enough time. In fact we got there at 7am which was a little too early. My dad, a hardcore Liverpool FC fan, suggested we drive to Anfield so he could see the stadium as he wouldn’t get to see it otherwise. In the end it was lucky we arrived so early because it was a nightmare trying to get to the car park we wanted. We parked in Liverpool One shopping centre car park which was right near the start and also near where we were going for lunch afterwards (but it cost £13!). Thankfully though they had nice toilets and my previous situation was amended 😉
At 8am I had a Beet It flapjack to keep me ‘topped up’. I didn’t want to eat too much closer to the race but knew I needed something.
In my ‘volleyball’ gear mid-mouthful
Like normal the only thing I drank that morning was a small Americano. I’m always so worried I’ll need to pee mid-race otherwise.
The weather was chilly but it was humid and ‘close’. I started to panic over what I’d decided to wear for the race. It wasn’t as warm as I thought it would be and instantly felt stupid only wearing a crop-top.
But there was nothing that could be done about it at this point. I kept my layers on though as we walked to the race village. We met up with my grandparents, who had travelled from Llandudno in North Wales, and had a mosey around.
My dad was great at pointing out the different landmarks to me and humorously explaining to me that when I’m running I was to ignore the Everton FC stadium but enjoy running near the Anfield Stadium (of which we had seen that morning) 😉 He wore his Liverpool FC shirt especially for the race.
The half marathon started at 9am so there were loads of runners and supporters heading to the start. I only saw a few other marathoners (wearing green bibs) around as we were so early. But this was great because it meant I found another proper toilet nearby and got to use it twice. I didn’t use a portable loo all day!!The start area was easy to get to and very low key. Having previously done the Paris and Berlin marathons this was SO different. Berlin and Paris were like military operated in order to get into your pen – in Berlin it was VERY strict.
We have yet to find the photo of my dad taking my photo!
Here they were very blasé and there weren’t actual physical pens. Obviously Paris and Berlin are massive races so I guess that makes sense. There were around 2.5k runners for this compared to 40k for Berlin! Your bib number corresponded to the corral area you should be and mine began with a ‘2’ which meant it was quite near the front (when I entered the race I put a faster time than I realistically expected to ensure I could run easily and not have to dodge people). It wasn’t crowded at all and the pacers basically just found the best open spaces they could without regard to the corrals. I positioned myself in front of the 3:30 pacer only because he had such a crowd around him and I didn’t want to use the pacer or get caught up.
Originally my dad and grandparents were going to leave me 30 minutes before but as it was so relaxed we found they could stand next to me (behind the barriers) and actually see me off. This also meant I could remove one layer at a time, acclimatising to the temperature, rather than stand shivering.
Just before the start I saw my friend, Matt, who I knew from the Marathon Talk weekend and Twitter so it was nice to chat to him too (he won a place, lucky him!). We wished each other luck and got ready to start (he scored a nice PB – well done him!).
The course isn’t flat though it isn’t crazily hilly either. But having only done flat marathons I knew this would add a bit of uncontrollability to my race plan.
My plan was to run the first 10 miles at just under 8min/miles, which should feel easy. I see it as a way of respecting the distance. Personally, getting in those first miles shouldn’t feel hard otherwise you’re going to blow up later. Every good race I’ve had has started slower and got faster. (This is my personal opinion, other strategies are out there!)
By and large I stuck to it. There were a few sneaky inclines but also some down hills so it felt good. Most of the time I was stopping myself from going faster. Unlike Paris or Berlin, there weren’t swarms of runners around me all the time. I was rarely completely alone but it was sparse. This was actually quite nice. Yes Paris and Berlin are amazing races and feel hugely epic because of how big they are, but it was nice doing a smaller marathon. There seemed less pressure. There were also fewer spectators, but those who were there cheered and shouted with fantastic enthusiasm.
On the first mile I felt chilly but then as I was running it got very warm. I was grateful to have stuck with the crop top…plus in my head it made me feel speedy and elite 😉 Channelling my inner Paula!
Much to my dad’s annoyance I actually didn’t see Anfield – or at least I didn’t notice it, whereas I fully noticed Goodison Stadium. I think this is because we fully ran around Goodison whereas we just ran past Anfield. He was not amused. Stanley park was lovely and scenic, though a little undulating. There was some great live music around the course as well – really fantastic! There was also a great point in the course where you could see the entire city skyline which was amazing.
I could feel my shin/calf but not worryingly so, though I did worry about it. I pushed it to the back of my mind knowing there was nothing I could do but hope it would disappear and not blow up. Spoiler alert: it did disappear after 10 miles. Other than that discomfort, everything else felt good. I felt nice and comfortable, though I was looking forward to my podcast which I would listen to after 10 miles.
I tried to split the marathon into manageable chunks so it wasn’t as insurmountable. My first milestone was 10k just because that’s a significant distance, then eight miles because that’s when I had my first gel. Handily because it was such a smaller race I had given my other two gels to my dad so I only needed to hold on to one until mile 12 where they were going to be. Then they’d give me my other two gels and by mile 13 I would take the second so I really didn’t have to hold too much the entire race.
At mile 10 I put the BBC 5 Live film review podcast and was (like a super geek) excited because it had the Jurassic World review (I’m a huge Jurassic Park fan). This helped the monotony of the race as the scenery wasn’t hugely exciting.
What I will say though is Liverpool scenery is really no less exciting at these points than Paris or Berlin really. I mean, there are buildings, some are significant, some aren’t. You’re still running a stupid number of miles. Paris was probably a bit more ‘pretty’ but really it didn’t matter too much to me. What was significantly different was the fact that the supporters were far more enthusiastic and supportive – even though there were less of them. For most of the time I was surrounded by male runners so it was nice to see the supporters get really excited when I passed shouting things like “you go girl!” or “do it for the girls!”. Honestly I lost count how many times people cheered something at me because I was female. I also got called “lass” a lot. This truly made the race for me. It made me feel like an individual, not just one in a huge crowd. I smiled, waved and gave thumbs up all the way around the course.
I knew there was a significant hill around mile 12, but I also knew somewhere afterwards my grandparents and dad would be there. That hill was tough and seemed to go on forever but there were lots of support and a samba band which really helped.
I got to the top and turned the corner and saw my family from afar. Ahh what a sight for sore eyes 🙂 My granddad had my gels and ran with me a little like a relay runner to hand them to me. It was lovely. I told them it was going well and off I went.
My plan for 10-20 miles had been to increase the pace to around 7.45min/miles, but I started to lag a little from 14-18 miles. I find those miles the dead miles. You’re not far enough along to be out of the woods but you’ve still ran quite a way to be tired. The inclines and the heat were taxing me psychologically and physically. I made sure to drink lots on the way round.
My last gel was just after 18 miles. The 18 mile point is great because you run a tiny out and back up Penny Lane and obviously the Beatles’ Penny Lane song was at full volume. It lifted me a little. I just had to get to 20 miles, my next check point.
When I got to 20 miles I switched the podcast to music and went into race mode. The first song was a Linkin Park track (Bleed It Out? I can’t remember now) and it was like a jolt of energy surged through me. Now was the time to increase the pace, let myself go a little. Not too soon though – 10k is still a way to go.
I found myself overtaking people and getting lots of cheers from spectators. I felt fantastic and really got into the music. I tried to smile as much as I could to trick myself into thinking there was no effort or fatigue. My soundtrack was pushing me along and I felt confident. A line of traffic was on one side of the road as we ran along it and I waved and smiled at people in their cars and some of them tooted their horns or shouted out the window – it was great!
Around mile 22 we turned to go along the river front and found the wind blowing against us. Ahh this was tough. Mentally I was in a great place but physically it was hard work. My watch seemed to be completely out from the mile markers now as well. I reckon going through all the parks and tall buildings messed with the satellites. I couldn’t take what it was telling me for certain so I just ran on feel ignoring it completely, just waiting for each new mile marker.
I expected to see my dad sometime around mile 22 but as I kept running and running along this long stretch of path along the water it was clear he wasn’t there. This path seemed to go on forever! When I got to mile 23 I attempted to work out the maths of what time I could get if I ran 8min/miles to the finish. A PB was a certainty at this point but how much sub-3:30 could I manage? My brain hurt thinking about it.
I kept pushing and finally we moved slightly off the waterfront (mile 25?) and I saw him on the road. He cheered me on and I remember shouting “I’d like to stop now please!”. I just kept thinking “8 minutes or less till I finish”. Then back to the waterfront again with the wind.
As I saw the finish ahead I surged forward. I had overtaken a number of people and ran down the finishing straight on my own. Now bear with me, allow me to have my self-indulgent moment…I imagined myself to be like Jo Pavey finishing a race, to the crowds cheering me. The only thing to kill the moment somewhat was an incredibly painful stitch in my side. It was agony! But I tried to smile and not grimace as I ran across the finish line – the announcer person saying “and she’s smiling – she certainly does have something to smile about with that time!” which was lovely.
I remember walking and feeling very dizzy and tired, and the stitch still there. But then a medal was given to me and I saw my grandparents and all was right again. It was so lovely to see friendly faces so soon after finishing!
Two different men came up to me, one thanking me (I have no idea what for!) and shook my hand, and the other said I had a great finish. Always nice to hear 🙂
I then had to head into the Echo Arena and collect my goodie bag and T-shirt.
I found someone to take a photo of me (and I returned the favour to them) and grabbed a banana, a Lucozade, the bag and my T-shirt. They had extra small!!! I was so chuffed as I was convinced it would be another T-shirt that wouldn’t fit me.
Then like a bad joke we had to walk up the steps to get out. I saw lots of people just sat down but I wanted to get outside to see my family. Those steps, I mean, come on people!
I would like to thank the Liverpool marathon for having such a great coloured T-shirt as it matched perfectly with my headband 😉
I was sore, tired and needed water as I was so thirsty but otherwise I was OK. I sat down and just smiled. My dad appeared a few minutes later (remember he was at mile 25) looking slightly harassed and sweaty, bless him (at that point he’d walked almost 30,000 steps!) He asked how I did and, do you know, I wasn’t even sure! I knew I’d gotten sub 3:30 (my goal) but the exact time I didn’t know. I checked my watch and was just so pleased!
We headed (slowly) back to the shopping area and it was like I was walking on a cloud of happiness (a painful cloud, but happy nonetheless). I wasn’t limping, my calf/shin felt fine, I just felt general fatigue and muscle soreness.
I was going to head back to the car to change but decided I couldn’t be bothered so we headed to the restaurant of choice for the post-marathon meal.
Of course it would be Jamie’s Italian 😉 It was the obvious choice and close to the finish and our car (fate). We’d pre-booked the week before to avoid disappointment as well. It was quite busy so this was a smart move. I had a quick wash of my hands, arm and face in the bathroom and started to feel human again.
I don’t even look at the menu anymore, I already know what to have: Turkey Milanese. As I have a Gold Member’s card we got a little bruschetta starter as well for free. Very tasty: mozzarella, basil, sundried tomatoes and bread. We also shared between us polenta chips and ‘funky’ (herby) chips.
For pudding I had my usual brownie with caramelised popcorn and vanilla ice cream. Ahh heaven. I’d say refuelling was absolutely spot on – eating all this about an hour after finishing was perfect. NO HEADACHE!!!!
And then it was time to say goodbye to part of my super support crew. My grandparents were awesome support and it was lovely to see them and for them to see me run (they’re very sport-focused). I’m so grateful they came to watch!
Then into the car for a delightful four hour drive home.
My dad listened to some football, I watched Downton Abbey on my iPad – perfect!
The take away…
Training for a marathon makes recovering from a marathon easier. Who’d have thought, eh? 😉
This race was fantastic. The organisation, the course, the support, the goodie bag, the medal…all really good.
Lots of High5 goodies and the medal glitters!
My only two disappointments were that I couldn’t really smash (relative term here) the pace out more than I tried on those last four miles because of that damn wind. But I didn’t feel like it sucked my spirit as some windy races have done. I still felt in the zone and in control, to some extent. And (apart from the stitch) I felt awesome.
The second disappointment was hearing a rather lukewarm review of Jurassic World…
Have you ever done a Rock and Roll race before? It was great to have so many live bands/music round the course.
How quickly do you refuel after a hard race/workout?
Has a race ever sorted a niggle/injury out for you? My niggle seems to have disappeared (for now)! I haven’t run on it yet though…
**I feel cheeky stealing and including the official photos in this post without paying for them. I know I’ve done it before in other posts but I’m having a change of morals. If you’re interested you can look at them HERE on the website**
I can’t believe I’ve done 49 parkruns! Next week is my 50th, whoop whoop! If you’re not well acquainted with parkrun check out the website for more info – it’s a free 5k event every Saturday all around the UK, and indeed the world. And getting to 50 parkruns is a milestone achievement. They even send you a parkrun T-shirt with ‘50’ printed on the back. The next milestone is 100 which is just amazing (I think you then get a jacket).
When I woke up on Saturday to go to parkrun I was disappointed with the weather: cold and wet. I wasn’t really feeling it like I was last weekend so I thought I might just plod round. Surprisingly though after I warmed up I felt more alive and ready to go. Even more surprisingly I was only two seconds slower than last week: 21:07.
What was lovely to see as well was a younger guy, Robson, from our running club getting a PB. He’s literally on fire smashing every PB in sight. It’s phenomenal the improvements he’s made since last year. To put it into perspective, a bunch of us from the club had helped pace him last year on parkrun. Now he’s blowing everyone out of the water – minutes ahead in his half marathon and 10k times (times I dream of!). What’s really lovely is he’s such a nice person with a big heart so he truly deserves it. Couldn’t happen to a nicer chap.
I caught up with some friends later for a good old chinwag and then headed to my parents to, er, maybe have another Indian takeaway (bit déjà vu to last week I’m afraid). It was lovely though, even if I did have to suffer through The Voice again…damn that Rita Ora making me like her. 😉 And seriously, what is Will I am on?! He’s mental!
The next morning I woke up and walked Alfie. The weather was awful. The wind was just incredible and it was cold and wet. I did not foresee a pleasant run! I had 13 miles planned and I almost backed out as a lot of it was along the sea front. I knew I’d regret it all day though if I didn’t so I put on my capris (not shorts, ohhh no!) and my windproof jacket and got out there.
I had big plans of sticking to a strict 8.15-20min/mile pace but as I set off I just knew this would be impossible. When the wind blew behind me I sailed along effortlessly, but then when it blew at me it was like running through treacle. So I just did what I could without pushing too hard.
Because I had eaten a lot of salty tandoori chicken the night before I had been thirsty all night, meaning I drank an entire pint of water and then more in the morning. Unfortunately this resulted in my needing a pee stop two miles in. Luckily along the beach there were public toilets that were open so I was OK (despite it requiring a huge amount of force to open the damn door because of the wind).
My pace is all over the place purely because of the wind. It was definitely a tough run and I felt exhausted at the end. But I felt strong at the same time and let my mind just float away listening to a podcast, leaving me mentally refreshed and free. My hair though is another story; windswept doesn’t quite cover it.
Because I hadn’t eaten breakfast before I went (I never really do before a long run) and it was almost 11am by the time I got home I realised I needed to be sensible. For lunch we were going to head to Jamie’s Italian and the table was booked for 1.30pm and I knew I couldn’t eat breakfast straight away as I never can straight after a run. So I decided to have a shower and get ready and then have a smoothie to tide me over until lunch, rather than fill up on breakfast and not fancy lunch. I never have smoothies but as my parents have a Nutrbullet and have been spouting the wonders of it to me I was tempted.
Unfortunate placement of daffodils there…
In the mix were strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, with almond milk, natural yogurt, a whole lot of kale and that Nutriblast Superboost stuff in the photo (it’s a blend of cacao, macha, goji and hemp).
It wasn’t overly sweet but it was tasty and it definitely filled a hole until I got something proper. My dad was chuffed as he got a glassful as well. I love that my parents drink smoothies! It makes me proud 😉
Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth was unbelievably windy but ducking into shops helped! Then we got to Jamie’s Italian ready for lunch. And I was definitely ready for food!
Yes I know I have a slight obsession with this restaurant (I can’t count how many times I’ve been there) but I just love it. And as a tip if you’re a fellow lover, get a Gold Card. It costs nothing (just register on the website) because you get lots of freebies when you show them your card before you order. Over the years I’ve had £10 off meals, free drinks, a free side, free little appetisers to try – it’s so worth it!
This time we had a free tester of a risotto meal.
It was only a very small portion (on a saucer really) but it’s lovely to have a taste of something random. It was so tasty and rich – though I’m not sure I could have had a full meal of it.
For main…oh I know I’m so predictable. But this is literally one of my favourite meals in the whole world (aside from ribs obviously). I don’t even know why! I just love the Turkey Milanese.
It’s such a huge portion that I need nothing else with it. Though we did get a free side of polenta chips as part of being a Gold member so a couple of those helped 😉 And it tasted just as good as usual (well, better as 13 miles really heightens the taste of everything!)
And for pudding I had the Epic Brownie.
A delicious warm brownie with caramelised popcorn and vanilla ice cream. Heavenly. I was beyond stuffed, but so very satisfied.
A bit more shopping commenced (hello Nike shop – outlet prices with a 30% off on women’s clothes!) and then time for home. I gave Alfie a walk (to also help with digestion…) and then plonked myself on my sofa and watched Masterchef (love that programme) and some horrific show called Rich Kids of Beverley Hills. Car crash telly but for my tired body and brain it was all I needed! 😉
How was your weekend?
What’s your TV guilty pleasure?
Are you a smoothie fan? I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority with not being that big a smoothie fan, but I did enjoy it on Saturday so who knows!