So Long, Farewell…. For now.

Well folks, after three years of sharing my running and whatever random thoughts are in my head, I’m going to call it a day… For now. I took the site down for a week but have put it back up for sentimental reasons… and just in case. You never know when the muse may strike 😉

 

I have loved sharing my experiences with you, and being fortunate enough to receive your interest, your support and your advice. Soon I’m going back to work (ughhhhhh) and to be perfectly frank, it’s hard enough to find time to balance everything as it is without adding work into the mix. Sadly running will have to take a step back in my priority list, which means blogging will be even lower.

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Trail Running in the Lake District

I am still crazy-competitive, and have certain goals that I want to smash. Such as….. running London again, doing a sub-3:30 marathon (not at London, maybe Edinburgh again!), and beating my 1:41 half time. But none of these will happen in enough time to make for an interesting blog! Here is what a post would be like:

 

Hi everyone! This week I did a 5k run with the running buggy on Saturday. It wasn’t park run, we can’t get organised enough to go to park run. I also aimed to go to the gym but did laundry instead. Then on Tuesday I ran the 1.6k to nursery with the baby, and worked in sweaty clothes all day, before running to collect her. Yay! 

 

So you can see why I’m stopping now.

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Nothing is more fun than running in Paris

This blog has pushed me to keep up my training, forced me to stay honest and actually adhere to training plans, and has helped me hit huge running goals and allowed me to be self-indulgent and celebrate. I remember the day Gilly P and I were chatting online and decided we should actually do it – she is always be a huge inspiration to me, and the person who encouraged me the most in getting my 3:43 at Edinburgh, which honestly is one of my proudest moments. FYI, she smashed a half iron man recently as you do, and was cool as a cucumber about it. #lifegoals

My best bud

My best bud

Thank you all for reading – to our regulars, and to anyone who just stopped by. It’s been so much fun, and I’m grateful to have all this documented so I can bore Baby B when she’s older about my running achievements. Lucky her.

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Londonnnnn!! My newest achievement

I’m not quite sure how to end this last post, so I’ll just share some random finishing thoughts:

 

  • Lemonade by Beyonce is the best album to be released since she released ‘Beyonce’ in 2013. Fact*.
  • Doing the plank with the hanging straps on the TRX machine makes it way more fun, and way more effective
  • It’s two years since I ran my Edinburgh marathon (which is very important to me still, not sure if you guessed?)
  • Women in my old running group have assured me that eventually, mothers often come back stronger and faster so I’m looking forward to that. I’m sure it will take some work!
  • Make sure you go out and run today. It’s always nice weather for running*. That’s another fact for you.
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Ready for ya Edinburgh!

Thanks again everyone, I have LOVED it!!

 

Ellie B

 

*This post contains large amounts of sentimentality and any facts stated may not actually be true. But they probably are, so you should just agree.

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London (Marathon) Baby!

I did it!! London Marathon – check! Blisters as big as my little toe – check! Inability to walk up/down stairs for three days – check! In short, it was a roaring success.

 

Not that it was easy. Oh no. It was one of the toughest runs I’ve done. But let’s start at the beginning. I was in the green starting section, which was for Good for Age entries (like me) and celebrities (unlike me). I only learned about the celebrities after the fact – which may be a good thing, or all my marathon energy would have gone on hunting down anyone remotely famous.

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The first mile took us out of Greenwich, and before it was up I had the first of many ‘moments’. We ran past an old stone church that had pink blossom growing in it’s yard, and I had the ‘a-ha!’ moment that I was actually running the London marathon! We had started, it had begun!

 

It was really hard to keep to my pace, and the first three miles were a minute faster than I wanted. At the time it felt fine, but I wondered if it would come back and bite me in the ass (spoiler alert: I think it did!). But the excitement and the pace and the crowds make you feel like you’re flying, and my ideal pace of 10:20 minute miles felt very slow in such an atmosphere.

Horseguard's Parade at the finish line

Horseguard’s Parade at the finish line

Miles 1-6 were very smooth, and at mile 7 I had a fabulous surprise: SB, Baby B, my brother-and-sister in law were there to cheer me on, complete with banner. In my excitement I screamed, and made Baby B cry. A lot. So…. great parenting there, scaring your child and running away.

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Ah mile 7 … when all was bright still!

The best bit for me was running over Tower Bridge. I was trudging through some nameless street, and all of a sudden we turned a corner and there it was, in all its bridgy glory. The sun chose to come out then to, a d I had the second moment of the marathon. Running over the bridge I was comparing the two marathons I have done: Edinburgh was fast and powerful, but lonely, and this one was slower but with my family there to cheer me on, along with what felt like the rest of London! It was gorgeous.

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My legs started to hurt at mile 12. Initially it was my right IT band, then it was my left, then it was my knee, then it was my adductors, and finally by the end my right IT band was very tight and sore. Most of the second half was spent trying to focus and keep my pace up, and ignoring the pain. It was a blur to be honest. I felt reasonably comfortable, but it was an effort to try and keep the pace right. I had the 4:30 pacer in my sights for 8 miles, which was encouraging, but then at mile 22 the wheels began to fall off.

 

Even though I had less than an hour to go, I decided to go to the loo which slowed me down for 3 minutes. Then, instead of being able to run more freely, I got the biggest stitch. The kind that won’t go away when you push it, and that makes you grunt like a pig. So I had to walk. And so I lost the 4:30 pacer.

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Then followed a really frustrating two miles of walking and running. At this point we were in central London, and the crowds were overwhelming in their support. They were all shouting ‘go on Ellie! Not much further, you’re doing so well!’ and while it was awesome, it was hard to focus. My lovely family were there at 23 miles again, and this time I was much quieter for Baby B.

 

I felt like a zombie for the last three miles, my feet felt heavy and all I could do was focus on the path ahead. And take photos thanks to the slow pace! I felt it was a shame that the most picturesque part of the route was at the very end when you’re just trying to get through, but there is nothing like running past the Thames, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace before turning down the Mall filled with Union Jacks to finish. Although I couldn’t enjoy it at the time, the memories are there and they are amazing.

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Buckingham Palace – I’m sure Queenie was cheering me on

I finished in 4:40, and my stubborn side is gutted that I didn’t make 4:30. But there’s another side which is just proud that I’ve finished it, even if it is 53 minutes slower than my last. I spent most of this race trying to ward off the pain, trying to keep up the pace, and telling myself that this is the last time I’ll run a marathon. Then I woke up on Monday and thought ‘yeah…. but I’ll do another one’.

 

I think I could have finished in 4:30 if I hadn’t started out so quickly, and if I hadn’t munched on mini Cheddars on my way round. Without the luxury of a few long runs in training, I hadn’t worked out a proper game plan. I’m annoyed that I had to use the loo, and hat I had to stop for a stitch, because I’ve never had to do that before. But the point of this event was to complete it, not to get any sort of time goal, so I need to remind myself of this!

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Gaaaah! Just before Buckingham Palace, not long to go!

I can’t believe I’ve actually done another marathon. This time the effort was different, my body wasn’t used to the distance but because of the slower pace, and because I’ve run Edinburgh, I knew I could at least do it. Edinburgh was scary as I’d not done one before, and I had an ambitious time goal. This one was scary because I felt very light on training, and because it’s not long after Baby B arrived. But it was worth all the anxiety, the cold weather running and the obsessing about postpartum training. I would love to run it again.

 

Ellie B

London: Final Training

T minus 11 days til I’m lurking around the starting pens in Greenwich, trying to eat a banana and convince myself that I don’t need to pee again. Yesterday was my last long run before the event, so I am officially on The Taper!!!

 

Two weeks ago I managed my first proper long run, which was 17 miles. I set out at my ideal marathon pace, and my head was in the right space. Except …. not much else was. I was using a different energy shot because I couldn’t find my usual gels, and despite trying to eat properly before hand, I started to get hungry at around mile 7.

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During the run itself I felt ok, except I was hungry! But afterwards, I crashed. I felt so ill, and had no energy. I drank my chocolate milk, but waited far too long before eating so that by the end of the evening I was feeling sorry for myself on the couch and nibbling on biscuits.

 

Cue 12 days of feeling nervous, apprehensive and scared! Did I even want to run a marathon? Why didn’t I opt to spend the time with Baby B instead of running? How are we even going to get to London on the train, with all my gear and everything the bubba needs? What the hell was I thinking?

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And yet. And yet, there’s always a little voice in my head that says ‘yeah, but you wait til you’re on the starting line. You wait till you’re pushing through mile 18, you wait til you’re running down the mall and you wait til you’re holding Baby B after having run the London marathon’. The experience itself will be amazing, and the training will be harder than the event.

 

Yesterday I did 20 miles in 3.5 hours. This time I had my usual gels, and I also had some additional food for during the run. My head was in the right space too: keep it cool, and take it steady. Mentally I approached it like four 5-mile runs, which was a lot better (but not at 13.1 when I realised I was only half way through!). As soon as I finished I was eating, and continued to eat and drink in small amounts until I went to sleep.

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So here I find myself in the shortest taper ever, wondering how to approach it. I’ve followed a plan, but only roughly because flexibility is the name of the game when training with a baby. I think I’ll have two days off, and then start gentle gym sessions until the big day. And by gentle, I mean with lots of jacuzzi time factored in.

 

The countdown is on. And I feel…. good scared terrified ecstatic realistic. And also excited.

 

Dancing Queen…

…Young and sweet, only seventeen As if I’ll tell you! A true lady never reveals her true age!

 

So this week = no running. This week = partying! My only form of exercise this week was hitting the dance floor, and this happened in quite.a.big.way. Unless you count eating cakes and pastries because I also did a lot of that too.

 

It all kicked off with my sister-in-law’s hen weekend. Because she is the next Beyonce (although not marrying a hip-hop star), we booked in for a Beyonce workshop on Saturday afternoon. We learned a dance routine to ‘Run the World’, with my sis-in-law starring as Queen B herself. We were rocking it all over the place, and we though it was pretty damn hot – until we got the video later on this week! Then we realised just how far from Beyonce we actually are. Still, never give up on your dreams and all that….

 

For a while I got confused and thought I was at a Nicky Minaj workshop

For a while I got confused and thought I was at a Nicky Minaj workshop

Later that night we went out to a club in Mayfair because it was also her 30th birthday that day too. Run the World came on, so we all lined up in our places, and the crowd formed a circle around is expecting something great. And not even 5 hours after the workshop, we failed. We were all convinced that we knew the right part, but in reality we were all doing something else. It was like this (totally worth watching – the dance starts a minute in and you won’t regret it!).

 

We fueled with afternoon tea. Every one of these cakes is inspired by an haute couture creation by the big designers.

We fueled with afternoon tea. Every one of these cakes is inspired by an haute couture creation by the big designers. Sorry the pic is so dark….

Anyway, the next day my legs were sore. My quads were burning – they hadn’t had a workout like that since I was doing pole routines last year. So even though there was no running that weekend, I consoled myself with my dance floor workout.

 

And this carried on throughout the week! On Monday I went to Miami for a work conference. I know. Before you judge me, let me tell you we had to do Very Important Work in the day, and only got to see Miami really by night. Even then we didn’t really see Miami. We saw a lot of a nightclub called Liv, and we liked it so much that we went back there again the next night. So there were another two nights of solid dancing there. So Miami summed up would be: lots of dancing, lots of work, lots of pastries, and no roller blading.

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This is actually what Miami looks like. In Real Life.

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Don’t get me wrong. Just because I’ve done a Beyonce workshop and have spend 3 of the last 7 nights partying on down, I haven’t upped my game. I still have my trusty 4 dance moves that I rotate throughout the night, and they serve me well. At least, they raise my heart rate and cause sweat to run down my made-up face. I don’t think they look good though.

 

Anyway, it was a lovely change to running in the cold (it has been colllllddddd here!). I’m sure that all the work I did last week equates to at least a ten mile run…. what do you think?

 

Ellie B

February Feelings

This week has been a well-balanced week. By well-balanced, I mean: running has gone extremely well, and everything else has not.

 

On Saturday I ran 7k throughout London. I love London because it is a giant mess of buildings. One minute you’re running beside an ugly building from the 60s, and the next you find yourself face-to-face with some piece of history that’s older than European-Australia by a couple of centuries. Such as this:

 

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St. John’s Gate, Clerkenwell, built in 1504 as the entrance to a priory, and later Samuel Johnson’s workplace. I totally Wikipedia-ed that, I did not know that myself.

 

Then later on this week I took advantage of the gorgeous, if not cold, weather that Durham was having to do two 10k runs by the river. Things were going right in my running, the sun was bright, and the air was crisp – a combination which always increases the endorphin effect by 1000%. I did not Wikipedia that, but I am fairly confident that it’s a fact.

 

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The rest of my week: it wasn’t awful, but it was busy. My internet died 10 minutes before I had to give a presentation to my colleagues throughout Europe. I had to high-tail it to a Starbucks where I tried to be productive on their measly wifi, and had to keep buying hot drinks for the pleasure. Actually, that last part wasn’t so bad.

 

SB and I are also away this weekend – we have a stag/hen night to go to respectively. And then NEXT WEEK I am off to Miami for a company conference!! It is going to be intense but awesome. Awesomely intense. I haven’t packed my running gear, because what with hen nights and conferences and late dinners and drinks I know I won’t be setting my alarm any earlier than I have to…..

 

Hope you’re all having a good week!

 

Ellie B