I DID IT!!! – and some thoughts…

London Marathon, Running, Sport

As a short disclaimer before you read the rest of the article. Since Sunday I’ve become aware of some horrendous stories about the back of the pack. Apart from my XS t-shirt I didn’t experience a lot of what has been shared. On Sunday I saw no sweeper vehicle, but as I write below I’ve chosen not to focus on the issues. This isn’t through lack of caring – more a case of not wanting people to forget the reason they started this. They say before a marathon you’re racing yourself and I think even after the marathon it’s important to keep in mind. I will be putting a post together on those issues in the coming days. 

I am a London Marathon 2019 finisher….

How cool is that???!

The London Marathon is one of the world’s most famed marathons, through the streets of the capital about 40,000 people take to the streets ton conquer the dreaded 26.2 miles. On Sunday I completed the long long…longgggggg trek through London in a snails pace – but equally perfectly fab pace of 7 hours 12. I completed the first half pretty much on track for 6 hrs 15 but various reasons meant I fell a little off the pace.

They say every marathon has a journey – and I reckon mine began back in 2016 when I did my first half marathon in my first year at uni. Back then I was 2, maybe 3 stone heavier – with a ridiculous obsession for chocolate. I’d just come out of school which was a total mixed bag – not bad but by no means an incredible experience! Back then, it was all a matter of the simple act of doing something not many people would have assumed to be possible. At the time, 4/5 years post spinal fusion (read about that here!) – it was about proving to the doubters  that hey, I  could do stuff too!

Then if you fast forward to January this year somehow it came around to training for the London Marathon! – of course that has 5 half marathons, a 10 mile and 10k in between! Early mornings – going from Canterbury to Whitstable, along the seafront and back happened quite a few times. I made social decisions, at times, based on whatever my training plan said for the following day. I’ve been able to walk into actual real supermarkets without supplementing everything with chocolate – anddddd even after the marathon I’m still doing that! I AM BORED STIFF OF OATS – but that’s another story! I’ve spent a grand total of 63 hours and 33 minutes running this year – it’s only the 1st May! I’ve gotten through the autobiographies of Mo Farah, Gary Barlow, the Spice Girl’s Mel B, Bryony Gordon’s 4 books, Adam, Hills, John McEnroe and “Trust Me, I’m a (Junior) doctor” by Max Pemberton. I can only thank the authors of those audible books for their entertainment!!!

Essentially – the London Marathon has revolutionised me. I’m confident in the fact it doesn’t have to be quick, and slow IS fine. I look at these photos and I’m amazed at the fact I actually look like I’m meant to be there and haven’t just randomly arrived in London to see what the heck’s happening!

The marathon is so much more than the day itself. I might have significant bruises on my knees, the worst blisters on my feet but I got there. I  RAN THE LONDON MARATHON. If you came to support on Sunday – from the streets of Greenwich to the crowds on Tower Bridge its a huge showing on the best of humanity. The kids you high 5, to the sweets given out on course, the music, the cheers and encouragement.

London, you were incredible!

Of course this was all for two amazing charities, The Youth Sport Trust and Make a Wish UK. You can still donate here: https://claire-nicholson.com/2019/05/01/i-did-it-and-some-thoughts/

img_4433

Week 8 – Inner Power and Serious Hunger! | VMLM 2019

London Marathon, Running, Sport

Woahhh, where do I start? Somehow, the kid who never, ever, ever got picked for anything remotely physical is now running a solid 3 miles before 9am lectures and is pretty much running over 20 miles a week. “Running” is the slight flexible term in that sentence, but hey, I define “running” as the art of moving forward at a pace quicker than walking, right?? 🙂

So apart from a tonne of determination, I have no idea how I’ve ended up on week 8 of the 17 week training plan, having followed each day to the letter! It’s been completely crazy so far – but I love crazy! Strangely as time has progressed, I’ve become more motivated for the rest of it, despite the sore legs!

I’ve now just gone over the 100 mile mark for 2019, last year I didn’t manage that one until October/November last year! I’m nearly at 100 km run for February and yesterday I ran 16.6 miles. That was through running from Canterbury to Whitstable and back! Even just typing that sentence sounds completely crazy! One thing which really amazed me was the fact (and this sentence is about to sound even more crazy), I was alive the day after too! I also felt more alive than I did after half marathons before too!

I think that simple fact is a mark itself of my progress, I couldn’t really even contemplate a distance longer than a half marathon before this began. It pretty much felt like a void of darkness that no human (and least of all me!) could go beyond, now I only have 10 miles (gulp!) to add onto yesterday’s distance!

Now the serious miles start with rapidly increasing figures, that in itself is a tad scary but one thing I know I have is endurance! Strangely, the hardest thing with the training so far has been navigating the routes! I have an incredibly bad sense of direction, coupled with the desire to not end up in a random field or down the A2 – so longer routes need meticulous planning!

Another one of these marathon challenges I’ve found has to be in the nutrition. I’m a total foodie at heart and a lot of the time I’ve found myself with almost unbearable hunger. So this week and onwards I’m planning on massively increasing my protein intake in an effort to banish the hunger!

So the plan for next week is to continue on with the plan, as the miles increase I’m going to try an experiment! I’m planning on swapping my long run day to a Thursday or Friday to help manage uni work and the weekends – we’ll see how that one pans out!

Bring on April!

Would you like to support my fundraising for the London Marathon? I’m raising money for the Youth Sports Trust and Make a Wish UK. Donate here. I really appreciate any donations of whatever size! If you’re unable to donate, then please share my donation link – thank you so much for your support!

Week 4 – Anyone can do this! | #VMLM2019

London Marathon, Running, Sport

The more I progress through my training for the London Marathon, the more I realise – and I get the fact this sounds a bit cheesy but it’s basically an art of falling in love with the act of moving forward. One foot in front of the other and you’ll get their eventually!

This couldn’t have been more true during the longest of long runs so far on this training plan – the Canterbury 10 mile Road Race. Pace wise, I managed to beat my target time by quite a distance and didn’t get hypothermia despite the bitterly cold winds!

One of the charities I’m doing this for is the amazing Youth Sport Trust. They’re all about improving the lives of youngsters through the power of sport. Right now, I seem to be learning the very lesson they’re preaching. If you’ve been reading my weekly blogs before now, you’ll know that at times, I’m incredibly insecure about my pace. I’ve been trying to think about why that might be the case. The only thing I can really think of is that it’s a mixture between imposter syndrome and one particular instance at school. This came about 6 months after my back operation and we were on a limited place trip to Italy. One day’s excursion was to climb Mount Vesuvius, yet there was a couple of people who said I shouldn’t have gone on that trip just because I would have been slow and therefore the place would have been better suited to other people. As a total side note, I was last, but I climbed it 🙂

I’ve done 4 half marathons and during Sunday’s race, I learned a lesson I’ve never been taught in quite the same way before. Pace is irrelevant. I’ve said this before, that everyone is a runner if you run – and I might, just might, be starting to believe it!

During the race, I met some incredibly lovely people. People who, quite honestly, couldn’t give a monkeys about my pace. These were people who I ran with and we could each give each other mutual encouragement – it’s amazing what that did to my pace! A special shout out has to go to an older guy who’d previously run 5 marathons and was busy rescuing the earthworms of Canterbury in the process!

So overall, this week has been exhausting running wise – so exhausting in fact, Strava keeps telling me to slow down! I’ve done 50 miles so far in 2019! But there’s so much to celebrate this week. I’ve finished a full month of marathon training, I’m still here and still smiling!

Would you like to support my fundraising for the London Marathon? I’m raising money for the Youth Sports Trust and Make a Wish UK. Donate here. I really appreciate any donations of whatever size! If you’re unable to donate, then please share my donation link – thank you so much for your support!

 

 

 

 

Andy Murray – a sporting legend.

Sport

Professional sport takes no prisoners, and Andy Murray is no exception. Andy Murray has hit the news headlines for all the reasons he probably didn’t want to. No, he’s not won a tournament, or a tennis slam – he’s retiring this year, Wimbledon at the latest due to a chronic hip injury.

He now sits outside the world’s top 200 tennis players – a far cry from the glory of Wimbledon 2013 where he finally banished Britain’s 77 year wait for a male champion. Now, the former world number one’s hip has deteriorated to such an extent that he even struggles with putting his socks on.

That’s the story, but I think this should focus on what he’s done for British sport and beyond – and above all, we can’t go back to what it was ‘pre- Andy Murray’. I’ve watched Andy on the court for as long as I can remember, lived and breathed every single point at times. Almost to the extent the neighbours could tell his score just from my reactions – oops! Last summer at the Eastbourne ATP tournament I was lucky enough to see Andy Murray in a practise with Kyle Edmund. I had no idea I would get that opportunity. Now, with this news, it feels somewhat more special knowing this news.

Andy’s glittering career may be drawing to a close but let’s look at what he’s done, and what we can do next to take it forward.  This has been just the start of a golden era for British sport. He’s won three grand slams and a wealth of titles. He was also the first person EVER to defend a tennis singles Olympic Gold. We can’t also forget Andy’s part in the GB Davis Cup win in 2015.

On top of his incredible successes he’s also come so close so many times – a five time runner-up at the Australian Open for example. Personally, I think we can take more from instances like these – the grit, resilience and above all how Andy has carried himself through the incredible highs and shattering lows.

Whether you’re a professional sports person trying to reach the lofty heights of Andy Murray or learning your craft in a different field, we can all learn take a bit of Andy Murray inspiration.

5E62DB2F-D439-4341-B905-3E2118ECBBA1

Andy Murray at the ATP Eastbourne Tennis (2018)