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The New Sensible and Responsible Corinne…!

11 Oct

It’s almost 6 months since I visited my cardiologist and received news that my planned season of triathlon was not to be. One by one I cancelled my races in 2013, feeling the financial pain of the situation as well as the physical! Watching all the races was fun but each piece took a little piece away from me. Being honest, I had to almost switch off and ignore anything to do with Roth in July, as pulling out of that hurt so much – hence the holiday to Greece!

After seeing the specialist, I made an effort to reduce my training down, in volume and intensity, incorporating some yoga and gym work to keep me busy. But soon the lore of triathlon was back as I entered a local sprint tri in August. My training was back up to doing two sessions of each discipline every week. A few faster runs, an extra mile or two per hour on the bike, and regular sea swims. All of a sudden, and not surprisingly the chest pain returned – warning signs to slow down. I felt annoyed and frustrated, I was only training for a slow ‘sprint’  and my body couldn’t even manage that??

Those close to me asked me to stop training. I was running myself down and being grumpy most of the time! Letting go of such a big part of your time takes time and a great deal of patience – certainly not my forte!

I’m back to see my cardiologist in two weeks, fully expecting to be told off and given what for, again. I’ve learnt my lesson this time and this dodgy heart of mine is only going to get TLC from now on! Since my surgery 3 years ago, I have completed 3 half marathons, 2 marathons, several 5 and 10k’s, probably 10 Olympic distance tris, 4 half ironman and obviously Ironman Austria. Even though I was told my heart would be as good as new (maybe incorrectly), I don’t think the doctors could have predicted I’d go on to do all that!

Deep down, I felt invincible after my op, like it was a second chance to do whatever I wanted. In a way that’s why I’m not finding it hard to let go or give in. I feel cheated of all the things I still wanted to do and have a feeling that I have much more to give.

Having said that, I think I’ve finally accepted that tri is off the agenda, at least for the foreseeable future. I can’t trust myself to train sensibly so I’m better to have an almost complete break. As to running events next year, I still have hope but we’ll see. Ultimately, there is life outside of triathlon (shock horror). I have so much to look forward to and be grateful for, being selfish is just not an option.

Breaking my toe last week I’ve been told is a godsend, actually forcing me into resting. You may still catch me occasionally sneaking a few lengths in, eagerly pacing around the beach or lifting some weights in the gym, but that’s it.

Here is the new sensible and responsible Corinne. The one who puts health and the future first, not merely thinking of the here and now or giving in to the dreaded training guilt.

Just keep me away from the apple crumble please!

Take A Step

13 Nov

www.takeachallenge.org recently posted a photo with the following phrase: The first step is the hardest – take a step. This really struck a chord with me, especially as that day I had found the diary I kept for my rehabilitation after heart surgery. Each step then was a huge challenge, starting with a walk around the ward. I was told to walk every day and slowly increase the distance. Determination to improve, get better, become fitter and feel ‘normal’ again were the motivating factors.

But what if you lack the motivation to exercise, to take the first step? Or if you have previously had motivation but somehow lost it, what can you do? My personal drive is to focus on a very specific goal, be that a big race, a specific target such as my 6 miles in 60 minutes run goal after my surgery, or a dress to wear in Las Vegas :) If you lose sight of the reasons for wanting to achieve, chances are you won’t see it through.

When I have experienced low points, I have had to remind myself of the importance of health and fitness. I recently had a humbling experience when I went to see a sports cardiologist. Not satisfied with the input I received from the NHS, I sought out a specialist who understood why we do sport. I wanted to get an honest opinion from a professional about how safe it is to continue with training for Ironman, when you have or have had a heart condition.

Whilst there, I had a full set of tests to determine both the state of my heart and my fitness levels. The results were quite pleasing, however, the cardiologist sat me down and literally asked me how many marathons or ironmans I wanted to do. I found that hard to answer but was honest and said I’d like to do as many as possible! He explained that that wasn’t a great idea long term, that my heart as a muscle will never be perfect again and will likely tire if I continue with these endurance events. He also told me that I shouldn’t ever hope to be competitive or go for ‘fast’ times. This conversation was humbling because it put into perspective mortality, health and the reality of living with a heart condition (even if it is ‘better’).

My second method of motivation is thinking of those less fortunate than myself, those who can’t exercise for whatever reason. The consultant I saw does a lot of work with the CRY charity – cardiac risk in the young. With many stories of athletes and non-sporty people who have dropped down dead from an undiagnosed heart condition, how can you not appreciate your own health? This is just a subject close to me, but I believe everyone could relate to a cause or health condition that might have affected a family member or friend.

A friend said the following to me recently: “The ONLY reason I “came back” was to complete an IM.  While there is a lot of other good stuff about life that I appreciate, the dumb IM is the mountain I wanted to climb, and quite frankly, I didn’t much care if it killed me to try since one cant ask for much more than to be living life on the path you want to be on, rather than a path everyone else thinks your life should be on.”   Without realising, I was of a very similar thought process. Before completing Austria, it was my overwhelming goal, to finish, to achieve what I had set out to do. To be completely honest, there isn’t much that could have stopped me finishing that day. It meant that much to me. But on completing my goal, is it realistic to continue to pursue it again, over and over? This was my reason for seeking out a specialist, one who actively promotes sport, is passionate about it and has a desire to help athletes overcome physical obstacles.

When he told me that ironman is not for me forever, I had a sad moment. I thought of all the joy training brings, the build up to the day and the race itself. The experience was the most positive one in my life so I had been keen to continue getting that feeling. The cardiologist then went on to discuss the possibilites of my races in 2013. With the go ahead for 2 iron distance races next year, my sad moment turned into exhilaration. So what if I can’t race forever, I will just enjoy the time I do have and will spend it doing what I love – Ironman!!

 

 

 

Amsterdam Marathon – Marathon No 5!

24 Oct

The build up to Amsterdam followed on from my summer of Ironman training and recovery. It was great to have an aim for the autumn and alongside Vitruvian middle distance, I enjoyed having a focus for training.

Following a tough race at Vitruvian, my training then all appeared to be going well. The long runs I did gave me confidence and all was looking good for Amsterdam! I was really excited about running my second marathon since heart surgery and seeing what I had left in my legs after  a busy year!

Our weekend in Amsterdam was pretty epic, meeting great people and seeing the sights! We made sure got enough rest, sleep and carbs though. Got a few strange looks ordering pasta AND chips :) Compared to a triathlon, it was a whole lot less stressful with organisation!

I was running with one of my best friends and it was brilliant to share the race day experience with her. We got to the Olympic stadium on time, got our positions in the start pen and shivered in the drizzle before the start. This definitely put me off from ever running New York! Once the gun went off, I started off comfortably sitting at 9 minute miles, which was my intended marathon pace. I felt good and confident I could see this through. My head was in it! The miles soon ticked off and all was going well.

Once I got to around 12 miles, we ran along an out and back section along the canal where I could see the half way point. The wind picked up and I tried to tuck in behind other runners to shelter. I believed that I was on track to go though 21k in around 1:58. That’s when it all went a little bit wrong! My legs just couldn’t keep up the pace and I slipped down to 9:05, 9:10 then 9:15 minute miles. I decided to have a gel early in a bid to get some energy and did what I could to perk myself up. I was still determined to chase my goal time, so stuck it out for another couple of miles.

I went through halfway in 2:01 and was a bit disappointed but having run a couple of negative splits for long runs in my training, I thought it was still possible to push on.

After umming and ahhing before the marathon about taking music to listen to, I was really glad I had it for the next few miles. That horrible feeling when you are fighting the strong urge to stop, walk or even give up might just have been too much without my trance-y beats! The middle part of the race is a bit of a blur but as all my marathon photos show, there was a whole lot of pain! In all my races post surgery, there has been a time when I needed to use imagery to get me through a tough section. I usually imagine being in the doctors office being told I couldn’t exercise, or wouldn’t have made 40 or being in hospital post surgery being very frustrated – all dramatic images! None of this worked this time, I was just too far past being able to think clearly!

As I approached the 30k marker, I had a bit of a scary moment where I went really dizzy after stopping briefly to get a drink from the water station. I ran through this and it went off but it was at that point that I subconsciously gave up on 9 minute miles. To be honest, 10:30 felt like an 8:30 pace to me, I was out of breath, exhausted and just wanted it over!

I’ve never been so pleased to see the finishline! I saw the 4:15 pacer just ahead of me so gave it one last push to finish in that time. Not a pb for me, which was initially disappointing but on reflection, I gave it all I had on the day. A marathon is never going to be easy so I’m pleased to have another under my belt! No reason for things to end like they did on the day! The only reason is a whole lot of physical tiredness, which only decides to rear it’s ugly head in a race!

Amsterdam was a great city to visit, had a laugh with friends and really enjoyed the celebrations afterwards! I was pretty tired after Vitruvian but now I have tiredness on a whole new level. There’s only one thing for it, REST REST REST! – for now anyway :)

Heart Surgery To Ironman – October Reflection

25 Oct

Last October, I set myself a target during my recovery from heart surgery. I was 4 months post-op, had been back running for a month and was keen to test my fitness. The aim was to run 6 miles in 60 minutes. I achieved this on the 28th October 2010 and I still remember that run! It hurt every second of the way but the feeling of achievement at the end of it was incredible.

Pre-diagnosis, my running was not improving and those feelings of frustration on a hard run still haunt me sometimes. Pre-surgery, not being allowed to exercise for 5-6 months was mentally tough. Recovery was the first time I felt free to test my body again and this felt even better when I set myself targets such as my October challenge.

Now, a year on, that run symbolised the start of my training as I now know it. Through persistent effort and consistent training, I am now feeling faster, stronger and more confident. Little by little, my running, swimming and cycling times have improved. Beyond figures, how I feel has improved. It’s been a long time since I felt ‘fit’. This week I do and it made me laugh when I saw that it coincides with a similar feeling of satisfaction a year ago.

Occasionally, when I contemplate the extent of what an Ironman involves, it can be overwhelming. I haven’t got years of experience as an athlete but what I do have is strength and determination to see me through my goal.  In additional with this, I am lucky to have a lot of support, plus friends and family who believe in me. I’m very fortunate in having a great coach and appreciate how much having access to his knowledge and experience has helped. I am surrounded by people who have already achieved (several times over!) what I would like to and this makes the otherwise daunting challenge feel almost normal! Inspiration from others should never be underrated.

Through this blog, I have been contacted by more than a few heart surgery survivors, intrigued to know what is possible, how I dealt with recovery and what I feel like now. My story is shared by a few (see www.Ironheartracing.com ) and sharing the motivation to achieve athletically after this experience only spurs me on further. I might have a long scar on my chest that I’m still not comfortable with but being part of this special club makes it worth while.

What have I learnt in the last year? The importance of having a goal, that is regularly reviewed or updated. This is the thing that pushes you out of the door on a cold, dark, windy and rainy morning! It’s also the reason you make sure you have time to work towards your target. My goal is the reason many look at me and say ‘You?’ ‘Are you mad?’  The answer is, yes. Quite probably. But I am committed, happy and am out there to prove that I can do this!

My goal: Ironman!

Vitruvian Half Ironman – Half Way There!

7 Sep

Saturday 3rd September was a date ingrained in my mind since the middle of January. Having set my mind on a year full of races, entering Vitruvian middle distance triathlon seemed a sensible idea and long enough away to not evoke panic! A friend had finished the race in 2010 and fully recommended it, despite giving me horror stories of weeds in the lake and cyclists being disqualified on the bike. A brief discussion on Twitter finalised my decision.

2011 has been a busy year for everything in my life! From half marathon and marathon training over the winter months, to 4 olympic triathlons, I had a race every single month! Work has been insane, feels like I have been making up for having 6 months off last year!

As the date approached, I finally felt ready for the race although facing the idea of half ironman distances is always going to induce butterflies! The week leading up to the race was extremely busy and I made the registration by only 15 minutes on the Friday! A strange calmness overtook me, not at all normal for me pre-race. When the alarm went off at 4am, I was so excited. Today was the day I had been waiting 9 months for!

Arriving at Rutland water in the dark was a surreal experience. I looked around me at other triathletes faffing with bikes, equipment and looking very nervous. After meeting up with friend Claire, we headed for banks of the lake to watch the various waves of male swimmers go off. The two mums were excitable too, finding it impossible to not to be affected by the electric atmosphere. I recognised lots of woman from my previous races and was tapped on the shoulder by many a twitter triathlete! Minutes before I about the get in the water, my dad turned up! It was great to have him there as well and a real surprise.

I briefed my supporters on my expected times, gave them a quick hug then went into the murky water to acclimatise. Others seemed worried but I felt right at home. I stuck to quite near the front of the group, but at the side. As soon as the start gun went off, I went for it. Getting kicked and punched is all part of a mass swim start and I found it very reassuring that I wasn’t getting left behind! I surprised myself by feeling strong all the way round. I was quicker than expected, so much so that my parents were still having coffee when I finished my first lap and briefly entered the lake before heading back in for lap 2.

Headed for transition, my dad shouted at me that I had done 45 minutes for the swim! That spurred me on for the next stage. After a bit of faffing, I got on my bike and headed on on the 52 mile course. I soon arrived at the famous Rutland Ripple, a long drag of a hill which reduced some riders to getting off and walking. At this stage, I was grateful of my training in the VERY hilly Purbecks. Some guys joked that I better not ‘chick’ them, well guess what, I did! I loved the challenge of overtaking, maintaining a good speed and feeling strong. My dad kept driving between locations around the course, shouting words of encouragements and taking lots of photos!

My aim on the bike was not to feel as though I wanted to get it over with. I achieved this as near the end of the second lap, a woman ahead of me shouted back that she couldn’t wait to get onto the run. I didn’t feel the same, if I really had to carry on for another lap, I would have done! Back in transition, I did actually start to look forward to the run. Every triathlete likes to discuss their strongest and weakest discipline. Mine is not that clear cut, whilst I have done more running than anything else, I wouldn’t say that I am a particularly strong runner. I love all 3 disciplines the same!

The run at the Vit is a two lap course, across a windy dam and around a lake. By the time I started on the run, I had been out for over 4 hours. The thought the some competitors had finished by then was unimaginable! I enjoyed seeing people I knew on the run and I tried to encourage others around me who appeared to be struggling. I kept looking down at my watch and realised the aim I had in my mind was more the achievable. As I approached the last part of the run, it all started to feel real.

14 months since my heart surgery, I finished Vitruvian in 6 hours 37. Without my knowledge, my boyfriend’s mum went to speak to the organisers and informed them of my ‘story’. As I approached the finishing chute and after looking at my watch, I was already a little bit emotional. No tears, just an appreciation that my body had allowed me to get this far and proud of what I had achieved this year. Over the microphone as I finished, I heard the words ‘Corinne Ellison you are a Vitruvian!’. The woman then went on to tell the crowds that just over  a year ago I’d had open heart surgery. This prompted the medal-givers to give me extra fuss – queue the tears! At the end, I soon met up with my mum, boyfriend’s mum and lovely friends from twitter, Claire and Lee. I don’t normally cry that much but I was off!

For the rest of the day, I was buzzing and couldn’t get over what had just happened. The support I have had from friends was incredible and I have a lot of people to thank.

So, I am now half way on my journey – from heart surgery to Ironman!

From Heart Surgery to A Marathon – London 2011

22 Apr

After a super busy week coaching, recovering and working,  it is now time to reflect on my long-awaited marathon last Sunday!

The Virgin London Marathon 2011 was, for many reasons, one of those life changing events for me. In October 2009, I was over the moon at receiving a place in the ballot. After lots of previous fundraising, I was almost glad to be relieved of the pressure of badgering friends, family and strangers for donations. My focus was purely on the challenging, improving my running and tackling my fourth marathon. Finding out about my place for VLM came only a month after I had completed the Berlin marathon in 4:41. I had been disappointed with this time and was determined to do better.

Training began well as I kept up my running fitness and joined the local triathlon club (www.zoomtri.com). Most of you reading will know the rest of the story: start of heart-related symptoms, tests and eventual diagnosis of an atrial septal defect in January 2010. Deferring my place for VLM was one of the most difficult parts of the whole experience. My fear was that I would never be able to run a marathon again.

After my heart surgery, my focus was once again firmly on the 26.2 miles round London. During the tough runs, rain and snow, my visualisation technique was lying in my hospital bed feeling frustrated. Remembering the pain of a broken sternum and stitched up heart meant a few interval sessions seemed easy!

As the day approached, nerves set in. My shin splints saga meant I had 4 less than desirable weeks training. I knew that prior to that my training had been more than adequate and I was mentally feeling strong! A busy lead up to the day meant my mind was occupied but I still had chance to go through some race day strategies. My mantra was ‘run tall, race strong’. Tall to stop me slumping when tired, strong to feel powerful and continue my race pace.

This year was my first time at Blackheath and the blue start. I loved it! Despite being a little cramped in Pen 5, the atmosphere was electric. I had my iPod with me for the tough times, but found I hardly needed it. After a slow start until mile 3, I soon settled into my pace. Managing to see my family at mile 9, 19 and 23 really helped. A school friend randomly shouted my name from the crowds which was an unexpected boost!

I passed halfway in 2:03, a little behind but still feeling good. The weariness started to kick in around mile 17. Soon after this, a Twitter friend Tim – @IronmanTD2011 appeared! After chatting for a couple of miles, I felt revitalised and ready to tackle the remaining 10k. Determination kept me going even when I felt a little dizzy at mile 23, remember what I have been through in the last 18 months made me dig in at run faster than ever! I finished strong, happy and feeling that I had given my all.

It was my ultimate aim to go sub 4 hours, and I still think I have this in me! 4:12:55 was more than good enough for this year and I beamed with pride at the finish line. I have been overwhelmed by support from all my family, friends and Twitter army! Thankyou to all who have donated to www.justgiving.com/CorinneEllison4GUCH, listened to my wobbles, given great advice and been an amazing source of support. Special thanks go to Damon, for letting me take time off from our busy life and photo booth hire business to train for the marathon, for always supporting me. Also, to my mum for being the most enthusiastic supporter at each and every marathon. Thankyou to my sponsors – ellasport. For the beautiful kit and all the support along the way! On Twitter, thankyou to Neil @GartsVLM2012, Jason @davmort, Kim @kimingleby, Nick @wombatsVLM, Claire @Claired0 and Candice @caliwi. @IronmanInTrng – we share the same unique journey and your support has been the best. You are all amazing.

SO….what next? With a full season of triathlons kicking off next week, I thought I would be satisfied. But guess what, I need to do another 26.2 – hopefully London 2012! Whilst I have been through my fair share of hurdles and low points in the last 18 months, I know there are many others with a congenital heart defect who are unable to run a marathon. I am the lucky one. My aim is to give people hope that with determination and passion, anything is possible. Whether a jog round the park, or a marathon, exercising when living with a heart condition is a great achievement. 10 months after open heart surgery, I managed to achieve my goal of running one of the biggest marathons in the world. What an incredible experience to share with 35,000 other runners.

Next year will be my year to go long. My journey to Ironman draws even closer – my biggest challenge yet!

Shin Splints Saga

25 Mar

Last week, I was diagnosed with shin splints – 4 weeks before my London marathon! The week previously I had run exactly as planned, 5 times, mixture of intervals, different paces and ending in a 19.5 slow run. Two days later I attempted a club hill session which resulted in a strange pain in my lower legs. I thought I had been working too hard and maybe pulled a calf muscle.

A trip to the physio the next day brought the news. Shin splints! How can this be? I’d had new trainers around 3 weeks before, had sports massages, always stretched, gradually increased mileage. I was in shock and felt quite emotional. Since my diagnosis of with a hole in the heart last January, I had this fixation with running the London marathon once more. I was forced to defer my place from 2010 and throughout my recovery from heart surgery, my driving force was VLM!

I began running in September last year, 8 weeks after surgery. Very slowly I increased both distance and speed. By January, I was able to stick to a sub 4 hour training plan and ran 5 times a week. My speed was at a level I could never have dreamt of before my surgery. As the weeks ticked on, I felt stronger and more confident of achieving an all time best performance.

My injury occured 12 weeks into my schedule. With 4 weeks to go, decisions had to be made. If I am to get though the marathon and really go for it, I have to cut back the running and allow my shins to heal. There is no way in the world I would miss the 17th April – I have put so much time and energy into achieving this goal.

In the last week and a half, I have thrown myself into cross training and have loved it! Had some amazing bike rides, feeling strong and enjoyed being back in the pool. Now, when I am able run  I appreciate it even more.

My plan for the next 3 weeks is:

Run on alternate days (3 times a week), some short and faster, some longer and slower. No more long runs or hills :(

Cycle twice a week, including a long ride at the weekend.

Swim twice a week.

Gym for strength work once a week.

This should keep up my fitness and keep the legs ticking over until the big day! Wish me luck!

If anyone would like to sponsor me for the marathon, please check out my Justgiving page at: www.justgiving.com/corinneellison4GUCH

Marathon Lessons and March Targets

15 Mar

Since my last post after the Brighton half marathon, my world has been a whirlwind of excitement! Running, coaching, business, travelling the country and seeing family. I set myself a target last month of spending an hour a day on self development. What a revelation that has been! In the midst of work related tasks (which for me includes my business role, coaching clients, and running  (a must do before the marathon), I aimed to spend 60 minutes a day reading, writing, listening or studying. In this time, I have covered and revisited 2 amazing books – Stephen Covey’s ’7 habits of highly effective people’ and Brian Tracy ‘Eat that frog’.

What I have learnt in the last 3 weeks:

The importance of listening to others. Through my coaching, I am developing listening skills, picking up on verbal and non verbal language. Covey suggests you must ‘seek first to understand and then be understood’. Last week, I spend a week with my family which meant staying in 3 different parts of the UK, 2 family meals and lots of travelling! I used this time to really listen to each family members conversations and let them open up. An enjoyable experience!

I have also learnt (or remembered) the difficulty and subsequent rewards of marathon training. For the last 3 weeks, I have been running 5 times a week and have increased my long runs (15, 17 and 19.5 miles). This week is my biggest mileage week. Through determination to achieve my target time, I have continued to progress and noticed a real improvement in my running. As I feel this will be my final marathon (apart from the one at the end of Ironman!), I wanted to take stock of what I have learnt training for 4 marathons.

  • Pushing boundaries. With each hill, sprint or group interval session, I felt stronger and more in control. The speeds I can now achieve were completely unthinkable several months ago.
  • Discipline. Training in the UK, over winter is not an easy task. Fitting in 5 runs a week around a 70-80 hour working week is also challenging but I have enjoyed the experience. Early morning runs, late night runs, snow, wind and rain all make for a disciplined athlete.
  • Commitment. Similar to the above but more specifically about sticking to the task. When the going gets tough, injuries or extreme tiredness occurs, commitment is required to keep you going.
  • Accepting and seeing through a challenge. Commitment is the first step, the second step is action. Seeing through your actions is vital to ensure you succeed.

With my coaching clients and myself on past blog posts, I have set monthly targets. My favourite one was aiming for 6 miles in 60 minutes – a specific and quantifiable aim which was satisifying to achieve!

My summer triathlon races are looming, with the first event being on 1st May. For that reason, between now and the London marathon (17th April), I aim to:

  1. Swim once a week (quality session) and get back to the tri club sessions by the beginning of April
  2. Cycle twice a week (one on turbo and another longer ride) building up to 25 miles by 17th April.
  3. Gym once a week to work on core, legs and strengthen the glutes!

This is all achievable if I continue to push the boundaries, commit, dedicate and ‘eat that frog’ first thing every morning (read the book and you’ll see what I’m talking about!).

First Race Since Heart Surgery

22 Feb

So, after much training, heartache and frustration, the day finally arrived for me to race again. The Brighton half marathon was my first ever race when I was very new to running back in 2007. It seemed a fitting race to aim for this year, given that I had to cancel my place last year.

I felt my training had really come on in the last few weeks when I had commited to regular runs, upped my long run mileage and had been back to my triathlon club runs once a week. If I wasn’t ready for the half marathon now, I never would be. On a recent study day, I was coached by a fellow coach who is also a runner / triathlete. He made me think about my nerves about racing, address my limiting beliefs about achieving my target goal and put together a strategy for the big day. This involved visualising the finish line, taking my iPod with me, running with a friend to pace me, amongst other things.

The day before the race, I spent the day in Brighton with friends, trying very hard not to get nervous. Butterflies were flying everywhere in my stomach and I just couldn’t relax. After an lovely pasta meal, we headed back to our hotel for an early night. I struggled to get to sleep and when I did, I dreamt I died and was floating round as a ghost! Disturbing!

All went to plan in the morning, with a good breakfast and arrival at the start line in time. My focus was on maintaining a steady pace – 9 minute miles for the entire course. I was determined to say the least.

Once the gun went off, I held back slightly, not being tempted to lurch forward with the crowd of eager runners. Running with my friends, we soon found our pace and I felt surprisingly comfortable at 8:50 min/miles. Around the course, I had several moments where I battled with tiredness but I soon shook these off when friends waved at me in the crowd. Knowing the course and area helped me and I reminsced about running in Brighton whilst training for my first London marathon. I felt overwhelmed at how much things have changed in the last 4 years.

At 12.5 miles, fatigue really kicked in. The first doubts about not finishing strongly came over me. My friend pep talked me to the max and I somehow continued my pace…all the way to a 1:57:04 finish. I couldn’t have been more pleased! It was the most incredible feeling to have achieved my goal, having never experienced this before. Whilst I had completed a marathon and felt ok, I had never achieved a time I was proud of. Until now!

A day later, I am still glowing and get little bursts of happiness when I think of what I’ve done. 8 months after heart surgery, I am feeling stronger than ever. I just can’t wait for the London marathon and an exciting summer of triathlons. I am now the proud owner of my ellasport outfit and can’t wait to try them out – photos coming soon!

Bring it on!!! :)

Brighton half marathon

Brighton half marathon

Brighton half marathon

Brighton half marathon

Brighton half marathon

Brighton half marathon

ellasport – My Lovely New Sponsor!

9 Feb

After my exciting news last week, I thought I’d share a little about my sponsors – ellasport and founder Pamela Oelerich. Pamela explains her mission behind the women’s athletic brand is to provide every woman with athletic apparel that is designed to complement her body and make her feel good about herself’.

From writing this blog and my recent life experiences, I found many similarites between ellasport and my mission in life. Pamela says “I want to empower women to find their inner confidence and motivated self – the one that knows no limits – so they can reach their health and fitness goals.” This is something I am focusing on myself and want to share my experiences with other women, regardless of their current fitness levels.

A little about ellasport by Pamela:

“Though ellasport was officially founded in 2006, development began when I kicked my first soccer ball at age 6 and complained to my mom, “my shorts fit funny”. Frustration with the fit of my athletic apparel started early in life and was an issue as I grew up and shopped for apparel in different sports. I thought there was something wrong with my body because the apparel didn’t fit me properly. The whole experience made me feel terrible about myself! However, I noticed that when I wore the one tank and Capri pants that fit me well and that I feel good in, I always had an amazing workout no matter what I was doing! I thought to myself, if only all my workout clothes made me feel this good about myself, I would workout so much more! On that day, ellasport was born and my mission made clear.”

I can’t wait to get my new ellasport outfit – pictures coming soon! As a woman, it is important to both feel and look good when exercising. Take a look at the ellasport website and read about the collection. The Power Capris even have compression, meaning your bum will look great! With my first race – the Brighton half marathon – in less than 2 weeks, I’m looking forward to running my first race as an ellasport athlete :)