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 6 was not the most exciting training week if I’m honest but a week where I’ve started to feel like I was making good progress.

training week 6 - 1

On Tuesday I went running with Run Dem Crew and lead a small group of hardcore hares to the Tate Modern and then back to Shoreditch via Tower Bridge.

training week 6 - 2

On Wednesday I felt super confident and tried to push myself speed wise. It was hard but successful, and I think it is due to going back to my regular RDC sessions.

training week 6 - 3

My Thursday run was postponed to Friday due to the We Own The Night launch party and the fun times I had the night before really inspired me to try to push myself even further. I cried and spat by accident and I felt like my left leg would fall off, but I didn’t give up and it resulted in my speediest 3 mile run yet!

training week 6 - 4

My Sunday long run was my worst run of the month by far. I started off good but due to trying to run with a bumbag around my waste, it felt like I couldn’t breathe properly and I had a super bad stitch for most of the run, resulting in having to stop 3 times. If that wasn’t enough, most guys around peckham rye kept shouting and making kissing noises after me, including a guy who followed me on his bike for a while… NOT OK!

This usually never happens because Im not confident enough to run in tight tops and during the colder weather I have been wearing my big running jacket. But since Sunday was quite mild I decided to wear the tighter fitting long armed top I was given at the WOTN launch. It’s super comfy but quite tight so it reveals a lot more of my curves, which Im guessing the people around Peckham liked. Maybe I should feel flattered but it was actually quite uncomfortable.

Anyway… this was the “easiest” week for a long time now – so here’s whats coming up this week.

MARATHON TRAINING WEEK 7

MON: 3 miles DONE
TUE: Strength training & 6 milesDONE
WED: 3 miles NOT DONE!
THU: REST (in Budapest) DONE
FRI: Swimming (in Budapest) – More like recreational bathing…
SAT: REST DONE
SUN: 12 miles DONE

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!

training week 5 - 3

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