Nikki

Guest Blogger

Nikki's Guest Blog - The end of road marathons for me?

Bournemouth - is this the end of the road marathons for me?

Long distance running is what I do, it is what I love and the challenge that I set myself physically and mentally. Marathon running is a strange beast; some can go completely to plan while others can take you on a journey that seems far longer than half a day! It is the varied nature of these runs that keeps me going back for more and pushing myself each time with different goals. Sometimes my goal is to finish, other times it is to be a bit faster and this year at the start of Bournemouth marathon it was not to be sick! 

I ran two lovely trail marathons earlier in the year and enjoyed them both then April saw me at the start line for both Paris and London and both involved sickness which was particularly bad in Paris due to a combination of heat and fuel.  I then ran a 50-mile trail race and a 62-mile race with no issues. So with Bournemouth the aim of finishing marathon number 20 without the sickness that hits me on a road marathon.

The morning started well with sunshine and a light breeze and I chatted with a couple of friendly faces in the starting pen. Once we got going it kept getting hotter and hotter and I was glad of my visor and the fact that I was wearing my race vest with my own water with electrolytes and fuel. 

The route is really nice and the crowd support is great especially when you approach Bournemouth Pier for one of the out and back sections and you seem to hit a wall of sound.  This gave me a boost as I had just seen Mr eGlove and team and then my friend and her running club buddies.  I ran towards Boscombe Pier and was beginning to feel very hot and noticed I was covered in salt! I had a bit of a walk break along the pier and then ran back towards Bournemouth Pier.  By this time, I was seriously wondering what I was doing and whether the best thing to do would be to pull out. The hill after the pier found me having a slight retch over the side but I am not classing that as sick! I poured water over my head from the next stop and headed along the route.

Mile 18 or was it 19 and I sat down on the curb next to a brilliant marshal and had a cry! He asked me if I wanted transport and had I done a marathon before and I asked him how long was left so that I could work out if I could walk the rest! His encouragement and the sit down gave me a boost. A quick phone call to James with a cry and another offer of support from another marshal this one was on a bike and I was ready to go.

I zipped up the man/woman suit and got on with it and actually enjoyed the rest of the race. I started to incorporate a walk break for each mile which gave me a focus and I picked out people ahead of me to try and catch! Both of these things worked despite the sight of three runners needing pretty serious medical help along a section in front of some beach huts which is always a sobering sight.  I found myself actually smiling and singing along to the music playing in one of my headphones.  The steel band were fantastic and the sight of the pier was encouraging.  I found a runner in the last mile who is the daughter of my friend at work. She was having a bit of a moment so I said let’s run together to the end, it was a lovely way to finish the race as we saw James and her Mum and the sight of the finish was fantastic.

I have some lovely tan lines which is incredible for an October marathon, the beach was full of people having fun and swimming in the sea! We headed back to the car and a quick change and we were on our way home, job done, marathon 20 complete. The medal and the finishers shirt are great and I will wear the shirt as a little reminder to myself!

I found this marathon made me realise that my heart is in trail running and that tarmac is not for me! I enjoy seeing the fast runners and the crowds and the atmosphere of a road marathon is really special but I missed the varied terrain and the scenery and the quietness of a trail run.

Thanks for reading! 

Nikki x

Editors note - links for the Bournemouth Marathon are here

Guest Blogger

Nikki's Guest Blog - Marathon Training

Eat, Sleep, Run, Repeat (AKA Marathon Training!)

So, there are moments when running seems to take over more than usual of my life! I am currently in week 12 of a 16 week training plan that takes me to the Paris Marathon on 3rd April. I love marathon running and I love a plan and lists, lots of lists, but, at the moment THE PLAN is dominating all of my lists and am I frankly feeling a bit like ok now jog on and let’s get this marathon done.  Sadly, it is not close enough for me to taper and these weeks are all about fine tuning and completing the last of the long runs.  So THE PLAN must be followed and things like visiting friends, going out, doing household chores (not worried too much by this one) and looking after my family kind of have to slot in. I ran my long run last week on a Thursday afternoon, which was strange. I have become quite good at running at different times of the day and varying the speeds I do these, this helps my body not get used to one time of day and one speed.  On marathon day anything can happen and speeds can vary depending on how many runners are around you, if you are taking on fuel, or have had to visit one of the “toilets” enroute, finger’s crossed that won’t happen.  So if you have run at different speeds it should be easy to adapt.

The final instructions for the Paris Marathon were also emailed today.  This is a pretty impressive 5 page document all about the last long run and tapering and what to expect.  It has great quotes in there too – “you are on the cusp of a formidable achievement.” “Don’t be shy, but don’t be reckless either.” 

With the long run planned, I am running to a local parkrun with a friend, running that and then running back.  I like breaking up the run into sections and also enjoy the company on the runs.  The fuel is ready, kit etc ready, hopefully the snow will not fall.  That left just the “steady one hour” to do and I found every excuse not to go out before pulling on my very bright run tights and heading out in between downpours.  I managed to find some sunshine and hit the local trails and in that little hour I reminded myself why I love to run and that having a plan is a good thing and that it will eventually be over and I will miss THE PLAN! Being outside, in the woods and having them pretty much to yourself is amazing, you get to see tiny little birds flying, groups of tadpoles in the tiny streams and even the odd deer or two. I came back with a smile on my face and mud on my shoes.  Now I guess I ought to tackle some of those household chores………

Guest Blogger, Running

Nikki's Guest Blog - Unexpected Races!

Unexpected Races!

So, I found myself heading to Bramley for a 20 mile race. It fitted in with my training programme and I was very much thinking of using it as a catered training run. No route to plan and fuel along the way if I had used all mine, what's not to love?! It was freezing cold and I spent far too much time at home debating with myself what top/s to wear; would it be a long sleeved base layer and a parkrun shirt over the top, a long sleeved top or just a short sleeved top? The more races I do, the more fussing I do and I ended pretty much taking everything and a change of clothes for after the race. Stopping at Winchester services I caught my first glance of other runners and they were all wearing shorts, I worried I was going to be too warm in my Puma run tights. 
The car parking for the race was about a mile walk from the headquarters and so, I lugged all of my stuff along with me, getting funny looks from others who were just carrying a small bag!! Never mind, I was all cosy with my Zaini hat, scarf and eGloves keeping me warm. In the female changing we were all fussing about what to wear, decision made and it was parkrun 100 shirt, headband, buff around the neck and eGlove Sport running gloves. Bag dropped, bin bag worn, porta loo stop done and then I was standing in a queue of people nervously chatting with the faint aroma of deep heat wafting around the line. 
Prompt start and we headed off on the lovely local roads, the 10 mile and the 20 mile all mingled together. Fantastic marshals, great support, lovely route and spit on mile markers. The first 10 mile loop went according to my "sort of" plan of 1hr 30 and then I would see how it went. The second loop and there was a slight wind, and the hills seemed hillier. I gobbled down two organix date and bananas baby food bar things and two dextrose tablets throughout the race.  Less fuel than I normally use, but wanted to see how it went. I also had some Nuun tablets in my water bottle. I don't like to see discarded gel wrappers etc on the roads and discovered another use for the run eGloves, I shoved the wrappers inside, didn't annoy me at all which was good. I kept just saying in my head each mile, trying to run the mile I was in. The only way I broke the race down was breaking it into 5 mile sections. No headphones allowed on the race, quite rightly as the roads are not closed to traffic and we had to keep left as traffic passes, more cars than I thought too. 
A bit of showboating at mile 8, I can't help myself, then I dug deep and crossed the line in 3:03. Pretty pleased with that and as pleased with the fact that I drove myself there, had no one there which is sort of empowering!
Lovely goodie bag and medal and trolley keying thing. Highly recommend this race and will be back next year, but with a bit more notice next time!!

Until next time,

Nikki x

You can follow Nikki on Twitter - @nikkiyeo 

Zaini Hats are a friend of eGlove - find them at www.zaini.com