Royal Parks half-marathon 2016

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I live! I didn’t just survive this year’s Royal Parks half-marathon, I enjoyed every minute of it! It was, as ever, a well organised and very picturesque race. But the addition of some unexpected sunshine was simply an added bonus.

My pacing was a little off due to navigating early crowds and needing to stop for an emergency toilet break about a kilometre in. Nerves! But the remainder of the race was a joy. I kept up with the pace-setters aiming for a 2:00 finish. Bear in mind that while my personal best on this course is 1:42, I didn’t think that was realistic. Instead, I aimed for an injury-free sub-2:00 run.

And I succeeded! I came in at 1:56. Hot. Sweaty. Exhausted. But elated.

I had enough in the tank for a final sprint, but I somehow managed to hurt my left should doing so. I know – only I cold hurt my shoulder while running. A few painkillers and a snooze on the couch later and it’s a lot better. I’m guessing it was due to some overly-vigorous arm-pumping over the final 400m.

And now for some photos of the morning, courtesy of @FrankDJS who gallantly accompanied me to the race, held my valuables and snapped me as I ran around in the sunshine.

The best news was that as I passed over the finishing line, I got an alert on my watch letting me know of another sponsorship pledge, taking me over the £500 mark. All raised for Epilepsy Action. If you’d like to add a pound, euro or dollar to this, you can do so via this link.

Royal Parks Half – here we go!

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I’m sitting in my kitchen, sipping a coffee and preparing to get dressed. At 0900, I’ll start the Royal Parks half-marathon and run 13 miles / 21km around London’s stunning parks.

All in aid of Epilepsy Action.

Training has gone well and I’ve been very pleased with my longer runs, both in terms of pace and energy. Today’s the day it’s all been leading up to and I have to admit I’m slightly nervous. And excited! I’ve genuinely enjoyed my last few long runs and hope today is as fun.

I’m aiming to finish, injury-free. And I’m aiming to beat my last race time of 2:02. I don’t anticipate smashing my personal best of 1:42, but let’s see how the morning goes!

If you’d like to support my fundraising, you can donate a pound, euro, dollar or any other currency via this link. It all goes towards Epilepsy Action’s great work in education and advocacy for those living this with most common of neurological conditions.

See you on the other side!

20km across London

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I went for my longest half-marathon training run this morning, hitting the 20km marker. Leaving Canary Wharf, I followed by usual route, looping round to Green Park, but then continuing down to Waterloo station. Where I paused for breath before hopping on the tube home.

I have to say I enjoyed every step of the run, feeling strong and confident as I went. I did slow down towards the end, but I have to say it was mostly due to volume of people on the pavement, not fatigue. But that’s what I get for running through Central London on a Saturday morning!

What was most pleasing was that I had plenty left in the tank for a final kilometre to reach half-marathon distance. My PB at this distance is 1:42, and I made 20km this morning in 1:45:56. So if I can repeat this in a month’s time, I’ll come in well below my 2:00 target.

The ‘Nike Running Club’ app seems to be behaving itself a bit more, now that it’s been updated several times. Voice updates working again, maps are back and I can track my progress in kilometres, not miles. I still think the interface is ugly and far from intuitive, but at least it’s going in the right direction.

I’ve taken the rest of the day at a slightly slower pace. Some lunch, some planning for our trip to Japan next month and now, some time in the sauna and jacuzzi.

Getting comfortable with 17km

I went for another long run this morning, from Canary Wharf over to Green Park again. All part of my preparation for October’s Royal Park’s Half-marathon (you’re getting so bored hearing about this, I just know it!).

Anyway, I was a little bit slower this morning, partly due to some pretty horrific insomnia last night (heat-induced, I’m sure) and because the newly-updated Nike+ app insists on giving my progress updates every half-mile, not half-kilometre. Because the updates are more infrequent, this keeps me wondering if it’s tracking me (silly, I know) and makes it more difficult to estimate my progress.

I can’t help it – I think, and run, in kilometres. Not miles.

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Hopefully the next update to the app will fix this. Bizarrely, I was actually faster on the last three miles than on any of the previous. And it’s when I hit Baker street that I think I got into a nice, consistent running rhythm. I’m actually really getting to enjoy the run between Islington and Edgeware Road, despite having to negotiate the traffic around King’s Cross. Pedestrians, bikes and cars!

It was very enjoyable though and I finished up in Starbucks by Green Park tube, ordering myself a ma-hoosive lemon and lime refresha. Just what my parched body wanted.

This is all in aid of Epilepsy Action and I got my running vest for the race from them the other day. They’ve updated the design and I love it! It should make me easier to spot in the crowd. 😜

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I’m still wondering how much running I’ll get done in Barcelona and Sitges this weekend. I mean, it’s definitely very hot over there. But can I really miss out on some quality time on Platja de Balmins and instead hoof it around town looking really out of place while everyone else is chilling out?

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I guess I’ll have to, at some point. So if that has drawn even a shred of empathy from you, be a good sort and throw a pound or a euro towards my fundraising pot. I’m at 78% of target and really keen to hit it before the race itself.

My next long London run will repeat the above, but continue past Green Park and take me down to Waterloo, where I’ll get the tube home. It’s about 20km all in and I’m really looking forward to it.

Royal Parks half-marathon: just a little bit further

I had a fab run yesterday morning. I’d planned to go a little it further than last time and cast my mind back to my training runs for last year’s London Marathon. (Oh, the painful memories!)

Anyway, I wanted to have a challenging, long run an not simply go round in a loop. My most enjoyable runs last year were when I headed out with an Oyster Card, planning to get the tube home after going as far as I could in one direction.

So yesterday morning, I left Canary Wharf, headed through Shadwell, up to Old Street, then up to Angel, King’s Cross, Baker Street, Edgware Road and then down to Green Park. There, I popped into Starbucks and ordered a venti coffee, took a breather and hopped on the Jubilee Line home.

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All in all, it was 17km and I enjoyed almost every step of the way. Obviously, as soon as I got to Old Street, the heavens opened and I was caught in a downpour. 🙄 I got soaked through and did start to worry about blisters – whenever my trainers get wet when out running, I always seems to end up with epic blisters.

Thankfully, that never happened, though I didn’t dry off until I got to Baker Street, once the sun was out for a while. The only injury I experienced was some pretty intense chafing in the nipple region (too much information?) as a result of my wet running top. I can live with that, as I’ve not a jot of leg or foot pain (or even stiffness) this morning. And it’s partly my fault for forgetting to apply a liberal measure of Vasoline to the usual nooks and crannies. (Yes, too much information…)

I won’t forget it on race day, that’s for sure.

I was really pleased with how the run went, including the fact I kept a reasonable pace through and was only slowed down by either pedestrians or road traffic. Average pace was 5:23, which I can definitely improve in the coming weeks. I’ll do this long run again, but will continue past Green Park tube and head down over the river to Waterloo. I think eventually, I’ll end up back at Tower Bridge or nearby.

My challenge in the next couple of weeks (if you can call it that) is that I have two business trips coming up. This makes training harder, but not impossible. I’m in Sitges and Barcelona next weekend and then in Jersey the following Friday. I’ll bring my gear to both, but will have to take it slightly easier in the heat of Sitges.

Anyway, in case you’ve missed the whole reason I’m training for the Royal Parks half-marathon, it’s epilepsy. I’m living with it, have done for 15 years and want to raise some money for the people behind a great resource: Epilepsy Action.

You can sponsor my run via this link. As of this morning, I’m at 78% of my fundraising target, so every single pound/euro/dollar could help me get there. Huge thanks to everyone who has donated so far.

 

Royal Parks Half-marathon: Taking it up a notch

I ran 9km over lunch yesterday, in the wonderful London sun. And despite waking up to glorious sun this morning, it seems to have evaporated and gone elsewhere. Nonetheless, I topped up my (very depleted) caffeine levels and hit the streets.

(As an aside, my running is fuelled by caffeine, not enthusiasm. Running sans cafe is invariably a slow, wheezing misery. I guess it how I’m built).

I managed a very comfortable 15km around the City, only slowed down by the copious volumes of dog shit on the pavements of Shadwell, the gaggles of tourists blocking all the routes around Tower Hill and the people chasing Pokey-men (I know!) all around Old Street roundabout.

Seriously – look where you’re walking! Sigh.

I’d aimed for 15km this morning and was really pleased with my pace (very even throughout) and how I felt afterwards – absolutely brilliant.

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It left me feeling very positive about the Royal Parks half-marathon, even to the stage where I’m pretty confident I can come in under my 2:00 goal. Securing that time, injury-free, would be superb.

And it’s all in aid of Epilepsy Action. If you’d like to donate the price of a coffee to my fundraising efforts, you can do so via this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/RunningForEpilepsyAction. Every single pound will be much appreciated by me and the nice folks at Epilepsy Action. Snd the good news is that I’m at 71% of my fundraising target of £350!

Big thanks to everyone who has donated so far. If you can’t, please consider sharing this blog post or the fundraising link to raise awareness.

 

On the run…again

We’re roughly two months out from his year’s Royal Park’s Half-marathon and I’m back into training with gusto. I ran almost every morning when in South Beach last month and, while it was far too hot and humid, it was great to get a few kms under my belt. Also a great way to take in South Beach’s spectacular ocean views, so it wasn’t all misery 😉

I completed my longest run in a while this morning: 14km around the city. Left Canary Wharf, headed through Limehouse, across Cable Street, up past Spitalfields, round Old Street roundabout, through Moorgate, down to Bank and across Cable Street and home again.

I had to avoid Wapping and the Highway due to today’s London Triathlon. Barriers and crowds galore!

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It was really enjoyable and I ended up running further than planned due to a combination of the sunshine and the unaccountable spring in my step. Strange, given yesterday’s overindulgences!

Anyway, I’m putting together a training plan to cover the next eight weeks – one that hopefully won’t result in peaking too soon or injuring myself. I have a couple of trips in the calendar between now and then – one to Sitges and one to Jersey. I’m looking forward to getting some runs in on both visits. But I know I need to get the kms in on London’s streets too.

As ever, I’m running to raise money for Epilepsy Action. I live with epilepsy and this charity does great work to dispel myths, provide support to those living with the condition, as well as their families and carers. Every run I complete, I do in the knowledge that so many others with epilepsy just couldn’t.

I’m lucky – I really am.

If you’d like to add to my sponsorship fund, just click here – thanks in advance for every single pound. It’s much appreciated!

The morning after

After my epic fall while running yesterday, I had to deal with the fallout last night and this morning. Last night, my elbow kept me awake – I kept rolling over on it, movements which were quickly followed by eye-opening pain. So, not much sleep.

This morning, my alarm went off and I eased myself up into a sitting position, using my ‘working’ elbow. The injured one looks appalling – bruised to hell and missing a significant amount of skin. No photos to share – it’s too gross. I kept it super clean yesterday, cleaning it again before going to bed. The pain from the wound has been joined by a muscular / joint stiffness. There’s just no way of sitting comfortably with it.

Today’s train journey to Bristol is going to be a joy!

Thankfully, my knees are okay – despite the clattering they received from the pavement. Slightly bruised, but not too painful. But my big toe has started to bruise and stiffen up. I’m hoping it’s not broken, but to be fair, I don’t think there’s much you can do with a broken toe away. It’s not like it’s my arm.

I actually feel like I’ve overdone it in the gym – lots of muscle aches all over, but nothing too serious. I discover new pains every time I reach for something or bend over. Painkillers and slow, gentle movement will be my friends today.

So I’m moving gingerly, careful to avoid banging into anything even remotely firm in the apartment. I’d love to be back up and running later this week, but will listen to my body before hitting the streets.

Right now, I’m concentrating on finishing my coffee and bracing myself for the inevitable pain of the shower! Though nothing – absolutely nothing – can compare to the pain I felt when cleaning my elbow wound with some antiseptic wipes.

What is it about the sharp sting from antiseptic that hurts so much?!

I’m still thanking my lucky stars I didn’t bang my head or damage my face in the fall. I know just how susceptible the brain is to damage from even middling trauma to the head. And my brain is dysfunctional enough as it is! And as for my face, while I’m not a model or particularly vain, I didn’t fancy having to explain very obvious facial injuries to a group of clients all week!

Anyway, if this tale of woe has dredged up any sympathy for me, you can make yourself feel better by throwing a couple of pounds towards my fundraising target for this year’s Royal Parks half-marathon. It’s the reason I was out running yesterday in the first place!

I’m running to raise money for Epilepsy Action. As someone living with epilepsy, I can attest to the great work they do. So, if you’re feeling generous – or even sympathetic –  click here to sponsor my run and donate some much-needed cash to this worthwhile charity.

Two days of sun?!

Amaze-balls! It got up to 25C here this afternoon and I enjoyed as much of the sun as I possibly could.

I kicked off with a training run which, in hindsight, wasn’t a superb idea. While I’ve previously trained in as much as 28C and direct sunlight in Spain, I was well-hydrated and ran with a camel pack.

This morning, I was fuelled by coffee and didn’t bring any water with me. Still, I managed a very fun 14.5km in the sun and came home feeling great. I could have gone farther but was getting very, very hungry.


It’s always interesting running through London on a Sunday. I left Canary Wharf and headed up to Old Street and then back down to Tower Bridge via the City. Th financial district is a ghost town on a Sunday morning. Just perfect for running without having to stop and start and avoid tourists.

This afternoon, after a post-run meal of spinach omelette and spicy refried beans, we headed out for a walk in the sun. We eventually found a seat outside a local bar and enjoyed about 45mins in the sun before it got a little too hot for @FrankDJS.


This evening is going to consist of pizza-consumption and finishing off season two of Frankie & Grace.

I honestly think I’d be a significantly happier and more relaxed person if I lived somewhere with weather like this all the time. But seeing as I don’t, I have to take advantage of it while I can!

And looking at the weather forecast for the coming week, I’m glad I did.