London Marathon

London Marathon 2014

I had such a brilliant day on Sunday running in my first ever marathon; the prestigious Virgin London Marathon.
I’ve completed many 5k’s, 10k’s, triathlons and half marathons over the last 10 years but have never had the opportunity to have a bash at a marathon. I’m so pleased that I took the training seriously as it definitely paid off on the day. I managed to run the whole 26.2 miles without stopping, which wasn’t easy with the unusually warm weather for April in the UK. My goal was to complete in under 5 hours and I actually managed it in 4:54:50 which I’m delighted with.

20140414-203621.jpg

Val running for Starlight 13.4.14

The crowds were marvellous from start to finish, cheering and encouraging us especially when we were flagging. In an earlier post (Hydration, hydration, hydration!) I covered the importance of drinking sufficient fluid and in the heat this was even more important. As a nutritionist generally if I want something sweet I eat fruit, if I want something really sweet I eat pineapple, when running a marathon however it’s jelly babies, lots, and lots of jelly babies.

My charity is the Starlight Children’s Foundation who grant wishes for seriously and terminally ill children. I’ve raised nearly £800 so far and if you would like to support this great cause you can sponsor me via the following link:
http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/valsrunningforstarlight

The organisation of the event was second to none, with bottled water available almost every mile and sports drinks and gels available too. I enjoyed every minute and running the last few hundred metres passed Buckingham Palace to the finish was very special, made even more so with my sister, niece and Starlight supporters all cheering me on.

After the race I met up with all my lovely family at the Starlight ‘after marathon party’ and was treated to a massage which was a real bonus. The whole day was amazing, I felt a great sense of achievement having completed such a physical challenge, was thankful to all those who sponsored me, and I loved being part of such a special charity. The lovely emails, texts and Facebook messages I received really added something special to the occasion.

Over the next couple of weeks I’m going rest, and take some time out to relax and decide on my next big challenge!

You can find out more about how I managed my time in the run up to the London Marathon via the following link:
http://www.student365.co.uk/Feature/1212,London-Marathon

20140414-203647.jpg
Val

Winter Olympics 2014

I don’t know about you but I’m loving the Winter Olympics in Sochi. In particular I’m loving the strength and determination of the female athletes who are truly inspirational.

20140216-234554.jpg

The ups and downs of the last few days have been captivating. A real highlight was our first gold medal win of the games, by Lizzy Yarnold in the skeleton, which was made even more emotional by the reaction of Amy Williams who had previously won skeleton gold in 2010.

The GB speed skater Elise Christie’s Olympic hopes went from bad to worse when she was disqualified for crashing in the 500m and then after putting that disappointment behind her missed out on qualifying in the 1500m for not crossing the line correctly. I can’t begin to image how terrible she felt.

The women’s cross country 4x5km relay was another highlight.
The race ended spectacularly when the Swedish athlete Charlotte Kalla came from behind in the final leg to catch the two leaders and then overtake them in a breathless race to the finish, and the gold.

Add all this to the outstanding fundraising efforts of Davina McColl over the last week and it confirms that with hard work and determination we can do anything we put our minds too.

It was blowing a gale again yesterday so I ran for 2 hours on the treadmill. I normally get bored on the treadmill after half an hour but watching the Olympic coverage definitely spurred on.

I’ve spent an hour today doing a revision and assignment plan to take me through to the 30th May when my last assignment is handed in. This along with my marathon training plan pretty much has my life mapped out and jam packed for the next 14 weeks.

I gave up alcohol on 31st December 2013 and don’t intend to drink again until after the London marathon. I’ve not missed it at all and it has definitely helped my training. I did use to enjoy a glass of red wine but I didn’t enjoy having a fuzzy head in the morning. I’ve decided you can’t run and drink and not because I might spill it!

Last weekend I ran for 18 miles and made sure I stayed hydrated and had a ‘Red Hot devil’ Nutri-juice drink at every six mile marker. I was tired at the end but my legs and muscles all felt fine.

Marathon training is relentless if you’re not out running you getting ready for running. I’m icing my shins, have spent a fortune on gels, I’m living in Lycra, I’ve changed my diet to include more carbs, and my idea of fun is a soak in the bath and a sports massage. I’m grateful to Davina and the Olympic athletes for their inspiration and with only 8 weeks to go until ‘race day’ I need all the help I can get.

Val