We are now only seven days away from marathon number three on Valentine's Day and I cannot recall being this excited for a race. Ever!
My quad has healed up, but it has resulted in some pain in my adductor so after running on Monday, I spent over eleven hours on the gym bike (twice per day) between Tuesday-Friday, including a three hour ride! On Thursday, I had been in there so long that one lady actually gave me her protein shake (this really happened) - I think she either felt sorry for me, or thought that I had nowhere else to go!
In fact, my training has been so disrupted that so far in 2016 I have only ran 101 miles, 26.2 of which were my second marathon (compared to over 500 at this stage in 2015)... so basically I'm just a marathon runner who doesn't run!
Given that I have to run eight marathons (PANIC!) before the end of May, I'm planning to skip an Autumn marathon and just run a few half marathons instead. Monday was pay day for my two jobs and for the sports scholarship I receive from UCS, so like most runners it was spent looking for races to enter! I plumped for the Richmond HM and am tempted to have another crack at the Great North Run.
Saturday was the Olympic Park 10k so I headed down to London on Friday night after work. Pre-race prep involved a few bottles of Magners at The Royal Oak in Vauxhall with my friend Nanette! We met up with some interesting people, eventually getting into bed at 1.30am ready for a 6am alarm. I woke up hangover free and sunk a litre of High5 Isotonic and three cups of tea on the journey from Forest Hill.
The race started at 9.30am, and was really well organised (great value for £15). It involved three laps around the park and the canal. My legs felt horrendous during the warm-up, but held up okay and seemed to feel better the faster I ran? As expected, I faded towards the end but I still got round in 34:56 (5:35 min/mile average) to finish in 3rd place, which got me on to an actual podium! For a windy day, a narrow twisty course (although it was very very flat) and only two weeks after a marathon, I was thrilled with the time. You can view the course and run data here.
A trip to London would not be complete without popping into 26 Grains (yes, again). They have just launched their new porridge menu so I had to check it out. They recommended the almond milk porridge with barley and rye blend, blood orange, cacao crumble & greek yoghurt. It was so good - once I move to London I think they will actually have to drag me out of there!
The blog I wrote for my sponsors, HIGH5 nutrition is now online - it is my five "Top tips for surviving marathon training" and you can read it here. Away from running, my old headteacher got in touch this week. I sent her a letter before Christmas once I found out she was retiring just to say thanks for everything - she is a runner herself and she has always sent me cards after each marathon saying "Well done!".
She had just come across my article in The Guardian so she sent over a donation for £150, and also invited me to go into the school and speak to some of the students, which I will try to do at some point. With several other donations this week, my fundraising total for Beat is now over £1,500! Thank you to everyone who has donated.
Like a lot of people, my big thing for 2016 is mindfulness, or as I like to call it notworryingandthinkingaboutstuff-ness. My problem is I am very spontaneous and impulsive! Having previously got into jigsaw puzzles (too slow) and then colouring books (I'm rubbish), I am currently going through a reading/movie phase - mainly from being stuck on the bike! I am on my ninth book in the last 2-3 weeks and the pick of the bunch was "The Life and Death of Sophie Stark" by Anna North.
I am a sucker for quirky films like Juno, (500) Days of Summer, Adventureland and Paper Heart. This week I watched "The Perks of Being A Wallflower" and "Kelly + Victor" which are both worth your time! I also came across an old video of Jim Carrey giving a speech at a graduation - you can watch it here. My favourite quote (there were lots) was "You can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love" - life is too short to do things you don't want to do!
Finally, next Sunday is marathon number three - the "Valentine's Day Challenge" event in Kent. The course looks very flat and is made up of 5 x 5.25 mile laps, which sounds reasonable! I am definitely definitely (probably) going to take it easier than the first two, and aiming for 2:55-59. See you on the other side!
I am running ten marathons to raise money for Beat, the UK's leading eating disorder charity. You can follow me on Twitter here, on Instagram here, or on Facebook here. You can also sponsor me via my Justgiving page here. Thank you!