Back to reality

Back in Newcastle this evening after a mental few days in London. Also back to work today as I had a bit of editing to do for a client while I was on the train.

I’ve got a busy couple of days coming up – really hitting the ground running as I return to post-marathon life! Thankfully I’ve got a quiet weekend coming up so I can catch up with everything.

OOTD 30th April 2019
OOTD: it’s been a tiring few days, and my eye is not quite ready for its close-up yet. Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), jumper Carlo Colucci (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – Shadows On Your Side
Elton John – I’m Still Standing
Spandau Ballet – True
Fleetwood Mac – Rhiannon
The Midnight – Gloria
Ava Max – So Am I

Race Review: London Marathon 2019

Far from just another race, this one. I honestly feel like I’ve been preparing for it for years.

I’d been applying through the London Marathon ballot every year since I started running, because I knew that with a 4.8% ballot success rate there was no chance I’d ever get in, but I do like the glossy rejection magazine they send you in order to tell you you’ve not got in.

Then in autumn 2017, they didn’t send me a rejection magazine. They sent me a ‘You’re In!’ magazine. Oh.

It was lucky that you have the option to defer entry for a year, because Geth and I were moving house over the course of winter 2017/2018 and there was absolutely no way that I would have had the time to train for a marathon on top of that. So London 2019 it was, and in January this year I started training in earnest. I knew I had to be a lot more disciplined with my marathon training than I have sometimes been with my half marathons. You can blag a half marathon if you do 10Ks regularly enough, but you can’t do the same with a full marathon – you need to be properly trained up as it’s a very different beast.

As such, I felt nervous but quietly confident when I lined up in the freezing cold on the start line on Sunday. I knew I’d be slow but I also knew I would finish!

The Cutty Sark
A rather ominous-looking Cutty Sark at mile six. It wasn’t actually as overcast as it looks here!

Mile one was just about getting settled, but mile two was probably my favourite of the whole race. There were lots of barely-noticeable speed bumps in the road, but the organisers obviously didn’t want anyone tripping over them, so every single speed bump had two volunteers, one at each end, holding a ‘HUMPS’ sign and yelling ‘HUUUUUMMMMMPPPSS!’ The best duo had a whole call-and-response thing that they’d clearly been practising for weeks.

The end of mile two also saw the first of the many red phone boxes on the race route. Was I ever going to be on these particular London streets again? No, unless I’m ever both mad enough and lucky enough to get into the London Marathon again. Therefore, did I take a photo of every single red phone box along the route? You bet I did. Many, many Phone Box Thursday posts coming soon!

Miles three to ten were fairly straightforward – I had my visualisation plan and it was nice to see my friend Claire volunteering at the mile seven drinks station. The best sightseeing moments, such as the Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge, are all in the first half, and they do really contribute to the atmosphere.

Tower Bridge
The almost-halfway point at Tower Bridge! A very welcome sight.

The second half starts off with a slightly demoralising section along miles fourteen and fifteen where you get to watch all the faster runners coming back the other way! Once you split off from that, miles sixteen to twenty are a bit dull scenery-wise, and also the toughest part of the race, I found, although I really appreciated the first RNLI cheering point at mile nineteen.

Once I got past mile twenty, even though it was feeling really tough by then, I did at least feel like the end was in sight, and it was just a case of gritting teeth and counting down every mile. By the time I got to mile twenty-four, we were having to weave in and out of vans and coaches. This was the one big issue I had with the race. Why on earth do they have vehicles going down the route when there are still runners on the course? Either marshal the runners onto the pavement so the vehicles can get past, or wait until all the runners have finished. It was really hairy and I suspect there’s going to be a very nasty accident/somebody will get mown down during some future edition of the race if they keep setting it up like that.

RNLI cheering point
The RNLI volunteers at mile 25! Really pleased they waited for us slower runners.

There was another RNLI cheering squad at mile 25, which was enough to spur me on until I got to the final stretch! Geth was watching from the side as I came along Birdcage Walk, which was a nice surprise, and after that I had enough energy to kick round the corner and sprint down the Mall towards the finish line.

When I went to collect my medal and goodie bag, they only had extra small T-shirts left, which was a bit of a surprise. XS is perfect for me as race t-shirts are unisex size, but usually if you’re among the last finishers they only have larger sizes left! I felt a bit sorry for the bigger runners around me who were going to get stuck with an XS t-shirt they probably wouldn’t be able to wear.

However, this may be the best running medal I will ever get.

London Marathon 2019 medal
It weighs a ton!

Geth joined me at the entrance to the meeting area, and we wandered over to the RNLI meeting point – I was too slow for the post-race reception, which had already finished, but there was a nice volunteer at the meeting point who took a picture of us with the Lifeboats flag.

RNLI finishing point
Finished! It was a long, long day out.

It’s been one of those weird time things where I simultaneously feel like I’ve been training for London forever and also like I’ve only just started…and now it’s all over. I was super slow, but I’m proud I did it. I still need a bit of time to digest this one. Back to my regularly scheduled 10Ks in the meantime!

The legs still work…miraculously!

I’m going to do a proper race review post all about yesterday’s marathon tomorrow, but I will say that I am super proud of myself, even if I was really slow!

My legs have obviously been suffering a bit today, but nowhere near as much as they have after shorter races in the past, so my fitness has clearly improved. I had a good walk, as I had a booking to see the Christian Dior exhibit at the V&A (something else I will blog about in greater detail later in the week!) – it was a bit tiring, but it meant that I didn’t stiffen up too much today.

Back to work tomorrow, and hopefully I’ll be fully recovered in another day or so! Not running again until Saturday though.

OOTD 28th April 2019
Sunday OOTD: I went out in this, ran for over seven hours and then had a bath and got back into my pyjamas! Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), hoodie Debenhams (1999), running vest Winner Dri-Tech for RNLI (2019), running tights Karrimor (2015), running shoes Brooks (2017).
OOTD 29th April 2019
Monday OOTD: blouse appropriate for the museum exhibition, trainers appropriate for my tender post-marathon feet. Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), blouse Christian Dior (vintage 1980s, bought on Etsy 2018), belt unknown brand (2003), trousers Gap (2018), trainers Reebok (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – Meet El Presidente
Vangelis – Chariots Of Fire
The Midnight – Gloria
Katy Perry – Last Friday Night (TGIF)
Chris Isaak – Wicked Game
VNV Nation – Nova (Shine A Light On Me)
U2 – Elevation

And a bonus track that Geth was humming earlier:

En Vogue – My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)

Music Video Monday: Vangelis: Chariots Of Fire

I’m still a bit too knackered from yesterday’s marathon to do a proper music video post today, but here’s that inspiring theme from Chariots Of Fire to enjoy:

I am a slow runner and there is no hope of me ever winning a race, but as I’ve mentioned before, I did once come last out of 4,000+ people. It was in the Great North 10k 2016, and when I finally limped onto the finishing straight at Gateshead Stadium, they broke out the Chariots Of Fire theme tune, inspiring me to an epic sprint finish along the track. It was the greatest moment of my running career.

The video is mainly clips from the film, but there are also some pleasing shots of Vangelis chain-smoking while fiddling with his synths. So ’80s.

More music videos next week.

Last day of carbing up

Running a marathon tomorrow. Eek.

I’ve been planning and preparing for this for so long that I can’t believe it’s actually time to go do this thing. I’ve had a pretty-much-perfect final day of preparation though! I went for a shakeout run at Highbury Fields parkrun this morning – I was in two minds about doing it, because I didn’t want to sap my energy for tomorrow, but I’m really glad I did because I had a great run and it’s given me a lot of confidence for the race. It also made me aware that my watch had randomly switched itself back from miles to kilometres, so I’ve been able to fix that. I would not have been best pleased if I’d only discovered that after I set off tomorrow.

The rest of the day has been spent eating and making arrangements for eating. Geth and I discovered a nice new breakfast place where I was able to have pancakes, and we booked a table at an Italian restaurant so that I could eat all the pasta (and all the garlic pizza bread, and all the mozzarella salad, and all the ice cream…) this evening.

People have been unbelievably generous and my RNLI fundraising total on my JustGiving page is racking up nicely! Thank you so much if you’ve donated – I really, really appreciate it.

I’m very nervous, but I’ve got my plan, and I know I can do this. See you on the other side!

OOTD 27th April 2019
OOTD: with one of my favourite red phone boxes, this awesome K2 in Islington (logged here)! Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), jacket Mercy (2007/2009, due to a complicated story that I still don’t have time to tell you at the moment), t-shirt Punk Masters (2018), bag CXL by Christian Lacroix (2018), jeans Vivid (2018), trainers Reebok (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Annie Lennox – Walking On Broken Glass
The Midnight – Crystalline
The Midnight – Days Of Thunder
The Midnight – Gloria
Duran Duran – Late Bar
David Guetta and Sia – Flames

And a bonus track that Geth was humming earlier:

Bill Conti – Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky)

Marathon weekend is here!

After taking the eye drops for a day so far, the good news is that my eye is feeling a lot better than it did. It’s still very misty and blurry vision-wise, and I’m still having to take occasional ibuprofen, but I’m hoping for it to be even better tomorrow.

I picked up my marathon running number this afternoon. All starting to feel very real now! Looking forward to a relatively restful Saturday before the big day.

OOTD 26th April 2019
OOTD: comfy outfit for picking up my race number! Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), jacket Mercy (2007/2009, due to a complicated story that I still don’t have time to tell you at the moment), t-shirt Lauren Ralph Lauren (modern but bought from Headlock Vintage 2018), bag CXL by Christian Lacroix (2018), jeans H&M (thrifted from Steff 2016), trainers Reebok (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Arcadia – Rose Arcana
Duran Duran – Save A Prayer
Duran Duran – The Chauffeur
Duran Duran – Night Boat
Ellie Goulding and Swae Lee – Close To Me
Faderhead – Mono Man
The Cure – Kyoto Song
Duran Duran – All She Wants Is
Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder – Together In Electric Dreams
Mark Ronson and Lykke Li – Late Night Feelings
Charlie Puth – One Call Away
Duran Duran – Notorious
The Midnight – Gloria
Carter USM – And God Created Brixton
Lil’ Nas X – Old Town Road
Chic – Everybody Dance
Duran Duran – Too Late Marlene
Sacre – The London Marathon
Duran Duran – New Religion
David Bowie – Fame

From bad to worse

I spent most of today in the walk-in eye clinic at the hospital. My eye issue is not an eye infection. It’s uveitis, which is going to take a seven-week course of eye drops to clear up. I am not a happy bunny. I am hoping, however, that my eye will at least respond to the drops fast enough that it won’t be uncomfortable during the race on Sunday. Mum has had the same thing in chronic form for years, and she assures me that the treatment always works quickly, so fingers crossed.

The next couple of days are just quiet preparation. And eating a lot of pasta, which has already started. I’m going to miss marathon training eating.

OOTD 25th April 2019
OOTD: another of those ‘like hell you are seeing my zombie eye’ selfies. Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), hoodie Internacionale (2000), t-shirt Gildan for Stranger Things (2018), jeans Zara (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

John Lennon – Woman
Duran Duran – New Religion
Mark Ronson and Lykke Li – Late Night Feelings
Duran Duran – Come Undone
Sigrid – Don’t Feel Like Crying
Duran Duran – Hold Back The Rain
Squeeze – Up The Junction

A bump in the road

I really didn’t need this eye infection or whatever it is this week.

Didn’t get much sleep last night because of it, and I’ve been in a bad way all day. I’m having to skip poetry night tonight (which I’m really upset about – was looking forward to reading again!) and Slimming World tomorrow in favour of an emergency doctor’s appointment. I need this thing gone by race day on Sunday.

Hoping for a better day tomorrow.

OOTD 24th April 2019
OOTD: you really don’t want to see my eyes today. Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), hoodie Sonar (2006), Duran Duran t-shirt Amplified (2018), skirt Calvin Klein Jeans (2004).

Today’s earworm playlist:

OneRepublic – Counting Stars
Duran Duran – Save A Prayer
Duran Duran – New Religion
Jax Jones, Mabel and Rich The Kid – Ring Ring
Duran Duran – The Chauffeur