Pain is temporary, pride is forever…

I’ve spent this week looking at the blank blog page like an essay that I can’t seem to start writing – How can I put something down in words that hasn’t properly sunk in yet?! It all still seems a little surreal even though as I type, my medal is hung up next to my bed and I am wearing my London Marathon finisher t-shirt which drowns me but I love it.
And so I did it…London Marathon, my goal for the past two years and the race that has consumed my mind for the past 6 months is done. The surreal feeling is similar to when I used to do school plays and once I’d finished I wouldn’t know what to do with myself because I had dedicated so much time and energy to it…frankiesaysrun is a bit lost!!

The week building up to Marathon Day was really busy as I was exhibiting with Variety at the Expo – The bonus of being there was the buzz of the occasion and being able to see my Team before the weekend. It was a great atmosphere this year but obviously more surreal being a runner as well. It still didn’t feel like it was actually going to happen that weekend. I watched the ribbon be cut and went to collect my number and chip…still didn’t feel real…even talking to people about it didn’t make it click properly.

As I was still suffering with my ITB it was playing on my mind a lot. I got treatment from the physio, had a final massage and also dragged my foam roller everywhere to make sure that I was doing everything I could to be able to race! Work was proving a good distraction from how nervous I was and it wasn’t until I got home on the Friday afternoon that the butterflies went into overdrive…Only two more sleeps and race day would be here and I was definitely feeling jittery! I had lots of positivity around me in the form of Robs (my lil sis) and Stacey who arrived Friday night to cook me a delicious pasta dinner. It was lovely not to be sat alone driving myself mad.

The following day began with a slap up breakfast with sis, friends and fellow runner Sam – All part of the prepration and again, trying not to go crazy with nerves. As the day progressed and more things got done….playlist done, kit washed and prepped for the morning, garmin charged and number pinned to my vest, I felt strangely calm and focused. Once #travellingwrenskitchen arrived to cook for us, I was like a giddy child before Xmas, just itching for the day to arrive now. I didn’t go to bed particularly early either as I knew I wouldn’t sleep…so after a delicious carb loading dinner and final finishing faffing touches I put myself to bed, alarm set for 6am and I slept like a log…phew!

And all of a sudden, Marathon day had arrived…I woke up to my alarm flashing “Never Give Up and Smile” and starred at my vest hanging at the end of my bed for a few minutes focusing my mind on the challenge ahead…Then we were all up, power smoothie was consumed, peanut butter on toast and banana was forced down with plenty of water and dark chocolate was nibbled on. Final step was kit ON…that great super hero lycra feeling!!! Last minute nervous toilet stop and we were in the taxi on our way to Greenwich…

While we were standing at the gates waiting for Team Variety to arrive you could feel all of the nervous energy from the other runners arriving – I couldn’t stop jabbering away and everyone else was itching to head up the hill to the start line. From that point everything went really fast and after deciding not to resort to female urinals we stretched out in the SUNSHINE (no rain to be seen – hurrah) and headed to the pens. I stuck with my friend Sophie and I was so pleased she was there. I think I would have felt much more nervous without her. Shuffle shuffle, scream for the BBC, shuffle shuffle…..and there was the start line…no crazy gun start, just a gradual increase in pace and we’re on our way….the actual London Marathon had started….”take it all Franks” is all that was going through my head as well as making sure I didn’t trip over anyone while maintaining a steady pace.

Right from the start, the crowds were absolutely incredible – so much cheering. The first 10 miles seemed to fly by. I lost Sophie at mile 2 and so I just focused on my own race and made sure that I enjoyed it while keeping my own goal of sub fours hours at the forefront of my mind. My left leg was taped up, strapped up and I was dosed up on Voltarol to reduce as much of the inflammation as possible. No pain….surely this was too good to be true…something was going to have to give, there was going to be serious pain to push through. Isn’t the body a wonderful thing though. Not one problem throughout the entire race…I still can’t quite get over it.

Along the route, Variety had three cheering points set up and these were my small goals throughout the race… It’s hard to describe, but when I was running I felt like I was in a bubble. I had taken my music out of my ears as I didn’t want to miss out on the atmosphere. It was electric – There were kids lining the pavements giving out sweets and high fives, people who don’t know you were willing you to do well and pitched up on the sidelines were the bands, gospel choirs, singers and drummers to keep us entertained on our journey. Before I knew it, I was running on to Tower Bridge….this was one of the moments I had been looking forward to and it was spectacular….the sky was blue and I smiled all of the way across (take it all in Franks)…My next goal was mile 14 (dedicated to Kat) where Variety staff and my family were waiting…I was so excited running towards them. As I spotted the balloons I picked up my pace and I was suddenly completely overwhelmed with emotion…there were my mum and dad cheering away with my colleagues waiting to see my go past…Despite the obvious gels and lucozade, seeing their faces was the greatest fuel of the day. Just on from that point and completely out of the blue I heard Fraaankkkkieeeeeeeee!! And there’s Robyn and Stace on the other side of the road…amazing…smiles smiles smiles…more of that mega fuel!

The next section of the race was always what I was most nervous about…the dreaded point that a lot of people start to “hit the wall”. And there were a good few runners starting to struggle and stumble off to the side of the road…I just didnt feel tired at this point and I was getting frustrated with the slower pace and crowds. I had promised myself that I would be patient and not use too much energy trying to overtake, but at this point it needed to be done. Finally a bit of space. Heading towards Canary Wharf was great…the crowds were immense I still felt ok – no leg pain at all. I made sure I took on an extra energy block to keep me going through the difficult miles.

My next goal was mile 22, the next cheering point and suddenly it was there…time was flying by. A second boost from the amazing supporters and now it was on the the final push…As well as mile 20, I dedicated mile 24 to CJ, a friend who died in 2008…mile 20 had been smiles and this one was going to be speed…he kept me going and despite some tears, I smiled for him and ate jelly babies ūüôā

I knew when I started getting problems with my ITB that I would have to take it slightly easier on my way round the Marathon so as to make sure that I actually completed the race. As I hadn’t suffered for 22 miles, I decided to up my pace and it felt good….I still had a lot of energy and I was full of determination for my time. At mile 25 there’s a Lucozade sign that reads “in 1.2 miles you’ll be a part of history”….. push push push…..focus and go for it…. in the distance I could see my final cheering point…some runners were starting to flag at this point and so I hopped up on to the pavement to pass everyone and the noise of them all gave me all the drive I needed for a strong finish… Never Give up and Smile…this is final 600m.

As I turned off of Birdcage walk and past Buckingham palace my stride opened up…this was the final sprint…it felt amazing, the speed, the total elation that I was about to finish a Marathon, London Marathon in Olympic year….I can see the clock and it’s ticking towards 3:57….come ooooooooon! You can do this, you can break four hours…..arms up (that much thought about finishing pose) and I am across the finish line… done…keep moving… and then came the emotion… tears… and noone to immediately share the moment with… thank goodness for the lovely lady who came over and gave me a hug….it was just what I needed.

After the finish line I was just drifting along collecting my stuff and feeling pretty good, not wobbly or out of breath just a bit stunned that it was all over. I was then greeted by Robs, Stace and Cat and that was fantastic! Salty hugs all round before being whisked off to the RAC to eat, shower, see everyone and get a well earned massage. This was also all a bit of a blur. I went through a phase of not recovering very well and feeling really unwell…nothing that a bit of recovery shake can’t handle and I was feeling a lot better in the end.

I was trying my hardest to take in all of the amazing feelings from the day and congratulations from people. It was the most overwhelming afternoon in the best way possible – friends, family, colleagues and your team mates all there!! I was still pondering…did that just happen?
After an evening of steak, wine and a sofa in the White Horse I crashed in to bed at around Midnight, utterly exhausted…I don’t even remember my head hitting the pillow…

Working towards the London Marathon, blogging about it, hearing other peoples stories about it, getting support for it, being inspired by it, becoming a running geek, and working hard at it has been the most incredible,¬†challenging¬†and emotional journey and it is a race that I will remember for the rest of my life…the training both physically and mentally has taught me so much about what I can achieve when I put my heart and soul into it and that we are all stronger than we think.

What will the next challenge be?

NEVER GIVE UP…AND SMILE!!!

Marathon time: 3:57:50

frankiesaysrun xxx

I would like to thank everyone who has supported me during my London Marathon journey, whether its been by reading my blog, sponsoring me, listening to be rattle on about running, tweeting me with hints tips and positive thoughts, rubbing me down, treating my injuries, inspiring me or being there on the day…I couldn’t have done it without you! I hope you enjoyed the journey too….xx

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Silverstone DONE!

Last Sunday was race day….My first half marathon race ever and I was nervous but very excited to meet some of my Marathon team and get a run out in our new Charity vests. My day started early with a massive bowl of porridge and dark chocolate, followed by plenty of water, Lucozade and my favourite chocolate milk. I was trying to eat as much as I could before getting on the coach as we had a two hour journey to Silverstone but with butterflies in the mix, I struggled to cram it all in. So I headed on out with a stash of bananas, bars and even more Lucozade to keep me going.

It was such a beautiful sunny day and Silverstone was buzzing when we arrived…We warmed up, took on the last fluids before the race and had the all important final toilet stop before heading off to the start line…At this point, the butterflies in my stomach were in full force… Music in and off we gooooooooo…..

My race plan was to find a comfortable pace to try and stick at and make sure that Lee from my running club stayed in sight…. My parents were there to cheer me on which at miles 4, 7 & 11 gave me such a rush of running happiness. I know this will sound obvious but it is so different running with a big group of people compared to training on my lonesome around the streets on Brixton, Clapham and Battersea. I found it really positive as the competitive side of me wants to beat those in front of me and make sure that I don’t get stuck in a pack of runners at a slower pace…

Overall I felt really good throughout the race – I had enough fuel on me to keep topped up and my little legs felt strong. I also felt extremely determined as I knew I wanted a particular time and once my mind was set on it failure was not an option. Never give up…and SMILE was written on my hand and at any point that I felt my head go down I reminded myself why I am running and focused my mind again. My toughest miles were 9 and 12. Once I reach mile 10, I feel like I’m over the big hill for a half marathon but the midway miles are always hard for me…12 was the mile where I could see the finish line but it is still just out of reach and 13.1 just seems to take forever to arrive…Luckily for me at the point that I felt at my slowest and my head was dropping, Beyonce, Run the World started to play and WOW, I swear it was better than ¬†a carb gel…serious energy and power in my legs for the final stretch…the crowds are in sight, the finish line is in sight, the clock reads 1:38:00 and final sprint hits…it feels amazing!! I clocked in at¬†1:39:10 and my goal was under 1:40….HOORAY!!!! Race one in the bag….

Practising a run in very warm weather with no shade was extremely valuable for training…it can be really draining and the importance of keeping hydrated is certainly highlighted to the max. In my opinion there could have been more water stations and less Lucozade on the day but I survived….and because of all the sunshine my freckles are out early…bonus!

Post race recovery consisted of chocolate shake, lots of stretching, hugs from my team and mum and dad and then home for a hot bath and a slap up steak dinner – BLISS. Back in London town I treated myself to a post run rub down from Amy at On Track Sports Therapy…and blimey did I need it. I always seem to time my massages on DOMS days so I am constantly reminded to breathe through the pain..ha! Amy and Isla are extremely good at what they do Londoners so if you need a sports massage check them out… They fix me every time…

This week I have been absolutely shattered so I did a quick 5 miler with the girls from running club on Wednesday but I am saving my legs for the weekend…I haven’t decided yet whether to run 18 miles on my own or join in a 20 mile race in¬†Surrey….either way it’s a big mileage so the butterflies will kick in tomorrow morning no doubt…Let the carbo loading begin…

It’s not long to go now until the big day so for all those reading this and running a Marathon, I hope training is going really well…Just remember when the mileage gets tough….NEVER GIVE UP…AND SMILE! We’ve come this far…. lets conquer those 26.2 miles…

Happy Running and thank you for reading…

frankiesaysrun xxx

I am fundraising for Variety, the Children’s Charity – an amazing cause supporting children all over the UK who are disabled and disadvantaged… If you have 1minute 40seconds to spare, watch Sam’s Film and see the instant difference a wheelchair can make to a disabled child… If you would like to donate, please follow the link below….Thank you xx

http://www.justgiving.com/franklesfirstmarathon

Distance: 13.31miles

Time: 1:39:10

Pace: 7’34”

Distance: 5 miles

Time: 40 mins

Pace: 7’40”

Never Give Up…and SMILE!

Blimey it’s been a busy couple of weeks with running and work which at the moment is mainly focused on the London Marathon….There really is no escape! The constant reminders on Twitter and Facebook that it’s only 44 days to go (yes, that’s right…argh) also add to the fact that my mind is totally consumed by running running running…

With the mileage is cranking up and after a frustrating half marathon distance a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling anxious in the build up to my 16 miler last weekend and a bit disheartened in all honesty. Luckily for me my friend Lucie who is a machine of Triathlons posted an article on my Facebook about the Iron Man Champion Chrissie Wellington¬†which literally gave my goosebumps as I read it. She is so inspiring and has a Mantra that is now on my fridge and gets written on my hand for those long training runs…. “Never Give Up….and SMILE” So simple yet so effective! It is well worth a read…

So after a hit of homemade smoothie I kicked off March with an early morning intervals session on the treadmill to help increase my VO2 Max and also shake up my training program a bit. I did 60 seconds on and 60 seconds recovery for 8 sets and it felt good… That lactic acid certainly kicked in a bit earlier each time though and by the end it was more of a challenge but I do love a bit of interval training… I felt all glowy for the rest of the day…and maybe a tad smug that I had managed to drag myself out of bed super early…

Leading up to my long run, my week consisted of two easy pace 40 minute training sessions which both went pretty well. The second run was a bit tougher as I have found that my legs do like to rest for a day in between training so I could feel that my calf was a bit tight and causing that annoying pain in my shin… Thankfully it’s nothing that a bit of stretching, ice and a rub down can’t get rid of.

For the ¬†next two days I focused on resting, eating well and making sure that I reduced my fibre intake in¬†preparation. If anybody remembers last weekend you will recall that Saturday was blissfully sunny and breezy….delightful weather to run in right? Did I run that day? Of course not…I was working at our Charity event and decided to attack the miles on Sunday….well, that served me right…RAINING! Not just a bit of rain…torrential, constant and bloomin freezing…Add in a bit of hail bouncing off my face and that sums up my 16 miles in weather terms. I really wasn’t expecting it to be so cold and so I definitely wasn’t wearing enough on my bottom half – Skins just don’t suffice..This equalled very pink legs by the time I got home.

When I woke up that morning, I really wasn’t in the mood to run 16 miles…So I gave myself plenty of time to get ready, fuelled up on my favourite recipe of porridge and dark chocolate, stuck on some TUNES and got my brain in gear – Does anyone else get that super hero feeling as they put on their running gear? I can be completely unmotivated, but pull on the Skins and BOOM, I’m a runner.

I purposely chose to run two parks so that I could break up the training into smaller chucks and it really helped. It was also the first time I had tried Lucozade gels and so I didn’t want to stray too far just..in..case. They were actually ok though….thicker than I expected but I found that if I took on half a tube and then carried the rest with me and fuelled up in small squeezes over the next 15 mins, I was absolutely fine. I could actually feel the energy hitting my legs…amazing. I managed to keep a good steady pace throughout but by the time I reached the final hill, soaked to the skin and cold it was a real push to keep going…so what came to mind? NEVER GIVE UP AND SMILE…so I didn’t and I smiled and I made it…HOORAY! Home, hot bath, chocolate milk and a stretch followed by sorted me right out…

Brick Box in Brixton Village is perfect refuelling – Gallettes filled with spinach, meat, eggs and veg…Delicious…Can’t recommend it enough.

Two days of rest and recovery was topped off by and a well earned sports massage at On Track Sports Therapy in Brixton Fitness First – Again, I can’t recommend them enough…Amy and Isla are fantastic at what they do and Amy is also taking on the Marathon so she knows what we’re all going through first hand… Back in next week for another rub down…My little legs are excited!

This Sunday is my first half marathon race…EVER, and so I am attacking Silverstone with some of my Charity Marathon team…I’m excited it about it but also hugely nervous. It’s great practise for the big day and I have been doing plenty of reading about diet and¬†preparation. I will be wearing my vest proudly for Variety, the Children’s Charity and running strong… With my lovely Mum and Dad watching, I want to make them proud too…

My main photo for this blog was sent to me by one of my fundraisers…he spotted it at an exhibition…I will be purchasing! Frankie Says Run is catching on…ha!

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend and also those tackling long training runs… Remember…NEVER GIVE UP…AND SMILE

Breakdown

Distance: 5:08 Miles

Time: 39mins 57sec

Average Pace: 7’52”

Distance: 5:19 Miles

Time: 40mins 35sec

Average Pace: 7’49”

Distance: 16miles

Time: 2:07:32

Average Pace:¬†7’59”

Happy Running everyone… Not long now…

frankiesaysrun xxx

I must take this opportunity to thank everyone who has donated so far to help me on my quest to raise ¬£2000 for Variety, the Children’s Charity. There is still a way to go and every penny really does count – If you would like to support the amazing work that we do, please click here¬†and if you would like to see how your donation can make a difference, take two minutes and watch this short film…¬†Sam is amazing…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNiBbWgwhbc

Thank you xxx

Back in the game…slowly but surely

As a very competitive person, the last two weeks have been tough! I was suffering, as you may have previously read, from a very sore lower left leg. At first I thought I had shin splints but after a consultation with On Track Sports Therapy they found that I needed to build the strength in the muscles surrounding my ankles and shin. My calves have been over compensating and had therefore become very very tight and had started pulling on my shin – yowch! I was also advised that I needed to bring my pace down slightly as this was¬†contributing¬†to my sore little legs. So over the last two weeks I have been doing my prescribed daily strength exercises and rolling my calves out on the glorious foam roller… Focusing on each leg at a time during strength training has really highlighted how weak I am on my left side – the easy test for me was trying to balance on my left leg without wobbling at the ankle…lets just say it’s going to take some more practise and constant training to improve that.

So last night I went out for my first “getting back to it” run with the main aim being ¬†– NO PAIN….and we have success!!! My physio has advised that I drop the pace of my runs and trainon grass instead of just pavement. I actually loved it…there’s something much for interesting about running on grass (does that sound silly?) but I really enjoyed it and even though you’re only meters from the road and the bustle of the street, I felt a bit more removed from it all which was fab!! I really focused as well on keeping my stride shorter as I think I was putting unnecessary strain and impact on my legs. I found a really comfortable pace last night that I know I could keep up over a longer distance, so I felt I really achieved something.

Still…slowly but surely…I’m not going to overdo it as I couldn’t bear to take more time off and I have strict instructions that (in the nicest way possible) my physio Amy doesn’t want to have to see me again for anything other than a sports massage ūüôā

My plan from now on is to do steady pace middle distance runs in the week with some fartlek training thrown in and really save my legs for the weekend long runs. I have also made the decision to leave a day between each run to make sure that I can recover properly. Lets hope this works….. I have to say, getting in a bubble bath post run is a luxury I am very much enjoying especially in this cold weather…

How is everyone out there in the marathon training world getting on? 11.5 weeks to go….argh…

Got any good soft grassy routes you could share with me? I would LOVE to hear them…

It feels great to be back in the game….

Distance: 7.21 miles

Time: 57mins 51secs

Pace avg: ¬†8’01”

Weather: Cold and dry

Music: My song of the run was Coldplay,Paradise

frankiesaysrun xxx

I am also fundraising for Variety, the Children’s Charity. We work to improve the lives of children who are disabled or disadvantaged and if you need an example of the difference we make, please watch this short film…¬†http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOWVNRISdNA

If you would like to donate please click HERE¬†– every penny really does count….THANKYOU!!!¬†xxx

14 weeks to go…

I now have the weeks numbered in my diary as a count down to the start line, the training plan is on the fridge and the freezer is stocked up with meals for ultimate running fuel. In our house, the main focus is the Marathon and more regularly, now that we’re well and truly in to 2012, I keep getting flutters of nerves and excitement.

I’m still having a bit of an issue with my left shin & calf muscle that I am trying to manage through rest, plenty of stretching, yoga and of course ICE!!!! It’s a great excuse to sit still for a bit with an ice pack on my leg…. However, it is extremely frustrating not being able to just head out when my training plan tells me too….it feels like I’m failing before I’ve even got there but as all the sensible people keep telling me, it’s not worth permanent damage so I ¬†put my very competitive side in a little box for a week and took it easy….Not doing the Marathon isn’t an option for me, so physio is booked and hopefully I’ll be back on my little legs v soon. I’m doing lots of reading on recovery, injury management and generally nutrition surrounding training to make sure that I am as strong as possible.

So, since I last blogged, I have completed 3 training runs but with limited internet at home and being a busy bunny at work, I haven’t had a chance to catch up…

Weekend before last, I started my Saturday with some hill training at the gym on the cross trainer…even though I was in the fantastic company of Miss Walton, my goodness, cross training is DULL, DULL, DULL!!! The only thing that kept me going was watching the Tinie Tempah music videos… It felt good to be doing something despite sore shin *grr* but it certainly didn’t give you half the thrill of running outdoors.

Time: 40 mins

Pace: Level 7

Distance: 9.08 km

Music: The sound of Miss Walton’s voice…

Sunday = long run day so after a good breakfast the skins were donned and off I jolly well went. I took this run at a steadier pace as I was very aware of my shin which at this point hated me for even thinking about running… Not far into it I had to stop to cross at traffic lights, which I hate anyway and that was it, the shin was done and my muscles said NO! I decided to loop back towards my hood so that I wasn’t too far from home but could attempt to complete the time. After having¬†to stop, I felt really thrown and out of sync but I figured, if I can’t get myself back home now, how the hell am I going to keep myself going on Marathon day if things get tough. Despite the pain though, I actually felt much fitter as if I was making progress which is a great feeling. The last road to mine is called “death road”…massive hill…nemesis…I pushed myself up it and it didn’t destroy me but it was certainly enough for the day…Recovery shake, stretch out followed by an ice pack on my leg helped me to feel less lame. I don’t like a broken run but when it comes to mental strength, it can’t hurt to practise.

Time: 56mins 03

Pace: 7’25”

Distance: 7.54 miles

A major area I have been focusing on is correct running form – not as easy as it looks. Making changes feels uncomfortable but it is a MUST for me otherwise I’ll definitely injure myself again. Has anyone else out there in the running and twitter world got tips on form or stories about improving yours? I’ve been thinking about the Running School so enquiries are being made.

Tuesday was an Easy Run day *phew* so me and my housemate who is also training decided to run together. London Marathon describe this run as “you should be able to chat while running – 50-60% of race pace”…Naturally we talked boys, bags and all things girlie… It was lovely to have some company while running. Finished off in central Brixton….stretching out on the street was interesting – all sorts of funny looks…ha!

Time: 30mins 12

Pace: 8’07”

Distance: 3.72 miles

The following Monday led to conversations about funny names on running vests – I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. Some of them will not be mentioned on here as there is no rating system and our favourite is definitely not suitable for a younger audience. What will you be putting on your vest? Obviously your name in general is vital so that people can cheer you on but are you thinking of putting something a bit different to make you laugh along the way. My house mate was thinking “fatty” (her idea & for the record she isn’t fat) as it would crack her up to hear people shouting “come on fatty” “keep going fatty” throughout the race…. It may brighten the darkest of Marathon moments…. we will see and report back…

Nearly a week down *dying to run* and the physio is tonight…keep your fingers crossed for me…they fixed me last time so I have faith in them… If you are London based and looking for a good physio, I highly recommend Amy and Isla at Ontrack Sports Therapy.

For all those reading this and training, I hope it’s going really well….

Physio report blog to follow…

For now….Happy running!

frankiesaysrun xxx

It’s my Marathon Year – Lets catch up

Hello runners and readers – Happy New Year!!! After a busy busy build up to Christmas and then a lovely restful break, 2012 is finally here which means it’s¬†MARATHON YEAR¬†and most definitely all systems go.

During December, I was really run down and my shins were suffering so with a mixture of being poorly and and trying to keep my little legs in working order, I took it easy for the final week before heading home to the countryside. My friend Jeanie got me thinking about my form while running as well as she has been doing a course and so I made it my mission of my next run to watch how my feet strike the ground and adapt my form if necessary – turns out it is necessary as I was heel striking and I think that’s what was causing pain in my shins. It feels very strange when you try and adapt how you have been running for a long time but so far I think it has helped so watch this space as it’s a work in progress…*focused face*

While back in Oxfordshire,¬†I¬†donned my kit and took myself out into the country air for some training – It is such a bizarre experience barely seeing anyone and stretches of¬†fields¬†instead of Clapham Common and tonnes of runners but it was a lovely and welcome change of scenery. As a training run, it was a great mix of steep hills, steady inclines and some flatter terrain to pick up pace. I did focus very hard on form and my core and I have to say that after the run, my shins weren’t as sore as they normally are – that was a big positive for me. The other positive was that my lovely mum had made me a power smoothie for when I got up and then a protein and carb dream of a breakfast for when i got back – Could I work regionally for 4 months and train back home? It’s the dream! *love you mum*.

Unfortunately, that was my only country run as my immune system decided to flunk out on me again and I had the most terrible cold which equalled bed for me and lots of hot drinks and sleep… However, I didn’t completely neglect my bod. My Mum teaches Yoga and she taught me salute to the sun which I made sure I did every morning as well as some other stretching….it’s remarkable how much Yoga can help you…flexibility, strength, immune system boosting, calm mind etc etc…¬†I¬†could go on… I have decided to take it up on a regular basis in London as a part of my training and the bid for a healthier mind and body *excited*

Back in London town, I saw in the New Year and then classically spent January 1st recovering from the celebrations. Full of energy on the Monday I took to the streets after mapping my route on¬†nike plus¬†(love it). I am now starting to take on energy drink/fuel as I run so this was my¬†first¬†proper trial with an energy drink that was given to me for Xmas. I have never been a fan of running and holding on to a bottle, but it actually didn’t feel too bad the drink really helped me on my way round. Again I was watching my form and it is slowly becoming easier not to be thinking about it constantly. In general I felt strong throughout and even managed Cedars road *uphill nemesis* without being too crushed…woop! My only downer on this run was a twinge in the top of my left leg as I turned onto Poynders Road to take on the final hill…I had to pause and stretch it out to get home. On my return it was shake time and lots of stretching and foam roller action…The following morning I felt a tad achey but after some salute to the sun I was feeling a lot better. Seriously, YOGA YOGA YOGA!!!

So tonight is first running club back for 2012 at Sweatshop in Clapham and this is my steady run for the week. Really looking forward to seeing everyone. I am now following the “Go For It” training plan in the London Marathon magazine which is 5 days a week of fun times…wish me luck…13 weeks of full training to go and then tail off time….

If you’re reading this and also doing a Marathon, I hope your training is going well….!

Country Run

Distance: 8.17 miles

Time: 1:01:48

Pace: 7’33”

Weather: Drizzly and mild

Music: My ever lengthening marathon playlist

Back in London

Distance: 9.6 miles

Time: 1:12:47

Pace: 7’32”

Weather: Cold and dry

Music: Labrinth, Earthquake was my new addition….Oh yes!!!

If you have any hints, tip or advice based on what I’ve rattled on about, please do leave them below…Its great to hear what other runners are up to ūüôā

I must also mention that I am now trying to boost my fundraising for Variety, the Children’s Charity. Please watch this short film about Sam¬†and see the difference that your donation can make. We want to continue improving young people’s lives everyday…Please donate if you can and help me reach my target of ¬£2000. Every little helps…thank you so much! xx

Happy Running everyone….

frankiesaysrun xxxx