Tuesday, 31 May 2016


My blog a little like my running has been a little neglected in the early part of this year. Stress at home has been a major factor and sometimes other stuff comes first, I was running but it was unfocused, plodding with the dog to keep me sane and help me get through a tough few months. Happy to say things are improving all the time and although this blog has never been about my personal life on this occasion will just briefly mention that both my sons have suffered to some degree with mental health problems. My elder son in a big way ending with a suicide attempt and a week on the psychiatric ward, scary times, but medication is now working and he is improving day by day and learning to live with his condition. I am fundraising for Mind, trying to raise awareness and talking about it lots as still too much stigma around mental health. 


So back to the running...

I needed a focus for the year, something to get excited about, and I found the Robin Hood 100 in September. A new 100 mile race, marked trail, undulating but not too hilly, ideal for first time 100 or a fast race so it said. It was perfect, right time of year so I signed up. 
http://hobopace.com/robin-hood-100/   Link is here if you're interested!
Excited yes but it didn't kick start me into training harder, I was struggling to do a sub 30 parkrun and generally feeling unfit! 
As stresses began to reduce and I had more time and energy to think about me I made a plan...
I overhauled my diet and have been eating low carb, high fat for two months and feeling much better for it and a month ago I contacted Lindley at http://www.challenge-running.co.uk/ and asked him to write me a four month plan to get me ready for the race. I was back and ready to start training properly! The plan came and though August looks scary I am enjoying the structure and focus again!

I had signed up late to Halstead Marathon, was not in road marathon running shape but it was sister's first marathon and a marathon I love so thought it would be some miles under the belt. It turned out to be the hottest day of the year and though I was feeling good finished in 5:13 which I think is my slowest out of 6 Halstead marathons. It was definitely the hottest race I can remember doing but as always the support was fantastic and I had a thoroughly enjoyable day, practiced fueling without sugar and felt mentally strong, so was a real confidence boost at the beginning of my new training plan.
Proud of my big sister finishing her first, very hot, marathon!

The next weekend I had booked Bury to Clare Challenge an 18 mile off road race, the training plan said aim for 3.5 to 4 hours, I was feeling great and wanted to be closer to 3.5. I was running with my partner in crime Richard, and though he isn't into structured training plans, is still happy to come and run with me! It was a great race, again a little warm but great checkpoints and runnable trails, it was slightly over 18 miles and we finished in 3:31 which I was more than happy with. Definitely a race I will do again and another tick in the confidence, maybe I haven't lost as much fitness as I thought box! 
Rich and I at finish of Bury to Clare
So after an iffy start to the year, I am feeling great, the new healthy eating lifestyle is working for me, training is on track (apart from a missed run Sunday after being wiped out by a 24hr bug!) and I am feeling good about my running and am happy I will remain focused to train hard to finally get a 100 mile finish in September. I will be running Stour Valley Marathon on Sunday, my third time but first time it won't be part of a back to back weekend, so hoping to push a bit harder and get a decent time.

I have been inspired and excited this weekend following GUCR and the new Monarchs Way Ultra, just 615 miles! So many epic races out there, so much more to do...

If I have learnt anything in the first few months of this year it's although I can support, help, and do practical things for my children (though at 21, 19 and 18 not really children) I can't stop bad things happening and I can't always fix things, as much as I wish I could. What I can do is look after myself, stay strong and remember that by carrying on with my own dreams and ambitions I am not making things worse or letting them down. Running is my space, my release and time for me, without it and my dreams to be at the start line of those epic races I am not the person I want to be...

Happy running all xx

1 comment:

  1. Amazing stuff Nicki, so much positivity and strength.