Eight weeks with Lucy Locket Loves

It’s no big secret that, despite training for three marathons (saying that I’ve been training for them seems like something of a liberty given my incredible lack of physical activity in the last few weeks) I really struggle to do well with nutrition. I can’t resist the occasional chocolate biscuit or Domino’s pizza, and the more I tell myself that “today’s the day” and that I’ll excel from that day forward, the more I seem to sabotage my attempts and eat even more crap.

Honestly. I must be the only person in the world who has gone from occasional runner to doing three marathons in two months and actually got fatter. Note. Not put on weight. I understand the science in adding weight with muscle etc. Mine is fat. Plain and simple.

Even in the two weeks since the Belfast marathon I’ve put on about five pounds – and it was certainly noticeable when I got to go out for my first post-marathon run. I feel heavy, and I’d very much like it to stop.

Even if I ignore the marathon side of it, overlook the general need to want to be a better, thinner, lighter me, and not dwell on how much more stress it puts on my knees, I’m going on holiday in a couple of months, and would really like to feel a little more pride in my body when I’m on the beach. Not have boobs that will cast a shadow on everyone around me and bounce around while I’m running around the place with my little boy.

I don’t have any body dysmorphia issues or anything as serious as that, but I am ashamed that I’ve let myself get back to a state in which I have no pride in my body. A state that embarrasses me (I took my little man swimming the other day and was devastated by the way I looked in the pool), and I’m often convinced that when people see me out running, or walking down the street, then they are laughing at me for being a fat mess.

So, imagine my delight when I saw an appeal for bloggers to take part in an 8-week exercise and nutrition plan, run by Lucy Locket Loves – who was looking for someone to document their experience while taking on the course alongside many others on its launch.

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The plan features an exercise guide, with three workouts to do once per week for the first four weeks, and a second set for the second four weeks. After my first session yesterday I was pretty hot and sweaty – and that was the first session, so it’s certainly not going to be a walk in the park. All of the exercises are put together in 30-minute or so sessions, so it’s not too intrusive in the grand scheme of things, and they’ve all been designed to utilise bodyweight, so no equipment is needed, which is ideal for many people who don’t have the use of a gym or weight equipment at home. There are also explanations – with pictures – of each exercise, so there is no need to go searching Youtube to find out how to do something. That’s a great touch – as I’ve found in the past that some exercise plans will presume that you have an extensive knowledge of workouts – especially the names of some exercises – and it can be daunting trying to understand what it all means.

The nutrition plan is also pretty exciting. It breaks everything down – making it all simple enough – and has suggestions for recipes – a lot of which look tremendous. I’m looking forward to trying them. They’re also made with reasonable, everyday items, rather than some diet plans that require a trip to the supermarket that can take a real toll on the wallet.

With guides, meal planner sheets, help and advice and more available at any time on the dedicated Facebook group, and Lucy having an almost constant presence across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the motivation is really there to make the most of this plan, follow it to the tee and hopefully start to see some results.

I’ve taken all of my measurements, as well as some ‘before’ images – which I won’t force upon anyone until the end.

Lucy has put together an excellent plan, I’m excited to be a part of it and to share my experience along the way. Here’s to a beach body in eight weeks time that doesn’t leave me sobbing into my beer.

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Two down

Well, I did it.


Belfast City Marathon – part two of the three marathon challenge – is in the bag.

It absolutely didn’t pan out like I’d hoped, but given that I’ve spent the past three weeks injured and didn’t run at all in that period, I think I can be pretty happy with making it to the finish line.


While parts of the run itself were absolute torture, and a lot of that is completely my own fault (there are lessons to be learnt, more on that later) looking back on it I can already say I very much enjoyed the whole day.

I woke up early to horrendous weather and was, in some ways, happy that it was going to be a cool day. The odd shower probably wouldn’t be too much of an issue either to be honest. Better than it being too warm and overheating… And then it got nice.

The start line at Belfast City Hall was buzzing with runners either taking on the full 26.2 or preparing to run the first leg of the relay, with many in fancy dress. Although I was too far back to hear what was happening up at the front, the atmosphere was one of real excitement, and although it took us a good four and a half minutes to actually reach the start line, I spent the first 10 miles or so running with a friend’s brother, going much quicker than I had planned, but feeling okay.


Unfortunately, the warning signs then started to show. I had to take a quick break on 10 miles to shed a pair of socks – yes, actually – and by the time we reached the course’s longest, seemingly never ending, knee-shredding, morale-shattering hill, I was struggling. I’d almost reached the end in Manchester before taking a walk break, but here I was forced to before I was even halfway. Maybe if I’d not been injured and been able to train properly, id have dealt with it better.


While coming down the hill was certainly more pleasant than going up it, the damage had been done, and from miles 16-21 or so a blinding pain and almost unbearable cramp had absolutely destroyed my legs. It was a real struggle to even walk at times, and I can happily admit that I thought about giving up more than once, but two paracetamol from the first aid tent and the thought of seeing my partner at mile 22 and my little boy at 23.5 kept me going.

Somehow I battled on. And after seeing them both – and an impromptu change of shoes, I managed to kick my race back into life for the last couple of gruelling miles, eating up the last couple of miles in a very respectable time. It was certainly a huge relief to see the finish line though, and I’m as proud that I reached it given the relative hell I had been through as I was at finishing my first marathon – even if this one did take a while longer.

I suppose that if it was easy, it wouldn’t be called a challenge. And it’s heartening to know that, even when the body didn’t want to carry on, my mind had enough to keep going.


I can’t really put into words how much of a boost seeing friends and family on the course can provide, and I was delighted to hear from my mum, and from the lovely people at Clic Sargent, that my little lad was cheering on all of the runners, constantly telling them all to “keep going”. He really enjoys watching his daddy’s runs, and it means the world to me that he’s there to support when I drag myself around these courses.

In hindsight now, as well as the obvious hindrance of not being able to train for three weeks, hydration caused my severe issues this time around. Manchester had bottles of water at their stops that I could make last until the next one. Any runner will know that cups, such as the ones they had in Belfast, are a bit of a nightmare – as most of it ends up on the floor or all over your face. Thankfully, Derry marathon in four weeks time use bottles, so that should go a little better.


It’s fair to say that my legs are in bits right now, and I fully intend to give them a week off before getting back into training for the final of my three marathons. Hopefully I can attack it injury free and enjoy it a little more than this one.

Perhaps surprisingly, I’m actually a little sad that the challenge is approaching its end, rather than the relief that everyone seems to think I’ll be experiencing, but I can say with some certainty that this is only the beginning of my marathon journey, rather than almost being the end. I fully intend to keep it up, and am already looking forward to seeing different cities with my running shoes on.

A quick thank you to everyone who has given generously as I’ve been on this journey. I can’t thank each and every one of you enough, and the money goes to a fantastic place. Here’s what the money I’m raising does to help:

£33 of your fundraising can give a family a place to stay for a night, near hospital during cancer treatment. £164 can make sure there’s always a CLIC Sargent Social Worker to meet children and young people with cancer, and their families, soon after diagnosis and help them to understand and cope with the emotional, practical and financial effects of cancer.

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I’ve absolutely smashed my target so far, and the money continues to roll in, which is just brilliant. Thank you so much for it all.

Onwards and upwards from here. It’s four weeks and a couple of days until I hit the streets of Derry and undertake the Walled City Marathon. Thanks for the support, and I’ll be back soon, once my legs work again, with more updates.

 

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dansmarathons?utm_medium=email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=20151231_