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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 ,