Sunday, April 25, 2010

Virgin London Marathon 2010 - completed in 4:02:39

Wow, what a great race today and very different to the others I have done. For a start it was raining heavily at the beginning and then became very humid and then the clouds lifted and the sunshine appeared. Regardless of the weather it was another great London Marathon with the crowds cheering and the streets lined with spectators from mile 1 to mile 26.2 - the carnival atmosphere was once again there.

For me, the race couldn't have got off to a better start; although the start was crowded and the running was slow going (whilst everyone found their pace) I felt good and strong. As the miles progressed I started to pick up my pace and found my rhythm. I thought I was running a little fast at times but it felt good so I continued. The miles passed and the spectators continued to shout and cheer everyone on. Miles 1 to 21 were superb for me, I felt I was gliding along with ease and looking at my watch I seemed to be within reach of a finishing time of between 3hrs 50mins and 4hrs....however just after 21 miles something happened, my legs started to get very heavy and it was if I was suddenly having to run whilst carrying someone else on my shoulders. At around 21.5 miles I heard my name being shouted out by my good running friend and this really spurred me on. However, miles 22 to the finish were a struggle and this is where my mental strength had to take over as physically my body was telling me it had had enough and that I should stop! However, I kept focused and kept running (albeit a lot slower now) and without really being able to take in the world around me, I was consumed by tiredness and focused only on one thing: getting to that finish line. It was a delight to see the 800m to go sign and I don't know how but I picked up my pace (probably my bodies way of saying 'get this over with now') and ended the race at a near sprint in 4 hours, 2 minutes and 39 seconds......wonderful!

This was my fourth London Marathon and probably the toughest and although it wasn't a personal best time for me this year it was still very special. The London Marathon is a fantastic event, a world class marathon and I am so pleased to have had the chance to run it again and to raise money for my charity (Climb Your Mountain).

Thank you to all my wonderful friends and family and a special thanks to my lovely husband and daughter for travelling up to London with me today and for supporting me. Sorry I didn't see you both at mile 25 but I was beyond looking for anything at this point apart from the finish line x
For anyone that is interested in the route and my split times etc, they can be found here:
For me, I am now getting into the hot tub to sooth my aching legs with a nice glass of wine :-)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The perfect running day

Wow, what a lovely weekend we are having and this morning the weather was perfect for running. I headed off to Newlands at 9am and did a fast 5 miles (laps around Willen Lake) before joining up with my CYM running club. The club run today was great; about 7 of us did a fast run up to the canal and then along to Willen Lake and around the top lake (a total of around 3½ miles) but all done at a really good pace (between 8 and 8 ½ minute miles) it felt really good to stretch the legs and to push myself. After the club run I continued and did another lap of both lakes to complete a total running distance of 12½ miles for today – all of them wonderful :-)

The marathon is only two weeks away now and I am starting to get very excited about it as well as a little apprehensive. I know that my training has gone well but I also know that I haven’t managed the extra couple of long runs over the past couple of weeks that I had planned due to a slight injury on my right foot and this is worrying me a little. I’m sure it will be fine but I can’t help but worry a little! Also, hopefully the weather conditions on race day will be similar to today.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Oakley 20 mile race

Today I ran in my first ever 20 mile race; I have done shorter and longer distances but never 20 miles. I was looking forward to it as I was treating it as my long training run for the week and normally I have to do these on my own and I must admit that I do find these long runs really hard (mentally) when I am on my own.

The race was superb; the weather was sunny (although the wind was tough going at times) and the course was very scenic. It was undulating but I found it useful to have some hills in my training, normally my routes in Milton Keynes are flat (with the occasional incline) but we did have to run up some tough hills today and it was a good challenge. I will definitely be looking to run this again next year and as a bonus we got a really nice hoodie instead of a medal!

I felt strong throughout the run which has also given me confidence for the marathon. I am thinking I may need to do one or two more longer runs (probably another 20 miles this coming weekend followed by maybe an 18 mile run the week after) and then it will be time to taper J I am actually getting very excited about the marathon as its now only 4 weeks away!

If anyone is interested in the route and my stats for the race, they can be found here:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Training going well

I have had a good few long runs over the past few weekends; I have done a 17 and 18 mile and then last Friday, straight after work I did a good (slightly faster) 15 ½ mile run. Tomorrow sees me running in the Oakley 20 mile race and I am looking forward to it although I am told it is quite a tough undulating course!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Milton Keynes Half Marathon

My friend and I had a really good race at the MK Half Marathon today. The weather was perfect and the organisation of the race was superb. It was a new course this year starting outside of the Exscape building and it was a well attended race. It actually felt (atmosphere wise) a little like the start of a major marathon, it was really good. The course was also well thought out and very enjoyable although I think my friend would disagree about the final hill coming into the finish J Excellent race and I will definitely be entering this one again next year.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A solid 10k run this evening which at times resembled both a cross country course and a steeple chase race!

After work my friend and I headed out to do a 10k run; we normally do a longer run (between 8-10 miles) but as we are both running in the MK Half Marathon this coming Sunday we have reduced our mileage this week and decided this evening to do a faster but shorter run instead. So a 10k route from the Open University up to Willen Lake (via Woughton Park) around the first lake and then back again; simple we thought – well it would have been if the paths hadn’t been flooded. The problem was that once we had navigated ourselves safely around a few puddles we were committed and it just got worse! The first major hurdle was a bridge that was no longer a bridge but had been lost in the water, all that remained were the wooden sides of the bridge that we had to climb on and along to get across, this was soon followed by a few minutes of side stepping and balancing on metal fencing to get across the next large puddle (puddle in this situation really doesn’t do it justice, ‘small lake’ would be more appropriate!). You really had to be there to truly appreciate what we had to climb over and along just to get to Willen Lake! The return route was quickly re-thought and I am pleased to report free of any water obstacles! At least we had a good laugh about the situation and the the rest of the run was solid and fast, even if we did leave a trail of mud behind us :-)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A long and wet 17 miles this morning.....

This morning I headed out early (6:30am!) for my long run as I wanted to get it completed without impacting the rest of the day for the family. So, off I ventured into a dark, misty and wet morning which really didn't get that much better for the whole 17.24 miles; well OK it got a little lighter but that was about it. I think the perfect description of my run today is that it was 'horrible and good all at the same time'. The horrible part was the wet weather which meant that after about 30 minutes into my run I was soaked through to my skin (which isn't a nice way to run) and then the cold that soon followed....the good is the fact that I covered 17.24 miles (I set out with 17 miles as my target) and it feels great to have accomplished this distance today. Also, it's good as it shows me that I can deal with the challenges that I am faced with...there is no doubt that on many occasions throughout my run today I questioned myself on what I was doing but each time I kept reminding myself that marathon training is hard and that to succeed I need to be strong both mentally and physically and today without any doubt I trained both these elements!
Also today saw me completing 116 miles in total for February - I am very pleased with this :-)

Friday, February 26, 2010

A good lunchtime run, with some fast intervals

I did a good solid run this lunchtime; incorporating some fast interval sessions during the middle of the run and the whole run was made extra challenging by the windy weather conditions! It was however nice to add some speed and has made me realise that I need to try to incorporate more speed sessions into my weekly training.

A wonderful way to spend a lunchtime :-)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A great 10½ mile run after work

This evening my friend and I ventured out straight after work with the intention of running part of the MK Half Marathon route (in preparation for the race on the 7th March, which we are both running in) and I’m pleased to report that we not only managed to complete what we set out to do, but we both felt really strong at the finish.

Tomorrow is a rest day for me and then I intend to run 3-4 miles on Friday lunchtime – perhaps doing a few fast intervals!! Then its cross-training on Saturday and my long run on Sunday (17 miles this week!)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A really good week of running….

….finished off nicely with a steady 15½ mile long run today! and thanks to everyone running with CYM this morning for doing the first 4 miles with me :-)

This week has been a really strong running week for me, seeing me run 5 out of the 7 days and totalling 37 miles. The defining point though was today’s long run where I still felt strong after 15½ miles; this was very satisfying and encouraging!

The following is a summary of my runs this week:

Monday 15th: 3M pace run
Tuesday 16th: 5M steady
Wednesday 17th: 10.5 steady
Thursday 18th: Rest day
Friday 19th: Rest day
Saturday 20th: 3M easy
Sunday 21st: 15.5M long

Happy running everyone :-)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A good 5 miles along the canal broadway and parts of the Millennium circular route (route 51)

It was nice to head out this morning without a route in mind. I started from Newlands and headed up towards the canal and then in to Campbell Park, following the Millennium circular route (route 51) most of the time. I then did my final two miles along the canal before heading back to Newlands and finding something I never knew existed behind the car park in Newlands: the cathedral of trees. (Information on the cathedral of trees can be found at the Parks Trust website: I will definitely be going back here with my camera when the weather is better.
It was good run this morning; not fast and not that long but steady. I am hoping to do a longer run (hopefully 10 miles) tomorrow after work so I thought I shouldn't push myself too much today.
I must admit that until recently I haven't done much running along side the canal but recently I have had the opportunity and I really do enjoy it. There is something quite peaceful about it, made better when you see a barge moving along the waterways. The smell this morning of the log burning fires on the barges moored at Campbell Park was lovely. The names of some of the barges are quite fun too. There is a lovely painted one, moored this morning at Campbell Park, named 'Paris' and another one called 'Violet Clare 2' but my favourite one that I saw this morning was a double width barge called 'Moose Drool'!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A good solid 7 mile run with a couple of fast miles in the middle!
I was supposed to do a six mile run with some faster ‘surges’ yesterday but yesterday the day ran away with me and I just didn’t get the time. So instead I swapped yesterday and today around and did the run this morning. I also did a mile more than I was scheduled, not really because I wanted to but just because I had to as I was still a mile away from home when my watch chimed 6 miles!Although today hasn’t been a very nice day (weather wise) this morning when I was out it was perfect running weather.
My route today took me through Ouzel Valley Park and onto Willen Lake. I did one lap of the smaller lake before heading home back through the park. I also upped my pace for the Willen Lake lap and pushed myself to under 8 minute miles for two miles; it was tough as around the lake there always seems to be a head wind (how does that work!) but it was rewarding to see the fast mile times on my watch. In fact all my mile times today were under 9 minute/miles so this is very pleasing! My aim is to get my average minute/mile time for long/easy runs to around 8 ½ in time for the marathon.
So, I am very pleased with today’s run and I am looking forward to my long run tomorrow. My aim tomorrow is to head out at about 9am and do an hour of running before I meet up with my CYM running group. I will do another 3 to 4 miles with them and then I aim to run home again via the canal to hopefully complete a total of 14 this space!
P.S. Thank you to everyone at work who has sponsored me so far (Bev, Andy, David, Ruth, Jamie, Julian and Paul); CYM and I really appreciate your support. Cheers guys :-)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My JustGiving fund raising page

My JustGiving fund raising page is now live and ready to take all of your wonderful and much appreciated donations!! The page can be found here:

As many of you already know, this will be my 4th London Marathon (and probably my last!) but I do intend to enjoy it and to raise as much money as I can for my charity.

My charity is called Climb Your Mountain (CYM). CYM is a unique and innovative charity based in Milton Keynes that helps people to climb the personal mountains that they face in life, whether it be depression, stress, anxiety, low confidence or low self-esteem. CYM offers support, training, motivation and opportunities to prevent, deal with and overcome issues. CYM does this by focusing on exercise and inspiring physical activities.

I would really appreciate it if you would help me with my challenge by sponsoring me; no amount is too small or too large!

Thanks everyone :-)

P.S. Although I say it will be my last London Marathon, it isn't necessarily going to be my last marathon: I have aims (some time in the future) to run a few European marathons and maybe even New York and Boston one day! However for the very near future (after London) I will be concentrating on my favourite running distance 'the half marathon'! :-)

Sunday, February 07, 2010

A great weekend of running, which rounds off a great week of running!

I have had a great weekend of running this weekend. I didn't venture out for my 6 mile run on Friday (I wasn't feeling 100% all day) so instead I decided to do a shorter run yesterday (4 miles) and included some hill reps; it worked out well and I felt strong on the hills (which is good news as I have been trying to do more hill work during the week so may be this is a sign that it is paying off!).

Then today I joined up with Jane and others from CYM to take part in the Parks Trust 10k run which set off from Great Linford, near the Manor. It was a great run and it was really nice to run with Jane...I then set off to run home along the Canal Broadway which added just over another 10k to my training today so a good solid 12 miles of running in total with some faster average miles than I have been doing in my longer runs, so I am very pleased with this.

Today's 12 miles sees me completing just under 30 miles this week with lots of variation and enjoyment :-)

The Parks Trust runs are held each month (the first Sunday in each month) and they set off from different places around Milton Keynes each month. They normally have three distances to choose from (2k, 5k and 10k mostly). They are informal, you don't have to sign up beforehand you can just turn up and decide on the day how far you want to run. If you are interested the details are on there website HERE!

Next week I am scheduled to do the following:

Monday: Rest or 5M easy, off-road
Tuesday: Warm up, 3 x 10 mins @ 1/2 marathon pace, with 4-min recoveries
Wednesday: 8-10M, easy/steady
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 6M steady with a few surges
Saturday: Warm-up, 3M at a brisk pace, warm-down
Sunday: 13M easy
Have a good week everyone :-)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

10 miles after work....

This evening I did a 'good' run (well it felt good to complete it; it wasn't that great during it as I felt very tired!) but the good news is 'I did it' and its another good run under my belt and it means that so far this week I have managed to stay on top of my training plan. Tomorrow is a rest day and then hopefully on Friday I will get to do a steady 6 miles with a few speed bursts...

P.S. My apologies for not posting over the past few weeks - things have been rather busy so unfortunately my blog has had to take a back seat! However from now on I will endeavour to blog at least every couple of days to keep you all posted on my training 'highs and lows'!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Finally running again....

After nearly three weeks out of action due to illness, I finally got out again for a short but good run today. There was snow on the ground but it wasn't too icy and it was just really nice to be out again.

Hopefully my training will develop from here as the marathon isn't that far away!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Out with the old and in with the new!

However due to illness over Christmas and now the snowy weather conditions I am not sure when I will next get out running :-( I haven't been running now for two weeks and I'm feeling rather lazy...prior to Christmas I was getting on really well with my training.....oh well, I'm sure I will be back out soon - maybe tomorrow (but most likely on the treadmill if the snow is still around!).

Happy New Year everyone - hope its a happy, healthy and running year for you!