Sunday, 27 February 2011

The fear is setting in...

I am writing this update from my iPhone in cosy Somerset so it won't be very long or very clever.
After recovering from the bramley 20 last weekend my runs were steady but slower as I shook out the excess miles. Had a good midweek run and a really good track session. Once I had got home to enjoy the excitements of Friday night tv I started to feel a slight twinge in my foot. Putting it down to the hard track session I slept to wake up and feel ok. Being a Saturday I set off for my long run. The heavens were glaring down in the fashion of tons of rain and I was not relishing the thought of the 14 miles without anyone to chat to.

However my determination ran true and I zipped up my rain jacket and hit the pavements. Possibly too hard. I reached frimley park, approx 5.5 miles from our house and my foot was causing quite a bit of discomfort. Without much choice I solidered on and got home. Today I am having difficulties putting weight on it and have driven myself mad reading diagnosis articles that range from recovery suggestions of a billion weeks rest to chopping the foot off all together. So I'm sitting here writing this in rainy Somerset terrified down to my socks that I've just pulled the game over card. The reality is that I simple won't know until I have spoken to someone that does. And no Internet reading will change that.

There are many highs and lows to trainning and this is just a low. I will run that race - I just don't know at what speed.

To cheer myself up I have been looking at the fundraising page. A huge thank you to all the
Most recent donors. You're really keeping me going. Special thanks to Ian w - I hope your training this week is going better than mine! John h and Russ from work - thank you for your support and kind messages. I promise to do my best to keep smiling regardless of the outcome of this foot thing.

Keep running (please!)

Biscuit nikki x

Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy - just go to:

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Run, run, as fast as you can....

You can't catch me I'm the gingerbread man (woman)!

And so ends another week of training! There is now just 55 days to go (as of today's date) and I am starting to feel quite nervous about it all. Everything seems a whole lot closer than when I first sent off the application forms.

Today was the eventful Bramley 10/20 road race. Runners have the option of entering for a single 10 mile lap or the more ambitious double 20 mile lap. I ran the 20 miler, which left me very envious of all the finishing 10 milers on the first circuit. The crowd was great with several Sandhurst Joggers turning up just to cheer!

It's important to practice everything and after the Frankenstein Esq photos from wokingham half last week I decided to try a new hairstyle and plaited my hair back into 'go faster plaits', as Paul B. described them. I then made an effort every time I passed a paparazzi to try and not look like my feet were feeling like lumps of rock. We'll have to wait for the photos to see if it worked! Cheesy grins all round.

The plaits must have worked as I finished the race in 2hr 27 min and 58 seconds, which was a full minute quicker than I had been planning to run it - so very pleased! The biggest achievement was that I finally ran a race where I didn't need to use the portaloos 20 times before the start - this was a good thing as they sounded a little smelly! Aw the sweet signs of progress!

I was joined on the circuit by several other fantastic Sandhurst Joggers including Paul A and Paul B, Sarah H, Nikki F, James C, Dave B, Alan K, Graham R and quite a few others - sorry if I've not mentioned you! The super quick Pete G also came down for the weekend from Frome and was my honoured guest for the weekend. The airbed and pasta bake dinner didn't do him too much damage as he ran a brilliant sub 2hr! Pete your running is inspiring, even if I can only ever hope to see you for a second at the start before you disaper over the horizon.

The race finished with me treating everyone to one (or several) of my gingerbread random shape biscuits (gingerbread men, rabbits and cats) which showed how I earned the biscuit part of my name. Hopefully the snacks aided everyone's recovery as at that point I could barely lift my legs off the floor and I don't think I was the only one.

So now after ignoring my Satnav and taking everyone in my car on a funny detour of little cul-de-sacs round  Bramley, I am now safely home and playing my favourite game of 'not moving off the sofa' and eating all the treats in the finishers goodie bag.

Fundraising news: We're still sitting around the £800 mark so please keep the donations coming. Hopefully these blogs are showing you all just how much dedication a marathon takes (as well as a few light jokes) - but it's nothing compared to the traumatic experiences that Brain tumour patients go through. Thank you for all your support so far, your donations are going to a very worthy cause. One day, when I am not training, I will get round to making you all 'thank you' gingerbread biscuits!

Keep running!

Biscuit Nikki x

Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy! Just go to:

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Paranoia, PB's and why I shouldn't be in a Loreal Advert

What an eventful week! (Warning Long Update ahead!)

With the excitement of Monday morning (see previous post) I didn't think much else would happen.

By the end of an easy 3 miles Monday night I became convinced that I had broken something. With continual achy knees and people (mostly non-runners) telling me I was running too much I began to think I really might have over done it.

So I did a further 6 miles on Tuesday just to check. I call this the 'see danger and run towards it waving a red flag yelling "Oi danger - what're you looking at"' method. If you say this with a chav accent it can enhance your blog reading experience.

Anyhow I decided to go a see a sports injury genius type chap on Wednesday, mostly because Carl had inconsiderately decided to go skiing and didn't leave me his hotel number. And he (the sports injury chap)  pretty much told me to man up. Well not quite like that, but I definitely wasn't suffering from IT Band syndrome, runner's knee, shin splints or Achilles tendinitis. I definitely had a good does of hypochondria and my IT Band is not where I thought it was (good indication that I wasn't suffering from IT Band syndrome). I just needed a bit of rest and another good sports massage, which was convenient for him because he just happens to do sports massages.

This left me with Thursday to recover from having pressure put on muscles I didn't know I had and Friday to be trapped in London wondering how anyone actually gets anywhere using the underground system.

I learnt some good lessons from these days. Rest is important, listen to your body not other people and your IT band is no where near your ankle/shin/ear region (it's somewhere round your knee/hip area - if you've come here for proper facts I am afraid I'm not in the right mood - complaints can be made it writing to The London Underground, Transport for London, Boris Johnson's House).

So we creep into the weekend of PB's.
PB = Personal Best, also sometimes referred to as a PR = Personal Record. If you've just run a WR then I'm not quite sure why you're reading this blog - but welcome anyway.

Kicked off on Saturday with a ParkRun ( My local is Frimley Park and they were celebrating their 1st birthday. It's irrelevant in the grand scheme of things but congratulations Frimley park and to everyone that turns up there early on a Saturday morning. There was a good Sandhurst Jogger turn our and everyone was talking about taking it easy due to the Wokingham Half Marathon the next day. With my new 'man up' medicine and the cooped up lack of running from the week I decided to adopt my aforementioned danger+red flag tactics and bomb it round.
Super run and I took 28 seconds off my PB and clocked a 20 min 32 sec finish time. This was helped by the 'taking it easy' group consisting of Jenny G, Dave B and  Richard J pacing me round (even if they didn't realise they were). Very pleased with result!

I took a brief interlude to swan off to Birmingham to see Russell Howard live. Highly recommend if he's appearing anywhere near you. Very funny guy - who happened to run The London Marathon last year. Even my comedy is running related! I was eternally grateful to Jon for driving back at nearly midnight so I could get as much sleep as possible for the next day....

Wokingham half!
I carefully chose my cakes for maximum sugar/chocolate content and was kindly picked up by Sarah H, who I didn't recognise in the snazzy car! We dropped off our stuff and most importantly our cakes at Jenny and Graham's house, where everyone was meeting after and then I braved the cold in just my shorts and t-shirt to the start line.
Had a great opportunity to meet up with Pete J. who I had only found out was running the day before. Hadn't seen him for ages and it was so nice to catch up with an old friend before the race. Loving the fact that we've both found running since the house-sharing days. Shame we didn't discover it earlier but I suspect our student lifestyles are the main reason for that. Pete was telling me he planned to run a 2hr 10 race but having looked at the results now he completely smashed it and whacked 20 odd mins off coming in at 1hr 53. Huge congratulations mate! The sweeper van couldn't lay a finger on you. Sorry I couldn't get there in time to cheer you to the finish. Also want to mention Pete as he's sponsored me for the London marathon. Thank you so much for your support and keep up the good running work!

Race went like a dream - everything seemed to fall into place and I'm sure the vision of all the cakes at the end helped to push me round. Pacing seemed right and I did my usual trick of starting slow and then 'kicking' at half way. Crowd were great and once more I have to rave about how much I love my club. Everyone who passed me and everyone I passed said something encouraging. When we finished there was nothing but congratulations and genuine excitement for each other, those that had run new PB's and those who were just happy to be at the end. I cannot recommend joining a club enough if you are just getting into running or even if you're a seasoned record runner. You will find advice, encouragement and support - whatever your level. Whilst it might not be Sandhurst Joggers (arguably the best club in the world) it'll still be a great foundation to your running.

Anyway - for all those wondering I ran a 1hr 31min half! Dreading the finish line photos because I couldn't stop grinning like a fool - and that was before I'd remembered about the cakes!

Back at Jenny and Graham's everyone was congratulating each other and exchanging race stories whilst Jenny zipped round handing out tea (incredible after the time she ran!). And there was a conversation about hair and finish appearance states. Everyone finishes differently. Some people look like they've been for a stroll and others look like they've been dragged through hell by a pack of raging badgers (although it's the finishing that matters - not the way you look!!!!)

When I am running I like to imagine I look like a strong athlete who is bounding along with glossy hair and is the picture of fitness and health (think of some naff Gillette womens shaver or shampoo advert). After a glance in the mirror when I got back it turns out I'm probably more the 'to hell and back' type with crazy porcupine hair that's matted together like seaweed (Sarah will know what I mean!). So I don't think I will be joining the ranks of Loreal hair advert models anytime soon....but I bet I could beat them in a race!

So because I am worth it I'm going to dig out a pack of biscuits, continue being competitive with inanimate TV adverts and leave danger alone for a bit.

Keep running!

Biscuit Nikki x
Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy! Just go to:

Monday, 7 February 2011

Rest, Recovery and Road traffic incidents

Not the normal subjects to group together as a title but the last two days have given me a (hopefully) once in a lifetime chance to do so.

After the 20 mile-o-rama run on Saturday I woke up Sunday morning with a definite lack of spring to my step, or more specifically to my knees. After a lost battle with the stairs I made the difficult decision to take an impromptu rest day and opt out of Sandhurst Joggers last cross country event. I'm extremely sorry about that because as the last race of the season I was hoping to put in a good performance. However the team still did exceptionally well and we won the season for the second year running! Well Done guys - pat on the backs all round and party ring biscuits to all of you.

So I spent Sunday shuffling around Sainsburys doing my weekly shop and being overtaken by OAPs with knee/hip replacement combos moving quicker than me (was tempted to enquire about where they got their kit from but managed to refrain!).

Waking up this morning I still felt slightly stiff but a bit more optimistic about getting a slow and easy run in this evening. Wokingham Half Marathon is coming up this weekend and I don't want to do anything silly to jeopardise the race. Depending on how this afternoon goes I may take another cheeky evening off.

So contemplating my latest running dilemma I started my journey to work. This was hindered slightly (considerably) by a man trying to take out my car on the roundabout between the A331 and the M3. Luckily the damage to my car was minor scratching but his brakes must have been broken as he failed to stop. If this ever happens to you I cannot stress the importance of getting the car registration plate. I was fortunate enough to have a pad and paper easily accessible and it's certainly something I will make sure is easy access in the future as it has made the claim a lot easier.

On a lighter note fundraising is on target and I am extremely grateful and humbled by everyone's support and generosity.

Steve D you found the page in the end! Thanks for your donation. Lisa H your running has always been inspirational for me (I remember the first park run you did when I couldn't even see you in the distance and you'd probably gone to get cake by the time I crossed the finish line!) thanks for your support and good training (and resting) advice. Christina good luck with your predicted finish times! Hopefully you'll get a free minute to watch the race on TV in April once you're a busy mum!

Lastly M&D+A - which is mum, dad and Alice for anyone wondering. I know that was your donation for the 'who's time is it anyway' competition and I love you all very much. Special biscuits for the three of you (although Alice can probably cook better ones) and thanks for listening to me moan about training on the phone all the time. See you very soon hopefully.

So stay safe, remember there are psycho drivers out there who can't see fully lit cars - let alone runners. So please were reflective gear at night and preferable leave the ipods at home.

Keep running (safely!)

Biscuit Nikki x

Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy! Just go to:

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Why it's ok to feel lazy sometimes.

Ok - super fast training update.

I know I haven't updated much this week but I can promise I've been pounding the pavements with a passion - or at least trying to. I've also been really really busy!

On Monday i had my first sports massage with Carl B (after circuits). Not easy to describe the pain that comes with it or the relaxing relief after. I *highly* recommend one if you're doing a lot of exercise or have any sore muscles or achy parts. All previous aches and pains have evaporated and I am running stronger than I was before. Carl is a genius - for more info about the treatments he offers or his personal training programmes go to his website:

After a nice rest on Tuesday (never run the day after a sports massage!) I put in a really good run on Wednesday. I'm not going to lie - everyone feels demotivated (and on this day -lazy) at times. I don't believe it's possible to *want* to run every day, we're not super human and if you're thinking 'oh these people always want to get out there and I never feel motivated enough' I can tell you we don't (or at least I don't)!

On Wednesday I really didn't want to leave the warm of the house after work and was feeling decidedly sorry for myself. However I knew I'd regret missing the training and after blackmailing myself over facebook I went out. One of the best runs of the week! I often find it happens like that - the days I don't want to run are the days I put in my best performance. So if you're wondering whether to do your trainers up or not, I'm telling you you will feel amazing after doing it.

It's ok to feel lazy sometimes, I'm pretty sure everyone does, but it's how you deal with it that counts. Take a day off if you need to but ask yourself whether you have a good enough excuse and who you're letting down in the end (only yourself if you're wondering - oh and maybe me). We're in for a marathon on this journey - not a sprint!

Thursday brought beautiful weather and a good lunch time run followed by a track session on Friday.

Finally today! Saturday. I've just come back from a cracking 20 MILE! run. Whoop whoop. Feeling very pleased with myself and I think the training is going well.

So to summarise:
1. Fundraising is over half way!!!! Huge thanks to everyone who has donated so far. Please keep the sponsorships coming
2. Training is going well - 20 miles reached which is almost my maximum training distance. Just to start the 'fine tuning' now.
3. Only 70 days left!

On that note I am going to replace the 2000! calories I burnt off on the 20 miler today with a healthy serving of biscuits.

Keep running (even when you don't feel like it!)

Biscuit Nikki x

Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy! Just go to:

A huge thank you to Hawkins

I am several updates behind so I'm going to try and do a few blog posts today.

I'm going to veer of the usual path of talking about running to talk about my work and what I do for a living.

Some of you may have noticed that my fundraising total is officially over half way! This is fantastic news and I am hugely grateful to everyone who has donated. The biggest contribution so far has come from my work, Hawkins, who have exceeded my expectations and donated £250. There are not many corporate companies out there who genuinely care for the wider community and I am proud to be working for one that does.

Hawkins are a group of scientists and engineers that specialise in investigating incidents with the aim of discovering what caused them. We look at fires, floods, car accidents, engineering failures and everything else in between. Due to our vast range of cases we have members of staff from all different backgrounds including mechanical engineers (me), chemists, electrical engineers, civil engineers and ex-police. If you are interested in finding out more about Hawkins our website is

I love my job and the people I work with. I think you would struggle to find a company with such an interesting range of people. Aside from the large company donation I have also received sponsorship from many of my fellow colleagues.

I have thanked a few in past blogs but just to thank everyone from Hawkins in the same post:
Helen C, Andy P, Ian M, Ian T, Simon V, Anna B, Rod, Ruth and Jon Emm.

I am hugely grateful for all your support and advice as well as your generous donations. Those of you in the Reigate office thank you for listening to my constant chatter about the marathon and running in general. Sorry for helping to reduce the office biscuit supplies so much!

Keep running! (And working!)

Biscuit Nikki x

Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy! Just go to:

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

She shoots! She scores! (and lots of dontation thanks!)

Whoo! What a Sunday!

I was very careful to stick with exciting still water Saturday night, which is very hard when you go out in Reading (try going out in Reading and you'll see what I mean). When I woke up Sunday morning with a cracking headache I had to question who's hangover I had got - it wasn't helped by the achy knee and hip from my topsy tumble during Saturday's training. I wasn't sure whether going to cross country was a good idea or not.

How could I ever have doubted it? I run for the best club in the UK (perhaps the world) - of course it was going to be ok! Not only ok - but fan-bloomin-tastic! A couple of paracetamol sorted the headache (and the sore hip) and I lined up with the best to begin our Sunday ritual dash.

Best cross country I've had - coming 58th overall (normal place 98th), 7th lady to finish and best of all scoring for the team! We had a very convincing win and that means, with one race left in the bag, we've already won the league! I love you guys, you're all amazing!

Fundraising! Well you should all have seen the 'Who's time is it anyway' competition (if you haven't please read my previous blog!) It's going very well and times are starting to fill up - so don't miss out and get your predictions in before someone else takes your time!

Soph and Grant - my 'Hurl Scout' friends! Thank you so much for your donation! I will do my best to run the course as though I was skating it. I will deffo take you up on the lucozade offer - my old beer fridge is currently filled with orange isotonic lucozade - go go power up!

Steve I don't think the bus will be that much quicker on the day given the crowds, road closures and London's transport system being pretty awful on a good day. I think I'll just run it! Thanks for your support!

Paul and Sarah I would absolutely LOVE to see you guys at the finish area - will keep me going knowing that there will be friendly faces at the end (no sweaty hugs Sarah I promise!). Thank you for your donation and good luck with the predictions!

All my neighbours - Gwen, Del, Malcolm and Sally. Thanks for putting up with me running up and down the road all day. They'll have to repair the pot holes soon anyway so I promise I'm not wearing the tarmac out too much!

Helen C, thank you for being one of the first people to guess a time on my grid - it really got the ball rolling. Best of luck and please share the hamper with the office if you win!

Andy P, thank you for sponsoring me and for listening (or looking like you are) to me talking about running 24/7 whenever we have to drive to a job!

Ian M and Ian T thank you both for your support! Best of luck in the competition.

So as a huge thank you to everyone that has taken part in the competition so far, sponsored me, ran with me this weekend or just offered some kind words of advice or support - this special smiley biscuit is for you!

Courtesy of Lou G's picnic plate

Keep running!

Biscuit Nikki x

Want to help out and sponsor me? It's easy! Just go to: