London Marathon 2011

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At last, I’ve done it.  Several months of preparation, over a month of abstinence from alcohol, Italy’s annual output of pasta consumed in 1 week and enough Lucozade to keep GSK’s share price buoyant and now it’s all over.

What an experience that was.  Having never run full marathon distance, even in training, there was the natural anticipation and nerves on the day but my alarm woke me up, the trains ran to time and all the build up went like clockwork.  I met some fellow runners on the train down and this was great for the pre-race nerves and as we all parted ways to get ready for the start everything was going smoothly.

Starting from Greenwich, I was over the start line in about 3 minutes and the crush wasn’t too bad.  The crowds by the road were amazing and definitely helped push me along.  I was delighted to be pacing myself at 9 minutes/mile throughout the first half and as I crossed Tower Bridge, I felt amazing and was relatively trouble free.

Turning right towards the docklands I could see the last of the elite runners coming back into London and I was still on pace – so far, so good.. then came the Docklands and it started to get really tough.  Funniest T-shirt of the day; “If I collapse, someone pause my Garmin”, helped me through miles 15/16 but as I wound my way round Canary Wharf, the smell of a bbq exacerbated the slight nausea that I was starting to feel and by mile 18 I had discovered that the wall was rearing it’s ugly head a few miles earlier than I’d hoped.

Trying to put one foot in front of the other was proving trickier and trickier and from this point on, I just had to slow to a walk/shuffle to regain some strength and at this point, getting round started to become a target, rather than focussing on my planned 4 hours.

However, the encouragement from the crowd (and a magical piece of orange  – thank you) got me going again and apart from a few blips in the remaining, agonizing miles, I was able to generally keep a (kind of) running pace up.  Once I reached the embankment, the crowd cheering me on helped me keep going and when I saw 800m to go, it actually came as a surprise.  I even managed a (sort of) last dash to the finish to try to hit my (ahem, revised) target of 4hrs 15 and finished 12 seconds over.

I can honestly say that I’ve never felt so exhausted in my life as I did yesterday afternoon but 24 hours on, my original thoughts of “never again” are being replaced by, “I wonder if I’d gone a bit slower in the first half if I could’ve had enough beans left to beat 4 hours”… something to ponder over a long awaited glass of wine…

What an amazing experience and thank to the generosity of my sponsors, I’ve managed to exceed my fund raising target for Asthma UK and I am extremely  grateful to every one of them for helping me raise so much for this hugely important charity.

So, would I recommend taking part in the London Marathon?… absolutely 100% yes!

The Day Before the Marathon

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The nerves are starting to kick in, I’ve had pasta for dinner last night, lunch today and dinner tonight… maybe even breakfast tomorrow, parnoid about twisting an ankle, eating something dodgy, missing my train, trains being cancelled, not being able to sleep, sleeping in, losing my running vest, timing chip, trainers, kit bag, forgetting my essentials and a million other things that could all go wrong.. I guess this is similar to 34,999 other people right now.

Had hoped to get a last minute light run in yesterday but didn’t get out of the office on time, so have decided to just relax (or try to) and make a conscious decision that I am as ready now as I’m going to be and as long as nothing goes bandy I should be fine… I hope.

Strategy for race day; aiming for 4 hours which is 9min 9 sec per mile, so going to try to do a 10 minute mile for the first one, then 9 minutes thereafter for the rest of the race.  Once I get beyond mile 16, if there is anything left in the tank, i might crank it up a little bit and then again at 21 but I may just stay at the 9 minute pace (assuming I can keep it up!).

Mustn’t get carried away at the start and hopefully the dreaded wall will be breakthroughable!

Can’t believe that in 24 hours it’ll all be over (I Hope!!)

Wish me luck!

Andy

Bored this Half Term?

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Getting bored this half term? There are some great deals going on at the moment for some fab animal parks and zoos all around the UK!

London Zoo are offering 10% off family bookings until the 30th June
Whipsnade are also offering 10% off family bookings until the 30th June
Kids Go Free with Network West Midlands at Dudley Zoo
£1 off per ticket at the Blue Reef Aquarium

·        10% off Ticket Bookings at Marwell Wildlife
·        10% off Online Bookings at Blackpool Zoo
·        15% off with Online Family Ticket Bookings at Colchester Zoo
There are many more of these deals on a discount voucher website I had found http://www.vouchercodes.co.uk
Alternitavly why not take a trip down to your local pet store or aquarium these will be free and you get the joy of holding the animals and potentially choosing your new best friend!
Another lovely day out that is going on on the 7th and 8th May is The London Pet Show. This is a chance to see all the different breeds of pets and explore the different zones within the show. With live animal action displays, informative talks and demostrations theres something for everyone! Based in London Olympia, tickets range from £13 for an adult ticket (16+), Children £9 (5-15), Senior Ticket £10 (60+), Family Ticket £41 (2 adults and 2 children). These are great prices and even better, under 5’s go free!
This means there is no excuse to stay in on those sunny days as there is always something to do and money needent be an issue, so have fun and enyjoy yourself!

Tapering For a Marathon

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With just over a week to go until the London Marathon, there’s not much time left to make any dramatic improvements to my physical preparation for the day and I’m doing my best to adhere to the overwhelming advice to taper my efforts down to race day itself.

I’ve been to the gym a couple of times, ran a steady 5 miles yesterday and plan to get a similar run in over the weekend.  It really is proving quite a strange situation as normally I’m able to track improvements and gauge performance but for now, it’s a waiting game and one that I’ll only be able to report on after the main event.

So, for the week ahead, a trip to ExCel to register and some carb-loading to add some fuel for the race. Not to mention getting the brain in gear for what is sure to be one hell of a challenge.

So, not much to report at this point; time will tell whether I’ve done enough and whether I’ve done the right stuff.  Whatever happens, it’s all for a great cause (Asthma UK) and I can’t believe the amazing support I’ve had so far from all my generous sponsors – thank you all so much – I’ll do my best!

9 days until the London Marathon and counting…

Rango – Starring Johnny Depp

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I watched Gore Verbinski’s animated feature film ‘Rango’, which stars the extremely talented and unique Johnny Depp with my boyfriend (who said romance is dead!).

Rango begins as a lonely lizard living a dull and safe life, and when he is hurled out from a car in a car crash, he begins his adventure into the unknown. He wanders into a small town and invents an alternative character for himself.

Johnny Depp who voices the lead character gives the film a strange twist and really makes the character full of personality and depth. Johnny’s ability to create new and exciting characters with every movie will always amaze the audience, as no one could imagine the lizard that develops from a fraud to a hero is the same character as the pirate, chocolate factory owner or the demon barber. Granted, I was slightly disappointed I did not see Johnny Depp’s talented face in the entire film, due to it being an animation, but his personality and kookiness came through in his character.

This CGI film has such attention to detail, and manages to captivate the whole audience, not being just a children’s film but entertaining an older audience also as I could hear the children in the cinema giggling, and the adults joining in too, and leaving myself (a 19 year old who considers herself to have good choice in films) and the boyfriend (a 25 year old who considers himself to have an even better choice in films) entertained and thoroughly enjoying the film. The film’s effects are so well done, with the eyes looking so real on the screen and the characters appearances reflecting their personalities so effortlessly.

There is also a soft romance between Rango and Beans, who is another strange and complex character voiced by Isla Fisher, which gives the film a nice vulnerable feel as the two characters come together. The underdog coming through as the hero is a popular and used theme, however Gore manages to add such a unique element to the animation and the characters, the storyline feels like something completely new and not just another animation you may have seen before.

This off the wall take on a Western creates an impressive film which is helped by the incredible animation, talented voice cast and inspiring characters creating an animated movie which will be hard to beat this year. Overall I’d give it a 9/10 due to an impressive film which can entertain both children, parents who use their children as an excuse to watch animation, and many others such as myself.

Health + Beauty – Sun Exposure

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 As we are coming out of winter demolish these darker shades and open up with neutral colours this summer. Summer can put an up on to everybody’s day and why not dress how you feel.
Your health is important. The sun is a physiological factor of making you feel good. Having a tan makes you feel more confident, appear to look slimmer and gives you that summer glow.
The sun provides your skin with amounts of Vitamin D. If you are not getting adequate sun exposure, you must make sure you can have a well balanced diet with high rich sources of vitamin D to get the proper levels of vitamins that the body requires.
Having to much sun exposure can cause serious problems later on in life. There is no doubt that too much exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer. As a result too much tanning can consequence in age spots, premature aging and wrinkles as we get older.
In conclusion we would like people to think more when exposing them selves in the sun light, make sure you wear a high protection and cover up in the hottest parts of the day!

Animal care in the sun!

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Now that our much awaited summer is finally here, we can start embracing this weather by looking after ourselves as well as our pets! This is this the most exciting season for our furry little friends therefore we must make sure they enjoy every minute of it.

Below I have made a list of tips that can help us help our best friends enjoy the lovely weather!

Make sure your pet is hydrated at all times- keeping a bowl of water and food out at all times will ensure they will be energised throughout the day and ready to tackle the day!
Never leave your pet in the car – There is no excuse today to keep your pet locked away, most places have a facility to keep you dog securely fastened and safe.
Keeping your animal groomed and trim for the summer -! This will keep your dogs or cats cool and comfortable when there soaking up the sun this will also lessen water retention, a common cause for infection
Take your pet swimming – Investing in a doggie pool will make sure they always have water near when there is no pond in sight!

Following these handy tips will insure you pets have a great summer, ‘cause lets not forget, as much as they have fun in the sun, it can also be harmful to! Taking your companions out when its cooler or when the sun is setting can benefit your animals as they may be more inclined to exercise and go on longer walks.

Always remember that a pet is part of your family and safety should always come before fun!