Marathon fever – London

marathonRunning a marathon is something I used to think other people did. Don’t get me wrong, I love running, but I never really thought that my legs could take 26 miles of it, or at least that was the case, until recently…

The seeds were sewn back in February when my running friend Bex and I found ourselves running 17km by accident one Saturday morning. We had gone out with our running club (the T.i.Ts) and found ourselves deep in gossip at the point at which the run ended. So, instead of stopping, we just kept running, and chatting, and running, and chatting and only when we stopped did I realise how far we’d gone. It wasn’t that I hadn’t done that distance before, but in the past it had always hurt so much more and involved me collapsing afterwards, whereas that Saturday, with a slight red wine head and bleary eyes, I just did it, showered and carried on with my day.

This got me thinking; maybe, with some training, maybe, perhaps, possibly there is a chance that I could run a marathon?

Since February my distances have been consistently building, and I’m now averaging 40km a week, and feel that adding to this is eminently doable. Although I realise to run a marathon I need to be doubling my weekly distance, with some longer weekend runs and a few morning and evening routes thrown in (at the moment I do the majority of my mileage at lunchtime), I really think this is possible.

As anyone who knows me will testify, once I get an idea into my head I struggle to stifle it, and I really can’t turn down a challenge, even if I have thrown the gauntlet myself.

So…after a bit of research I have set my heart on the 2015 Paris Marathon. Paris is one of my absolute favourite cities and what could be better incentive to complete the 26 mile course than a few decadent days of French food, wine, museums and art galleries afterwards? Also, it falls before my 30th birthday and I’m desperate to have at least one thing ticked off my ‘before I’m 30 list’ before I’m 30.

The thing is, if I’m doing 26 miles I’m not going it alone…

Bex already has two marathons under her belt, so she was the obvious target for training advice. She also runs at a very similar speed to me, and would be the perfect marathon partner. The problem is that the experience of two marathons also means two marathons worth of the experience of marathon training, and apparently this can be a bit off putting (who knew?)

My other training partner Louise, would also be a perfect marathon teammate. Again we run at the same pace and run together 3 or 4 times a week. However I have only just twisted her arm into competing in Tough Mudder with me and it would seem that this is torture enough.

But as I said, once I get an idea into my head I refuse to let it go, and in my head Bex, Louise and I are running the Paris Marathon in 2015, I just need to convince them of this too.

I’m being persistent and planning routes which end at vegan cafes, juice bars or Whole Foods to incentivise my teammates into training with me. The juice bars will just get gradually further away, but I’m hoping they won’t notice that!

My cunning plan began this Sunday, London Marathon day.

run 1Our 9km route went from Clapham South to Clapham Junction, down to Battersea, over the bridge into Chelsea. Then through Chelsea to Earls Court, up to Kensington Hight Street and concluded at Down To Earth, a vegetarian and vegan cafe, newly discovered by Louise. The menu has a wealth of juices, from which you can make your own combinations (orange, apple, carrot and ginger for me), and a selection of gluten free, vegan and non dairy cakes. There are also delicious looking breakfast and lunch menus, which were very tempting. However, as we arrived at 11:45 we all settled on juice, tea and cake. I had a vegan raisin, apple and cinnamon oat cookie, which was tasty, if not a little dry, while the others had an orange and pomegranate cake, which they reported to be delicious. Definitely worth a trip!

run 2After our break Bex and I headed to Westminster to catch some of the Marathon (more indoctrination into the marathon spirit). It was so incredible to see so many people nearing the end of their 26 miles. In the spirit of the day, (and since the tubes were fit to bursting) we decided to run the 8km home, along the river from Westminster, over Battersea bridge, through the park and up to Clapham Junction where we concluded our run in Whole Foods for coconut water and, in my case a big slab of tofu and my body weight in asparagus spears, from the salad bar.

I am still waiting for a definite yes from both girls, although I believe I will eventually wear them down. In the meantime, however we can all benefit from my new ‘vegan run routes’ and I will be reporting back on all of the vegan (and sweaty runner) friendly places in and around London.

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