Over and Out

I’m not here to ask for donations (though I won’t ever stop you…. it is an amazing charity) but I thought it apt to conclude our ‘running up the aisle’ with a HOORAY we did it!! Let’s keep it short and sweet, it was epic.

Thank you to everyone for making it so special. Unfortunately my trainers didn’t make the wedding (no speedy exits required, phew)..

 

Ciao x

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26.2

I have been struggling to write this blog. Almost 5 months of training and fundraising has gone in a blink of an eye. Or maybe a few thousand blinks but the marathon feels like  months ago.

We must have read the final marathon instructions a thousand times in the hope that it would reveal a. a secret shortcut b.the secret to flying round the course at top speed without hitting the wall. Alas, neither. We had to rely on some good old-fashioned determination.

To my surprise, no walls appeared but  when I asked Dan if he thinks he hit the wall his reply was ‘only  5-6 times in the last 6 miles’. Ouch

Weirdly the day itself felt very relaxed. So relaxed in fact it could have been very easy to miss the start (there was no big announcement or anyone ushering runners to the starting blocks). I must shout out big thanks to Faye Warren who kept me company as we found our way to the start line and chatted away any remaining nerves!

All of a sudden I was two miles in and thinking ‘I’m actually doing this!’. Mentally I kept re-setting the mileage every time I felt a little apprehensive about the distance. All I had to do was to stay comfortable, ignore my watch and just listened to my body to keep pace. I wanted to soak in every last ounce of atmosphere, in fact at times I was so busy scanning the crowds for familiar faces I forgot that I was running.

Truth be told between miles 14 and 20 I got a little bored, maybe I wasn’t running hard enough (I refused to test that theory) or maybe it was that the crowds thinned slightly and the landmarks scattered, but mentally I got tired.

Plodding along from tower bridge on the final stretches, I was ecstatic to hear some familiar voices!! It makes such a difference to spot friends in the crowd! I ran back to hi five, desperately wanting to brain dump the entire experience on them there and then but knowing that I MUST keep going. I think I yelled something incoherent, and ran off beaming from ear to ear. I’ve got this in the bag!

The final stretch was a surreal experience. Having stuck to my training times and luckily not felt any particular niggles en route, I was thinking that I could ramp it up for a glorious final push. But the last 800m was the longest ‘mile’ of the day. I had nothing left to give, I was spent but I was SO close. All I wanted to do was sprint but it felt like I was going backwards! I had dropped some gels early on in the run so my fuelling was a little out of whack. But suddenly Boom! I was over the finish line!!! Someone was placing a medal over my neck and someone else telling me to pose for photos. What just happened? It was over? A sigh of relief.

 

The real beauty of the day is that thanks to the generosity of all our friends and family, we know that all our running efforts will continue to have some effect for the families, friends and staff of St Joseph’s Hospice. And hopefully we can make a difference.

Big big thank you to all those who have generously donated and our amazing cheer squad that kept us going! Now better sort the wedding….

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Jitter Bug….

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I’ve got ants in my pants and I can’t sit still. I’m hopping from foot to foot with anxious excitement while Dan (outwardly anyway) is a picture of calm serenity. It was so bad on Saturday night that at 9pm I decided I just couldn’t sit and watch a movie but absolutely MUST clear out all the kitchen cupboards. Job well done, but not entirely necessary or well timed!

 

This whole tapering malarkey is a game of two halves, relaxing yes but not entirely guilt free. Can’t believe I’m saying this but last week I ONLY ran 22 miles total. LAZY! (Jokes, sort of)

Practically I think we are ready. Breakfast check, running outfit check, water bottles check, gels check…We have not been practising with Lucozade gels, (they are not easy to find) and I sure ain’t trying them on the day! I definitely don’t want to experience worst case scenario…

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Starting block.. Uncheck. Dan and I are in different zones, the routes only merge after mile 3 which will make it nigh on impossible to find each other en route. So our amazing cheer squad may have to keep their eyes peeled and double the screams! Pretty please?!

Distracting ourselves with wedding prep (which includes all important playing in the park with the nephews) has been very welcome. We are totally overwhelmed by the amazing support everyone has shown and I promise my yabbering is nearly over.

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And so to Sunday, it’s not going to be fast and it’s not going to be pretty, think purple Darth Vader, but we do promise to smile and wave, and enjoy every minute….as long as that wall doesn’t slam into us!

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Notes to self: 1st Marathon

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Whilst enjoying a leisurely Sunday morning run, smug yet mindful that Dan was nursing an epic Stag hangover –  somewhere (I could phone but what would be the fun in that? Don’t want to be the nagging wife already) –  I started making a mental to do list, three weeks until THE run, which in turn is three weeks before THE wedding.

So to cut a long list short: the practicalities of running your first marathon and wedding.

In no particular order.

  1. Try not to get lost forever in Epsom Common.
  2. Find Dan
  3. Stay injury free. Paintball bruises excluded.
  4. Keep updating the wedding playlist only with songs that make you want to dance around the room or sing whilst running. Sorry if anyone has witnessed either.
  5. Try not to get ridiculous tan lines. Optimistic that the weather might continue Bex rightly pointed out yesterday that on no account can I get strap marks from the St Joseph’s running vest. Something that had not crossed my mind but would in fact be awful! Mmmmm…
  6. No more binge drinking.
  7. Fundraise fundraise fundraise
  8. Start organising the wedding.
  9. Plan the after party- after run, after wedding!
  10. Make it to the finish line (think run and wedding).

On that note… Please don’t stop the music! 

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The black hole….

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HomeEpsom common is my black hole. I love it but I can never get out of it. Having always thought I had a good sense of direction, the common takes me by surprise every time.  I have a few friends who would testify to this (sorry again) but this time I even prepped. I plotted a route on RunGo, I studied the route and I even sent the link to Dan. ‘Just in case’.

I love the off road trail, you can lose yourself to the beautiful countryside, quite literally in my case. I had also wrongly assumed that a couple of days of dry weather would mean a clean terrain. No. As it happens I got stuck in a sludgy bog and only grasped the enormity of it when I was too far in to turn around. For a mile I saw no one, I had been running fast and feeling good but suddenly I was traversing  mud (convincing myself this was how I would surely get injured) and gingerly siding up to Gorse bushes as I tried to squeeze onto a tiny dry ledge.

You will be relieved to know I made it out alive, just for the little woman in my ear to say ‘make an immediate u-turn’. Absolutely not no way! I followed some friendly bikers for a while until they disappeared off into the horizon and once alone again Epsom common clouded my mind.

At one point I ran a complete circle. I was using my app AND google maps and still managed to return to the same spot. At least the miles were clocking up but I was not such a big fan of the ‘Blair witch’ type tree that kept reappearing. 

As soon as a familiar pub came into view, I raced off towards civilisation… 

This won’t be the last you see of me Epsom Common! 

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Carbs and a vase…

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It appears I can’t be without my running trainers. To work, to dinner… Even antique shopping! They are starting to feel like a second skin. At the least the black ones are fairly incognito…

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Saturday was spent at Hungerford Arcade shopping for crystal vases. Just to make it harder I decided it had to be a ‘cluster’ per table, we are talking 45 or so in total.. Luckily the antiques market was a treasure trove, although I had to stop Dan from buying a suit of armour! It’s that or the honeymoon. Or on second thoughts perhaps I can convince him to run in it for charity? Then we wouldn’t know if its the chain mail rattling or his knees….I digress..thanks to my eagle eyed parents we snapped up rather a lot of vases which I will be auctioning off to friends and family after the big day. Of course all proceeds to St Joseph’s Hospice! 

And what a glorious Sunday. Sun shining and a cool breeze, made 21 miles along the Thames very pleasant.  Only mistake was running over lunchtime. With Sunday morning procrastination at its best, we didn’t set off until 1pm which meant the whole day felt dedicated to running. By the time we hit Kingston, the smell from Steins was  so intoxicating, I was convinced Dan would lean over the wall to steal a sausage. At least we would have had the edge on a quick get away! 

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I was asked for a photo of me running….

Please help us keep going…

 

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One fat knee and one chocolate fudge cake….

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….does not good marathon training make. Actually scrap that, the choccy cake felt well deserved but the fat knee? Dan is resting for 2 weeks and (not-so) secretly enjoying his vacation from the regimented training. Especially as I set off in the rain on Saturday and came back in rain a couple of hours later. Truthfully it is a worry and we are hoping rest and time will do the job before we tackle 21 miles on Sunday. If not, I think it will be the last big run for Dan before the race. I don’t particularly want him hobbling up the aisle (wait  – that’s my role) but more importantly we need to be ready to take on the ultimate challenge! Which is a. London Marathon or b. marriage?

Not all doom and gloom though- we raised  a fantastic £120 hosting the first of a series of marathon dinners. 6 guests, 3 courses cooked chez Epsom, and no complaints. Score! I may have been cooking/running/cooking/running all week but well worth it for a Friday night with friends in aid of St Joseph’s Hospice. So thank you!

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If anyone else wants to host a dinner/coffee morning/bake sale, all and any donations to the charity would be most gratefully received. (Plus it does feels so good) 

Or if you don’t have the time or the inclination, you can sponsor us at Just Giving. Let’s make that sore knee feel worthwhile! 

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