Two years ago today I embarked on one of my lifes biggest challenges – to run the first ever race of my life.
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I was incredibly nervous and I had no idea what to expect from the race (would I make it!?) and from the first ever Bridge The Gap event that gathered many running crews from around the world to run & party.

My berlin race kit

I did everything by the book, and I had great difficulties going to sleep the night before so I decided to have two nightcaps to calm my nerves. Not sure what it was, but 2 whiskey sours later and they resulted in me accidentally pouring one all over me… Clearly thats not pictured here, but lets just say that I was happy I brought extra running tights with me!

Orsi before the Berlin Half Marathon

I wish I could describe all the thoughts and feelings that were hidden behind that smile. Some are too personal to talk about here, but I remember telling myself that due to my knee issues, I would just run the race with no expectations and try to enjoy it and savour the moment.

Orsii finishing the Berlin Half Marathon
I know I have posted that picture a million times on the blog, but there’s been very few moments in my life where Ive been so genuinely proud of myself and what Ive accomplished.

My first ever run

That’s the first run I ever made. I thought I was going to cough up my lungs and the thought of running 13.1 miles seemed impossible. But I did my best, put in the training and despite injury and self doubts, I completed it! And looking back on all the pictures, I looked really good whilst doing it too! (Im jealous of my past self…!)

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These were the total miles that I had run on the exact day of the 2 year anniversary of the race (which was a few days before the actual anniversary this year). If you’re counting in KM that is the same as 1448,7 KM! In March alone this year I did 115 miles (that’s 185KM) which is more than double of what I used to run per month in the past 2 years!

So all in all, it’s pretty damn incredible! Especially if you think about the fact that  Im not “built to run” –  it takes me a lot of effort to do it – just look at my first ever run and how slow I was!

Orsii 15 miles!

I’ve been a bit sad and disappointed about the fact that Im still around a stone and a half heavier this far into my training, compared to my weight 2 years ago – despite running double the amount. But when it really gets me down and I feel super insecure, I try to look at how far I’ve come and not lose faith in the fact that I can achieve anything if I put my mind to. Whether that is a degree, or running a marathon, or losing weight and getting leaner.

So thanks to everybody who have helped, supported and inspired me along the way. With only 6 weeks left to both my marathon and my final MA deadline, Im starting to feel the heat, but Im really trying to keep my cool and focus on my journey and how far I’ve come since that first run on the 10th December 2012.

I never thought or dreamed about running a marathon in my life, and with the miles still increasing in my training plan, I think it’s safe to say that the journey to race day has so far been much more challenging on both my body and mind than the actual race day. Mind you, that might change once I actually have to run the damn thing!

Week 11 of training felt a bit all over the place if I’m honest. I bought a camelbak in hopes that it would aid my overheating and hydrate me more during my runs, but it has caused more annoyance than help so far.

training week 11 - 1

Tuesday saw my speediest run to date. I felt tired but optimistic and with slightly chillier weather I knocked out 4 miles at a sub 9min mile average. Very difficult but I tried to really push myself beyond my comfort zone.

training week 11 - 2

My camelbak arrived on Wednesday so I decided to take it on a test run with Cata. We had 8 miles planned and after about 2 miles I got a stitch on my right hand side that refused to go away. We had to stop around 2-3 times because it spread to my entire right side of my upper body. Very uncomfortable to say the least.

training week 11 - 3

On Thursday I was determined to give the camelbak another go and whilst I didn’t get a stitch, it still felt like I was being trapped and couldn’t breathe properly. Not one of my best runs and I had to stop twice, literally crawling the last mile (or so it felt anyway).

No strength training all week as I was too tired to get up and with my in laws visiting over the weekend, my usual swimming session got skipped as well (and replaced with lots of uphill walking!).

training week 11 - 4

The long run was meant to be 16 miles but with Cata in Stockholm and a very unenthusiastic Sam, it didn’t quite go as planned. We over indulged at the weekend and I ate way too much too close to the long run, resulting in basically burping & throwing up in my mouth for a good part of 8.6 miles.

Gave the camelbak a last chance but it just wasn’t working. It was hot & muggy and I got overheated 2 miles in. I took of my jacket, but 0.5 miles of carrying the bag with only a tank to on my neck & arms started chaffing, so Sam was kind enough to take it from me.

All in all we did 8.6 miles until Sams ankle gave up. He is a trooper and I am pretty sure that under different circumstances, he would have powered through. But I could tell that he was in a lot of pain, and I didn’t want my ego to be the cause of permanent damage and him potentially missing the marathon (or more training runs) so I decided throw in the towel and accept defeat.

I guess you need to pick your battles and I felt like this one was not worth fighting.

Learnt a lot from last weeks mistakes though and for the next 6 weeks of training I am determined to get the food aspect right – especially the timing of when I eat what!

This is what I have to concur this week:

MARATHON TRAINING WEEK 12

MON: REST – Done
TUE: Strength training & 5 miles – No strength and did 4.6 miles instead of 5 miles
WED: 4 miles – Did a 45 min spinning class instead
THU: REST – Done
FRI: 8 miles – Done
SAT: Swimming – Done
SUN: 12 miles – 16 miles in 2:49!

Are you guys sick and tired of my marathon training posts? Because Im sure as hell getting a bit fed up with having to train for this damn thing!

Safe to say I had a mini breakdown in WEEK 10 – Im not sure if it was my hormones, or the seasons changing, or maybe all the internal stress and pressure that I am feeling at the moment with my MA project deadline and the marathon approaching  – but safe to say I lost it a bit and it had an effect on my running too.

training week 10 - 1

On Tuesday I had a really shit run that could only be saved by a treat (yes I know I shouldn’t be eating ice cream but fuck it!). I felt tired and my mindset was completely off due to the internal struggles I was having. Decided to listen to a podcast instead of music which in hindsight was a bad idea, but I did my 4 miles despite wanting to cry at most points throughout the run so go me!

training week 10 - 2

Because the Tuesday run was so shit I was determined to do well the following day. I felt good for the first 2½ miles and I was running at a much speedier pace than the night before. However, due to the bad lighting around peckham rye, I twisted my ankle quite badly in one of the darker spots where I couldn’t see the pavement. I still carried on running, but my ankle was hurting more and more the further I went.

When I woke up the next day my ankle still hurt, so I decided to skip my strength training and 3 mile run, mainly because I felt it would do me more harm than good. I was tempted to run on Friday instead, but my ankle wasn’t feeling 100% normal and since my long run was swapped over to the Saturday, I didn’t want to mess up my chances of completing it.

training week 10 - 4

The weather was a bit chillier all week, and the saturday was no exception! Running through 2 minute hail storms, some spitting rain, coupled with occasional icey winds and glorious sunshine – it was perfect Orsi weather ;)

I was trying out some new running shorts from Nike that sadly weren’t as good as I hoped. They were meant to be 13cm so a bit longer than some of the other ones they have, but sadly that didn’t stop them from riding up as I was running. Not the shorts fault really, it’s my big ass and thighs that are causing the problem – but it was annoying to have to pull them down every 0.5-1 mile and I cant imagine doing it throughout an entire marathon!

training week 10 - salt

Despite the crazy weather and silly shorts, I would say that those 15 miles were one of my best long runs in recent weeks. I wasn’t feeling overheated and fatigued, and if it wasn’t for the fact that we had to stop towards the end to look at the map, I could have carried on for another 1-2 miles. Plus, the chilly weather meant I could wear a jacket which meant no silly bumbag (which I hate running with!) and less chaffing.

Oh and if you’re wondering, thats my face covered in SALT! That’s what it looks like when your sweat dries on your face – yum…!

The milage is still going up this coming week and I will have clocked over 120 miles in March alone which is pretty mental if you ask me. This is what I have to do this week:

MARATHON TRAINING WEEK 11

MON: REST – DONE
TUE: Strength training & 4 miles – No strength but done running
WED: 8 miles – DONE
THU: Strength training & 4 miles – No strength but done running
FRI: REST – DONE
SAT: Swimming – NO :(
SUN:16 miles – ONLY 8.6 MILES!