The Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon is one of the most scenic city runs in the world. Starting and finishing in Hyde Park, the beautiful 13.1 mile route races through four of London’s stunning Royal Parks (Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, The Green Park and St James’s Park) and offers runners magnificent views of some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks, including Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Marble Arch and the Royal Albert Hall along the way.
RACE DAY – Woohoo! New PB. 2hrs8mins. Was a tough one. Much much fast pace. No nerves at start. Just had to get through it. I had placed myself in the 2hr30 category group and had to do a lot of overtaking to get to a clearer position. Ran much faster, solidly. Was determined not to stop, or walk. Was sad to see so many injuries and people giving up along the way. I was out to complete and as I had calculated for 2hrs, I needed to be at the right place 3miles, 6miles, 9miles and 12miles at the right time, as I have always trained in Kms. I had seen 2.10 markers, which I knew if I wanted to get 2hrs, i was to go before them, so i sped ahead.. only for me to see another 2.10 marker and i was confused how he had passed me.. so i decided to keep up and over take.. then realising hilariously, he must have been the 2.10 marker for the next category ahead! lol! I spotted supporters Josephine and then Steve cheering me on. A first for me to have supporters so it felt odd, but their shouts did help me a long at the right places when i needed it. Save our Children also do a massive and long shout for me as i waved and nodded to them. However when I got to 12miles.. I got frazzled, had no idea what to do and amusingly felt I had thighs of heavy lead to carry. I couldn’t pick up much more speed and it annoyed me, but had to realise I may not get my usual sprint finish, but could see the Finish line ahead as I over took walkers. Was frustrated I had no sprint finish, and i had got under 2hrs at 12miles as calculated, but was totally baffled at what to do up to 13.1miles! haha. I’m proud that I have not walked, stopped or even used my gels! Very happy when I look at it at the end result!
Thank you everyone for all many many motivational SMSs, emails, live tweets, donations and support. I certainly thought of you guys as I ran along and did it for team! YEY! On behalf of Save Our Children, and the little children in Japan, thank you very very much xx
AND… together with your help, an amazing £608 was raised for the little ones in Japan, after the horrific tsunami and earthquake disaster. Headlines come and go, giving a brilliant reason to get back and run for charity again, is better than any. I would have not done it without all your motivating and encouraging messages and sponsors behind me. Thank you everyone xx
13 hours tg – Past few days resting up. Carbing up. Getting as much sponsors in and backing me. £568 raised so far. 60% of my target. Crashed out earlier today. Maybe that will be enough. Dreading night with my insomnia. Will I? Won’t I! Garmin on charge. Pod ready (with busted armband!lol another one!) Kit ready. Layers ready. Weather checked. TFL checked. Feeling good. Lots of messages coming in for tomorrow. Wanting to shave off 14mins. Quite a lot, but wanting closer to the 2hr mark and I’ll be happy. Plus no injury!
4 days tg – Early intense boxing sparring and circuit training with Marek. Bursts of energy really tested me and the fact i need to get the morning fuel in. Good to change of pace, and routine. Missed and loved getting the wraps back on after all these years. Technique still there as I got in to it. Good to get stress out, at same time, need to be less hard on self. An all too familiar piece of advice to not get too frustrated on self if missed the rhythm or target. Tempting to go back into Muay Thai and Boxing… Stretching proved I have done something to my left thigh (not the hamstring.. but the front.. gosh can’t remember the term) Noticed it very very stiff during the last week. Good to get it properly stretched out with him. Watch me ache the next 48hrs…
5 days tg – getting more sponsors in! Thanks guys. 12k on the treadmill, with faster intervals. All good. Body not tired, but feeling need to sort out diet eating. Felt my grazing had picked up, but need to turn it up much more. Burning it all more, craving sugars. Not good.
9 days tg – have been doing sessions also waterbased. So it adds a different dimension as well as focus to my workout. Can’t get over how the time has crept up very quickly. With only nine days to go. The most important thing for me at the moment is proper rest and its been weeks since I’ve had a real sleep. Insomnia taken its toll and as usual, can’t work out what it could be that’s playing on my mind. I am looking forward to race day, but I am aiming for 2hrs. How will I on earth do this?!! ! Friends coming to support, which will be interesting for me, as a first… stocking up the training foods now, to be delivered, so no excuses.
14 days tg – Solid run, faster pace. I definitely feel less strain on my knees at a faster pace and i naturally do it when i off road and outdoors. 12km in 58mins. Very impressed and surprised myself that i was able to pick up speed after finding my pace after the usual 20min. Its strange how after the 20mins, i feel my body can go on and on without thought, its just those initial 20mins. I had intended to hit Greenwich for the slopes, but ended up in Victoria Park instead. Feeling chuffed at my new timing and bring back confidence for the race soon approaching. Worried about my knees the other day, but a days rest was good.
16 days tg – Put in a good run.. only for knees to kick in again on gradient.. oh no.. frustrated as had to stop. Body telling me to slow down.. will try again weekend. Race Pack, tag and bib number arrived.
18 days tg – Good workout, 45min run in heat. Can’t believe it’s only 18 days away. My word! Lack of sleep is not great, so will need to get more distance in.
23 days tg – Good run. Tired from work. Long week.
27 days tg – Just completed the adidas 5k women’s challenge as part of my training. I loved the pre and post race buzz. I forgot about the part of over taking everyone at the starting line, weaving in and out and also the sprint finish. Did well. PB 26.43. Sprinted the 5th Km. Many up hills and down slopes on the course. Bright sunny day, great Sunday morning! Very happy.
31 days tg – 0645 workout. Did a short run and workout. Cocktails really tested me from the night before. Must keep re-hydrated.
32 days tg – my thighs have been like steel and going anywhere near up or down stairs has that all too familiar pain back again for athletes, when they know you’ve done a great workout! Terrible isn’t it?! Today – an ordinary workout but my mind wasn’t into it as much as I had intended. You can never predict how your day goes and what frame of mind you will be when you get to the gym. Still, did 45 mins solidly. Feeling it easier. Still dislike that far end machine, way too hot feel faint whenever I’m on that one. Been on a high since the weekend run. On a high! Given me confidence that training is possible for others.
35 days tg – POW 18km. 95mins, at a much faster pace. In the right frame of mind to do a varied street run, paths and parks. I had intentionally wanted to go across east to west and find Hampstead, only I ended up mostly around north London and further out by Arsenal stadium, London Fields, Cannonbury, Manor House, Finsbury park. Lol. Its because I try to take the little roads, instead of major roads where there are cars and pollution for a different scene. Plenty of ups, downs, bridges, canals, it felt very good to work gradients, a high. I only called a end, when i realised i was going to go round in circles when I couldn’t seem to get from stamford hill to Hampstead yet I was so close! arrrghh! Brilliant clear day, pretty warm, but it only made me want to stay out longer. 6 strangers had shouted out motivational messages which I found a major buzz from and waved and smiled back to their thumbs up. Felt good and was on a high. Brilliant run. Everything escapes and you just want to keep exploring. Major Buzz!
39 days tg – Legs are like jelly. Heart feels like it is still racing. 2hr workout. Tough pace. Very pleased. Always intrigued how I find the slower pace harder. Feeling good. Arms and Chest adrenaline still going like mad. Its alllllll good! 🙂 Happy days!
42 days tg – okay don’t laugh – but I was doing fine. Felt the running bug on Bank holiday weekend, and packed self to gym, when during the run, my ponytail band snapped and broke! arrghh! Its been happening to me recently, since I can no longer find the ones I use. Its all my thick-afro-hair fault! No hairbands can stand it! And it distracted me that I tried to continue, but simply lost teh rhythm and pattern.. the focus was gone. So annoying. I got 30mins in, but am frustrated at self.
Plus! I got my racing bib sent through the door.. for the 5k addidas women’s run on the 11th!! One which I didnt remember entering. Sure i looked, but didn’t! oh gosh.
45 days tg – 8.5km. Forever eating. Work has consumed me that past few days I was far too drained mentally/emotionally to go to the gym. I had good intention but when you know you can’t, you can’t. Feeling good today.
52 days tg – work consuming my hours. Managed a very strong 7k. Which means.. ooh-er i need to pick up the pace or distance and push harder.. But reflecting back how I have picked up my fitness pretty quick considering such a long break. Muscle does have memory, and it only takes perseverance. Putting in the reps as well for press ups, which I am happy with.
54 days tg – My. Legs. Feel. Like. Jelly. Over 120mins solid pace. Plus workout before and after. Gear soaked right through. Head buzzing…. wooohooo..Can’t feel legs coming home lol. C’mon guys! needing to raise the sponsor to reach the target. I’m feeling the pain, so you guys won’t have to!
59 days tg – Great run and feeling it 60mins faster pace. Then rower and resistance for 30mins. Even the sit ups and press ups are less achy. Hmm. Need to increase reps me thinks! Thing that is difficult is trying to eat right times.
61 days tg – good solid run. Feels good. bit of a mad weekend plus no sleep. Big effect, but every bit counts. Can feel and see body more defined and more like before.
66 days tg – hottest day at 30 degrees. Work mad. Had to get it out of system. Thought I would try something different. Went with a personal trainer and worked solidly on core strengths and upper body. Unfortunately I felt rather sick, for the first time ever, had to stop and breathing went. Dashed to cooler changing rooms and within minutes my head stopped spinning and i could breathe. A bit scary, but the PT said that it certainly weren’t my fitness, but it was the heatwave. Many others had felt the same from the heat that comes out from all the machines. It made me aware of conditions are just as important. I pushed self very hard and asked for super sets. I weren’t to give up.
68 days tg – joined gym near work on a 6 week offer before offices relocate. The upcoming weeks at work are to be grilling, but in a way i feel the gym is the ideal way to burn off the energies, stress and worries at work. Its “my” time to just let my thoughts run freely. Saw the familiar guy who was training next to me, with my encouragement last week. We nodded and waved. It’s nice when you can egg each other on, in a nice but not intrusive way. Impressed myself, as i worked hard for 2hours solidly and brought out my jump rope too for a while. Feeling the hamstrings tighten, and is it me, or my legs building its muscle again..
75 days tg – 0645 Early run again in the gym. Tried to fuel up before I went this time. Unsure if it helps, but felt sluggish after a tough nights sleep. Its so important to get rest. Every effort counts. Happy I made it and got in early to feel energized for the day ahead.
76 days tg – fun weekend. Good to have a break. Let the body rest is just as important. Feeling difference already, sporting heels for mates birthday. Cool. Did a a tough tough workout. On the runner for 1hr 15mins. A much faster pace. Resistance training, and back on my favorite Adductor. Very happy with outcome. Buzzing. Afterwards felt like i could go again… ooh-er
79 days tg – Oh YES. I feel I am getting a sense of being back in the room. Completed under 70min run which I pounded through, then still had enough in me to continue rower and resistance machines for another 40mins. Feeling very good. Gym was empty. Filled up with carbs at lunch. Forever hungry. V pleased. 3rd sess on the trot. C’mon! Bring on the support and sponsors!
80 days tg – 0645 Early run in new gym. Figuring out new machines etc in a busy gym, I was determined to stay on the machine, even if i had to do interval training. I read up that its just as effective. What didnt help was not over doing it after last night, but it was the fact i couldnt get up any earlier to eat something for fuel, so felt sluggish. Rowed and resistance, still good and did a 2 hour workout. Is it enough this gym…? Feel refreshed for work, but was starving!
81 days tg – Signed up for a 5day free pass at LA fitness which is next to my work place, which starts tomorrow. I have been debating whether or not to join a 2nd gym. Late night run. Faster pace for 40mins. Need to get back without feeling tough. But still feeling good. Should I sign up for more smaller races before the half?
86 days tg – Feeling Great! Empty Gym. Went back during night and could just get on the runner, without feeling guilty hogging the machines. Faster pace and going strong. Pushed self also on resistance weights and floor work. Then couldnt help but feel conscious when I had to step in to two blokes and teach them with some better Thai Boxing techniques of their mid pad work. I couldn’t go on watching corner of my eye! lol. Feeling the adrenalin. Bumped into old gym buddy and he thought he hadn’t seen me in a while! lol! Bring it On!!
88 days tg – It’s been a long few weeks with work and then falling unwell and needing to rest. I’m eager to get back on it tonight with a sess. Watch this space later.
oh cr*p. Just seen the route map for 2011: Usual nerves kicking in what-have-I-signed-up-for-feeling!
Useless. PACKED GYM at 1800. Why didn’t I go at my usual late or early o’clock session? So damm frustrated now, as really wanted a good decent workout. Rowed out my frustrations for 20. Might have to look for 2nd gym to train and get some hours in…
107 days tg – Busy non stop day at work, declined all party invites, and came home to get self to gym, and did a great run. Even paced. Picked up speed and steadily worked through the methods I know to get a good stride and stamina without wasting energy. Felt good. Lasted 40 easily and could have gone on longer, but that is the difference of using the home gym. You can’t hog the machines for too long. Free weights stretching out the other day’s stiffness and it all feels familiar. Very happy and in the zone. Its all good. Muscle definitely has memory! Keeping it up! Yey!
109 days tg – Yep I know! Many late nights at work pitches, followed by trip to HKG, which I had great intention and even took my gym kit, only I prob burned off more cals and paces each day as it was 24/7 go go go go! Exhausted when I got back to land on my birthday, which has been admittedly excessive by friends insisting a catch up.. by the bar! But this is what this blog is for – to express how people like yourself, can get up, off the sofa, away from the tv and make time to do a bit of exercise, whether it be for health, fitness or a race like me.
Felt bloody great to be back on the runner. Turned down mates, to go after long hours again at work. Finished with rower. Its all good. Motivated by my boss who did a weekend cycle, reminds me to get back that familiar adrenaline from training. C’mon and dig deep and sponsor me back on track.
154 days tg – Hayfever and Vicky park killed me. Good grief. Felt rough. Finished off with bike and rower sess in the gym. Adapting diet to how it used to be. Online groceries here we come. Fresh fish, pasta, protein, carbs, veg and fruit.
157 days tg – Rower to get an overall workout followed by a light run and weights. So exhausted (mentally) by hours at work.
169 days tg – Easter weekend is here. Yes! Which means emptied gyms and parks due to Easter getaways. Choice of early 5am run or evening. I opted for the latter due to a liquid diet last nigh and was confidently in good pace over my standard 45min run. Followed by free weights. Alls good. Feeling v good. Last weekend was the London Marathon and several friends are doing the cycle John Groats – Landsend. Good luck boys! It’s a great vibe! Want to bring up the pace tomorrow. Plan to make use of this weekend in the sneaks. Work colleague mentioned a Greenwich footpath.. I must investigate…
182 days tg – Clear day ahead and took my strides in sunny Victoria Park E2. Lovely day, should have taken an earlier run at 5 or 6am, as there were many runners as well as the heat was turning up. A faster pace, 7,3km in 45mins of a pause in middle (sadly witnessed they are digging up VPark, so frequent narrowing of paths to let pushchairs and jog dog walkers by) Feeling good. Know I can do MUCH better.
187 days tg – Remembered why I carefully schedule my training and routine of eating times before training. Mondays = PACKED gym! The gym is the only option for me when work finishes late as somewhere safe without friends and families getting worried. Shorter but much tougher workout tonight. Feeling the familiar burn… and addiction to keep pushing self. Donations coming in – its brilliant. Thank you guys x
190 days to go – First day back. Felt good. Light workout. 45mins 6.8km. But no bag or resistance today. Still awaiting map of race to be confirmed. Should be great views. Need new tracks to motivate me on my ipod. My gear all looks battered through years of fitness. Made me laugh. 9 months out since. Great familiar buzz to be back in it. Doing it for a a great cause.
194 days to go – Okay. I’m In. Bloody hell. It’s been time since I have worked out. This will be tough, but they say muscle has memory.. let’s hope its not like the goldfish memory I have in my ditzy head. Already opened organizer and I’m to start scheduling my runs and routine. What I found hard for a half marathon was not the distance of the actual race day, but the time to fit training in around working hours. Let’s begin rounding up supporters…
Taking a rest from any form of exercise was new to me. Since making a world record in the Sumo 5k fun run, June 2010 for my 30th birthday, I’ve felt the running bug to get off the bench and the need to get back in to training. This half marathon will be my 2nd one, and after braving my first one in freezing icy cold and wet on the hills of Edinburgh, I know it will take effort to get back out running again and back in shape.