London Marathon done… now what?!!

I started this blog to document my journey from zero fitness in July 2017 to the London Marathon in April 2018.

When I started getting back into running last summer, my twins had just turned 3, and the 3 years of coping with pretty enormous amounts of stress had left me pretty burnt out across the board.

The challenges that come from having two newborns, then two toddlers, and managing a career, with no family living nearby, are huge. And for us, as one has had kidney failure from birth, we have a whole extra layer (medicalised care/hospital appointments and stays/stress and anxiety/responsibly/restriction and limitations) that is pretty hard to ever truly get across to those not in a similar camp.

In summary, there wasn’t a huge amount of time left for self-care in the early years of the twins’ arrival, but by the time they turned 3, I was just about feeling afloat enough to try to grasp some time back for me. When I see other mums able to get back into fitness 5 or 6 months after having a baby (even sooner sometimes!), I’m so pleased for them that it’s possible, but it does hit home just how hammered we were, by everything, which can be really saddening, looking back.

However, I’m just relieved I got there eventually, and the journey to the marathon was incredibly therapeutic: it forced me to find the time, somewhere, to start routinely looking after myself physically, as well as mentally. Also, having the chance to facilitate Great Ormond Street having more money in the pot has felt great too – allowing me to feel proactive. Feeling a lack of control is unfortunately something you feel daily when you’re dealing with a serious health condition in a child, so anything to combat that is a plus.

Having this blog has really helped, as the accountability – knowing people have been reading, or following me on Facebook/Instagram – has motivated me to get out there on days I haven’t felt I’ve had the motivation or energy. It’s also helped emotionally too; I love to write, but have had little time, and this has created a space to get thoughts down without too much time/commitment needed. It’s been an enlightening experience, and quite calming.

I’ve thought about “what’s next”, now the London Marathon is over, and I’ve done the various updates I’ve planned to do (on the Moonwalk, fundraising in my Irish village etc). I’ve decided that – as my weighloss journey is still ongoing (*loud sigh*), and I want to keep the fitness up – I’ll carry on with the blog, as a way of keeping up that motivation. Even if no one reads it, it will be a forum where I can keep myself on track, and can’t phone it in!

Today was Day One of the next phase: exercise and diet with a focus on getting the number on the scale down, as well as concentrating on the fitness.

It’s 30 weeks (209 days) to Christmas Day. I’m not going to set a very fixed goal, but hoping to get a couple of stone off by then. Any more, then bonus!

So it was trainers on this morning, and the fruit is stocked up. Onwards and upwards!!

And then there were 4…

Yes, this is not a drill… 4 weeks left to the London Marathon!!

With my longest run now under my belt, I thought I’d reflect on the last 5 months of marathon training.

What I’ve learned:

  1. Running is hard, but the feeling after a run, once it’s done, is hard to beat!
  2. Running very long distances is still easier (and often less tiring) than dealing with three-year-old twins!!!
  3. Having a week-by-week fitness schedule in place is the only possible way for me to fit training in and around work, kids, and all the other crazy drama going on in our lives
  4. In this phase of my life, audio books and podcasts are way more my thing when running as opposed to music. I’ve been on some really interesting journeys on my runs through my phone. Makes me think back to my last marathon, 11 years ago, and training with a Discman!!
  5. Planning very long running routes in London around a public water tap/toilets is not easy! Thank you, Regent’s Park Hub, which has been a bit of a saviour to me
  6. Annoyingly, as your mileage goes up for marathon training, and your nutrition needs to increase to compensate, weight loss may slow; it has for me anyway. I’ve lost a good chunk of weight over the past 5 months, and feel my health/fitness has improved, but after the marathon know that what will be best for me and my weight loss journey is taking back the distance a bit, and mixing in another exercise one/twice a week, eg Zumba, HIIT
  7. Running is really, really good for stress. I’m now 8 months alcohol-free, and I’ve tried to train myself to reach for the trainers rather than a glass of wine when in the midst of high-level stress, or after a really tough day with the kids. Ironically, going for a run makes me feel more energised and able to deal with everything I’m juggling
  8. Social media accounts, like on Instagram and various running pages like Run Mummy Run and This Mum Runs London, are really motivating to follow. I’m so much more likely to put the trainers on, if I’ve been deliberating whether to run or not, if I’ve seen someone else has been able to suck it up and get out there. Particular useful during the horrendous weather of late!
  9. Good trainers are a must! I went to Runners World in King’s Cross, and had gait analysis done there, and it was so useful hearing the feedback, and learning where my foot needs to be supported (incidentally inside of the back of the heel as otherwise my foot goes in a little)
  10. The generosity of my friends and family continues to amaze me: from my husband’s support, taking the twins at the weekend after a busy week so I can run; to those who have sponsored me, donating money to the amazing cause that is Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital Charity. Thank you everyone. ❤️

Here’s to the final 4 weeks of training!!!

10 weeks to the London Marathon!

Ok, it’s all getting real now! The miles are ramping up – 18 miles tomorrow – which coincides, possibly in a good way, with life getting quite a bit busier and more stressful at the moment; it’s been useful having the outlet of running, and I feel in the habit of turning to it more readily for stress relief, which is positive all round.

February is a busy running month for me. I did a 10k last weekend, and have a half marathon in 2 weeks, with two more half marathons in March. Then the big day itself! That’s a lot of miles between now and 22nd April, so hopefully see a few more cms drop from the waistline/pounds decrease on the scales too.

I’ve got my new trainers ahead of the big day (experts recommend changing every 300-400 miles), which I’ll be breaking in over the next few weeks, my GOSH vest, and am starting to experiment with various fuels on my long-distance runs, which will hopefully help on the day. All of that is really helping to make the big day feel a lot closer! I wore my GOSH vest on my long run (16 miles) two weeks ago to wear it in a bit, and I got a lot of ‘well done’ and ‘you can do it’ and ‘great cause’, which felt really motivating as well as quite emotional; I’m clearly no Mo Farah and having people recognise my efforts, and be supportive of the cause, was really heartening.

I’ve reached 49% of the minimum fundraising goal I’ve set, and am really pleased with that. Thanks to everyone who’s dug deep and supported me on the journey so far. I read the other day that a marathon is the training, and the 26.2 miles on the day itself the victory lap, and I thought they were wise words!! The training is quite a slog, but I can’t think of a cause more worthy. For anyone who did plan to send a few pounds to Great Ormond Street Hospital via my channel, here’s my link!

I’ll continue to post regularly with small updates on my Facebook page!

Right, the plan! 26 weeks to marathon….

If I’m going to survive this thing (you know, just a whole 26.2 MILES!), I best have a plan! This is definitely not something I can wing.

I looked around for a while to find the best training plan to suit my current fitness level (low but not absolutely rock bottom), to cover me from the 26 weeks from this week to the London Marathon.

While I have a way to go to get to marathon distance, for the past 12 weeks I’ve been building up from running very short distances to a half-marathon, which I did last Saturday (hooray!). It took me 2.5 hours, and the thought at the end of turning around and doing the whole thing again nearly made me faint. My knees and hips are creaking at the memory! The reality of the task ahead is really sinking in.

But back to the marathon training plan: starting at week 7 as my week 1, this is the plan I’ll be following between now  and 22nd April, for anyone reading who’s on the same journey and also thinking about their schedule.

Starting at week 7, this covers a distance of over 600 miles between now and marathon completion. So basically East London to John O’ Groats (644 miles), or the Giant’s Causeway to Dingle….and back again (622 miles). Yeah, no bother.

I’m going to check in at the end of each week to track how I got on, knowing that the update is coming, so hopefully that will help me get out of my warm bed on a freezing Sunday morning for my long run!

My next mission is to get a good pair of trainers that fits right, and suits my gait, to set me up for the road ahead. I’ll update on that experience once my shiny new trainers are in hand.
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Running autumn

 

The countdown is on: 6 months to marathon

So today the countdown is officially on … it’s 6 months to the day until the London Marathon on 22 April 2018, where my plan is: a) that a skinnier, fitter, healthier version of myself will smash* the 26.2 miles (* erm, maybe ‘survive’ is a more realistic goal!), having…; b) raised lots of money for the amazing Great Ormond Street Hospital and Children’s Charity!

It’s safe to say that regardless of whether you have yet to be touched by the amazing work Great Ormond Street do, you will be aware of how many lives they have touched, my family’s included.

I’ve got a LONG road ahead with training to be able to do the distance, so this is a real challenge for me, both in terms of increasing fitness, and losing weight. 3 months ago my back-to-fitness journey began, just after my twins turned 3, and a few very wild years following their arrival.

Having cut out the booze completely, and donned the trainers, I started off running a couple of miles at a time, and yesterday I ran a half-marathon, having dropped nearly 2.5 stone during those 12 weeks. Don’t worry – there’s much more where that came from, and that’s the next mission! I’ve committed to saying alcohol-free for the rest of the journey, another challenge to add into the big challenge! If you’re gonna do it, then REALLY do it!

I’ll use this page as well as my Facebook page to update friends and family on my progress – the highs and the lows – which will serve as good motivation to keeping me on the straight and narrow through all the upcoming freezing winter runs!! Nothing like a bit of accountability!

Bring it on!

 

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