6 Month 30/30 Challenge Anniversary – the End of the Honeymoon stage!

It’s been a while since I last wrote an update, so there is quite a bit to cover here! I’ve now passed the six month mark in this year of challenges, and have ticked off three more challenges since the last blog ( a grand total of 9!). Now me and the 30/30 Challenges reached the six month mark we’re definitely past the honeymoon stage, and although we’re yet to have our first argument there have been some tough times recently – particularly the marathon training.

One of the recently completed challenges was the Edinburgh Marathon, a big challenge for me personally, and something that I have always wanted to do. It turns out that marathon training is pretty monotonous so don’t expect this blog to win any awards!

My personal highlight of the last few weeks has been being able to start drinking hot drinks again. As I have said previously I have found this challenge much harder than I expected, constantly wanting a cup of tea. Not so much because of the caffeine but more to do with the comfort and habit of having a cup of tea. Anyway, the first cup was amazing! Cat had been tea-total too, and the 90 days were up the day after the wedding of two of our friends (congratulations Alice and Barry) in Milton Keynes. After an excellent party with a few shandy’s we were up early to get back to Haywards Heath in Sussex for a 10 mile race. Fortunately, we had time for breakfast and that first cup of tea! I don’t think the staff could quite understand why we were so excited about a cup of tea. It was absolutely fantastic, just as I had been dreaming of (I genuinely had dreams about cups of tea, actually they were more like nightmares as I dreamt that I had a cup of tea before the end of 90 days and had to start it all over again!!). Since then tea has become a staple in my diet again, and I know that my office colleagues are pleased to have their number one tea maker back on the wagon again.

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The second challenge I have completed recently is the Mid-Sussex Marathon Weekend which was one of the most enjoyable running challenges I have completed so far. The Mid-Sussex Marathon Weekend is a series of 3 runs that take place in three local Sussex towns over the Bank Holiday weekend. The first two races are 10 miles each, with the third and final race being a 10km race, the total distance being 26.2 miles equalling the distance of a marathon.

I had some great support on these runs from friends which always makes the challenges more fun. The first run was in East Grinstead and I ran it with my old friend Colin. It was a great route trailing around a lot of my marathon training routes, although the hill between miles 8.5-9.5 wasn’t very welcome! Colin and I put on a show for the huge crowds at the finish line with a very ‘non-competitive’ sprint finish over the last 50m – it was a dead heat according to the results!

Cat was due to run with me again but couldn’t due to a knee injury injury so she found a worthy replacement in Georgie Grassom, a friend from martial arts (who also sang at our wedding). Georgie completed the second 10mile race in Haywards Heath in the pouring rain, and also the 10km race in Burgess Hill in beautiful sunshine. Another friend Caz Garrett, and also Ellie Dallison also joined us for this race too. The Burgess Hill 10k has to be one of the hardest 10k’s I have done, it seemed to involve constantly running up hill through fields! The whole weekend was really well organised and supported and a great way to get some good marathon training in.

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The third challenge I have just completed is the Edinburgh marathon. I have always wanted to run a marathon so when I drew up the list of challenges it was one of the first ones I put down. I knew that running a marathon would be a big ask of me, particularly given my limited running background and my previous knee injury. Anyway I wrote myself a training programme and stuck to it pretty well – only missing a couple of runs. The longest training run I did was 22miles about 3 weeks beforehand, I learnt a lot on that run and discovered ‘the wall’ too! We had some friends staying with us and they agreed to join me for the second half of the training run to keep me company and keep me motivated. This was really helpful and I don’t think I would have finished it without them. It was at about 18 miles that I hit the wall, I didn’t really realise it at the time as I was trying not to throw up and pass out. It turns out a few beers the night before had dehydrated me more than I thought. Thanks to Cat, Sarah and Matt I was able to get through it and I jogged home very slowly, promising myself that I would try and make sure that didn’t happen on race day! I’ll write another blog shortly about my marathon experience in Edinburgh with all the gory details!

Next up is a really busy few weeks, I have a week off work to recover from the marathon in which I will be recce’ing some of the three peaks walks and visiting friends and family. Then the following weekend I am running the Passing Clouds Fell Run in the Peak District, followed by Dartford Triathlon, then Dartford Aquathlon. These races will all be tough in their own right but also form part of the training for my next big challenge which is the Half Ironman race – eek!

I will also be running the Milton Keynes Park Run on Saturday 13th June so if any other Milton Keynes friends and supporters want to come and support or join in, then please feel free to – and try and wear something purple if you can.

Finally, I am going to organise an additional challenge too and this one is a mass participation event taking place across the country so hopefully everyone can get involved. I want to get as many friends, family, and supporters to complete a 5k run (or walk) at the same time. I haven’t set the date yet but it is likely to be in September, and I want anyone and everyone to attend their local Park Run (www.parkrun.org.uk) either as a participant or volunteer, wearing purple. Park Run’s are free, local 5k events that anyone can take part in – all you need to do is register in advance. If you can’t run or walk 5km then please think about supporting the race by volunteering for the day – this is exactly what my Mum would have done, she always got involved in helping and volunteering wherever we went.

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