Chicago Marathon Medal Engraved

What happens now, post-Chicago Marathon?

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.

Chicago marathon & 5k medals

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.

WMM Six Star Finisher's Medal
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.

London Marathon Expo

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

10 things I Love about the London Marathon

10 things I love about the London Marathon

Having never run any other marathon, other than London, here are the 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. VirginMoney 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!

Ruth London Expo 2016

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 is 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 your 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.

RunMND supporting London Marathon

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 your bag, and hand it to you with a smile on their face and 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 overtaken by a man carrying a boat, or a rhino!

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!

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

Cardiff Half Marathon Race T-Shirt & Medal

IAAF Cardiff University World Half Marathon Championships.

When it was announced that there was a masses race on as part of the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff, I signed up quickly. Who doesn’t want to run in the World Championships!!?? So, here’s what I thought about them:

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Date: Saturday 26th March 2016. When I originally booked this race, I didn’t actually realise it was Easter weekend, and I know I wasn’t the only one that kept thinking it was on the Sunday! It’s seems weird running on a Saturday!

Time: 2:10pm. Most races take place in the morning, so I felt a little bit lost all morning. I kept worrying I had got the time wrong and was missing it all. I always find it difficult to know what to eat when it is a later start too. I had breakfast, but then only managed to have a banana an hour before we started, which was not ideal.

Weather: Hideous! The day before had been gorgeous, but #StormKatie decided that she wanted in on the World Championships too. The rain started at the same time as the women’s race! The sideways rain, hail and gale force winds really kicked in just after mile 4 for me, which was just as I was going across the Cardiff Bay barrage, so we were totally exposed and it hurt when it hit my face. The wind was pushing me sideways and it was hard work!

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Course: The course was fairly flat, and mostly on tarmac. The short sharp hill just after mile 12 was a bit of a shock, but the downhill stretch between mile 11 and 12 was a welcome break. I think the course would have been really pretty had the weather been better. The start had the Cardiff castle as a back drop, the lovely Cardiff Bay area, running past the Millennium Centre and finishing around lakeside would have been lovely on a sunny day! There were water stations every 3 miles, they did get crowded, and I’m sure that I saw some stations were handing out High 5 gels, but I didn’t use any of these as I had my torq gels.

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My race: I felt quite nervous about this race, as Silverstone had felt so hard and I hadn’t really enjoyed it. I had enjoyed my 20 mile run the following week though, so really didn’t know what to expect from this one. It is becoming tradition to not sleep well the night before and this was no exception. I had thought with the late start, I could have enjoyed a lay in too – no such luck. Before the race, my race plan was to run a lot of the race at marathon pace, so I was thinking around 10:20 – 10:30 pace. When I clocked the first mile at 9:42, I could feel myself getting annoyed and I tried to slow down, yet still clocked a 9:42 for the 2nd mile too! My lack of pacing was stressing me, so I decided to stop looking at my watch, and then when the horrendous weather started at mile 4, I just wanted to get the race over and done with, so all pacing went out the window. Every inch of me was soaked through, and my wet trainers did make me feel as though I lifting weights with every step. Around mile 9, I had a little dark patch, where I just wanted it to be over, but the support around Lakeside was amazing and really kept me going. Considering the weather, the volunteers and roadside support was amazing. My name was shouted so many times, and there was music being played, people offering jelly babies etc. The final stretch was quite crowded, but I still managed to up my speed to cross the line. After finishing we were given our medal, t-shirt, water, High 5 Gel and a banana.  I finished in 2:08: 32, which is what it is. I’m not really happy or disappointed with it.

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Lesson learned: I really need to learn my marathon pace. Starting too quickly at London will be a disaster. Also, I think I need to take a packed lunch with me, as I am sure I would have performed better had I got my nutrition better pre race.

Pros

  • I took part in the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!!
  • Flat course.
  • Amazing support and event organisation.
  • Lovely medal and T-shirt.

Cons

  • Weather – I know the event organisers can’t do anything about this, but …
  • Start time – I know this was probably because of tv broadcasting across the globe, but I personally find an afternoon start difficult.
  • Expensive race photos.

As always I ran in my MNDA vest, raising awareness and running for my dad.

If you would like to donate funds to support MNDA you can do here: www.virginmoneygiving.com/ruthwebb10

Anyone else run in Cardiff? Also, what do you think of my new race recap layout? Have a missed any information that you would like adding? Please comment below and let me know what you think.

#VMLM2016 training – Week 11

Monday – I went to club and my group were doing mile reps! My legs told me, I was NOT doing mile reps, so I joined the group below and chatted my way around a recovery run. My legs were tired and at times this run felt hard, and I was averaging 11:45 pace! I completed 3.5 miles and it was just what I needed.

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – 10 miles. I met 2 of the ladies from club to complete our usually 5 mile loop. My legs still felt quite heavy, and about 2 miles in I thought I was going to be lucky to make it to 10! For my second 5 miles, I was running with one of the men from club, and during mile 3 I was really worried that I was going to slow him down too much and struggle. Then, just after 5 mile mark, my legs seemed to switch on. It was as though they had warmed up and realised that they needed to run. The second 5 miles was really nice; we picked up the pace and I actually felt quite comfortable. The route finished almost right outside my house, yet I felt I could have kept going easily!

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Thursday – 400 reps. Everyone at club was pushing the pace, but our coach suggested myself and a few others that were racing this weekend, should just jog the reps. We ended up running for around 2/3 minutes and resting for the same amount of time. Even though I was running very easy, my shoulders were very tight. I was told to run, imaging that I was holding a crisp between my thumb and finger, that I was not to break. As soon as I adopted this position, my shoulders did relax, so I need to remember this.

Friday – Sports massage – I was lucky to get an extra appointment in this morning, to work on my shoulders, ready for tomorrow!

Saturday – 20 MILES! My amazing team mates at club helped me organise a route, and then come out to run with me. It was a bit of a tag team. I ran 5.5 miles with Rachel and Tracie, then 0.5 of a mile on my own, to meet Sam, Keith and Andy. They then took me on their normal 10 mile route, which was a little undulating, but I felt pretty strong throughout, and the hills that had previously annoyed me on this route, didn’t feel too bad. Finally, Tina met me to run my last 4 miles. It was amazing, they were all so supportive, all could have run much quicker than I was running, but stuck with my pace to help me. I had planned to run around 10:30 pace, but I ended up averaging a 10:21 pace. The only negative was that when my watch flashed up 20 miles, I stopped and saved it straight away. I don’t usually do this, but for some reason, I was worried that I would delete it. Once it was saved, I noticed the watch said 19.9 miles!! WHAT….. As I had saved it, I couldn’t just add it on the last 0.1 of a mile!!

Sunday – Rest day – although I have to report that I am so surprised how good my legs feel today, I think the football my daughter made me play yesterday afternoon, and the game of tag this morning, really helped my legs recover! Let’s see how they are tomorrow!

This time in FIVE weeks it will all be over!!!! I can’t believe how close it is!

Tribesports

For regular readers of this blog, you will know I am a fan of Tribesports kit. Last year, they generously donated a £50 voucher for me to raffle, to help raise funds for MNDA.

I first came across their kit, when they were link to Marathon Talk Jantastic programme. Katie and myself used to rival each other all the way through the programme, so when I needed to buy her a present, it was a no brainer to buy her a Jantastic top.

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Katie modelling her new top, and I managed to catch her with flying feet 🙂

I was very impressed with the quality of the top, and it was not long after I bought a couple of their long sleeve running tops, and to be honest, I have pretty much lived in them all winter. The are lightweight, comfortable, long and warm. They also come in some really pretty colours too!

They are now involved with the Parkrun community, and I know it’s not going to be long before I purchase one of their Parkrun t-shirts; you can even have them personalised to your home park run!

So, why am I telling you all this? They recently sent me a referral code through, so if anyone is looking for new kit and have not shopped at Tribesports before, you can get 20% off your first order and I get £10 gifted to me for introducing a new customer. Please feel free to share and happy shopping.
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Rula Runs is now on Facebook :-)

So, I’ve finally got round to setting up a Facebook page for this blog. It just means I can keep everyone updated a little bit quicker,  if I don’t have a time to write a full blog post. Also, I think it might save my none running friends on FB, from all my running posts!

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So, if you have a Facebook account and want to follow, click the like button, and please feel free to share. As I was told recently, ‘sharing is caring 😉