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Lanzarote Triathlon Camp 2020

Let’s start at the beginning. How did I sign up for this ? Or  how did I hear about it?

When I got my new job at the end of last year, it meant that I had to change some of my upcoming holidays. Mainly because I can’t go on leave when I’m at the train driving school. In my previous railway job I was able to take leave anytime I wanted. So the triathlon camp I have planned for May in Bolton is probably won’t happen, because I’ll be learning all about train tractions.

But on the other hand I have ended up with 14 days leave at the end of February.

I’m following Lizi Duncombe on Instagram for a few months now, she’s a great athlete and a massive inspiration. One day I’ve seen one of her post about a Tri camp, which happened to be right after my Rules final. Quickly messaged her and asked her if it’s really for anyone? I mean I didn’t want to end up being left behind, or simply just get lost on an Island. She said it’s definitely for everyone, and she took my details and then Toby contacted me.

Toby Garbett is a British Olympian , 2 x World Champion Rower and he’s running this camp for a few years now. After a long phone call with him he confirmed that this camp is really for everyone and then talked through the rough schedule.

A few days later I signed up for it, which was at the end of December.

So I was ready to go to Lanzarote on the 21st of February. But first I had to pass my Train driver’s rules final. So it was a bit of a risk for me, because if I didn’t pass I would have wasted all the money I have paid for the camp and then for the flights etc.

At the end I have passed that exam with a great 98.6%, so a quick pack up and not even 24hrs after my exam I was on an easyJet flight to Lanzarote. 

Day 0 – 21st February – Friday

A friend of mine lend me his Bike box, which was brand new, and it was also the Tri version of it. So I only had to take off my wheels and pedals. Great, I can do that, I think that’s all my bike mechanical skills.

I was a bit worried about the flight and the travel with my bike. I mean I never done anything like this before. I do have insurance for the bike ( Yellow Jersey ) and it also covers me as well ( training, racing in the UK or abroad ). But still there’s a worry about the ‘what if’ situations.

Got to the hotel around 8pm on the Friday, quickly checked in, left my bike at reception, got shown my room and off I went to have some dinner before they started to close it down.

The hotel is in a great location, right by the Marina and there is a really cute shopping street with top brands, and also a fair few restaurants.

Even though I have travelled alone I ended up with a massive room with a big bed. If I ever go back I’ll request to have room 10 again.

The first night in a hotel always different, you don’t know the bed, you don’t know who’s next door and if they’ll make much noise etc. But to my total surprise I did sleep well. 

Day 1 – 22nd February – Saturday

Because most people only arrived today or on Sunday we didn’t have much planned for the day. 4pm easy swim in the 40m pool.

So after breakfast I ventured down to the Marina and bought the usual sightseeing items ( fridge magnets and postcards ). Then back to the hotel for lunch, for an extra 20 euro I was able to get lunch in the hotel.

Then I went down to the bike garage to assemble my bike. I was hoping that it’s still in one piece, and nothing is broken. Had to YouTube it how to put the rear wheel back, but luckily watching the video took me longer then the whole assembly part. So my bike was all ready to go for a ride.

Then packed my swim gear and went to the pool. Because I never met with anyone before I really had no clue if I find them or not. I knew that Lizi’s flight was delayed, but Toby got here a few days ago. So I was hoping to recognise him.

Then at the poolside I have recognised Dee, she was our yoga instructor. I’m so glad I have started to follow her in Instagram as well, so knew how does she look like. Luckily she did recognise me too.

Well that was my first hurdle over, found some of the camp mates. At least I’m not lost or anything.

So on Saturday we only have done a really short 30 mins swim session, so Toby was able to see our technique. My kicking is okay, but I keep crossing my arms. So the plan for the week for me was to correct that.

7pm team dinner, we had our own table in the far back. Bumped into Dee in the restaurant and she showed me where we were sitting. At this point we were still missing some camp mates, due to a massive sand storm , which was coming over from Africa, the airport has been closed down and planes been turned around.

The food at the hotel is in a buffet style , so you just go and help yourself. The only thing is that I had to pay for my drinks at dinner, because I was half board only. But at breakfast I was able to drink the juices, teas and coffees. Definitely not bad for the price I have paid.

Day 2 – 23rd February – Sunday

We have started the day with Dee and my first ever yoga session at 7.30am. Have to say it was a totally different experience, but did like it. I mean I always thought that yoga is easy, but it’s definitely not. I used muscled which I don’t think I have used before. But I did enjoy learning something new.

At 10am we had our induction with Toby , and was talked through about the plans for the week. Had to sign a waiver , got our freebies ( custom flip flops, buff and some kinesiology tape ) all thanks to Meglio.

Also Toby has explained that this is a “ continuous camp” which means, we sleep – train – eat – train – rest and keep repeating it for the whole day and the again for the days ahead. So it’s a crazy busy camp, it’s hard, but it’s also totally rewarding.

Because of the sandstorm our morning bike ride had been cancelled, it was way too windy and the air wasn’t clear enough to cycle.

We had our first run session in the afternoon though. There is a really nice 3km loop around the resort. There are up and down hills so makes the run more interesting , but there’s hardly any shade. There’s a few palm trees but that’s all. I never been to Lanzarote before, so it was a total surprise to me that there’s hardly and greenery. Sunglasses and a visor needed for the runs. It wasn’t crazy hot, but because of the lack of shade meant that the sun caught us a lot. It was our Long run day, so I managed to do 3loops, the faster people went up to 5 laps ( 15km).

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After the run I’ve decided to go to the shops, just to get some lunch for a few days. Spending and extra 20 euros on lunch in the hotel everyday can be quiet expensive.

So when I was leaving my room I finally met with my next door. B. was sitting infront of the room, looked like he got locked out. Him and M. were sharing a room. Well that’s my second worry over. At least now I knew who’s next to me, and luckily they are not weirdos. Specially that we had a through door between our rooms, it was locked but I was a bit worried in the first few days about what if they can open it haha.

Swimming was at 4-5pm every day, because Toby hired the lanes out, so we didn’t have to share it with other hotel guests.

I never swam in a 40m pool before, so it was a different experience. Wow it feels like crazy long compared to my usual 25m pool. But because it was a salted water pool , everyone was really buoyant, no wetsuit needed. This time around we had to do a Pyramid set, started with 2 laps and slowly built it up 400m ( 10 laps ) and back down to 80m.

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I’m not a fast swimmer, I mean I’m not a fast cyclist or runner either. But every day I tried to do my best, even if it took me longer than the others, or just covered less distance.

Just before dinner at 7pm we had a champagne reception. By this point almost everyone arrived. Then we went to have dinner.

This time around I made sure I’m not sitting at the end of the table, I really wanted to make sure I’ll interact with the others. I’m always pretty nervous meeting with new people so this camp was a good practice , just to see how I get on with others, or am I ending up sitting at the far end and not talking to anyone. Luckily the company was great so did have a great evening.

Day 3 – 24th February – Monday

Yayyy cycling day. The weather is back to it’s normal self so we got the go ahead for the bike ride.

But as usual we started our day with Yoga but then instead of having breakfast we went for our first trail run, which was on the coast. I have to say I rarely do trail runs because they are such a hard work, and I’m more like a comfort zone runner, and as you’ll find out later on I’m the same with cycling and swimming. But the view from the coast was incredible. It was definitely worth it. My pace on the trail was over a full minute slower than my normal running pace on the road, and also my heart rate went up higher as well. But just tried to do as well as I could and not worrying about pace or heart rate.

After the run we had our usual team breakfast, then down to the bike garage and finally went for a bike ride.

I really should have looked into Lanzarote more, it’s a tiny island, but crazy hilly. It’s like when my sister and I turned up for the Isle of Wight half marathon and expected a flat course, we’ll have to say that was crazy hilly as well.

So as I said before I’m a comfort runner/swimmer/cyclist. I have my set cycling routes from Andover down to Stockbridge , Romney, Winchester and back home. Even the longest 60km route hardly has any hills in it. I think its about 4-5 hills maybe, and because I know the route well I know how to pace myself so I get over them etc.

So Lanzarote is crazy hilly, we had a 12km bike ride from the hotel up to the main main road, which was in the middle of the island, so this 12km was almost a constant uphill. Ohh dear me why did I sign up for this ? I hate hills so much. But I’m here because I want to get better, get out of my comfort zone more and be a better athlete. Even though I’m still slow. We have only done a short 30km ride , but was more than enough for me.

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I haven’t cycled outdoors since the end of September, because the weather is pretty bad, and I do like using Zwift. But using Zwift is not the same as cycling outside. So after speaking with Phil ( my coach ) we have agreed that I’ll cycle as much outdoors from now on as I can, well weather permitted. By this point I had a mild panic going on , I always thought I’m better on hills. I mean all the hills I do around me are short but steep , so I’m happy with them, but having mile long climbs that’s totally different. So had to message Phil, so he could come up with a contingency plan for me.

It’s so good that I had bought some lunch from the shop the day before because by the time we got back from our ride, we didn’t have much time till we had to go for our swim.

Day 4 – 25th February – Tuesday

We started our day with our usual yoga session, then went to breakfast straight away, because Toby wanted us to be out riding by 9am. Long day planned in the saddle, with more hills, more heat, but with a coffee + cake stop. You know we triathletes are cycling for the cakes. We do anything for a good cake and coffee.

Today we have cycled through Tías up to Teguise and then back to our hotel. The first part was mainly uphill, but the way back was down hill. All in we did cycle 55km, have to say I am pleased with that. Wasn’t a fast ride by any means, but I did enjoy being outside.

After a bit of an afternoon nap ( I mean who doesn’t love afternoon naps ? Specially when you worked so hard for it ), we met up at the pool to drop off our swimming gear, and we went for a run. I never done a run – swim brick session before, so it was interesting. But at least I had a chance to wear my tri suit.

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The plan was to run a 22.5mins out and 22.5mins back , then quickly jump into the pool and swim continuously for 45mins. The run part was pretty good, mainly because it was around the resort and we were running on the roads, my pace was slower than usual though. Probably because this was now day 4 and started to feel tired. But on the other hand I was happy with my swim. Okey not a crazy speedy swim, and definitely slower than my other ones. But I did swim continuously for 45mins. This is the first time doing this since last year’s SwimSerpentine in September, I swam continuously 2 miles then, but since then I didn’t have to do any continuous swim. I usually do drills, or maybe up to 400m’s.

 

By this point I started to get really stiff and sore. Why the hell I didn’t bring my foam roller with me? Specially that I do have 3 at home. I never though about it. So quickly asked around and managed to get a lacrosse ball for the week, which was great for my back, and then also got a foam roller for the night. Next time around I’ll make sure I have my foam rollers with me.

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Day 5 – 26th February – Wednesday

After another early yoga session, we had an early breakfast to, and was out on our bikes from 9am. Lizi finally made it to the camp, and we went out with her. She’s got a bit delayed because of the cancellations caused by the sandstorm.

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So the plan for the day was to even go further up. Yeah, you heard, more hills. At this point I realised how unfit I am, and I really need to do more hill work.

So we have cycled past Teguise and went up to Haría. It was such a hard work, but at the end the view definitely was worth it, and also I need to mention the awesome cake stop at the top.

On the way back to the hotel it was mainly down hill, yay I love downhills. So we managed to get back to the hotel pretty quickly, overall we did cycle 78km. So as you can see the distance was slowly creeping up, even though we started to get more tired.

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When we got back from our ride we had to do a mini brick session. Straight off from the bike we went to do a loop around the hotel. I have to say I hardly felt my legs, they felt like jelly and the heat didn’t help either. But on the other hand this run turned out to be one of the fastest run for me in the week. How strange is that.

The swim was another pyramid session after the initial 160m warm up. Have to say after all these long days out on the bike and then on the run, it was really refreshing to jump into the pool.

At dinner I’ve spoken with Toby that I’m a comfort cyclist and I hardly do any hill work. So doing that 12km uphill everyday is a massive struggle for me. Then we agreed that when I go back home I need to do more hills, even if I’m slower and they are a much harder workouts.

After dinner went out with some of the guys for a coffee. It was good to leave the hotel and be outside in normal clothes, even if it was just for a bit.

Day 6 – 27th February – Thursday

I’ve started to master these yoga sessions. I’m still pretty inflexible, but it does relaxes me a lot, makes my breathing under control and it’s just a great experience.

Straight after yoga we’ve gone for our morning run. It was a trail run again. Ahh well I need to improve my running as well. So let’s do this.

The plan was to do a shorter ride today, so we are all ready for the BIG one on Friday.

This time I was grouped up with Toby, Lizi went out with the faster group.

After yesterday’s cycling defeat, I wasn’t sure how I felt about this ride. But I did try to have a positive mind.

Climbing up that first 12kms are started to get better. Then on the main road instead of turning right we did turn left. It was mainly a flat and fast course, but did have the odd bits of hills. Not sure because of my talk with Toby the day before , or not, but he did kept an eye on me. So I ended up following ( drafting) him or D. for the whole course. I can’t believe how much easier my ride turned into . Don’t get me wrong I still had to peddle hard to keep up with them. But instead of being lazy and roll down hills , like I always do, we peddled down all of them and up all of them. This was my “ A day “ of cycling, definitely. I was tired by the end , because I’m not used to this much peddling, but it was definitely worth it. Me who hates hills, they made them so easy. I literally tucked behind them , had the same gear set up as them and just peddled, I never been so fast going up hills.

I just wish drafting in Bolton would be legal haha. I would definitely ask one of them to come along and help me around the course. I can dream, right?

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Day 7 – 28th February – Friday

The plan was to do an over 100k bike ride, longest of the week. But usually plans are change, specially at my end.

I really didn’t feel the ride at all, I managed to get over being physically tired, but mentally I was knackered. So when I got up to Teguise I’ve told Lizi that I’m going back to the hotel. P. had to leave as well, because of his early flight, so we ended up cycling back together. At the end it ended up as a 50km ride. It wasn’t my best or even my worst ride, but I just didn’t feel it at all. But there’s always something to learn from even from a bad day.

It’s day 7 and so far I have done every single session, I never trained this much in my life in a few days, usually I do this much probably 2-3 weeks, but definitely not in 7 days.

So yes, I was pretty disappointed, because I did wanted to do that 100k , would have been a great start of the year. But it didn’t happen, can’t change it unfortunately.

We got back to the hotel crazy early, because cutting the ride short, so I messaged Dee and asked her if she wants to come out with me for a coffee and cake in the Marina. Ahh and they had the market on as well. My bad day suddenly turned into a great one haha.

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We didn’t do any running this day, instead we had a 30mins yoga session followed by an easy 30mins swim session. It did feel like the perfect ending of a tiring but fun trip.

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I had an early flight on Saturday so I really thought I won’t do anything on Saturday. Well how wrong was I ? At dinner Toby said that we will do the Saturday duathlon well early, so G. and myself can participate as well.

Early night turned into a bit of a late one. Because I had to pack away my bike, and wasn’t planning to do it till Saturday morning. Luckily the box form AJ is supercool and I only had to take off my wheels and pedals. So 10 mins max. But at 10pm everything looks way too long.

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Day 8 – 29th February – Saturday

No lay in for the wicked, and I also had to unpack some things for this morning’s duathlon.

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We’ve met up at the pool at 7.15am, left our swim stuff there and off we went for our run. We’ve been broken into a few groups, according to abilities. I had to run just over 4km and then swim 24 lengths at the 40m pool. I knew that I can finish the run first in my group, but also knew that I’ve get beaten in the swim part. So the plan was to run as fast as I could to build up some time, so I’ll have more time to swim. At the end the guy who ran slower than me, ended up beating me on the swim part ( just as I have anticipated) and it wasn’t a small win, he managed to finish 3 full laps ahead of me. Oops. I clearly need to improve my swimming game.

But it was crazy fun and the whole thing took us less than an hour.

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Quick shower and off to have my last breakfast at camp with the team. 

Final thoughts:

And that’s the wrap for a productive , trying , challenging, awesome, fun , crazy week in Lanzarote.

I’ve done something what I never done before and never thought I ever will, because I’m a pretty shy person , and I’m someone who loves her comfort zone.

I never been in a training camp like this

I didn’t know anyone here

Found it on Instagram and after speaking with Toby I’ve paid him 😬

Never travelled with my bike

Never been on this island before

NEVER trained this much in my whole life in 6 days.

  • Am I tried ? Yes.
  • Did I have great days ? Yes.
  • Did I wobble on some days ? Yes.
  • BUT I didn’t skip one single session and I’m still smiling. Even though I’m mentally and physically tired.

But till then here are the stats:

Swim : 11 200m ( 4:15:17 )
Bike : 268km (13:20:49)
Run : 34.9km ( 4:10:05)
Yoga : 4:12:04
15 507 calories been burnt
25hrs 58mins and 21 sec all together 😱

Am I coming back ?

If I can get the time off next year I’ll be back without a doubt. I met with so many amazing and inspirational people on this camp that it’s totally unreal.

I knew it in my whole life that I’m a comfort zone athlete. I don’t like hills , so rarely do hill reps on the bike or on the run.

I’m happy with my swim pace , so I just stick with that. I love getting faster on my runs , but that’s the only thing I work hard for.

BUT this week showed me that I’m capable of doing so much more. I just need to step outside of that comfortable place and be a bit uncomfortable.

This past 8 days given me so much confidence that I can’t even describe. I know I can do the training and the hard work if I set my mind to it. My body is totally capable to do it. I just need to do that small step and being uncomfortable a tiny bit.

I’m still not a great cyclist , I’m not fast or even strong. Those Lanza hills killed my confidence a bit. So that needs to improve , a lot, and I’m the only person who can do that.

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So next time I’m out riding , I’ll make sure I change up my routes and go somewhere new. Even if I just push myself a tiny bit every time , that would make me much better in the long run.

Being comfortable is great , and I do love that feeling, but that doesn’t make me any better.

And I do want to be better, I just need to set that bar a bit higher each time and try to reach it and just work hard till I can get there.

Do I recommend this camp ?

Totally! When Toby told me months ago that this camp is for everyone he didn’t lie. I’m far from being fast, but I had an amazing time with them and learnt and improved a lot in this past week. So yes, I definitely do recommend it, you can be a total beginner or even a pro, you’ll definitely will enjoy your week. 

If anyone have any question please just comment below or message me, and I’ll try to answer.

Also here’s Toby’s website : Lanzarote Fitness Camp 2020 | Toby Garbett – Olympian and two-time World Champion rower

Lizi’s website: Triathlon Coaching – Road to Kona

Dee’s website: https://deeoppyoga.com/

Love,

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What grief has taught me?

This will be a really personal post, and I really don’t plan to write anymore like this. People keep telling me that I’m a really open person because of my social media accounts, which is true, but also it isn’t. I chose to share the content of them, and I chose to share happy, positive posts, with the occasional sad, angry or even annoyed training posts.

But there is a side which is totally hidden from most people. Why? Because I made that choice.

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So what is grief?

Frustration, sadness, conflits, loneliness, arguments, isolation, outbursts, tiredness, rage, despair, denial, negativity, pain, depression etc.

All of these, but in the same time none of them.

It’s Emptiness , that’s definitely the biggest one.

I’ve spent the first few months with crying , day in and day out.

The hardest part was to be with people and just ‘ look okay‘ even though you wan’t to look anything but okay. Learn to fake a smile and just continue your life like nothing happened. They are not bringing Luke’s name up , and I see when I do mention his name they do feel really uncomfortable. Probably because they have no idea how I’ll act?

I always thought that I grown up at the age of 22 when I left Hungary and moved to England with 1 suitcase and a few hundred pounds. How wrong I was. I’ve grown up at the age of 30, when I had to make so many uncomfortable phone calls to people and to companies and figure out how to continue.

I’ve grown up when I had to make massive decisions by myself and I had no-one to ask if that’s a good decision or not. I’ve grown up when I turned down a great job what I always wanted, why did I even interviewed for it 3 weeks after the funeral(??),  and I definitely grown up when I realised I shouldn’t care about other people opinion. If someone doesn’t want to talk to me, want to unfriend me, and walk past me without saying hello, then it’s totally their loss. I really can’t change the past unfortunately.

  • What grief has taught me?

That I am so much stronger than I ever thought I’ll be . Because being strong is my only option. I could probably spend hours/days/weeks/months sitting and crying on my sofa. But that doesn’t get me anywhere and life is definitely goes on.

  • What grief has taught me?

I learned that I had spent way too much time worrying about things that didn’t really matter at all.

  • What grief has taught me?

That even though family and friends told me at the funeral that ” I’ll be there for you,” they are nowhere to be seen. Like I never even existed.

  • What grief has taught me?

Random people keep showing up in your life. Like I have my “nail lady,” my ” hair lady” and my ” beautician lady” and to my surprise they are all here for me. They are not judging or questioning my decisions. They are here for me with all their hearts.

  • What grief has taught me?

What grief has taught me is that I will never be the same again, and thats neither good or bad. Everything from now on will happen because you are not here.

  • What grief has taught me?

I can use my pain for good. No one know how long their life lasts. Grief has taught me to concentrate on myself more  and work hard to reach my goals. I had 2 awesome job interviews which got me my dream job. I never felt more focused about my training , ever. I might live till I’m 100+ years old , but I might only live till tomorrow. So everything I do, I want to make sure that I’ll do it with the best of my ability now on. I managed to alter my mindset to concentrate on things what’s important to ME and to produce a better outcome of my life.

“When someone you love dies, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time–the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes–when there’s a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she’s gone, forever–there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.”

John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

Grief is hard, it sucks and it’s totally unfair. But life goes on, and yes I so wish I could change the past, but it’s totally impossible. But in the past few months I have learnt so much about myself and that is awesome. The road ahead is definitely will be a bumpy one but I promise you one thing, that I’ll handle it to the best of my ability.

Loads of love,

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New York – Round 2?

Over a week ago I’ve got a email newsletter from NYRR with the email subject of ‘ The Virtual Marathon is back ‘ .

This is the second year that NYRR offers this option to get into next year’s marathon.

They have 500 spots for the virtual race, it’s cost $150, and you’ll need to run a marathon between the 31st of October and 3rd of November to get your guaranteed 2020 spot.

Hmmmm…. I wasn’t really sure if I want to apply for it or not. I mean I already ran the race back in 2017. But I LOVE New York , I loved living / working there in 2010, then when we went back with Luke in 2017 it was an awesome holiday. Do I really need this ?

I mean after Boston I said I won’t ever want to see a marathon start line ever again.

But no matter how much I love swimming and cycling, and do want to concentrate on triathlons more, I always be a runner. I love running, I love the freedom, and just love getting the miles in. You know all that I’m far from being fast, but I still do love running. Running helps me to clear my head and just to concentrate on myself. Think about all that crazy weird things, and just simply to get my ‘me time’. I’ve met so many amazing people all thanks to my 6 Star journey and I’m so grateful for that.

The virtual race registration went live this past Wednesday at 5pm UK time ( 12pm NY time) , I thought I’ll give it a try. I mean I really have nothing to lose. I don’t have any pressure on me to get a spot, if I get in I’ll be happy, if I wont get in I wont be upset.

This was the website for the sign up https://www.nyrr.org/races/tcsnewyorkcitymarathonvirtual262m

After filling out my information, and selecting the correct option, filled out the Strava questionnaire , NYRR server died.

This happened at 17.08pm, so I really thought I’m out. Because lets be clear 500 spots are really not many. Probably 1000s of people tried to register and the website just kept crashing.

At the end I’ve got my confrontation at 17.15pm. I was IN.

My Strava got updated straight away, and it showing my upcoming challenge.

A friend of mine ( Robert ), keeps calling me the MacGyver of the race registrations. I’ve registered to Boston in 20 seconds after the applications opened, and now I managed to get one of the virtual spots for NY.

What’s next? Ohh I just need to run a marathon, to get my spot for New York. You’d say ohh it can’t be that hard for you, you already done 6 marathons. Yes, that’s correct. But I never in my life run 26.2 miles not during a race. So now the planning starts. Where can I run this distance? One thing for sure, I definitely wont run it on the track, I can’t handle 105 laps .

I mean I’ll need refreshments, some support would be good too, or at least just someone there to tell me to keep going. I NEED something flat ! Got a suggestion that I should ask my fellow Savage team mates if they fancy running with me a few miles, at least I won’t be alone and the time would go quicker. Just a casual Saturday morning run. Will see 🙂

So I’m half way in New York 2020, which will be the 50th New York marathon. Wow. I do hope that they will have a nice medal. I’m the biggest sucker of the fancy medals.

So now I’ll have London in April 2020 and hopefully New York in November 2020. World marathon majors round 2, here I come , haha.

Going back to New York alone, will be hard. But when I lived there I was also alone, and I managed. So I should be all okey. The only hard part is not having anyone cheer me on during the race in person. But life’s not always easy, so I’ll need to tackle this.

Love,

Gabi xxx

Boston

Boston. Where should I start? What should I say? One thing for sure that it will be long. So if you stick around it’s better to get a cup of tea.

Let’s start at the beginning.

31st of March – Luke and I were planning the final sightseeing plans for Boston. Everything was perfect.

1st of April – Luke died. Everything turned upside down.

We were supposed to fly out to Boston on the 12th. I had no idea what to do or what am I supposed to do. This trip was supposed to be a happy trip with a massive celebration. I mean finishing all 6 World Marathon Majors is a big deal. Before Boston there were only 6 Hungarians, so not many of us. I know I always moaned about the training load and how tired I am, but when you cross that finish line you forget the struggles, you don’t remember when you doubted your abilities. You there, happy, proud and you feel like being at the top of the World.

I really had no clue what to do with this race. Training was done, and I just needed to turn up on race day. But is it possible to do it when your world just ended in a second?

No-one pushed me to either direction, but some not so nice family members told me that if I go to Boston I’ll be the most selfish person ever. Others said that if I’m going to Boston I never even loved Luke. But the most hurtful thing was this sentence ” I hope you will move back to Hungary now. “. Let’s just set the record straight,  from my side of the family I only have my sister here, and it wasn’t her who said these….

At the end I decided to go. We’ve spent £4.5k on this holiday and that just way too much to lose , I knew that I will feel bad if I go because I’ll miss Luke, but if I stay at home I’ll be snuggled under the duvet and I would still feel bad.

12th of April – Boston I’m coming. Longest and loneliest plane journey in my life. Guy next to me had no clue why I’m crying and sniffing. But told him I don’t have a cold, so he doesn’t need to worry.

After getting through customs we went to the hotel. Have to say the hotel was awesome ( Omni Parker House ) and it definitely well worth the money.

Shelly was already there and not too sure how but I got a cheeky upgrade all thanks to her, plus a bottle of bubbly drink and the world famous Boston cream pie. She brought so many cards and presents with her, all from fellow Team Paws Chicago members. Luke and I only met with them once, in October last year during race week. But they were just so lovely.

Then we went to grab something to eat quickly. I mean aeroplane food is definitely not the best, so a proper burger needed.

Saturday

I didn’t sleep well. Let’s just blame it to the jet-leg. I went to the expo, I was there just before 9am. No queue at all, got my bib number in minutes. Only got a selfie of myself, I really didnt feel like asking strangers to take a photo of me by the wall.

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I love expos, I love the feeling, I love the merchandise, the freebies, everything. At Tokyo I think we did spent at least 2 hours there. Spending money is always great.

Boston was different. I was in an out in 30 mins. I got the jacket, Dunkin tshirt so it’s matching with my Dunkin Saucony shoes and thats all. I’m 30 and I never in my life had anxciety. But at the expo just kept feeling some kind of pressure and kept thinking if I need to stay a minute longer I’ll break down. So I assume that’s how anxciety feels. Worst thing ever. So it was the shortest expo visit ever.

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Luke and I planned to go to Harvard. But I couldn’t. I just went back to the hotel and stayed there almost all day.

Saturday 5pm, I had to get ready.  Abbott was hosting a reception for the 6 Star finishers. I wanted to go. Dressed up nicely and headed back the Hynes convention centre.

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We’ve got a pretty cool pair of compression socks from Abbott. Check them out below in the race photos. Also I met some famous people, and they were really chilled out.

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Peter ( ex NYRR race director ) & Hugh ( race director of VMLM)

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Hugh & Nick ( CEO of London marathon events)

Hugh and Nick were so incredibly friendly. They were happy to hear that my first marathon was in London, and that I also ran it for a chairty. Then they coulnd’t beleive that it took me 23months to do all 6, turns out thats a really fast and rare thing.

After the reception Shelly and I met up with Denise. Off we went to an exclusive Runner’s World party. If someone tells me that I’m going to meet up with all these people in Boston I think I would of laughed at them.

Sunday

Baseball day. Let’s be honest, I have absolutley no clue of baseball. Luke bought the tickets, because he really wanted to go. At the end I’ve invited Shelly, because I really didn’t want to go alone. She’s absolutely the best friend ever, it’s a shame that she lives in Chicago and that’s too far 🙁

So Shelly somehow managed to get us a VIP tour at Fenway. Luke would of loved it. We went onto the pitch, seen they practising and went to places were only staff and players are allowed.

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During one of the many breaks, this sign appeared on the advertising boards:

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I still have no idea what to say, other than Thank you.

The after the game we were allowed to go back to the field and have a photo taken infront ot the Green Monster. I have literally no clue how Shelly can pull these off. But she did make my stay in Boston really good.

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Then just casually we finished our evening with a pasta dinner, but who did we have dinner with ? The one and only Kathrine Switzer.

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Race day

My first ever race on Monday. It felt totally weird.

What can I say about this? I knew that it will be hard, not physically more like emotionally. But I never thought that it will be this hard. Luke was my best cheerleader, and we always met 3-4 times during a marathon. So he can give me a boost, support or whatever I wanted.

Boston’s course is challanging but if you’ve done the training well you’ll be okey.

I ran the first few miles with Denise, then she went to find Shelly who started infont of me.

The race sucked, I kept tearing up on literally everything. You don’t normally see runners crying at mile 2, it’s usually at mile 25. By the time I got the mile 16 I had enough. I just kept thinkning that what’s the point of this? Luke’s not here, he wont ever cheer me on again, he won’t see me at the finish line. So why the hell do I do this? He was always so proud of me. What’s to point of this running if he won’t be proud of me ever again? So at mile 16 I decided to walk. Not my usual run-walk-run thing, nope, walk 10 miles. I didn’t care about finishing, I didn’t care about the time. I literally couldn’t of cared if a bus pickes me up and takes me to a finish and get a DNF. Boston has a strict cut off, if you want to have an official finish time you’ll need to finish before they turn off the finish line clock. But you don’t know when’s that. It’s 6hrs from the last runner.

I knew if I walk 10 miles, I won’t get there on time and I get a DNF. I won’t get my Boston medal and I definitelyt won’t get my 6 Star medal. At that point I didn’t even care that I’ve just wasted £4.5k on nothing.

Whilst I was sitting on the side walk I put  a post up on facebook,, jsut to let everyone know what’s going on. After sitting there for a long time I decided its time to walk. It was going to be a really long 10 mile.

But 1 mile into my walk Denise came along, again. It turns out I took her and Shelly over ages ago, and now Shelly was running with someone and Denise decided to go and chase her own unicorn. It was her 10th consecituve Boston and she had to finish before the cut off so she can just easily register next year. Beat the normal registration process.

She said she’ll do the last 9 miles with me. Even when i said to her , that she needs to leave me behind she didn’t. We ran the downhills and walked the upphills and just kept talking. She didn’t let me give up. She said if I come this far I need to finish. If I don’t finish Luke will be so so pissed off at Heaven. So I had to keep going.

The harest and longest 9 miles in my life. When every inch of your body just wants to give up, but there’s someone next to you who doesn’t let your mind win. She said if I’m phisically injured she left me DNF but she kept saying I’m stronger than my emotions and it’s only a few more miles before the finish. She really could of easily left me befind, because she is a bit over 3hr marathon finisher. But she stayed.

Then we turned Right On Hereford, Left On Boylston and we seen the finish line. She sprinted off and she said she’ll wait for me at the finish and will make the best ever finish line video of me.

At the end I finished the race with 9 minutes to spare.

Really not what I wanted but still better than a DNF.

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6 marathons

23 months

Thousands ££££ raised

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Do you think it’s acceptable to talk about my medals till I die? I mean look at them , they are literally the best set of medals ever 🙂

What’s next? 

I do not know. I have London in 3 days time, which I can’t defer because I won it via New Balance, I have a 10k in May, can’t defer that either , won the place it via Parkrun, ohh and don’t let me forget the IM in july, and get this I can’t defer that either. I already deferred it from last year because I injured my leg last year. I have an IM traning camp coming up in 2 weeks time and even if I cancel I won’t get my money back. I paid for my hotel for London and Bolton and they are non refundbale. Great. Seems like the current slogan of my life is  ” You suck and you can’t defer” .

So I’ll go hour by hour. I really can’t  even tell how I will feel in an hour, so judging how I’ll feel in weeks time I have no clue at all.

Somedays I just want to stay in bed and do nothing all day, other than crying. Other times I think its an awesome idea to go and train, be around people, people a like a lot. But then when I’m there I can’t even do much. Because I really don’t feel the love towards training. Luke’s not here anymore to be proud of me, or just simply ask me how was my training, and I have noone else.

But let me tell you one thing, I’m not a quitter. Well I always trying to be one, but other’s not letting me quit. And I’m so so grateful for that. I wanted to quit tri club a few months ago because I was the slowest, well I still the slowest, then been advised that I shouldn’t quit. So I stuck around. Best decision ever. Then I wanted to quit Boston, but Denise came along and she didn’t let me quit. No matter how much I wanted. So if in the next few weeks or even months I tell you that I hate everything and I just want to walk off, please do not let me do that.

There will come a time when you feel as if the whole world is whispering that you’ll fail. Just look down at your feet and remember the mountain of miles they’ve already taken you so far and screen back I’m already winning. You have no idea what you truly capable of.

Lots of love,

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Tokyo Marathon 2019 – race recap

Wow I can’t believe that race day was already 2 weeks ago. I’m so behind with all of these posts. Sorry.

So after an exciting few days in Tokyo which was filled with sightseeing and great food ( will definitely write a post about these later on ), on the Thursday we went to the Expo to pick up my race number.

Expo:

This year the expo was in a different location and it was under many tents. It really didn’t bother me, but read on Facebook that loads of people didn’t like it at all. We got there just after 11am and I was out of the bib pick up tent by 11.15am. So really didnt’ take long. Because I was a charity runner I had to go to a specific table. There they taken a photo of me and also got a wristband with a barcode. So with all these security measures they really did try to prevent cheaters. Because they have your photo if anyone would have run with someone’s number they can easily be identified.

After picking up my race number we went to the next tent where I was given my pink Asics charity top and a 500 yen McDonald’s voucher. It turned out McDonald’s was one of the race’s main sponsor. In the next tent we were able to purchase all the official merchandise. Couldn’t say no to the cutest teddy bear.

Then we went to a massive exhibition area. Not people spoke English, but at the end we ended up 4 bags full of freebies. Who wouldn’t want a few slices of walnut bread or even a Zero calorie alcohol free beer?

As I said earlier loads of people didn’t have a great expo experience, but I did have fun. It was different, but I do believe it was well organised.

Race day:

Sunday, wow, can’t believe how fast the last 7 days gone by. On Saturday I tried to go to bed early, I think at the end I managed to sleep around 7hours.

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Few of us stayed in the same hotel, so I met with Shelly and Judy at the lobby at 7am, so we could go to the start together. Shinjuku station was only a few stops away from our station, so took us about 10mins to get there with the subway. Really not far at all. It turned out all of us were at a different starting block, which meant we had to use different entrance gates. I said goodbye to them and off I went  to gate Number 3.

The security check felt like I am at an airport. Metal detectors, back check, no fluids more than 250ml etc. But I got through in a few mins. By this time it started to rain, which was unfortunate. The forecast said it will rain, but it said it should start around 11am. So 7.30am was a bit too early for it. Went to drop my bag off and tried to find my start coral. Because I’m a slow runner, my starting pen was L. Got there just before 8am, hardly any people around. Quick loo break and went to the start area. Loads of people warned me that the loo breaks can be bad, but as yu can see in the photo below, hardly anyone was there.

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Then the wait begun. Tokyo had a really strict policy about the starting blocks. If someone wasn’t in their start pen by 8:45am, then they had to go to the back of the last coral. So I really didn’t want to risk starting from the back of the last coral.

The rain was contusions, and I started to feel really cold. Wearing a jumper and a space blanket didn’t really keep me warm. But it wasn’t too long till the race start so I was hoping I can wait in the cold, before I get hypothermia.

The race guns went off at 9.10am, but I didn’t cross the start line till 9.33am.

Tokyo has a really strict cut off, first of all the measure everything with gun time, so the overall cut off was 7hrs gun time. But they also have intermediate cut offs, and balloon pacers. If someone get to one of these check points after the cut off time, well then they get a DNF ( do not finish ) and have to get on a bus, and get carried back to the finish area.

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Balloon pacers, if someone got behind them they were in serious trouble

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Check points in roughly every 5k

 

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Cut off times on the course.

So after running Chicago in 5:58 I knew that I can’t make any mistakes in Tokyo . I have to make all the cut offs, it’s such a long way to travel and then fail.

My training went really well, and I was really hoping for a 5:30 finish. But  after loosing 10mins at km 14, because of an emergency loo break I knew that time is out of sight. But I tried to think about positive things, and concentrate the journey ahead of me. You can’t just give up at 14km because your time is out. You need to push through and do your best.

Even with the horrible rain, and cold temperature 6-8 Celsius, I had an awesome race.

Japanese people are so friendly, and incredibly helpful. Also they look after the cleanliness of the city really well. In every few hundred of metres they had volunteers with plastic bags and they were collecting the rubbish from runners. Also at the aid stations they had massive boxes for rubbish, so there wasn’t any rubbish on the streets. So after running London and New York and tripping over so many plastic bottles and paper cups, Tokyo was great.

The course had a few out-and-back parts, and it was so hard to see runners going at 41km, when you are only at 31. But running is a mental game. I know that my body can do the distance, but the human mind is so powerful. One bit of wobble and I do start to question my ability. But I tried to keep calm, and just think about ‘parkruns’, – Ohh it’s only 2 parkruns to go till the finish, I can do parkruns, Its easy, Anyone can do a parkrun -.

Not many people spoke English, but the main phrases were ” Go go go ” and “Fight”.

Also they had so many motivational signs out there in English. So even though they didn’t shout my name around the course, I didn’t feel lonely. Like in Berlin I had a horrible time, because I don’t speak German and they don’t speak english .

The only negative thing about the race was the Tracking app. We didn’t manage to download it from the UK app store, but was working perfectly fine on an Android. So not many people were able to track me. But a lovely friend of mine from Australia kept posting on my Facebook ,so others were able to see my progress.

At the end I crossed the finish line in 05:39:05, which is a massive 19 mins PB.

It sounds a lot, but if I tell you that 5 months ago in Chicago I thought I gave my best and couldn’t run any faster , than this 19 mins a massive achievement.

I’ve done most of my training sessions, and I do believe my tri club run sessions do help a lot as well. Before hand I never done anything like that. If I had to run faster I went a bit faster. But at the run session you really need to go faster. Also coming last in every session makes my mind stronger. It took me a really long time to realise that I’m racing against me. It doesn’t matter if others finishing their runs way ahead of me. I’m coming last but I’m still getting faster. As long as I keep pushing myself at those session I should improve.

Look at my splits below. Other than the 15km one ( lost 10 mins at a loo queue) I was running every 5k roughly in the same pace. I never really been consistent with my running pace before, but I clearly getting better.

Also note that as I said Tokyo does gun time, so my ‘official’ time is includes that 20mins wait around at the start.

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Other than finishing the race, this is what I’m most proud of. I started the race as the 6846th Women, but when I finished I was the 6403.  That doesn’t sound a lot, but if you see that at 15km mark I was 8123, the finishing position is great. After loosing 10 mins, I managed to pick myself up and kept going.

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All in all Tokyo was an awesome race. If you chasing the Majors, I do think you will love this race. If you not a Major chaser than I still do recommend it.

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Tokyo is Done

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I Love my finisher Towel

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5 down 1 more to go

If anyone interested about the charity registration process, you can read my experience here.

29 days time I’ll be lacing my shoes up in Boston and will chase that Unicorn and collect my 6 star medal. I can’t wait. But more about that in my next post.

Till then loads of love,

Gabi xx

20 days till Tokyo but …

In 3 weeks this time probably I already finished the Tokyo marathon.

Tokyo is 9 hours ahead of England. So when I’ll start the race on Sunday morning around 9.30am most of the UK will be still asleep or just going to sleep.

It’s now less than 2 weeks till we are flying out , but I’m just not excited. I just want this whole thing to be over.

Probably it doesn’t help that this week didn’t go as I planned.

One of our dog got ill on Monday and ended up at the vets. Bless his heart his penis is swollen and got some kind of infection. A week later he still poorly, and constantly drinking/weeing. So he may have some issues with his liver. We are going back to the vets tomorrow.

If he doesn’t get better I have no idea what to do. The kennels won’t take him in , because he’s ill. So I have no clue who’s going to look after him when we are away.

On Tuesday evening in my way home from run club my car broke down. Waiting 2hrs in the pissing rain, in total darkness is not fun.

I really didn’t thought nothing about it. Called a mobile mechanic out and after 10 mins of investigation, he noticed a bolt came undone by the cambelt. According to him that bolt never comes undone. Later on I googled and that bolt only can come undone if someone hasn’t tightened it well.

Contacted with the original mechanic but he’s refusing to take responsibility, even though he’s done work on the car in November.

So now here I am with a car with an engine failure. I have no funds to buy a new car at the moment. Luckily I don’t really need the car for work , I can take the trains luckily. But without it I can’t make any of my tri club sessions, plus if Po Po get’s really poorly I’ll need to rely on a taxi to get to the vets.

No I’m just waiting what else can go wrong ? Usually they come in threes, two down so one more to go.

I hardly done any training this week. I literally couldn’t be bothered. Went running 3 times and cycling once. But that’s hardly anything.

I felts so good about my whole training for Tokyo. I really gave my best and done more training than I ever done in my life. I’ve got much faster.

After finishing Chicago in October with and average pace of 8:30mins/km ( 5:58:24 ) I thought if I push myself I can maybe do a 7:50mins/km ( 5:30:00 finish ). Well that was my plan and I did train for it.

In my last few long runs – 20 mile plus – I managed to average between 7:25-7:35mins/km. So I’m supposed to be really happy about this. According to that I can really easily do a sub 5:30 finish in Tokyo.

But at the moment I really can’t think about anything else just how much my life sucks. I have a definitely dead car , and a possible dying dog, and I need to fly out in 13 days time. Ohh and I’m turning 30 next week. Anything else ?!

Ahhhhhh…….

Training summary w/c 28th January

28. January – 3rd February 2019

Another week gone, I really can’t believe how fast these days going.

Week 7 of Ironman Bolton training.

Week 14 of Tokyo / Boston / London marathon training.

Monday:

Monday’s are still rest days. I really can’t get myself into thinking to do any kind of workout. Eventually would be good to do some yoga or strength training, but after 6 days worth of training I really just feel that I need to sit down, take a breath and enjoy doing nothing.

Tuesday:

Went to swimming straight after work. This time the pool was quieter, and people seemed to used the correct lanes. There were still some annoying ones, who decided just to chit-chat at the end, without swimming a single lap.

I still really don’t know how to break up my long swims. So ended up simply swimming 25x100m sets. I do feel good about my swim pace. I wanted to make sure all of them were around the 2:20 mark, so there was no point for me to shoot out and swim a few 2:10s when I know I won’t be able to do that 25 times. But compared my time to an earlier session back in December I clearly got faster 🙂

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Tuesday evening means tri club run session. I had a feeling that it will get cancelled, because the weather wasn’t the nicest. But coach said as long as someone turns up he’s happy to do the session .The Facebook poll said 3 of us will be there, but at the end 5 of us turned up. Not too bad. Luckily it wasn’t too cold, just a bit wet.

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The session was held at Crabtree, which only could mean one thing. Hill reps. Oooh dear God, how much do I hate those? A lot.

So the plan was to run half a lap, around half  a mile till we get to the other end of the forest, and to the top of the hill. Then do some hill reps for 15-20mins.

I’ve ended up running the whole thing with G. He’s still injured, so he’s coaching us. He said my pace is perfect for him, it wouldn’t put too much strain on his knees. Well good to be slow then haha.

So back to those hill reps, it wasn’t just the little ones I’ve done a few weeks ago. Nope. Started it from further down, and run further up. Passed a bench, into the woods. It was probably twice as long as the ones I’ve done before. Did I already say I hate hills?

I think we ended up running about 6 times roughly. When we were doing the 5th, he said that’s the last one. But then got to the top and he said he changed his mind and off we go and do another one.

The last 2 sets were the hardest, I’ve been told not to stop, no matter how much it hurts, try to push it through, and for the last one I had to try do attempt a faster pace. I think I was probably racing with a snail. Because it definitely wasn’t a quick run. But got up to the top.

It’s so much harder when you are running with someone. I’m really bad at hills, or faster paced runs. So usually when I feel tired I just stop and walk a bit or a lot. But when your coach is running next to you , you do have to try your hardest to keep going, and I’ve done that. It did hurt, but at the end of the day this is how I get better.  Need to push through, no matter how much I don’t like it.

After the hills we ran back to the cars, nice and easy jog. Haha easy for them. It was still faster than my usual pace. Then the guys decided to run home, and G. and I ran one more mile long lap, as a cool down. Running a mile doesn’t sound that bad, but after those hills, it wasn’t easy.

At the end we clocked in 6.3km in just over 49mins. But this included loads of down-hill walking. Ohh and to my surprise with my sloth pace I managed to grab a 1st place on a  Strava Segment.

All time Women – 1st, All time – 10th, This year ( women ) – 1st, This year – 4th.

It’s either being a new segment, or people in January are not too active. I still can’t believe how did I manage to get the 1st place Women spot, with my pace?

Wednesday:

One of my favourite day , I love doing my brick sessions. It does feel like I’m getting better with them. It was only a really short session, but my legs did work hard and they didn’t wobble.

Thursday:

Last day of January, I can’t believe how fast this month gone by.

I wasn’t really planning to have a long run session, but had to keep my legs moving, and get some mileage in. Even if it wasn’t a long session.

Bang on 8k, and much faster than my marathon pace. At the end I even managed to get a new VO2 max. Finally I’m up to 42. I was standing on 41 for ages.

Let’s see my January stats:

Swim : 15.81km 🏊🏼‍♀️
Bike : 290.36km🚴🏼‍♀️
Run : 142.94 km 🏃🏽‍♀️

Roll on February 🙂

“Winter miles 🔜 summer smiles “

I don’t think it’s too bad. First month I ever run longer than 130km+. Cycling is going up really well, and my slow swimming is getting better session by session.

 

Friday:

Another day on the bike. We’ve snowed in so I really didnt’ want to risk going to the pool or do another run session. Wouldn’t be  good ending up with a broken arm or leg before Tokyo. Here’s a photo from the morning, I took it whilst I was at work 🙂 Did I say I LOVE snow 🙂

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45 mins cycling around Watopia, with a little elevation. Plan said keep it in Z2, so I wasn’t allowed to push it any harder or do more hills. At the end of the session I was in Z2 for 93%. Not too bad 🙂

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Saturday:

No training today. Went up to London to attend the yearly Meet the Experts session organised by London Marathon. A great and informative event. I do believe it’s totally worth it if you are running London the first time 🙂

Sunday:

Long run session today. The roads were still ridiculously icy and snowy. There was literally no chance for me to run outdoors. I had to run 14 miles and this close to my marathon I really didn’t want to miss it. After thinking about it a lot, I decided to go to the gym, and run on a treadmill. I absolutely hate those machines, the only thing I hate more are prawns and hill reps. How the hell can I run 14 miles on the boring treadmill? They gym has 1 tv , and it showing the news constantly. So nothing exciting at all. I don’t have a foot pod, so can’t run virtually on Zwift. So 14 boring and long miles here I come.

At the end I decided to do intervals. 60secs runs and 30secs walk break. Sometimes shorter, sometimes longer. The people kept changing next to me, but I tried to stay motivated and keep going on and on and on.

At the end I did manage to run 14 miles, but it felt like this was my 14 longest miles in my life.

Have to say I was surprised with my time, in a positive way.

14 miles – 2:45:26 – with a pace of 7:20mins/km.

5secs/km faster than my target marathon pace, well if I decided to target a sub 5:15 finish time, or even if worst case I only can achieve a 7:50mins/km pace that would still take me into a sub 5:30 finish in Tokyo. These are still massive improvements from my 5:58 finish at Chicago in October (8:30mins/km pace).

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Sunday evening I also went to do my tri club swim session. We had M. back as a coach, he was back from his holiday, so sessions went back to normal. At first it was only a few of us there and I had a whole lane for myself, but others did turn up a bit late so we were almost up to the normal amount of swimmers 🙂

1️⃣. Warm up
2️⃣. Open water start drills and sprints
3️⃣. 4x 100m CSS-5
4️⃣. 100m easy swim
5️⃣. 3x 100m CSS-5
6️⃣. 100m cool down
It does feel like I’m improving because my CSS is 2:30 and it felt really uncomfortable to swim the sets that slow. I think we done the CSS test back in December ? So since then I did improve quiet a lot 🙂 Coach said if I can swim faster there’s no issues , as long as it’s not too tiring or uncomfortable. Still had to keep the 40secs rest between the sets though 🙂

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Summary:

This week wasn’t as busy as the last few. My running takes a lot out of me, and like this week I wasn’t able to get in my long bike session. But as soon as I’m down to taper with my marathons I can definitely can get my cycling hours up. It’s just so hard to run 10-15miles then squeeze in another 2-3hours long bike as well.

I have one more long run next week, up to 20 mileish, But then after I’ll be able to do all my long bike sessions as well.

So I’ve finished the week with :

  • Duration: 7:23 hours
  • Swim: 3600m
  • Bike: 37.9km
  • Run: 38km

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Love,

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Training summary w/c 21st January

21 – 27th January 2019.

Wow I can’t believe how fast these days are passing. Probably it helps that I’m way to excited about the Tokyo trip.

Week 6 of Ironman Bolton training

Week 13 of Tokyo/ Boston/ London marathon training.

Monday:

As always it was a rest day. I’m starting to like these days.

Tuesday:

Started my week with my long swim. Because I can’t make the early morning tri club swim I really need to make sure that I get my long distance swim in. I didn’t really have a plan , but at the end I’ve ended up doing 22x100m with 10secs rest. Slowly building up my distance. I think I finally feel really comfortable in the water. Since October my swim improved a lot, and I love the sessions. Of course there’s still a lot to improve and I don’t think I ever going to be as good as the others, but I do try my best.
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Tuesday evening means, tri club run session. I did look forward to this session, because even though I’m not showing it, and I’m nowhere near the others when we run but these sessions making me faster. Without these sessions I don’t think my long distance speed would have improved. I remember last year when I was training to Chicago I just wanted to get the distances in , it didn’t really matter how long did it take. I never in my life done any kind of speed training before, so I do believe these help a lot.

So back to this session. Well it wasn’t my day at all. It was cold, but I shouldn’t really blame the cold. Back at home we have -15 or even -20 Celsius in the winter, so tonight’s -2 was really nothing. But it’s always easier to blame to something, and not to yourself.

The plan was to do laps, on the grass part of the track. Supposed to be in the same pace as the previous session. I not once hit that pace, 6:06mins/km.  I was so annoyed with myself, I know I can run, I know I can do that pace if I really want to do it. But no matter how much I’ve tried I didn’t get anywhere close to it. I’ve finished the session with 6:35. Which is still much faster than my normal pace, 7:30, but I was still annoyed that I couldn’t even to a lap.

After a bit of thinking, I realised that my legs still haven’t recovered from Sunday’s 22 miler. I really can’t expect them to function like nothing happened 2 days ago. It did settle my mind a bit.

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Wednesday:

Brick session, one of my favourite session of the week . Can’t really explain it why, but I starting to love running straight after cycling. My legs always feel like jelly, but after that initial wobble I start to run and it’s a great feeling. Still only short sessions, but need to build it up slowly. So it was a 45mins cycle session, on the turbo then off I went for my 30mins run 🙂

I’m still really new to Zwift, so exploring all this new routes are exciting. It turns out they have a whole session in New York. I loved my time in New York, but how the hell I forgot how hilly Central Park is? I thought I’ll have a nice and easy spin session, but those bastard hills…. Never mind, got over them and my legs definitely worked hard. After the cycle I thought I’ll keep continue the New York feeling, so put on my marathon top and off I went for my 30mins run. Back to my nice and easy 7:30mins/km pace. I can’t even explain how much I love this. It’s easy, and comfortable. Hmmm… maybe that’s why I didn’t really improve a lot for Chicago ? I just kept doing my comfortable runs, not once I went faster or went out of my comfort zone. Hmmm…

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Thursday:

It was supposed to be a swim session. Well it did start as a swim session, but ended after 7mins. I rarely get pissed off, or annoyed at others. I have my poker face on at work, and answer every question with my nice customer service voice and face.

But this time I really got pissed off. We have a temporary pool at Andover, 4x 25m length lanes. No issues with that. There are 2 different swim sessions , ‘ lane swimming’ and ‘ just swim’ . So as common sense dictates, lane swimming is to do laps up and down, and the ‘ just swim’ is where there are no lanes and just a fun session.

I’m really not a fast swimmer, but after a few laps I had to leave. Other’s really didn’t respect the pool rules. Stopping half way through and starting to swim back where they started, floating on the water, and even jumping in and out. Lifeguard was total useless as well. A lady and I went to ask him to sort this out, otherwise what’s the point of LANE swimming, but he just ignored us. So we left.

Friday:

1hr cycling session, in Z7 and trying to achieve a 100+ cadence. I managed to tick off 2 out of that 3.

1 hour in Z2 , totally doable. But my average cadence was 72. Bruhhhh. Few times managed to get over the 100 mark, but it takes so much concentration , it’s incredible. I really need to figure out this cycling. Maybe its harder to achieve this on a turbo? I mean even when I’m in the lowest easiest gear I can pedal, there’s no issues with that. But it feels like I’ll fly off from the bike. I think I’ll need to go to the gym and see if I can manage 100+ on their stationer bike, or even better if they have a watt bike. Or should I just got to a spin class? Ahhhrrrrrrr..

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Saturday:

I was so keen to wake up at 5am and do my long run. But after going to bed like 8.30pm on Friday when my alarm went off at 5am I just turned it off and turned on my other side at went back to sleep. At the end I managed to sleep just over 11hrs. By the time it’s the weekend I’m so so tired that I can’t even explain. Having 4.5-5hr sleeps during the week and waking up at 4am to go to work is so hard.

So I chose comfort instead of my long run.

But instead of that I did my long cycle session.

Longest time on the bike / turbo ever.  I cycled for 2 whole hours. OMG. It was tiring and I really had to push myself to just keep going. Drank 2 full bottles of drink, had loads of seeds and nuts, and also kept eating my  glucose tablets. Weirdest thing you can crave on a bike 😀 But the mixture of sweet and salted kept me going.

Another ride, another day on Zwift. The plan said stay in Z2. So I knew I can’t really pick a really hilly route otherwise my heart rate will be way over Z2. So stayed with Watopia, but by the time the 2hrs were over I’ve gained 255m (840 feet) of elevation. I knew I need to do hills, even virtually because Bolton will be hilly.

 

 Sunday:

Well my long run was missed again. I did wake up, but then just sat on the sofa. So missed out on 14 miles. Never mind. Sometimes we need to have an easier week. Roll on next week.

But did go swimming in the evening. Tri club swim session was on. Not too sure why but we didn’t have the normal coach, I did miss last week’s session, so probably he said it then that he wont be this week. So we had to follow our run coach instructions. He’s a speedy swimmer as well, so he knew what he was talking about.

After a few laps (10) of warm up, we’ve done more sighting practice. It is really important in open water. You really don’t want to get lost or swim more than you supposed to.

Then we were broken up into different groups , roughly the same pace. The instruction was to swim behind each other, as close as we can, practice sighting and try to keep up the other persons pace. Well I ended up with this guy, I feel so embarrassed but I still have no idea what’s his name is. It turns out his pace usually is 1.50mins/100m, then I said to him that my pace is usually 2.20 if I really push myself. I did feel sorry for him, because he had to go much slower than his pace.

At first he was swimming in the front and I tried to keep up with him. He did say he’ll go slower than he usually do. Thanks 🙂 Then we kept swapping who’s the leader. So the 1st 100metre turned out to be 1:57, then the 2nd was 2.00, 3rd 1.59, 4th 2.01 and the last one was 2.05. Okey, I’m totally socked, surprised , wow. I really had no clue that I can swim this fast. I know I won’t be able to keep up this pace for a long time, but it did feel good to see that I do can swim faster. But it does show’s that you can do whatever you set your mind to, and just need to push yourself, even when you think you can’t.

Then we had a really fun exercise. Swim a lap with your eyes closed, because when you are swimming in open water you can’t see much. And he’s totally right. When I had my first open water session on the 1st of January ( will write a post about that after I had my second one in February) I was totally shocked that I couldn’t see nothing in the Thames. At home I swam in Lake Balaton and in the sea by Croatia as well. But those were nice and clean. When I first put my head into the water in the Temze I had no clue where am I going, and even though I was swimming it felt like I’m not moving. So I do agree with him that it’s really important to practice this.

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Summary :

Much shorter week than the previous, but I missed out on a 14miler run and also lost an hour swim. But all in I’m happy with it. I still managed to workout just over 7hrs, and that’s great.  Roll on next week, I can’t wait to see what am I capable.

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Love,

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Training summary w/c 14. January

14 – 20 January 2019.

This was my week 5 of Ironman training and Week 12 of Tokyo / Boston marathon training.

I can’t believe how fast the weeks going by.

Monday:

Rest day, favourite day of the week. Done nothing at all this day. Got my recommended 10 000 steps in by 10am at work , then spent the rest of the day with housework, and getting my week worth of workout clothes ready.

Tuesday:

First workout of the week. Let’s go swimming. The plan was to swim about an hour, roughly 2k. Well it did not happen. 10 mins into my swim I developed a massive headache. No idea why. I drunk enough water all day, so literally have no clue.  But other than that the session was okay.

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Tuesday evening means tri run club. I still had a headache when we started this session, but it went away after a few laps. We spent our time on the track. I do like running on the track. It’s a great way to measure how much a person improves.

The session consisted of the below:

2 laps: warm up

2 laps: 300m slower pace run, 100m faster paced, repeat

2 laps: 200m slow, 200m fast, repeat

2 laps: 100m slow, 100m fast, repeat

After this we had to run another 2 laps in our faster pace, but only just as fast what we can keep up for our main set, 3k. I did try to run this in my faster pace, it was a 6:10mins/km. After speaking with G. I said to him there’s literally no way that I can run this fast for 3k. I mean the fastest I ever run was 6:57, but usually I’m closer to average a 7:30mins/km. By this time everyone was way into their 3k run, and I was still standing there trying to decide what pace to run. At the end we agreed that I run in a fast pace and see how long am I able to keep that up. If it’s not a full 3k no worries, it will be a good starting point. It turns out 3k is 7.5 laps on the track. I don’t think I ever circled as much in my life before.

After every lap I kept checking my watch and just to see if I can keep that pace up. Well it turned out am better than I thought. By the time I got to my 5th lap everyone else is finished. But I just kept going at tried to concentrate on myself.

When my watch buzzed at the 3k mark I was so happy that it was over.

These are the results:

1km – 6:20mins

2km – 6:16mins

3km – 5:54mins

OMFG. It looks like I really can push myself if I want it. You know you had a great run club session when you end up with not 1 but 3 PBs 🙌🏻
My last 5k PB was 34:34 so this new one is way better. Soon I can target a sub 30 time. I never once thought that I might be capable doing that.

 

Wednesday:

Wednesday mean’s Brick session. After last night’s run club I had so much muscle ache that I really thought I won’t be able to cycle. It was only a short 30mins cycle followed by a 30mins run session. But by the time I finished my cycling my legs did warm up and had a great paced run session. The transition time between the 2 still took me over 5mins, but I think I’m getting better with the Quick change part.

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I’ve spent Wednesday evening up in London.

I was lucky to attend a really informative and inspirational panel discussion. It was organised by @livcyclinguk & @giantbicycles.

4 inspirational ladies with 4 different IM journeys.

Ruth – @rastle50 – not just a simple AG winner she has won her AG in Kona and was the 3rd armature overall.

Mara – @mara.thefitlondoner – her first triathlon was an Ironman.

Alice – @aliceclarefitness – Liv ambassador and also IM finisher.

Eddie , or you can call her #irongran. She’s a multi IM finisher and she’s 75. Wow.

I’ve learnt so much from them and great to hear how others started their journeys.
Also good to hear that I’m not crazy because I’ve signed up for Bolton without doing the shorter distances first.
As long as I trust my plan and have set my mind to it I’ll be totally okay 🙂
Thank you ladies so much 🙌🏻

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Thursday:

Swim got cancelled, due to going out for dinner. But managed to get a faster paced run in, straight after work. It felt so good to run around Basingstoke. When we lived there I loved running through Eastrop park and then through Lychpit and back to town, or just down to Popley to see my sister.

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Friday:

Finally decided to give Zwift a go. Turned out they do a 7 day free trial or upto 25km cycling. I was really lazy and only set it up on my phone. Just to see if I like it or not. It’s not bad at all. That 20mins literally just flew by. I loved the facts that I am virtually chasing others. Seen a few cyclist with the Hungarian flag and I always tried to keep up with them, even if it was for a short period of time.

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Saturday :

Was supposed to do my Long run today, but swapped it around and done my Long cycle instead.

After last night’s good Swift session I decided that I do need this, so signed up for it. Also it turns out that it does work with my iMac. Better and bigger screen 🙂

The plan was to cycle at least an hour and half , then see how I manage that. It turns out I’m better than I thought. I did have the fan on but had to stop and open the windows as well because I really started to feel too hot. Drank 2.5 bottles of water, I think it’s a lot but really not too sure. Ate a handful of seeds and nuts and just kept pedalling. I’m not gonna lie the time went fast, but it was also hard. Have to be honest I can’t remember when was the last time I cycled this long, well I’ve done it outdoors a few times, but it was my longest ever session on the turbo.

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img_2002Do you think that map looks like a rhino? I can’t stop thinking about that. Pleased with the distance I covered. It’s not the funniest and most exciting to cycle on the turbo but I do believe these boring winter sessions will be in great use in the spring/summer.

Sunday:

I had my first running race of the year. Covered over 22 miles, and you can read my full race report HERE.

Because of this long run I decided to skip tonight’s swim session. I don’t think I could have swim a single lap, my kicks would not work , and have a feeling I would have drowned.

Summary of the week:

By the end of the week I worked out just over 9hrs.

This included :

1 swim session  (missed out on 2 :/ )

3 cycling session

4 running session

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Next I’ll need to make sure I’ll get my missing 2 swim sessions in as well. I shouldn’t have any issues with that. I’m back only 14miles with my long run, so won’t be as tired and will be able to do the missing sessions, and also don’t have any dinner planned with family, so I should be all okey 🙂 I also getting better with the ammount of training I have to do. I’m sore most of the days, but a good bath with Epsom salt works really well, and after every session I keep rolling my legs, so they won’t get as sore.

Somedays I still struggle with motivation just to get out of the door. But as soon as I’m out I’m totally okey with the training session ahead.

Love,

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First race of 2019

Well this was kind of an accidental race. I bet you wondering how is it possible?

Let me start at the beginning. Last year when I was training for the Berlin – Chicago marathon, I’ve run an awesome 18 miler training run. Few weeks after that I was supposed to run my 20 miler. Back then I was doing all my tranining runs by myself. When I got to mile 19 I was 3 mins behind the time I’ve set myself to run it. That was all, lost it mentally and sat on the curb for 10 mins crying my eyes out and then walked home 3 miles! Crazy.

So a few weeks ago when I had my 16miler run I decided when I have my next longer run in January I’ll book a race in.

I won’t race it, I just want to run with people. Not even to talk with them, but just to be around others. 20 mile is a bloody long way to do all alone.

After a bit of googling I came across a company called Saturn Running. they had a 6.5hour timed event on the 20th of January.

It was only in Thatcham, which is 25mins drive from my house so I thought that will be a great race, also it cost less than £30.

The only issue I had is, that the laps were 4.37miles long, My training plan said “18miles” , if I’d run 4 laps that’s not enough, but if I run 5 laps thats way too much.

At the beginning I thought I’ll get to 4 and see how I feel about the 5th one.

I wrapped up warm, because the weather forecast said it will be between 0 and -2 celsius.

The venue was Greenham common, nice and almost flat route. But mostly trail run, gravel, grass and loads of mud. Did I mention a gigantic hill?

We had to run 2 different laps, the Blue one first and then off the Pink one. 3 laps were a half marathon roughly.

After my 16 miler a few weeks ago when I managed to keep up a 7:41mins/km pace, my plan was to do the same. Or try to be as close to it as possible. My main aim for Tokyo is to get as close to a 5:30:00 finish time as I can, so for this I’ll need to run in a 7:50mins/km pace. In october in Chicago I just broke the 6hr mark with a time of 5:58:24 and my pace was 8:30mins/km.

So far my training went really well, and I was really hopeful to run that pace. Even if it’s slower I still have 41 days till race day so can improve.

The first lap just flew by, probably because I never ran here before so it was all really exciting. After the first few km I realised that I’m going way too fast, 7:05, 7:01, 7:04kms. I knew if I keep going like this I’ll burn out in the next few miles. Then just before the 5k mark I came across a pretty big hill. It wasn’t just the hill, it was the mud as well. But managed to get over it, but clearly can see in my km splits that I was struggling, this turned out to be a 7:52mins/km. But kept plodding along.

When reached the end of the first lap I collected my wristband, which indicated how many laps I’ve run.

The aid station was different. No disposable cups, everything reusable, you can either leave your flask there or buy a reusable – collapsible cup for £3. I decided to buy one pre race. At least I’m sorted for the future events. Also the aid table had the weirdest selection of items, Coke, Pepsi, IrnBru, water, squash, cheese, crisps, Haribo, pretzels and cakes. Yumm yumm yumm.

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The second lap was on the Pink route, luckily this one had no hills and somehow it felt this one was much easier. Because it was a multilap event no matter where you were you had people coming by. I loved that fact that everyone kept motivating the others 🙂

The second and 3rd lap really flew by. When I got to the start of the 4th lap my Garmin still said that my average pace was 7:22mins/km. Turns out I got a new Half marathon PB at the end.

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I mean I literally had no clue what was going on. I did not feel tired, and I was still going strong. Maybe drinking Coke does help? I thought I’ll puke because of the bubbles in it, but I had no stomach ache at all.

During the race I kept checking my time compared to the time I was aiming for. All the way round I was 11-13mins ahead of it. When I reached the end of the 4th lap ( 28km  3:27:46. ) I’ve decided to go to the 5th one. Yes, I’ll be way over the planned 32km but I can’t do a short course. Also it’s better to do more than less.

To my surprise when I reached 20 mile I was still under 4hours! Wow. 3.5 months ago in Chicago I ran 20 mile in 4hrs 35mins.

I ran 20 miles in 3hrs 57mins 30secs. Me! First time ever, since I started running 3years ago. I can easily do 5minles under 60mins, and if I push myself I can do 10mile under 2hrs, but this time I’ve done my fastest 20 miles ever and I wasn’t even feeling tired!

Usually I hit that “wall” around the 30k mark, but this time nothing. Literally I felt just as fresh as 4hrs earlier before the race. Hmmm maybe I should drink more Pepsi during the races? I’ve looked into it and Tokyo hands out TOMATOES and bred !! Who the heck eats tomatoes during a marathon?

The running route was really lovely, seen so many horses.

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3rd time I was able to run up that massive hill. I think the adrenalin was pushing me to keep going and going. After that I only had about 2 more kms to go and the finish line was in sight.

Crossed the finish line in an awesome time of : 4:24:23 and I ran just over 22 miles.

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I really don’t know how to summarise this race.

PERFECT

I did not hit the wall, I kept going, I kept an awesome pace up for 22 miles.

If someone back in October tell me that my pace will improve from 8:30 to 7:24 I would have laughed at their face. My pace? HAHA. It took me 18 months to go from a 6:57:31 marathon time to 5:58:24.

We are only 3.5 months after Chicago and my pace is already significantly faster. At this moment I do believe I do have a sub 5:30 marathon in me. Race day is only  41 days away so I’ll need to make sure I don’t over train or get injured but if I keep going to this direction I shouldn’t have any issues smashing that time in Tokyo.

It does look like that those hard and sometimes horrible run sessions with the tri club does wonders. I’m still dead last every single time, but I am improving. I’m improving so much and I still hardly believe it. I ran 22 miles yesterday and I did not feel tired, I hardly had any muscle ache and if I’d been more crazy I could have done another lap and just casually ran a marathon. Me. Casually. A. Marathon.

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Love,

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