I was asked to work at the London Marathon expo this year. Although it was going to take me out of my own training schedule it was an opportunity that I could not refuse.
Myself and John travelled to London by train. It meant we could still do some work and set up a plan for the intense week ahead. We met Lindsey in London and went straight to the expo to get set up for Wednesday morning. I was so excited to see it all unfolding and knew those attending were in for a treat. Lindsey and I got on instantly she is one of our ambassadors and we have lots in common, more importantly we both run!
Wednesday morning started with a run- as you do! I am following my own mesocycle plan which allowed me to have a break from training. I was also racing at the end of the week so the rest was perfect for me. I enjoyed a run along the Docklands area, it was so peaceful. I couldn’t resist taking some pictures! I got back to the hotel sharp, showered and walked to the expo to begin my working day. It was already busy as I made my way to our Stand to meet Lindsey and Paul. I have spoke to Paul often on social media and think the guy is a legend but this was the first time I had met him in person. I must say he did not disappoint- myself and Lindsey immediately clicked with him. He is the must genuine guy ever and has bags of personality. He got my banter right away which doesn’t always happen! He instantly started pulling in potential new clients to our stand with his charms. We had to move stands as our cardio wall was too heavy for our stand! There are some strong people at the London expo! I must say a special mention to all of our existing members at Fitness Rewards, particularly our ambassadors as they all made the effort to come and say hello throughout my days at the expo and I made sure I got a picture with each and everyone of them. I was rooting for them all to do great at the London Marathon- you guys are the best and I genuinely mean that. There are so many of you to go through and we appreciate the support you show us.
Thursday morning started with another morning run along the Docks. I was absolutely shattered with the travelling and the long day before. The standing all day was really sore on my legs. I have total respect to anyone in a job that they are on their feet all day! I felt like I had been to a training boot-camp!! I was so excited as I was going to the running awards showing our support for the Run Reigate team. I left work at around 4.30pm to get back to my hotel. I was meeting a local hairdresser called Amando Oliveria who contacted me on Twitter (I know its bizarre!) but I loved his approach and thought he sold his services well! I love that he contacted me saying ‘I hope you don’t mind but I can come and do your hair!) Of course I didn’t mind- Amando you superstar thank you! My hair was fab! (oliveirahairdresser.com) Myself and John got dressed and made our way to the expo. We went on the Cable Cars to the 02 and I must admit I hated every minute! I am petrified of heights but me being a typical female had kept John late trying to decide what to wear so I didn’t have a choice it was the quickest way to the 02! We got to the 02 around 7pm and we were greeted by the girls from Vitality and the fab waiters offering some drinks and nibbles- perfect! I got one drink and we were asked to take our seats at our tables. Dave Kelly (Run Reigate) and his team were great hosts and we hit it off instantly. We also had a special guest at our table her name is Dame Kelly Holmes and I’m sure that many of you might know her. Her friend James accompanied her and I must have burst his ear chatting about running and athletics! He was a lovely genuine guy. Kelly was awesome, she was chatting away and even took selfies with me so I could send to my run club. Me being an absolute wind up merchant took great pleasure at sending them to our run club what’s app group. I can’t repeat some of the messages I was getting through but lets just say they were shocked to see Kelly- I had kept that quiet. Kelly you are an inspiration, thank you. Run Reigate won the Gold award for the best Half Marathon and I was absolutely delighted for them! Hard work pays off and those guys definitely work hard. I can’t wait to run the race this year! Well done to Manchester Marathon who also won an award, as this was my first ever marathon it holds a special place in my heart 🙂 There were some familiar names shortlisted for their blogs. Well done to Mark Gallacher and Gemma Hockett who won awards for their fantastic blogs, I was rooting for them. After the awards had concluded I made my way to the bar to find some of my friends who had been on the balcony. We took to the dance floor and danced the night away. I was getting drunk by this point! It was so nice to finally meet Kirsty (Paul’s wife) as I had heard so much about her while we were working. Also I would like to give a special mention to my friends at UKRunChat, Carl, Pip, Jenni and Darren who I met last year at the same event. I also got a chance to speak to the 401 Superstar that is Ben Smith. I joined Ben on his challenge when he was in Scotland so it was nice to meet his partner Kyle who was running London for his first time and it was great to congratulate Ben face to face on his success. Cinderalla had to leave the ball and so myself and Lindsey got a taxi back to the hotel absolutely shattered. Thank you to the organisers at the Running Awards for putting on a fab show. Thank you again Dave Kelly and Sam Corrick for the fabulous hospitality.
Friday morning started with a trip to Costa coffee. Myself, John, Paul and Lindsey were a bit delicate to say the least. I am really not a big drinker so I was struggling slightly but seeing more of our members lifted my spirits. My friends were coming down from Scotland today and I was delighted to see them. Paul, Scott, Michael and Migo sports Mikey (migosports.co.uk) Katie and Gareth all popped in to say hello. I was so excited for them running the marathon. Paul being the official 4 hour pacer at the marathon was putting everyone’s minds at ease. Friday seemed to go in fast and I was distracted from how bad I was feeling by my workmates Paul and Lindsey who were just ace. More familiar faces came to visit me including my UKRunChat team mates Joe, Katie, Luke, Sherie and Racecheck’s Katerina who absolutely smashed the cardio wall! John had noticed the Cardio wall on the show ‘Dragons’ Den’ and knew it would be popular at the expo it was so much fun- but very hard! You could really see the competitive side of the runners and we often had to hold the wall as we were knocking through to our neighbours- sorry. I found myself spending an absolute fortune at the expo especially on my breaks. I couldn’t resist the shoe charms and noticed a few that I had to get for Joanne my good friend who I am running Stirling Marathon with. Note to self is to take more money with me on my next London Marathon expo but hopefully I will be running it next year. We finished off our Friday night with some chinese food I was helping Paul Addicott to carb up since I’m a nice person like that! It was just so nice to see them and share the expo experience.
Saturday was a bit mental! It was busy, I just couldn’t get over how busy it was! I was greeted by even more familiar faces who were all feeling different about the Marathon. Working at the expo I got to listen to the guest speakers including Martin Yelling and Paula Radcliffe. We work closely with Marathon Talk and I listen to the podcasts and cant recommend them enough so it always feels like you already know Martin Yelling! He was really bad at the Cardio Wall though! Haha Amy Hughes also popped by to say hello. She is a massive inspiration to many men and woman out there! I think I might have got her to spend too much money as I was directing her to the make up and charm stalls! Amy I hope you do decide to do the glitter stuff that we were chatting about! The expo concluded at 5pm and I made my way to Gatwick for my flight home.
I arrived home at around 1.30am and I couldn’t sleep at all! I was still working in my mind and then I was trying to work out how I was going to approach the run. I did it last year and could remember it being very hilly- imagine that being in Edinburgh! Iain picked me up just before 8am and we made our way to Edinburgh. It took an hour and I was hanging! So I told Iain I was taking it as a training run at Marathon pace. The big man has been injured and would normally do a race in half the time it would take me to complete but he decided to run with me to ease his way back in! If there’s one thing I can do it’s chat!! We were cutting it fine and made the race just in time. I met Scott and Andrea my twitter pals and got a selfie. I love them so it immediately cheered me up seeing them as I was starting to think I had lost the plot even being there with no race prep at all.
The race started slow which was good and it was very congested. It was on cobble streets at this point and so I was carefully watching where I was placing my tired feet. I was catching up with Iain and telling him all about London when I noticed the first hill. Did I mention this was a hill run before? Once I got that first hill out the way I noticed a monster of a hill just at the Royal mile. I watched everyone struggle and I just walked up the final part. Iain looked at me as if I was mental but I have learned my lessons on this course before. I got to the top of the hill and told Iain I was just going to go for a sub 1.30 which meant I started going into race mode and trying to make up time on the congested slow start. The hills seemed to last forever but I just took them slow and picked up on the downhill. I was feeling great after around 6 miles which is where I get my second wind these days. The next two miles was a continuous hill and I started to get a bit fed up. My legs were so heavy but I also started to notice Iain struggle and in real pain. I did slow down at this point as this race was irrelevant to me and I wanted to make sure Iain was ok. He told me to push on so I slowly plodded on until he caught up again. We made our way to the last mile and I looked at my watch. I hadn’t made the sub 1.30 but I wasn’t far off it either so I sprinted for the last mile. I just went for it keeping my London friends in mind while I approached my fastest KM and was surprised when I got to the finish line as I came in at 1.30 on my watch. My official time was 1.31 so I would have came in just under the two hour half so I was pretty pleased overall. We made our way home and I forgot to look at my t-shirt and medal! So we decided to stop in at Starbucks and at least get a picture! All I could think about was my friends at London Marathon. I couldn’t wait to get home and finish tracking them. Congratulations again to everyone who took part in the London Marathon! The money you have raised for charity and others. You should be bursting with pride. Super chuffed for you all!