Archives for category: My Races & Events

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Training for this race gave me my life back and kept me sane. This is not an exaggeration.

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I can’t lie, I’m a little bit scared. On Sunday 4th March I do the 2012 Step Change challenge at the Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe) to raise money for the NSPCC.

That’s right, I’m going to be racing up 38 floors, 180 metres and 1037 STEPS. All the way to the top, baby!

So. I’ve got to raise £200 – let the training and the squeezing of lovely people for funds begin…

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I'm on the far left, holding a rainbow.

Proudly repping for Run Dem Crew, I was part of a 43-strong team which, as it turned out, was the largest in the word for the MoRunning event (part of the Movember men’s cancer awareness-raising movement).

Despite not knowing my race number, I registered quickly and easily, as the registration staff kept numbered lists which were cross-referenced with entrant’s names (but no master list).

I’ve never used a paper strip race chip before, and making sure that my race number was showing at all times was probably easier said than done; I had to keep turning the paper strip upwards to make sure the number was visible. I tend to prefer the usual chips.

There was a great atmosphere in the build-up to the race. Nearly everyone I saw was resplendent in moustaches – and the men did a fine job also!

The rest of the crew and I took our positions, and the opportunity to skank out a bit to LMFAO‘s ‘Party Rock Anthem’.

The race itself

I’ve said before, and will say again, that the course of what shall now be known as ‘Greenwich Bloodclart Park’ was drawn, then redrawn, by a madman.

We started down the easy descent from the top of the hill near the Observatory, left down a steeper descent and left again down a steeper one still; then I get a bit muddled after the first flat. It’s a hill, so of course the route was hilly. But UGH… the inclines had a special way of making me feel like my legs were weighted with lead, so I tackled them on tiptoe or powerwalked where I could. When my pre-race chug of Jack3d failed me, cursing my existence powered me through the course.

Race organisation – positives

  • The marshals were friendly and encouraging
  • The rout itself was clearly marked and there was no chance of veering off-course, with marshals planted all over.

The negatives

  • Seeing signs for 6 and 7 km before the first km was done. AGGGGHHHHH! It’s bad enough the course breaks your balls, but messing with the mind as well? No bueno.
  • One water station after the first lap? I suppose, in fairness, it’s ‘only’ 6 miles, and space might have been an issue. But it still didn’t seem enough. Moan moan moan 🙂
  • Slightly rubbish goodie packs – lots of paper fraff, which I chucked away, and a Snickers bar. Not great post-race nutrition. The Vitamin Water was welcome, though.

On thing I’ve learned from the race, and from prepping for it, is this: research the route and if you can, do a quick recce or at least a recce run. We did practice runs beforehand, and although the race-day route was rather different, suffering those hills in advance of the race gave me an edge. If I hadn’t cursed and bitched and moaned through those runs, I’d be cussing even more. Fail to prepare = prepare to fail, and all that. Big thanks to Glenn, who helped us get our ish together.

Anyway. It’s not a route for a PB (although one of our nitro-footed number did score a trophy), but I’m pleased to say I rolled in at 1:12:47. And that was with walk breaks!

Post-race
I chilled with some of Run Dem, then took my creaking body off to Chinatown for a massage and some bubble tea. Then I went clubbing that night – I was out until four in stilettoes – and my legs were thoroughly pissed off the next day. Worth it though… but that’s a different story 😉

See the leggings, the moustaches, the  t-shirts, the  tantrums and the sexy Cheer Dem Crew here on the RDC facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.10150397808253749&type=1

I’ve gone from doing one Race for Life, 3 years ago, to four – four! – events in one year:

6th March: The semi-marathon de Paris

You may remember that little trot by the Seine I mentioned a while back…

18th June: The London Twin Peak Challenge for Action for Hunger

The brave @missjay off twitter is my race partner in madness. I’m training by running up stairs, rowing to build up my upper body strength, then coming home to cry into a glass of rum cream.

9th July: Boutique Run

A pampering girly day out with a 10k chucked in. Should be fun. Looking forward to it! Hit me up if you’re going, too.

25th September: Run to The Beat with Team Bangs on the Run 2 (Team Bangs: Reloaded! Hell YEAH.)

No idea what the route is yet, but it starts and ends at the O2 in Greenwich, south-east London. Also taking my own music in case I have to be subjected to Katy Perry, Tinchy Stryder or some other shit I object to. YEAH I KNOW the point of it is to have music played to you, but still. I like my tunes and hate shit music.  Gotta be prepared…*kanye shrug*

Am I doing anything else? Hell emphatically no. Although I’ll be playing mas this year at Notting Hill. You’d better believe I’m going to look good in my costume! This is more than enough. I’ve got October and Nanowrimo to finish my novel, during which I’ll be ‘off season’ and eating lots of buttered toast. Sod the six-pack, I’ll be balancing my netbook on my huge stomach. Then it’ll all start again…

So. I did the semi-marathon de Paris yesterday. It was fantastic!

I finally met the non-London-based Team Bangs members (see Bangs and a Bun’s fab video here), got my Team Bangs tee, and rocked Paris with my now world-famous yellow leggings. The verdict: Fab-u-lous.

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Thoughts about the race itself

Weather: it was bastard cold, but beautiful and sunny. That’s perfect running weather; the sun beats down on you, but you’re buffeted by a cool breeze on your skin. Cue lots of top layers thrown wildly on the streets, in bushes, over cars etc.

Old people: for the sake of my ego, I had to pass them. Ironically, my legs are so mash up that today I was overtaken by a thousand-year-old woman on a Zimmer, while out with the bestie at lunch. Like the Beenie Man song goes: ‘Zim zimma? /Who got the keys to my Beemer?/ I need a lift/Because my legs fucking hurt.”

My leggings: everywhere I turned, people were looking at my legs. Result. However… I spent the first 5k pulling them, and my knickers, alternately over and/or out of my arse. Stylish.

B-A-N-A-N-A-S: Hey! You know what a race course needs? Banana skins. Yeah, we appreciate the food, guys, but I don’t want to go arse-over-tit in it or stick to the pavement. Mmm, juices.

Feelings: Elated. Pleased. Smug. Sore (I didn’t roll out and stretch right away and the running gods have smited me for my impudence). I cried as I approached the finish line. It was EMOSHUNAL. I actually couldn’t believe that all this training and hard graft had brought me here, to this point. This was what I had been working for and I could almost reach out and touch it.

Inspiring? Who, Me?: I’ve had people telling me that my constant tweets and training updates have inspired them to take up running or get back into it. I’m getting used to the idea that I can be an inspirational person too, and frankly it’s overwhelming and scary –  in the nicest possible way. It sure beats being shat on by people who were intimidated by my changing attitude and physique.

Speaking scatologically… the worst thing about distance running is enjoying a nice breakfast a few hours before an event, and feeling that sensation of it needing to be let out – during the last third of the race. Now, we’d fretted about this question: What happens if I need to wee, or – quelle horreur – poop?

Answer:

1. Hold it until you get back to your hotel. 2.  Have the best poo ever. (Seriously, it was sent from the gods. I still remember it fondly.)

My time: Just under 2:28. Let’s just take a moment to reflect: I ran for 2.5 hours without stopping.

Final thought

At the time of writing, we’ve raised nearly 6 of the £10k we’ve pledged for Refuge. I ran this thinking of someone’s broken arm and the official story – and then the truth – behind it.

Think of the women and children in your life: you know at least one who’s been careless enough to ‘fall’ down the steps; been deft enough cover their bruises with MAC or long-sleeved/high-necked clothes; been brave enough to leave, or been too frightened even to say a word.

If you don’t know a victim (or survivor) of domestic abuse, and have been fortunate enough yourself not to have been one, chances are that you know someone who does. Domestic violence is far more common than we’d like to admit, and every pound you donate will raise awareness and offer practical help to scared, vulnerable women and children.

This has been an incredible, emotional experience from start to finish. I’ve cited the power behind my reasons before and thanked them personally, but a personal connection to the issues Refuge deals with was my spark, and my mother was the guiding light. She’s 70 years old and has done 4 half-marathons – and isn’t ruling out doing more. As Beach Bum Beauty said to me on Twitter: ‘It looks like you’ve inherited her spirit!’

I hope so.