Posts Tagged ‘Costume’

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!

Rhino costume…ish

March 23, 2009

Thought you readers might appreciate a close-up on the rhino hat, shown below with my lovely Save The Rhino t-shirt!
Me in my rhino hat and running t-shirt

Here are my thoughts on my original rhino costume ideas:

  • The hat is based on a baseball cap which is slightly too small for my enormous head but the under-chin strap I used at Silverstone didn’t seem to do much. There is a strap going round the back of my head, but if I tone the horn down a bit keeping it on my head probably won’t be an issue.
  • The shoulder pads I was originally going to wear would chafe like crazy. They might be made for sport, but not 26-miles-of-running sport. I will probably try to do a 10k or 5k in them so I can say I actually ran in my proper rhino costume.
  • Although I ran in a grey top at Silverstone, I think having someone running next to me in a Save The Rhino t-shirt probably helped people identify what on earth I had on my head! So I will probably be running in the lovely t-shirt in the above pic.
  • I will be running with a felt rhino tail on my bottom. Well, if half a million spectators are going to see my bum, they may as well have something funny to look at 😉
  • I will probably try and make the bottom of my jogging bottoms look like rhino feet. Having something like a rhino foot sculpture covering my foot is a no-no as they have to be able to remove the tracking chip from your trainer at the end of the race but something based on the trousers should be OK.

Does anyone have any great ideas on what else I can do as far as the rhino ‘costume’ is concerned?

Running with a cold

March 9, 2009

Having already covered running in the cold I’d like to turn my attentions to running *with* a cold, as it’s pretty topical at the moment – I have a cold and I’m not running!

I was supposed to do a long (13 + miles) run yesterday but having come down with the aforementioned lurgy I decided not to go. There’s a fine line between making sure you train and breaking yourself if you run when you shouldn’t. I took the advice of this interesting Times Online article and the ‘below the neck’ anaysis – as I had achy joints even before running I figured an unplanned rest day might be in order. I was also very dehydrated, a situation that would not be helped by going out and getting sweaty! And because I had a sore throat it was difficult to do any preparatory carb loading. Sometimes stubbornly carrying on with the training can do more harm than good…and I’m taking solace, after missing my long run, in the fact that my dad had to have an entire *month* off training just before his first London Marathon and still managed to post a decent time!

I found this part of the article very interesting:

However, while exercise does seem to boost immunity, it does so only to a point. Serious athletes or anyone in training for the London Marathon or another endurance event may find their defences are compromised as a result of longer or more intense workouts.

Last time I ran the marathon I avoided all colds until the week afterwards! This time I’ve not been so lucky it seems.

Hopefully I will have recovered by this weekend’s Silverstone Half Marathon (my first race of this year) as I’m hoping to debut the rhino costume. On a side note, I have given up on the paper and wire horn because I just couldn’t get those ridges on the side out. I mocked up a horn out of cotton on the sewing machine in about two seconds flat that looks way better so I’m probably going for that option! I’ll post pics when I’ve made the head of course.

Before the lurgy hit this weekend I was out and about doing a little bucket collection to help with my Save The Rhino fundraising, managed £49.62 in a small country town so I’m hoping to repeat the experience in some larger towns and cities. Please help me with my fundraising by sponsoring me if you can!

Latest on the rhino costume

February 15, 2009

I’ve been hard at work making a rhino horn for my costume, finding old cycling helmets in our shed and generally making myself look ridiculous in the name of charity 🙂

Latest rhino costume

Latest rhino costume

The horn needs a bit more work so that the wire frame can’t be seen, does anyone have any tips? It’s made out of garden wire and tissue paper, and I’m going to have to make another smaller one for the top of my head.

The cycling helmet will be held on with some kind of headband (maybe with some wickaway type material for when I start sweating buckets!), the rhinos mouth will come down over the front of the cycling helmet. I’m thinking of adding some ‘legs’ like the official costumes to hang off the shoulder pads, that way I can decide if I want my arms in them or not ie. when not sweaty, arms are in the legs (as it were), when I start overheating, I can take my arms out of the legs again. As for the back legs, I’m going to probably find some grey jogging bottoms and paint them to look like rhino legs. There’s no point making ‘feet’ to cover my own feet as the London Marathon uses trainer chips to time you (and I guess make sure you’re not cheating!).

I also need to make a tail – half a million spectators will be watching my bottom! 🙂

Visit to Save The Rhino HQ

February 4, 2009

I went to the Save The Rhino HQ today.

Save The Rhino Offices

Having made my way across a very icy (but thankfully sunny) London, I arrived at Save The Rhino’s offices to meet the very helpful Laurence and the rest of the team and try on one of the famous rhino costumes. The offices have so many different rhino pictures and sculptures that I lost count! There are rhinos literally everywhere, as you might expect.

I really wanted to see one of the original famous Save The Rhino costumes, to help me decide what I’m going to do for my home-made costume. It was interesting to see the costumes up close. Here I am with a rhino head (which will be the hardest bit of my costume I think):

Me and the rhino head (complete with glittery lipstick!)

Me and the rhino head (complete with glittery lipstick!)

Here’s me inside the rhino suit!

Me in the rhino costume complete with tutu

Me in the rhino costume complete with tutu

I got to wear the rhino suit that had a tutu added! It was very dark and enclosed in there, I think I was peering out in that picture. I can imagine it would get very sweaty! The skin is actually made of a kind of foam material which is useful to know, although I was told it has a tendency to soak up water (ie rain) very quickly making the costume even heavier! I will definitely be trying to make my costume as waterproof as possible as the last time I did the marathon it rained torrentially. The main body of the suit is held on with straps like you’d find on a rucksack. I was interested in the legs as well, I’d like to do something similar, which I think would be relatively straightforward.

Once back out of the suit we headed back into the office where I got to see one of these adorable cuddly toys in real life (I’m going to have to buy one!). I got the team gathered round the table for a group shot along with a rhino head:

The Save The Rhino team surrounded by rhino paraphenalia in their office

The Save The Rhino team surrounded by rhino paraphenalia in their office


The whole team were very lovely and friendly and welcoming. They were all impressed by the fact I’m making my own costume and said they couldn’t wait to see it – no pressure there then! I definitely have lots more ideas on what to do on my outfit. A very worthwhile trip indeed!

Further thoughts on my costume – with pictures!

February 2, 2009

Now I’ve got various things out of the way (Christmas, study, making things), my attention has turned once again to the contruction of my rhino costume.

I was considering having a rhino head ‘over’ my own head, but as I get quite a hot head normally (don’t laugh!) I’m not sure this is a good idea. Having looked again at the original rhino costumes, I like the idea of the rhino head being in front of me, and not having my head covered. They have frames that the head sits on so maybe I could construct something like that?

I’m having trouble deciding what to cover the shoulder pads with to achieve the desired effect. Here’s me in the shoulder pads, and a rough idea of what I’m aiming for colour- and texture-wise.

Left - before, right - after, in theory, with the addition of a rhino head

Left - before, right - after, in theory, with the addition of a rhino head

(please excuse the lack of mascara and the bad-hair-day-hiding headscarf!)

I thought papier-mache but it might end up too heavy, then someone suggested fibreglass but I’m not sure I have the equipment or expertise to deal with it. The whole thing needs to be waterproof and ideally not too heavy (I’m not a fast runner at the best of times!). Any suggestions are very much appreciated 🙂

Marathon training starts in earnest!

January 6, 2009

Runner's feet

Well, it’s 2009! Hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year.

Reality has just hit and I’ve realised that the marathon is now ‘this’ year instead of ‘next’, so the training starts in earnest now. I’m loosely following a training plan in Runner’s World’s London Marathon newsletter, which means I’m making myself go out and train. I gave myself a generous amount of time off before and over Christmas what with making presents, chilling out and then getting ill with the lurgy that seems to have affected everyone this winter. Now however it’s down to business!

I already cycle to and from work three times a week (a round trip of about 5 miles), and I will be running at least three miles at least every other day.

Once I’ve built up a basic level of fitness I’ll be able to start adding weights on wrists, ankles and shoulders to get my body used to carrying the extra weight of my rhino costume.

I will also be skipping (apparently ten minutes skipping is the equivalent of something like half an hour of running). I’m a bit stuck though on what other cross training I can do. Any suggestions?

First stage of my rhino costume is here!

December 15, 2008

Yesterday, on a cold and misty Sunday morning, I went to pick up some American Football shoulder pads, procured for me by the very helpful Oliver Raffle, General Manager of the Reading Renegades (my ‘local’ team) from one of their team members, Ben.

Me and Oliver with the shoulder pads

Me and Oliver with the shoulder pads


A smile in this pic!

A smile in this pic!


Although it was freezing I decided to stay and watch some of the training – wore me out just watching! Hopefully by the time the marathon rolls round my fitness will be at its peak….

The shoulder pads will form the basis of the upper body of the rhino costume, with the help of a little papier mache and paint. I’ll post pics of the transformation as it progresses. As the pads are designed for sport and movement I’m hoping I won’t have to modify them too much in order to prevent the dreaded chafeing!

Thoughts on my rhino costume

November 21, 2008

I’ve been studying the ‘proper’ costumes used by Save The Rhino International and decided to do a couple of things differently:

1. I’d like to be able to see around, so my costume won’t cover my head the way the StR ones do
2. My costume will include my legs and probably my feet, so I’m planning on nicking some of my brother’s old shinpads to modify 😉
3. My rhino ‘head’ will have a happier expression than the official ones!

At the moment I’m trying to get hold of some American Football shoulder pads to make the top of the body of my costume, as I figure they should be quite easy to run in, relatively speaking, they’re designed to be used in a sport after all…

I’m also trying to work out how I can do the main body of the costume without ending up with the dreaded chafeing 😮

Any ideas greatly appreciated!

More pics of the official costumes here, here, here, ooh another one here including legs and last one here.