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Lydd 20 Miles for London Marathon training

Today I took on the challenge of running 20 miles as part of my training for the London Marathon. I booked this race last year, knowing it would fall at a perfect time for my London Marathon training. I am so glad I did this with hundreds of other people as I think I would have really struggled if I attempted such a huge distance on my own around town.

When I did my 18 mile run, a friend joined me for 14 miles of it and the rest I did on my own. Not having any marshalls, water breaks, or an atmosphere of people cheering me on made the distance even more challenging. I think when you hit the half marathon point, anything extra is more of a mental challenge than physical.

I had put today at the back of my mind in the weeks leading up to the race because I really didn’t want to stress myself out thinking about it. The nerves definitely got the better of me before I left the house this morning. I felt sick and unsure if I would be able to finish the distance.

Things changed when I got to the race though. The buzz of seeing my friends really helped to get me psyched to race. When the race started and the music was going I felt ready to do the challenge. A lot of people who were there today were also training for marathons. It was great chatting to people along the route and that definitely killed some time.

Quite a few of my friends were doing the half marathon distance which took place along the same route. One of the highlights of the run was seeing those I knew running past me as they headed back along their half marathon route. Things started to go a bit downhill when I got to the point where the 20 milers headed off in a different direction. The fun of seeing the half marathon runners run past had ended and it was now down to me and my fellow 20 milers to get through the next 13 miles.

The next two miles were really tough, the scenery became a bit boring and the sun came out which meant I was battling against the heat. It was only when some of the speedy 20 milers started running past that things became a bit better again. I saw a few of my friends and highfiving each other as we ran past added some excitement and certainly killed some time.

The hardest bit of the race was after turning the corner for the home stretch at 10 miles. It had felt like the longest distance ever. I have run several 10 mile distances now, but that one felt by far the longest. At first the excitement of turning back was great, but very quickly it dawned on me that I had to do everything I had just done AGAIN.

At 12 miles I got chatting to a really nice lady called Kelly. We realised that we were both running the London marathon for the same charity, Arthritis Care and Research. Considering this is one of the smaller charities, it was so unexpected that we would ever run in to eachother.

Kelly was great, her phone was playing the best playlist of some of my favourite musicians; James Bay, P!nk, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Jess Glynn and so many more! She also came equipped with tissues, jelly babies and lucozade, so all of a sudden I felt better and safe. We both took on a bit of a walk/run pattern together and that made a really challenging few miles so much easier. At 17 miles I told Kelly to go on, my legs were aching a lot and I felt like I was pulling her back.

A couple of miles earlier we had got talking to another really nice girl called Hannah. Hannah caught me up at mile 18 and she was who I ended up finishing the race with.  We pushed each other forward for the last two miles. It was tough and painful.

I love a sprint finish whenever I do a race. As I turned the corner, I saw my mum and dad cheering me on and bolted to the finish line. It was pretty emotional. The crying almost effected my breathing, but running through the inflatable finish sign was just the best feeling.

1 Epsom bath, large Starbucks coffee, 2 Instagram posts and 3 episodes of The Good Place later and I’m feeling a bit better, however my blisters on my toes are very painful and my legs are throbbing in pain.

During the race, I remember thinking to myself ‘why am I doing this?!’ But nothing can beat the feeling of finishing a long race, seeing your family cheering you on and knowing you gave it your all.

Today really was incredible. I can’t believe I did it. I was much slower than I would have liked at 3 hours 54, however if I go at the same pace for the London Marathon then I should be fine to achieve my goal of a sub 5 hour.

14 things that have made marathon training a bit more enjoyable

I was fortunate enough to find out from my charity that I had a place back in June. Most people don’t hear until at least October so I guess I had a bit of a head start with my training. This allowed me a bit more time for trial and error and to figure out what helps me both mentally and physically. There are a few things I’ve discovered that make training that little bit easier/more fun:

1. Joining a running group

Due to work commitments, I can’t run with my club every week, but being part of one has really helped me. To have a group of like-minded friends who are all also training for a marathon or other running events makes it less daunting. There is always someone to ask for advice about running gear and different races and always someone to give you a kick if you’re starting to lose motivation. Everyone in a running group is (usually) really supportive and it’s a great way for making new friends.

2. Route planning
I find route planning before a run is the best thing to do. To know where you are running before you get there is just a bit easier for the mind. As you pass certain points it feels like you are ticking off the long list of things you need to pass before you’ve completed your run.

3. Treat ya’ self!

Running gear is expensive. However buying new running gear always hypes me up for a run as I can’t wait to wear it! Even if it’s some snazzy new touch screen running gloves, or a new headband, I think it’s important to treat yourself to new running gear where you can. You are training bloody hard, you deserve it.

4. Trial and error
Try energy gels, new shoes or new running gear on 10k runs or less, don’t use them on a long run day or race day until you know they are going to work for you. I made the error of trying energy gels on a 16 mile run. It was not pleasant.

5. Books

I’ve read a few running books that I recommend. They are true inspirational stories of others who have ran the London Marathon before. The books I have read are Run Like A Girl by Alexandra Heminsley, Your Pace or Mine? by Lisa Jackson and Don’t Stop Me Now by Vassos Alexander. Reading these books just makes you want to get up and go out for a run!

6. Strava
Strava is great for tracking your stats from running and comparing your time with past runs you’ve done of the same distance. It’s also interesting to see who else has ran a particular route before you and at what pace they ran it. If you haven’t heard of Strava, it is basically Facebook for runners/cyclists. I’ve tried RunKeeper, which is a similar model, but actually prefer Strava. I find the online running community on Strava is larger than RunKeeper and I find the app in itself a little easier to manage. It is free to use (unless you go Premium) and is a really great tool.

7. ParkRun

Oh, Park Run <3 Most towns/cities will have at least one park run. You can find one near you on their website.  It is free to sign up online and free to attend. You can print your personal barcode from their website and take with you for them to scan after your run. Most ParkRun events take place on a Saturday morning at 9am. After the run they send you an email with your time. It is great for self improvement as each week you’ll want to compete with yourself from the week before to try and improve your time. The first time I went to ParkRun I found it really daunting. Everyone has their own little circles and being a newbie is scary. Be bold and confident and introduce yourself! Everyone is so friendly.

8. Plan

It goes without saying, but plan! Decide what days you are going out and what days you’ll be resting during the week. If you know what days you are training, there is more chance you’ll stick to it and you will feel more prepared when you do it. I have been working with a great Personal Trainer in my area called Reece Edmonds from REPT Fitness. I pay £25 a session and each session is 1 hour long. Reece has planned all my weeks for me so that I am not over working or under working each week. I would definitely recommend this, if you can afford to do it. This is my trainer’s Facebook page.

9. Get involved

For the London Marathon in particular, there are events organised in advance of the marathon. These are there to help you with your training. If you are running for charity then go to any events your charity plans. If you live further out then it is hard to get to everything, but if you can then I definitely recommend going to meet your run team.

10. Enjoy your fundraising

Fundraising is really hard. It’s the bit you don’t expect to be hard. Some people who you think will support you just won’t! You can’t rely solely on donations from friends and family. This is such a huge thing and you want to raise as much as you can so plan some fun things, as disappointing as it may be when certain people don’t support you with what you are doing, don’t let that get you down. Pub quizzes, music gigs, bake sales. They are stressful, I won’t lie, but so worth it when they finally take place. It is a great way to get all your friends and family together. Enjoy it!

11. All the gear, no idea

Who knew running could be so expensive? It doesn’t have to be, but I think having better gear does help. I invested in a running watch. It was pretty pricy but having one is so much better than relying on my mobile. There is nothing more disappointing than finishing a long run and realising your phone didn’t record anything! I also spent out on a hydration pack for long runs as I find it so much more comfortable than carrying a water bottle. Some things are just worth spending the money on if it is going to make training a bit easier.

13. Instagram
I started an Instagram account last Summer to log photos of my journey. I have followed lots of other London Marathon runners and there is a whole online community who support eachother. It’s really nice to be part of that.

You can follow my page @marshmallowstomarathons

14. Pre Marathon Races

I have now done about 8 different races since I signed up for the marathon and I really recommend doing them. The atmosphere and the excitement of getting a medal really does help gear you up for the big day. After a race I am always full of energy and motivation. Besides, running long distances with others if much better than running on your own right? And you get a medal at the end! I think it is a good idea to mix your runs so you are not always running with others or always on your own. It’s good to do a bit of both.

So there you go. The things I have found helpful with my training so far! This may not help everyone, some people may have other ideas of what helps them. But hopefully it is useful!

Thank you for reading!

Living With Someone in Marathon Training (by Joe)

I know, I know. I’m not the one going through the hardship here. But still, there’s certain things you need to be prepared for if your other half decides to do something ridiculous- like run the London marathon for example. Mel’s doing a ton of training and I’m incredibly proud of her- but there’s things that you’ll face as the partner of a trainee that I for one wasn’t expecting.

The training

Ok, so I was aware that running 26.2 miles would involve some training. I think if it were me I’d need.. actually no, I’d never do it. But yeah, a lot of training is involved. Some of it very early. Training for something like this can’t just be done on a weekend, it has to be done before or after work too. Mel mixes this up. So some evenings I don’t get to see her if she’s doing a run or having a PT session. This isn’t too bad. I write a lot and evenings are normally when I’m able to be at my most creative. The 05:45 alarm clock that goes off a couple of times a week though- not so fun. Sure, some people get up at that time every day. This household is not one where people like that live. But basically, just be prepared to see much less of them whilst the training is going on. Be supportive about it and think ahead to the day the marathon is done when you’ll get them back again. And if you do start to get annoyed, just sit back and think “at least I’m not out running in this weather”; it really helps.

The Food

This will likely only have an impact on you if you share meals. Mel is now on a diet that even a rabbit would turn its nose up at. OK, it’s not quite that bad, but when you love steak and one of your friends on Instagram sends you daily pictures of some of the best food I’ve ever seen, well it become tiresome. You can handle this in a number of ways. You can cook your own stuff, although as I pointed out, the cooking time for meals would double (I mostly do the cooking) and the cost of food would jump up. If you’re fine with that, then you have no problem. I’m not fine with that, so yesterday I had a fish cake and some sweet potato mash. I was left with a feeling that I hadn’t really eaten anything. But, I also look at it as a chance to be healthier myself. With a wedding getting ever closer, it is a good time to lose some weight and at least I don’t have to go run x amount of miles before or after it. Whatever you do though, don’t complain about the meals. From personal experience, this can lead to a dramatic storm out of the room and complaints that you aren’t being supportive. Again, grin and bare it while trying to see the positives. You’re still putting in far less effort on a day to day basis than they are.

The, erm, well the farting

I remember when I was about 18 or so and I was in a relationship with someone whos sister used to do a lot of running. My girlfriend at the time told me how bad her sister smelt when she farted as a result of the excercise she was doing and the food she was eating as part of her diet. I recall thinking “at least I don’t have to deal with that”. Fast forward far too many years and now I’m dealing with that. This likely won’t be a problem that every marathon runner’s other half faces but in my case, I’m dealing with farts that make me jump at least three times a night. It’s barbaric. I was watching an action movie earlier today and I heard it over the TV-she was two rooms away. She was never like this before (mostly) and it started not long after her training began so I can only hope and pray that the two are linked. Basically, just grin and bare it. Leave the room if it gets too bad. I had to at 2am not too long ago. I’m hoping this side effect diminshes farly quickly after the marathon is complete.

There’s other things you’ll have to deal with. They’ll be tired a lot more so, certain activities, not be quite as enthusiastic as they once were. You’ll have to help with various fundraising events which can actually be fun, and you’ll have to be on hand to assure them that they won’t fail miserably. On average this is once a day, sometimes more. Oh and don’t forget to sponsor them – that’s definitely one way to get in the bad books. Speaking of which, here’s a link to her fundraising page if you have a little to spare. She’d appreciate it!


But really, you don’t have to do too much more other than being there for them when they need someone to be supportive and reassuring. I can’t even imagine running to catch a train on time, let alone running a bloody marathon. With Mel, I’ve seen how much effort she’s putting into this and I couldn’t be more proud of her. Of course, her bodily functions of late have also made me a little scared of her, but above all else I can’t wait to see her complete it and get her medal at the end; she will 100% deserve it.

2017 highlights

2017 was mad. Just mad. It wasn’t easy narrowing down the highlights for this post as it was such a crazy and busy year, but I think below are my top favourite moments…

Dublin for St Patrick’s Day 🍀

In March myself and two friends took a trip to Dublin for their St Patrick’s Day carnival. This was such a fun trip. We stayed in an Air BNB. Everything was so overpriced, so all we could afford, that wasn’t 10 miles away from everything, was a room in a Polish family home. They were very nice and accommodating and didn’t mind that we were pre-drinking until 11pm and stumbling in around 4am each day.

We dressed head to toe in green all weekend, went to a lot of fun bars and pubs, whilst also doing the dutiful touristy activities and experiencing some traditional Irish culture.

London to Brighton 🚴

The first half of my year was spent mostly training for my London to Brighton cycle. Most weekends I was squeezing in long distance cycles across the county with friends. It made me appreciate the beautiful areas that surround Ashford. We cycled through the forests, past the sea, up cliffs, through wheat fields (Theresa May, eat your heart out).

Finishing London to Brighton was so rewarding. Somehow I managed ‘The Beacon’, which is the biggest, longest and most brutal hill EVER. I didn’t actually plan to cycle this, it actually happened by accident. It’s a cheeky hill. It starts relatively steep but manageable. So I didn’t actually know I was on it to begin with. It was only when I noticed everyone around me (even some serious looking male cyclists dressed head to toe in expensive lycra pushing very demeaning looking bikes) that I realised I was 1/4 up the Beacon. I spotted my friend half way up and she shouted some motivational words at me. It was adrenaline more than anything that got me up. When I got 3/4 of the way up, I decided I had come too far to quit and carried on until I collapsed at the top. It was the hottest day of the year and was such a challenge that day but the feeling at the end when we finished together was just incredible and quite emotional.

London Marathon place 🏃 

In June I found out I would be running the London marathon for Arthritis Care. This is a charity that means a lot to me as my mum suffers with it in both of her knees. I was both terrified and grateful when I received the call.

Since I got my place, my best friend and I have teamed up to fundraise together as she will be running for Mencap. We had a successful pub quiz, did two charity bootfairs, were featured in our local paper, I did some bake sales at work and best of all, we organised a music gig which was a huge success and we raised £800 between us.

Belfast 🤓

Every year there is a huge Arts Marketing Conference held by the association (AMA). It’s in a different city every year and this year it was in Belfast. During the day there are various seminars and some are really inspiring. Then in the evening there are organised social events where you can network with other like-minded individuals and put faces to names that you email on a daily basis. It was a fun few days and visiting Belfast was definitely a highlight of my year.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

I work in the arts and I had never been to Fringe. I had also, until recently, never been to Scotland! So this year I decided to change that and my mum and I went to spend a few days at Fringe. Anyone who hasn’t done this should definitely give it a go. I really want to go back.

There is something for everyone. Edinburgh is a beautiful city and every corner of every venue, bar, club, closet is used for something different be it comedy, magic, plays, dance, theatre. There are also a lot of free shows. We saw so much in the time we were there. When we weren’t watching a show, we were exploring the city. I even took part in the Edinburgh park run along the promenade.

VFestival ✌️ 

The week after Fringe I was off to V Festival with my mum to see one of my musical heros, P!nk, who never fails to put on a show. I was glad my mum got to see her live with me. She loved it. There were some great acts across the weekend and we were quite lucky with the weather.

Reading Festival 🎤

Joe and I hired a car and drove to Reading for the day to see Eminem. This was my first time at Reading and it was massive. I barely saw much of the festival itself as we were only there for a day and it was so busy. We found a ‘safe area’ and stuck to it for most of the evening. We did get pretty close to the front for Eminem but claustrophobia kicked in, so we spent 20 minutes of the show trying to escape the crowds. We eventually found a great spot on the outside of the crowds which gave us a much better view and we could move our arms above our heads without taking out somebodies eye with our elbows.

My 1st half marathon 🎽

I took part in my very first half marathon in Canterbury for the Pilgrims Hospice charity. This was a tough challenge. The weather was unbearably hot. But it was so incredible. Finishing that race and seeing my family and Joe waiting for me at the end meant so much to me.

Iceland- our 4 year anniversary/proposal! 💍

In September Joe and I took a little trip to Iceland to celebrate 4 years together. I would recommend this country to anyone. We stayed in an Air BNB in Rekjavik but spent the majority of our time driving around the country in our hire car. I’ve never been somewhere so pure and so stunning. It was the trip of a lifetime, we saw waterfalls, we experienced the Northern Lights…. and we got engaged! Joe popped the question and of course, that was the biggest highlight of my year.

Theatre week 🎭

I had a crazy week where I watched not one, but three theatre shows! After a year and a half of waiting I finally went to see Cursed Child with some friends, which was just as incredible as I had hoped. I also got to experience The Book of Mormon again and took Joe who hadnt seen it before. I then saw The School Of Rock which was amazing. I had the pleasure of watching so many great shows last year. Other favourites include Aladdin, The Addam’s Family and The Curious Case Of The Dog In The Night time.

On the road with Sting 💼🛫

I then went on a crazy 3 day road trip with musical hero, Sting, for work. We visited 5 cities in 3 days; Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dublin, Manchester and Liverpool. 3 days I’ll never forget.

Prague 🇨🇿

Straight after getting home from travelling the UK and Ireland with Sting I was onto another plane within 24 hours to visit the stunning Prague with my mum. It was cold, but it was beautiful. The Christmas markets were great and I have been craving Chimney cakes ever since.

New Years Eve 🎆
Joe and I had a perfect cosy night in for New Year. Now we are saving for our nuptials we decided to stay home and watch movies. It was lovely. Then at midnight I received a call from one of my best friends to say she was engaged and it was such a perfect way to end one year and to start another.

Happy New Year, everyone!



How I am fundraising for my London Marathon charity place

When signing up for the London Marathon, all I initially thought about was the physical commitment. The financial commitment didn’t really cross my mind. I didn’t anticipate that the fundraising would actually be a huge part of this challenge and at times it can be really tiring as well. Below are the fundraising things I have done so far and also what I still plan to do between now and the marathon. Hopefully if you are reading this and looking for fundraising inspo – this may help!

  1. Bake sales

Never underestimate the power of cake! I did a bake sale at work a month ago and was really surprised with how well it went down. If you work in a small team, then you could try organising one amongst friends and family.

A few colleagues offered to bake for me. We made over £100! As this was such a success I have planned another bake sale for next week which will be Bake Off/Halloween themed. Those who are baking are competing for the title of ‘Star Baker’ and will win a small prize. The Star Baker will be voted by everyone who purchases a cake. As the Bake Off final is the same day, its perfect timing!

2. Pub quiz

I did a pub quiz last month and so many friends and family members turned up. This was a joint event that I organised with my friend Fil, who is also running the London Marathon.

The pub quiz was on a Thursday night (almost all pubs will refuse to do this on a weekend without charging). The pub staff were very supportive on the night. They organised the Quiz Master, who gave up his evening in exchange for a few beers, the pub also helped out with other things such as decorating and selling the raffle tickets for us. On top of this they donated a couple of bottles to the raffle. Not all pubs will be as generous, I think we were very lucky.

The prize for the winning team was half of the kitty, however the Quiz Master asked the winning team if they wanted to donate their winnings back to the charity. The winning team was made up of family and friends, who were obviously happy to do this.

We also bought some chocolates and alcohol and ran a raffle on the night which was very popular. We split all the takings from the night between both charities.

3. Music gig

On 4th November my friend and I are holding a music gig. We contacted multiple bands and singers months ago and in the past few weeks a few have had better offers come up and dropped out, which is always a risk, luckily have now found replacement acts.

For ‘Music for Marathon’, I designed some leaflets and we have been handing them out around the town.

At the event we are also doing a few games like ‘guess how many sweets in the jar’ and we have put together a raffle with some great prizes. We contacted local businesses such as theatres, escape rooms, independent restaurants and shops and who came back and were very happy to offer us something. We did only hear back from about 5% of the people we contacted though – so be prepared for this if you decide to do something similar.

The event is being held at a music venue which is owned by a close friend, but most music venues will be happy to do something if you give them enough notice (3-4 months in advance).

4. Charity bootfair

A couple of months ago Fil and I did a charity bootfair. We sold things we no longer wanted and also put some posts on Facebook to see if any friends or family had anything they were happy to give away. We received many generous donations for this. On the day we decorated the stall with balloons our charities had sent us and also made some bunting and signs so people could see it was for charity. This went very well and we made £200.

Ahead of the bootfair we contacted the organisers and mentioned we would be doing it for charity. They allowed us to have the pitch for free.

5. Work sweepstake

Closer to the marathon I plan on running a sweepstake where people will pull from the hat a finishing time. Whoever gets the time closest to the time I finish will take half of the money raised, the rest will go to charity.

6. Social media

I am being careful not to bombard my social media followers with requests for charity, however every 1-2 months I am posting my link and usually I receive one or two donations from people. Most people will likely donate much closer to the event though.

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I know what I am doing for Halloween! #Ad

Last month a few friends and I were discussing what to do for Halloween this year. We went through various websites but it seemed difficult to find something to do that doesn’t have a big price tag attached to it. For instance, to go to a theme park event you’re looking at a cost of around £50 per person, plus you still have to get there and pay for food on top of the entry fee.

One of my friends has a 5 year old daughter so we’ve been looking into all options for something fun, accessible and cheap to do, during the day, that she can enjoy and that we can all enjoy with her.

This year, we will all be heading to Bromley town centre for their huge street event. There is so much to do for people of all ages, including pumpkin painting, sugar skull decorating and you can watch a professional carve pumpkins (I kind of wish I had ‘Professional Pumpkin Carver’ as my job title, just saying).
We are also going to try the trick or treat trail. There will be ten painted skulls hidden in the window displays of The Glades Shopping Centre, if you find them all you win a Halloween treat. I love hunting for things, I think I get more involved than the kids. I’m the same at Easter egg hunts, I won’t give up until I find them all. I actually once spent a day walking around the local shopping centre trying to find the seven dwarves for a Snow White pantomime competition. The competition was aimed at people who were a third of my age, but I took part anyway.

The thing thats really good about this event is that in the evening the space gets transformed into a Mexican Day of the Dead celebration. After spending the day there, we will be going back to get changed and then the ‘grown ups’ will be going back dressed in our costumes for the evening activities.

There will be fire performers, a performance from the Voodoo Love Orchestra and adult face painting. All the food and drink for the event is being provided by Benitos Hat (I am yet to find somewhere who makes burritos as good as Benitos Hat do), there is going to be churros, street food, margaritas and mexican beer.
Entry is completely free for the entire event and Bromley is right on our doorstep, so why not! I am going to be going dressed as a sugar skull, so I’ll probably look like the mascot for the event.

For full details and to reserve your free place during the day or evening, you can visit www.yourbromley.com/DOTD

A reflection on my marathon journey so far

I’ve been training now for 6 months. There have been times where I’ve wondered why I’m doing this, when I can’t pull myself out of bed at 5am to go and train, times where as I’m running all I want is for it to be over. I’ve had times where I wished I could do better and I’ve had moments where I just want to quit, to withdraw my place from the marathon and say ‘I am not good enough’. Being a runner takes work and not just physically, a lot of it is mental work. But being a runner is an amazing, life changing experience.

When I say the words ‘I am a runner’ I say them with pride. I’m proud of my hobby and although I still have a long way to go before I am ready to take on London, I know I can do it.

On Sunday I took part in the Givaudan 10k which is my local 10k run. It is an annual event and this year it sold out. The whole Ashford running community came out to run Sunday and I felt so emotional and so proud to be running alongside so many amazing people. As I ran through the streets that I grew up in and past spectators who knew me, calling out my name, I felt so humble. I just can’t put into words how much I loved it.

I have met so many incredible people in the past 6 months. Similar to me, a lot of them lost a lot of weight and they’re now running to get fitter and better. This is what makes running such a good sport. I do it for nobody other than me. When I run, listening to music, it’s just me, my music and my thoughts and I feel like I can take on the world. I run, not to compete with others, but to compete with myself.

In April I couldn’t run 5km without stopping to catch my breath, now I am running through my home town with experienced runners and I fit in. As I look back on this incredible journey so far I just cannot believe what I’ve achieved. I ran one of the hardest half marathons in the UK. I did a 10mile run on a Thursday evening, after a long day at work, without stopping. I got a sub 27 pb at ParkRun just a few weeks ago. I’ve always been somebody to go out there and grab the bull by the horns. That’s just me. But out of everything I’ve done in my life, becoming a runner is the thing that’s filled me with the most pride.

I never set out to get into running. If I am being totally honest, I hated the idea of it. The idea of cars driving past as I’m sweaty and gross? No thanks. I used to run on the treadmill at the gym and I started to really enjoy it, as I saw the progress each time, I wanted to do more of it. It got to the point that whenever I went to the gym, most of the session was spent on the treadmill. I would imagine my family and friends cheering me on as I ran a big race. Then that vision became a vision of me completing the London marathon, then the next thing I know I’m signing myself up to do it. One of my best friends is a really experienced runner. She and I would go for runs in the morning. I was awful! I had to stop every few seconds. But she really inspired me and encouraged me and now we are both running the marathon next year together. I am so thankful to her for pushing me in this direction.

Training through the Winter is going to be tough. Cold, dark and early mornings. I’m dreading them. But I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.

Follow my journey in pictures on Instagram: @marshmallowstomarathons

There comes a time

My elder family members have always told me that there comes a time in life where you just stop caring what people think of you or trying to impress. I think I am reaching that point. I have spent so much of my life worrying if people don’t like me and going out of my way for people and recently I have just stopped. Why should you have to try for people? Friendships and relationships should come naturally. They can’t be forced and if they are, well then they aren’t genuine.

I own a t-shirt with a quote on it that I absolutely love ‘expect nothing, appreciate everything’. The moment you stop expecting anything from anyone you’ll feel so much happier. How can people let you down if you expected nothing from them in the first place? Sure, there are general expectations from relationships that come as standard, but asides from that, just find happiness in you. Don’t look for it in anyone else.

Joe and I got engaged last month [[insert huge smiley face emoji here]]. This is one of the biggest, most exciting things, that could ever happen to me. It has been interesting though, to see how the reactions differ between friendships. Some friends and family members cried as they were so happy and excited for us, there were a couple of friends who didn’t really show any interest though. At first I was disappointed by this, then I thought more into it and and simply decided ‘fuck ’em’.

Another friend who is getting married this month said to me a few weeks ago that she learned who her true friends were when she started planning her wedding and I now totally get what she means. There will be people who are unhappy for you because it isn’t them, there will be others who have an opinion of how you want your day to be, there will be people who show an interest when actually they aren’t happy for you, they are just nosy, then there will be others who just don’t show any interest at all, but screw it. I know who my true friends are. I know who I want to be a part of my big day and ultimately this isn’t about anything other than me marrying my best friend.

I have a great support network around me of friends and family. Since getting a place in the London Marathon and getting engaged, it has taught me so much. But actually the one thing I have learned is don’t pay attention to those who aren’t there for you, just value those who are. I have the best family and best friends. With training for a marathon, working full time in London and now planning a wedding, I don’t have time to try for anyone else. You are either part of my life, or you’re not. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

So folks, the message in this post is stop caring about people who don’t give a sh*t about you and just value those who do. Part of getting older is realising that actually you don’t like people very much anyway.

The 5 things I discovered for losing weight

A few weeks ago I shared a photo on my Instagram (@marshmallowstomarathons) of a photo I found of myself from a girls holiday to Zante 6 years ago vs a bikini photo of me now. After posting the photo I received quite a few messages from people asking for recommendations and it made me feel quite emotional. To know I’ve got to a point in my journey where I can hopefully inspire others is such an incredible thing.

I have learnt a lot over the past few years. The main thing I have learnt is that dieting isn’t an overnight thing. It is a lifestyle change. This is why it took me 6 years of yo-yo dieting and the occasional plateau before I finally got to a size I feel happiest. This journey has been as much about educating myself as it has been about waking up for those 6am hiit sessions. Learning about dieting and exercise is what has helped me most. I was clueless in 2011. I thought that if I would just cut everything out of my diet and only eat Rye crackers, the weight would just fall off me.

FYI, the Rye crackers diet lasted 3 days before I went out and bought a Big Mac meal.

I thought I would share with you all the top 5 things I learned about losing weight and what got me to the point I am at now.

1. Don’t use sad steps
Joe Wicks calls scales ‘sad steps’ and I fail to find a better name for them. The last time I weighed myself was over a year ago. When I was weighing myself it was once a month minimum. Now, my only measurement is how I feel. The problem with the scales is that when dieting and exercising your weight will fluctuate. You will have weeks where the weight is dropping off you and then occasionally you’ll have a week where nothing shifts. That doesn’t mean your body isn’t losing weight.

You will also have some weeks where you’ll suddenly gain a few pounds and you’ll completely freak out. That is normal too. That doesn’t mean that the sneaky sugar cube you added to your coffee earlier in the week has made you fat. If you are exercising, you must remember that muscle weighs more than fat. So some weeks you’ll weigh more before you weigh less. If you’re sticking to your plan then rest assured, your body is doing what it needs to.

2. Change the way you look at other people
The moment I stopped looking at people on Facebook and Instagram and comparing myself, that’s when things started to get easier for me. I fully encourage following fit and healthy people on instagram. I follow more hot women on instagram than men, because I like inspiration. I don’t look at them to compare myself, I look to them for support and to idolise. When my alarm goes off at 5.30 and I am scrolling through Instagram with one eye open, it helps to suddenly see Kayla Itsines’ abs. It makes me push myself out of bed and go and work for my own abs.

3. Dieting isn’t about cutting everything out
Dieting is about customising what you eat. Making gradual changes rather than going cold turkey on everything. I made gradual adjustments to my diet over time. So I first cut out chocolate, did that stop me eating carrot cake? Christ no. I just knew chocolate was something I needed to cut out and it has now been 6 years since I last eat it! Cut out some things, not all. Give up fast food, but still treat yourself occasionally. Maybe limit to once a month to begin with. That’s what I do. If you love fizzy drinks, trade them all in for coke zero to begin with. Limit yourself to one a day. Reduce your portion sizes, small portions but more regularly.

4. Daily adjustments
In addition of doing my morning workouts I also made adjustments to my day. For example, I avoid lifts and take the stairs all the time. I very rarely get the tube and I now walk to the office or to meetings. We sold the car which has also encouraged us to walk more. Walking is something I now enjoy. I hate being stuffed into a busy tube or lift. I much prefer walking and I’ve found that in some cases it’s actually quicker!

5. Meal prep
My biggest flaw used to be that I’d grab food on the go when work was busy, don’t get me wrong, I still have my moments. But I now prep meals. I buy sandwich ingredients on a Monday and make my sandwich at lunchtime. On a Sunday I cook our meals for the week and we always plan what we are eating each day. Having a plan stops you from considering a McDonald’s, which let’s face it, is so much easier to do than to deciding what to cook when you’re hungry.

Over time I have made so many changes to my lifestyle but I will never look back. I very rarely get food guilt now. When I have a cake, or on the occasions I do have a takeaway I enjoy it. I don’t have any food regrets at all. It’s taken a long time to get here, but these are the main things which have helped me. Start small, then work your way towards your goal if you want the weight to stay off. It is all fair and well trying to shift it all as quickly as you can, but I promise you that quick diets result in quick weight gain too.

3 months since I decided to do the marathon

3 months ago I decided I was going to apply for the London Marathon. 3 months ago I decided that even though I didn’t know if I’d get in I’d start training anyway. I had a sudden panic earlier when I realised that 3 months have already gone by and then I reminded myself that I have come a long way in 3 months.

My first park run was 12 weeks ago. I did it in around 33 minutes and I had to stop several times to walk as I had a stitch and I was out of breath. To think that a couple of weeks ago I was able to run a 10k hilly route on a hot summers day, without stopping, in under an hour is just nuts. Three days ago I also ran 10 miles. I can’t quite believe how far I have come.

I still have a long way to go way with my training. As I increase the distance it’s going to be tough. Winter is going to be horrible. But to know how far I’ve come in 3 months and that I have treble that time to be able to run 26.2km, I feel confident I can do it.

My concern is that I’ll get an injury or something which will really interfere with my training. On Monday morning I have my first session with a running coach who is going to be helping me through the next 9 months. I feel better knowing I will be having some guidance.

My half marathon is in 4 weeks. I am really nervous but I’m going to go for it and hope for the best. Here is to another 3 months of training!