[Z] is for Zeal

Z     Well, this was fun. I really enjoyed writing these running posts and I hope you have enjoyed reading them. Most of them were scheduled in advance and I apologise for my lack of interaction during the challenge mostly due to the fact that big chunk of my free time was dedicated to the training for the London marathon. In next couple of weeks I will try to read and enjoy as many blogs as I will be able to digest as I know how hard all the participants have been working on them.

I appreciate every visit, like, follow or a comment received during this month and I hope to see you around.

Thank you. This was a pleasure.



[Y] is for Yoga

Y     I admit that I could not think of anything else relevant to running starting with Y. (Except maybe a why?) But as I have very recently started attending yoga classes it kind of fits. I used to do yoga few years back and they were always a nice relaxing sessions with lots of meditation and breathing. I remember leaving the studio floating above the ground, high on oxygen. But I moved so that was the end of it. The classes I attend now are completely different. They are hard. Very technical and sometime I even forget how to breathe. But I keep going back anyway. I can’t explain it. I want to achieve that light feeling after leaving the class again. I should probably find a yoga session more suitable but I like the challenge to perfect the poses.

There are endless lists of reasons why is yoga good for runners, mostly to do with posture and strength. I agree. But I think it also benefits my mind, it is calming in a different way that running is. I like that.



[X] is for the Unknown Variable

X     As with everything in our lives, no matter how well we have things planned out, there are sometimes surprises that may cause this well thought plan to be derailed. The same goes for running. No matter how detailed your training schedule is and how dedicated you are to follow it, there will be circumstances and occasions where you will have to adapt and change it. It is ok. It also doesn’t mean it will be a negative influence or an unhappy event. Though most probably it will be perceived that way if you don’t allow yourself a bit of flexibility. Training for a marathon is not an easy task. I don’t think I have actually mentioned that yet! It takes lot of dedication, time, restrain and hard work. It is totally worth it but it is important to know why you are doing it. Because your heart and head need to be in it. Not just your legs and lungs.




[W] is for Well Done!

W     Well done to all London marathon runners! I have to admit that it was harder that I would like and the few missed weeks of training did matter but I was also prepared for it so I was not stressing out when I had to take a walking break.

Overall I really enjoyed the race, the weather was runner-friendly, spectators were amazing and my head stayed in the right place throughout. My time was 4:53:45 so definitely nothing record breaking and a far cry from my marathon PB but very happy that I managed to finish without pain and blisters. I am already looking forward to the next race! Though I will give myself a week of complete rest before I take the body for a gentle jog again.

I’m not a fan of the finisher t-shirt or the medal though….and I was given a gender based deodorant in the goodie-bag again 😦

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[V] is for Victory

V     I’m going for victory! Tomorrow is Marathon day and although I’m not trying to break the record or even my PB this time, I hope to be victorious. I mean to win against the 26.2 miles. Finishing a marathon is a great achievement – don’t be disappointed if your time is ‘not good’ especially if this is your first marathon. There’s no such thing as bad result! You are amazing and you should be proud whether your finishing time is 3:00 or 5:30 – you are a winner!




[U] is for Ultras

U     Ultra runs, pretty much anything over the marathon distance. Me personally, I don’t think I’m there yet. I did couple of 100k (62miles) walks and that was challenging enough for me. I wouldn’t mind doing another one this year but it would be again just a walking experience. I am more inclined to do multiple marathons that an ultra-race – I think running all six World Majors in the same year would be incredible (I guess I should start working on those PBs to qualify for Boston!) However I would love to do the Hadrian wall run one day so I’m not saying never, just not right now. 🙂

 Btw the marathon cake sale went really well today – THANK YOU SOOO MUCH TO EVERYONE!!! – we have raised £260 for Action for Blind People (the charity I’m running the London marathon for on Sunday).



[T] is for Time

T     Well, I originally wanted to dedicate T to timing chips and how great they are…but I have decided that ‘Time’ would be a more accurate topic as I don’t seem to have enough of it!

Btw this is the first ‘live’ (unscheduled) post in this year’s A to Z series from me! I am writing this in the middle of baking Nutella muffins and cheese straws…not very running oriented you think? Wrong! My colleagues (to whom I am very grateful) are helping me to organize a cake sale at work tomorrow which will hopefully raise some money for Action for Blind People, the charity I’m running the London Marathon for this Sunday.

I am now officially registered for the race, I collected my bib and timing chip at the Marathon Expo yesterday (I spent over three hours and way too much money there as well) and had my picture taken at the #extramile photo booth (below) so this is suddenly feeling very real. I am excited and nervous about Sunday in equal measures. But now I have to go back to baking…I don’t think people will want to buy burnt muffins!



[S] is for Stretching

S     Alphabet is a strange thing because I had to wait until now to mention one of the most important things when it comes to running! Stretching – I love it. I don’t understand how people are able to exist without it! I love the feeling after a run when you are sweating and panting and thinking that you may possibly cough up a lung, your legs are tense and painful…ok I actually don’t love any of that but then you start stretching your muscles….slowly and diligently; and although you still sweat and pant and hurt, everything just starts feeling so much nicer.

I do both types of stretches – dynamic stretches before a run as part of a warm-up (come on W!) and static stretches after a run to cool and calm down.  And although there is no scientific proof that they boost your performance, I really like the feeling. 🙂



[R] is for Rest

R     It’s the taper week! That means lots of sleep, plenty of food and the training is winding down. It is usually a rather strange feeling to give up all the hard work and have this much rest after several weeks of dedicated training. This time it is quite a different feeling for me as I was ill and was pretty much on lots of sleep and little to no training for few weeks already. My taper actually consists of picking up the training a bit so it reaches the levels of a normal taper. It is weird.

I have mentioned several times the importance of giving your body a break. But your mind needs a break too. The sudden abundance of free time may bring your thoughts into overdrive (or maybe that’s just me!) about the race, doubts start to emerge and the brain generally messes with your mental wellbeing and confidence about your ability to perform on the day. It is normal. Don’t give in to these nagging negative vibes. Easier said than done? Yeah. I know. My personal remedies are reading, binging on TV series, writing, meeting friends in places where they don’t serve alcohol (it’s not because I’m waging a war agains the booze, it’s because it’s too much temptation!).  There is already a bottle of Champagne smiling at me in the fridge. Just six days to go.



[Q] is for Queues

Q     Be ready for them. Especially for loos! You arrive at the race village, you drop your stuff in a baggage tent, and still have some time to spare? Get into the loo queue. Even if you don’t need to go. By the time it is your turn, you will.

The worst loo situation I have ever experienced was at JP Morgan Corporate Challenge run last year in London. These runs are extremely popular, with thousands of runners taking part and unfortunately this is an issue every single year. The queues crossed almost the whole race village and many opted for the bushes instead, including ladies. Somehow I don’t think it will be any different this year.


You are at the start. The anticipation. The countdown. The gun fires. And then nothing happens. Another queue to be prepared for is the start itself. Just because the official time of the race is at 8am, it doesn’t mean you will cross the start line at this time. The more people are taking part, the longer it will take for all of them to step on that first timing mat. The record for this holds the Lisbon Half-marathon for me where it took me almost 40 minutes. But it was an amazing start, crossing the Ponte 25 de Abril definitely made up for the wait.


ponte 25 abril