Entry 201 – The Big Half

Last week I did no running!  Like many others the snow played havoc with my training and I was in the gym when I could instead, which is fine but perhaps not the best preparation for a half marathon but having injuries I was worried about running and slipping over.

I had seen posts as the week went on for many local events that were being cancelled due to the weather and I was unsure as to whether or not the half marathon I had signed up for on Sunday would go ahead or not but was assuming it would.  Being a major event in London I assumed cancellation would be an absolute last resort.  Thankfully the snow in London had all cleared by Saturday morning and the event staff had worked to ensure the roads were clear and safe so the first Big Half event was a go!

The Big Half was a new event and is half marathon distance that you could complete by yourself or as part of a relay.  There was also a Little Half aimed at children and families, however, due to the weather this part of the event was cancelled.

If you have taken part in either the London Marathon or Prudential Ride London the set up is extremely similar as it is put on by the same company, London Marathon Events.  Race numbers, kit bag and timing chip was sent in the post in advance of the event and final instructions were sent to all by email.  The instructions were really comprehensive and even covered all the train disruptions that could make a difference to participants getting to the start.  There were of course a number of people who could not make it to the start as planned as various areas of the UK were affected worse than others but the event have offered a virtual alternative where you can run the distance, send the proof and your medal will be sent to you – not quite the same as the event itself but a nice touch I thought.

The start was really convenient for me to get to with two areas, orange and green, to drop off kit bags, find your start pens and of course those last minute toilet visits!  There were various waves being set off over a 35 minute period so by the time we were off we were pretty cold as it was more than chilly!  But the wait gave me time to share some of my Go Bites with some fellow runners and explain what they are and why I was using them.  I adopted the same approach regarding nutrition as I had last week and so I was well and truly powered by the bites from Go Faster Food!


I was running with my friend Laura who is 16 weeks pregnant and was just amazing.  Her t-shirt had her name on it and so whenever anyone shouted out to her I would reply back with ‘and her baby’, whilst playing mum and telling her to run on the pavement on certain sections and not the cobbles as they were slippery.

The event itself looped from Tower Bridge to Billingsgate Market (via the Limehouse Link which was so much warmer and saw many people getting rid of layers as they went) and back over the bridge for the first 7 miles and then through Wapping, Southwark and finishing in Greenwich.  There were mile markers, plenty of toilets on route, plenty of water stops and plenty of support including music along the way.


The medal was fab and totally different from any other medal I have received from an event – a little running man, great goody bag including a finishers technical t-shirt.

After a short walk to bag collection we were in a festival area in Greenwich Park with music and food stalls.

This will definitely be on my list for next year and I would recommend it to others also – great event especially for their first!

I really enjoyed it – yes you read that right I really enjoyed running over 13 miles!

Entry 200 – Thorpe Park Half Marathon

On Sunday I headed back to Thorpe Park to complete the half marathon – I had done this event last year and signed up for round two.  Last year I was running with a friend and this year I had a friend running with me.

The course is advertised as flat and fast though last year I, and many others, were surprised at the elevation – nothing that would kill you but enough to notice it on the legs for sure.

I was going into this event with the mentality that I was there just to get the miles in and complete it.  I have said before running is not something that I find easy though have been enjoying it a lot more during my training as I had to follow a sort of couch to 10k plan following a knee injury.  That was fine until I completed my 10k and then increased to 10 miles a week before this event.  I found that since that 10 mile run I have had an issue with my foot that I was, if I am totally honest, hoping would go away of its own free will.  It feels like I have stepped on a piece of lego and its badly bruised and with every step I can feel it pushing the bruise.  Only there is no bruise (I have since found out I have plantar fasciitis so that would explain it!).  So with my knee and foot taped up with rock tape off I set with my friend Emma.

Knowing this would not be my easiest run I had made sure my prep and nutrition was on point and took full advantage of the recipes and nutrition from Go Faster Food that I am trialling and my friend Emma who is a PT and qualified nutritionist.  The day before I used the porridge recipe, made sure I was fully hydrated and used a pasta recipe for dinner.  Emma and I also spent almost an hour at the gym on the power plate, stretching and foam rolling (my god foam rolling is not pleasant *or insert any other word more appropriate*).  The morning of the event I had porridge again – I always feel like eating pre-event is a struggle as it feels like you get up and have to force down food before travelling to the start.  I was armed with my go bites and opted to have the boost just before the start, refuel at 6 miles and the recover post run and it worked a treat!


As I noted last year the name of this event is deceiving as the only part of it that is linked with Thorpe Park is the start and finish which is in the car park for the theme park.  Although as you run out and back you do go through a rather pot hole filled area of land which has some old rides – it almost looks like a ride graveyard.  It is where the rides go to die, which was quite apt as this is just before the 13 mile mark and at that point most people are tired – I was tempted to go sit on one for a while!

At the start we needed the obligatory nervous run to the toilet before we started though it seemed like every other participant also had the same plan.  This is always a hard point for any event as there never seem to be enough toilets.  Many people were opting for the nearby bushes, which I am not ashamed to say after almost 30 minutes waiting and barely moving we also opted for – dry robes come in very handy for this!  There was no way I could have started to run without that little visit to the bush.

As we had waited for the toilet for so long we had totally missed the start but this was ok as it was chip timed so we just dumped our stuff in the car, including dry robes, which was sad as it was so cold and I don’t think either of us really wanted to take them off (man it was fresh!), and then headed to the start.  We were off!


Now I am usually optimistic and a total realist.  I knew I was injured and I knew this would not be easy but I was there and I was doing it.  I am also always super appreciative of marshalls at events like this – I have marshalled many times myself and it is a long day especially in the temperatures we had yesterday BUT the lovely marshall at about 200 metres in that was shouting words of encouragement well I am not sure that ‘well done, you’re doing really well, not long left’ was quite appropriate though it did give me and Emma a laugh.  Not long left?  We have about 13 miles left and that, in my book, is quite a long way!

There was music on route with different bands live on the course which was nice.  Lots of switch backs where runners were offering each other encouragement and gave me the opportunity to see some club mates from Havering Tri.  I also saw a friend, Kate, from bootcamp who was using this as her training run for Paris marathon and she did amazing!

We managed to get to 8 miles where thankfully there was a toilet – maybe more toilets on the route would have been better as these were the first we saw and I was desperate at his point!  You have never seen someone so grateful to see a portaloo as me at that moment!  So a quick stop – I say quick but according to my watch it was almost 5 minutes as I struggled with compression leggings that had got caught up with my race number belt and my running belt – it was like getting out of a sweaty sports bra after a spin class and in the process I managed to slightly cut both my sides with one of the belts!  Anyway I felt way more comfortable after that and off we set again.  There were some slight inclines before some down hills, which would have been nicer if one was not right next to a sewage plant.

Emma was totally positive at this point saying nearly 10 miles done and only a 5k to go.  My foot was killing me and 5k seemed like an eternity so I was pretty grumpy especially as I knew there was a killer hill around the corner.  So imagine my excitement when I saw runners looping round in front of a pub and back, which meant NO KILLER HILL!!  I got so excited and grabbed Emma exclaiming ‘they’ve cut the hill!’ – it was like Christmas had come early – almost as joyous as the moment I saw the portaloo!  But not that early as there were still 3 miles left.  Some more of my Go Bites were eaten at this point – I also gave this nutrition to Emma so we were both trialling it on this run and it was good as she is vegetarian so often lots of gels etc are ruled out for her but not these!

The first 5k was completed in 29 minutes and considering my PB for that distance is just under 28 minutes I knew we had gone off too quickly but the last 5k couldn’t have been more different.  It was a total mental battle for me and stop start and my face in the photos compared to the start is quite frankly hilarious.  I seem to have a look that is a total mixture of ‘ooh look a camera must smile’ and confusion as to what I am doing there in the first place!


But we completed it and in a time of 2 hours 25 minutes and I am actually super chuffed with that!  My PB is 2 hours 20 minutes and I am nowhere near as run fit and have two injuries and so that was a great result for me!  Totally grateful to my friend Emma for running with me even though I told her on several occasions to run on – towards the end when I was being really grumpy I said my foot hurts and started walking and annoyed myself so much I said I wanted to give myself either a slap or a punch in the face and then told her to save herself and go on ahead.  I mean one thing is true – I may have a love/hate relationship with running but I try and I will continue to joke even if I am a tad dramatic!

We finished our day with my husband and a friend who had also completed a half marathon in Roding Valley with a huge roast dinner, once we had defrosted, that we all absolutely earned!

If you are looking to fuel naturally as opposed to using gels I would absolutely recommend you check out Go Faster Food, both the Go Bites and also the recipe book – I will be taking the Go Bites with me on a trip to La Santa for a training camp week with Havering Tri and sharing with some of the other members whilst we train.

Entry 199 – Ladies only classes at Wild Forest Gym

If you follow me on Instagram you will no doubt have seen a number of posts from training sessions at Wild Forest Gym.  Some of them are my own training and some from the classes they put on, specifically the ladies only class.  They run two a week, one on a Tuesday morning and one on a Wednesday evening.  I attend the Wednesday session with my friend Emma.

The class is run by Tracey and is fab.  Tracey is nuts and a lot of fun.  She is also full of great tips for techniques and ways to tackle the obstacles.


Every Wednesday we make our way through the forest gym with our head torches and we get sh*t done. I can’t (yet) do all the obstacles so sometimes it is more I am trying to get sh*t done. But that’s fine, that’s what we are there for.

I go with my friend Emma who is a PT and I am on a fitness and weight loss journey so between us we have very different levels of fitness. I have also been injured and Tracey has even amended some of the workouts to allow for my injury. The sessions are fab and suitable for all abilities so whilst I understand why people may be hesitant (I was to begin with) there is absolutely no reason to worry that you may not be fit enough.

I love being able to work out in an outdoor gym, whilst also being able to work on improving on the obstacles.  I also love the variation – one week we may work on the monkey bars and rings and finish with some circuits using the atlas balls and large tyres and another week we may work on walls and complete pyramid exercises for example 1 sit up then climb up and over the wall then 2 sit ups and repeat up until 10. No sessions are the same!


I have made definite improvements since I have been attending these classes and would absolutely recommend to anyone thinking about it. I am also trying to work on improving my confidence and this helps!

Yes it is cold but you warm up quickly.  Yes it is muddy but who cares? That’s half the fun!  Yes it is dark but that is what the head torches are for.  Yes you may have a little fright by the sound of deers in the forest but you laugh about it as Tracey dances (she did this last Wednesday and it was very funny).

See you there one Wednesday?  I hope so!


Entry 198 – Winter Run 10k in London

Yesterday was World Cancer Day and it was appropriate that it also happened to be the Winter Run 10k in London.

This was the fourth year for this event and each year it has grown in popularity with a record number of 20,000 people participating to raise money and awareness for Cancer Research.  I have been extremely lucky to be invited by Human Race as an ambassador to take part and it is always a very easy yes to get involved.  I love this event, it is great fun, for a wonderful cause and completely inclusive with so many people of different abilities.


There are some sad statistics relating to cancer as follows:

  • 1 in 2 people in the UK born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime.
  • 4 in 10 (42%) of cancer cases in the UK each year are linked to lifestyle factors.

So it is no surprise that when, at the start of the event, the question to raise your hand if you have been or know someone that has been affected by cancer saw most of the crowd with their hands in the air.  With the race numbers you receive a piece of paper to note down if you are taking part in the event for someone in particular and there are so many messages and names pinned to tshirts and jackets on the course.

One of the tips I recently received from Tom Craggs (one of the UK’s most in demand running coaches and Head Coach at Polar) was about the power within yourself (centering) and the benefits of having a transcendent motivation such as dedicating each mile to someone and so on days like yesterday I have seen comments from people that found having that motivation helped them get through a distance they had maybe not covered previously or achieve a PB they were aiming for.

I have mentioned (ok maybe moaned a little) about an injury to my knee and part of my physio was a couch to 10k type of run/walk plan to assist with other strength exercises and rehab the knee back to full strength with this event being the first in my training post injury.  This was going great until I cycled a hill a week ago that did not agree with my knee and I have been suffering since.  I would absolutely be taking part in the event but would not be striving to beat any previous records in any way as that would be pretty stupid and I didn’t want to make it worse – though I did make sure I would be taking part with rock tape in keeping with the colour theme of the event (ha!).


So I was really pleased to be able to run with a friend from my triathlon club, Havering Tri, who had not run further than 5k before.  Most of the people I know run faster than me so it is rare I am able to help someone in this discipline!

There were four of us from our tri club taking part and we split into two with my husband pacing a friend, Layla, to an awesome PB and me running with Dave for his longest run to date and by default also a PB!


And we all loved it!  We high fived all the animals – penguins, yetis, huskies and polar bears.  We sang with the choirs on route.  We smiled and said hi to people we knew on course, even took some photos and we had a brilliant time.  Dave was amazing and completed in an awesome time and it was an absolute pleasure to run with him.  I even got a bit of a commentary finding out the London hotel where his parents spent their honeymoon 60 years ago, where he got a wedding suit and a good place he’d been for coffee.

At the end of the event we were given coconut water, water, soreen and some yummy Optimum Nutrition bars and protein shakes, which went down a treat post run.  I even had a chance to have a photo with the official 2018 ambassador of the event, Olympic gold medalist, Amy Williams (who is just lovely by the way).


The atmosphere at this event is one of the best I’ve ever experienced and the volunteers are so positive and encouraging you can’t help but smile and enjoy it.

My social media was full of posts from those who took part in this event – smiles all round and lots of positive reviews that I completely agree with.

Did you take part?  If so well done and I hope you had just as good a time as I did.


If you are interested for next year you can secure priority at www.londonwinterrun.co.uk and there is also still time to donate to the fundraising campaign to support the work of Cancer Research UK here.

Entry 197 – Dealing with an injury

I have never had a broken bone (probably shouldn’t tempt fate by saying that) or suffered any proper injury until last year.  Towards the end of last year, at the end of September, I suffered a knee injury whilst cycling.  I should note that it was not because of the cycling in any way just bad timing that it happened whilst on the bike.


Just a few miles into a 100 mile bike ride something went in my knee, and after being taken off by an event ambulance I was told they suspected a tear in my medial collateral ligament and that they thought I had displaced my kneecap.  All I knew was that it was painful and I am not ashamed to say I cried – on the side of the road as other participants cycled past and I did not care!

My husband has private health care, that I also benefit from, and so within a fortnight I got myself an appointment to get to the bottom of it and find out what was actually going on with my left knee.  I was booked in for an MRI and the results showed that luckily there was no tear therefore no surgery was needed – this was good news!  That didn’t mean it was all good news.  The MRI showed damage that the consultant said was as a result of a trauma – it was told to me in a way that I actually felt bad that I had traumatised my own knee, the poor knee.  I was given a letter with my results and I won’t pretend I understood anything that I was being told (the medical terms sounded like a foreign language and I actually asked what it meant in English).  The long and short of it was that by the kneecap displacing I had caused significant damage to the medial collateral ligament (one of the ligaments that assist with stability), there was damage to the articular cartilage of the patella, there were cysts present and damage to the overlying cortex.  But as I said the good news was no fracture or actual tear.

I had already had time to RICE (rest, ice, compress and elevate) so now this meant I was given the all clear to continue training if I was sensible about it.  Cycling was allowed as it was low impact.  Running was allowed following a structured run/walk plan over a period of 14 weeks.  Swimming was allowed but not breast stroke because of the movement in the knee as it could aggravate it.  And most importantly if anything hurt I was to stop.

I had several physio sessions (it’s so good but my god so painful sometimes) and had a cortisone injection (again cried like a baby and spoiler alert it hurts like a bitch).  I was given ‘homework’ by way of different exercises with the intention of building up the movement, strength and circulation in the muscles on the inside of my knee to help re-align everything.  It was explained to me that an MCL injury can make a difference to the stability of the knee for a long time and so the recovery and rehab phase was important to be done properly to ensure the ligaments returned to their original elasticity.  I was told this would be a minimum of six to eight weeks.  Say what?

I was shown how to tape the knee which resulted in the tape acting as a brace and giving some much needed support during the recovery process and yes I did order some pink tape (of course).  You may also notice that post exercise I smell of joint ace gel – only yesterday I met a friend who asked if I had put joint ace on as she could smell it – its my new scent (I don’t think it will catch on!).

I was determined not to let this get to me and so started to look into what I could do until I was back to normal.  The obvious was to focus on other parts to train and so there was a lot done at home, upper body stuff in the gym, lots of core work and a change in my training plan.  I did have to pull out of a couple of events, which was hard but absolutely the right thing to do.

So what I have learnt in dealing with an injury (purely from my experience so far) would be:

  1. Don’t self diagnose!  If you are not a doctor, don’t try to be one.  And certainly don’t google and try and work out what is wrong as it will not help in the slightest.  Obviously if a minor injury I am sure common sense can prevail but if you need to get medical advice to find out if you are hurt or have an actual injury and take on board their instructions for rehabilitation as it will benefit in the long run.  Huge difference between being sore and being in pain.
  2. It takes time – the recovery is a process and takes patience, often where your expectations may end up being very different from reality (mine were – I am an impatient cow).  If you know the cause then easier to not repeat in future.
  3. It hurts – don’t think you can exercise your way out of an injury as you will more than likely only make it worse.  Physio can play a huge part, if needed, though is not always pleasant but a necessary evil!  I found I have done more stretching and yoga that I should do more regularly anyway.
  4. It’s frustrating – the road to recovery is long but it is worth it to avoid future set backs.  It can be hard seeing people around you training and doing events you would like to do, but switch sides and be the supporter (it’s actually a lot of fun).
  5. Adapt – as I found I could do some of the training I did before but amended in a different way like following a run/walk plan and actually I am not hating running now whereas before I had a real love/hate relationship as I struggled through most runs so there is a silver lining.  Be creative!
  6. Rest is also a huge part of the recovery process and without it can make healing much longer.
  7. Stay positive! It is so easy to feel defeated and I found I had a massive confidence knock after my injury, which can be normal and will need to be worked through.  Set small goals – I booked a future event that is timed for the end of my rehab run plan so I had some forward focus.

It is now four months on and my knee is still not 100%.  I had no idea it would take this long but it is what it is.  Certain exercises really cause issues such as lunges are an absolute no no for me but that’s ok as I never much liked them anyway.  But there is always an alternative, especially if you are in a gym or class or situation with a qualified trainer as there will be an adaptation you should be advised to follow just be sure to let them know of your injury at the outset.

Trust the process.  It is difficult but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.


Entry 196 – Let’s talk body confidence

Last night I went to a screening of a documentary called Embrace, about body image and confidence, in conjunction with This Girl Can and Active Life as they launch their new #shesready campaign which is aimed at getting women involved in volunteering and training in physical activities.  This Girl Can is a campaign that celebrates active women who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets.  I would like to caveat that this is not a subject just for females, it effects men too.  Body demons can take hold of any of us and all too easily too if we let them, I know I have fallen foul to this and sometimes still do, which is a sad, but honest, reality.

The name of my blog is Fat Girl Fit and I am on a journey to get fit and lose weight so naturally the issue around body confidence is something that I can relate to personally though I I think the majority of people can if they are honest.


We live in a society that almost tells us how we should look, the ideal body shape and size, faddy diets to get them and worse.  It is something that for many strikes a chord and can all too often quickly spiral for some and not always in a positive way.  We all automatically assume that this is referring to overweight people but that is also not the case, it can have a huge impact also on those who are underweight and many other physical attributes too.

There are two quotes that you may have previously heard that hit the nail on the head in my opinion:

J K Rowling said ‘Is fat really the worst thing a human being can be?  Is fat worse than vindictive, jealous, shallow, vain, boring, evil, or cruel? Not to me.’

Demi Lovato said ‘I’m not going to sacrifice my mental health to have the perfect body.’

You will have probably also heard this or something similar ‘You are not fat.  You have fat.  You also have fingernails, but you are not fingernails.’

And the above quotes are so true!  More importantly I don’t want to brush over the topic of mental health and the link with this topic and associated consequences are extremely important and we should all take time for self love.  It’s been refreshing to see so much over recent months on social media to increase awareness around mental health and I hope it continues.  If you are nodding your head in agreement right now then virtual high five to you!


Why not try this – whenever you criticise yourself instead think of something you love about yourself.  It is perfectly acceptable to love yourself, it’s not selfish.  Take care of yourself and make your happiness a priority.  Your attitude determines your direction so why not be body positive and it will create more positivity that your body will react to.

So I would like to take a moment to celebrate women and men of all body shapes and sizes.  Hands up to those who are trying to love themselves in a world that is constantly telling them that maybe they shouldn’t be.  And more to the point why are we trying to be perfect?  Who is perfect?  No one and that is ok – embrace the imperfections as they are what makes you you!  Why not focus on what your body can do rather than just physical appearances for instance I have stretch marks (like I’ve been attacked by a lion) all over my stomach but I have a son and will take those stretch marks for that in a heartbeat – I carried another human being and that is pretty amazing.


Also think about those around you and what impression this leaves with them.  Young children who will take note about whether it is good or bad to be short or tall, smaller or bigger, what colour eyes or hair you have.  Remind them that it is all ok and that there are many parts of us all, that you cannot see, that make us beautiful.  Speak to their hearts and give them that confidence too!


Entry 195 – How do you fuel for events?

Being part of a running, cycling and triathlon club this is a question that is discussed frequently with many different opinions and answers and my honest response is that it is totally personal preference and there is no right or wrong answer.  I would say be sensible, however, and don’t get me wrong you won’t see many people using pizza as their nutrition BUT you’d be surprised as this was handed out during the Ironman Austria event my husband and friends completed last year and is also eaten by ultra marathon runner Dean Karnazes (in a previous interview with Dean he mentioned how he had pizza delivered to him mid run before) and he has run 350 miles in 80 hours before so as I said each to their own!

It is something that takes time to work out and is really a bit of trial and error.  I would suggest trying out different nutrition on shorter distances when training rather than using in an event without any previous experience.  You’ve heard of ‘runner’s tummy’ right?  That would never be a good thing!

For me, I am perfectly happy to admit I am a food snob and I like to know what is in the food I am eating including my nutrition for events.  So it would be no surprise when I say that I much prefer to eat ‘real food’ rather than sports food.  I want to know what the nutritional value is and for me if the list of ingredients takes too long to read I probably won’t be buying or using it!  I have no qualification in nutrition but I have found that if a food item contains that many ingredients you will more than likely find that it is because there could be a lot of processed/poor quality/high sugar or salt and this, for me, does not affect my performance in a way I want – these chemical filled foods will often have a laxative effect and I will pass on that thank you very much!


I am currently working with Kate Percy and Sophie Heath from Go Faster Food to work on my nutrition and fuelling for the events I have planned.  I was intrigued from the outset as the Go Bites range dealt with fuelling your workout before, during and after.  They are gluten, wheat and dairy free and 1 of your 5 a day – and they taste great so what’s not to like?  I had tried similar products before and found they were not as palatable and actually quite hard to digest whilst on the move but found these to be great!  They are packaged great including three individual balls that are just the right size for having whilst on the move.  So far I have used for running and cycling and even shared with my husband who is training for Ironman events and he too was impressed so this could very easily be our new go to food for events!


I have even made some of my own from Kate’s Go Faster Food for Your Active Family book and they are great – I will admit I substituted some ingredients with what I had in the cupboard – I am terrible for amending recipes but the gist is the same just maybe a different seed or dried fruit!  The book contains loads of recipes and I will be enjoying making some over the coming weeks whilst continuing with my training.