Marathon training – outdoors vs gym

Sport, Uncategorized

In April I’m running the London Marathon (Lord help me). I’ve always trained for half and full marathons outside but this is the first time I’m just too cold and stubborn to endure running outside.

When I get into the habit of going to the gym, you just can’t pull me away. It’s so addictive.

Last night I ran 13.1 miles (equivalent to a half marathon) in the gym. I love the gym for a number of reasons and have avoided running outside for the past month. It got me thinking whether or not I can do all my marathon training in the gym? Or will I get a bit bored of running on a treadmill and not getting anywhere.


Pros of the gym

  • Accuracy

I can accurately track how far I’ve run, my speed, incline, calories burnt, time etc etc. Obviously, I have tracking apps and a sports watch to do all this outside but I never 100% trust them (or can be bothered with the faff sometimes).

  • Protected from the elements

As someone who has spent more time in Africa and Spain than the UK for the past few years, I’m really not used to the rain and general darkness of horrible English weather. When I’m in the gym I can be a little spoilt princess who doesn’t have to get muddy or accidently step in a puddle and run for 2 hours with a soggy foot.

  • Watch TV

I take my iPad, watch First Dates or Graham Norton and be pretty entertained for the time I’m running.

  • Safe

Even though my gym doesn’t have staff there after 9pm, I feel a little safer to be inside a building and have people around me in case I start to feel weak. I also like running at about 11pm and as much as I love the thrill of jogging through town and the woods at that time, my parents aren’t super keen on it…

  • Toilets

My God, not much is worst in life than needing to pee or poop when you’re 6 miles from home. I have been known to just stumble into the nearest KFC to use their loo but it’s not always that simple. At least at the gym I know I can go whenever and fill up my water bottle.

  • Places to stretch afterward

I really enjoy putting my headphones on and taking a good 20 mins to stretch out afterward and it’s so much easier at the gym. I obviously stretch at home sometimes but there’s always someone there in the way or pestering you to go and shower because you smell.


Pros of training outdoors

  • Fresh air and nature

Yep, this is my fave part of running outside. I discover new places, can watch the sunset at the lakes, see cute dogs in the woods etc. Adorable.

  • You have no choice but to finish

When you’re on a treadmill you can press ‘stop’ and get off whenever you fancy. If you’re an hour from home, you kinda have to keep going so you can get home. (Although, I used to carry my metro card around with me in Paris so I could just hop on the train to come home if I was tired. Lazy girl problems)

  • Getting used to hills, bends, uneven surfaces

A marathon always has twists and turns, obstacles to avoid and the roads can get slippy. Being on a treadmill removes all of these unknown factors which is lovely but you’ll need to be prepared for when they come up during the marathon.

  • The marathon isn’t in a gym

At the end of the day, as great as the gym is, it’s just not what the marathon will be like. Maybe I need to get over my fear of the cold/wet/dark outdoors and get my body and mind into the state of being prepared for the conditions of the marathon.


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What do you think? Do you enjoy training outdoors, in a gym or a mix of both?

love

(a very tired and sore) Mary

x

 

I’m running 26.2 miles for ONE reason.

Africa, Europe, Sport, Uncategorized

Around a year ago I was well on my way to running 600 miles over 8(ish) weeks for VSO. I’d been running so much that a few gals suggested I may as well run a marathon. Let me stop you there. One does not simply run a marathon just cozzzz. But still, I signed up for the Isle of Man full marathon and ran the 26.2 miles on 9th August, my 21st birthday.

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look at me go, right at the front…

Not content with just the one marathon to my name, I signed up for the Lisbon marathon with my good pal (probably an over statement) Kate and we’re shimmying over to Portugal to take part on 2nd October this year. Soooo, we have less than 2 months to quit whining and get on with training for our second marathons (she ran the London Marathon in April).

Instead of raising money for a charity, I’ve decided to do things a little different and raise awareness for a cause quite close to my heart. (I say that, a lot of causes are close to my heart but stick with me here)

UK Youth Ambassadors

So, in return for me sweating my lil booty (and back, arms, legs, forehead, everywhere) off, I’d like my lovely friends and family to hear about and get involved with ONE campaign. I want to raise awareness for ONE and all the world changing, life saving work they do. See, ONE isn’t a charity. We (I’m a ONE member along with 7 million others) don’t dig wells, we scream n shout to get governments to change the law so a well has to be dug.

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I’ve been a ONE youth ambassador since March this year and their approach to ending poverty and  preventable disease is refreshing. It’s not always easy to get your local MP or media to care about your work with ONE but as a group of around 50 UK youth ambassadors we’ve managed to make a real impact resulting in meetings with MP’s, speaking in Parliament, creating university societies and visiting the OECD forum in Paris (yessss we ate all the croissants).

‘ONE’s 7 million members are critical to this work. They come from every walk of life and from across the political spectrum. They’re artists and activists, faith and business leaders, students and scientists. They take action day in, day out — organising, mobilising, educating, and advocating so that people will have the chance not just to survive, but to thrive.’

Fancy joining the 7 million people and making your voice heard?

What can you do?
First things first, get yourself onto their website – click here woo woo
Next, see what campaign we’re currently working on and choose what interests you the most and take action either by signing a letter or petiton.
Tell your local MP if they’re not doing enough about the issue and what they can change.
Write to your local newspaper about how you’ve put your name to something you truly care about.
Pass it on. Send this link to someone you know – let the movement spread
Let me know, a simple Facebook comment will let me know how many people stand with ONE just because they read this blog post.

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Why?
We’re one race. We live in the same world. Why should where you’re born determine your quality of life? I’m not asking for money, anyone can put their name forward to something they care about.

When?
Now would be fab. But any time before October 2nd would be perf.

What’s next?
I’ll be writing some more blog posts in the run up to the marathon. (Run. Get it…?!!?) with some more info on ONE’s work and what I’m personally doing as a youth ambassador. Sound iite?

OH and use the hashtag #MazRunsForONE when sharing – because errrrybody loves a hashtag

Thanks,
Maz

get involved.

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Just chillin’ with Mhairi Black at our launch

My tips to prepare for running a marathon.

Sport

I’m at that age where people left, right and centre seem to be signing up to run a marathon… (I didn’t know that you’d ever done any physical activity since leaving school but waheeeey ok why not)

Running a marathon is one of those beautifully pretentious acts that allows you to feel smug forever more and to be perceived as a true hero for years to come.

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that face = eternal smugness

But before you can bask in your super fitness glory you need to prepare yourself. Big time.

Although I’ve only ran one half marathon and one full marathon (proper rookie over here.) I’m going to give my 2 cents and document my best tips for marathon preparation..

1. Don’t underestimate the distance/experience

Everyone will tell you how hard it is. Everyone will tell you how long it is. Everyone will tell you how rewarding it is when you finish. It’s all of those things; don’t believe it will be any different than that for you.

2. Know your course

Most marathons will have the course available to download with information of terrain, altitude, incline etc. Study this to prepare yourself. Practice hills if it’s a hilly course, train on the road if it’s a road race! I’ll never understand people who only run through fields and on grass before a road race. You’ll arrive on the day of the marathon and your knees will be like F you mate, you’re on your own baaaai.

Also, stalk peoples blogs to see how they’ve found the run in previous years. Their experience will be vital if it’s a smaller race with less info on their website. The better you know your course, the better you can physically and mentally prepare for it.

3. Food glorious food.

Oh the pre marathon diet. Some love the whole ‘let’s nourish my body!’ period, others loathe it and focus on everything they’re missing out on. Mate, adapting your food is honestly the most beneficial and enjoyable part of your training and you can tailor it to totally work in your favour. Carbo loading = all the pasta. You can eat pizza! You can eat chocolate! You can go out and drink. Just don’t be an idiot about it and take it too far.

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I just added more protein to my diet, totally cut out processed food and went for frequent small meals instead of fewer large ones (YES you can finally prep your meals in tupperware boxes like a top class knob). Add all the veg. Eat all the fruit and plan your meals around your training. I spent like 2 months eating non stop and still losing weight. Just lots of good food. Keep clementines in your bag, dried fruit, banana chips, whatever. Drink so much water and green tea that you spend half of your life on the loo. Happy days. A runners diet is nowhere near as bad as a bodybuilders diet.

4. track your runs

If you track your progress you can keep tabs on how you’re getting better. If you don’t keep track how do you know what’s effecting your performance? I used to have my Nike + app in my ear reeling off stats every kilometre, it’s super repetitive but I could predict my time of each run almost to the second. I then knew how new aspects threw me off or helped me along the way, e.g. a 15KM on a sunny day after a McDonalds was going to be 3 mins slower than one on an average temp day with no burger.
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5. whats your motivation?

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What’s that one thing that drags you out of bed and into your smelly trainers? What voice is telling you to turn down social plans for an evening in the gym? Why did you just casually drop £78 in NikeTown? If there’s nothing spurring you on then you’ll give up real quick, TRUSS MI DADDY. Realise your motivation early on and keep it at the forefront of your thinking. I once set a photo of a marathon medal as my phone background as a constant reminder. Very sad, I know, but bish I did not give up!

 

6. cheater cheater compulsive eater

Cheat meals and cheat weeks are the essence of life. Gurrrll (or guy) just live once in a while. Let your self slip off the bandwagon. Hell, trip over the bandwagon and break it into a million pieces. You WILL slip up. Build a bridge and quit crying. Untitled//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

7. be consistent

That being said… try and keep your training as consistent as possible. If you like yoga on a Tuesday afternoon, go every week! If you prefer early morning runs to after work ones then stick with that. If you have a routine you’re way more likely to stick with it

8. rest and recover

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Radox muscle therapy bubble bath will be heaven sent. So will bath salts. Adopt a consistent stretching method and commit a good 20 mins to cooling down from a run. I used this one and adapted it over time to include more yoga poses.

9. rewards

Rest day is a reward in itself, don’t ever skip it because you think you’re invincible. Buying yourself a new pair of shoes after a week of solid training is totally acceptable. Buy yourself all the treats. Have a bubble bath every once in a while. Watch a tacky reality show while you work out. Rewards are yours if you put in the hard work.

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10. have fun

Believe it or not, at some point this seemed like a great idea. Maybe once upon a time you actually liked running!? I found the fun parts were the classes I went to to keep up my fitness and cooking new meals at home. I wish I’d found more running buddies with similar goals. But yeah, make it fun. I’m all about making your playlist upbeat and going to classes which you’d not normally go to because why the hell not.

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11. it’s all in your head

I don’t care if you’ve heard it before – running is 10% physical and 90% mental. This is probably the most valuable thing I’ve learnt since I started taking running seriously; your mental outlook is the most important part. If you tell yourself you’re tired, broken and can’t go on, you’ll give up! It’s cheesy and cliche but you 100% need to have a positive outlook if you stand a chance of crossing the finish line. You can train and eat right and have the most snazzy sports bra but if your heads not in the right space you will fail. So, invest in some positive thinking books or apps, tell yourself you can and will do it and keep going.  

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You got this.

x

My first Marathon – Isle of Man 2015

Sport

It’s been whole week since I ran 26.2 miles on the Isle of Man for my first marathon!

And now G’s boyfriend Chad is (not really) forcing me on my first run after my mini recovery. I’ve bumped into so many people in the past week who have mentioned my blog that I thought it would be best to write a little post about I felt it all went.. Maybe when I’m preparing for my next long distance run or race I’ll look back and feel a tiny bit more ready than without it.

Where to begin; so way back when in June when deciding on a fundraising activity (to fundraise £800 for VSO) I chose to run a total of 600 miles because it’s equivalent to the width of Kenya. Where I’m going to volunteer in September FYI.  Me being me, I had to take this one step further and enter a marathon.

So I was home alone in Spain, bored and armed with Google’s help to find a decent marathon near me. I found the Isle of Man Marathon and booked it immediately, only informing mum and dad later on that they should probably come and support me.

I arrived on the island the day before feeling pretty ready for the big day; I’d spent £16 on one pair of socks (craaaaazy I know!), I had energy tablets, gels, jelly babies, belts, multiple outfit options and heaps of excitement. The day before was spent strolling on the beach with our dog Peachy and grabbing a few last minute things in town. I had a bath that evening with Radox Muscle Therapy Herbal Bath and some  salts and it was the best thing ever. I put out my clothes ready for the morning, got some last minute advice from Frankie (running buddy and experienced marathon runner lol) and got a good nights sleep.

Rewind a day or 2 and I was crying my eyes out thinking I’d have to drop out. All because I’d reached that blissful moment that most girls experience every month, only mine had come over a week early. I don’t know why my period had come early but you know, i really wasn’t loving mother natures decision to bring me a gift because it basically fucked up my plan to run a smooth 26.2 miles. I frantically googled possible solutions to running whilst feeling like crap and most people had written on blogs or forums that they inevitably had to drop out or just run half. This wasn’t an option for me as I couldn’t let anyone down after some generous donations and I couldn’t waste all that time and energy I’d spent training for it. At the same time as my stressing I read about Kiran Gandhi who ran the London marathon whilst on her period… She decided to free bleed which I’m not really sure about. I don’t think it’s a feminist movement or ‘bad-ass’ in any way, I think it’s kinda gross but whatever. Anyway, I decided to push through and run despite this not so great gift, I just used every home remedy to speed it up in the hopes that by Sunday I wouldn’t be in too much pain. I’d never ran during my period and it would just so happen that I was now running the furthest and for the longest I ever had.



Race day!

I ate some granola and a banana at around 6:30am and had a few bottles of water, I was also loading up on Ibuprofen to reduce my cramps before we drove through the foggy hills to reach the small town of Ramsey. I collected my number, time tracker to go round my ankle and put my named Lucozade bottle in the box for mile 17. We hung around for a while before going to the starting line and I had a few jelly babies. It was predominantly an old run, with loads of men in their 40s, 50s, 60s and older, a fair amount of women who looked mid 30s and up and then little old me looking like the baby of the pack. I didn’t feel too nervous at the start as I was just concentrating on running half. I knew I could easily do 21km and a lot of people had suggested just dropping out at the halfway point if I feel I couldn’t do any more. 

The gun fired at 9 am and we set off with the sea just a few metres to our right; we were told strictly no mobile phones or music devices allowed so I just put my headphones down my sports bra until I was well on my way (there was no way I could prepare myself for almost 5 hours of running without any music). I’d been told a million times to start out slow and save my energy, but theres something about being joined by so many others and having all the adrenaline building up that makes you want to rush. Partly because you don’t want to be last, partly because you want to be surrounded by the stronger runners from the start and partly because you want it to be over quickly! I stuck around with the speedy guys and gals for about an hour; chatting about our training and past marathons we’d done, obviously not me but I was talking to a guy who’d ran 150 marathons and he’d only started running at the age of 55?!

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We’d been told about the hill at mile 4 and sure enough it approached and it was hilly. Like really hilly. After what seemed like a lifetime of snail speed jogging to the top I felt a tiny sense of relief; I knew I’d have to face that hill again at mile 17 (the course was 2 laps of the same course) but I could handle it one more time. Then as I turned the corner I saw another massive hill! Basically there was about 2 miles of hills and I was not a fan. After i lost the main group I’d been sticking with I met a girl (I think she was called Alyssa..?) who was the same age as me and told me about how she’d been in hospital with severe neck problems like a week ago but had done too much training up to that point to not run the marathon. Her story made my problems (achey shins and a bit of a dodgey ankle) seem very insignificant. Plus it turned out she completed it 20 minutes faster than me, what a ledge.

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I felt confident for the whole of the first half even though I was convinced I was going a lot slower than planned and guessed I must be in last place. I was daydreaming of jelly babies and a few words of encouragement from mum and dad at the half way point. I ran downhill through the village before reaching 21 km at exactly 2 hours and could see mum, dad and dog in the distance. But there were no jelly babies in sight. I ran towards them yelling  ‘jelly babies! I need to babies!’ and they just looked at me in despair. I didn’t have time to stop so just carried on going with no more sugar and a belly so empty it screamed for something to fill it. I tackled the ridiculous hills once more at mile 17 and grabbed my huge bottle of Lucozade sport which gave me some well needed energy. Around the 19 mile mark I began feeling sick; I had nothing in my stomach, hardly any energy and the wind and rain was pushing against me. I carried on swigging water and Lucozade but just vomitted after every mouthful. It sounds gross but I couldn’t stop drinking because in my head it was giving me short bursts of energy (it probably wasn’t as it was coming straight out but your mind goes a bit squishy when you’ve been going for that long) so as I continued sipping I carried on being sick every couple of metres. 

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I’d only resorted to listening to music for about half an hour as I’d enjoyed the sound of the sheep, cows, spectators and listening to stories from other runners. The last 7 miles felt ok, I was getting cheered on by every marshall and most seemed really surprised I was still going! ‘Oh darling, well done! You’re doing so well, you look great’ – hard to believe when I was covered in salt crystals, was a weird shade of red and was limping like a lost dog but it was nice to hear. At the same time I was thinking a lot about ‘hitting the wall’ and was pleasantly surprised that that hadn’t happened.. At that point i was so close to the end and knew what to expect from the final mile, I was excited to reach the village, go down hill, see my fam and reach the finish line in the stadium and naively believed I’d be so excited to finish that the final mile would be a breeze. Oh how wrong was I. I saw the mile 25 sign and my legs buckled. I couldn’t move. It’s the weirdest feeling as your brain is screaming at you to keep going but your body just shuts down. You can’t imagine the feeling if you haven’t experienced it. It’s almost like wading through treacle; you’re going nowhere. This probably only lasted about 20 seconds but felt like forever and I couldn’t see myself  carrying on and finishing. I honestly thought that was it for me; I contemplated just sitting down, calling mum and telling a marshall that I’d just end my race there. Eventually, after using every bit of energy and enthusiasm I had left (and a voice in my head saying I’d sound like a right idiot if I told people I pulled out at 25 miles), I pulled myself back into gear and went at snails pace through the village. 

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I’d been chatting to one guy for a while who’d been at my pace for a few miles before dropping back and walking. Just after my near-giving-up experience I saw him hobbling along in the corner of my eye. ‘I’ve just remembered I need to catch the bus at half 2!’ he said as he proceeded to sprint past me. I’d missed my chance to finish in 4 hours 30 mins (my very very very optimistic aim) because of all the sick and the 20 seconds of thinking ‘THIS IS THE END’ but knew I didn’t have far to go and could probably get my medal and goody bag by 4 hours 50 mins. My phone had been tracking my run and announced ‘Congratulations, you have completed a whole marathon!’ – I’d ran 26.2 miles but wasn’t at the end yet; all that dodging, weaving and changing sides of the road means you’re actually running almost 27 miles, ouch. Anyway, I passed the village and could see my mum in the distance; I start waving to grab her attention and the people she’s standing with start to cheer for me. Then, with my eyes set on them and my music on full blast I failed to spot the curb beneath my foot and stacked it like an idiot. 

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As I turned the corner I entered the stadium and U2’s ‘Beautiful Day’ came on shuffle on my phone, so cliche, so emotional. The crowd cheered and I saw the massive clock read 4 hours 36 minutes. I’d done it! I’d completed a marathon! All in under 5 hours on my 21st birthday, I’d imagined this for a while and never thought it was a tangible dream but I’d actually done it! My legs didn’t know how to stop going so I kind of stumbled over to mum and dad and dog. I went for a well deserved massage after but actually didn’t feel too achey, the guy standing in front of me was from Edgemead (according to his t shirt) which is where I briefly lived last year in Cape Town! Unluckily I didn’t get the chance to talk to him but small world eh.

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I said to mum that I felt the same as after I completed the Paris half marathon in March, which shows what a huge difference a good training plan can make, along with eating right and being in the right frame of mind. I wore my medal with pride and raided my freebie bag for a flapjack. We enjoyed the mini buffet before going back to our hotel in Douglas. I had a quick shower and chill before we went out for dinner, I kind of forgot that it was still my birthday. I finally went to the toilet too, which was so weird as that had been my main fear during the run. That I wouldn’t have a place to ‘relieve myself’ but I guess I just sweated everything out as I was fine the whole way through despite drinking litres of water and sports drinks. My legs felt stiff but no worse than after a normal run of a few kms. However the next day I had to shuffle myself around and go down the stairs sideways.

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We stopped in Liverpool on the way back and i even drove from Birmingham to home in Hertfordshire. I can’t explain the feeling of acheivement I got and how uch I actually enjoyed running most of the marathon. I know it’s been said a million times but it honsetly is the toughest but greatest thing I’ve ever done. And throughout my run I was already thinking of what marathon I could run next. 

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I’m so so so grateful for every encouraging comment, text, message, tweet etc and obviously anyone whose been generous enough to donate. Although I love running, I also put myself through all this to raise money for VSO – Voluntary Service Overseas, the charity who I’ll be volunteering for in Kenya in September. If you’d like to donate please text YAAS69 plus to the amount, either £1, £2, £5, £10 or £20 to 70070 (e.g. YAAS69 £2) or visit my JustGiving Page by clicking HERE!

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6 months ago I could never even imagine running for that length or distance and my doctor in Paris was even surprised I’d entered a half marathon, hinting that I really wasn’t fit enough. But here I am now, one marathon completed in a decent time with hopes for many more. As soppy as it sounds, anything is possible if you put your mind to it. 

Here’s to the next step!

Mary x

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I’ve ran a total of 200 miles! – MazRuns600

Sport

I’m running a total of 600 miles for VSO ICS who are sending me on a voluntary trip to Kenya in September! I’m running everyday and adding up the miles to a grand total of 600 as that’s he equivalent to the width of Kenya, wowzaaaas. See more here 😀

click the button to go to my JustGiving page;

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!



And read about
my first 100 miles here!

Now I’ve completed 201 miles, meaning I have 399 miles to go until I reach my target. I’d planned to have a little bit more completed by this date but I’ve had to force myself to rest at times to avoid injury. I’m so impressed and pleased with the support from everybody and the donations so far, so a massssssive, genuine thank you if you’ve donated. You guys are da best.

In 3 weeks I’ll be adding 26.2 miles as I’ll be completing a full marathon. Ahh even typing that freaks me out a little. This will be my first marathon but hopefully not my last. It’s the Isle of Man Marathon on 9th August which just happens to be my 21st birthday. So obviously donations are welcomed in place of presents 🙂 And instead of a boozy night out in the evening, I’ll probably be in the bath with blistered feet and sore knees..

The past 100 miles (basically since my last blog post about it) have been nice but challenging as I’ve done a few long runs including 2 half marathons. I’ve hiked, jogged and sprinted. I’ve listened to a lot of Arctic Monkeys, Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Strokes, SBTRKT, Mumford and Foals. I think its time to retire the indie/folk/rock and get back to my RnB and hip hop!

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Any marathon runners got any advice for me?! I think I’ll feel a bit underprepared until I can go and stock up on more gear back in England and actually train without the fear of passing out in the crazy heat. Yeah I’m still complaining about the heat, sorry!

Last gentle reminder of why I’m doing all this; for this fab charity VSO – ‘Voluntary Service Overseas  is an international development charity with a vision for a “world without poverty” and a mission to “bring people together to fight poverty“. VSO recruits professionals to work as volunteers, living and working alongside local populations in developing countries. Founded in 1958, VSO has sent over 50,000volunteers to over 140 developing countries.’

click the button to go to my JustGiving page;

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Follow my daily progress on instagram – @marymandefield

or follow me on nikeID – marymandefield

Thanks y’aaaaaaalll.

Mary x

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#MazRuns600

https://www.justgiving.com/Mary-Mandefield/

I’m going to run 600 miles for charity

Africa, Sport

There’s no time like the present to start fundraising for my 3 month voluntary trip to Kenya with VSO!

I’ve had the idea to run the width of Kenya, all 600 miles of it… I’ve used my trusty Google Maps to calculate the distance from the border of Somalia on the east of Kenya to the border of Uganda in the west, passing through the town I’ll be living come September, Nanyuki.

P.s. It’s actually 589 miles but let’s round it up to make it even harder aha.

Sponsor me here! Help a sister out and donate a few pennies or more if you’re a generous type 😉
JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

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Of course I can’t do this in one go so I’ll be adding up my miles from now and hope to complete it in 2 months. I’m setting myself a massive challenge here as I’m not an experienced runner, I’m generally a busy bee and the heat of southern Spain leaves me pretty knackered after work and general errands let alone socialising, friends visiting and travelling. But I love a good challenge; Kenyans are renowned for being some of the best runners in the world so simply running something like 10km would not do the country justice! Haha let’s see how long my confidence lasts ;D

To make it more interesting whenever somebody donates (whatever amount, I’d be chuffed with £1!) they’ll have the chance to request adding something to make the journey more interesting. I’m thinking running in a silly hat, fancy dress, a weird hairstyle, face paint etc. Also you can request other sports to contribute to the 600 miles; swimming (I don’t have access to a pool but I’m close enough to the beach), cycling, walking or hiking. I’m open to some wacky ideas if you’re donating! I’ll update my blog and Facebook Page with photos and videos of proof and commentary of how it’s going (expect sweaty selfies and videos of me generally dying of exhaustion yay).

I’m excited about this as my first fundraiser for the cause and probably the toughest challenge I’ve set myself. Please share my JustGiving page if you want to support and donate if you’re feeling super sweet; stay tuned for news of how my 600 miles is going!

Let’s start this; 600 miles / over 965km to travel to Kenya to volunteer with those a lot less lucky than you or me.

Share you support with this hashtag #MazRuns600

Mary x

Hiking in Librilla

Europe, Murcia, Sport

I’m sure most erasmus students in Murcia have visited the tiny and deserted town of Librilla already but as always I’ve gotta be late to the party (plus I only arrived a month ago). But no ones bothered by the old town church or endless orange and lemon trees, everyone comes for the hike up the hills to see this amazing view of the lagoon. Then to go down to swim in the blue water.

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

Courtney, Nina and I got the 20 minute train to the town of Librilla yesterday; Courtney kept telling us empty this place was, but she was so wrong on this occasion. People filled the streets, cars beeped us out of the way and everyone and their daughter was out and about dressed in their best church wear. We headed towards the mountains, maybe getting a little bit lost on the way but we were pretty chilled. Eventually we reached the path that we knew was going where we wanted. We passed endless lemon trees; seriously Spain loves their lemons. I picked a few oranges from a tree and they were almost definitely the best oranges I’ve ever tasted, a watch dog barked us away and we carried on up the hill.

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

Detouring again, expecting to see water and just ending up with views of the town and a whole lot of rocks, we backtracked and finally ended up with a beautiful view. And a load of guys in trucks maybe a hundred meters away shouting ‘guapas’ at us. The descend to the water was definitely a lot more difficult than our ascend for the beaut view (and mini picnic of pizza crackers).

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

Jumping through long grass and avoiding massive dry bushes was easy in comparison to sliding a few feet onto our bums because of loose rocks. I landed weirdly on my ankle too and imagined dying there, with one yank and one South African in the middle of a quiet town in Spain, how tragic. But I was actually fine (dramatic thoughts). Somehow we made it down, all alive, to the water. I blew up my rubber ring (always totally at one with nature…), we stripped off and swam in the water crazy blue water. The ground is pure clay so it feels gross to go in at first but you get used to it. As it was time to get out I covered myself in clay because I’m all about that baby soft skin.

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

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Getting out of our little lagoon area was actually pretty tough and the best way to do it was to just go go go without stopping even though the hill was mega steep. We were literally grabbing vines and prickly flowers to stop us from sliding all the way down.

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I may or may not have braved the barking dog to ‘borrow’ some oranges and lemons on our way back into town. Cue fresh lemonade when we got home. Nina and I were absolutely knackered when we got in and our plans of a late night out were replaced with moaning about our aching muscles and bitching about wacky Eurovision entrants. Over 8 hours of walking and swimming had caught up with us.

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

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Anyhow, such an amazing and surprisingly tiring day.

Mary x

p.s. see all the photos on my flickr hereeeee

Hiking in Librilla, Spain

We run this – Paris Semi-Marathon 2015

Sport

Running was always my favourite sport in school; I can’t run fast but I like to think I can run pretty far. I loved cross country because you get mega muddy and we’d miss quite a lot of school for it.

Lucie convinced me to join her and her friend Kate for the Paris Semi-Marathon a few months back so I thought ‘mehhhh why not?’. Training came pretty easily as I go running anyway. I didn’t do anything drastically different to my normal routine but made an effort to do a few longer runs; 10, 12 and 15 miles.

The night before the run I didn’t get any sleep and was sick (excuses excuses) which definitely slowed me down. I think it was the hottest day of the year in Paris and the sun was in our faces most of the way. I also didn’t account for the weaving in and out of people. There were loads of people participating; I think the official number was 43,500 runners, thats a lot of weaving. The rush for water and slices of orange was brutal. Mum was there at the 17th km to cheer me on and shortly after that there was a killer hill which saw me slip from the 2 hour pace maker.

I loved running through the streets of Paris and pretty views definitely spurred me on. Even though it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, I felt a great sense of achievement at the finish line and had mixed feelings of one day completing a full marathon; the feeling was amazing and also disgustingly tiring at the same time. I will maybe wait a few months until I actually seriously consider it.

13.1 miles / 21.1km – 2 hours 8mins

Paris, March 2015

p.s. the photos are awful quality I know. But they made me laugh. Obviously loving life listening to Bey and Jay.

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We run this – sunny saturday

Au Pairing in Paris, Sport

It was surprisingly sunny, but still cold, as I made my way to Olymipades to Judit and Bethany’s apartment. Judit and I decided to run to Pantheon as it’s a nice distance with some pretty sights on the way 🙂 We had to do a bit of tourist dodging and squeezing past teenagers as we made our way through the Latin Quarter but it was a nice, easy run.

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love this street art!

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Where – From Olympiades to Pantheon
Spotted – people everywhere, it was super busy. A few armed guards around
Distance – 4.42 miles/ 7.1km
Time – 49 minutes because we stopped a few times
Motivation – it was sunny!
Playlist – This r&b mix, I’m one of those people that always youtubes different running mixes but hate all the dancey David Guetta/Example/Black Eyed Peas ones.

Mary x

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We run this

Sport

Frankie and I ran 11.5 miles, I’m so proud of us! Ah, so I’m running a half marathon in March (in Paris) and Frankie is doing a full marathon in April (in London) so we both needed to train. I finally decided against going to the march of solidarity in Paris yesterday; I think it’s great if you went and also fine if you didn’t. It’s all personal opinion and it’s definitely not ok to question people’s reasons for not going on Twitter or Facebook! (yeah I’ve seen people do it… weird). And I’m pretty sure it didn’t happen for you to just go and treat it like a great instagram opportunity.

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Anyway, I totally underestimated how many people would turn up and occupy the trains and metros. If you were there you’ll know just how indescribably busy it was. It was impossible to even get on the platform at some stations, and I wasn’t even going to Republique! I squeezed my way around Paris, stopping off quickly in Belleville to get croissant bought for me from an awkward admirer (how very French), and reached Frankie’s.

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Where – to a beautiful viewpoint in Pyrenees, around park Parc De Buttes Chaumont then along the Seine
Spotted – Little dogs galore. Crazy silver Imax cinema that looks like a spaceship.
Distance – 11.5 miles/18.5km
Time – 2hours 3mins
Motivation – too many short runs
Playlist – Meiple – Robin Thicke ft Jay-Z (I feel like I shouldn’t like this song, mainly because of Robin Thicke’s creepiness but Jay-Z’s parts are very french, woo), Little Mix, Kyo, James Bay, Izzy Bizu, Stromae (you can’t be in France and not listen to Stromae basically.)

Today is a rest day!

Mary x