Chicago Marathon Medal Engraved

And Just Like that…

It’s back to reality with a thud! My focus has been the Chicago Marathon for what feels like an eternity, I don’t think I have thought post Chicago many times.

The running part of my adventure to Chicago didn’t quite go how I would have liked it too. During the end of the training cycle I remember thinking NEVER again, during the marathon I remember thinking NEVER again, after the marathon, I thought NEVER again, that’s it.

So why is it, one-week post-marathon, I have already logged on to the Berlin Marathon website and thought more about the Six-Star Challenge! WTAF

Originally, I thought the London Marathon was going to be my one and only marathon (Read about them here). I just wanted to tick it off my bucket list and that would be that. Then when New York Marathon fitted so well with my 40th Birthday celebrations, I just had to stick my name in that ballot!

New York City has always been on my ‘To-do List’ for as long as I can remember. Surely everyone watches films and falls in love with NYC?? The New York City Marathon was 4 days prior to my 40th birthday, so that became my dream. When I got I got a place and then had a great run in New York, obtaining my marathon PB (Read here), it ignited my passion for marathons again. It also made me think about the Six Star Finish again.

Wow, wow, wow

I put my name in the ballot for both Tokyo and Berlin in 2018 but didn’t get places. So next was Chicago, so what was the harm of adding my name to the ballot for that too. When I got the place, my World Marathon Majors six-star finish was back on!

I feel like running like marathons is like child birth. The pain and turmoil at the time is intense. Then it is all blocked from your head and you think doing it again is a good idea.

I do already have the Manchester Marathon booked for next year (April), but I still keep being drawn to the Berlin Marathon ballot. It closes at the end of October, yet I know currently I don’t have the funds to apply; it’s 125 Euros.

This six-star challenge doesn’t come easy or cheap, but luckily doesn’t have to be finished in a time period. I just now need to find my dream job that will allow me the time off to go to these marathons and pay me the wages so I can afford this crazy adventure!! Not asking much am I??!hehehe

IMG_3577

What would be your ideal event?

I was recently introduced to www.eventbrite.co.uk, a website for finding and planning events. It was then suggested, I could write a blog post on my favourite moments from races and what my ideal race would be. So, if you could run your perfect race, what would it be? It doesn’t have to already be established, we are talking hypothetical here. Some people would love hills, others the mud, and obstacle races; being covered in paint or a night. What distance would it be? I really have no idea.

If I pick out some of my favourite race moments, this may help me design a perfect race for me. My first ever half marathon, was the Royal Park Half Marathon, and I LOVED it. There is something special to me about running in London. Running along the Embankment, looking at the River Thames, the London Eye, Big Ben and all the amazing architecture and history in the buildings, is something quite special. I don’t think you could ever beat running in front of Buckingham Palace too.

But the other great thing about RPH, is that after running through the hassle and bustle of a big City, you turn into the tranquil Hyde Park and run in the beautiful park.

IMG_3577

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will already know about my love of running in London from my participation in three London Marathons! You could think that by the 3rd time, the excitement of seeing all the famous landmarks might have diminished, but this just isn’t the case. I never tire of the noise and excitement around Cutty Sark, and the butterflies you get as you run across Tower Bridge.

During my first marathon, Tower Bridge seemed to appear out of nowhere and I don’t think it really sunk in  until after I had crossed it. I think I probably crossed it with the largest grin on my face and was slightly dazed too. The second year, I was struggling with injury and didn’t really soak up the atmosphere as I was concentrating too hard on my injury! This year, I knew it was coming, I was running strongly and I tried to inhale the atmosphere. I looked around at the cheering crowds, I listened to their shouts, tried to read some banners, it was amazing. I still think I ran across it with the hugest of grins.

I have also been lucky enough to cycle across Tower Bridge, when I took part in the Nightrider Event and it really is just so special.

Nightrider 2013

Nightrider 2013

So back to my ideal race, looking at the above I think it would have to include some famous landmarks. Not necessarily in London, but who wouldn’t want to run across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, past the Eiffel Tower, through Times Square, past the Disney Castle in Disneyland. It would have to be flat too, a chance of getting a PB always helps. It would also have to be well supported, as the crowds really help make an event. The calling of your name, the signs they post that put a smile on your face.

It looks as though my dream races have already been established, but if you had a blank canvas, what would yours be? Comment below and let me know.

IMG_9366

10 things I Love about the London Marathon

Having never run any other marathon, other than London, here are my 10 things I love about the London Marathon, although I am sure some of these would apply to any marathon experience.

  1. The Hype

London is special and the hype in the lead up to the event is amazing. The butterflies certainly set in, the first time the BBC plays their London Marathon advert. Social media goes mad with marathon tips, supporters tips, facts about the marathon and the general buzz is awesome.

2. The Expo

You have to collect your number prior to the race, and I LOVE the expo. (Read here) All the big running brands are there, lots have competitions for you to get involved with and win prizes. Virgin money has a section which is always a lot of fun, with lots of photo opportunities. I am like a kid in a candy shop at the Expo!

IMG_9366

3. The organisation

This is always spot on! You have all the information about the race about a month before, and on the day, from the moment you get off the train, there are people to help you and guide you to the start. Once in the starting pens, baggage are excellent and even toilet queues were not bad this year. At the end collecting bags and receiving the medal is always hassle-free.

4. Running a marathon changes your life.

I dare you to train for a marathon and not have it change you life”  is what Susan Sidoriak said and this is so true. It’s not just the grit and determination you need on the day, but the ability to train for one, to start one is pretty impressive. A marathon makes you realise how strong you are, and that you CAN achieve things that you originally thought were impossible.

5. The route

I have always loved London, ever since I went as a kid, and running it is always exciting. The sites are incredible; Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, The Tower of London, The Embankment, The London Eye, Big Ben, and then finally Buckingham Palace, what is there not to love!

6. The Crowds

The crowd support is immense. The constant cheering, the calling of your name, the music, the jelly babies offered, the banners made. The crowds are just epic.

FullSizeRender 10

Photo from @littlerunnergal

7. The Volunteers

As I mentioned earlier, there are so many volunteers and they are so supportive. They cheer you on, they hold you up, they help you wrap up at the end; they make everything easy for you. As you approach baggage after the race, they have already located you bag, and hand it to you with a smile on their face and a congratulations. Thank you volunteers.

8. The Community

The marathon brings out the best in people. You read the amazing stories of people running, and the money raised for charity is phenomenal. Everyone supports each other around the course, and congratulates each other at the end. You run with people you have never met before, and you probably with never see again, but they experience a life changing experience with you.

9. The Costumes

Running a marathon is hard, so how people do it in costumes I do not know. I am in awe. It always makes me laugh too, when I am slowing down, and I get over taken by a man carrying a boat, or a rhino!

IMG_9413

IMG_9414

IMG_9415

10. The Medal

It is such a nice feeling having the medal put around your neck: For a short moment that can be your Olympic moment that your dreamt about when you were younger!

FullSizeRender 11

Comment below and let me know your top things about running a marathon (It doesn’t have to be London)

IMG_9392

London Marathon 2016 – I love this race!

I always look forward to writing this post, and then sit down to re-live the day and find it so hard. There are just NO words to describe running the London Marathon. It’s the marathon of all marathons (how can I say that, when I have only ever run London???) but I know it’s the one all runners want to experience at least once and I think it’s amazing!

I was slightly nervous this year, as last year had been so bad, I felt this was make or break in terms of whether I liked marathons and if I would want to do more!??! I had written my bronze, silver and gold goals here, but in all of them I had put the most important thing, was to enjoy it. Last year, I was so negative and felt so bad for not enjoying it; There were thousands of people who would have loved to have swapped places with me.

This year, I was enjoying it regardless, and this started well, by having the most amazing time at the expo. I decided to stay over in London the night before and that in itself was a comedy of errors! I couldn’t find the hotel even though Siri was directing me, I ended up ordering a Uber taxi to be driven about 200m! My porridge exploded in the hotel microwave in the morning; I had planned the journey from the hotel numerous times before the day and the estimated time had always said 21 minutes, well that was until I checked it one final time on the morning of the marathon. It now read 51 minutes, cue panic stations! Yep, you guessed it, it took 21 minutes and I was there nice and early!

IMG_9392

Norma No Mates!

IMG_9389

Taken an extra poncho in Cardiff came in handy!

We had sorted to meet members of #TeamMND prior to the start for a team photo. Meeting meant that we could all support each other, offer last-minute advice and reassurance. It also meant I got to experience the start with people, which always makes it much more fun. I made my way to the red start with Rob, Chris and Alex; this was all new territory for me, as I have always been blue start in previous years.

IMG_9429

I think the man behind may think I smell!!!!

IMG_9431

#TeamMND

IMG_9407

#TeamMND

IMG_9411

The Red Start is HUGE. The organisation is, as always, spot on and the bag drop and toilet visit was really quick and easy. I was in pen 9, which felt like it was right at the back, so I did try to weave myself forward a little. I loved all the costumes, and took the opportunity to take some selfies!

IMG_9403

The closest I’ll ever get to a 3:15 pacer! I think I was supposed to be looking tired, instead I look like I’m saluting them!

IMG_9415

How good is this Paddington Bear!

IMG_9413

This guy could not see out the front!!!!

IMG_9414

It took 25 minutes to get to cross the start line, and then we were off. The first 3 miles was unfamiliar to me, and I was surprised how much quieter the route is compared to blue, and it was a bit hilly. I didn’t remember blue being hilly? I tried desperately to start slowly and be sensible, but I still went off a little too fast. It was quite difficult to pace, as it was busy and I seemed to be with a slower paced group, so I think I weaved a little and picked up the speed too much once I saw a gap!

At mile 3, when we joined with the green and blue start, I was surprised at how few people there was on the other side of the road. I then remembered the head start that they had had, I’m sure at the back of blue start still only took about 10 minutes to get over the start line.

Around 3 miles, I also realised that I was going too fast, so made more of a conscious effort to slow my pace. I started chatting to anyone and everyone around me. I was loving running this event again! I remember saying to another runners, I must look stupid, I just can’t stop smiling! I was running comfortably and looking forward to Cutty Sark.

The noise and route around Cutty Sark is unbelievable – the crowds are 4/5 people deep, and the name shouts and support is awesome. I didn’t think it was possible, but my smile grew even more!

After Cutty Sark, I looked forward to Tower Bridge, but was surprised to hear and see members of my running club through this section. I can’t quite describe the boost it gives you to see friends!

Thanks Andy for this picture, I think it shows just how much I was enjoying this event.

Thanks Andy for this picture, I think it shows just how much I was enjoying running.

I spotted an MNDA runner and started to chat to her just before Tower Bridge, I had spoken to so many MNDA runners, but I knew that we were approaching Tower Bridge, so we stuck together and experienced it together. Tower Bridge, you are special!

As you exit Tower Bridge, you come to the section where the speedies are on the other side, about 10 miles ahead of you! I love watching them and shouting encouragement. I almost forget that I am running too!

My next focus was Mile 19, as I knew the Run Mummy Run support crew where there. I was starting to feel tired, by now, so loved the hug that I received from the group, they really boosted me to keep going.

Mile 21 is always special too. The MNDA cheer point is there, but before that Run Dem Crew support there too, so it is always very noisy and encouraging.

By mile 22, I was starting to slow. My legs were heavy and I thought about walking. At the expo, I had picked up a band that said ‘Tomorrow I will have no regrets’ and I kept repeating this to myself. I reasoned with myself that I could only walk through the tunnel just before mile 24 if I needed too. I picked up Lucozade just before the tunnel, so decided I needed to walk and take on some drink, I stretched a bit too, as my quads were sore.

As soon as I exited the tunnel, I started running again, well shuffling is probably a better description. I knew I was soon to be seeing my husband and daughter and I didn’t want them to see me walking! Trying to spot them in the crowd between 24 and 25 really took my mind off how much my legs wanted to stop. When I spotted them I felt the emotion come and the kiss from my daughter gave me the boost that I needed to get to the finish. When I turned at Big Ben, the 4:45 pacers edge ahead of me. I repeated ‘No regrets’, and with that I picked up the pace to ensure that I finished ahead of them. Another MNDA runner, Adam, was walking and we only had about 1KM to go, so I encouraged him and we ran the last section together. Every time I cross the finish line, I expect floods of tears, but they don’t come and this time was no different. I was just so relieved to have finished and even though it was tough, I had loved it.

As I walked towards baggage and tried to process what I had just done, I spotted John Major. I did a double take as no-one else around had really noticed and he waved! Rather bizarre!

IMG_9417

I wonder if John Major will be putting his name in the ballot for next year?

I am happy to report that I hit my Gold target,sub 4:45 and to enjoyed it. I actually finished in a time of 4:42:26, a 15 minute PB and I LOVED IT! 

London Marathon bling

I will certainly be putting my name in the ballot on the 2nd May! Anyone else?

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 21.20.13

MNDA: The Truth about this awful disease #9

To donate: www.virginmoneygiving.com/ruthwebb10

What are the chances?

I used to think that MND was a rare disease. That’s what we were told when my dad was diagnosed, and I remember often thinking, why him? I remember getting angry, why did he have to have the disease where he didn’t have a chance to fight!

I recently emailed my fundraising link to my work colleagues, and soon found out that within my office of 9 of use, 3 have been directly affected by MND. Within my whole school, another member of staff has lost their mum to MND. It then got me thinking, how rare is it? My husband’s best friend died of MND, my sister’s friends dad died of MND. I wrote on the RunMND page about this, and was told about how another lady worked with 10 people in her team and out of the team 6 of them had a link to MND.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 21.20.13

The stats are scary, and worse still is the fact that THERE IS NO CURE!

To donate: www.virginmoneygiving.com/ruthwebb10

Dad

The amazing things to know this week #Fridayfinds

Wow, how can it be the last Friday before London already?? So, here are my 3 finds from this week. Enjoy.

London Marathon Route

If you are running London this weekend, firstly good luck, and secondly take a look at the route 😀

Watching the London Marathon

I think spectating is a tough job too, so I liked this blog post this week.

http://helsbels.org.uk/how-to-spectate-at-the-london-marathon-with-kids/

Raising funds for MNDA

Well, if I can’t be cheeky today…..:-) my final link for this week is to my Virgin money giving page. Every run I do, is with my dad in my thoughts and Sunday will be no different. So if you can spare a few pennies, my link is here. www.virginmoneygiving.com/ruthwebb10

Dad

Very London based this week! Crazy to think that when I write next weeks Fridayfinds it will all be over!!! See you on the other side!