Emotions running high: Week 8

On Monday I tried out a yoga session, it was really hard and I found half way through my session I was crying. I don’t know why but I felt an overwhelming feeling of sadness.

img_1128At lunchtime I went to my local Headway group for the first time. My experience with brain injury survivors before this had just been with my friend Will and when I saw him it was always positive, nice to see him and a catch up.

However this was totally different. The amazing members at the group spoke about the struggles and frustrations of the effects of brain injury.

I left and when I got back to the office I found myself really upset. It was heartbreaking to hear some of their worries. It was great that they have Headway and a place where they can talk about how they feel and be supported but I guess I wasn’t prepared for the intensity of the situation.

It definitely reminded me that the work Headway does is amazing and my small impact on raising some money and awareness is important.

Come Tuesday running club session, I was still sore from Yoga and not in the mood. It felt hard but ended up having a great session. We went back to the same place we’d been in the first week and as I ran around the block I could feel the improvement from 7 weeks before. It was also nice to be at the club and I am really starting to feel like I belong.

When I came home the sadness hit again. I looked at my marathon plan on my wall and realised there is still over 8 weeks to go. In this time I have barely seen Stu! He’s been working really hard at the moment and rather than being there for him I’ve just been sleeping from tiredness or out running.

When I signed up no one told me the effects of a marathon on a relationship. When you’re running a marathon you become selfish, you put you and your running before anything else; social life, lie ins, an actual Sunday. You’re totally committed to the cause in order to run those 26.2 miles and cross that finish line.

But I didn’t even think that by putting the marathon first, the person who I care most about would feel and become second in my life.

It feels horrible and I can’t image how it feels for him. I don’t want to be this selfish person.

But I’m here now and I signed up to do this and I have to, especially after going to Headway on Monday I know more than ever how they need my little bit of help.

Stu is an amazing person and I know that even though this is a difficult thing for him to live with he’ll support me all the way; he’ll be there at the finish line and he’ll be proud of me at the end. I really can’t thank him enough for it all especially  because I really need his support to do it.

By Wednesday it hit me. What the hell am I doing? Why am I doing this? How come it doesn’t seem this hard for everyone else? I was done in.

The 7 and a bit weeks of training had all caught up with me. I took Thursday and Friday off of running and decided to rest my body and my mind.

I did my 10 mile on Saturday and still felt ridiculously tired. I knew I needed some more rest to get over it – but this came with letting another person down.

My friend had organised a dinner party, went to real effort to make it amazing and I just couldn’t go and with that I had to cancel. I feel awful but my health and my body need to come first. This feeling of letting people down is pretty pants.

I think for any first time marathon runners training properly like me you need to be prepared that it is impossible to keep your life outside running the same as before training.

I was feeling low but then I received an email from Virgin Money Giving: You’ve been sponsored. This always makes me feel good because it means someone is supporting me and believes that I can do it.

When I opened it up to see who it was I was humbled to find it was one of the members from the local Headway group! I couldn’t believe it. I never went to the session to get the members to sponsor me but I am so grateful and this sponsorship means so much coming from a member.

This marathon is hard. But on weeks like this I need to remind myself it’s just running. It’s only 16 weeks of my life and it’s for an amazing cause.

A big thanks to everyone who listened to me this week moaning or crying, worrying if I could still do it or not and telling me that I can.

I’ve had a wobble this week but I’m not quitting. It’s half way through now and really there’s only 5/6 hard weeks left before tapering…then it’s just the race.

It’s time to put my positivity pants back on and tackle the next 2 months.

It will all be worth it in the end.

I’m running the London Marathon to raise money for Headway, the brain injury association. You can sponsor me here: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SiobhanSharp

To find out more about Headway and what they do visit their website here. 


It’s the little things: Week 7

This week I didn’t go to Running Club on Tuesday because it was Valentines’ Day and seeing as Stu and I have barely seen each other recently we planned to spend the evening together.

So instead I ran 10km in the morning and actually managed to run my second fasted 10km since October. The evening with Stu was really nice and it meant a lot to spend it together.

Come Thursday track session I was ready to be back running with others. Friday morning I had a 4 mile planned and it was a treat to know that I didn’t have to go the far.

On Friday I also re-watched the Louis Theroux documentary A Different Brain. I had first watched this last May and after watching it applied to run the London Marathon for Headway.

It was a good thing to watch it again because it made me remember that there are so many people who need the support of organisations like Headway.

After work I headed back to my mum’s house for the weekend, got my hair done on Saturday and Stu joined us for tea in the local cafe. It was really lovely and we had a great day and I realised how lucky I am and I am so thankful for that.

This marathon may be hard work but at the end of the day it’s just running. It’s really nothing compared to what the amazing brain injury survivors and their families go through.

img_1237On Saturday evening as me and Mum were getting into a film I logged into my Twitter and saw something that really cheered me up. Louis Theroux had retweeted me! The actual wonderful Louis Theroux. As well as being the man behind the documentary that made me apply to run the marathon, I’m also a massive fan of all of his documentaries. So it gave me a real buzz.

As Sunday came around there was 16 miles between me and the end of this week’s training. In March 2016 I had ran 16.2 miles which is the furthest I had ever ran so today’s aim was 16.3. Once that was all over I could go to my sports massage with my friend Nicky.

IMG_1249.jpgAs I was at mum’s house I was running around my old area and it did seem odd seeing all the old places, from my old road to the park I used to hang out at, passed friends’ houses I’d spent hours in as a teenager. I thought I don’t think I would have ever imagined back then that I would be running the same streets training for a marathon.

It was a lovely day, a lot warmer today than any other long run I have done this year and so I was sweating a lot more than usual and drinking much more than usual. This meant I had to stop by a Tesco half way through to buy a new bottle. After all it’s important to stay hydrated.

I wear my Garmin Vivosmart during my run which picks up messages that I receive from my phone and I can read them on my wrist. At about 11 miles I received a message from my friend Sophie saying ‘I’ve paid for your sports massage today as a little carry on treat.’ (Sophie and Nicky are also friends so they obviously have been in touch. Nicky already gives me a discount so the both of them are angels.)

It was really nice thing to do and made me feel lucky once again to have such supportive friends.

As I got to 14 miles I knew there was just over 2 more miles to go and then I would have run the longest I ever have. Then suddenly it was over!! 16.3 miles done and I felt really great (I also felt sore and mega tired) and super proud of myself.

I still have 10 more miles to go to get to a marathon but I know with the support that I have from my family, Stu (and his fam), Sophie, Nicky, the wine whatsapp group members, the Ranelagh Harriers running club, the fab supportive Headway team, all the generous donors to my marathon cause and of course Louis Theroux, I can and I will get there.

Now I am going to shuffle off to the shower. 16 miles isn’t easy on your legs.

I’m running the London Marathon to raise money for Headway, the brain injury association. You can sponsor me here: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SiobhanSharp

To find out more about Headway and what they do visit their website here. 



It’s a marathon not a sprint: Week 6

One of the things I’m really grasping is that running a marathon is not just about running 26.2 miles. It’s also and a lot about the hours and hours of training needed to get there.

I’ve just completed week 6 of my plan and I’ve still got 10 weeks to go. 10! I’m not even nearly there. However, even though it’s not easy this week was a good week and I’m feeling positive.

As most standard weeks it didn’t differ too much, with club on Tuesday and back to the track on Thursday.

Then the plan was to run last week’s 14 miles route again on Saturday then go to Run and Become in Victoria for some new trainers.

As it turned out when I woke up on Saturday morning I was feeling pretty rubbish, so I parked the idea of the 14 that morning and got ready to go trainer shopping with D.

I met Dad in Victoria (he can’t run anymore so it’s pretty mean of me to take him along but he knows what it takes to run a marathon and so my shopping companion he was). After a cup of tea, catch up and a Kit Kat – always needed – we went into the store.

Greeted by a friendly team member/gait analyser, we told her that I’m running a marathon and need some good trainers. I brought my current shoes with me so she could look at the bottom and see where the wear was, this is a good plan if you are planning on going to one of these shops. It turns out my current sports direct cheapies aren’t too supportive – oops.

She asked if I could go outside the shop, in my cheapies, and run to the end of the road and back so she could take a look at my style. Spoiler alert: Turns out I’m a mainly neutral runner but my knees tend to turn in so I’d need a trainer with good arch support.

After trying on a few pairs, whilst also receiving some great marathon tips from my lovely new gait friend, we settled on the Asics. I’m told they have 500 miles in them so it’s all down to me and them to get to the finish line.

My new trainers

All paid and ready to go, Dad and I had a celebratory steak (with a side of spinach for that much needed iron) and then I headed home whilst wearing in my new Asics mates.

Now it was time for the 14 miles. I decided, even though you probably shouldn’t wear a brand new pair of trainers out for the first time that compared to the cheapies lack of support, (and the fact I was excited*) I would take them out for a test drive.

*I’m excited about new running trainers. When I told you the marathon would make me boring I wasn’t lying, but I seriously couldn’t wait to try them out. 

It was a horrible evening. It was snowy, dark and cold and even though the trainers were comfortable and they were now supporting me, I could definitely feel a difference in my running which seemed odd.

Cold & stiff after 14 miles

I got home freezing and stiff and after stretching and a sore bit of foam rolling (ouch) it was 9pm and I was nearly ready for bed.

The thing is I had to be up early in the morning as I had booked a Runthrough 10km race around the Olympic Park with a fellow 2017 marathon runner (and my old boss) Jess Hepburn. Plus, I was going to be her pacer so off to bed I went to get some rest in before tomorrow.

Stratford. 9.30am and I met up with Jess at the number collection. She decided she wanted to beat our last race at 1hr 07mins so I calculated that if we averaged around 10 and a half min that should do it.

I love a race day! It’s so exciting. I started to get excited for what it will be like the day of the London Marathon. (I imagine I’ll be a lot more nervous.)

Olympic Park

If you’ve never done a race before you should! I would recommend the Runthrough races for beginners (and all) with lots of different events around London to choose from, fab email instruction/communications pre race, you can decide on either 5 or 10km PLUS you get a flapjack at the end!

Participating and being involved gives you a real buzz, and because this race was around the Olympic village I felt like it was even more important – world class athletes have been here.

Once we were off I noticed Jess was keeping up a bit stronger than our previous run and so decided to keep the average pace pushed at around 10mins.

By the end we made it in 1hr and 1 min! That’s 6 mins shaved off from before. I was really impressed with Jess and think she was really proud of herself too.

I got my first medal of the year and I’m ending week 6 on a high.

I still feel constantly tired and constantly hungry and there are still 10 weeks to go. But it was a good week and what I’m doing is a good thing and I’m proud of myself.

Just got to keep going! Come on Asics let’s do this!

I’m running the London Marathon to raise money for Headway, the brain injury association. You can sponsor me here: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SiobhanSharp

To find out more about Headway and what they do visit their website here. 

I get knocked down but I get up again: Week 5

This week was not ideal, but it was the perfect week for it.

On Thursday I had a hospital appointment in the day. The plan was to still go to track that night. However, due to a slight phobia of hospitals, the appointment ended in me passing out and therefore advised not to go training that night.

As the next session after track was on the Friday morning that was also out of the question and to be fair I was pretty shattered by it all so maybe it was best.

I felt really upset about it – the first sessions I’ve missed, plus it was on top of an easy week last week in my plan.

On Friday night I went to a Headway drinks reception for London Marathon runners. When  Cerys (the wonderful Senior Community Fundraiser for Headway who supports all of us through this journey) asked me how it had been going I couldn’t help but look disappointed. Cerys told me not to worry and that I was doing a great job both running and fundraising – the Headway team are always so positive, helpful and supportive.

At the reception we were given more details about the Headway services the money we are raising is going towards and we heard from a previous Headway London Marathon runner. Everyone in the room was running because they knew someone who has been helped by Headway.

It reminded me why this charity is so important and why I’m proud to be running for them. Every 90 seconds someone in the UK is admitted to Hospital with a brain injury and it is estimated that 1 in 64 people in the UK are currently living with the effects of a brain injury. Headway is there to help those people.

The evening was a really positive experience. (Topped it off with a catch up with my friend Ruth over my first ever Vietnamese dinner. Yum.)

As Sunday came along I was ready for my 14 miles. It started out great but by 10 miles my legs were starting to get stiff, I guess after the lack of miles recently they were a bit surprised we were sticking to the 14 miles on the plan.

My 14 mile route

But even though it wasn’t easy I just thought about the reasons WHY I was doing this and powered through.

I’m feeling really proud (and a little sore), especially after the way the week went, to have completed 14 miles today – the furthest run so far.

I ran 14 miles! I’m feeling smug…just imagine what I’ll be like at the London Marathon finish line.

But for now my lovely boyfriend Stu is making lunch and so I’m off to enjoy the rest of my Sunday.

Until next week,

Siobhan x



I’m running the London Marathon to raise money for Headway, the brain injury association. You can sponsor me here: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SiobhanSharp

To find out more about Headway and what they do visit their website here.