Orsi_heatwave_running

I’m super excited to share that this Sunday I will be doing my first ever run for charity!

Together with my badass girls from Food & Lycra, and as part of the ‘This Girl Can’ initiative, we will be running and raising money for Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

Laureus funds sports activities for disadvantaged young people around the world. They promote the positive effect that sport has in tackling some of the world’s most challenging social issues.

You can DONATE HERE and find out more about the Food & Lycra initiative here.

I have been doing my best to keep up with my running schedule, and overall I think it has been going ok, but I am missing some key elements of my training like strength training sessions and the third run of the week…

I’m starting to think that I should stick to shorter miles during the week so it doesn’t take too much time, and focus on my speed, but it’s very difficult to push myself beyond my comfort zone when I’m tired after work.

I’ve been lucky enough to have some company on some of my runs the last few weeks and my gosh! I’m not sure when this happened (maybe during marathon training?) but I feel so much better when I am running with somebody opposed to running with myself (which wasn’t the case when I started running!).

I had a lovely 6 miler with Cata the other weekend and even though it felt like I was overheating to the max, it was SO NICE to be running with her again!

Sam joined me for his first run after the marathon last year out in Sweden. A very easy and breezy 7 miles, which made me realise just how hilly SE London is! No wonder Im struggling ;)

The biggest surprise was probably being asked by my old high-school friend Neil to come for a run! We managed 8 miles and he reminded me that the long runs can indeed be fun even if you’re not in the mood to run whatsoever.

Overall I would be lying if I said that I’m not struggling. I really want to improve my speed and my endurance – but annoyingly I know that both those things will only improve if I run more regularly…

Considering how shaky my life has been the last 6 weeks I think I’ve done ok, but I could be doing better! Now that I have started my new job, my main priority will be to get my head around my new schedule and try to create better habits and routines around that.

I suppose some good news are that I now work close to the RDC HQ, so Im excited about being back with the crew on a more regular basis. Not only does it mean I have one definite run a week, but it’s a run that I do with people I know will push me more than what Im capable of doing myself.

Annoyingly I missed my long run today due to some weird food poisoning / dodgy stomach situation but I’m still feeling rather positive about being able to complete the Hackney half in 5 weeks time.

On a separate note – my March challenge of drinking more water was going great until I went to Sweden. During and after the trip it quickly went downhill BUT I did feel much better during those two weeks so I’m going to try to start again and see how it goes, can’t let one little setback make me give up!

I know it’s been over a week since it all happened but WOW!
What an amazing experience.

Copenhagen Marathon Medal

Me with my Copenhagen Marathon Medal

I’m very pleased to say that at 9:42am on Sunday the 18th of May 2014 I set off to run my first ever marathon.

I made it!

Me being a silly face as always

4 hours and 53 minutes later I completed it.

I still can’t quite believe that I did it and if it wasn’t for the picture proof, my medal and my very aching legs, I would have bet all my money on the fact that it was all just a crazy dream.

Shirt prepping

Custom shirt making the night before the race

As some of you know, due to my poor knees I couldn’t stick to my original training schedule because my knees just couldn’t cope with the amount of miles that I was having to run. This meant that during the last 4½ weeks before the marathon I was only running about 1-2 times a week for an average of 5 miles per run.

So safe to say I was a bit nervous about running 26.2 miles when I could barely get through 5…

kit layout

Obligatory kit layout the night before the race

Due to having my final MA deadline 1½ day before the marathon, I was going on about 3 hours of sleep per night the week leading up to the race – not the ideal amount of rest before running such a distance.

As a result, I had other things on my mind than worrying about how I was going to run this damn marathon.

However, I had come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to run it as fast as me and Cata had trained to do it, and I had accepted the fact that it would be an extremely painful affair due to my knee injury.

The Dream Team

The dream team before the race started

Come race day I was super excited and very nervous. I was determined to finish the race no matter what, even if it meant I would have to crawl it or complete it in 6 hours.

I knew that I would have to take it relatively easy to postpone my knee pains as much as possible, so I decided to try to enjoy every single second of the race, even the potential bad and painful parts.

Pre race selfie

Pre-race dream team selfie

We set off as a group but Sam went ahead after we crossed the start line as his pace was much faster than ours. I was hoping I would be able to keep up with Cata for at least half the race but she started speeding up at around 2km and I was too scared to do the same due to my knees, which meant we all ended up running most of the race on our own.

Sam at 14KM

Sam at 14KM

It was a cloudy but warm day, perfect for running but still slightly too warm for me due to my overheating problems.

Cata had planned out a fuelling strategy for the two of us , and I was keen on following it and making sure I drank and ate at every water station in order to avoid hitting the wall and overheating.

Cata at 14km

Cata at 14KM

At the first station I made the mistake of trying to run and drink at the same time, which resulted in most of the water ending up on my t-shirt instead of my mouth. So in the spirit of just taking it easy and enjoying the race, I made a deal with myself to walk through all upcoming water stations but NOT TO STOP or walk at any other point during the race.

Orsii at 14KM

Me at 14KM after kissing my mum

I knew that NBRO had set up a cheering point around 12KM & 37KM into the race, and that our parents stood somewhere in the city close to the start and finish – this really helped breaking up the long and lonesome journey into smaller manageable chunks.

As I made my way through the first loop around Parken, seeing all the little NBRO signs leading up to 12KM gave me goosebumps all over my body and a big lump in my throat.

Running through the NBRO cheering zone put me on a natural high and the hug from Nanna brought tears to my eyes – It also made me super eager to get to 14Km and to hug my mum!

Sam 41KM

Sam at 41KM

Shortly after seeing my mum and the others parents I started to feel my knees and the sun was slowly but surely starting to overheat me – despite only shining through the clouds.

I kept telling myself that all I needed to do was to make it to the half point. Once there I would I would be able to eat, drink and take some pain-killers.

Sam at 41KM - 2

Sam spotting Dave at 41KM

But the closer to 13.1 miles I got, the warmer I was getting – to the point where I was starting to feel very dizzy and sick to my stomach.

With nobody else by my side to distract me, I looked up to the sky and started talking to my grandfather who passed away last October.

Cata at 41KM

Cata spotting Dave at 41KM

I told him how sad I was about not being able to make it back in time to say goodbye despite my best intentions, how Gatwick will always remind me of that super weird night when he passed away and I was stuck at the airport.

How I did my best with this MA project and that I hoped he was proud of me even though he probably didn’t understand what it was all about. I told him that I knew I had it in me to run this marathon but that I needed his help to get me through this second part of the race.

A few moments after I said that in my head, my shuffle started playing a really good song and it started raining!

Cata 41KM 2

Cata looking overwhelmed at 41KM

I have never enjoyed rain as much as during those 2 miles that brought me to the half point in the race. I took my pain killers at the closest water station and decided to slow down my pace a little to spare my knees.

Orsii 41km

Me and my mum at 41KM

The following 5-6 miles were probably some the most challenging ones I have ever run in my entire life.

My knees were starting to hurt more and more, I had a very bad stitch on my right side, I was close to tears with every step I took and the rain was turning into some sort of tropical monsoon.

The streets were starting to get empty due to onlookers seeking out drier places and I was starting to doubt myself.

Orsii 41KM 2

Me at 41KM

The two things that got me through those miles were focusing intensively on my breathing and thinking about all the amazing people that had inspired me to actually be running 26.2 miles.

I thought about Charlie Dark and how I had turned down running with Run Dem Crew for so many years until it became the one thing that more or less saved me from a miserable life.

I thought about Bangs and how she single handedly helped me turn my life around for the better by helping me believe in myself and love myself for who I am.

Sam at the finish line

Sam after crossing the finish line

I thought about Robin and how she gave up everything to follow her passions and her dreams, and despite life throwing her a massive curve ball, she still managed to get through it and be one of the most bad ass people I know.

I thought about Candice and how she not only has run a marathon and an ultra, but she has also cheated death, had the most adorable little girl, and she still manages to have a rich life, work out, bake cakes and look fucking fierce.

Sam with his medal

Sam with his medal

I thought about my mum, how much I love her and how she never gives up without a fight and always gives the best she can in every situation.

I thought about Run Dem Crew and so many inspirational people I have met through running, many who have had it much worse than me and still managed to pull through.

Cata at the finish line

Cata running towards the finish line

I thought about all my own struggles and how I, for so many years, put myself down by thinking I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough or fit enough.

Yet here I was, running a marathon, 1½ day after finishing my Masters degree, with the love of my life, and my best friend who I own a flat with in London.

Cata after crossing the finish line

Cata after crossing the finish line

Somewhere along those 5-6 miles the air cooled down drastically and the rain stopped – only to start pouring down again as soon as I hit the 20 mile mark. I took some more pain-killers and hoped my knees would stay with me for the last bit of the race.

I kept reminding myself that with every step I took from there onwards, was the furthest I had run in my life. So despite the pain I should try to feel happy and proud of myself.

Almost by the finish line

Me sprinting towards the finish line

All I could think about was getting to the NBRO cheering station at mile 23 – and as the rain was pouring down and my legs were starting to ache more and more, I decided to thank every single body part for getting me through this extremely difficult challenge.

I also apologised for all the shit I have put my body through the last 27 years – the crap diets, lack of exercise for so many years, the excessive drinking, the hardcore smoking, the unhealthy body images and all the self hate and self loathing.

Once I got past mile 23 I kept telling myself that the rest was just the home stretch. Only 1 mile left until I saw my own cheering crew, then 2 miles to the finish.

Orsii crossing the finish line

Me crying deliriously on the ground after crossing the finish line

Sadly my mum and the other parents had moved from their first spot, and not seeing them put a small dent in my confidence, but I was hoping that I would catch my mum at some point before the finish.

I will never forget spotting my mum, Dave and Andreas 1 mile from the finish line. They were all soaked to the bone and my mum ran out on the road to check that I was ok. I told her to trust me and headed as fast as my legs could carry me towards the finish.

Orsii with medal

Me and my medal after Dave found me limping around the finish area

Once I got to around 25.8  miles I started to run much faster, literally pushing every physical and mental boundary I had, sprinting the last 0.2 miles and finishing with my arms and head held up to the sky.

Seconds after crossing the finish line I fell to the ground, looking up to the sky, crying and laughing deliriously by the fact that I had just completed my first ever marathon.

Post race in the pub

Me explaining how I crossed the finish line in the pub after the race

I have never felt anything like that feeling in my life and it is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Many thanks to all of you who supported me on this journey!

Cata for being the best training partner, Sam for being the most loving and understanding man Ive been with, my mum and all the parents for coming out to support us, Dave and Andreas for being amazing friends, and all the rest of you who helped me complete this race – you were all there in spirit and I wouldn’t have made it without your inspiration, encouragement and support.