Dopey Training – September 2018

It’s finally a rundisney month. The month ahead bring lots of longer training runs and a brilliant race weekend trip to paris.

Looking back over August it has been incredible, for the most part I have managed to stick to my training plan. There have been times where I have gone a little off but I’ve actually increased my miles more than originally planned.

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Highlights of August:

  • I managed a 5 day streak in which I kept a really consistant pace across. I threw myself into the running the first week of August and I think it paid off. I noticed improvements in my pace, consistancy and heart race that week and it’s shown me the more I run and stick to the plan the better the pay off.

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  • I discovered a new 5k route from home – it’s flatter, less interuptions (crossing etc) and generally felt a lot more refreshing than my previous routes.
  • I got a few good runs in with my friends.

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  • I ran a half marathon – I turned up to do it thinking it would be difficult due to it being 13 laps of the Velopark. Surprisingly it was not that difficult. I started flagging in the last few laps but over it was a really good race, I got my best half marathon time.

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I’ve had a great 3 weeks in August however this last week has been awful – I’ve been a little unwell after the half marathon and struggled to get back into the routine of it all.

The plan is to stick to the training plan for September and enjoy RunDisney amoungst many other races I have planned. I know I can do a half marathon comfortably so I am not worried about the races or the distance but worry will set in once I’m home from Paris & Centre Parks the following weekend.

It’s just over 4 months until we leave for Florida to do the Rundisney Marathon weekend and I’m currently feeling nervous about it. I was so knocked out by the half marathon last weekend it’s worried me how I’m going to cope doing the back to back runs, I know I can do 5k, 10k and a half back to back but I am seriously worried about the marathon – and the amount of pressure I unintentionally put on myself to do well.

I’m looking to really concentrate on my heart rate during my runs now, I feel like something isn’t quite right at points in my run, my heart rate is too high and my chest and arms start to ache quite badly after long periods of an elevated heart rate. My back tends to hurt the following days after a long run, so I’m going to really take care of my self pre and post runs this month.

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Thanks for following alone with this journey thus far. I am on week 11/30 now so over a third of the plan is down, I still have so far to go until the start line of the marathon but hopefully all this hard work will be worth it.

taaah

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Dopey Training – August 2018

Hello August!

July has been eventful. So many social events, finally signed up for the Dopey Challenge officially and spent a wonderful weekend celebrating my birthday, so running ended up being pushed aside a little.

Still I only missed 4 days of my training plan and took part in a couple of runthrough events. It was a great month for socialising, running with others and helping to motivate each other towards our fitness and personal goals.

This month I also brought a few pairs of leggings from sweaty Betty, I am in love. A pocket big enough to hold my phone, comfy and make me feel great when I wear them. What more could I ask for?

Due to missing a few runs in July I have upped my mileage slightly from the plan, taking advantage of the one rainy day we’ve seen in a while with a 7.5 mile run.

 

Just as I’m getting used to the training schedule, it now changes for August with back to back days every weekend and the slow increase of miles.

I know it’s going to be a struggle this month, back to back days are so hard but I really need to get into this routine, I need to make more of a conscious effort to wake up early go for a run and get it out the way with so I can enjoy the rest of the day.

Thanks for reading my quick updates, apologies I don’t have anything more insightful to say right now, life is a little hectic and the blog has kinda been sidelined.

My RunDisney Journey

I’m a little bit Dopey today. I’ve booked my race tickets for the Walt Disney World marathon weekend, and I’m doing the dopey challenge: 5k, 10k, Half Marathon & Marathon over one weekend. 6 medals, tshirts, lots of characters and lots of fun!

For those of you who haven’t been following my RunDisney journey I’m going to do a little summary post today about why I Run Disney, what got me started and what my future plans are.

In late 2015 a friend of mine sent me a link about the princess weekend in Walt Disney World. Earlier that year I had been on my first trip to Disneyland Paris and was a little bit in love with the park culture, but the thought of going to Walt Disney World seemed like an impossible dream. I was still working part time within the fitness industry then, and considered this a fun challenge I could possibly do. I did my research and found that Disneyland Paris were introducing Run Disney events in the September of 2016. The friend who originally turned me onto the idea wasn’t all in, but I was so I booked my place.

The January of 2016, after not long having started a new job I began my training. I began walking to work every day (1 hour there and 1 hour Home again) and took my walking to a run. I wasn’t fast, it wasn’t fun and it took me a long time to get into it. I couldn’t even run half a mile at the beginning of my training without getting out of breathe. My work offered me a place running Royal Parks the same year, this just happened to be two weeks after the Disneyland Paris race weekend, I hadn’t really thought this through. I trained for a long time for my first half marathons, it was a continuous thing throughout the year, but in the thick of it, I was using the Bupa beginners training plan.

Running was completely new to me, and I wish then I’d known all the things I know now. I trained in the same crappy trainers that took me through months of training and two half marathons.

September comes around quickly, I’m staying off site with my good supportive friend Steph who couldn’t resist the opportunity to come to Disneyland Paris. I didn’t do the 5k then, it seemed targeted towards children, with a plastic medal, I was all in for the half marathon though. In hindsight the first year wasn’t that busy, there were many American tourists coming for the inaugural year but not many people in total I believe. It felt like a very unique experience as I knew no one else doing it or anyone who had heard of these events.

The first year I managed to meet most of the characters and complete my first half marathon in 2 hours and 27 minutes. All the characters were in the first 5k, and the rest of the course was around the outside of the Disney property. I was very pleased with my time, the first 5k took me 45 minutes so looking back, with character stops that could have been my best half marathon time. The character stops were short and sweet, jump in jump out and run on. The medal was spectacular and the atmosphere around the parks after was great, lots of people showing off their bling and posing for pictures.

My legs struggled around the parks for the rest of the day and the following days but it was so worth it. Going home I knew this was an experience I’d want to do again.

At the end of 2016, Leah and I met through a Facebook group called “RunDisney Run” after I made a post on New Year’s Eve, we had both Run the Disneyland Paris races in the September and big had our sights set for Florida & Paris in 2017. Being a Disney expert she was able to offer me lots of advice for booking my Walt Disney World holiday. We eventually met up to cheer the 2016 London Marathon and our friendship blossomed from there. We had both booked on to do the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon weekend and the Walt Disney World Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend. Though we had separate trips booked for both we had plans to meet up.

By September 2017, I had completed quite a few more races. I’d finished the 2016 Royal Parks half (in 2:13) and Great Manchester Run Half Marathon (in 2:16) as well as many other races with Runthrough.

The Disneyland Paris 2017 Half Marathon week was a little different to my first experience. Firstly it was really poorly organised, there were issues with shirt sizes and character stops, it was extraordinarily busy and just not as exciting as the year before. The theming was all over the place with major character errors printed on tshirt and other things around the event. On the flip side I was surrounded by friends, so it was far from the lonely experience 2016 had been.

I didn’t find the back to back races to be too challenging, I wore different trainers for different distances and had slowed my pace down to accommodate for friends/taking it all in I guess. The finish line was in the parks this year which I didn’t think was necessary. It made the finish a bit over crowded and chaotic. The challenge medal was great for this year despite the theming being really disconnected. Unfortunately they ran out of medals for some people which seems a bit ridiculous as they know how many people to expect.

In October 2017 I flew to Orlando Florida for my first ever trip to Walt Disney World. I had organised and paid for the whole trip myself and was excited to be able to share this experience with my mum, who agreed to run a 5k with me and trained really hard. Days before we were due to fly she had a fall and did some damage to her arm (small broken bone from what I can remember) she was such a trooper despite the pain. Walt Disney World itself was an incredible experience but the races were something else. Unlike the Paris races the organisation was impeccable. Character meets at the start line and finish line, great t shirts included in good size, an organised expo with lots of merchandise on offer and helpful staff throughout the races.

Starting the races early in the morning was hard, but understandable why they do so. It was so warm and humid. Me and Mum didn’t stop for any characters on the 5k as she just wanted to run the race, however there weren’t any I wanted to stop for. It was amazing to run through the beautiful world of pandora in Animal Kingdom in the dark! I ran the 10k alone and did really well for time, I only stopped for one character at the end which was Genie from Aladdin as this was the only character I was interested in meeting. I ran the Half Marathon with Leah and we stopped for lots of characters and took our time completing the course. The downside to the Walt Disney World races is that the volume of people often brings a lot of people who lack race etiquette. Large groups of Run/walkers took over the course making it difficult to get around them and often slowing us down. I commend everyone for participating in a race of any length, however there were a lot of people under trained and many people cutting it fine in front of the sweeper bus. I had also seen that many people were putting down unachievable marathon times (for them personally) to start in a earlier corral to give them more time to complete the course. RunDisney hold a rule of 16 minute mile pace from the last person.

On this trip I achieved my second RunDisney challenge medal and also got my Castle to Chateau medal. You get this medal when you complete a US race (there used to be races in California as well as Florida) and a Disneyland Paris race. This has to be one of my favourite medals.

Since returning from Florida, I’ve told myself countless time I can not afford another US trip so soon, however I caved and Leah and myself are going back just after New year 2019 to take part in the Walt Disney World marathon weekend. We will also be doing the Disneyland Paris races again this year too.

We both completed the 2018 London Marathon and whilst I still feel somewhat good about my running and am still motivated to keep going I feel like now is the right time to do this challenge.

This year it feels like so many more people are taking part – maybe because I’ve met so many Disney / running people through Instagram and twitter but also because I think people are seeing what a unique and incredibly rare opportunity this can be to meet your favourite characters. The downside to this is not everyone is going to take this as seriously as me and have as much passion for the running side of it. I first and foremost Run for my mental and physical wellbeing, running in Disney is the bonus and meeting my favourite characters is the cherry on top. I do have worries that the masses of bloggers/influencers doing it this year for a photo op is going to tarnish my experience, having noticed the rise in the races popularity last year, but I am determined to enjoy the race my own way in my own pace regardless.

Running with friends/family last year – my time definitely took a hit. Nothing against my friends, I applaud anyone who takes up this challenge but I also think running is such a personal thing, and as much as they would find it hard to match my pace I found it hard to match there’s. This year I want to have a mixture of the two year I’ve done so far, good runs and getting a good time for my self (and for a Disney race) and having fun with friends. My aim is to take a more relaxed approach to the shorter distances and have fun with my friends and then take it a little more seriously for the half marathon and full marathon. Running different races from my friends will also be exciting so we can compare experiences and character meets etc because no two races are the same!

My RunDisney goals, wishes and dreams:

⁃ complete the dopey challenge. If you haven’t read any of my training blogs, please do. You’ll see I’m running 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and Marathon over one weekend.

⁃ Run every single RunDisney race in a calendar year. Ok so this is definitely a dream and might never be a reality. There are currently 5 race weekends in a calendar year and two virtual race events, there used to be more when you could run in the California parks but they have currently stopped these with no idea when they will come back. Also the cost to do all and make all those trips would be extortionate, so maybe when I win the lottery?!

⁃ Run a race in one of the Asian parks. I would love to visit all the parks one day so why not try and squeeze in a race?!

⁃ Run the castaway cay 5k – I will have to save this for the next time I go to Florida as it requires me booking a small cruise.

⁃ Run the Disneyland Paris races every year. On the 25th anniversary of the Marathon weekend participants who ran every single year were given exclusive merchandise. GIVE ME THE MERCH.

⁃ I would love to see multiple race weekend at Disneyland Paris, the one we currently have needs a lot of work to be on par with Walt Disney World but over time this will improve.

⁃ I’d totally love to attend a Princess themed weekend wether it be in Florida or Paris and would definitely love to attend a Pixar themed race!

⁃ Lastly I think I’d just like to keep doing these races as long as I’m able, they are fun relaxed and friendly. I want to keep making friends doing these races, hopefully inspire others to take part and improve my own running in the meantime.

I am so happy registration is finally completed. I gave my proof of time as my London Marathon time, as it was a full marathon. So I’m hoping I can get a good corral placement via that. I cannot wait to add more medals to my collection!

Have you ever run a Disney race? Is it on your Bucket list? Will I be seeing you at Walt Disney World next January? Leave a comment below and let me know.

You can follow along with my training via my blog, Instagram and twitter.

Dopey Training – July 2018

Goodbye June, you’ve been amazing. Hello July. Bring on lots of amazing days out, a trip away and my birthday, oh and maybe some more training.

Looking back at the whole of June as opposed to the start of my training plan, I’ve had a busy month, I’ve done some aerial classes, flying trapeze, a couple of races, a relay triathlon and even tried swimming for the first time in a long time. I haven’t managed to stay perfectly on track with my training plan but I’m starting to get into it. The weather in the uk has been amazing and is set to sick around for a bit, as much as this isn’t the greatest for running in, it certainly gets me out the house and being more active.

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July’s plan is still quite easy on mileage, this gives me more of an opportunity to really get into the plan before building up. I’ve been struggling to reach 10k so hopefully this month I can get more comfortable with that distance ready to build up to half marathon distance again. I have a few practises of back to back running which comes nice and early in the plan so it’s less of a shock later on down the line.

Remember you can follow along with all of my training on Twitter & instagram.

Fandaze Inaugural Party – The Good, The Bad and The Endless Queuing

Read Leah’s amazing Fandaze blog, featuring me!

Leah’s Disney Life

Hi pals!

Welcome to my first ever blog post here on leahsdisneylife! I can’t quite believe its taken me this long to set up a blog to be honest but anyway I’ve got here eventually. Now what better thing to discuss as my first post than what is arguably going to be the most talked about event in the Disneyland Paris calendar for 2018.

Let me start by saying that I’ve already aired a lot of my thoughts, grievances and highlights on the night over on Twitter but I was keen to have somewhere where I could write up a proper account of the night and hopefully explain in more detail why my experience wasn’t as amazing as lots of others was. I really feel like this was an event that should have been incredible and sadly for me it just wasn’t. It absolutely wasn’t all bad, I had some…

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Dopey Training – June 2018

Hi All,

I am back. I’ve taken a short break after London Marathon but I am back with a new plan and a new goal.

Those reading this that have followed my running journey so far may have noticed that sadly most of my previous posts have disappeared. I have hidden most, and kept the ones I’m most proud of up for people to view. I removed the rest because… well it’s a long story but to sum it up, someone made blogging not feel like the happy place it used to for me, I let them win by removing my content, but after some gentle encouragement I am back.

My next challenge as I previously mentioned in my London Marathon post is the Walt Disney World Dopey challenge 2019. I currently do not have a place, RunDisney have moved all of the registration dates to due to a new system they are using as opposed to active.com. So the purchasing of my place will have to wait until July 19th, and I’m hopeful I will get one. I’ve looked at a variety of training plans for Dopey and coupled with the fact that I am also taking part in the third Disneyland Paris race weekend in September this year I thought I should get started on training. I’m sort of starting from scratch as I’ve had a bit of a running break. I’ve done some running but not a lot more than a few 5k’s. The Galloway training plan suggests 27 weeks of training, but aligning this with my schedule and other races I’ve chosen to make mine a 30 week plan.

A few things I’ve learnt from previous races:

– I cannot manage more than 10k on a week day

– I suck at sticking to a training plan especially when the days ask for more than 10k as above

– I am running Disney, the end result will not be fast, I need to stop putting a time pressure on myself.

Ok, so onto the plan…

As you can see so far June has been a quiet month for me. My aim for this month is to continue to take it easy but get familiar with my training plan and find my running mojo again.

I searched long and hard to find an app/training programme that could be altered to fit my goals however every single one I found was towards a goal of 1 race and as you may well know both the Disneyland Paris races and Dopey Challenge consists of back to back races so I really need to work my training around that. Someone on twitter advised me I could add custom workouts on Garmin connect that would work with my Garmin Forerunner 235. I was ecstatic to hear this and have taken the time to sit down and plan a full training plan. I’ve kept my Weekday runs to 10k and under and later on in the plan I will be practising back to back runs in the lead up to the race events.

The last two weeks of June I will be running 3 x 5k & 1 x 10k each week hopefully with some cross training thrown in.

So for now , that’s it. Watch this space as every month I will be talking you through the months training plan and other bits and bobs going on in my life.

If you have any questions about the races or my training, feel free to comment below or why not follow me on Twitter & instagram (@megandaniella) and we can connect!

London Marathon 2018: Race Recap

My london marathon experience started on the Friday before, I said goodbye to work on the Thursday and took the Friday to have some me time. I did some cleaning and life admin before going to get my nails and eyebrows done before catching some sun in the glorious weather we’ve been having.

I spent the afternoon shopping on oxford street before meeting Leah from work and making our way to the ExCel centre for the London Marathon expo.

The expo was amazing, very well organised much like the RunDisney race expo. We picked up our bibs, and headed for a little tour around checking out the merchandise and grabbing some fun photo ops.

One of our first stops was to see RunDisney, we got chatting to a gentleman on the booth (who was French and I believe to be a big deal in the organising of the races) who explained how RunDisney are changing the races this year to improve, they’d taken on feedback and preferences from the past two years survey and put it into the planning of this years race. He told us that the party was no longer happening on the friday night, so it wouldn’t clash with the 5k and that thhe theming was the most popular of the last two years post race survey’s, so thats how they came to the decision. I am thrilled to here they are listening and taking their time to make it better and better each year.

We got a few freebies from RunDisney and took some photos at their booth. They were happy we was as enthusiastic as they were.

We picked up our goodie bags, said hello to my charity – St John Ambulance and wandered around for a bit. In the Challenge section of the expo we got a few more photo ops and was so chuffed they printed the pictures there and then for us as well as sending via email. Great little souvenir for the day. Just like that it was gone 7 and time for us to head out. I love big organised races that have expo’s, this was much like RunDisney (in Florida) where they put on a big expo at ESPN world of Sports. I preferred Rundisney’s expo because they had more stuff tailored to my style. There wasn’t alot of Offical London Marathon Merchandise that caught my eye. I was going to buy one tshirt but they didn’t have it in my size.

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On Saturday my plan was just to relax, after more cleaning and some food shopping, I spent the day with Leah, Laura and Michelle eating food and watching Disney films. Perfect day.

I felt relaxed all of Saturday, pretty positive about the race and raring to go. I could have done more to prepare for this marathon but for my first ever marathon I think I’ve done a fair amount and am very organised and prepared for the day ahead.

I’ve had so many messages of love and support, cards and presents, my heart is just so full and I feel like I could do anything because I’ve got such a good team of people behind me.

The Big day.

I woke up around 6am – after a not so great sleep. I was super hot, there was thunder and lightening and just anxious. I got up and made coffee and bagels for myself and Leah and we started to get ready.

Michelle came over around 7am and we glittered ourselves up and headed to London Bridge in an uber.

We prepared ourselves for Long Queues for the train, but made it to Greenwich before half 8 and was in the start area in plenty of time.

Once in the red start area we went to the Loos, the queues weren’t bad at all, max 10 mins and they were quite clean at this point. We grabbed some water and hot drinks and found ourselves a spot to sit whilst we waited. Becky came and joined us and we listened to the greatest showman whilst we waited. In the general area the music they were playing wasn’t very motivational, so listening to our own stuff was much better.

Around 9:45 am we dropped our bags, and shuffled over to the toilet queue again, 10 minutes later we was done with toilets and heading over to the start pens. We met with Cat on our way over and everyone took a moment to chat before trying to get into our pens. Though I was feeling good this morning, it suddenly hit me I was about to run a marathon, Cat & Michelle went off to one start pen and Leah & Becky to another. Just then I realised how lonely this race might be for me as everyone was going off and I was left by myself.

After a little cry I joined Pen 6, this is the only point I felt the lack of organisation. There just didn’t seem to be any order to where people were standing, just where you could possibly get in. I was stood a but further back from the 4:15 pacer, who gradually got further away from me – for the best as that really wasn’t going to happen. My goal was just to finish but I was aiming for as 4:45-5 knowing I could run my first half at a 4:15 pace if I really tried and take it back in the second half, and enjoy it knowing the people I knew would be in the end half.

I met a few St John ambulance runners at the start and nervously shuffled to the start line, and then it was all go go go. The start wasn’t much of a spectacle unlike Disney, I didn’t hear an offical count down for my pen we were just hearded over the start line.

Within minutes I knew I wasn’t going to reach my time goals, I really struggled to get out and set in my pace, my first two miles were a 10 minute mile, normally would set off about a 9:15-9:30 for at least the first 3-5 miles, and bring it back. There was just a lot of weaving at the begining, and then once I got the the first water station my pace just got worse, it was literally impossible to run through a water station, even if you werent getting water everyone was just walking, gave me flashbacks to Wine & Dine at Disney again, just walking everywhere.

The heat got to everyone, it got to me, but I just wished I’d got out the gate a little quicker. because overall what I did in terms of pace wasn’t unexpected, I slowed down as planned and ran walked towards the end, but had I just hit the 9-10 minutes miles earlier on I would have reached my personal goals.

For the first 6 miles I felt very alone, despite all the crowds cheering, I was also telling myself “No one is here cheering for you”, the only certainty I had was my friends at mile 23-24 and my family in the last 800 metres. I had my headphones in one ear, on my left hand side, so I ran mainly on the right hand side or the middle. When I felt I needed more encouragement I ran to the side, because people didn’t have to shout your name they almost felt like a whisper of positivity in your ear. I found it hard to look up and thank everyone, I found it incredbly overwhelming that so many eyes were on me, so all I could muster up was a little mermer and a thumbs up to those who cheered me on.

I do not know what mile it was but my lovely Aerial friend Char and her family were cheering me on a it gave me a massive boost, I felt like someone was in my corner fighting for me and it got rid of that voice in my head that was telling me that no one was really here for me in particular. Just before mile 9, I heard this booming Male voice, it was my friend Stephanie’s boyfriend Mike, again I was so overwhelmed by this but it pushed me forward when I was struggling.

Around Mile 12 after the Lucazade station I got into a bit of a mess, the roads were sticky as hell and I had someones half chewed sweet stuck to one foot and then as soon as I got it off, a gel got stuck to me. I paused to pull it off and as soon as I got going again I looked up to see shining brightly in yellow my good friend Krissi from Aerial, cheering wildly – she almost knocked someone out. That kept me smiling all the way over Tower Bridge. That moment was surreal, it was a great moment in the big half but this was extraordinary, it was so hard to take in because there was just so much going on. There was a guy dressed as an avatar being intviewed, lots of people stopping for photos and lots of charirites cheering on their runners. Now I was warned after Tower Bridge I might feel a dip in energy and not to be put off by the other runners you could see further on down the course. This actually spurred me on, I think it was at this point I start counting down the miles to see my family and friends, I was over half way and could see the heat was getting to people. I saw a lot of people being treated by St John Ambulance, this made me so incredbly proud to run for them, they were doing such a great job in the heat to help everyone. Every St John Ambulance team member who saw me asked if I was ok, if I needed anything and cheered me on, it made me really feel like part of something special. So If you are reading this thinking about what charity to run for I would recommend them, they are excellent. Hitting narrow street after mile 14 and lovely guy also running for St John Ambulance came and asked me how I was getting on, gutted I didn’t catch his name, but if you are reading this Thank you so much for the boost.

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I’d say the middle of the course was kinda rough for me mentally, it was just a constant battle of “can I keep running and get under 5?” Or “shall I just take it back a little and enjoy it?” I chose the latter, mainly because every time I tried to run it was more like a shuffle run. The middle also lacked personal support for me so the negative thoughts kept creeping in my head.

Around mile 17, Michelle came running up behind me, looking strong and giving me encouraging words. From then on we kept passing each other and occasionally speaking. It was great because Michelle and I have done so many runs together that it was just like normal and I felt like I could attempt to match her pace in some way, I just kept her in my vision and tried my hardest to keep up.

Between miles 18-23 the crowd was loud and overwhelming, I was struggling and was just head down running trying to keep moving forward, somewhere around here another instarunner friend Kirsty found me. Kirsty is all kinds of awesome running multiple marathons in a few short weeks. Last weekend she ran brighton and I got to cheer he on and here she was running with me. We ran bits together and kinda stuck with each at this point, I felt fortunate that her and Michelle didn’t care for time today as they could keep me company and keep me going and I really appriciated this.

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Just after mile 23 I saw my boss from work, he ran along side me for a minute and was super encouraging. I just didn’t expect to see him and for him to come up to me, and he just motivated me to move forward. I was so shocked I cried and just said I was really hot and tired. I went into Blackfriars tunnel/underpass and it was a bit cooler in the shade which was much needed.

As I came out of the tunnel the cheersquad I’d been thinking about seeing since mile 1 were there and that support was incredible, again overwhelmed by this support I cried, and I cried hard on Lizzie’s shoulder. I often have Lizzie’s voice in my head just telling me “One foot in front of the other” so a hug from her was needed. I felt bad becuase there were so many people there and I just didn’t really see and appriciate everyone, it was reallty hard to take in just how many people had joined the squad today. It’s incredible the amount of support out today, and the fact these people had stood in the sun for 8 hours cheering every single person. I am incredibly proud to call these people friends.

Kirsty and I ran to the last stretch were I passed a few more friends including my housemate Laura, and my oldest friend Yasmine. Me and Kirsty then both saw our families within a few metres of each other and then walked a few minutes before running the Last 400 metres. This was the most overwhelming bit, so many cameras I didn’t know where to look, but I put my hands in the air and embraced it.

And just like that the race was over, I finished just behind Michelle, Kirsty and another Instarunner Martha, so it was good to see them at the end and celebrate together.

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With all my weaving my distance was actually 26.75 miles, so my Garmin time clocked 5:00:57, however my offical time was 5:07:26. Am I happy with this time? Of course I am, it’s my first marathon all I could have wanted was just to have finished, there was so many people unable to finish for a variety of reasons and in this heat especially I was just greatful to have just gotten through and overcome the mental barriers that tried to stop me completing the course. I am gutted I didn’t get under 5, but I will explain why in a moment.

Getting around after the marathon was a struggle, once I’d got my pictures, and my bag I headed to the runners area where I met my friends Amy & Francesca, who had lovingly course hopped to find me multiple times and I had missed them every time, but they made it to the end with presents and much needed support. I tried to head back to the course and find my family where they were but was constantly told I couldn’t walk in certain places. At one point my family were just around one corner and they wouldn’t let me go that way, my angry side came out at that point. I had literally had enough of shuffling around. I gave up and sat down on a patch of grass and told my family to come to me, I didn’t want to battle the crowds anymore. I am more gutted I couldn’t get back to the course to cheer for Leah but I knew the cheer squad had her back and she was going to do just fine.

Once my family found me, we headed to the pub, where I changed and had my first drink since New Year and debriefed with my family. My Mum, Aunt Pauline, Cousins Alex and Ella, were all out, my sister was on the phone to my mum tracking me and cheering me all the way from Australia.

After a few drinks, we headed over to Pizza Express for some food – Mum had vouchers, of course she bloody did, and as I wasn’t feeling too hungry right this minute, I had a full fat coke, a couple slices of Pizza, and some doughballs.

By this time, a very special Lady had finished and made her way out of the crowds and managed to hop over to Pizza express to collect some of the stuff she had left at mine the night before. It was so good to see Leah, she did so well. Leah has vowed this is her last Marathon, she enjoyed the day but doesn’t enjoy this distance. We had a 10 minute debrief and then she hobbled off with her Fiance Tom (Hi Tom, lovely to finally meet you) and I went back to my family.

Soon after I headed home to so many cards and presents. I’d not been on social media since the day before so I ran myself a nice bath and caught up on what I’d missed, and read through all my cards and messages. The support and love has been overwhelming (Whoops I used that word again).

If I was to sum up this day in one words.

Isn’t it obvious? – OVERWHELMING

There have been some negatives but overall so many positives. I’m lucky and glad I got through the race without injury or any flare ups of the pains I was having in training. The race was incredible, the atmosphere, incredible. I’m proud to say I’ve achieved this, I’m happy this was my first marathon, and I am happy with how far I’ve come.

Post marathon

Post marathon I had prebooked a few treats. On Monday, my legs were aching, but not actually as bad as I had anticipated. I made my way over to The Mayfair Hotel & Spa, for a Moroccan Steam Cleansing treatment, and Full body massage with Leah. I am so glad I booked this, firstly it was a little bit of luxury and secondly was just what my body needed.  I have a lot of hang ups about my body, like most people probably do, but I actively avoided sports massages during my training because I am just not comfortable in this situation. Maybe it was the runners high but I was also feeling incredibly proud of what my body had just achieved, amazed at it even. Maybe I was just too tired to care but I went out of my comfort zone, and had a massage, relaxed and enjoyed it. I almost fell asleep.

Then we met up with Michelle, and had a Gorgeous afternoon tea at the Egerton House Hotel. We debriefed, we chatted for hours and ate some lovely food – The staff at the hotel were lovely but I must admit is was quite frustrating that one member of staff was really pushy asking about times, in which we all just said it took us hours, he also told us we should go for a run today, in which we also disagreed with and said that afternoon tea was a much better option.

I’ve had the best London Marathon experience. I am not running expert, but I will say if you are looking to take up running, run the London marathon, or any other race… Find your people, share the experience, share the stress, share the joy, there is a big runners community out there, embrace it.

So what’s next for me…

It’s been a while since I ran without a goal in mind, I’m going to enjoy my summer, running shorter distances. My next big race is the Disneyland Paris Race weekend in September with my girls. I’ll be entering the ballot for London Marathon next year, I enjoyed the day, and would love to run it again, so if it’s meant to be it will be.

Now this is where I tell you why I am disapointed I didn’t get under 5. I first got into running, to run Disney, I began with Disneyland Paris, and have done the last two years as well as travelling to Florida for the Wine & Dine half marathon weekend. I love the atmosphere of these races and the opportunity to travel for races. So my next BIG goal will be the Dopey Challenge at the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend in January 2019. Me and Leah have booked the Holiday, and are patiently waiting for Bib release, so I am hoping I have no problem getting my place and running this challenge. For those who don’t know what the Dopey Challenge is it is a weekend of running that breaks down like this: Thursday -5k, Friday -10k, Saturday – Half Marathon, Sunday – Marathon. In total you recieve 6 Medals for completing this challenge. As Disney are great fun races, they attract a variety of runners, and many walkers too. The pace requirement is a 16 minute mile from the last person to cross the finish line, ladies with Balloons keep the 16 minute mile pace and people nervously trying to keep from being swept – you still get medals if you get swept but you don’t recieve extra challenge medals if you do. So in order to get around this people put down they can run faster than they can, to start in an earlier Corral and get ahead of the Balloon ladies and sweeper buses. Proof of time for the Corrals for Disney only need to be given if you can run a marathon under 5 hours, so though I can run that pace I don’t have proof. I mean I will likely be sorted into a Corral where many people have said they can run a 5 hours marathon but will actually be walking. I found this difficult to weave around at the Wine & Dine weekend and just don’t want that to get in the way of my experience for Dopey.

So yes that’s disapointing, but I do also have th option to do a proof of time for a half, but I’m not sure that will secure my place for a better start Corral. Either way this is my next challenge and even if I start at the very back, meet no characters and just finish the race I will be doing it.

Thank you for taking the time to read my race recap and for all the support I’ve received.

taaah

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