Not a lot of people know this (mainly because I didn’t blog about it) – but I ran the first ever Nike We Own The Night 10K race here in London last year. Heck I even got a PB whilst doing so, making it the first ever official 10K race I’ve managed to run under 55 minutes!

Nike - We Own The Night Launch Invite

So when I got invited to the launch event of this years We Own The Night race – I was pretty excited. Since I wasn’t invited last year I didn’t really know what to expect, but I can honestly say that I had loads of fun!

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Lots of fabulous ladies were there from Run Dem Crew and it felt so uplifting to finally do something on a week night that didn’t involve running around South East London!

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When I arrived I was given a moleskine notebook with the WOTN logo on the front and a handwritten note on the inside. I was given a glass of bubbly and went and collected my free kit that was in a cute little locker with my name tag on it.

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After saying hello to the Food & Lycra girls, I went to have my gate analysis done so they could determine what running shoes I should wear. Whilst in the queue I also had a quick catch up with my friend Elles (who you can see running in the pic below!)

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Once I had my shoes I went and said hello to the girls in the stylist corner that were showing different ways of personalising the kit that we had been given, alongside some other running and training gear that I really wanted (I REALLY NEED A RUNNING GILET IN MY LIFE!).

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I was given tips on how to make long-lasting energy drinks and recovery smoothies, and I also got to chat with a person from Kiehl’s who gave me some great advice and help when it comes to taking care of my skin when I run a lot. It has started to hurt from all the salt and sweat, so the tips they gave me were really useful.

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They had a photobooth there, which of course me, E and Angel took full advantage of – and we laughed so much it made my belly hurt a bit. (in a good way of course!)

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All in all it was a super fun evening and something I really needed to boost my spirit after a week filled with a lot of emotions. On my way home I couldn’t stop smiling and I felt so incredibly lucky and fortune to have been given this opportunity.

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Im by no means some super runner or athlete, Im not famous and Im not sponsored by Nike, so I feel very spoiled. I realise that Im a drop in the ocean and if Im totally honest – Im not different from any of you who are reading this blog – so there’s actually no real reason for Nike to be treating me this way.

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So with that in mind I would like to say a big THANK YOU to Nike UK for making me feel so extremely special. Getting back in shape & training for my first marathon hasn’t been easy and this totally gave me the boost I needed. I can’t wait to run the WOTN 10K with all my girl friends the week before I run Copenhagen marathon with Cata & Sam!

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And if you feel up for the challenge – why not come and join me and these badass women on the 10th May? You can sign up on the We Own The Night website!

Week 5’s mantra has been “breathe” and I am pretty sure that thanks to focusing on my breathing when I am struggling on my runs, I am finally starting to see some improvements on my endurance and my speed!

training week 5 - 1

Since I’ve gone back to Run Dem Crew on Tuesday evenings my training schedule has changed slightly, basically swapping Tues & Weds around, and last week my friend Fleur helped me push through the speed barrier in my head as we ran to Piccadilly Circus and back with our hardcore hares. It was very hard at times, so I tried to focus on cancelling out all thoughts and feelings, and just focus on my breathing.

training week 5 - 2

The speed and the breathing kind of stuck with me all week and the next day I managed to complete my first 3 miles in under 9:45min/mile in a very long time! It was stormy and I was overheated by too many layers, but I kept with it and really focused, and somehow I managed to do it!

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I accidentally sped up the following day as well (not very good at keeping a slow and steady pace without Cata!) and I miraculously powered through a super difficult run by just focusing on my breathing. It felt like my legs were going to fall off during some points but I tried to focus all my thoughts on how I filled my lungs with the cold evening air and it helped.

training week 5 - 4

I ran my first double digit distance on Sunday, trying out my new marathon shoes that I bought this week. They suprisingly made me super speedy and the first 2 miles on my own I managed to run 8:45-9:00 minute miles! At the 2 mile mark I was joined by Cata and we did 8 miles together in the sunshine.

My shoes felt a bit odd at first and I lost the feeling in my right foot for about a mile. But then I rearranged the laces and it went much better from there.

I was super warm throughout most of the run and it just reaffirmed that I really need to find some sort of thin running gilet! The run overall went well and despite being super tired and having jelly legs at the end of it, I felt like I had a lot of energy left and strong legs.

I tried out some running jelly babies as well and it worked much better than the gel the previous week so Im going to try to train with those for now.

The whole thing of focusing on my breathing really helped me this week when I was struggling, so I am going try to improve that technique as it seems to help me cancel out all negative thoughts and feelings (like pain and wanting to give up) during my runs.

This week looks like it will be the last “easy week” – then it is full steam ahead until I am tapering in May!

MARATHON TRAINING WEEK 6

MON: REST DONE
TUE: Strength training & 5 milesNo strength but ran 5.5 miles
WED: 3 miles DONE
THU: Strength training & 3 miles Strength done, no running
FRI: RESTRan 3 miles
SAT: Swimming DONE
SUN: 7 miles DONE

Building on last weeks new found confidence I felt much stronger and overall much better during my week 4 runs.

training week 4 - 1

Tuesday saw my return to Run Dem Crew – and despite being the slowest runner at the session, I had a fantastic time with my small but mighty “hardcore hares” group :) We banked around 4.5 miles in total, running from Shoreditch to the Tate Modern, via my favourite bridge to run over at night time – Millenium Bridge.

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On Wednesday I set out to run for food (quite literally!) as I ran up from Wapping to Haggerston to celebrate Food&Lycra‘s 1st year anniversary. The girls threw one helluva party and on my way home I stopped by the launch party of Like The Wind Magazine – a new non-profit running magazine that presents a collection of stories about running, from the track, trail and road.

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The weather has been absolutely mental the last few weeks and on Thursday I went out in the torrential rain to do 3 miles. Not very nice if Im honest,  but I managed to do another 3 miles without stopping so I felt pretty pleased with myself. (although you can’t really tell in the picture!)

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On Saturday morning Cata convinced me to go and swim with her. I was a bit reluctant as I haven’t really been swimming in public pools since my younger days when I trained 7 days a week & competed.

Im so thankful that she dragged my sorry ass with her though because it felt great to be back in the water after more than 12 years! It really helped to energise and revitalise my legs after an intense couple of weeks with a painful left shin and calf and I’m thinking of going 2 days a week starting March.

training week 4 - 5

I had 9 miles scheduled for my long run on Sunday and since Cata had been such a great help the previous weeks in keeping a steady pace, I decided to join her once again as she did a steady 7 miles from her marathon plan, with 2 miles at the end on my own.

The first 2 miles felt pretty shit. The wind was strong and it kept blowing away the clouds, letting the sun shine through.

Usually I love the sunshine, but wearing a black thermal running jacket, I thought I would collapse of heat stroke whilst running around Peckham common.

Once the sun went away I felt much better, and we managed to do a decent 5 miles at a very consistent pace – despite the wind almost blowing us off the road a few times!

The last 2 miles on my own were much harder. I decided to try a gel at 7 miles to see how I would react to it, and of course my stomach rejected it straight away and I thought I would shhhh myself.

Not a nice feeling and I had a little sob when I had around 0.5 miles left.

But I managed to hold myself (thankfully!) and I was surprised how relatively good I felt when I was done.

Fingers crossed this good feeling continues as I add on more miles to my training this week!

MARATHON TRAINING WEEK 5

MON: REST – Done
TUE: Strength training & 3 miles – Done, but I ran 6 miles
WED: 5 miles – Done but  I ran 3 miles
THU: Strength training & 3 miles – Done without strength training
FRI: REST – Done
SAT: Swimming – Done
SUN: 10 miles – Done