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Marathon Countdown: Day 6

The day is almost here!! This afternoon my running buddy and I will be jumping in her Mini and making our way to Brighton to pick up our race packs.

We’re staying in a hotel tonight, which means we can be up early and focussed for our big run. It also means we get a peaceful evening to contemplate what’s coming and to have a wonder around Brighton sans children!!

As I write, me and the hubby are sitting in bed figuring out the best route for them to spectate. Our dear hubbies are coming up en masse tomorrow in our car (affectionately known as the tank) with the 5 children in tow. (That’ll be interesting!!)

My lovely mum and sister are also coming to cheer us on, so we’ll have a gang of supporters (note to self: must not cry when I see my children/family).

I’ll send you an update when we’ve arrived (and will share my race number with you too).

One more sleep (or maybe not so much sleep – more lying in bed watching the ceiling, waiting for it to be morning).

Saturday’s carb loading menu looks like this:

  • Breakfast: Wholegrain toast with peanut butter and banana
  • Lunch: Leftover Quorn bolognaise and pasta
  • Dinner: Open sandwich on Rye bread with avocado, smoked salmon and egg
  • Snacks: sure I’ll squeeze in a Turkish Delight!!

Have a fab Saturday lovely people.

Tahlia x

It’s the final countdown: two days and I’ll be at the start line!

Three months of training, and we’re almost there. I had my last training run with the lovely N last night, so now its prep and packing for the big day.

My running buddy and I have opted to stay in Brighton on Saturday night for minimal stress, so the husbands and kids and family supporters are coming up en masse on Sunday morning. My daughter has put the finishing touches to her banner, I just hope I can hold it together at mile 19 when I see her cheering me on from the sidelines (sob).

Today, there’s a last minute bit of prep (ironing on my name to my running vest – please cheer us on if you spot us! Packing my bag and double checking I have everything).

I’m also going to do some yoga to stretch out my muscles – my favourite is Yoga for runners with Adrienne

Also on the list is to hydrate properly, so I’ll be carrying my water bottle with me everywhere today.

Today’s carb loading menu looks like this:

  • Breakfast: Wholegrain toast, peanut butter and banana
  • Snack: Bounce Ball
  • Lunch: Crispy chicken salad with seeds
  • Dinner: Quorn Spaghetti Bolognaise with garlic bread
  • Snack: probably Turkish Delight 😆

I know to should be bootcamp today, but I’m giving myself a well-earned rest day. I’ll ask our friend Craig if he’ll share the exercises with us anyway (I’m sure he will).

Happy Friday lovely people.

Tahlia x

Marathon Countdown: Day 2

It’s been a warm and fuzzy kind of Tuesday

Well, what a day it’s been today. I plucked my sleeping beauties out of bed this morning at 7.45am to plop them in the car and drive to the Chiropractor, where the lovely Charlotte clicked, manipulated and stretched my poor body back in to some recognisable form. Note> Charlotte is the most amazing Chiropractor and also the loveliest. She happily welcomes my three into the treatment room (and has done since they were teeny – and actually since there was only one of them, my big little). Today was no exception – Charlotte welcomed Stitch, Pikachu and Poppy from Trolls in with her usual beaming smile and disarming manner. Pretty great start to the day.

We arrived home to get stuck in to breakfast (oh – that reminds me, I’m meant to be talking about Marathon nutrition here. Have you realised yet that my mind is some kind of pinball game. Will get on to that in a bit – promise!).

Here’s what popped through the door next…these incredible flowers from Bloom & Wild.

I was so thrilled to get these from a lovely friend who has a lot more on her mind than sending me flowers. If you’re reading, thank you – you made my day.

Then I popped on over to Mum’s and dropped the Littles off and scooted over to see another lovely lady who does sports massage & remedial therapy for an hour of Neal’s Yard scented bliss – my aching muscles were rubbed and stretched and massaged until I felt almost normal. In fact, I left feeling a million dollars and all psyched up for the Marathon on Sunday. Looks like we will be smashing it, after all!

Right, sorry. Will stop blathering now (nearly). To top the day off, we also reached the milestone of 500 fab followers on Instagram, and launched our Facebook page, which is growing as we speak. I just wanted to say thank you to all the lovely people who are in my life – you make each day so much brighter.

Right – here’s today’s Marathon fodder!

  • Breakfast: Porridge with grated apple, mixed seeds and almond milk
  • Lunch: Wholegrain toast with poached eggs, topped with mixed rocket/watercress
  • Afternoon snack: Bakewell tart Naked Bar
  • Dinner: Salmon & Mediterranean Veggies
  • Evening snack: Creme Egg (result – found one I’d hidden that nobody scavenged!! I’m going to miss my extra Marathon chocolate next week!)

Happy Tuesday, lovely people.

Tahlia x

Marathon Training: FINAL Week!

Wow, the last 16 weeks has been a blur of running, running and more running (with a lot of stretching, aches and very tight muscles).

I think it’s fair to say that the last week has been disastrous. On Tuesday, the class germs finally got the better of me, Friday saw the sick bug arriving and Saturday a seized vertebrae and trapped nerve in my back. Cue stretching, rolling and plenty of icing (not the fun type) and a shed load of Ibuprofen.

In desperation, my dear hubby agreed to pick me up and gently sway back and forward to help the aforementioned bone back into place – success! it worked, but am still a bit hobbly with just 6 days to go until I face the biggest challenge yet.

My amazing Chiropractor is going to sort everything out tomorrow, followed with a Sports Massage to help these aching muscles. Will it be enough? I can only keep everything crossed. Am going to try a very gentle run out tonight with my running buddies to test the water.

In the meantime, I’m not going to dwell. I’m going to keep myself busy with thoughts of food and hydration for the week.

Pre-marathon nutrition

Well, Carb-loading here we come…

I’ve done lots of reading up on the subject and advice seems to vary. From carb loading the whole week, to two three days prior to the big day. I think I’m going to go for the first three days of the week high in protein and fibre (and shed load of vitamins to help bolster my poor battered immune system) and then focus on higher card meals on Thursday/Friday/Saturday.

I’m going to plan out my meals every day to ensure I’m hitting the right Macros, and also monitoring my fluid intake more closely to ensure I remain hydrated all week. I’m feeling adventurous this week, so am going to try a few new recipes to help me stay on track.

One of the most interesting pieces of advice I came across was to eat a small meal on Saturday evening, like a sandwich or similar, to give my body time to digest the meal properly and to avoid being bloated and stuffed on Sunday morning. Breakfast will be 6am porridge, peanut butter and banana and I’m aiming to have an energy bar at about 8.

Monday

  • Breakfast: Protein Pancakes with Banana, Strawberry and Peanut Butter
  • Lunch: Open Malt Sandwich with Tuna and Olives
  • Dinner: Salmon with Ratatouille
  • Snacks: Fresh Smoothie with Almond Milk, Homemade Energy Bar

I’ll post the recipes and Macros a little later today. It’s day 1 of the Easter Hols, so the children are getting fed up of me being at the laptop.

Have a fab Monday, lovely people.

Tahlia x

HOW TO HANDLE LONG RUNS

SO, let’s start with the good news…we did it! We nailed our long run last week, running a thigh-aching 29 kilometres (that’s about 18 miles). I feel like we might be ready for this marathon. My knees ache, my Achilles insists on clicking after every long run and I have a proud collection of beautiful sweat spots.

I’m going to be honest – 29k felt like a bloody long way. It felt like we were running for days on end (it was more like three hours). We took Percy Pigs and electrolytes to help with energy levels (and run into Burger King, drive-by style to grab an apple juice at kilometre 25, startling shocked lunchtime burger-eaters and the young boy behind the counter).

Anyway, despite looking like loony running maniacs, it got me thinking. This marathon lark is so complex – running is just the start of it. Just one element. You need to gear yourself up so emotionally, build your body up physically with training, and also understand your physiology to work out how much water, gels, carbs etc you need to keep going.

So, I started looking in to the science of taking on board water during a marathon. Should I just grab a cup at every water point (and risk of taking on board too much water) or should I put in place a strategy to drink a certain amount for each mile I run? It’s fair to say I’m pretty confused by the recommendations…

Well, research varies quite a lot! There doesn’t seem to be one particular method which is the best – if you take too much you’re risking your health, if you don’t take enough you’re also risking your health. Results can also be improved with the optimum hydration, but do you take in a measured amount, or just drink as you go? For runs totalling more than an hour, it’s a good idea to hydrate before and after according to an article from Runner’s World

However when it comes to longer runs, there is differing advice: some camps say you should work out how much you dehydrate on a run by measuring your before and after weight, and work out how much fluid to replace when racing – others, like this article I found from the London Marathon suggests you will need 400-800ml of fluid per hour (and also has a few good tips for maintaining fluid levels). The main takeaway is you must be hydrated properly at the start of your marathon – that doesn’t mean gulping down water immediately beforehand, but ensuring your water intake is sufficient in the week, days and hours leading up to the big day.

Ensuring you’re sufficiently hydrated is also key to great performance, and some articles also suggest that being insufficiently hydrated is as detrimental as not putting in the hours running beforehand.

Having sufficient Glycogen levels on race day is also important (Glycogen is a form of sugar that can be easily stored by our muscles and liver) and I found another article from Runner’s World which helped me to understand how best to approach this beforehand and on the day.

If you’ve been following the blog for a while now, you’ll have started to realise that I’m the slummy one in MIRL! I’m also not an athlete or a runner, I’m just a mum who set herself a challenge, and I’m not one to shy away from that. What I’m also not is a sports scientist, specialist or expert. So, I was pleased to find another article by Runner’s World called ‘The World’s Simplest Hydration Plan’, which says I can just go with my thirst. Grab a drink at the stations, and give myself 10 seconds at each water station. Being one for a simple life – I’m going with that option!

I’m always keen to hear your thoughts, so if you have any tips for hydration before or during the marathon, I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Happy Wednesday lovely people.

Tahlia x

How to prepare yourself mentally for long runs

As you know by now, I’ve signed up for the Brighton Marathon this year. 5 weeks today in fact. 35 days. Eeeek! Enter self doubt and negative thoughts “What was I thinking?”.

For the last few weeks, my long runs have been on a Sunday afternoon. Kids are chilling out, dinner in the oven. Cue a bit of time for me to run. I’ve been trying to run at least 20k on a Sunday, and today was the longest yet. A casual half marathon just for fun (yep right).

Today’s run was VERY windy!!!!

This has given me a LOT of time to think. A lot of time to contemplate the enormous task which lies ahead (in the not too distant future), and a lot of time to doubt my ability to make the distance. Today, I was lucky enough to have the company of my wonderful running buddy to help me overcome the doubt and keep me running when I feel like giving up and calling an Uber to take me home.

This time last year, I was gearing up for my first half marathon. I had the same thoughts as I’m having now, but managed to make 20k before the run which gave me the confidence to turn up on the day. This time, it’s unlikely I’m going to make the full 42.2 kms, so on my run today I was contemplating how exactly my head is going to wrap itself around such a mammoth undertaking. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Set yourself milestones for the run. By giving myself four or five key checkpoints, I can break down the run in my head which makes the distance seem achievable. Cue me and my running buddy scouring the marathon route for said milestones.
  2. Set yourself a distance for the run, and check the route distance before you go out. There’s nothing more disheartening than getting home with another 0.5km to run (my head at that point is done and my legs refuse to move any further).
  3. Take some gels/jelly beans/water – it’s not just for an energy boost but for me it also gives me a mental boost when I have a sip of water or a jelly bean.
  4. Power up the hills. I mean nobody likes hills (it’s quite hilly where I live and run) but put your energy into powering up the hill. See it as a way to get those kms down faster. Similarly, speed up on the way back down the hills (if your knees will allow)!
  5. Practice positive affirmation. Take time to visualise your run, to tell yourself that you can do it, that you are good enough.
  6. Make sure you get your miles in. Proper training will prepare you for the run ahead and give you confidence for the challenge.
  7. Last but not least. Run with someone who builds you up. Find your running crew and take them with you along the way (even if they’re not crazy enough to actually sign up for a marathon.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you prepare yourselves for a marathon. Please do comment, or add to the conversation on Insta @mumsinreallife.

Happy Sunday lovely people.

Tahlia x

How to keep your running motivation (aka find your crew)

SO, you may or may not know that I’m training for the Brighton Marathon. An actual marathon. No, seriously. I must be crazy.

Let’s clear something up first – I am not a runner. I’m not one of those people who wear compression socks and running vests and actually look like a runner (you know, proper runners). I’m a mum who started running. I wear mum gear to run in. I look like a mum running. I run like a mum.

I’m ok with that. Because despite the fact I’m not a runner, I have notched up some serious mileage over the last four years. My initial training for Dirty Dozen (see my first blog – how I got in to this running malarkey) started from 1-2k at a time, building up to 12k. I surprised myself and did it. So, what next?

An accidental Half Marathon

Well, next came the call on a cold (and hungover) New Years’ Day from a lovely friend of mine to say “Let’s do a Half Marathon this year.” Full of the optimism (and probably still a sizeable proportion of Prosecco) my reply was “Yes, let’s do it!” And so we did – we booked our places on the Hastings Half then and there.

The first four months of the year consisted of a lot of cold, wet night runs. Trying to build up strength, time and stamina over a sustained period of time. We motivated each other, we got each other up hills, and through muddy fields and we laughed, we screamed and on occasion, we cried. Then, on Mothers’ Day, we went for the big one. A 20k circuit – make or break time. During that run, we endured ice, sleet, and a climb over a 3ft wall of snow but we did it. We ran 20k. Together. Happy Mothers’ Day to us!!

A few weeks later, I found myself on an icy and dark drive to pick up my Half Marathon friend, and make the journey to Hastings. We were so nervous, we barely spoke the whole way there. And when we arrived, it was even more nerve wracking (cue me in a Portaloo – enough said. It wasn’t pretty). On the starting line, surrounded by the real runners it all felt a bit real. A bit too real. But a few kms into the race, fuelled by each other and the supporters along the way, we found our running mojo. We talked about anything and everything along that route, we experienced every kind of emotion. We dug really deep. And when one of us got to the end and was ready to give up, the other pulled it out of the bag.

Very proud of this bad boy medal!

That moment when you think “What the *@%!”

The last few kms were definitely the hardest – we could see the finish line, but it seemed so far away. It seemed like the longest part of the whole run but we did it. We crossed the line, together at a quite respectable time of 2:06. We were emotional, exhausted, elated.

That experience taught me so much about myself, about what I could achieve if I was determined and disciplined enough. But, what it also taught me was the importance of having the right people around me. About support, and friendship and following this journey together. With the right crew, anything is possible. Want to challenge yourself? Do it. Build the right crew around you, and you can achieve anything.

Next step for me, Brighton Marathon 2019. I’ve been sharing my experiences and runs on our Instagram page and will keep posting here – want to know how I ended up signing up for an actual marathon? Watch this space! Tahlia x