It’s all coming together: Week 12

The week started with training on Tuesday and I was in a bit of a runners tantrum. I felt like I just couldn’t be bothered to do it. I mean I am so close to marathon day now but still so far, training needs to continue but I’m tired.

I’m always tired!

I didn’t want to go. There was so much of me that wanted to just go home and sit on the sofa and hang out.

But I pulled up my big girl socks and got it done. In the end it was actually a pretty good session. When Thursday track came around I was ready and raring to go! It was 30 days until marathon day and I had a renewed feeling of positivity.

I thought to myself – enjoy it Siobhan because soon it will all be over!

Friday morning I was actually feeling REALLY tired and I thought considering I had twenty miles to run on Sunday ,I decided to rest and I did feel better for it.

At this stage in marathon training I think it is important to notice which days your just feeling moany and need to push through and which days it would actually be beneficial to rest.

With less than 30 days to go I am feeling SO anxious now about getting to marathon day. I just want it to be here and I literally cannot wait anymore. I’m constantly thinking about it, it’s all I think about. I see it, dream it, feel it, think it, want it, hate it, love it – it literally it consumes me.

The excitement increased when I received my registration form and London Marathon magazine through the post this week. (Rather than getting a number London Marathon send you a registration form and you then collect your number and kit bag at the London Marathon Expo the Wed – Sat before the marathon.) It’s real!! It’s happening.

I feel mentally ready now but I don’t know if I am quite physically ready. I can’t wait to taper (which means you cut down my milage in the last two weeks) because I need serious rest for my legs, body and mind in order to be in peak condition before the big day. And also in order to be physically ready I have one big hurdle to jump before then…20 miles.

I decided to book the Human Race Events Lidl Kingston Breakfast race to achieve this. The run has distances of 8.2, 16.2 and 20.1 miles. I’d signed up to the 20 and this Sunday was the big day.

I decided to stay at my Grandad’s the night before because he lives in Surbiton so it would just be a quick mile walk down to Kingston in the morning. The race started at 8am (and with the clocks going forward it felt even earlier).

I will be writing a review of the race later in the week.

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Lucy and I after completing 20.1 miles 

My friend and fellow marathon runner, Lucy, stayed with me the night before and after an early breakfast we did a quick warm up jog to Kingston then it was time for the race to begin.

Once again Dad came to spectate on his bike and it was nice to have him there for support. Also he was able to supply me with bottles of water when I needed.

Overall I felt pretty strong and I am really impressed with my performance. I completed the 20.1 miles in 3hrs 9mins and 45 seconds. WOO.

After I met up with my cousins Pat and Catriona and her boyfriend James, as James had done the 16.2 miles (he’s training for Edinburgh Marathon in May). It was really nice to see them after and even though I only talked at them about running they smiled and said well done! I really look forward to seeing them again after the 26!

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James and I catching up after the race. 

It was a MASSIVE deal for me to run 20 miles and I feel really proud of myself and ready to take on the London Marathon. Crossing the finish line today I shouted YES! I’d done it. I’ve run the longest run on my plan. I cannot wait to cross the marathon finish line.

I also surprisingly (so far) don’t feel that bad. I got home, had a shower and even had some spare energy to dance to Ricky Martin and Mis-Teeq as I dried my hair. I am feeling tired now but mainly I feel proud.

Next week I have decided my final long long run will be 18 miles. I know I can do 20 now, so rather than doing it again I’ll do 18 as I think it is time to start giving these legs some love.

Today I really feel like I can do this! And I’m over the moon delighted about it.

All the training is paying off. I’ve raised just over £3000 for Headway. It all seems to be falling into place and the challenge I set myself to run the London Marathon in order to raise money for the great charity Headway back in May 2016 is starting to feel like it might just become an actual reality!

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. 

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One year older, another week down: Week 11 

It’s Thursday night and it’s my first session of the week.

I had a work event on Tuesday night so couldn’t go to running club and on Tuesday morning my legs were still a little sore from my half at the weekend…you know the one I got my PB in! Yeah that one. *pulls smug face*

Anyways it’s Thursday and there’s about 20 minutes until training begins and I’m feeling shattered.

It’s my birthday on Friday and I feel that the upcoming festivity is giving me a sense of being entitled to some time off. But it doesn’t matter that it’s my birthday I’m on a plan and I have to run.

Sometimes you just feel so tired and the last thing you want to do is go out running!

But you know once you get into it you’ll focus on actually doing it and before you know it it will be over.

What I was thinking was get this over with then it’s just one more 5 mile easy run tomorrow morning then I can enjoy my birthday. So pushed through I did.

The weeks festivities have also made me decide that it’s time now to reintroduce alcohol into my life – although I’m still on a ban from getting smashed.

It occurred to me that I feel a bit sad being unable to join in with even one drink with friends, considering that so far during training I’ve been in the emotional danger zone, I thought I don’t need another thing to make me sad.

I also thought it’s probably best to start drinking something otherwise one drink at the pub post marathon and I’ll be an absolute mess.

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Birthday wishes at work on Friday

And with that I had a few glasses of wine to toast my birthday! 26 years old.

So here’s to running a mile for every year of my life. (Let’s hope those teen miles aren’t as stroppy and angsty as those actual years!)

It’s now Sunday and I’ve completed my 16 mile long run. It’s been a good week for a number of reasons – I got spoiled for my birthday but also because there are now only three more proper weeks of training. And only two more REALLY long runs to go.

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16 Mile Route

 

I’m edging closer and I feel super excited. It’s nearly here! I’m also still super nervous.

Sometimes when I’m training I get caught up in the big day, in those 26 miles and that world famous race. But today during my long run I felt proud of today. I was running a distance of 16 miles! It may have been an easy slow pace but 16 miles is pretty darn far!

I think and I need to remember how great these little steps to marathon day are! I have already achieved a lot more than I ever thought I could and it’s just been me and my little feet pounding away at those pavements that has achieved that.

Next week I have my longest run to date. 20 miles. But until then there’s birthday cake. Lots and lots of Birthday cake!

Bring on week 12!


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. 

Vitality North London Half: Review

On Sunday 12 March I took part in the Vitality North London Half Marathon. This is the second time that I have ran this race having completed it last year as well.

I received my race pack a few weeks ago with my number (already hole punched – winner), specifically designed bag to use for the bag drop and letter letting me know that the race pack is virtual this year and will arrive in my inbox in a few days. All communication was pretty clear, useful and greener for being virtual.

The day came and the notable difference to last year was that ALL of the race village was inside Wembley stadium. My Dad had come with me to spectate and so I didn’t need to use the bag drop facilities. I left Dad to park the car and I headed to a quick toilet stop and then off to my pen. I was in pen E which was specified on my race number.

The event team were keeping everyone pumped up and after a quick warm up and with a buzz of anticipation in the air we were off.

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The Route

Last year I ran with Dad but due to injury he couldn’t run with me this year but he was there to watch. The route goes from Wembley to Saracens stadium and back to Wembley.

So Dad decided to bring his bike along so that he could spectate from different points.

As it turned out it was actually pretty easy for him to get round and he wasn’t far away from me for most of the run, which was pretty cool.

The first 3 miles did have a few hills and you could notice quite a few people already stopping to walk. It was a challenge straight from the off.

After the hills the miles were flying by, with entertainment throughout the course and friendly volunteers handing out water often, it was enjoyable to run.

The route comes back on itself after Saracens and what I did enjoy about the road up to the first stadium was seeing the elites on their way back. It’s just insane how fast they run. It takes your mind of your own running to see them fly by.

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On the way to Saracens

Before long I reached the first stadium. Saracens was a great way to reach the half way point. The event team were there cheering us on, there was a video camera so you could see yourself running on the big screen. Plus, once you crossed over the half way point your name appeared on another big screen.

It was a nice boost. There were also plenty of toilets available – always good even if I didn’t need to use them. Then as you exit the stadium there was the first of two Lucozade stands on the route.

Last year the Lucozade stand had been a little later on in the race and I think it was a good choice to make it at the half way point. Now it was time to run home! Back to Wembley!

As I was running back I could see all the runners going the other way, still to reach the first stadium. At that point I saw my cousin Jon, who was also running! We had been unable to see each other at the start. So that was cool!

The race did come to an awkward stop when an ambulance needed to get by and runners were asked to stop running by the marshals and we had to wait as it went by. Of course I wouldn’t want it to not get by, but it was an inconvenience having to stop for 10 seconds and then get back into a rhythm. I wonder whether there might be a better planning on how emergency vehicles can get through for next year’s race.

After this it was a slight down hill and I was back running strong until the 10 mile mark.

Then the hills came back! I knew this was coming from running it last year but I did forget quite how many there were. From 10 – 12 there were 4 fairly steep hills and on tired legs I could feel them. People seemed to be struggling and it was at this point I felt maybe this isn’t the best beginners or PB course.

After hitting 12 miles it was down hill and I was able to push more for the last bit.

When you come from Wembley Park and up back to the stadium it can be a little deceiving thinking you’ll be able to go straight into the stadium. However there is still a little way to go and you need to run half way around the stadium before you enter it. I was aware of this from running before but I think it would be good to have a little more signage around there.

Finally Wembley calls! You can hear the tannoy and the crowds cheering and it’s great! I sprinted through the finish line at 1.57.20 but having run an extra .1 miles actually ran the half distance in 1.56.20!

A PB and I felt great. I received my medal and it was good. I preferred last year’s design but it’s good to have a different looking medal.

I’d finished and I looked around Wembley and it was super cool and for a split second I felt like a professional athlete.

Another improvement from last year was rather than leaving the stadium straight away to get your goodie bag and T-shirt, you walked around the pitch instead. This gave more time to appreciate the amazing stadium and what you had just achieved. It also let you see other people finish.

I would recommend to those who like to run half marathons however I would say there are probably easier races for beginners and I did wonder what my PB would have been had it been a flat course.

For spectators it’s a great finish line to watch, although unless your on your bike like Dad, unlikely you’ll see your runner very often – especially if you want to get back to the stadium for the finish.

Overall it was a great day, an improvement on last year too! The location is amazing and if that means running some hills then so be it because it was definitely worth it. The organisers aren’t wrong it really is the best finish line!

I ran the North London Half as part of my training for London Marathon.


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 register for next year’s North London Half visit their website here.

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

It aint all that bad: Week 10

The past two weeks have been pretty hard, but you will be pleased to hear that this week has been a lot better and so I won’t be moaning today. After running the 18 miles last week I’m starting to feel positive about my running and am beginning to believe I can actually do this. (What’s an extra 8 more miles right?! right?)

I mean this week my legs have been shouting at me “Siobhan! What the hell are we doing at training again?! You realise we literally ran 18 miles and we’re still doing 4 runs this week?!” But the show must go on and so my legs were told to shut up and we carried on.

Other than tiredness I’m feeling good. It is week 10 and that means there are just 6 weeks left until the day! 6!

I know it’s still over a month but compared to the 10 weeks I’ve done it’s amazing. The Marathon is getting closer and I’m starting to feel I’m ready to do this.

There are just three more 16 mile+ runs to go before tapering.

Plus, on Wednesday I had the day off of work and got to spend some time with Stu. It was really nice to spend some time together and after being tired was great to have some time to relax.

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Thank you to all who sponsored me so far

Then, my positivity levels got even higher when on Thursday I reached my second fundraising target of £2,500 for Headway which was great!! Now my target is £3,000!

Maybe this marathon training aint all that bad.

Come Sunday I had the North London Half Marathon race. Last year I ran this Half in 1.58.59 and it is the fastest I’ve ever ran a half in. Last year my Dad ran it with me and was there to pace me. Could I beat that time this year? I have weeks of training with the running club on my side – however on the other side I would be running alone with no one to push me.

I ended the run in 1.56.29 which was a PB by over 2 minutes! (I’ll write a review of the race mid-week).thumb_IMG_1654_1024

It was a good week. It’s still tough as hell but this week I’m feeling good.

It’s my birthday next Friday so hopefully the good weeks will continue. Now it’s late, I’m shattered and it’s time for bed.

So, until next week,

Siobhan xx


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. 

There’s no I in Marathon: Week 9

Considering I run on my own you’d be surprised to discover that the marathon for me has been a team effort so far. This has been especially evident in the past two weeks.

At the beginning of the week I was surprised and pretty humbled that such an influx of donations headed my way. From Monday – Tuesday I’d raised £475 taking me to my initial fundraising target of £2000. And up to today I have raised a further £240 towards my second target of £2500. (Just £260 to go!!)

I couldn’t believe that so many people were constantly giving me their support and donations -telling me that I could do this, or that they were proud of me.

Furthermore on the Tuesday, Headway who I am running for, announced that I was Fundraiser of the Month. Both this and the sponsorship together made me feel proud – I’m on the right track and I am really working towards helping Headway.

However, come Thursday things started to get to me a bit. Having raised a massive amount of money, I was starting to feel the pressure. What if I can’t do this? What if something happens and I can’t make the race? Have I taken on too much?

I felt that if something happened that would mean I didn’t succeed that I would have let all these people who believed in me down. All my hard work and training so far would be for nothing. What sort of Fundraiser of the Month can’t even complete their challenge!?

Plus, this weekend I had my 18 mile coming up. I have never ran that far before and I’m worried that if I can’t do this I’ll never be able to run a marathon.

The stress, on top of external marathon factors, were building up. The worries I felt from last week, including missing Stu were still there and it was all just getting too much. I’m thinking/worrying about running ALL the time.

Once again I found myself crying from it all. (N.B. I’m an emotional person at the best of times anyways. If I could go back and give myself some advice on marathon training it would be to book some time off of work in the middle weeks of training. Relax. Refocus. Rest! A half way reward for yourself.)

Why the hell am I crying?! All I am doing is running. It’s only a marathon. Nothing awful is happening in my life. I’m the one who volunteered for this in the first place. The other people running the marathon don’t appear to be having internal breakdowns. ARGH?!?!

But when I shared my worries the most lovely thing happened (again after last week) I got even more support.

The people around me didn’t say “you’re being an idiot Siobhan” or “I think you’re over reacting”. Instead these beautiful amazing supportive friends told me they believe in me; that they know I’m strong and that they know I can do it. They listened to me and and have been kind and loving whilst I’ve been sitting there stupidly crying about running and generally losing my s**t.

People who I haven’t seen or spoken with in a while have sponsored me! Put their faith in me and sent me good wishes.

I’m not doing this alone. All of these people are on my marathon team and they’re all running with me – well mentally – don’t worry guys I haven’t signed you up as well. 

Saturday came around and I had my 18 miles ahead of me. Picked up by support and ready to conquer this unknown quantity.

(I’d bought a camel pack to use for the first time, as I’ve been told it is KEY to stay hydrated. It is a 2 litre water pouch in so you have enough water for the whole run and don’t have to carry loads of bottle. It was actually really great – easy to drink from and, other than the noise of the water moving around, I didn’t really notice it.) 

I knew that if I could do this run I might just be fine, I would be proud of myself and so would my lovely friends.

And so I ran, and I ran and ran and ran until I eventually completed it in 2hrs and 56mins. Is that a good time? I don’t know and to be honest I don’t care. It’s 18 miles!!

I feel good. I feel grateful and I feel like I can do this. There’s still 7 more weeks and it’s still going to be hard but WE have got this.

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After 18 miles.

I can’t thank people enough for being a shoulder to cry on, donating, boosting me up, leaving supportive comments, leaving me surprise Keep Going cards at work, congratulating me on my big runs, taking sweaty selfies to help me win sponsorship money and everything in between.

I’m hoping next week I will get out of this mid-training slump and as I start to see the weeks counting down I will be left with just excitement and positivity.

This thing aint easy! But as I, and Theodore Roosevelt, have said before “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…”

Until next time,

Siobhan xx


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.