London Winter Run 2018 (Part 1)

First let me say how much I love this race.

It is organised well and it’s obviously for an incredible cause.

It is also where I first met up with other runners from Instagram, in 2017. I had been active on the gram for around 7 months at this point and still working it all out. I had a message from Becca (@redfaced_runner) saying I was very welcome to come and hang out with her and a group of runners before the race.

I was so excited to have been included in a gang of people, who, as it turns out, had only really just met each other a couple of months previous to that.

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I met Becca (@redfaced_runner), Ian (@ianrunsldn) – who weirdly knows my brother from YEARS ago, James (shoulder_runner), Shellie (@shellie0055), Soph (@soph.dxb), Amy-Lou (@to5kandbeyond), Kieron (@anxious_to_ultra), and Mr Tommy Barber (@barbertronruns) who made me feel so welcome and part of the group. Happy one year anniversary you lot!

Last year I thoroughly enjoyed myself, so I rebooked for this year – promptly after seeing what the medal was like… (oh my gosh, spinning sparkly snowflake centre? YES PLEASE!)

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I rocked up to Trafalgar square, after parking in Vauxhall, and jogging in 2 miles for a warm up (I had 11 miles on the marathon plan so I was squeezing them in around the race too) – to be greeted by a squealing Becca with THAT sign, now famous in races all around the land, and the most wonderful hug. LOVE THAT WOMAN. Why we still do not have a picture together though, is nothing short of ridiculous…

We were then joined by Martha and Kev, who i’d met at the Beachy Head 10k/Marathon after (s)talking on ig. Kev then channelled his inner femininity after Becca donated her bib to him.

We popped in to the cafe and were greeted by a million other runners and grammers, some who I knew and some I needed to meet!

Can’t remember all but it was lovely to briefly see Amy-Lou (@to5kandbeyond), to FINALLY meet Jim (@jimgandon26.2), Derrick (@derrickgoesrunning – who I met last month at the first Scrambled Legs and Bacon run, in Kent), Ian, Georgina (@fitcetera), Lizzie (@lillybet.runs.alot) who I ADORE, Laura (@laurajbrine) and probably loads others, sorry.

Martha, Kev and I left the cafe for bag drop, and were joined by a new friend, Suzie (@suzieliveshealthy). We dropped bags, and made our way to the snowmen, which was a BIG deal for Martha as she hates any type of mask… but she sucked it up and we took this epic picture…

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There were some warm ups, and then the coloured waves were asked to walk round to the starting line, where there were foam snow cannons and people dressed as penguins and stuff like that…

We jumped about, trying to stay warm, feeling eager to get on with it and get some blood moving around our freezing bodies. The other three stuck together, but I was on a pb mission, so I was ready to get going. Waiting made me feel more nervous about doing it…

One amazing thing about Cancer Research is that it humbles you, and reminds you why people are there. There are many (myself included) who would be doing this race just for training/medal/fun but not necessarily raising money for CRUK, or indeed MIGHT not give much thought to the reason behind an event like this with all the excitement and grandeur that a race this size brings.

So, at the start when everyone is lined up, I love that they bring everyones attention to those who have fundraised, those who know someone battling cancer (pretty much all arms in the air) and those who were racing who are battling cancer right NOW.

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We were ready to go, all that was left was the 3,2,1…

 

(continued)

 

Run Up To Christmas

In my past experience of running, I would always have stopped come November. It got too cold, too wet, too windy… I was the epitome of a fair weather runner. But November 2016, something felt different. Like I could stick it out. But I needed a challenge.

I found out about the ‘Marcothon’, a run every day challenge throughout December, with the only rules that whether slow or fast, it HAD to be 3 miles or 25 mins, whatever came first. If you missed a day, you’re out. Well to me that’s a challenge and I LOVE to compete with myself so it was a brilliant incentive to keep pushing through December.

Turns out, December is actually a bloody awesome month to run in. I was treated with gorgeous orange sunrises and sunsets, crisp air and peaceful sunny but icy runs.

I. LOVED. IT! I even got a 5k and 1 mile p.b on Christmas Day!

Fast forward to November 2017, and I found myself looking to do the same sort of challenge. When who should come along but Clare and Kev. After a huge success in the summer with ‘Marathon in a day’, a challenge where runners were asked to cover the whole 26.2, however they wanted to break it down, over a 24 hour period. Part of the proceeds went to Mind, which is a charity very close to my heart.

Read more about it HERE

Sadly I missed the boat for this one as I had other commitments, but as soon as they announced they were doing another virtual challenge, I was all in.

I knew I wanted to use Run Up To Christmas to push me on, and having completed 120 miles the previous December, that was my target to beat. I took great motivation from my friend Katie Ekins, who decided to go for the highest target, 250k, from 1st-25th December. I decided i’d give it a go, knowing it was an average of 6 miles a day…

I had a massive mileage base though, having completed a lot of distance runs throughout 2017, I figured i’d go for it and see where we got to. I could always drop to the 150, 100, 50k goals if it went tits up.

December looked so different this year. I was running further, better, stronger, and best of all, with friends. Instagram has made me so many friendships through running, and although most don’t live close by, once you’ve run an ultra with someone, they’re in your life forever…

I ran with dogs, I ran 20 miles in thick mist, I ran my 1000th mile for the year, I ran up and down the South Downs with new friends, I ran Parkrun and a 10 mile race with my favourite running couple and I took a whole load of selfies and watch shots to boot.

I completed the 250k on the 24th December.

I ended up rounding my miles up to 185, the furthest monthly miles i’ve ever done. I had my highest weekly mileage too, something between 50-55 miles. And the best part… I didn’t injure myself!

I’ve already signed up for 2018. And if you get on it quick, you can pay last year’s prices still. You get a kick-ass medal, with a ribbon corresponding to your distance, oh AND people can donate km’s they’ve run, to you, if you don’t quite meet your goal. Isn’t that incredible?

If you find it hard to stay inspired through the winter, find a challenge (there are plenty around) – RU2C is a safe bet, it donates to Mind, and we all know how much running helps the mind, right?

 

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