Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Supporting at a marathon

Along with thousands of other people, I spent much of Sunday lining random streets of London and dashing around on the underground to support at the marathon. This was the third year that I'd been down and now consider myself pretty pro at finding decent spots to watch...here are my tips! 

1. Plan your route in advance. Your runner/s will know the course and it's probably even more important that you do too. London give out guides for supporters at the expo - get one! It'll be busy everywhere on marathon day and having a plan helps.

2. Decide if you want to spot everyone once or one person multiple times. You can't do both unless all your friends happen to run the same pace. This year my husband was running so for me it was all about seeing him as much as possible. That meant I also saw anyone who was quicker than him but no one who was slower than him because as soon as he came through I dashed off to the next place. 

3. If you want a front row spot, get there early. I claimed my first bit of pavement at 9 miles before the race had even started. 
4. Wear comfortable shoes, take layers and pack snacks - it's a long day! 

5. If you don't want to get there early, or for later miles, make friends with the marshals. One drinks station was manned by my club mates which meant a cheeky front row pass just in time for Paula to fly past. 

(Paula having a drink running past the arms of my friends - admit it, it's a great photo...) 

6. Find somewhere to touch out your Oyster card even if the barriers are open & the station staff tell you you don't need to on marathon day. You do & it costs you if you don't. 

7. Cheer and clap everyone, not just your friends, but cheer them extra loudly. 

8. Know that it's all about the runner you're there for but that they will really appreciate your efforts. 

Husband smashed his goal time & ran a huge PB with negative split - I am very proud :-) 

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Losing my identity?

I named my (much neglected) blog 'Branded Runner' because being a runner had become a massive part of my identity. Last year was very focused on running - I ran Brighton Marathon & spent the rest of the year trying (and sometimes even succeeding) to smash out some PBs at 5K and 10K. I saw in 2015 in the now traditional fashion of a 10K race on NYE followed by a double parkrun on NYD. Business as usual for 2015 then? Well, no not quite. A few weeks later I found out I was pregnant. Suddenly running wasn't my priority anymore! 

I was (and still am) delighted to be expecting my first baby but the first few months of pregnancy haven't been as straightforward as I perhaps thought. Physically I have so far got away fairly lightly but the first trimester was marked by exhaustion that meant any thoughts of running were quickly forgotten. I found myself spending my short evenings lying on the sofa rather than doing exercise and if I'm honest that was tough to handle emotionally. I was a runner, so what happened if I wasn't running? I had been so determined to have a healthy, fit pregnancy but I just didn't have the energy. 

It didn't help that we didn't tell anyone our news until we'd had a scan at 12 weeks. I was pretty anxious about the whole thing until we had that scan so it was hard not sharing that with anyone. We also had various running events booked in, including a race weekend to Barcelona, which we still did but I spectated rather than competed. It was tough not being able to be honest about the reason. 

The last month or so has been much better - I'm back parkrunning, albeit much slower than before, which has really helped me feel like myself again. My new target is to get back under 30 minutes - yesterday I was 2 seconds over so there's still hope before I get too massive! 

This might seem like quite a negative post on what is an amazing experience & joyful time, but I felt it was important to be honest. Sometimes, like anything, pregnancy fitness blogs or Instagram accounts can make it seem like everyone else is able to carry on and that can make it hard if your body just needs to adjust to it's massive new task!
Not sure if or how this blog will continue, but at least I can now explain this recent silence ;-)