Do you know how healthy you really are?

Last year, when I was training for the London Marathon, I was tired.  ALL THE TIME.  I’m more than aware that marathon training is tough, but I’ve trained a lot and I know the difference between being overtrained or run down, and something being wrong.  And something was wrong.

I was a regular at morning yoga and spin classes but, when my alarm went off, I just couldn’t get up.  I wasn’t just a bit sleepy, I really couldn’t get up.  After I had finished my long run at the weekend I had to go straight back to bed again.  It wasn’t normal for me.

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Doctors.  They just didn’t get it.  They told me to rest.  But I didn’t just ‘need a rest’ because I know my body can cope (usually).  After demanding a blood test, they simply told me everything was ‘normal’.  But they never gave me the details of those results.

A couple of weeks ago I went for a private blood test with Werlabs which meant I got a full analysis of absolutely everything.

Who are Werlabs?

Werlabs are a service that uses blood testing to help you monitor your health and understand what’s going on inside your body.  The beauty of this test is that, not only is it quick and easy, the results are ready in 48 hours and you can access them in an online journal.

What do they test?

Their main package consists of 44 separate analyses broken down into different risk categories:

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1. Cardiovascular Disease

This looks at your total cholesterol level and how much good and bad cholesterol you have.  In all honesty, I’ve never worried too much about my cholesterol, but my results showed that, whilst I am safely in the ‘healthy’ range, it’s heading towards the higher end so may be something to be aware of.  On the plus side, they made it clear I’m not at risk of CV disease at the moment!

2. Diabetes

This checks your glucose levels to look at your risk of developing diabetes.  I was all clear on this front which was good because I’m sure I have way more sugar than I should!

3. Full Blood Count

A whole range of things are measured in this section including platelets, and the volume and size of red and white blood cells.  This can show up issues such as anemia, long-standing inflammation, and the ability to form blood clots.

I was pleased to see a higher than average haemoglobin level because this is what absorbs and releases oxygen and carries it from the lungs to the body’s tissues.  Just what runners need!

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4. Inflammation and Immune System

This measures your levels of a protein in the blood called ‘C-reactive protein’ which shows general levels of inflammation in the body.  It’s important to test this because it identifies infections and diseases causing inflammation, such as:

  • Cancer
  • Diseases of the immune system
  • Swelling of blood vessels in the head and neck
  • Swelling and bleeding of the intestines
  • Bone infection

5. Iron

A combination of things are tested:

  • Iron – important in the formation of red blood cells and needed for energy metabolism, this helps our muscles and organs work correctly
  • Ferritin – this is the primary way our body stores iron absorbed from our food, the amount of ferritin in your blood indicates the amount of iron stored in your body
  • Transferrin – the main protein in the blood that binds to the iron absorbed from food and transports it throughout the body

Low iron levels are fairly common in female runners and cause, among other things, tiredness, so I wasn’t really surprised that, whilst I was in the ‘normal’ range, I was right at the bottom of it.  I was also in the red zone for transferrin saturation which means I am likely to have an iron deficiency – it explains a lot!

6. Liver and Kidneys

A range of enzymes, protein, potassium and salt levels are tested to check if the liver and kidneys are working correctly and to detect early damage or risk of disease.

Potassium results, my reading is the red dot

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7. Vitamins and Minerals

  • Folic Acid (B9) – an important growth factor required for cell division
  • Magnesium – plays a role in metabolism and can only be absorbed from food
  • B12 –  maintains the functions of your nervous system and can also only be absorbed from food

8. Thyroid

The thyroid is a gland that produces hormones that are released into the blood to stimulate growth and metabolism, it has a direct effect on our energy levels and overall wellbeing.  Three types of thyroid hormones are tested to determine how effectively the thyroid is working and if it’s over or under active.

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Why is this test good?

What I loved most about Werlabs is that each analysis is explained in easy-to-understand language, with a clear explanation of why it has been tested.  It also clearly explains what it means if you are too high or too low on the scale.  On top of this, a doctor goes through all of your results and gives you a personal analysis of your current state of health.

How does it work?

To take the test you simply need to visit the Werlabs website and select the blood test you want.  You then just take your confirmation email to one of their testing locations in London or Manchester for your blood test (many of these are walk-in, I went to St Thomas Hospital and only waited for 5 minutes) and you will receive a text message as soon as the results are available online.

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The full test is quite expensive at £125 but there are cheaper options if you just want to test something specific.  If you’re keen, you can get a 20% discount using code GRUNC20.

I have been genuinely impressed by the whole Werlabs experience and found the level of results fascinating.  I make an effort to keep myself fit and healthy so I’ve never worried too much about my general health, however this experience has highlighted that, if there was something to worry about, I probably wouldn’t even know until it was too late.

It’s safe to say I’ve learned a lot from this and is definitely something I would do again.

Werlabs kindly invited me to try out their service, as always, all opinions are my own.

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Moreno Boxing – Be Who You Want To Be

I absolutely love boxing.  It’s fast, furious, intense and sweaty.  I used to be a regular at a gritty boxing gym in Old Street until I changed jobs and, sadly, it wasn’t local anymore.  Boxing is a phenomenal form of fitness that combines strength and co-ordination with a full body workout that is great for de-stressing and focusing the mind.  Despite popular belief, it is also a sport that is open to all.

Last week I headed down to Moreno Boxing, Clapham’s newest Boxing Gym, and it’s pretty swish.  Complete with a crossfit rig, Olympic weights, full-size boxing ring and water-filled punch bags, it offers you a ‘real’ boxing experience.  What it is not is a boxercise class.

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When I met Carlos, the founding director of Moreno Boxing, the thing that struck me was how passionate he was about his sport, and in that moment I knew I was going to love this place.

After having his first fight at 18, Carlos went on to compete in over 30 amateur boxing fights, he has several international championship medals under his belt, and even took the National Championship Title in Portugal in 2014.  It’s fair to say he knows a thing or two about boxing and he’s keen to share that knowledge, and those skills, with ordinary people.

Why should the best training methods be reserved for professional athletes only? At
Moreno Boxing we give everyone the opportunity to learn proper boxing from experienced athletes. It’s about giving everyone the opportunity to be the greatest boxer they can be; it’s about helping others be who they want to be!

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Carlos also talked about how important it was to be ‘present’ in his sessions and it’s this focus and attention that’s one of the things I love about boxing.  It’s all too easy when you’re out on a run or on the bike to mentally switch off.  But you can’t do that in boxing, and if you do you will only make that mistake once, trust me!

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Keeping it simple, Moreno Boxing offer just two signature classes, both designed to develop different skills and afford different fitness benefits.

TIB – Technical Intensive Boxing

This class is your traditional glove and pad boxing class and it’s my favourite one.  After a warm up and a re-cap on how to throw jabs, crosses, hooks and upper cuts, were partnered up and straight into the routine.

TIB is about developing the specific skills you need to be able to box, and not just to attack, but also to defend.  This class breaks down each move into drills to give you an intense, lung busting workout that works both the arms and the legs (and in fact everything else!)

Combining power, speed, balance and co-ordination, as well as mental strength, it will push you to your limits and leave you completely knackered!

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ITXT – Intensive Boxing Cross Training

The second class is dedicated to cross-training, but don’t think that that makes it any easier!  The session is made up of a circuit which includes short, sharp bursts of exercises such as:

  • Medicine Balls
  • Push Ups
  • Punch Bags
  • Dead Lifts
  • Kettle Bells
  • Tricep Dips
  • Battle Ropes
  • Froggy Jump Squats (ahem, may not be the proper name…)
  • Sit ups

Again, it’s a full body workout and, if you’re not knackered by the end, you weren’t doing it right!

With a cheeky glint in his eye, Carlos said we would end the class with the ‘squat song’.  This turns out to be over 3 minutes of continually squatting to Moby’s Flower…errr, the perfect end to a 2 hour workout.

This is how happy we were…

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Photo credit: Sophie from Fitology UK

Boxing is pretty trendy right now, I’ll give you that.  But don’t do it because it’s trendy.  Do it because it’s one of the most intense and rewarding workouts you will find.  Do it because you want to get fitter and stronger.  Do it because you love to sweat.  Do it because you like to be challenged.  Don’t do it if you’re scared of hard work…

Moreno Boxing has two gyms in London, the original is in Dalston, and the new one is in Clapham Junction.  If you’re keen to test yourself you can find out more here and discover why Professor Green and Millie Mackintosh can’t get enough.

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Photo credit:  Simon Zhao

Massive thanks to both Carlos and and Healthy Living London for having me, I genuinely loved it and have booked in for my nest session!  I was invited to come down to Clapham and try out Moreno Boxing, all opinions, as always, are my own.

RideLondon: 100 miles on 2 wheels

At 2am on Sunday morning I was staring out of the window watching the rain come down in sheets.  It was so loud it woke me up.  It was the worst rain I had seen in a very long time and it was far from ideal.

Just two hours later my alarm went off, but my heavy heart subsided with a quick glance outside.  The rain had stopped and it looked fairly promising.  It was going to be a good day.

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Just before 5am, after forcing some porridge down, I hopped on my bike and set off into the sunrise towards the Olympic Park.  I didn’t really know where I was going but I soon saw plenty of other cyclists heading the same way.  Following everyone else, I made the 12 mile journey to the start line taking in an eerily quiet Rotherhithe tunnel which was closed to cars.

Getting into the start area was easy, there were loads of signs, loads of toilets and plenty of space.  Luckily I bumped into my friend Laura so I had a pal to share my last minute worries with.  She had sandwiches and chicken nuggets…I did not.  Our start time was 7:24am and, although we still had an hour to go, it flew by.

Early Risers

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With credit to the organisers, the start was a military operation with each wave going off bang on time, I don’t know how many waves there were, but c.30,000 riders left the park at roughly 6 minute intervals over 4 hours.  It was an impressive set up.

Stage 1: Miles 1-25: The Jolly Bit

For the first 25 miles I felt great.  The air was cool and dry, everyone was in great spirits and I was pleasantly surprised that, not only was there more space around me than I was expecting, people were (mostly) riding considerately.  There were even some Rider Safety Captains.

After riding through London, I got a big cheer from Darren in Richmond Park, and we headed to the first ‘hub’ near Hampton Court.  As I’m really bad at drinking and riding at the same time, let alone eating, I took the opportunity to stop.

The hubs exceeded my expectations, there were tables and tables piled with bananas, Cliff Bars, gels, Shot Bloks and Graze snack boxes, as well as loads of water and electrolyte tablets.  There were toilets aplenty, and medical and mechanical help if needed.  The volunteers were all super friendly and happy, especially given the fact they had an earlier start than me!

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Stage 2: Miles 26-48: The Learning Curve Bit

The next section posed some challenges.  I hadn’t been eating anywhere near enough and I was feeling it.  Ruth had told me repeatedly that I needed to constantly scoff my face but I didn’t realise that meant literally.  A Cliff bar at the start line and a gel at the hub just wasn’t enough.  Somewhere around 40 miles I was feeling ropey and decided that if I had to stop every few miles to make sure I ate something, that was what needed to happen.

The Surrey countryside, with its beautiful views, was upon us now, and just before the second hub at mile 48 there was a fairly short, but fairly steep climb.  I was glad I had taken on some extra fuel (GU Stroopwafles for the win by the way).

At the hub at Newlands Corner, I took a longer time out, ate some proper food and had a little sit down with views over Surrey.  I was feeling much better. Onwards.

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Stage 3: Miles 48-75. The Hilly Bit

The next section brought the dreaded Surrey Hills.  Leith Hill came first, it was new to me, it was the the steepest on the course, and it was bloody hard.  People were getting a little narky with each other as the course narrowed and I eventually caved somewhere near(ish) the top and got off the bike.  I was far from the only one.

Finally at the top, with 58 miles on the clock, I got back on my bike and enjoyed some downhill rolling towards Dorking.  Soon after, we were at the bottom of Box Hill, I had already conquered this one recently and I have to say I quite enjoyed it!  There were some signs every 250m or so telling you how far you had come and some motivational words of wisdom such as ‘don’t fear the granny gear‘ and, of course, ‘shut up legs‘.

I had stuck to my new fueling plan but, as we neared the third hub at Leatherhead, I was looking forward to another break.

Thanks Buxton!

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Stage 4: Miles 75-86. The Blurry Bit

The next few miles rolled by in a bit of a blur.  I was tired, my quads were complaining, and my hands were sore.  I didn’t really know where I was and I couldn’t tell you what I saw, but we were heading back to London and that was all I could focus on.

Just as I was planning to pull over for more food, I saw a sign for hub 4.  There was a HUB 4??

Pulling into the stop at Kingston I have never been so happy to see a bag of salt & vinegar crisps.  I was less happy to see yet another banana, but I ate it anyway.  After a short mental battle with myself I got back on the bike again and set off on the last 14 miles. Shut up legs.

Stage 5: Miles 86-100. The Bloody Awesome Bit

The last section was the best.  The crowds were thicker, the roads were flatter, we were back in London and the finish was near.  I found a new lease of life and powered through the last few miles, not even Wimbledon Hill could get me down now.

The miles were ticking down quickly, I got a cheer from Jen at Parsons Green, and we were soon riding along the Embankment.  It wasn’t long before we were heading up Whitehall and swinging round for a pretty spectacular finish on The Mall.  The 100 mile finish line was in sight!!

I couldn’t help but grin like a lunatic as I flew down the final few metres and over the finish line, I even made it on the telly!

I’m in the background, I’m not the man being interviewed:

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And that was that, I had completed 100 miles on two wheels and I loved it!  It actually turned out to be 119 miles in total what with cycling there and back, no wonder I was a little sleepy…

The Reflection Bit

In my opinion, Ride London was organised pretty flawlessly.  Sure, there will always be some hiccups with the complexities of an event so big, but I was really impressed with everything, it couldn’t have been easy.

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I’m aware, although disappointed, that cycling generally, and this event in particular, attracts a lot of haters, especially from those who live along the route.  Sure, it’s an inconvenience, but it’s just one weekend a year.  One weekend that not only brings a lot of positivity towards sport and fitness and inspires people to get active, but keeps the legacy of the London Olympics alive and raises millions for charity.

The Best Bits:

  • Riding on closed roads. A privilege
  • The atmosphere. Electric
  • The cheery volunteers. Incredible
  • Box Hill. It’s Fun
  • Hitting a new max speed of 38.3 mph. Weeeeee
  • The Mile 86 salt and vinegar crisps. Godsend
  • The last 5 miles. Unreal
  • The finish along the Mall towards Buckingham Palace. Epic
  • In fact, almost everything. Fan-flippin-tastic

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The Worst Bits:

  • The 4 o’clock alarm. Zzzzzz
  • Having to stop to eat and drink. Such a newb
  • Leith Hill. Ouch
  • The dude who overtook me on a Boris Bike. Really
  • My sore hands. Hurty
  • Cycling through London traffic to get home. Wobbly

The Thank Yous:

  • Thank you to all the volunteers that made it possible, there were a lot of you, your constant enthusiasm and kind words gave me strength
  • Thank you to the emergency services who responded quickly to incidents
  • Thank you to the roadside angels who were offering mechanical help to those in need, you made me worry less
  • And thank you to everyone who wholeheartedly embraced the event and lined the streets in thousands to cheer and shout at us, you made the dark times brighter

Like the London Marathon, Ride London is a true testament to the spirit of this City and I can’t wait to be part of it again.  It was tough, it was challenging, it was rewarding, and it was a whole lot of fun!

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Ride 100: Way out of my comfort zone

They say the bit outside of your comfort zone is where magical things happen.  It’s dangerous, and scary, and a little intimidating, but it’s OK because unicorns live there and they can show you a whole new world of wonderful things.  Or something like that.  On Sunday I’m taking on my first cycling sportive.  It’s 100 miles long.  And it’s a whole new world to me.

My comfort zone is all but a dot on the horizon right now.  Mostly because I know s**t all about cycling.  Or bikes.  Or how to fix my bike if it breaks.  It doesn’t bode well when you have to phone your Dad from the expo to ask him what sort of inner tube you need, and you still don’t know what you’re look at so the random dude who overhears offers some help and picks the tube out for you after you tell him you have ‘you know, a normal bike…’.  Yep, my comfort zone is basically on another planet.

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Genuinely, I’d much rather run a marathon on Sunday, despite not being marathon fit, because marathons are my comfort zone (did I just say that?!).  I know what’s going to happen in a marathon.  I’ve run strong, I’ve run weak, and I’ve run when I probably shouldn’t have.  I know there will be good times, dark times, painful times, and many times when you have to fight the powerful desire to crumble and quit.  There’s little that could surprise me over the course of running 26.2 miles.  Cycling 100 miles however?  I can’t even comprehend how far that is on 2 wheels.

Honestly, this is the event that I never thought I would do.  I owe a huge amount of thanks to everyone who helped get me to this stage, including the Brutterly’s for helping me get kitted out and showing me the basics, my Dad for being my personal bike mechanic (and repeatedly reminding me how dangerous cycling on the road is in case I forget), and everyone who has ridden with me and boosted my confidence.  So thank you.  Now there’s only one thing left to do.  Or two if you include eating all the carbs tomorrow.

Fingers crossed for magic.  And maybe unicorns. #Ride100

 

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Chasers Thames Path Beer Run

Saturday was the first ever Chasers Thames Path Beer Run.  Saturday I ran nearly 20 miles for the first time in over a year.  Saturday was pretty epic.

Martin (Chasers Beer Run founder, run director, die-hard Chaser, beer enthusiast and shameless short shorts poser) devised a run along the Thames Path, just shy of 13 miles, that involved 11 pub stops.  I mean, he didn’t do anything sensible like reccy the course, so he didn’t know where he was going, but given the day was a stonking success, he’s forgiven!

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A few of us met early for a jaunt over to Richmond parkrun and a hearty Bill’s breakfast to set us up for the day.  Whilst this was fun, I hadn’t quite thought through the bit where I had therefore run 7 miles before the main event…

The vibe was all about being social and having fun (apart fron Kev ‘last one to the bar buys the drinks’ Smith…who may not be invited to the next one), so there were generous time allowances for getting from one pub to the next.  As the day went on though, we started to get closer and closer the the time allowances (or was that just me?!)

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Starting in Richmond, we almost fell at the first hurdle because our opening pub wouldn’t serve us any alcohol without food!  Alas, this is London, and there was another pub just a few metres up the road who welcomed our booze-only custom.  We had a pretty good turnout, the sun was shining and we were all in good spirits.  Martin then gave us a ‘safety briefing’, which was something about drinking water and knowing your limits and…zzzzzz.

Pub 1!

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Bang on schedule we headed off to the next pub, I could already taste smoked salmon and feel the cider swishing around so I devised a new drinking strategy, because I’m sensible like that.  I decided if I alternated between cider and vodka I would be drinking less liquid and reduce the unwelcome ‘swishing’, perfect right?!

On to Pub 2

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At somepoint early into the run we lost Barry who had taken a frantic call to say his girlfriend had potentially gone into labour.  Yep, he let us all down and headed to the hospital.  Sigh.

Sans Barry, we continued on our schedule, running from pub to pub, occassionally losing a Chaser who dared to have something better to do with the rest of their day, and occassionally picking up a Chaser who clearly decided they wouldn’t make it to the end if they started from the beginning.  We had ample time to enjoy a drink (or two) in each pub and it was still sunny.

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As time wore on, day turned to evening, legs turned to jelly, tiredness set in, the miles racked up, and the pubs got busier.  It’s a strange feeling running and drinking, you don’t quite feel drunk, but you definitely don’t feel sober, everything is funny and you’re in a little happy place.

We had news that Barry had become the father of baby girl twins and we all had a toast to the newest little Chasers.   An injured Louise came to to join us on her bike and Emma decided to hop on the back, Martin moved onto the Pimms, Dez and I moved onto the prosecco and Gemma suffered a grazed knee after taking a tumble.

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Finally, we made it to The Ship in Wandsworth.  I’m not going to lie, we got some very odd looks and we were very aware that we smelt like we had been running all day…not sure it was appreciated by the folk who had got all dressed up for a night out. Soz.

For the doubters, Emma and I made it in once piece and in a sensible, coherant state.  So there.

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WHAT a day!

  • 14 hours time on feet
  • 1 x Parkrun
  • 1 x Breakfast
  • 12.8 miles of Thames Path
  • 11 Pubs
  • 1 x portion of fries
  • Several ciders
  • Several vodkas
  • A Prosecco
  • The return of the snakebite and black (not me)
  • 1 x bike (again, not me, I didn’t cheat…)
  • 1 x drunken fall and grazed knee (Gemma)
  • 19.6 miles run in total
  • 2 x new Chasers join the world (congratulations to the baby Valentine twins)
  • The realisation, for the first time in a while, that my body is stronger than I think and the Berlin Marathon is no longer an impossibility

The talented Del Huse also put together this little video of our day out – thanks Del!

Finally, when I asked Martin how he thought the day had gone his response was:

No one’s dead. So we’re all good

Thanks for a fabulous day Rutter, apart from your shorts, you did good 🙂

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Boston: Not yet worthy

So, I went to Boston.  I went to Boston to watch my friends run the Boston Marathon because, unfortunately, I am not quite worthy of my own Boston bib just yet.  Instead, I attempted to console myself by spending £46.11 on the official Boston Athletic Association 5k, to give me full licence to buy the expensive Boston Athletic Association running jacket, because it was the only thing not actually branded with the marathon.  I see how B.A.A make their money…

Bryn, Gaby, Martin, Me and Gemma at the start of the 5k:

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When I didn’t qualify for the race, I didn’t want to go to Boston.  I was grumpy and resentful and sad.  But, as time wore on, I realised that loads of my friends were all going on this amazing trip, all staying in the same house, and were all going to have a great time without me.  I was going to have to add ‘missing out’ to my grumpy, resentful and sad self.  So I changed my mind.

Luckily, our fabulous Phil has some friends in nearby town Newton, with a HUGE house, and there was still space for me!  Together with 11 others, we all went to stay with Joan and Donna for Chasers Marathon Camp.  Our wonderful hosts even came to the airport to pick each of us up!

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The 5k Story

On the Saturday, 5 of us went into Boston to run the 5k.  I’ve never quite seen such a big set up for a 5k but, with 10,000 people running, it was probably necessary!  The route started on Boston Common and took in some of the marathon course, including running over the official marathon finishing line on Boylston Street, before heading back to the common for the 5k finish.

The route was just as crowded with spectators as I would expect for a big marathon and, with a great atmosphere the whole way round, it made me feel like I was part of the marathon weekend.  Much different to the London Marathon, in which the event is just a day, Boston as a city really get behind the marathon and everyone really gets into the spirit for the whole week beforehand.

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Despite the pricey entrance fee for the distance, I loved this race.  You get to run part of the marathon course, a tremendous atmosphere, and a t-shirt and medal, definitely worth a trot round if you’re in Boston!

To top off a lovely sunny morning, on the other side of town Rob was pacing our host Joan to a big 5k PB in a different race and she was over the moon!

Chasers Marathon Camp post 5k: Full Team!

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Temperatures were starting to rise and, by the time Sunday came around, it hit 29 degrees.  Perfect for a cider in the sun, but not so perfect for running 26.2… It could be a warm one.

After Joan and Donna put on a big pasta party on Sunday evening, it was an early night for the runners as they needed to be up disturbingly early considering the 10am start time.  Everyone had left by the time I got up on the Monday but I still had Phil and Sally, who were also spectating, as well as Joan and Donna.  Phil, Joan and I went out for a 5 mile run up Heartbreak Hill (part of the marathon route named so because it comes at mile 20!) and, despite only being 8am it was already very hot.

The Best Support Crew in Boston:

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After watching the start of the race on TV, we all headed down to mile 20 to watch the elites come through.  Joan’s house is only a mile away so we didn’t have to go far.  Unsurprisingly, there were police everywhere, and everyone was in high spirits.  As predicted, it was hot but we took a blanket and a picnic at set up the Chaser banner.

The marathon app was working pretty well so we knew when our guys would be coming through but the heat was clearly getting to people.  We successfully spotted and got a smile from everyone, with Sally getting a surprise hug from marathon-obsessive Rob, and Gemma telling us off for not having any beer waiting for her.  In fact Gemma didn’t really shut up, we practically had to push her up the road to get rid of her so she could finish…

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It was a tough day out there, both the course and the heat took it’s toll on people, but everyone finished in one piece and we even had a PB!

The Strava Socks Story

We all love Strava.  We love Strava segments, Strava challenges and Strava stalking.  So when Strava announced they were giving away socks at a pop-up shop in Boston to anyone who completed their ‘26.2 miles in 10 days challenge’, I was almost as distraught at missing out on Strava socks as I was on Boston Marathon branded gear.  There was no way I’d get those miles in by the time I realised.

Shuffling along quietly behind everyone to said pop-up, I watched with envy as they were all given a pair of special socks.  It was fine.  However, as we left the shop, Bryn (who is never nice to me unless he thinks I’m going to cry) actually gave me his socks!

Just to be clear. These aren’t just socks. They’re STRAVA BOSTON SOCKS. Thanks Bryn 🙂

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Boston was brilliant.  It’s a brilliant event in a brilliant city and I want to go back.  But next time I’ll be running.

So the BQ quest continues. Roll on Berlin.  Oh, didn’t I mention?  I’m now running Berlin in September…  #MarathonLove

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone

They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone and, when it comes to fitness, I can definitely concur.  I’m not sure how much time I had off from running, but I think it was a good 3 months of doing very little, including an entire month off exercise completely, whilst recovering from foot surgery.  If nothing else, I’ve learned that I genuinely had no idea how fit I actually was.

When you constantly surround yourself with people who do more exercise, and more running, and more EVERYTHING, than you do, it’s easy to forget that what you’re doing yourself is actually far from ordinary.  I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t, at the very least, half marathon fit, if not marathon fit, and be able to not only run the distance, but race it in a time that was better than average, even though I was never happy with my time!

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Coming back from an injury that has set me right back to square one has been challenging on many levels.  How exactly do you motivate yourself to do something that has become so difficult and laboured unenjoyable and, quite frankly, hard work?  It’s a bit like dragging yourself to a hardcore tempo session that you know you need to do, but the difference is, there’s no reward.  There’s no reward to sending yourself out on a run that’s not only half the distance than you’re used to, but takes you 90 seconds per mile longer than you’re used to and leaves you more knackered than you’re used to.  No reward, just a lot of AAAARRRGGGGHHHHHHHH.

I’ve had a lot of arguments with myself.

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Undeniably, I’m getting fitter and stronger.  I can feel it.  Especially with the strength work I’ve been doing – Monday nights burning at the Barre in a ballet inspired strength class are becoming my favourite!

While I know I’m still fitter than most, I’m still not ‘me fit’ and I’m not ‘my friends fit’ and that means I still can’t run with them.  That’s right, I can’t play with my friends and I’m miserable about it.  (Fair play to Gemma though, she has offered to run with me but I fear she doesn’t quite know what she’s letting herself in for…)

As I plod on with my slow runs home from work, attempting tempo at Parkrun because I can’t join in at actual tempo, and slowly increasing my mileage, I’ve found a new found awe for my former self.  She was tougher than I thought.  In light of that I thought it was time to set myself a new goal and, being lucky enough to get a place in Great North Run, I thought it would be a good opportunity to finally try and beat my half marathon PB of 01.40.50. Gulp.

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