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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.

working-hard-is-important.-but-there-is-something-that-matters-even-more-believing-in-yourself.-harry-potter

Love,

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Training summary w/c 7th January

I realised that all my Facebook posts are about my training posts. I love sharing my ups and downs but I bet it gets annoying after a while.

So instead of sharing daily , I’ll write a post about how my week of training went on Mondays. Monday’s are my rest days so will have plenty of time write it up.

But if you want to see my daily posts then go and follow me on Instagram , I’ll keep sharing my posts there daily 🙂 www.instagram.com/gabiruns

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7- 13. January 2019

This was my Week 11 of Tokyo marathon training and Week 4 of Ironman training.

I think I’m getting better with incorporating the 2 training plans and also figure out how and when to do the exercises so I won’t get as tired.

Monday

Rest day. Best day of the week. According to my plan I could do some strength training or some yoga. But at the moment I just feel like doing nothing. Recovery is important.

Tuesday

I went to swim after work. Because I star work at 6am I never will be able to make the morning tri club swim sessions. So I’ve gone swimming after work. The plan said “1hr swim” so I decided to do an endurance one. I know well that I need to practice and improve a lot so I keep pushing myself.

So at the end I’ve done 4x 500m with 30 secs rest between sets just under 50mins.

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In the evening I went to the first tri run session of the year. I can’t believe the last one was 3 weeks ago. Tonight’s session was a run-strength training one. Few laps around the track and different kind of strength exercises with a resistance band ( planks and leg raises mainly ). Ohh geez how unfit am I ? My core was sore like 3 says after this session. But it means I do have abs , just under a layer of fat haha.

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Wednesday

Wednesday = Brick session. I need to practice this a lot. My legs still feel like jellies after the cycling but my runs seems to be much faster.

Can’t really explain how but after a few mins running I am able to keep up a great running pace and my legs don’t feel tired.

I’m still only doing 30 mins cycling and 30 mins running but this is only week 4. Plenty of time to build up.

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Thursday

Swim session number 2 of the week. Pool was a bit busier than normal but I manage to get my swim done. It wasn’t the planned 2000metre but I’m happy with the shorter distance.

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Later on the evening I’ve manage to do my 5mile run according to my marathon training plan. It was a bit chilly when I started but nothing majorly cold. It feels like I’m getting better with my runs. Remember when I started the Chicago – Berlin training in last May I averaged a 9:03mins/km. By the time it was October I ran the race with a 8:30mins/km.

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Friday

Another cycling session. Still only 30mins but I really don’t mind that. It feels like that cycling is my weakest part so need to keep pushing it. Still only indoors on the turbo , it’s way too cold to go outside and I’m worried about the slippery roads.

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Saturday

I can’t even tell how much I love Saturday. Saturday means long run day. I love getting my long runs in. I’m not fast but I always getting them done. I have so much time to think about myself , my training and some totally random thoughts. Mainly keep asking myself ” Why am I doing this ? ” , and ” Why not just staying in the comfy bed ? ?”.

Today I only had to do 12 miles. Who the hell ever says ” only”.

I was supposed to leave the house around 6am but decided to have a lay in. Sleep is important.

Not too sure what happened or if it’s relating to my swimming and cycling but I didn’t feel tired at all. Ran my fastest 12 mile ever and also got a new 10k PB.

I have a feeling that I’ll need to rethink my Tokyo marathon plans. I smashed my 2 long runs in the row so maybe I’ll be faster than I’m planning to be in Tokyo. I keep getting my training done and hopefully Tokyo will be another PB course.

Sunday

Long ride Sunday. I’m still on the turbo because I feel so cold outside. Also still haven’t made my mind up about Zwift. Does it worth it ? Does it motivate you to go faster ? Virtually chasing others ?

I’ve spend the last 4 weeks of cycling watching The Greatest Showman back to back. I’m still loving it.

The plan was to cycle an hour , slowly building up my distance and keeping a constant pace.

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Sunday evenings are about the tri club swims. On Sunday’s we do Technique sessions.

Tonight we concentrated mainly on how to sight out of the water. Well it’s harder than I thought. But with practise it won’t be that bad. You really don’t want to get lost when you swimming in a lake.

Our main set was the below :

2 laps of full speed swim

5 laps of CSS pace swim

Repeat 4 times

My CSS is supposed to be 2:30mins/100m but I did swim faster tonight. Maybe because we only had to repeat it 4 times and I didn’t feel too tired or because all this work makes me a bit faster. Who knows ? According to Garmin the 4 sets turned out to be : 2:22 , 2:14 , 2:20 , 2:21. So not a massive difference from the 2:30.

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Sleep

It’s really important to get enough sleep in otherwise the body won’t recover. For me it’s really hard to get the recommended 8 hours in. Specially because I have to wake up at 4.20am Monday to Friday just to go to work. Then I have a late afternoon/evening training session and sometimes won’t get to bed till 10-11pm. Definitely not enough sleep.

But over the weekend I try to rest as much as I can.

As you can see from the charts below :

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Summary

I know I have a massive disadvantage , I never trained this much before , I don’t have years of experience. But I know I can run the marathon, I know my swimming is not that bad and will be able to do the swim part but I’m way too worried about the bike cut offs. So need to push myself hard with that. That’s the main reason I decided to go with the Intermediate plan not with the Just finish.

This week’s statistic :

Duration : 8hrs 36mins

Swim: 5005m

Bike: 61.7km

Run: 31.3km

My training load will slowly increase to 15+ hrs /week by the time I get to the Peak phase of the plan , which will be the last 10 weeks of the plan.

Love ,

You can. End of story.

Wow what a year.

I didn’t manage to achieve all my goals this year , but it’s life. Stuff happens , they knock you down but you get up , learn from it , move on and get stronger.

Started the year out strong , was planning to run a race every month just to keep myself motivated.

Well it only lasted 1 month. After race nr1 I developed a weird kind of pain in my foot and hardly manage to walk. I rested , rested and rested more. But it didn’t get better. So went to see some specialist. Turned out I have/had Plantar fasciitis.

Weird sounding thing. Got special insoles , been told to stretch 3 times a day and buy a shoe 0.5 size bigger.

Because at this point I already missies out almost 6 weeks of training I decided that the best thing to do is defer my Bolton spot for 2019. I really didn’t see the point even trying the race. Missing out that many weeks from an IM training is bad. Didn’t want to risk an injury or to get a DNF because of my lack of training.

In May I’ve started my Berlin to Chicago marathon training. This time I had a proper marathon training plan. All thanks to Coach Denise from across the pond. Ran 4 times a week , cross trained twice and rested once.

To my surprise I was able to follow the plan. I think I’ve done about 90% of the training.

The plan was to break that magic 6hr mark , finally.

London 2017 – 6:57

New York 207 – 6:32

So my plan was to shave off a massive 32 mins. Hard work , dedication and it seemed achievable.

In the summer I had a total meltdown at my 20 miler run. When I got to mile 19 I was 3!! minutes behind my own goal. It got me so upset that I’ve given up the run and walked home 2 miles. What an idiot ?!

Few hours later I’ve got the below from Denise :

x

Okey , I can do this. It was only a training run and not the end of the world.

Then it was September and I was off to Berlin. Decided to go with the trains. 9 hours later got there but it was so cheap. All thanks to work perks.

I was so looking forward to this race.

First time meeting with fellow Team Paws member and I literally just love race weekends.

It turned out I wasn’t mentally strong for Berlin. What a surprise… So my sub 6 finish time still only was a dream.

But have to say that I beat my NY time by 10 mins so got a new PB.

Berlin 2018 – 6:22

At the end of September I’ve joined a tri club. All thanks to Becky, who invited me.

Me , who never ever done anything like this before. I was standing at the side of the pool and looking totally out of my depth. But I knew if I want to get around Bolton I need this. I need something structured and a little competition never hurts. Everyone looked so professional. And there was me who tried not to drown half way across the pool.

Then a few days later it was time to fly to Chicago. OMG I can’t even describe how excited I was. I was in daily contact with fellow Team Paws member and I just couldn’t wait to meet with them.

Chicago. What a race. Everyone I spoke with hated the rain on race day. I loved it. I started out slow , but had a constant pace. I didn’t hit the wall. I had fun around and loved every minute of it. From the first mile I believed in myself and I knew that I capable to run a sub6.

Chicago 2018 – 5:58

I still can’t believe it. I mean I did put the hard work in but now I reached my goal it’s still just wow. 3 weeks after Berlin I ran 24 mins faster. I really didn’t believe that this could ever happen.

4 marathons – just over 12 months – 59 mins faster .

A few more years and I’ll be a sub 3 runner haha.

I have some running goals for 2019. Would be good to break sub 30 in 5k, currently I can manage 34mins. A sub 60 10k would be great as well. Marathon goals ? Well I have something in mind for Tokyo ( March 2019) and Boston ( April 2019) but it’s a secret. I always ending up putting way to much pressure on me anyway , so I keep that secret till I get there. It’s only 70+ days till Tokyo anyways so not long now.

Not much happened in the last 3 months of the year.

I kept up with my tri club swims and runs. I’m getting better with swimming , with the initial not being able to front-crawl half a lap I’m slowly getting better. Currently comfortably can manage a fair few laps in a 2:30 pace. It doesn’t look like but I love swimming. I thought I’ll be really bad at it , but it turns out I’m just a bit bad.

Tri club runs are getting better as well. We mostly do speed and agility work and it does work. Last week I managed to run 5 mile with sub 7mins/kms. It never happened before. I’m still really worried about being slow but trying not to show it. Luckily everyone is incredibly friendly and helpful and that helps a lot.

What’s the plan for 2019 ?

Not even sure where to start.

It really doesn’t help the fact when you win a marathon place ( London ) and get a free entry for a 10k ( Vitality London 10k ).

//16. January – How to become and Iron-Women – London //

//2. February – Meet the experts – London //

3. March – Tokyo marathon

15. April – Boston marathon

28. April – London marathon

10-12. May – Ironman training weekend , Bolton

27. May – Vitality London 10k

14. July – Ironman Bolton

13-15. September – Run Disney Paris

So my plan is to give my best. At the moment I’m concentrating on Tokyo and Boston. Meanwhile I also manage to get in my cycling and swimming sessions so I’m getting ready for Bolton as well. I know I can get around the marathons but would be good to get another 2 PBs and improve my marathon time.

If both races go well and I manage to finish , even if I need to crawl I’ll be a 6 Star finisher in Boston. 2nd ever Hungarian Women , no pressure at all.

What’s my plan for Bolton ? I really just want to get around within all cut offs. Sub 16:59:59 here I come.

On a personal note I hope that by this time next year I’ll be a trainee train driver. I’ve passed my assessments , now just waiting for the 2 interviews then off to driving school 🙂

Love ,

Gabi

Training?… When? What for? Why?

I really have no clue what to write about my training sessions. Loads of people keep asking me about it. But I just don’t know what to say. few months ago I tried to write-up weekly training summaries but I just don’t have the time for that.

When? Could say I started my training in May, when I had my 1st session to get ready for the Berlin marathon. After completing Chicago in October I’ve decided to take 3 weeks of and done hardly anything.

Started my current training schedule at the end of October.

What do I train for?  Probably would be easier to say what I’m not training for. At the moment my main focus is Tokyo, I’ve started an 18 week-long plan back in October. Tokyo is only 85 days away.

I have so much stuff going on that it’s crazy.

My original plan was:

  1. Tokyo, 3rd March
  2. Boston, 15th April
  3. Bolton, 14th July

Than I happen to won a place for the London Marathon, which is on the 28th of April. 10 days after Boston. Yayyy. Not like I need some rest , nope hah.

Also after all the training London will be a fun run, just to get around with my special costume and to break a Guinness World Record. Just for fun, hey 🙂

So what do I do at the moment?

I run 4 times a week, this includes 1 tri club run session ( Tuesday ) , 2 short faster paced run ( Wednesday, Thursday )  and 1 long slow run on Saturdays or Sundays.

I swim 2 times a week, Sundays are my guaranteed tri club swim session and at the moment I try to get to the pool on either Tuesday or friday. Just for a 30-45mins long swim. Just to build up my distance.

Cycling? At the moment its once a week, on the turbo for about 45mins. Depends on which TV series is on. Nice and easy , just to get my bum used to the saddle haha.

What’s going to happen from the 17th of December?

It’s gonna be hectic. Why? Because that’s when my Ironman training plan ( Be iron fit  – Intermediate plan )  kicks in. Training for 3 marathons are already crazy enough, but I had to top it up with an IM. Yeah I don’t really suggest that to anyone.

That will be a 30 week long training plan, 10 weeks base – 10 weeks build – 10 weeks peak training.

This is where things gets a bit or totally complicated.

By the time I start this plan I’ll be starting week 8 of my marathon training plan. So my short runs are already going to be up to 5-6-7miles/ session plus the saturday long run , 13+ miles. So how to fit all this into my IM training? That’s a great question. No clue.

In the first 10 weeks of IM training I supposed to run 4 times a week, okay that’s good, at the moment I’m running 4times. No issues. But I only supposed to do 30-60mins runs. That’s clearly wont happen. I can just managed 5 miles in 60 mins, I’ll need to get up to 20 miles with my Tokyo training , which is Week 8 of my IM Base training. So I’ll be way over my run times, but will see how I get on with it.

I already know that I’m going to miss out on Week 1 and then half of Week 7-8 build training , because we are in Tokyo and then off to Boston. Probably I miss out a day or two after London, but I will be back on track after that.

Should be no issues with swimming, I will only need to add 1 more session into my calendar, I’ll stick with my sunday tri swim, then do a session on Tuesday and another one on thursday/friday. See how I feel about it.  Then from the spring one of these sessions will turn into OWS. According to Google there’s one in Eastleigh and another good place in Reading.

Cycling? This will be on the turbo till at least spring time. I already feel way too cold just do my long runs, so I stick with staying in the warm with the bike.

I already booked myself into a training weekend up in Bolton. This is from the 11th – 13th of May. So just a bit after London, but I should be more than okay for it. Would be good to see/feel the pond, and get around some of the bike course as well. Hopefully this will make me less nervous about  the big day.

I know it does sound way too complicated, and it really is. But I have a diary, and excel spreadsheet with all my sessions. So I know day by day what am I doing. None can say I’m not prepared.

What’s my plan after the 15th of July? Well it totally depends how I get on with IM on the 14th July.

 

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Swim

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Bike

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Run

Why? Because I’m: crazy, nuts, slightly weird? I simply just don’t like sitting on my bum and do nothing. I want to have goals, when I have the golas I make my step-by-step guide to make the plan happen and reach my goals. I want to do these things when I can do them , I’m healthy enough and we have funds to do them. I want to be an Abbot 6 star finisher, and be the 6th Hungarian overall and 2nd Hungarian women who’s done it. I want to be a GWR holder, and hopefully if everything goes well and as planned I would love to be an IM finisher in 2019.

That’s all for now, time to enjoy my last few not too busy days.

Love,

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Tokyo Marathon – Friendship run registration

Since I missed  out on the 5k run before the New York marathon, I’ve decided that I’m going to be as prepared as I can to be able to register for the other pre marathon Saturday races.

The Friendship run in Tokyo is only a 3.5k long fun run. So it’s not the usual 5k we’ve run in Chicago or the 5k Parkrun I’ve run in London before. But because we only plan to go to Tokyo once we have to do this , haha.

So the registration portal opened on the 7th of December 2018, 10am ( Tokyo time) which turned to be 1am UK time. Way too early to wake up, but I really didn’t want to miss out.

According to the email confirmation I was the 4th one who registered. Nice , easy and incredibly quick appliaction process.

Website to register: https://www.marathon.tokyo/en/events/friendshiprun/

Distance: 3.5km fun run

Filed size: 2000

Entry fee: JPY 3000 ( £21 / $27 / €24 / 7500Ft )

Date and time: Saturday, March 2, 2019

Venue: Symbol Promenade Park

Unfortunately there’s no finishers medal , but we are going to get an awesome looking Towel. Have to say I never got a finishing towel before, but looking forward to it. Also this will be a good preparation for the marathon, because at the finish of the marathon we are also getting a towel, but this will be a proper sized towel.

By the sounds of it Japanese people love towels. I’m so excited to get to know more about their culture when we are there.

77 days and we are flying, I can’t believe 🙂

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Love,

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I bit the bullet ….

Back in September a friend of mine posted something on Facebook. It was an invitation for a Free month training with a triathlon club. Becky is totally awesome, she’s done the best of the best, the hardest race, an Ironman. She forwarded my details to the owner of the club , Dave.

Well that’s how I started my triathlon training experience. I never been part of any kind of triathlon club, to be honest not even a running club. But I bit the bullet , it’s time to get better and faster.

Back in Hungary I was part of the local handball club, and used to play pro handball. But that was totally different, we trained as a team, and also I was the goalkeeper. Nice and lazy position haha.

So after speaking with Dave, I’ve decided to try it out for a month. I have nothing to lose, it’s for free and fingers crossed I will like it.

To be honest I knew I need to up my game to be able to complete Bolton in 2019. I had a training plan, and I knew that I’ll be able to do most of the training by myself, but having coached sessions are totally different.

The first session was a few days before we flew to Chicago, but I thought I’ll need to get over my nervousness and complete at least one session before we fly.

So that was me, standing at the side of a pool on this sunday evening. Surrounded with lean and sporty looking guys and girls. Whilst me, with my chubby legs and a cheap swimming dress from Sports Direct. I was totally the odd one out.

The last time I swam front crawl was back in Highschool, 10-15 years ago. Since then I just kept using breaststroke. The few practice sessions I had been all with breaststroke. I was able to do a 3:30 mins/100-metre with it. I knew I need to get a bit faster, but thought I can do the Iron distance swim.

So at the first proper tri session, I went to the “slow” lane. I was just hoping that I wouldn’t drown. I tried to keep my cool and follow all the instructions. I felt so overwhelmed, but in the other hand  it felt good to be part of a group. So in this first session I was able to swim about 10-metres without stopping, all the water got in my nose and mouth, had to stop and stand up half way though the pool. I definitely didn’t look like a swimmer, I even started to question myself that maybe I should just stick to my breaststroke haha.

So after surviving this swim session I was really pleased with myself. But had to say I had so much muscle ace on the monday that it was totally unbelievable.

I didn’t really want to do the run session on the Tuesday evening, because we were going to Chicago on the Wednesday. I had no idea what kind of training we will do, but most importantly I didn’t want to get injured.

So I was back into my nervousness and stood by the side of the running track. I knew that I’m not speedy, but I did run 3 marathons by this time so I thought I can’t be that bad.

This session started with a bit of a warm up, then we were divided into small groups by pace, and spent the rest of the session running around the rack. have to say I loved this.

Then I was off to Chicago, so missed out 1.5 weeks of training.

After recovering from Chicago I was back at the running track.

After the free trial month I’ve decided to stick with the club, because I love the variety of the trainings and I always work much harder in these sessions. So it’s definitely worth it.

Swim:

The swim sessions are on Sunday evenings.

To my surprise I’m picking up the swimming really well. Every session I learn something new. I can easily swim a few laps now without feeling getting drowned. Also the different kind of drills helping me to improve my swim posture and get more efficient. The sessions are still really hard, and I’m still in the ” Slow ” lane, but I feel much more confident.

You can see my improvement below:

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1st August, my fastest ever Breaststroke swim.

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4th of November, Tri Club Swim. All front crawl.

So as you can see above,  doing all these coached swim session my swimming totally changed. From a slow breaststroke swimmer I slowly becoming a better and faster front crawl swimmer. In my own sessions (Tuesdays and Fridays ) I try to swim as far as I can without stopping.

Run: 

Well the running sessions are totally different. I know that I’m a slow runner, and close to be like a sloth but I never met with so many speedy people in my life.  I came last in a fair few running races, but it never bothered me. Because I got my medal at the end, finished before cut off, and manly because I don’t know those people.

Well these coached running sessions are much harder than I thought. I really thought this will be much easier than my swimming. But how wrong was I ?

Because it’s winter now, we do loads of agility training & XC running. So it’s in the dark, on uneven ground. Not on the nice and smooth running track.

We’ve done a few agility sessions with the agility ladder, I love those session. I’ve done so many of those when handball was off-season and we were getting ready for the next season. I love the different kind of jumps, hops, high knees, one leg jumps ect. Even though I have a reconstructed ACL I don’t have an issues jumping in the uneven surface.

We also done a fair few hill rep sessions. I think I’m okay with that. Running up and down a hill in a pyramid session. Run 1 min, 2 mins , 3 mins, 3 mins,  2 mins, 1 min. It is tiring but I’m okay with it.

We’ve done a few circuit running sessions as well. Run for 1-2 mins, then 1 mins push ups / lunges/ squats/planks etc. I think I’m okay with these as well. I won’t lie it is tiring but I’m capable to keep up the pace.

The hardest sessions are the out – and – back runs, or the lap running. The problem with the out-and-back runs are that even though I’m really trying my hardest I’m still at the “out” part when everyone else is on the “back” part. I know well I’m not fast at all, c’mon my marathon PB is 5:58, and my 5k is 34 mins, and I usually average a 7:30-7:45 mins/km, but in my marathon is up at 8:30 mins/km.

According to my Garmin in the last few session I was averaging much faster than these.

Even with this speed I’m always dead last. It’s so disheartening. I do try my best, and try to keep up the pace, but I’m always finishing last.

In the last session it got so bad that I was hardly able to breathe. Not because I was tired, but because I felt embarrassed and also do disappointed and upset with myself that it made me unable to breathe.

I even stopped and said I had enough and decided to just go home and never go back. because I didn’t just want to disappear I went to speak with the coach. He said if I do want to go home he wont stop me, but suggest I shouldn’t . I should just keep going, because even though I’m not fast I’m faster than the people who don’t even try. Also believes if I keep continue I’ll be better.

So I went and do 2 more laps. By the end of the session I ran 4.9km, it was a XC run with  a massive steady hill, full with mu all the way around and in pitch black. I’ve checked others on Strava and one guy done over 15km. I wasn’t surprised that I was at the last spot on Strava.

Since this session I asked for others what to do about this feeling. So now I have planned breathing exercises and also bought book. Hopefully these 2 things will help me to get better. As I said earlier I love all the other kind of running sessions, but not the last type.

But I know I need to keep up with it, and I need to suck it up and get over it. It won’t be easy and won’t be a fast process but hopefully slowly I’ll be better.

Bike:

Have to be honest, I’m not planning to do any of the coached bike sessions. They are on the Wednesday evenings and its turbo training. I really can’t afford to drive to town another time, and also luckily I have a turbo trainer at home so I can do my cycling sessions any time I’d like.

Conclusion:

It’s incredibly hard, but it does work. In 2 months I got much better with my swimming, I never imagined this much improvement. Running is SUCKS , but I’ll get over it and keep going. No matter how much I dreading it. I do LOVE the variety of the sessions and there’s an awesome bunch of people there. Everyone is so friendly and helpful. Someone usually stays with me when I’m plodding at the back. They could easily speed off, but they not. Coaches are also great, all of them has a different training method , but it’s all useful and works.

So I’ll keep going at least July, when it’s time to tackle Bolton. Then I’ll see if I ever want to do any more triathlon. Have to be honest I only wanted to run 1 marathon and now I’m training for the 5th one. I’ve run 4 in 2 years. So who knows if I ever do another IM or not haha.

The Club:

The club called Savage Tri Club, this is their website: https://www.savagesports.co.uk/

They offer sessions in Basingstoke and Southampton. The monthly fee is totally reasonable, it’s only £29/month for Basingstoke and only £26/month for Southampton.

I do highly recommend them 🙂

Love,

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PAWS Chicago – 2018 Chicago

Chicago has a different charity system compared to London and Berlin. They have set fundraising fees if you apply pre lottery or post lottery. Because I knew that I’m totally unlucky with any kind of lottery I’ve decided to bite the bullet and apply for a Charity spot pre-lottery. It meant that I only had to raise $1000 not the post-lottery target of $1500.

Also the other difference between this charity and my other 2 was that I had to reach my target before the race. Whist London and Berlin let me fundraise for a few months post race as well.

Whilst I was searching for the perfect charity I came across Team Paws. Everybody who knows me they know that I love  animals, especially dogs. If I see any video on Facebook about homeless or injured dogs I’m starting to tear up. So after reading up about Team Paws I knew that they are the perfect charity for me.

TEAM PAWS Chicago is a charity racing and fundraising team benefiting PAWS CHICAGO, the Midwest’s largest No Kill humane animal shelter. With TEAM PAWS Chicago’s support, since PAWS’ founding in 1997, the number of homeless dogs and cats killed annually in Chicago has dropped by more than 80 percent.

I’ve applied to be a charity runners for Team Paws on the 28th of November 2017. Their sign up fee was $100 which includes loads of great stuff.

As I said earlier I had to pay a $100 registration fee, but for that I received the below perks:

  • Guaranteed Charity Entry into the 2018 BOA Chicago Marathon  After you register with TEAM PAWS Chicago, you will receive a link to claim your entry with the BOA Chicago Marathon.  Your spot in the marathon is not complete until you complete this step and you will have one week after receiving the link to complete.  Failure to do so will result in the forfeiture of your spot. 
  • Official TEAM PAWS Chicago Singlet  All TEAM PAWS Chicago members receive a TEAM PAWS Navy singlet.
  • Official TEAM PAWS Chicago Fan Club Shirt  Use these shirts to easily find your biggest fans along the race route!  The quantity of shirts you will receive is dependent on your entry type as follows
    • Self-Secured Entrants = 1 shirt
    • Pre-Lottery Entrants = 3 shirts
    • Post-Lottery Entrants = 3 shirts
  • TEAM PAWS Chicago Marathon Gift
  • TEAM PAWS Chicago Finishers Medal
  • 2 Tickets to the TEAM PAWS Chicago PAW-sta Party Held on Thursday, October 4, 2018 (BOA Chicago Marathon Weekend)
  • PAWS Professional Board Membership Fee Waived for One Year  TEAM PAWS Chicago members will receive waived fees for one year if they join the PAWS Chicago Professional Board (value $250).  To see a listing of requirements and more information, please visit our website HERE. 
  • FREE Entry into the PAWS Chicago 5K Walk/Run  All TEAM PAWS Chicago members will receive one complimentary registration into Chicago’s largest dog-friendly walk.  We will also have a group photo and members get to start at the front of the runners’ corral.  
  • Social Events  Meet fellow team members on fun runs, happy hours, dog-friendly events, and group fundraising opportunities. 
  • Guided Mentorship  Receive personal guidance from our seasoned pros, our Shepherds, who are not only past TEAM PAWS Chicago participants but also top fundraisers.  
  • Training Enjoy training and nutrition resources from our coaches and discounted training from our partners.
  • Fundraising Tools  Fundraising is easy with a personal fundraising web page, coaching, and resources to help you reach your fundraising requirements.

As you can see there are loads of stuff for that $100 and it’s totally worth it. It’s great that they are paying for my race entry fee ( $220 ) and their Paw-sta party was totally awesome, I highly recommend it . Hubby also got many cheering materials  including the supporter Tshirt and cheer me on all the way round.

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Go Team Paws 🙂

As I said this charity came with many many perks, but not just material kind of perks. I’ve met so many like-minded people, I had no idea it’s possible. They do live across the Pond, but I’m happy to call them my friends. Without them I’m not even sure where we would have stayed when our Hotel got cancelled, Shelly offered us her spare room to stay there. Got great running , restaurant, and sightseeing tips from many of them and also we got picked up ( by Joe ) and dropped of ( by CJ ) many times.

Without Team Paws we would have had a normal holiday in Chicago, would have visited the normal sightseeing places and popular food chains. But with Team Paws I / we managed to get a second family. I never in my life thought that strangers can be this friendly and helpful. So thank you so much Team Paws 🙂

Just quickly back to my fundraising, I believe I’ve reached my fundraising target around June/July time. So after that I was able to concentrate for the rest of my training.

 

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My fundraising certificate

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My Team Paws Chicago Medal 🙂

If anyone has any questions about Team Paws please do not hesitate to contact with me:)

Love,

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Prostate Cancer UK – 2018 Berlin

After getting a bag, fat ” No ” at this ballot as well, I knew my only option to be able to run the race is to go with a charity.

After having a really good experience with my London charity I was really looking forward to pick a charity for Berlin.

The official Berlin charities can be found on this website.

So I have spent a few hours going through them , till I’ve found the cheapest one. Someone would say it’s bad saying I choose the cheapest, but it’s still money for a charity.  I’ve signed up with Prostate Cancer UK, their registration fee was only £20 with a minimum fundraising target of £500. The fundraising money needed to be paid by the end of October 2018. So it’s not too bad at all, I can easily save up for it. If you want to sign up with them click on this link.

Prostate Cancer UK has a simple ambition – to stop men dying from prostate cancer. Through shifting the science over the next 10 years to focus on radical improvements in diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and support, we will stop prostate cancer being a killer.

Why run for Prostate Cancer UK?

Run for Prostate Cancer UK and stand together with us help in beating a disease killing one man every 45 minutes. We marathon runners are making huge strides, raising millions of pounds which they invest in life changing research and services to support men living with the disease.

The Perks:

What you can expect:

  • A fundraising pack with materials to get you up and running
  • Regular updates and training tips from our dedicated support team
  • A training day and support from the team at RunningWithUs
  • Access to our exclusive Facebook group
  • A branded running top to wear on the day
  • An evening meal on the Saturday with the team and other Prostate Cancer UK runners 
  • A team photo on race day by Brandenburg Gate
  • We will have cheer points at the event, cheering you on along the way
  • Celebratory drinks on Sunday after the race
  • A fundraising certificate as our appreciation for your efforts

Have to say their communication was spot on as well. Can’t fault it at all. Emails, letter, private Facebook groups for the runners.

I think they sent out our charity tops around spring time, so I had plenty of time wearing it in, it also come with some iron-on letters so the crowd was able to chant my name when I run past them.

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Pre Race Photo

After my fundraising experience with London, I was able to raise the funds for Prostate Cancer UK as well. It was mainly from friends and family sharing my links on Facebook, but have done many cake sales as well.

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Thank you 🙂

If you end up getting a “No” with the ballot , I do recommend them as a Charity. Loads of us were running for them, and even runners not wearing the charity top knew who we are and kept motivating and pushing us.

Love,

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MACS – 2017 London

After getting a big, fat ” No” at the London Marathon’s ballot in October 2016 I’ve decided to try a different tactic. I’ve decided that I’ll run a charity, run for a good cause. 

I have to say , me and my family are really lucky, we haven’t been affected by any kind of life threatening illness. So when people kept telling me to pick a charity close to my heart, it was a really hard decision. Because we haven’t been affected by anything. 

That’s when I thought I’ll try to run for a smaller charity, preferably who helps children. 

This is when I came across MACS

MACS stands for : Microphthalmia, Anophthalmia and Coloboma Support

They are a great charity, they are supporting children born without eyes or with underdeveloped eyes. 

I thought I can relate to them because everyone has someone in their family who has some kind of eye condition. Maybe they are only wearing glasses, or maybe they do have a sever eye condition. 

I’ve found their application form on their website, and filled it out. 

Application form can be found HERE.

After filling out the application I tried to be patient, and wait for the confirmation decline email. Because I submitted my application in November I wasn’t really sure if they still have places for the marathon or not.  But after waiting for a few days I’ve got a really nice email , and it turned out they still had spots for the race.

I had to fill out the official marathon registration form and pay in the £100 registration fee. Also their fundraising target was £1250 and I thought I’ll be able to reach that. 

The Perks:

  • fundraising pack,
  • marathon training newsletters,
  • access to their lively community of MACS runners,
  • shiny MACS running vest or t-shirt,

and most of all, you can take part in this challenge safe in the knowledge that the funds you raise will make a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of children born without eyes or with underdeveloped eyes across the UK.

Have to say they were a really organised and communicative charity. We’ve got weekly support emails with hints and tips from running to fundraising. 

I also liked the fact that the fundraising deadline was after the race, if i remember well it was sometime in June or even July. 

So if anyone planning to run for a charity in London I highly recommend MACS 🙂

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Pre race Postcard from MACS

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Pre race photo – can you spot me?

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Post race letter

 

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Certificate of Achievement

 

At the end I managed to raise £1435, and even thought I was a slow runner they waited for everybody at the runners meeting area. 
 
Love,
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I never been lucky in my life with drawings until …

I was supposed to write this post a few weeks ago but somehow I didn’t manage to do it.

I’m part of a fair few running groups on Facebook , some of better than others but all is good to learn and get information.

A few weeks ago I came across a post on the “World Marathon Majors ” Facebook group. A lovely lady shared it that there will be an open event at the New Balance flagship store in Oxford street , London.

It’s not just a simple open evening , at the end of the night they’ll draw out 5 people who gets a spot in next years London marathon.

I wasn’t really sure to go or not to go. Mainly because it was on a Wednesday and didn’t finish till 9pm and by the time I’d get back home it will be close to midnight, and I have to wake up to go to work at 4.20am.

But after thinking about it for a bit I realised I only loose out on it if I don’t go. Luckily I travel to London for free so this can be a little day out. Also I can live on coffee on the following morning.

I wasn’t sure how many people will be there , or even if I have any chance to win a spot. But my motto was if I never try I never will know.

I already got my refusal lottery email from London so this was just an extra opportunity. I’ve run the race in 2017 via a charity so I really wasn’t under any pressure to get in.

Also have to say they I never met or know anyone who won anything like this before. I always thought that these kind of prices will go to a friend of a friend of the organiser etc.

I’ve got up to the New Balance store just after 7pm. There was a DJ, security personnel and also many many staff member around.

I straight away started to queue up to sign up to the competition. It wasn’t a big queue just about 6-7 people in front of me.

The sign up form was an an iPad and then also been told that I don’t need to wait till 8:45pm when they announce the winners. I can go home and if I’m lucky enough I’ll get an email.

After signing up I’ve decided to walk around and see what else is on.

After walking down to the bottom floor they already started the nutrition talk with Anita. I’ve met with her in 2017 when I attended the Meet the Experts session in London.

I think it was a really informative session. Specially for newbie marathon runners.

This was only a short talk about nutrition. After her talk staff members started handing out goodie bags for everyone who was down there.

I was really pleased with it. I mean who doesn’t love a free goodie bag ?

After the talk I started to wonder around to see the merchandise. There was so much stuff there and it’s so hard not to buy something. Anyway what would I buy a race item when I’m not even running that race ?

When I go to the top floor they started getting ready for a race Q&A with a celebrity. The special guest turned out to be Joel Dommett. He’s a comedian and also a presenter for the I’m a celebrity …’s Extra Camp.

This Q&A was more like about how he tackled the race and also how he managed to do all his training due to his crazy work schedule. But he also give some tips for first timers.

When he’s talk finished we still had plenty of time till the winners announcements.

Just a few photos of the 2019’s merchandise:

Also managed to bump in one of my “Instagram ” friend, Ruth. We had a good chat. It’s always feels so weird to talk with someone who you follow on social media. But when you meet up you have no idea what to talk about 😀

Then the time arrived. We all assembled at the ground floor , and waited for the announcements.Then the guy started to announce the winners.

Our first winner is … Gabriella ….

// OMG I don’t know any other Gabriella ‘s, it’s not a common name in England, maybe it’s me. But who knows. //

…Gabriella Waller !!!

OMFG I’ve WON. I never in my life won anything like that. I never got drawn out in the lotteries , never won on starch cards. But today I won.

Probably I looked like and idiot , I just couldn’t stop smiling. OMG.

Then the announcer said the other 4 winners. It turns out I was the only one who stayed there. They others went home.

I really wasn’t planning to run London next year , but now I’m in. I can’t believe it.

It will be a hard one , mainly because I’m running Boston 1.5 weeks before London. But I know well I can do this.

I’ve decided that London will be a fun and happy run. By that time I should be a 6 star finisher so I can totally enjoy London. I’ve tried my marathon journey there in 2017 and now I can finish it in 2019.

A few days later I’ve received my confirmation email about winning it. So then it sank in , that I really won it. Not just dreamt about it.

Then a few days later my new pair of New Balance shoes arrived:

Also I decided to do something crazy. I’ll attempt to do a Guinness World Record in London. I can’t tell you much about it because I don’t want others to do it before me. According to their data base no one done this before so hopefully that stays like that. The deadline to apply for it is in February, after that I’ll be able to announce it. Fingers cross it will work out.

And from now on I’ll apply every single competition I see. Because there’s a chance. Also real people win these things.

Love ,

Race day – Chicago Marathon

It’s really important to carbload before a race, so on saturday we decided to have pizza. One of our host suggested that there’s an awesome pizza place near by and we should try it. They make “Detroit” style pizza , which means it’s a square one.  It is a rectangular pizza that has a thick crisp crust and toppings such as pepperoni and mushrooms. What makes Detroit-style pizza different from Chicago and New York styles is the crust, which is extra thick and very crispy on the bottom.

I tried to go to bed as early as possible, and I think I managed to fall asleep just after 9pm.

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Good night all

On race morning we got picked up by Joe, one of Shelly’s friend and we got driven to our charity hotel. I still can’t believe how friendly and helpful the people are here.

This morning was rainy , again, I’m not even surprised now. Team Paws had a massive room booked for us at the Congress Hotel. I felt so lucky to be there. It was heavily raining outside and was pretty cold. We were indoors, which was warm, and also had unlimited food and drink.

I was booked in to start from the Last Wave and Last Coral. But I really didn’t mind this. I knew I’ll be slow so there’s no point starting from the front, well even if I wanted I couldn’t do it haha.

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I really didn’t know what to expect from this race. I really wanted to do well, but after the disappointment in Berlin, I really wasn’t sure I can run a sub 6hr race here. I know it’s sounds really silly, but I felt so much pressure on me. During my training I said to everyone that I’m training for a sub 6hr race, then I failed in Berlin. That really took my motivation back, and I really wasn’t even sure that I should start this race. Who wants another failed race? Another disappointment.

But this race cost so much for me, for us, so there was no option quitting.

On race morning I decided to try out a new pacing strategy. Yeah you shouldn’t really do that, but hey ho.

I put my pace tattoo onto my arm and was hoping for the best for the race.

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Can I keep up with the 5:45 pacer?

After running a 6:22 in Berlin I knew that I won’t be able to keep up with the 5.45 pace, but I really wanted to see that how long I’ll be able to go with them.

I started to race really well. To my total surprise I was able to keep up with the 5:45 pacer, I wasn’t struggling and even was able to talk with a few other runners.

Before the race I agreed with Luke that we meet up at certain points during the race. So I had something to look forward. Our first meeting point was around the mile 8 mark.

According to the tracker in the first 5k I managed to average a 12.44mins/mile, completed the 5k in 39:35 minutes, it’s much slower than my normal 5k pace but I thought I’ll stick with it. Maybe I always start too fast and run out of energy for the later part of the race.

As I was getting further and further in the race I realised I’m totally loving this. I loved the cold and rainy weather, and the crowd support was totally awesome. Much much better than Berlin.

I knew that 26.2 miles is a long way around and knew that I’ll need to use the loos at some point. I went before we left the hotel, but that was back at 7am. Just when we got to mile 7 I looked around and seen many loos with absolutely no queue. I’ve decided to jump in. It’s really rare to have no queue.

But because of me stopping I’ve lost sight of the 5:45 pacer group. So I’ve spent the next mile chasing them up. But luckily I’ve done that.

I’ve met with hubby at mile 8. Bless him he was waiting for me for a long time, and i only said hi, gave him a kiss and got a bottle of Gatorade. I said to him I’m trying to keep up with the pacer so I have no time to talk. Agreed to meet up again just after half way.

When I was approaching Mile 8 I remembered to check out my virtual cheer cards. I still can’t believe how may of you left me a message. Thank you very much all 🙂

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I’ve reached the 10k mark, in 1:19:28, which meant I was averaging a 12:51 mins/miles.

Usually this early in I always feel great, full smiles, not pain, no worry at all. It wasn’t any different  in Chicago. It really did felt like I was flying around the course.

I was supposed to see hubby at the half way mark, but when I approached it he wasn’t there. At first I thought I missed him, so sent him a quick message on Facebook asking if he was there. Well it turns out he wasn’t . He was still on the trains. To be honest I did feel a bit disappointed, because I was so looking forward to see him. It’s always gives me so much motivation. It felt like I was back in London, in 2017 I was supposed to meet with him and Sue just after the 14 mile mark by Shadwell and they didn’t make it.

I knew that I can’t stress about it, so tried to keep my calm and concentrated in the second half of the race.

My half way point check mark was at 2:53:08.

Split Time Of Day Time Diff min/mile miles/h
05K 09:35:13AM 00:39:35 39:35 12:44 4.71
10K 10:15:06AM 01:19:28 39:54 12:51 4.67
15K 10:57:09AM 02:01:30 42:03 13:32 4.44
20K 11:38:47AM 02:43:09 41:39 13:25 4.48
HALF 11:48:47AM 02:53:08 10:00 14:40 4.09

As you can see in the  table above that I started to lose some speed by the time I’ve  got to the half way point. but have to say my pace was still really constant. compared to my other 3 marathons.

Just when we crossed the half way marker the paces I was following just stopped, put his flag on the ground and started to walk. This one really surprised me. I knew if that have a bad race the pace they do is not guaranteed, but because this was my first time ever following one I was surprised.

Luckily hubby took screenshots from the tracking app and it said that my estimated finish time is 05:46:11. So this is the reason the paces put the flag down. He realised it was over the target time, so he couldn’t pace anymore.

But if you check out the screenshots below, you can see that we started out way too fast, I think. After the 8k mark our estimated finish was 5:34:14, then at 10k it was 5:35:12, 15k was 5:41:46. So as you can see the first 10 k was almost 10 mins faster than the paced target time. Maybe he burnt out too quickly and that’s why he couldn’t keep it up.

To be honest it didn’t bother me that he put the flag down. I knew well at the beginning that I wont be a 5:45 finisher. that would have been a miracle. After that moment I knew that my race is on. I’m out there all alone, no one to follow, I really had to make sure that I pace myself well for the last 13.1 miles.

By this point I had 13 mins to spare , just to finish under the 6hr cut off. It meant that I cannot stop for any toilet breaks, cannot walk like a turtle. I knew that if I need to walk I need to speed walk. But the end was still really far away.

When I seen some famous sights, I still stopped to take a photo, took pictures of cute puppies as well. I mean it was supposed to be fun. I had to take photos.

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United Centre – home of Chicago Blackhawks

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Another Blackhawks building.

As the miles went on I’ve decided to stop by every single water stops. I didn’t feel thirsty but I felt like I need to drink , even if it’s only a small amount. So my strategy was to have a cup of Gatorade, then a few sips of water. Just to get rid of the sugary taste then pour the left over water on my head, just to keep myself cool. It wasn’t a hot day but somehow it felt like it was still cooling my down.

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I had to stop to have a photo with the cutest dog ever 🙂

I started to get closer to that magic / horrible 30k mark. In Berlin that was the point when I lost the race , I totally lost it mentally. That was the point when I decided to walk the rest of the race….

When I reached the 30k mark in Chicago, to my surprise nothing happened.  okey, to be honest something did. If you look at my average pace below, you can see that it was 14:12mins/miles. Which was 29 seconds waster than my 25k one.

25K 12:24:22PM 03:28:43 35:35 14:41 4.09
30K 01:08:28PM 04:12:50 44:07 14:12 4.23

OMG. What the heck happened? Me getting faster  in the second part of the race? OMG. I thought it has to be a mistake. I never been faster in the second half of any race! but after a quick text to my hubby, he sent me my predicted finish time, and I indeed go faster with my paces.

Yes i did get slower, compared to my predicted finish at half way around, but I still had just over 4 mins to spare.

I really wasn’t sure that running the remaining 12kms in the same pace is possible, or even slower but without loosing a massive amount of time.

But at this point i just kep thinking about that I can do this, I will do this because this is my race. I really tried not checking out my phone notifications, but it just kept buzzing. I got so many messages and comments about how well I’m running. Some of you even said I still have x amount of spare minutes, so I’ll be okey. Sue kept texting me, and kept saying that i’m doing really well, just keep going etc.

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Can you spot me?

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20 mile marker

Just before mile 21 I noticed a massive dog statue by the side of the road. It was a PAWS statue.

I had to ask a spectator to take a photo of me, I couldn’t just run passed without a photo.

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Almost at mile 21

When I last spoke with Luke he said Shelly, our host will wait for me around mile 22-23. So I tried to look out for her. When I’ve seen her it made me so happy.

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With Shelly.

After seeing her I think I’ve seen Luke at one more time briefly at mile 24. Then it was home time. Time to do the last few miles.

I have absolutely no idea what happed, but I haven’t hit the wall during this race. I just kept going, and kept reminding myself that I am totally capable to do this. I’ve trained for this many months, and I can do this.

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When I crossed the 35 and 40k timeing mat I’ve got a message from hubby saying that I’m still on track. not just simply on track, but I’ve got faster ! My average pace was at 13:57 and 14:01mins/miles. So compared that to my 30k one which was 14:12 I’ve indeed got faster. I didn’t turn to be a cheetah but I did get faster.

35K 01:51:46PM 04:56:08 43:19 13:57 4.31
40K 02:35:20PM 05:39:41 43:34 14:01 4.28

Till today I have absolutely zero idea why and what happened. I always feel tired, knackered and slow by the end of the marathons. But this day was different. Maybe because it was raining in the morning? Or because I stayed in a hotel till almost start time? I have zero clue. But I did not hit that wall.

As you can see from above my predicted finish was 05:58:19 when I passed the 40km mark. I had 1mins 41 seconds to space. Can I run just over 2 km without loosing any time? Usually I can, but this time we talking about the last 2km of a marathon. Anything can happen.

There was a really nice long stretch before we turned on to the last few hundred yards of the race.

This last 2 km was a happy and ecstatic run. it felt like I can do this, nothing can stop me at all. Whilst others were walking – nothing wrong with walking  – I ran pass them. I felt like I was at a beginning of a race when I still have loads of energy and it’s time to sprint.

Just before I turned into the Roosevelt Road, I’ve heard hubby shouting. I knew I cannot stop now, so just gave him a wave and a smile.

When I got on the top of Roosevelt road I had a look on my watch and I still had just over 2 mins to spare. So I stopped and took a photo of the finish line.

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Seeing this finish line meant a lot to me. Seeing this finish line with 2 mins to spare meant the world to me. This last few metres was a happy run, I made it. I’ve done it. I had a plan and I’ve executed it perfectly. No hiccups, no hitting the wall at 30k. Nothing at all. This was the PERFECT race.

I crossed the finish line at:

5:58:24

I’m a sub 6hr finisher!!!!!!!!

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Sub 6 hour smile :))))))

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Post race goodie bag

I knew that I had this in me, I’ve trained for it. But every time I’ve tried I mentally failed. On this day in Chicago I was stronger than my brain, I decided that I won’t give up. No matter how hard it’s going to be.

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Lovely banner at Work 🙂

The hard work just starting now. Now I know that I’m totally capable to run a sub 6 race, I need to keep this performance up. Tokyo has a really strict 7hrs ( gun time) cut off, and also Boston usually turns the clock off at 6hrs. So I’ll need to repeat this performance 2 more times. But I’m really positive about this.

Everyone who supported me, donated the charity, cheered me on, texted me on race day and after the race = THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Without you all I don’t think I’d been able to finish this well. THANK YOU.

I also wan’t to say thank you to my coach, Denise. She believed me fro day one, and the plan she wrote me worked really well. Whith her help I’ve shaved off 34 mins from my marathon time.

Now let’s finish this post with some cute medal photos with our pups and hedgie:

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Po – Po & Gizmo

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Eugene

 

Before the race many people said that this race is really flat. Well they didn’t lie. Look at that elevation map:

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Just a bit of a Garmin statistics at the end:

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Official finish times:

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I’m really proud of my pace, specially for the ones in the second half.

4 down 2 to go 

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London, New York, Berlin, Chicago

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London April 2017 06:57:31
New York November 2017 06:32:14
Berlin September 2018 06:22:52
Chicago October 2018 05:58:24

 

I also made a video about my race day, you can watch it here:

Love,

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Chicago Marathon Expo & International 5k run

The marathon expo opened up on the Friday. Luckily we landed in Chicago on Thursday so I was definitely be able to get to the expo first thing. If I can, I go to the expos when they open. They not as busy then, and also there’s a bigger chance to buy all the merchandise I want.

But before the expo, I met up with my Coach, Denise, at 6am and we went for a casual 5k donut run. She organised this run through the Chicago Marathon Facebook group, and there were a few of her runners as well.  It wasn’t many of us, probably because it was heavily raining. But I loved every minute of it. It was good to meet up with like-minded people and get to know others. Have to say the pace was way too fast for me, and I couldn’t keep up all the way round, but they did wait for me by the donut shop 😀

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Heavy rain at 6am

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Look at those donuts. Yumm Yumm Yumm

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Stan’s Donuts. Best in Chicago

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Nope, we wasn’t drunk! This is what happens when you run between tall buildings. 

So after getting soaking wet and really cold, we decided to go back to our house. Change clothes, dry up and get ready to the expo.

Because our hotel got cancelled back in september, a lovely Team Paws member  offered us her spare bedroom. So we’ve stayed with her and her husband. Our nearest train stop was on the red line, Argyle stop. Her house was only a 10 mins walk from it, so perfect location.

The expo was held at the McCormick Place, we didn’t have a direct train there but the journey was still really simple.  I think we got there just after it opened at 9am. It wasn’t crazy busy, I managed to pick up the free Marathon poster, then we went through security and checked in.

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Ready to walk in

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OMG. I’ll need to frame this

First we decided to go and pick up our  5k race bib because there was a bit of queue there, then off we went to pick up my marathon pack. No one were queueing in the marathon bib pick up table, so I got mine in minute. Really well organised, have to say.

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5k bib pick up

After collecting all the important material, we’ve started the fun part. It was time to do some shopping. I love expo shopping. We’ve  decided to walk through and check out all isles. then also had to go to the Paws table to pick up the supporters cheering pack.

Collected as many freebies as we could, then went to the Nike stall to buy the Event jacket. After buying one in the previous Majors, I couldn’t say no to that.

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New Nike Event jacket, with my new glasses

Whilst we were walking around we’ve seen a stand ( Biofreeze ) which was offering to get the Event t-shirt personalised. Well it had a massive queue, but I had to have it done. I’m only planning to run this race once, so had to have the full package. Took us about 20 mins to queue but it’s awesome. more races should do this. So easy, permanent and looks great.

By this time it was around 11.11.30am and started to get really busy. So it was time to go. I really don’t like busy places, people keep pushing each other and fighting for merchandise. It’s not for me.

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Expo goodiebag 🙂

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With the 5k and Marathon bib 🙂

 

06. October. 2018 – Saturday 

I was so excited about this day. It was time to run the International 5k run. When we woke up it was raining, again, what a surprise lol . I was so excited, because it was hubby’s first ever proper race. He did run the Breakfast run in Berlin, but there was no bib for that or medal. So it wasn’t a proper race. He felt so nervous in the morning, and as soon as we got to the start he said he’s really worried.  He didn’t do a single minute training for it, according to him anybody can run a 5k. Well well we will see haha

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My outfit for the race

I’m not too sure how many runners were at the start, but it did look really busy for a 5k race. The start got delayed because of the heavy rain.

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Look at his face. Hahaha

After a few hundred yards, he told me to go and leave him behind because he’s struggling and he doesn’t want me ruin my race. I said to him it’s not a race for me, just a casual run before the BIG race on Sunday. So I sticked with him. He did try to run as much as he could, but then we started walking. After that it was a fully run-walk-run race. It did look like he liked that better.

We managed to get around in about 44 mins, which is great for him. This was hist first proper race and he did finish it 🙂 I’m so proud of him. Now just need to tell him that Tokyo and Boston do a 5k run as well. Hahah

 

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He was a bit red, but I’m so proud of him

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Luke’s first ever race certificate

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With my new medal

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Nope, we still wasn’t drunk here. 

I highly recommend this race to everyone who’s running the Marathon in the coming years. It’s a flat course and it was so much fun running it.

It’s only $35 and you can sign up for it here: https://www.chicago5k.com

Love,

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Travelling to Chicago

OMG I can’t believe that the race was over 2 weeks ago.

Because our flight was leaving London really early morning, we decided to stay in a hotel by the airport.

We woke up nice and early on the 4th of october and were on our way to the Airport. the shuttle bus turned up on time and we were the only people on it.

Because we got to the airport at 5am, we managed to get through security in no time. Then the waiting begin, our flight was booked to leave at 8.25am. So it was a long wait.

Luckily the time passed quickly and we were sitting on the plane ready to go.

I was so excited to fly, this was my longest flight to date and I had no idea what to expect.

We were flying with American Airlines, and they were perfect. Seats comfortable, food / drinks tasty and free, good inflight entertainment.

I don’t think I slept on the plane at all.

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At Heathrow, ready to check in.

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English breakfast on the plane. Did taste good 🙂

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Somewhere across the Ocean.

When we got  to O’hare airport we had to go through customs, which was a bit of a lengthy process but got through 🙂 The only asked us one question, Why did we came to Chicago? As soon as I said to run the marathon , the gentleman wished me luck and we were on our way.

We had to make our way to Terminal 2, because that’s where the train station is, and also this was the place where we had to pick up our pre ordered 7 day Ventra travel Card. It wasn’t expensive at all, cost us 33 dollars/ person and it’s valid for 7 days, on all CTA trains and busses 🙂 Totally worth the price.

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Special edition Ventra travel card

Have to say that the whole public transportation is really easy in Chicago. We used Google transit to plan all our journeys, and everything was spot on. I really can’t fault the transportation there.  Really well sign posted everything, and all staff were really nice and helpful.

Ooh and it turns our if someone doesn’t buy their tickets in advance then the conductor charges them 5 dollar more! Sounds like a great idea.

In my next and probably much longer post I’ll write about the Expo and the international 5k run, which was on Saturday.

Love,

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Chicago Marathon – How can you track me?

OMG the Chicago Marathon is almost here ! In a week time I’ll be there and I can’t wait.

If you’d like to follow me around the course I made a little step by step guide about how to follow me.

1. Download the official app:

iPhone   https://itunes.apple.com/…/2018-chicago-marath…/id718145625…

Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details…

2. Click on Tracking & Results

3. Search for my name “ Gabriella Waller “

4. Click on the to add me to your favourites

5. On race day you’ll be able to follow me around the course.

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I’ll start my race at :
8.35am ( Chicago tome )

14.35pm ( UK time )

15.35pm ( Hungarian time )

Any questions or issues about tracking just ask

Love,

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Chicago Marathon – It’s Race week – Quick recap of events

OMG I can’t believe that the week is finally here. I also can’t believe that I’ve run Berlin just 2 weeks ago, and in 6 days time I’ll be at the start line of the Chicago Marathon.

This past 2 weeks went really well. I think I’ve recovered after Berlin really easily and quickly. It helped that I took my roller with me and after the race I rolled my legs out, even though it was painful but it definitely worked 🙂

This post will be just a quick recap of this weeks events, and also will write a separate post about how can you track me on race day.

I have 2 more running sessions before we fly out on Thursday morning. Nothing fast or crazy, just nice and easy runs.

Our Flight leaves from London Heathrow, but we staying up there on Wednesday morning, mainly because we couldn’t make it up there on the day with trains, and I also don’t want to leave my car in the car park there.

We flying on Thursday with American Airlines / British Airways, they code share so I have no idea what will be painted on the side of the plane. But I have a guess it will be AA.

We only can check out to our flights on Wednesday morning, but I’ve called AA and booked our seats. So no rush with checking in.

We leaving Heathrow at 8.40am and getting to Chicago at 11.25am. When we land we have to go back to the main terminal to collect our pre ordered Ventra cards. This will enable us to use public transportation. Because our hotel got cancelled, we staying with a friend of mine. It’s so nice of them to offer a bed for us 🙂

I won’t write down our plans step by step, because it still can change. So whenever we are back I’ll definitely write a post about our adventures.

On Friday we will need to visit the expo, to collect my bib and goodiebags. Also this will be the day when I’ll be able to pick up the goodies from the charity. Cant wait 🙂

On Saturday we’ll start our day early. Luke and I are off to run the International 5k run. It’s similar to the one we’ve run in Berlin. But here at the end we are getting a medal and a hat as a present.

And of course sunday will be the Main event, Race day 🙂

Literally cannot wait for it. Can’t believe I’m running my 4th marathon, and its in Chicago.

As I said I’ll write a proper post about our day-to-day activities after the race.

Later on this week I also post about the tracking information, so if you plan to track me please keen an eye on the website, I’ll upload the information soon.

Love,

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It’s Race day!

It’s time to summarise my Race day experience, if you’d like to read my Travel journey (click here ) or of you want to hear about our Breakfast run ( click here) then please click onto the links.

OMG the day is finally here. I’ve train for this for so long, and so much. I gave everything I had in my training.

After realising there’s no kettle in the hotel room I had to have pastry with yoghurt for breakfast. We left our hotel around 7.15am, because I really wanted to be part of the group charity photo. We agreed to meet up by Starbucks at 8am.

When we got on the train it was full with runners. I felt so happy. I can’t describe it. All the training I’ve put in the last few months, and today is race day. I knew it well that it will be over so soon. So tried to enjoy every minute of it.

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After the photo I’ve said goodbye to my husband and went to my start zone, I was starting from Zone H. At this point I still had about 1.5 hours before the start.

Luckily at registration I’ve chosen to have a poncho, so didn’t need to queue up for the bag drop off. If I would do the race again I’d pick the poncho again, it saves so much time. No need to queue at all, just straight to the starting zone.

When I got to my start zone, it was still early, roughly about 8.30am, so not many people around. Had a quick loo break, and didn’t have to queue at all for it.

As the different waves started we cheered all of them. Then slowly the clock turned to 10.05am and it was our turn to start. Heard the countdown then heard the starting gun. It was time to do it, time to run. All the mixed emotions I had before were all gone by this point. I just felt happy, I felt free, glad to be there.

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My first meeting point with my husband was at the 6km mark, which happened to be just in front of our hotel. I literally had no idea about this when I’ve booked the hotel. We just seen the blue line being painted on Saturday evening. Wow. Great hotel.

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I felt really good about the first part of the race. Jeffing worked as well, and also seen other run-walk-runners.

My half point split was 02.52.27

It’s still about 6-8mins slower than my training runs and my best half marathon time. But even with this I was well on time to beat my target time. The first few miles were really crowded and had to take over many runners. So I assume I’ve lost some time there.

But I was still cheerful and happy. Seen Luke just after the half way mark and that gave me a massive boost.

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After seeing him there, our next meeting point was at the 35km mark.

I was still going strong for a few miles, and hydrated really well, even ate some apples too from the tables.

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By the time I’ve got the 35km mark I’ve lost the race mentally. My first 5k time was 39mins, the 5k between the 30-35km mark was 47 minutes. I did not get tired physically it was unfortunately more like a mental weakness.  All my training runs were done by myself, so I really thought that it will help me during the race. But it did not. I was running thousands of others but I’ve felt totally alone. I felt alone, and I’ve struggled with my thoughts. I even started to question myself, why am I doing this? Other people go to the beach to have fun, not to run 26.2miles. At some point I even thought I’m not even worth to be there and I should really cancel my Chicago/Tokyo/Boston entry. At this point I’ve decided just to walk the rest of the race. I did not care if the sweeper bus picks me up and get a DNF next to my name.

Because of this mental weakness my predicted finish time went passed my dream finish of 6hrs.  When I’ve seen that I really did not want to continue. I know its sounds so childish, but that’s what I’ve trained for. I wanted to be under 6hr. I wanted to be better than myself. But I failed miserably.

sportograf-137822506 I felt like a total failure , I’ve trained for something but could not deliver it.

Luke even got my a Nutella pancake at the 35km mark, hoping it will cheer me up . But it did not work unfortunately. I don’t think anything could have cheered me up.

Then I’ve seen Meagan speed walking past me. She’s the founding member of the Berlin marathon Facebook group. I only chatted with her online, but this was the first time seeing her. She was struggling was her walk was faster than my attempted run. I though this is a sign, I have to keep up with her. I can walk, cant I?

So I’ve walked the last 7.192km with her. OMG. I had a look at my splits and those km walked were faster than my running pace in the last few km. We walked , chatted, walked, smiled to the camera guys. I felt great again, I felt alive. I felt like I could go again for hours and hours.

Then I’ve realised why I’ve lost my race, I’ve lost it because I was out there alone. I literally had no one to talk to for 30km, no one to share my struggles, or even my happiness when I was running great splits. Yes, I’ve seen hubby a few timed during the race, but it’s not the same. He couldn’t run with me.

We’ve crossed the finish line together with Meagan. I’ll be forever grateful for her. To pick me up at km 35 and fast walk with me to the finish line. She kept me going, even when I thought I can’t go any longer. Thank you so so much !!!

We’ve crossed that magic finish line in 06:22:52.

To my surprise I even PBd! This time is a whole 10 mins faster than my time in New York in last November. I can’t believe it. What would have happened if I wont lose it mentally at km35?

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As you can see I’m back at my happy self at the finish 🙂 Like nothing has happened. But I knew that I’m struggled a lot, and I need to sort this out by the time I get to Chicago. I know im strong physically just need to get my mental game on.

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So I’ve got a PB even though I had the worst race of my life. I have 2 weeks to sort myself out, and get out there and get a better performance in Chicago. I CAN do it and I WILL do it.

Love,

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Berlin Marathon Expo & Saturday activities

After arriving Berlin and checking into our hotel ( you can read all of that here ) we went back to Berlin Central station to make our way to the Expo.

I’m part of a few Berlin Marathon training groups on Facebook, and during our train journey I’ve read many horror stories about the Expo. Mainly how disorganised was. Massive queues everywhere, hour-long wait for packet pick up ect.

At Expo was located at the old Tempelhof Airport.

At first I had no idea what to expect from it. How can they hold an expo in an airport? Well the Germans done it, I think it was really well organised.

We’ve arrived around 17.40 and there was no queue at all! The expo was closing at 19.00 on the Friday so we had just less than an hour and half to get around.

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When we got into the building it was sectioned by hangar by hangar. At first I had to separate from Luke, because they had to give me my special marathon bracelet. I needed this to be able to go into the packet pick up area, and also it’s needed for the race on Sunday.

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As you can see in the above photo there are not many people queuing for packet pick up. Also have to say Germans are really efficient, they didn’t have the bib numbers pre printed, instead they only printed the ones they needed. So when I got there I gave the volunteer my Start card + Passport, she found me in the system and then she printed out my bib number. So there’s no wastage at all. I remember seeing hundreds or even thousands of uncollected bibs at the London expo last year.

After packet pick up we went to collect my pre ordered merchandise. I pre ordered my finishing t-shirt and event jacket. Because many people said they sell out pretty fast. For this we had to go out of the hangars, and they had a table there. Had to show my collected bib to the volunteer and she grabbed my T-shirt and Event jacket.

I think both of them looks and feels really nice. They are a bit tight, but mainly because I have bigger boobs. Which is really strange because they are Adidas, the same make as my London merchandise, and those items are fitting perfectly. Never mind 🙂

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Adidas Event Jacket

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Adidas Event Jacket

After this we walked around a bit more, but then eventually we left. Didn’t buy anything else.

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In the below photo you can see what was in the goodie bag. Did you see the yellow sponge?! Hahahah

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Saturday – Breakfast Run

We/ve started our Saturday really early. I was so excited about the 6k breakfast run that I couldn’t really sleep overnight.

We’ve left our hotel around 8am, to get to the start by 9.30am.

Public transport was spot on again.

The start point was at the Shloss Charlottenburg, it’s a Palace. By the time we got there they already had the party started. Music on, balloons in the air and loads of happy runners all over the place.

The run was roughly 6km, but I’ve stopped my watch just after the 5k mark. Because at that point we were queuing to get into the Olympics stadium. So I did not want to record the walking parts. It worth every single minutes of running to finish at the Olympics stadium. It’s awesome. It’s massive. It’s beautiful. OMG. And this run was totally free to attend, what an experience.

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At the end of the run we managed to grab a bit of a breakfast. It wasn’t a cooked one, but still tasted good, and don’t forget it was all free.

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After the run we’ve decided to go to the Brandenburg gate. I’ve really wanted to take a photo of the Hall of Fame. This wall had all registered runners name on it, New York done the same last year. It took us about 10 mins to find my name, but we did it 🙂

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After that we’ve done a bit more sightseeing, and had our normal pasta dinner. Then went to bed early, all ready for the big day ahead.

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But more about that in my next post.

Love,

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Our travels to Berlin

A few months ago I’ve already posted our journey details here and here as well.

To be honest I wa really nervous about this travel. Mainly because I knew that we need to get to Berlin on Friday because I really wanted tp pick up my race bib on the Friday. I’ve hears horror stories about marathon expos on Saturdays. Didn’t want to risk it.

We decided to spend Thursday night up in