Vitality Run Hackney- Training week 4

Spring London Running Park

Spring is here :)


I’m too busy with revisions to keep up with the blog properly but here is how week 4 of training for the Vitality Run Hackney went.

Week 4 (6-12/4)

  • Monday-Wednesday: The problem when you are running on adrenaline is that there is always a point when you crash and I reached this crashing point. I had a proper cold and just stayed indoor, venturing out for the odd walk outside.
  • Thursday: After not leaving the house since Tuesday, I thought I’d attempt a run. It was so tough, I had to cut it short and stop/walk a couple of times. My body was in proper slow motion like at the end of the Paris MarathonBut at least I got to see the pretty flowers pictured above.
  • Friday-saturday: Well that run wiped me out so I was back to alternating between my bed and my desk for my revisions. So-much-fun.
  • Sunday: After another day spent indoor (yay). The only I went outside to do 30 min of yoga via Pactster. I randomly chose the “Detox” one and it was really good with lots of twists and the perfect stretches for someone sitting at a desk all day.

Right, I know that I can run the half-marathon distance, and this race will be about running happy and not time, but I am getting slightly anxious that I need to up my game a little. On the plus side, it was better to be ill now and not during exams. It’s all about positive thinking right?

Have you already felt unprepared for a race? How did it go in the end?

Posted in Fitness, Running | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

{Sunday pamper} Coral manicure with an Indian twist 

 Maybelline Urban Coral Indian wedding hennaHi

Today’s manicure is the Urban Coral by Maybelline with an Indian twist as I got some henna done at my friend’s pre-wedding party. This is the perfect colour for spring and I’m very tempted to do this manicure again for the second week in a row! Shock horror, what kind of nail polish addict does that? ;)


Most of the henna is gone now, except on my fingers which are orange now. L. says that it looks like I have been eating Wotsits. I now have a massive craving for these cheesy puffs!

Do you think it’s a faux-pas to have the same manicure two weeks in a row?

What are your favourite crisps?

Posted in Beauty, Nails, Sunday pamper | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Vitality Run Hackney Half Marathon -Training week 3

Vitality Run Hackney Training London Tower Bridge

Can’t get bored of that view


I was in France for week 3 of my Vitality Run Hackney Half Marathon training. It is possible to keep training while on travelling, check out some of the tips that I published last year on that topic.

Week 3 (30/3-5/4)

  • Monday: Leg day with loads of squats and lunges followed by some core work: 3x 1 min plank, 30 sec side plank (each side) and 30 sec press-ups. I still cannot do a full press up, I challenge myself to manage to do at least one by my birthday in June.
  • Tuesday: 25 min Yoga. Aaah, this was very welcome, I really need to keep up with the yoga to get a good stretch. Followed by 1min plan and 10 press ups (on my knees)
  • Wednesday: Rest day
  • Thursday: Running speed session. 1.3K warm up, 3 x 600 min sprint followed by 600 min recovery, cool down. Total of 5.1K followed by 1 min plank.
  • Friday:  nothing. Lets just says that I was supposed to arrive home on thursday night but only got there on friday morning due to a delayed flight.
  • Saturday: Does eating all day count? Because I was at a wedding and that’s pretty much what I did.
  • Sunday: I was feeling run down from the say before and couldn’t be bothered to go running so I did an abs and core workout at home.

Not too bad but could have done with the extra running session.

Any tips to get better at doing press-ups?

Don’t miss out on the The Vitality Run Hackney Half Marathon. Registration are open until midnight on the 13th of April. Sign up here

Posted in Fitness, Running | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Paris Marathon 2014 Race recap- One year later

Paris Marathon 2014 race recap


One year ago today, I became a marathoner. Although I had started blogging about some of my training for the Paris Marathon, I never wrote a race recap of what happened on the 06/04/14. Why is that? I think because I was disappointed, the race did not go exactly how I wanted and I therefore tried to forget about it as soon as possible (time is the best healer indeed). However, when I woke up this morning, I thought that I was being really silly to deny my achievement and that I should be calling myself a marathoner with pride. After all, I have signed up for another one in October so I better come to term with the fact that I like running long distances.

I am not too sure how to write this race report, especially one year later as I have forgotten many details so my apologies if it doesn’t all make sense.

The day before

I arrived in Paris on the 05/04/14 after taking the overnight bus with my friend Anne. It was the cheapest option and the one that enabled me to take the least annual leave as I did not have that many, having been in my job at the time for about 6 months only. I have no issue sleeping in the bus but in retrospect, it was probably a quite tiring way to travel. I then settled at my friends house, had a nap, went to the race expo and then met up with my dad who came to Paris to support me. That was really nice as I had not seen him since the Christmas holiday. Stress started to rise.

In the evening, we went to an Italian restaurant where we met up with the other TNR girls. Indeed, a bunch of us were running the Paris marathon. After training together, it was nice to meet up the day before. However, like for many races, there was a lot of talks about pace, target times etc (which I was guilty of too). My original aim for this race was 04h15. Having consistently run half marathons around the 02h00 mark, I naively thought that it was just a question of doubling the number. Then, as I got the beginning of a shin splint I lowered my expectations to 04h30.


Race day

Getting ready

I remember waking up really early and not being able to eat my porridge. I kinda force-fed myself, which was not pleasant at all. Anne and I then went to the starting pen. The crowd was amazing, there was good music and we were starting to get quite pumped up. Then there was the toilet situation. There were barely any. Apparently they were all at the very far back while Anne and I got to our starting pen via the side. We thought that we would just wait for our pen to start and stay behind to go to the toilet. We were not the only ones to think about that. I thought that it would be OK as I had called the race organisers who told be that they had porta-loo every 5km (it wasn’t the case). I’m sorry, I realise that I talk a lot about toilets in every race report but it’s part of a runner’s world. I guess that this is kinda relevant as it was a super sunny day and much warmer than expected, which led to a higher water intake.

Paris marathon 2014

Ready to start

Off we go

We started running and it was amazing. The race route went via many Parisian landmark and it was truly beautiful. The support crowd was great, screaming “Allez, Allez” (Go, Go) at the top of their lungs. It was my first race in France and two things struck me: there were mainly men running and no fancy dress. Regarding the first point, we got a lot of encouragement from women along the route. They were saying how great it was for us girls to compete with the men and that we should be proud of ourselves.

Sunny Paris Marathon race


The first 10K

I ran the first 10K with Anne, pacing myself and embracing it all. I passed the first 5km i 00:30:48 and the first 10K in 01:01:52. At this point, I had seen my dad once already. The tracking app was really good and enabled him to position himself strategically. Except that 10Km in, we still hadn’t seen a portaloo. At this point, we had just entered the Bois de Vincennes and tons of runners were going off route for a pit stop. I decided to go wild and join them. I managed to catch up with Anne after and she decided to go do the same. Unfortunately she did not catch up with me and I ran the rest of the marathon alone.


I had mixed feeling about my pace. On one hand I wanted to run faster as I was feeling great, on the other hand I was conscious that I was ahead of my predicted time and that I should probably slow down. I crossed the 15K mark in 01:32:03 and the 21.1K mark in 02:09:10.


I saw my dad again twice, which was a great boost of confidence. I was also very happy at that point not to feel any pain in my shin. The race started feeling more difficult but I managed to keep going. The highlight of these 10K ish was to pass near the Pont des Arts, which brought a massive smile to my face as I had to engaged nearby 2 months before and put a cheesy love lock on the bridge after. The Eiffel tower looked splendid and I really loved the tunnel at the 28K mark. Mission impossible was playing and it got me singing and feel all pumped up. I crossed the 25K mark in 02:35:59 and the 30K mark at 03:12:14. At this point I remember feeling a bit sad that I would not be finishing the marathon in 04h15 but I tried to focus on plan B, which was 04h30.

Paris Marathon 2014 route

Le Pont des Arts


Things started to get difficult. It downed on me that I was starting to run distances that I had never ran before. I was also approaching the Bois de Boulogne, which I had decided months before the race that I would be horrible to run in there. I was also getting a bit lost nutrition wise. One one hand I was feeling super thirty and kept wanting to drink, on the other hand it only made me feel bloated and full of water. However, I has asked my Dad and friends to come to the 35K mark and the idea of seeing them kept me going. I crossed the 35K mark in 03:49:37, fairly consistent with my average of 30min for 5K, despite feeling more tired.


 The Bois de Boulogne was quite miserable. I felt cold due to the shadow and quite lonely, looking forward to seeing Dad and my friends. They were not there at the 35K mark so I kept going….still not there at the 36K mark so I carried on a bit more…but I had a complete breakdown when I did not see them at the 37K mark. What happened is that up to that point, I had run the race ahead of my predicted 04h30 finish so my support crew thought that they would not have time to come and see me at the Bois de Boulogne and then go back to the finish line. They opted to wait for me at the finish line…

I stopped running, feeling sorry for myself and pretty miserable. TMI information warning (I was also feeling quite nauseous and really wanted to be sick but did not manage). Thankfully, some runners started cheering me, patting me in the back and telling me not to stop now. I started run/walking as well as I could. In all honesty, it wasn’t because I wanted to keep running, but because it was the only way out of the Bois de Boulogne! It’s not as if I could have given up and get some sort of public transport!

Then the best thing happened. My friend Emmanuelle got worried that I still hadn’t arrived so she started to walk in my direction and she found me! She then proceeded to runs with me, taking me to the 40K mark, telling me that it was a quick walk and that it would be an even quicker run. One funny detail is that Emmanuelle was due to go to brunch and was in a very smart attire, with smart shoes and that her poor boyfriend who was also dressed smartly had to run to keep up with us! Thank you again Manue, I could not have done it without you!!! At the 40K mark, I treated myself to some oranges given on the course. To this day, it remains the best orange of my life and kept running, knowing that I could make it.

My support crew was around the finish line, by which point I barely stopped to wave at them as I was going for the home run (or what I thought I was doing, the video later showed that “my sprint” was actually running in extremely slow motion).

I ended up finishing in 04:49:52. At this point I was glad to be done but not particularly happy, I felt cold and nauseous (and was sick shortly after). I gave a big hug to my Dad and friends and could finally admire the sign they made for me.

For the past year, I was disappointed of my time but also feeling so awful towards the end of the race but today, one year later, I am finally proud to call myself a marathoner!

Marathon de Paris 14

I’m a marathoner

The good

  • The course was great, Paris is a great city and it was a great opportunity to spend the weekend there.
  • I had a lot of support
  • There was plenty of water and fuel notably oranges and banana. I didn’t have any except towards the end as I had not practiced with them.
  • There was great music along the course. I did not listen to my music despite creating a playlist for the event
  • The support crowd was amazing. Like for any race, I recommend writing your name on your T-shirt.
  • The sports massage tent sponsored by Tiger Balm at the end. This was AMAZING. Physio students were giving you massages. I had one massaging each leg for a good 15min. It massively helped to prevent DOMS. Except for stairs in the metro, I was walking around Paris the following day with no problem.
  • Lots of food at the end.

The bad

  • Not enough portaloos
  • Only 1 Powerade station (not that I wanted any, but it didn’t seem much for a marathon)
  • Need for more marshals in the Bois de Boulogne to prevent cyclists from coming on the course.

What I would do differently

  • Definitely more strength training in order to prevent injury. I think that the reason why my stomach was so sensitive is that I had taken a few ibuprofen in the days preceding the marathon. Despite only taking 1 a day and with food, my stomach does not react very well to them. However, my shin didn’t hurt!
  • Practice running on my own. It was great training with the TNR girls but that means that I did not strengthen my mind as much as my legs and we all know that the mind gives up before the body does.
  • Not change my nutrition on race day. I practiced with many gels during the training and discovered which ones worked for me and which ones didn’t. However I practiced taking them every 9K. The week before the marathon, I went to a marathon workshop where the nutritionist advised taking gels every 7K to avoid “hitting the wall”. This is what I ended up doing on race day despite having fever practiced  doing so and in retrospect, this also probably contributed to upsetting my stomach. Do not listen to any experts. You know your body better than them.

And this is how I became a marathoner!

Posted in race, race recap, Running | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

{Sunday Pamper} Skincare empties #4

Avene Cleanance K Cindy Crawford Origins Zero Oil beauty skincare review

Apologies for the poor quality picture


I’m continuing to get through my beauty stash and here are the three latest skincare products I finished.

Avene Cleanance K. I have been using this product for years. Like, 10 years. It is an exfoliating cream with AHA and BHA (salicylic acid). I have noticed that my skin reacts particularly well to BHAs and regular exfoliations. As soon as I feel a spot coming on, I put this cream on for a couple of nights in  a row and it does the trick. As for other acid containing products, make sure to put a moisturiser that contains a sun protection the following day (you too my running friends that my roll out of bed and go for run, it’s getting sunning in the mornings now). I would recommend purchasing this product.

Meaningful Beauty by Cindy Crawford Glowing serum. There is a time when I had a birchbox subscription and would therefore receive many beauty product samples. This was one of them. This product left me indifferent. I did not notice a difference from using it and the smell is not particularly pleasant. I nevertheless finished it as putting it under my moisturiser gave me a bit more hydration, which I thought was necessary this winter. I would not recommend this product.

Origins Zero oil Toner. I have started using some Origins products 6 months ago and really like them. Particularly for the products that they do not contain: no paraben, mineral oil, paraffin etc. This toner really did a good job at refining my pores and leaving my skin feeling really clean and fresh. I think I used it every 2 nights and it lasted me 5 months. It’s now that I have finished it that I notice that it actually did a difference to my skin. One of the key ingredient is salicylic acid for exfoliation. I have another toner to use from my stash but will buy this one again without any hesitation.

Links are for your information only.

What skincare products have you finished recently?

Check out my other empties here.

Posted in Beauty, Skincare | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment