{Sunday Pamper} Vitality Run Hackney manicure

Vitality Run Hackney half marathon medal 2015

Matching my bling


It seems that revisions are taking over my life again and I haven’t written my Half Hackney race recap yet. I will work on it as  you deserve to know how the race went considering the pre-race thoughts that I shared.

In the mean time, I’ll leave you with the picture of my race manicure. I chose No7 Pink Grapefruit which went well with Vitality colours and the sunny weather in general.

Having a race-specific might become my thing. Do you remember how I also had another matching manicure for the London Winter Run 10K ?

Do you have a pre-race ritual?

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Vitality Run Hackney – taper and pre-race thoughts #lifeunfiltered

Half marathon training Run Hackney taper

Last run before the Run Hackney


In this post, I will recap my taper week and also share my pre-race thoughts, which I wrote down this morning on my way to the race.

Taper week (4-9/5)

Taper week was a bit less active than I originally intended to. I did a “taper tamer” yoga video on Tuesday and I ran 8.9K with my running group on Wednesday.

Pre-Race thoughts

As mentioned to you in yesterday’s post, getting a PB at my latest Parkrun completely messed up with my cool. There I was, on a high, starting to calculate pace and plotting race strategies. Except that after the high came the low. It’s one thing to maintain that pace for 5K, it’s another to maintain it for 21K. And upon this realisation, I became disappointed about a race that I hadn’t even ran yet.

I feel the need to do better because why race otherwise? I am now comfortable with the half-marathon distance and can go run it on my own. So why subject myself to getting up at 6 am on a Sunday to go all the way across London, run in a massive crowd while by the time the race starts, I could have run this and be back in bed. Also why subject myself to the stress of going to a race.  Just now, City mapper said that I could just go and take the jubilee line. Easy. I arrived there and the station was closed for another 15 min. Sure, I can wait and still be on time. But now the next train is not for another 20 min! Great. I will have to run to the race to drop my bag on time etc. Thank you City mapper. I am in such a grumpy mood. I already want to be done.

So really, why do this? Steph told me earlier this week that it was to be part of something bigger and to have a massive party with friends. It’s one way of seeing it. At this point, I am not sure I want to run with people I know. Not sure I want to see that I cannot keep up the pace or equally be held back.

I also feel like an ungrateful cow because I have received so much support for this race! My sister and Audrey are coming to cheer, my parents have been sending me messages this morning, my friends are telling me to have fun…and I don’t seem to appreciate it.

I think that part of it is because I am facing a wall. During our run last week, Olivia mentioned that I was treating my running like a scientific experiment, trying different training strategies and seeing what works. I never thought about it but she’s not wrong. Before going back to medical school, I worked as a researcher. It was my job to optimise experiments and modify one element at the time  until you find the winning combination. Working as a researcher was incredibly hard. I’d get hundreds of negative results before a having a good one,  but I never gave up because by researching and brainstorming with my peers, I always managed to have more ideas to keep optimising my work. The problem arises when you have no more ideas.

Right now, I feel stuck with my training. Whatever I was doing for a couple of years gave me the same results. I’ve been trying to integrate speed- and hill-training and then more running. Same results. Now I am trying to focus on doing more strength training. Well, if that doesn’t work either, I don’t know what to change. I don’t know how to optimise my running. It’s probably this that bugs me more. And scares me too.

To be fair, from the moment I started running, L. said that I should look at sprints because of my build. He’s not an expert but perhaps he is right? Perhaps I should drop the long distance and focus on shorter ones (says the girl about to start training for her next marathon).

Anyway, Charlie recently shared this story about how are lives can be perceive as ideal and happy on social media while the truth could be very different. In fact, the picture illustrating this post was taken pre-running. That run was not a good one. I struggled so much and I couldn’t keep up with my runners, it was not a confidence booster before the race. But you couldn’t have guessed that from just looking at it. I thought it was important to share my unfiltered pre-race thoughts because I suspect that I might have a good time, and it would be too easy to just say “it’s great I got a PB” or “I don’t care about time, I just love running so much”.

Do you also filter your life for social media?

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Vitality Run Hackney training – week 7

Vitality Run Hackney running selfie

Running selfie


Week 7 was my highest mileage week in preparation for the Vitality Run Hackney Half Marathon. Here is how it went.

Week 7 ( 27/4 – 03/5)

  • Monday: 5K run followed by a core workout
  • Tuesday: 10K run with Sweaty Betty. I enjoyed discovering a new route but man these girls are fast. My legs felt as if they were made of lead and it was a difficult run.
  • Wednesday: rest
  • Thursday: Morning run with Olivia. You know what they say, you only miss the workout that didn’t happen, and this is so true. I was not particularly happy to go running at 6.40 am, especially not when it started drizzling. In the end, it turned out to be a great run where we even saw this rainbow. I think I logged about 8.5K
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: 18K. I didn’t run this distance in one go but in chunks of 3-5K with breaks in between. I first ran to Lissy‘s house, then to Mile End Parkrun, ran the park run, back to Lissy’s and finally home. I had done the same during my Bath Half marathon training.  I felt strong on that run and was paced during the parkrun and  knocked 51 sec off my previous 5K time, which I was quite surprised by. However, getting a running time, and a PB especially completely messed up with my mind and my work on not thinking about time, mainly by giving me hopes about a race time tomorrow that I will probably not get. I might have to dedicate a post to this.
  • Sunday: rest

And this concludes my penultimate week of training for the Vitality Run Hackney Half Marathon before my favourite time of any race training cycle: T.A.P.E.R. A good week of running but a poor one for strength training and yoga (although I followed each run by a good 10-15 min stretch session).

How do you combine running and strength training?

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May Goals – Be careful what you wish for

Bristol sunset early morning run

Seen on a morning run

It’s May (say what?) and time to set up some monthly goals. I quite like this habit that gives me the opportunity to reflect.

First, lets see how I got on with my April goals. April was exam month and I mainly wanted to revise, maintain a good work/life balance, manage my stress, keep up my exercise routine and try to get rid of my FOMO.

Well, apart from the week when I was super ill where motivation to revise and exercise was a struggle, I think I managed the first 4 goals pretty well. I was quite stressed on the morning of my exams but that did not last too long. 

Managing my FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) was a bit more difficult. I started by removing all my social media notifications from my phone. At first it made things worse as I would check the apps more often in case I had missed a notification. At the peak of my revision time, I deleted the apps from my phone and asked a friend to change my Facebook password so I would not access it. I re-installed everything after my exams and I then damaged my phone and was phoneless for 4 days – be careful what you wish for. It was a real eye opener. I couldn’t believe the number of time I thought “I should instagram this” or “write this on twitter”. I actually enjoyed walking in the city with my head up instead of looking at my screen and people watching in public transport. People that wanted to get in touch with me managed to, and I actually took the time to write proper long catch up emails and have some Skype sessions instead of exchanging 2 sms.

I have a temporary phone at the moment and although I have not reinstalled notifications, I can see how I am already picking up on some bad habits again, like checking social media before going to bed or first thing in the morning. Being on social media helps drive traffic to my blog and has helped me to make numerous friends, but I feel that I need to find a bit more balance regarding my presence on it.

So what are my goals for May?

¤¤¤ Keep up my April goals. I’m back to revising for the next 4 weeks so it’s important that I maintain my cool and just get stuck in it. I think that I will need to make a particular effort with keeping up with exercising once the Vitality Run Hackney half-marathon is over.

¤¤¤  Prioritise. During exam time in April I completely focused on my exams and got a bit behind with some admin and cleaning up my bedroom. I think that I have enough time ahead of me this round to get on with my revisions and wedding planning (and perhaps blogging) and clean up my bedroom, but it will require some serious prioritisation skills.

¤¤¤ Sleep. During busy times, it’s easy to sleep less and up the caffeine. I must not do that this round, especially this week. I am on taper before Sunday’s race and need all the sleep I can get.

What are your goals this month?

Check out my previous blog post here.

You can still win a free Spartan Race entry here

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Win an entry for the Reebok Spartan Race UK 2015

Free entry Spartan race UK

Edit 09/05/15. This giveaway is closed and the winner has been notified by email.


I have the pleasure of hosting my first blog competition today to offer you a free entry for any Spartan Race in the UK,  including Allianz Park (their first stadium race), South Wales, Manchester, Scotland and more, taking place between the 16th of May and the 27th of September.

What are  Spartan races? Challenging obstacle trail races comprised of mud runs, trail racing, physical challenges and mental challenges:

  • Sprint – 5K and 15 obstacles
  • Super – 13K and 21 obstacles
  • Beast – 20K and 26 obstacles

Check out the website for more details. http://spartanracemedia.com/uk

To enter the giveaway, you need to leave a blog comment telling me why you want to run a Spartan race. Entries close on Friday 08th May at midnight and the winner will be announced on saturday morning.

In case you are not lucky enough to win an entry, you can get a 10% discount with the code: BLOGGER15

If you need more convincing to take part in a Reebook Spartan Race, check out Charlie’s brilliant race report.

Good luck and AROO!!!

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