Marathon Training, Uncategorized

I will bend, I will not break – Ins and Outs, Ups and Downs

For those I don’t see every day, if you have been following my blog posts, Instagram or Facebook story you will see it has been quiet on there for the past 3 weeks. I haven’t given up NOPE. But it has been a challenging few weeks to say the least. This blog is to showcase my charities, but also to showcase the journey of a first-time marathon runner. So, if you are interested in reading about some of the highs and lows, read on.

3 weeks ago, I took on an 8 mile run – Bit of a side note, but I feel lots of people running will agree this; before you poo poo this distance, given I am running a Marathon, I ask you to give it a go, I also remind you in January 2019 I couldn’t even run one mile, or half a mile. Don’t get me wrong I have some truly AMAZING and SUPPORTIVE friends, but you would be amazed at how many people either only have negative things to say or WORSE have an opinion on how far you should be running given how close the marathon is…but they have never run one themselves so how do they know? A piece of advice- if your friends or family are running the marathon support them! Donate, emotionally support, offer to go on a run with them (whether it be 1-3 miles or longer) trust me it is appreciated. But please, please don’t say wow the Marathon is in like 3 months and you’re not in to double digits yet. I can promise you this from my own experience (and lack of self-worth towards myself on the regular) it does not help, and that runner will spend the rest of the day negotiating to keep the little negative voice in their head at bay.

Alas! I digress. So there I am Saturday, three weeks ago, negotiating with myself. I will go for a 4 mile run, maybe 6. Phones on the bedside table, headphones remain in the draw. I am on no time limit; I have no plans after – (something I have to remind myself of a lot or I end up making small excuses as to when I need to turn around.) And I am off! I decide to head on a new route and think, the worst that’s going to happen is I need to ask for directions. 8 miles later my legs and tired little lungs pull up to the door extremely happy with what I have achieved. I go about my day and that’s all there is to it.

8 miles in the tank & feeling like I can do this!

I wake up Sunday with some aches, to be expected. And new pain in my hip. Not a nice one… at all. So, I ice it, pain killer it and go about my business. I recognise as I have previously shared, that I MUST listen to my body. And it did not feel like running…. for two whole weeks. Instead I cycled, went swimming, did yoga and worked on strength training as I was advised by someone who has undertaken several Marathons themselves. [If you are planning to run a Marathon make a note, as I have been hearing it again and again: Strength training is KEY to successful building of muscle strength and stamina to sustain the race.] The Dr. said just rest up. I have it confirmed there is no stress fracture on my hip [a genuine concern for runners!] I breathe a sigh of relief and wait to recover. Two weeks down the line I think, okay it’s Monday, I am going to start the week right: 3 mile run let’s go! A few twinges when I am out running but all good. Home, shower and to work.

I go to get up at work, and I physically cry out in pain from the pain in my hip. And it gets worse and worse. Its so bad when I get home I dreaded standing up from the Sofa. This goes on and I re refer myself to the Dr’s. On Wednesday I was told: you need to stop running immediately. You need to acknowledge there is a strong chance you will not run the marathon.

Well I can tell you! That topped off an abysmal week quite nicely! You see, I understand to most a Marathon is like: WOW, that’s epic, 26.2 miles – I don’t think I could do it. And then the conversation carries on. But for me [us] that’s every 5:30 Am start since October, every Sunday run; rain, or shine, every charity donation, shared blog post, blister, tears, pain, guilt, worry, excitement, aches, feelings of achievement, what will people say, self-doubt – done. That is what I heard when the Doctor said the above. Wednesday night was the worst I have felt in a long time. I could not see the path ahead, at all. I didn’t know what I would tell my charities, or how many jokes people would make about trying to get out of doing the marathon. I felt my brain was imploding and I felt a lot of darkness and hatred, towards myself, for failing.

Having survived the most cataclysmic of meltdowns (thanks to my amazing friends & boyfriend.) I carried on for a few days as I knew I was seeing my physio on Friday. [Fabulous Man; Fraser Jackson at Physio4Wycombe, for my back.] Fraser performed a hip assessment on me to establish what my range of movement was looking like, and to pinpoint where this pain was coming from. After some serious (and painful) poking around it has been established that it is very likely this is down to my iliopsoas muscle. The iliopsoas is the prime mover of hip flexion, and is the strongest of the hip flexors.  The iliopsoas is a composite muscle formed of psoas major muscle, and the iliacus muscle(The iliopsoas is important for standing, walking, and running.)

Essentially for those who like me were like: eh!? If you poke hard enough with your thumb when you walk you will feel the muscle working by your hip bone. The pain I have is in my hip and down the inside of my groin area. And is an extremely common injury in runners. I have now got a full set of physio exercises I am doing twice a day, until I see the physio again on Tuesday. Fraser’s words rebalanced my mind on Friday: you can do the marathon. You just need to restructure the how.

If you are still with me there is both an emotional and practical point to me sharing this:

Emotional: being told I couldn’t do the marathon felt like my body had failed me, and that I had self-sabotaged my ability to do something amazing.

Practical: GET A SPECIALIST second opinion! IMAGINE, if I had on Wednesday said: oh well I have been told I can’t run, that’s the end of that.

This challenge was never easy, but my CHRIST did it just get a whole lot harder. I started training for the London Marathon back in November. The official training plan from Virgin London Marathon, for first time runners is 16 weeks.  (roughly starting from week 2 of Jan.) So, here is how I am now going to tackle this challenge: WITH POSITIVES

  • I am not officially behind on the training plan, so it is still possible
  • I am going to listen to medical advice, and do every physio exercise I am given
  • I am going to increase my exercise (swimming and cycling) to support this interim reduction in running
  • I am going to continue to listen to my body 
  • I am not going to let people’s concerns over where my mileage is enable the negative voice in my head
  • I am NOT going to let my charities down
  • I am NOT going to let myself down

I listened to podcasts every day on the way to and from work to get my head in the right place. My three favourites are from these gentlemen: Ed Mylett, Robert Dial Jr & Andy Frisella. The one that stood out this week in particular was- Ed Mylett: Getting Drafted into your dreams; Donavin Darius. Every element of this podcast was inspiring but one thing Donavin has said has just stuck with me and has truly been my mantra this week;

“I will bend, I will not break”

DonAvin Darius

This, this is it right now. Through all that life will throw, thorough all my mind will doubt, though all my body will challenge me. I will remind myself; I will bend, I will not break.

Given the house almost blew away in this wonderful weather we are having today [Storm Ciara] I took myself and a voucher I had down to Sports Direct to treat myself to a new gym bag and some more running clothes [marathon socks…TIP: not just for Marathon’s! great for running and cycling too.] and a new ruck sack for day to day life. Given what my goal is I thought the colour was pretty appropriate right!?

For those that know me well, I have traditionally been a glass half empty kind of girl. And I am working so tirelessly now to change this. Not to become a glass half full girl. Just to be a girl who realises she is lucky to have a GLASS in the first place.

We are 76 days out from the marathon and my best paced run to date was 3 weeks ago and 8 miles. I am keeping my physio exercises going, I am keeping my mind strong and I will get to my goal of a half marathon by the end of February. The last thing I want to make clear; I will not jeopardise my health for this marathon. There are other Marathon’s, but I only get one body. But right now, all is good, and I will just take one day at a time.



  hours  minutes  seconds


Virgin London Marathon

Thank you for all of your support, guidance and kindness so far. And if you have read to this point thanks for that too! Up next we will be talking about my second charity; Humane Society Exuma.

Please continue to read, like, share and donate. I am forever grateful.

Natalie x

To donate to my amazing charities please CLICK HERE

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