Do you need your vest printed for the marathon? – Part 2

January 25, 2010

UPDATE – Jan 2012: We’re sadly no longer able to offer the vest-printing service. Thanks to all those that helped the rhinos by getting us to print their vests, and apologies to those who wanted their vests printed this year.

Well after an absence from my blog of a good nine months or so I’m feeling ready to come back to it temporarily. The aches and pains of the marathon have faded, I can walk properly again, but I’ll come clean – I haven’t actually run since 26th April 2009. I’m continuing to raise money for Save The Rhino through my button jewellery amongst other things.

We’re also still raising money by printing runner’s names on their vests. Beginners will be told by seasoned marathon runners that having your name on your vest really helps in getting you through the experience, simply because people spectating will read it and cheer you on! I lost count of the number of times people yelled ‘Go Becki’ or ‘Rhino Becki’ or ‘Come on Becki’ but it really helped and it was great to feel like the crowd was willing me to go on.

I posted about our vest printing services last year and since so many people are finding that old post and asking if we’re still doing it I’ve decided to post a quick update to let you all know we are still doing it, and the proceeds are still going to Save The Rhino. As before, It’s £5 per name in black or white vinyl (the same stuff that’s used on football shirts). We can also cut custom logos, and price varies depending on the colour and how complicated the logo is but starts from £7.50.

The earlier you can sort out your vest and get your name printed on it the better, not least because it’s one less thing to worry about. I wore my race top out and about while I was training on the basis that people would recognise me and hopefully sponsor me!

A review (and some new photos)

May 16, 2009

Apologies for the lack of blog posts lately. To be honest, nothing much has been going on! There’s no running to write about as I still haven’t done my first post-Marathon run (and there might not be one, if my knees and hips continue to hurt like they currently do). The fundraising continues apace and I’m churning out bracelets like they’re going out of fashion (hopefully not!). I’m still trying to decided on my next big project (that Channel swim was a bit out of my reach after all).

Thought it might be interesting to do a little review of the whole marathon experience with a couple of graphs. Gotta love a good graph :)

So, this is my marathon graph – you can see how I started off well, pretty steady pace until the midway point, then it all starts to go horribly wrong. But I was speeding up again towards the end :)

My marathon pace graph

My marathon pace graph

This is all the running I did in training, along with my excuses for those bits with no runs in them ;)
runninggraph

Also check out some of my previous posts for some newly added pics….
Post Marathon Syndrome
London Marathon Part 2
London Marathon Part 1

Was it all a dream?

May 3, 2009

Well it’s a week since the marathon and I’m still having trouble getting my head around the fact that I did it. It seems so long ago! And not quite real!

It’s been an interesting week. As the aches faded, my friends got bored of looking at the medal and I was forced to eat like a normal person again (or risk re-gaining all the weight I lost), I suffered terribly with the post-marathon blues. I mean, what am I supposed to do with my Sundays now I don’t need to go for a three hour run? Should I carry on running? Should I do some 10ks and half marathons just to keep myself going? What do I have to aim for now? What should my next project be?

I think too much ;)

I have been working hard on my fundraising this week and have just smashed through the halfway mark. I’m at around £2,100 of my £4,000 target so your help is still very much appreciated. I held a charity bucket collection in my hometown yesterday, raising an impressive £222.18, mostly I think down to the fact I had Neil of Running For Rhinos very kindly wearing one of the Save The Rhino official rhinoceros costumes!

Neil in the rhino suit

Neil in the rhino suit

I don’t think anyone had seen anything like it and we did manage to give several old ladies a bit of a shock! My sister also helped me out in the afternoon and while she can’t move her shoulders today, I have sunburned forearms and aching biceps from holding the bucket!

I’ve also been busy making some more trinkets to sell on my Etsy shop. The entire price of these beauties goes to the rhinos… Just need to sell (and make) a couple of hundred of them and I’ll have reached my target!

CMYK Rhino button bracelet

Monet's Waterlilies-inspired Bracelet

Monet's Waterlilies-inspired Bracelet

Button Rainbow Bracelet

Button Rainbow Bracelet

Spring Daffodils and Blue Skies

Spring Daffodils and Blue Skies

Post-marathon Syndrome

April 28, 2009

Despite having done the marathon the day before, I knew that Monday was going to be tiring and involve lots of walking, a bit of heavy lifting and a fair few stairs too!

After checking out of the hostel I took the Tube over to JustGiving’s headquarters. I had been invited to pop along and say hi by Heather at the expo on the Saturday, and after a slow negotiation of a couple of Tube stations and a short walk there I was greeted by Sophie (who I’ve been talking to on Twitter) and introduced to Kai and Jon (who I’ve also been talking to on Twitter). It seems I’m something of a Twitter celebrity at JustGiving, possibly something to do with the rhino hat antics! Heather soon arrived and gave me a quick guided tour of the office (prompting one staff member to say this!).

I was asked if I’d like to do a post-marathon interview to which I of course agreed – and it can now be found not only here but here. Apparently there is video of me too and I had some photos taken at the offices, but lets hope neither of those ever see the light of day! ;)

EDIT: Pics of me and Heather from JustGiving:

Me at the JustGiving offices showing off my marathon medal - check out those undereye shadows!

Me at the JustGiving offices showing off my marathon medal - check out those undereye shadows!

Showing off my JustGiving wristband, worn proudly through the whole marathon

Showing off my JustGiving wristband, worn proudly through the whole marathon

Me and the lovely Heather at the JG offices

Me and the lovely Heather at the JG offices

After distracting the JG staffers for a couple of hours they had important meetings to get on with so I went to my second ‘appointment’ of the day – picking up one of the rhino suits from Save The Rhino. Luckily there was one that wasn’t too sweaty, so, weighed down by my backpack, London Marathon kitbag, rhino head and rhino body, I set out on the Tube journey back to Paddington. I had a couple of scary moments on the escalators but most of the journey passed without incident. I’m not sure now how I managed it, I was hurting all over! Once I was back on the train home I was able to relax a little and prop the rhino suit up on a seat, which got some strange looks. It’s for a bucket collection I’m doing in my hometown on Saturday, to get a little more interest after the disastrous attempt at a bucket collection in Oxford (all day for £43.56). I may be doing some other stuff with it too, check back soon! ;)

So, to the title of this post. Once I’d arrived home, put my stuff away, had half my race goodies nicked by my brother, the reality that it was all over sunk in. I have the full on post-marathon blues. The thing I’ve been aiming for for the last four or five months has now passed, no-one wants to listen to me talk about the marathon any more, life seems dull and boring in comparison to the amazing weekend I’ve just had. I need something new to aim for but don’t know what, and it would probably be foolish to go signing up for anything now whilst my head’s still sorting itself out.

I do have to raise £2,500 by the end of May though, so that should keep me busy!

London Marathon 2009 Part 2

April 28, 2009

Where was I?

Ah yes, the part at which it all started to go a bit weird. I struggled on, walking but occasionally managing to jog half a mile or so before feeling like I was going to fall over. I knew the 13-22 mile section was going to be difficult, you’re running away from the finish, you’re already tired from running 13 miles, it’s a big twisty loop…normally it’s pretty quiet round there but I have to say I don’t think I saw a let up in the spectators in the entire section! They were amazing!

I was still feeling really nauseous as the course headed back round towards the Embankment, so I popped into a Portaloo to see if I was actually going to be sick. No such luck, but as I headed back out I heard a runner behind me yell ‘Becki’ and looked round to see it was Becca Boop who has been one of the e-marathoners hanging out on Twitter. What are the chances of meeting someone you know amongst 35,000 people!? She will tell you that I helped get her to the finish when the truth is she got there herself and helped me get there instead of the other way round! It was lovely to be going along with someone again after so many miles on my own.

Me and Becca Boop
The relief I felt as we passed Tower Bridge again at about 22 miles is indescribeable – we were on the home straight! The sun seemed pleasant rather than scorching along the Embankment, and the trees made lovely dappled shade. There were still so many people cheering us on! I saw my dad again, and Heather and the JustGiving gang who screamed at me (in a good way)! Soon the Blackfriars Underpass approached, which I managed to jog through and got Becca to jog through too. When you come up from the underpass, you can see Big Ben behind the London Eye, which is of course practically the finish (only a mile and a bit to go). We were so close!

Soon enough we were turning right past Big Ben (which is more sparkly in real life) and down the last long section of Birdcage Walk. It wasn’t long before we saw the turning right past Buckingham Palace and I mentioned that we’d have to do a sprint finish. With 385 yards (the .2 of the 26.2 miles) to go, Becca suddenly took off on her amazing sprint finish. I attempted a sprint finish but feeling like I was going to pass out, so it wasn’t one of my best, but at least I ran over the line! I managed 6:28:32 which is about an hour faster than last time but an infinitely better experience. I was aiming for 5:30 so maybe if I could get the nausea under control I could do a faster time. Not that I’m ever doing it again you understand!

With timing chip removed from my trainer and medal hung round my rhino horn by one of the lovely medal ladies, I set off to find my stuff, and those longed-for Lemon Puffs. I was reunited with Becca briefly before being dragged off to the Save The Rhino rug by one of the lovely STR ladies. There were loads of other rhino runners there, eating, being massaged, chatting about the experience. I was OK until I finally stood still at which point I had to run off and be sick (sorry, too much detail!). Once that was all out the way I returned to the group and managed a civilised (I hope) conversation with Neil and his wife Lorna along with some of the other rhino runners – Louise (who was running in a rhino suit!) definitely launched herself at me for a hug, and I think Stephanie may have aswell, it’s all a blur!

At the finish, sweaty and tired and wearing my medal with pride

At the finish, sweaty and tired and wearing my medal with pride

Heading back to the tube across St James’ Park, I was wandering along in a daze, not quite comprehending what I’d just done. By the time I got back to the hostel and had received loads of congratulatory texts I was on the verge of tears and as soon as I was in my (thankfully empty) room I burst into tears for a good 10 minutes! Probably a combination of exhaustion and emotion and the fact that it was all over :(

To cheer myself up, I limped out to find some food and ended up having no dinner but two puddings :) A lovely end to an amazing day!

London Marathon 2009 Part 1

April 27, 2009

Apologies for the delay in getting a post up, I’ve not been near a decent computer-and-internet-connection-combo!

Where do I start?! I guess Sunday morning is probably a good place…

I kept waking up every couple of hours on Saturday night, expecting to have to get up but being slightly disappointed as I realised there were a few hours to go yet! As one of my main fears was oversleeping and missing the start the waking up was probably a good idea! Eventually it was time to get up and I managed to force a couple of slices of toast down me – better than nothing!

Soon enough it was time to catch the DLR to Greenwich and the main Red Start (where the charity places go from). It was quite a trek from Greenwich station to the start area, but there was no chance of getting lost because of the sheer volume of people heading in the same direction!

Me in the rhino hat and laden down by kit bag and carrier bags

Me in the rhino hat and laden down by kit bag and carrier bags

Pre race smile - or nerves?

Pre race smile - or nerves?

I met up with the other rhino runners (including those crazy people who were wearing the proper costumes) and my ‘usual’ running mate Neil. I dosed up on my usual painkillers (although one of the Save The Rhino staff had to get the tablets out of the packet for me as I had no strength!). Soon enough we were all on our way to the start – no going back! – where to everyone’s probable annoyance I kept saying ‘Why? Why am I doing this? Why am I here? Why? Why?!’

We all ended up somewhere between pen 8 and 9 (at the back) so it was a good 25 minutes or so before we finally got over the finish line and started running. From the start there were loads of spectators brought out by the glorious sunshine. The first couple of miles didn’t feel as hellish as they normally do but I guess there were so many distractions going on – including the many male runners swerving off to have a wee in the hedges! I ran with Neil again this time as we have similar pace.

I was keeping an eye out for the JustGiving gang who I was expecting before mile 5 (check out my list of ‘landmarks’ here). Can’t remember exactly where I saw them (all the miles blur into one) but it was great to see Heather and the gang (I met Heather on Saturday at the expo, and she mentions me in this video! Woo!). Further on we passed the Cutty Sark where Matt Baker (formerly of Blue Peter fame) was waiting with a cameraman, to which Neil blurted out something like ‘Ooh, you’re a famous person off Blue Peter!’ and I almost fell over laughing (the runner’s delirium had kicked in by that point I think). We carried on round to mile 8 and Surrey Quays where my dad was waiting with a large Save The Rhino flag which we had printed up, and jelly babies.

The supporters were great, and it sounds like a cliche to say they got me through but it’s actually true. So many times I heard ‘Go Becki’ ‘Come on Becki you can do it’ ‘Go Rhino Head’ ‘Becki’s got the horn’ ‘Becki are you feeling horny’ and variations on a similar theme, and they really helped, it would be easy to feel a bit invisible in a crowd of 35,000 (but I don’t think there was any chance of that with a large horn on my head!). I acknowledged every cheer although what started out as a wave each time soon turned into an arm waft because I didn’t have any strength left!

Somewhere before mile 12 we managed to see Neil’s family, then it was on to Tower Bridge, which seemed to be hiding from me very well! I knew that I’d have to take some more painkillers imminently so decided on 13 miles as the point at which I’d walk for a bit and take the painkillers (no point trying to swallow them whilst running, I’d choke!). So Neil ran on ahead and I strolled for a few hundred yards. Trying to run again after walking was interesting to say the least, and because obviously the painkillers hadn’t had a chance to kick in, painful! I managed a gentle jog for another couple of miles but then the nausea kicked in. Despite my previous posts assuming the the jelly beans I was eating were the culprit of my post-long-run throwing up, it appears it might just have been the running, as I was only on glucose tablets for the marathon. I had to walk somwhere around mile 16 and when I stopped running it felt like my knees would buckle from under me…

More to come soon! :)

One more sleep to go!

April 25, 2009

First, let me apologise for any typos in this post, I’m hunched over a tiny screen in the hostel I’m staying in and the keyboard is similarly tiny :)

Well, here I am, the day before the marathon. Who’d have thought it’d come round so quickly when I first got my running trainers was back in December? I’m surprisingly calm, although the panics I was having earlier this week were probably more to do with a) my Greek exam (which went well if you’re interested) b) being away from home (I get weird homesickness sometimes) and c) worrying about forgetting to pic my number up from the expo. With the exam done and dusted and the homesickness shoved to the back of my mind, the one remaining issue for today was to head over to the ExCel centre and pic up my number. As I walked in, the booth with my number was the only one without a queue, a good omen I’m sure! Once I’d collected my number I was sent off to get my ChampionChip tracking thing, then that was it! I thought it’d be a shame to leave the expo without having a look around so after purchasing an arm phone holder (to hold my painkillers and glucose tablets) from the Sweatshop stand, I headed over to the JustGiving stand, where I met the lovely Heather and got the chance to draw a picture of me in my running outfit in the hope of winning a prize of a donation. Do you like the way I can draw the hat in 3D but my face consists of just two dots and a line?!

After I’d finished wondering round and collected my goody bag on the way out, I headed back into the city, passing many of the landmarks I’ll be running past tomorrow. I walked round London for far too long considering I should have been resting my legs and feet, but I was trying to pass the time in as interesting a manner as possible :)

I headed back to the hostel late afternoon and inhaled a bag of chewy banana chips before heading out to dinner. I still have my usual tinned rice pudding to get through. It’s strange how being able to eat a lot and having to eat a lot make you look at food in different ways. Right now, if someone put pasta in front of me, I’d probably hit them!

Part of my calmness where tomorrow is concerned is probably down to knowing points of the route which will stand out:

Mile 2: JustGiving supporters
Mile 3: Merging of starts
Mile 6: Cutty Sark
Mile 8: My dad! And a big Save The Rhino Flag
Mile 12-13: Tower Bridge, and my dad again
Mile 17: Runners World supporters
Mile 22: My dad! And running under Tower Bridge
Mile 23: Blackfriars Underpass, you can see Big Ben when you come up from this
Mile 25-26: Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
Mile 26.2: Finish!

Miles 13-22 are going to prove the most difficult, run as they are around the Canary Wharf area making them quiet (no residential areas) and actually pretty boring. The last four miles will (hopefully) be amazingly well supported so should be a bit more interesting. There will probably be psychological issues at mile 17 as that’s the furthest I’ve run without walking, but then who cares if you walk a little bit in the London Marathon?!

Three is the magic number…

April 22, 2009

…but doesn’t actually feature in this post! Thought I’d continue my song-title-blog-title theme :)

I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at some of the stats around my London Marathon experience.

These first numbers are taken from my stats on LogYourRun

Shortest run: Way back in December 08 my first run was 1.4 miles, I had to stop halfway throught and practically died by the end. I managed something like 12 minute mile pace although I was so bad back then I didn’t even bother to time myself. Look how far I’ve come!

Longest run: The epic 17 miler that made me throw up and cry, but I managed to run the whole way round!

Fastest run: Before the training got into the long runs I was working on increasing my speed and by trying really really hard and ignoring the pain in my muscles I managed …. drum roll …. 9:30 minute/mile pace around a four mile circuit. Woo!

Most times running the same route: I’ve run my quick 2.7 mile route 15 times in my training. Most other routes have been run at least a couple of times, apart from those where I tried the route once and swore never to do it again!

Total miles run: 241.29 – just over 9 marathons’ worth of running. And soon to be joined by a tenth marathon of course…

Minutes spent training: an amazing 2532 (or 42.2 hours), making my average pace 10:30 minute miles.

Blog stats:

Total views: 1,889 (wow!)

Busiest day: 100 — Thursday, April 2, 2009 (this was the day I posted up my vest-printing services)

Posts: 41

Comments: 70 (most of them lovely, thank you :) )

Me stats:

Weight lost: 5lbs

Toenails lost: 5 and counting

Money raised: £1,327.28

I’m aiming for £4000. Please help if you can!

I’m looking forward to the marathon…

April 20, 2009

Reasons I am looking forward to the marathon:

Water stops – I hate having to carry water with me and needing to ration it. A water stop at every mile means I’m never far away from my next fix of Vittel!

Spectators - It’s lonely and boring running long distance by yourself. I’m sure I read somewhere that the London Marathon spectators are considered to be the best of any marathon in the world!

Other runners - people to talk to – see above re: lonely and boring :)

Seeing the sights - there are loads of London landmarks to spot, and although I currently hate ‘the Gherkin’ as I saw it so many times last time I did the marathon, hopefully I’ll learn to love it this time

Being part of the Save The Rhino team - the rhino costumes are so well known that it’s great to be part of their team even though I’m not wearing a proper suit.

Playing spot-the-vest-that-we-printed - not likely when it’s like 20 people out of 35,000 but stranger things have happened

The finish - that last few hundred yards in front of Buckingham Palace, perfect for a sprint finish, the finish line, medal, goody bag and well-earned rest :)

Reasons I am not looking forward to the marathon:

It’s 26.2 miles long!

If it all goes wrong again this time I’ll have to do it again!

It’s the final countdown…

April 19, 2009

Duh duh duuuh duh, duh duh duh da-da!
One week to go until the 2009 London Marathon! Hopefully by this time next week I will have finished the 26.2 mile slog and be having a well earned rest. The coming week is going to be busy and scary and I may start to panic about exactly what I’ve let myself in for.

Despite running the entire way on my two long runs, I already know I will probably have to walk at least once during the marathon, so I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Just finishing is impressive in itself! And it would be nice to still be able to walk the next day.

I’m spending most of the weekend in London, heading up on the Friday and coming home on the Monday. I have to go to the Expo on the Saturday to pick up my running number. And of course the marathon’s on the Sunday. My Friday is slightly complicated by the fact I have a three hour Classical Greek exam – great timing, not! I’ve only got a couple of short runs to do this week so my evenings are slightly freed up for revision but it’s annoying having two nerve-racking things happening on the same weekend!

I’m going to start packing today and have already made a list of things I need to take, of which I guess my running stuff is the most important! If for whatever reason I forget my toothbrush or something like that, I’ll be in the middle London so I think I’d be able to find a new toothbrush. But if I was to forget my trainers (or my rhino hat – or my running number confirmation) they’re not really replaceable…

Running the marathon is going to be very strange, my normal runs are an out-of-body experience so it’ll be even worse at the marathon, as I struggle to comprehend what on Earth I’m doing and that I’m actually doing it. Hopefully there will be a great camaraderie between the rhino runners, as well as all the other runners too. Must remember to smile and wave at the TV cameras!

I’m going to put some little treats (like Lemon Puffs) in my kitbag, which will be waiting for me at the finish line, to spur me on! I’ll also be adding blister plasters and a change of clothes, essential post-race items.

I’ll be heading out for a 5.7 mile run in a bit, I haven’t done that route since February so it will be interesting to see if and how I’ve improved my time…

Apologies for the babbling rambling post – need to get my head straight before next week!


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