I ran an actual Marathon yesterday!!

So, I only went and did it! I ran a Marathon! 26.2 agonising, exhilarating miles. The last two days have been hard work emotionally too- a rollercoaster of huge overwhelm, a massive sense of pride and accomplishment (and rather achy knees – I’m writing this with an ice pack on each one).

YESTERDAY WAS A BLUR

After a pretty rubbish night’s sleep (cue dreams about being locked in a cupboard/not being able to make the start line/Paul Weller?!) we awoke at 6.40am. In a bit of a haze we walked the 25 minutes to the start line and found a lovely lady, who was also running her first Marathon. I must check her race number to see how she did (I think she was ready to smash it).

We put our bags in and joined the everlasting line for one last wee before the race started. It was a bit nippy (about 8 degrees and quite cloudy) so we ambled over to the start in a bit of a trance and waited for the start.

We got off to a great start. Keeping pace well and we navigated the hills and ran well against the almighty wind coming off the sea. We kept it up until mile 13, where we found our lovely families cheering us on (seeing my littles faces was such an emotional experience, I will never forget it.)

The next few miles towards and round Hove were ok – we slowed our pace slightly and kept plodding. At this point, my running buddy had a wobble. My stoic, inspirational, fit as anything, amazonian of a running buddy. I was a bit floored. I ran and then found myself losing her, so waited and ran until we were side by side, and continued to do so for the next few miles around Hove.

Then came the dreaded ‘Power Station’ run. I stopped to wait for my running bud, but she just wasn’t there – she had literally been swallowed in a sea of runners (which is hard given that she is 6ft!). At that point, the reality hit me that I was alone.

With about 10 miles to go, it hit me like a brick in the face. 10 solitary miles. And I’m not going to lie – it was awful. Really tough. I had to dig deep. Running up to Shoreham Power Station is actually soul-destroying. It was grey, and the wind was bitter. And to add to things, I just never seemed to get there. Forever.

At this point, something a friend had sent me that morning came to my mind. She’d said “Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. A lot.” So that’s exactly what I did. I ran, counting one – two, one-two, one-two. I’m not sure how many miles it was for, but I’d guess about 3.

Running back along the same stretch after looping the power station wasn’t much better, I’ll be honest. But at the bottom of the hill, where the road meets the coastal path I saw something which gave me hope. It read “20 miles”. 20 miles!! I’d just run 20 bloody miles – I was so bolstered by this fact that I shouted to a couple running past “We’ve done 20, we can do f*ing 26!!” And it turns out we could.

The lovely pair I’d shouted a profanity at then took me under their wings, talking to me, and looking over their shoulders every now and again to make sure I was there. I honestly was (and still am) so touched by this act of kindness. Kind man, and Mel from South Kent Harriers, you got me to 26 miles. THANK YOU.

At that point, I spotted my running buddy’s lovely hubby and son and shouted “I’ve lost her. Is she ok?” and he smiled and said “She’s fine, she’s behind you.” The sense of relief I felt that she was ok was overwhelming – as overwhelming as dealing with the fact we weren’t running our last miles together. Honestly, I will always feel terrible that I lost her. I didn’t want her to feel I’d abandoned her, left her behind. She’s an incredible friend, partner and running bud who means the world to me.

I ran on feeling energised for the last mile or so, and then, at mile 26, I saw that face in the crowd. My girl, my beautiful sunshine girl, the recognition on her face, turning to absolute joy when she realised it was me. And then my gorgeous boys – all lined up smiling and waiting for a kiss. It honestly was one of the most brilliant moments in my life. Writing it down makes me emotional beyond words. Best. Moment. Ever

That was it, I could see the finish line – I was ready to do this. To finish what I’d set out to do. A familiar face in the crowd caught my attention, and it was my beautiful sister. Then my Niece, Nephew and Brother-in-Law (I wasn’t expecting them to come). At this point I was an emotional wreck but it was the home stretch. I actually said to myself “Sod it. Let’s do this, Tahlia” and that’s what I did. I sailed down the last 0.2 miles, I posed for the cameras, smiled, laughed and let myself enjoy the final rush of what I was about to achieve. I’d just run 26.2 miles. Done.

After then, it was a bit of a blur – collecting my medal and bag. I do remember wincing as I bent down to put my bag on the floor and then just chucking myself down beside it whilst I pulled it together a bit.

What did I learn on Sunday? That I CAN run a Marathon. That people can be so kind, and the smallest kindnesses mean the most. That I’m tough, both mentally and physically. And that my knees don’t like running 26.2 miles. Pass the ice…

Happy Monday lovely people.

Tahlia x


Marathon Countdown: Day 3

Today has been a sunny day, so we’ve been out and about in the fresh air, making the most of the opportunity. That has meant that my marathon food plan has gone slightly astray at lunchtime, but otherwise has been ok. (although my running buddy turned up with a Turkish Delight today – I am fast becoming a chocolate fiend – have to curb that after the Marathon!)

Today’s menu

  • Breakfast: Porridge with oat milk, cacao and mixed dried fruit
  • Lunch: Homemade sausage roll, soup and Blueberry & Lemon cake (told you it went a bit wonky at this point!)
  • Dinner: Sausage Casserole with chick peas (will get the recipe up, it’s a good one)
  • Snack: erm, Turkish Delight

Off for a little run later, and then last one tomorrow – only three days to go!

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

Exercise cards are coming soon!

So, I’ve been busy working with our mate Craig at Keeling Fitness to bring you some beginners workout cards, to help you get started with circuits, and help with technique (and to make sure you’re using the right muscles!).

I’ve been a bit hampered by the sick bug from school this week, but wanted to share with you the pics we’ve been taking of the workouts ready to create the cards for you. I’m excited!

Carly and I are talking about a six week challenge to kickstart our summer bodies and to reset some of the naughty habits that have set in over the Winter (goodbye 4 o’clock Mars Bars, it’s been fun.)

Keep watching for more news, and I’ll post the cards as soon as they’re ready!

Hope your Wednesday has been a good one 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