Runner on Crutches – A Shocking Diagnosis

What a week! I get a totally shocking diagnosis this week after a swift visit to A&E when my pain came back and became unbearable… you won’t believe what they told me and how they fixed it!

To get you up to speed if you’re new here, in a nutshell, I ran 3 weeks ago and had slight pain on the top of my foot, which I’ve never had pain there before, but it wasn’t awful. I wore my heels in work all day Monday and all felt fine but then when I put them on Tuesday morning I had to take them off because I was in so much pain.

Since then I’ve not been able to walk properly or put any weight on it, which is putting my 10k PB dreams further and further back.

I had a disastrous time trying to get an x-ray a week after the pain started, I then had an appointment with my Doctor to discuss said x-ray the following week and was diagnosed with tendonitis and given painkillers and told to rest.

Nearly 2 weeks to the day from the first day of pain, I was starting to feel much better and was able to put a little bit of very cautious weight onto my foot which was great because I was able to get around a lot more… and here we are…

Sunday ~ finally feeling better

My foot has felt so much better this weekend, resting has clearly done a lot of healing. I’m using my crutches less and less which is great because it’s not easy using them.

Monday ~ back to square one

Everything was going so well…… woke up with ‘normal’ pain this morning while walking and hobbled around like I have been doing for nearly 2 weeks.

I was so glad that things were starting to look up and I was feeling super optimistic that I’d be back to walking in no time.

Except, as I was hobbling upstairs (not unusual), I felt a sharp pain where my tendon has been sore and that was it… it was so painful I couldn’t put it to the floor!!

So I’m now right back to square one and I’m upset (understatement).

I had a little bit of a meltdown because I feel like any progress I’d made the past few days has been ruined and there is nothing I can do about it.

Out came the crutches again and I’ve made the decision to not put my foot to the floor until I’m super confident that the pain has subsided considerably.

I may or may not have nearly fallen down the stairs trying to use my crutches (I just can’t do it, so going up on my knees and going down on my bum is the order of the day).

I know you’re not supposed to, but we all do, Google makes it seem like it’s a straightforward injury that will heal with around 2/3 weeks of rest. It suggests that you can do other forms of exercise, like cycling and swimming, rather than running while you recover.

That’s great, except I can’t put my foot to the floor without being in a considerable amount of pain so walking is out, let alone any forms of exercise.

I’m due to go to London in a months’ time and it’s not looking hopeful that I’ll be able to go, which will be awful… so I’m trying not to think about it.

So… back to square one, I’m not putting my foot to the ground at all, I’m making sure my foot is up the majority of the time, I’m putting frozen things on it when I can, I’m making sure I take my tablets and keep it out of the bath.

I’ve got my backpack out so I can carry things from upstairs / downstairs and use my crutches at the same time. I’ve also been wearing one of my trainers on my good foot to reduce some of the pressure from using it exclusively.

I look like I’m about to go on some sort of weird adventure, backpack on, one shoe…. looks totally legit.

(My good foot has definitely been suffering from all the hobbling and I’m a little worried that I’m going to end up with 2 bad feet…..).

I’m also trying to give my bad foot a little massage every now and then to try and keep the blood flowing around it and make sure that I’m moving it around a bit so I don’t end up with another problem!

This is, without a doubt, the worst injury I’ve ever had.

More frozen veg

Tuesday ~ mastering crutches

I’ve managed to keep off of my foot for a full day today using my crutches and I even managed to go up my stairs at home using them!

It definitely feels more ‘dangerous’ but it makes it so much easier to get around once I’m at the top instead of trying to haul myself off of the floor.

So I had that mini-accomplishment there but then when I got in bed I had the weirdest sensation in my foot.

It felt like all of the muscles from my ankle down we’re just about to get cramp. A little like a tingly sensation.

This went on for hours and I wasn’t able to sleep properly because the covers felt very heavy on it and it was so uncomfortable (I can’t put it outside the covers, the monsters might grab it).

Then I got a shooting pain up through the bottom of my foot and it hurt to even rest my foot on the bed… all fun stuff.

I haven’t suffered at all at night with pain or anything so it seems strange to me now all of a sudden I can’t have my foot touching anything because that hurts.

What the heck is wrong with my foot?! I’ve done so many google searches since I’ve been diagnosed and not one of them mentions anything about these symptoms!

2 weeks today was when the pain started and I’m even further away than I was at the beginning to being able to walk on it.

A very (un)helpful bunny

Wednesday ~ the worst day so far

My worst day with this injury by a mile.

I woke up this morning and my foot was in pain and still felt a little tingly. I spent even more time on Google trying to figure out what was ‘normal’ and how much longer I should expect to be out of action for.

I’m looking for just a little bit of hope or information on how much longer this is going to go on for. As per previous searches, I found nothing useful or reassuring.

While I was waiting for the bath to run, I looked down at my feet together and the right one definitely looks more swollen in comparison to the other.

I’ve been doing everything right so what is going wrong and why does it feel worse? I haven’t put my foot to the ground since Monday so it should only be feeling better going forward… except it’s not!

I decided I should call the doctor (he told me to return if it didn’t get better) and he advised that I should go to A&E because it should definitely be getting better, my tablets don’t seem to be working and because of the sudden pain I had on Monday.

So far, medically trained suggestions for my foot issue has been, a hairline fracture, tendonitis and gout.

All I know is I want to know what is wrong here so I can try and fix it ASAP.

Slightly swollen

Thursday ~ trip to A&E

The pain was really bad today and getting around the office is not easy but everyone is so lovely and I’m having to accept help from people which is very difficult for me (Miss Independent here).

My work BFF (and all around angel) Naomi, took me into A&E and I met my mum by the entrance.

I felt quite upbeat and I was glad I was going today in such a positive mood as opposed to yesterday (definitely not positive).

I went in on my crutches as I still can’t put my foot to the ground but luckily we didn’t have to wait long before we saw the doctor.

The doctor looked over my original X-ray results and she said I had lovely straight toes (I took that as a compliment) and there was definitely no break there.

She asked me a bunch of questions and then tried loads of manipulation on my entire foot, bending my toes back, forward, each toe and so on and it was super weird how I didn’t feel any pain at any point.

‘I’m not faking it I swear, it’s been really difficult to pinpoint the pain because when I walk my entire foot hurts’ I explained, feeling pretty sheepish that it appeared to be ‘fine’. I was so confused.

She then held a finger under one of my little toes and had me putting a little weight, then 50% then all of my weight onto my bad foot and it didn’t hurt at any point.

I was thinking this is so weird that none of this seems to hurt!

The doctor then put a little bit of gauze and tape under the toe she’d had her finger underneath and asked me to go onto my tiptoes.

Miracle tape

This was the ultimate pain for me as any bending backwards of my toes has always hurt immediately which is why walking has been so difficult.

Except… it felt…. absolutely fine!

By this point I’m thinking that it must be this toe or this tendon which is giving me trouble and having it taped is why I don’t feel any pain.

I then had to walk up and down the room, which was so difficult because I haven’t walked in 3 weeks, and the doctor was encouraging me to ‘walk normally’. Except I just couldn’t… but couldn’t say why.

‘How does it feel, does it hurt?’ she asked me. ‘It feels…… I can’t explain it… like I’ve got really bad pins and needles through my entire foot’.

‘Ok, come and take a seat and I’ll tell you what’s going on’. As soon as she said that I knew exactly what she was going to say and I felt embarrassed straight away.

‘So you can walk normally because there’s nothing wrong with your foot, your brain has been telling you there’s pain there, but there isn’t’.

I’ve never felt so happy and mortified all at the same time!

She explained to me it was a little like the phantom limb phenomenon where people who have lost limbs swear that there’s pain or itching in the limb that’s now missing.

I couldn’t believe it. So my ‘brain’ hasn’t been doing this the entire time can I add!

She thinks I started with the injury (which I tried to push through and hobble on for over a week) but over time my brain was telling me it hurt when it didn’t after it had healed.

This makes sense that I could only find recovery times for tendonitis at 1/2 weeks yet mine seemed to go on and on.

You’re probably thinking I’m a total hypochondriac at this point but I’m the absolute opposite of this!

When I first had the pain I was like nah it will be fine, and only went to the doctor after I’d been suffering for a week, which in itself is completely against my usual behaviour.

When he diagnosed me with tendonitis and he told me a recovery time of around 2 weeks I said to myself ‘no way I will rest it very well and I’ll recover way before that’.

The day after I sustained the injury, I was going to go to the gym, even though I couldn’t walk properly and had a very noticeable hobble. I only didn’t go because my colleagues convinced me it wasn’t a good idea.

Thinking I can’t do things is not my style. I think that’s the number one thing that makes you a great runner!

You mentally have to push yourself when you’re exhausted, defeated and have all the will to stop… yet you don’t, you carry on despite these things.

I am without a doubt a determined person. Once I make up my mind about something I’m doing it.

So while I hobbled in on crutches on the way into the doctor’s office, I came out walking!

Anyone who saw me in the waiting room must have thought that they were witnessing a miracle seeing me walk out! (If It were me, I’d be thinking I want to see THAT doctor!).

Mum and I were laughing the whole way out in total disbelief.

Then we walked, perfectly normally, out of A&E about half a mile to the car park to go home!

I messaged people on the way home telling them ‘it was in my head’ and most people thought I was being sarcastic or just trying to be funny.

Then people were like ‘wait, what…??’

I felt like a total idiot! When did my brain take over and decide I was still in pain? How long had I been ‘recovered’??

I’d been so miserable not being able to get around and yesterday I even sat on the edge of the sofa and said to myself ‘just get up, just stand up and walk’! But didn’t…

I don’t know how much longer it would have gone on if I hadn’t gone to A&E!! Imagine that!

When I got home I just couldn’t process the whole thing. It didn’t make sense to me why and how my brain had done that.

The doctor had told me that I wasn’t going crazy and it wasn’t my fault and encouraged me to go home and look up some examples of other people who had the same thing.

Then I spent the entire evening trying to make it make sense to me and I couldn’t. I felt silly, confused and then confused some more.

Friday ~ it’s a miracle

Much like when I walked into A&E on crutches and walked out without them, I walked into the office this morning perfectly fine.

I still have the tape under my toe which I’m a little scared to take off! She gave me some to go home with and I have to reduce the thickness of it little by little as it’s ‘training my brain’ to think differently about my foot’.

The look on some people’s faces when I walked in was priceless. I was concerned that people wouldn’t believe me but it made no sense for me to make it up either!

I’m not sure if someone told me the same thing whether I’d believe them! But everyone seemed convinced that I was telling the truth which was such a relief!

Lots of people said to me that their doctor had told them that their condition was all in their head too except it was undeniable that I couldn’t walk yesterday but today, I could… there was legitimately no other explanation for my recovery!

I did have some pain throughout the day though but it was back where my original injury was so it feels ‘real’. Or was it? I was so confused!

By the time I drove home it was agony but when I stepped foot at home it seemed to be gone!

My brain feels broken so I don’t know if I do actually have some pain from my injury and walking on it all day has just made it sore… or is it not sore at all…

I’ll literally never know!

Saturday ~ ‘running’ errands

I’m still so cautious putting my foot to the ground but I had a ton of stuff to do now that I could get around.

Where I live, the car parking situation at the shopping centre is atrocious so I had to try 3 different car parks before I could find a space and it was on the opposite side to where I needed to go.

Usually, I’d walk the entire way from home but I didn’t think that was a good idea because I was still a little shaky on my foot and ankle.

I had to park really far away and with a mild hobble at that.

By the time I’d run my errands I was walking really well and I’ve only got a little pain (or do I) in my ankle and the inside of my foot presumably from underuse.

I’m very upset that my gym app now says I am ‘low activity’ as it’s usually ‘very high’ but all in good time… I can’t WAIT to get back on the spin bike!

We all take our health for granted and it’s only when we’re struck down that we reminisce to the days when we were better and scolding ourselves for not appreciating it more.

I was ecstatic that I could walk up the stairs unaided, that I could bend down and say hello to Teddy Bun, I could get in and out of the bath, do my washing and the biggest one I COULD CARRY FOOD/DRINK OUT OF THE KITCHEN!

So please look after yourselves, appreciate your health (hoping you’re in good health) and go and live out your dreams!

You only get one life, you must live it while you can because there are no second chances! This is is! Your time is RIGHT. NOW!

London Winter 10k Race Review

The 2019 London Winter 10k Race saw the 5th edition of the run in association with the charity Cancer Research UK.

The 10k run will start in the famous Trafalgar Square and will head past Nelson’s Column, along the Strand past the world-renowned Adelphi Theatre and The Savoy hotel.

The route will then take them past The Royal Courts of Justice, through the City of London and up Chancery Lane, runners will then pass Chancery Lane Tube Station before continuing to the London Stock Exchange. Onto the medieval Cheapside, participants will continue down the fast and flat course pass St Mary Le Bow church. Setting off for home the runners will loop around the Bank of England, past the much loved Penguin Party.

Next up comes Mansion House before taking in the sights of the prestigious St Pauls Cathedral. From here, the runners will continue to circle back round to the Royal Courts of Justice for the second time, before passing Kings College London, Somerset House and onto Charing Cross Station. Taking a left down Whitehall they come to a finish just before Westminster and Downing Street.

https://www.londonwinterrun.co.uk/route/
Lining up for the start of the race

Details about the race

When | Sunday 3 February ~ start time provided before the race based on your wave

Where | Trafalgar Square, London

Cost | £32 if you pre register for the race online

Organisers Website | https://www.londonwinterrun.co.uk

Chip Timing | Yes, attached to race bib number

MP3s Allowed | Yes, the entire race is around the closed streets of London

Course map of London Winter 10k from Garmin
London Winter 10k Elevation Chart – Strava

Facts about Trafalgar Square, London

  • Trafalgar Square is considered the ‘centre’ of London and it’s from here all distances are measured from
  • The 169ft tall monument of Nelson’s Column was built in 1843 to honour Admiral Horatio Nelson who was victorious in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805
  • Four imposing bronze lions guard Nelson’s column, sculpted by Sir Edwin Landseer and said to have been constructed from melted bronze cannons and were not finished until 30 years after the square opened
  • Every Christmas, Norway sends a Christmas tree for Trafalgar Square as gratitude for Britain’s help during the Second World War
A very ‘London’ picture

Things I loved about the London Winter 10k

  • Everything! Honestly, there was nothing I didn’t enjoy about this race at all (which is unusual). My only gripe would be that I didn’t manage to get under the hour
  • There was no shortage of entertainment around the course. The characters around were brilliant and entertaining and to the tune of ‘who let the dogs out’ were the Huskies, all lined up ready to give encouragement and high fives. There were also penguins, polar bears and choir singers, there was never a dull moment!
  • The medal was truly special and I loved the spinning middle section with the polar bear (we all know I only signed up for this race because of the medal)
  • It was very very cold on the morning of the race and they seemed to let everyone go ahead of the start times slightly to be able to get going and not hang around for quite so long. This may not be true, but this was how I saw it
  • Getting to run around London. That’s it, that’s a reason enough right!
  • The whole event was exceptionally well managed from the start line to finish line
  • The course is pretty flat. If you’re looking for a race as a beginner this would be a great one for you to start with as it’s not pancake-flat but near enough
  • You can buy merchandise right alongside the race HQ area
Looking atrocious but it’s not every day you get to take a selfie with a Polar Bear

Things I didn’t love about the London Winter 10k

  • Perhaps one slight grievance I had was at the finish line. They hand you SO many things like water, coconut water, Soreen, the medal, a protein bar and I just couldn’t carry it all. A handy goodie-bag would have been a godsend and I wouldn’t have had to have put all of these items down to take a photo with one of the polar bears at the finish line!
  • People from higher numbered waves were entering into the earlier waves and I honestly thought there are so many people it’s going to be chaos but it wasn’t. One of the worst races for crowds is any race event in Bristol. You have to wait such a long time before you can get going and even then it’s crowded, you get stuck behind slower runners easily but not at this race. They called waves when they were ready for them so there was no huge line to the start.

My London Winter 10k Race Stats

London Winter Strava stats
My London Winter 10k Stats – Strava

Total Runners 18,516 | Fastest Male 31: 23 | Fastest Female 35:48 | Slowest Finisher 2:45:13

The Medal!

The race bling

Distances from major cities

London: zero, you’re already at the place they measure the distances from | Birmingham: 2hr 29min ~ 126 miles | Bristol: 2hr 32min ~ 118 miles | Cardiff: 3hr 3 min ~ 151 miles | Exeter: 3hr 41 min ~ 174 miles

Next Event:

Date to be confirmed, however, you can pre-register for 2020’s London Winter 10k race on the website

Overall Star Rating

5 stars for the London Winter 10k

Conclusion

The London Winter 10k would be an ideal race for first-time runners for so many reasons. The course is flat, there’s endless motivation and encouragement around the course, it’s well organised, the medal is super cute and this is what a race day should be like!

Twenty thousand people signed up for this race and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. Not only do you get to experience the thrill of running in the capital city of England but you get to enjoy some of the famous landmarks right here too. It’s likely many people won’t get into the London Marathon ballot, despite years of applications, but this is a miniature version of what you can expect.

Flawless, brilliant, tons of entertainment once you’re through and if you’ve brought a spectator with you (how could you not) they won’t be bored for a minute. The ‘hanging-around’ time was minimal and they kept to the race start times for the waves.

Would I run the race again?

Absolutely 100%, I’ve already signed up for the pre-registration for 2020 and I’m hankering for under the hour if not an all-time PB next time!

Check out some of my previous blog posts here

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner). While I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

London Winter 10k Race Review | London Running

Why Tracking Your Run Can be Your Secret Weapon to Success

If you’re new to running it can be overwhelming when you’re trying to figure out exactly what the heck you should and shouldn’t be doing but one thing you should be doing is tracking your runs.

Why you should be tracking your runs

In my opinion, if you run, you’re a runner. Tracking your run isn’t just for elite athletes and with modern technology, it’s easier than ever. Let’s get into some reasons why you should be tracking your runs and how it’s going to elevate your improvement as a beginner runner.

It’s motivational

When you’re new to running it can feel like an uphill struggle every time you go out. Your feet are heavy, your breath is laboured and you generally feel awful. It was always so easy as a kid and now you’re wondering in your later years whether you were actually a child prodigy in sports you were just never discovered.

But tracking your runs will give you so much motivation when you look back at where you started. At the beginning of the month you could run a mile in 12 minutes, well how about 2 weeks later you’ve cut that time by 30 seconds. Feels great to see such a big difference in a short space of time right! You’ll then be more motivated to go out for your next run and let’s see if you can beat last week’s time.

If you’re running without tracking, it can feel like you aren’t making any improvements at all because it always feels difficult, it always feels like an uphill battle and you feel that you should be sprinting with ease by now. You haven’t realised that you’ve actually been making improvements every time you’ve gone out for a run without even noticing.

It gives your runs more purpose

If you’ve got a PB goal in mind and want to improve as a runner it will give your run a lot more purpose. You’re not just going out to pound the pavements for half an hour and see what time you make it back, you’re going to go out there and try and be a faster, stronger and more efficient runner and you’ll find yourself improving much more rapidly as a result.

It will teach you a lot about yourself

You really learn a lot about yourself from running in general in my experience. I’ve learned that I’m a lot more resilient and driven than I thought I was especially when your mind is telling you you can’t do it. I’ve also learned that it doesn’t take much for me to lose the feeling of determination but also that I can get it back in an instant.

Tracking your runs will show you how resilient and how willing you are to improving yourself as a runner. Imagine you went out and had a terrible run, it happens to every runner out there. Take one quick look back at your running log and notice that you’d also noted you had a terrible run last month but your next run was just awesome. Or did you eat something that definitely wasn’t conducive to an efficient run? Definitely make a note of that and learn from it.

Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash

Tracking your runs makes it into a habit

With the explosion of bullet journals everyone seems to be tracking everything in a bid to make habits of the things they want to do more of. How many times have you made the bed before work this week, how many times have you taken your makeup off before going to sleep, habit tracking is big business in such a hectic world.

Tracking your runs should be no exception. You’re trying to be better at going to bed earlier and so you get into a nice night time routine, gold star for you, you’ve managed it 5 days out of 7. Doesn’t that give you a nice warm fuzzy feeling, seeing how many times you’ve completed your habit like you envisioned.

Add running into the equation and you’ll get the same warm glow especially when you see how many miles you’ve run at the end of the month, wow it’s the distance from one city to another! Tracking your runs is one way to ingrain that habit into your routine too.

Gives you more confidence

You will find your confidence skyrocket when you see your improvements, what you’re capable of and you may even find that this spills out into your daily life too. You’re so much more capable than you think you are, remember that.

What should you be tracking on each run?

With all of the tracking apparatus available today it’s challenging not to get too caught up in the data, especially if you’re a data nerd like me. When you’re starting out though, you only really need to be tracking your time and your distance but you may also want to consider tracking your heart rate too.

Tracking your heart rate can help you understand a lot more about your body and how it reacts to the exertion of exercise. Some training runs are also based around keeping your heart rate within certain optimal zones rather than time/ distances so keep this in mind.

How can I measure my runs?

Running has never been easier to track across all abilities of runner. Gone are the days of running a route you vaguely felt was a certain distance and then hopping into the car straight afterwards to measure the miles, to then realise it was nowhere near as far as you thought (shout out to my 2012 half marathon training).

If you’re running with your phone, you can download some apps for free which will track your time, distance, pace, split distances, elevations and in some cases segments.

In the past, before I had my GPS watch, I used Strava primarily for tracking my cycle commute to work but quickly fell in love with the data it provided such as where I ranked in comparison to people my age and gender on the same part of road. I really like the elevation charts they produce as they’re clear and easy to understand and I also enjoy that you can give kudos to other users as part of the Strava community.

I have also used Map My Run to track runs in the past and it’s another great free app that you can download to your phone and will give you all of the basic data that you’ll be interested in.

If you’re making a commitment to running whether you’re a beginner or you’re trying to get back into the sport, I would suggest you invest in a sports watch which has GPS. This means you can leave your phone at home and go out on the open road with just you and your watch.

I have the Garmin Fenix 5s which I’m absolutely in love with and it also looks great as a day to day activity tracker. If you’re interested in a sports watch, check out my post below: –

Related Post: Garmin Fenix 5s Full Review

Disclaimer: This post has affiliate links, which means if you choose to buy through my links I receive a commission at no extra cost to you! I’ll only ever link products that I absolutely love and use, thank you for supporting me.

How can I create a training log?

Having a visual log and reminder can be much more motivational than logging into an app. It will serve as a more permanent, tangible and real reminder that you’ve got a running goal and you are committed to achieving it.

I’ve created a FREE running training log which you can download here and print out to keep someone visible to you on a daily basis. Here you can log your distance, time and any notes that you feel are important to remember.

While I’ve mentioned all of the reasons why you SHOULD be tracking your runs, sometimes you have to just enjoy the run you have planned and go naked without tracking. This may seem counter-intuitive to you especially if you’ve become somewhat a stats nerd but experiencing some runs sans watch will make them more enjoyable and will reignite your love for running.

Try heading out for a run on a scenic trail run or running one of your favourite routes and feel how different it is to run without all of the pressures of time and distance. I promise you won’t regret it.

If you’re looking to get started with running, check out this 5k training planner here which will put you on the road to success!

how to track your running progress

Cheap But Cute DIY Medal Holder

When I first got into running races (ahem, mostly to collect medals) I quickly decided I needed a medal holder to display all of my race bling.

I scoured the interweb and found some really very nice ones on Amazon and Etsy but my gosh they were so expensive! Ideally, I wanted one that I could also attach my race bib numbers to as well as my medals but nothing really caught my eye (or they were way out of my price range) and didn’t go with my decor.

While perusing Amazon I came across a jewellery display which was pretty and I felt sure that, with a bit of imagination, I could turn it into a cute piece of decor for my room and display both my medals and my race bibs and also save me quite a few pennies.

Disclaimer: This post has affiliate links, which means if you choose to buy through my links I receive a commission at no extra cost to you! I’ll only ever link products that I absolutely love and use, thank you for supporting me.

medal holder
White Jewellery Hanger and Organiser from Lovett & Co, Amazon

This jewellery hangar is definitely sturdy enough for all of my medals to hang from it, and they’re quite hefty in weight. How did I display my medals?

Things you’ll need to make your medal holder: –

medal holder

First of all, I placed it somewhere that looked best on the wall, hammering in the nails, attaching my bibs with some pretty clips and hangging my medals and voila! A cute, inexpensive, pretty medal holder.

medal holder
And here you have the final medal holder on display

Who says that running has to be an expensive sport (literally no-one has ever said this, it’s an expensive as you want it to be)!

How do you like to display your medals and bibs, do you throw them away or do you keep them?

Similarly, if you’re interested in taking up running or signing up for your first race but you’re not sure where to get started, check out some of my previous blog posts: –

A unique solution to displaying your medals |  Cute and cheap medal display
Create your own medal holder
make your own medal holder | medal display

London Winter 10k Weekend

Snow! Why is there always snow when I have to travel somewhere?? The South West of England was hit with the first snow of 2019 on the Thursday night before the race and I was concerned we weren’t going to be able to travel to London via two busses on the Saturday morning.

After an early start to catch the 10am bus, we skidded and skated across the frozen pavements the half a mile walk to the bus stop. Only to find we’d looked at the wrong day for the bus times and had to wait a little longer than we’d planned.

Bus Stop Selfie

We made the journey into Bristol City Centre to catch the Megabus (very cheap way of travelling into London compared to the trains) and stopped off for a little bit of breakfast while we waited.

The bus journey was pretty uneventful except for the fact that it was ABSOLUTELY FREEZING for the entire 3 hours. We both had our coats over us and were trying to hide underneath them to get warm… it didn’t work. At least the sun was shining though and it was really pretty sitting at the front of the bus looking out at all of the snowfall across the countryside. That was until the window steamed up and we couldn’t see a thing.

Anyway, enough about boring bus journeys! We stomped into London around 3pm and had around a half an hour walk, past the Queen’s house, to get to Trafalgar Square. We checked into our hotel and went to explore outside for a bit. The wind was bitterly cold and there was nowhere really to escape the freezing temperatures so we stopped off and got a (very expensive) mulled wine for our meander. We walked around the London Eye, past Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament and arrived back to Trafalgar Square for dinner with the BFF!

The London Eye looking pretty at night

We left dinner pretty early so we could all get an early night for tomorrow’s race but I’d forgotten my pyjamas and because I was so cold and couldn’t warm up I ended up getting in bed and falling asleep with my clothes on (jeans and a jumper) which isn’t ideal night time attire!

I woke up around 4am and couldn’t get back to sleep so I wasn’t feeling very enthusiastic or energetic for the 6 ish miles ahead! Regardless, I jumped into my unicorn leggings, threw on my race number and added my gloves and hat to my race belt just in case it really was that cold out.

We took a leisurely walk from the hotel to the start (we could see the start from our hotel that’s how close we were) and they called out for my wave to make their way to the start line. That was quick! I chomped down a banana quickly as I hadn’t eaten anything yet hoping that it might give me just a little bit of energy to get around the course.

A very ‘London’ picture

The atmosphere was great and as I was walking up to the start line there was music and cheering and warm ups. The sky was as clear and as blue as it could be and it made for an even nicer atmosphere (even if it was super cold). We set off, apparently in the wave before mine, there were people with all sorts of wave numbers going off at the same time but it wasn’t overcrowded with people.

The London Winter 10k is a pretty much flat course (which always makes me happy) and they had huskies giving high fives, penguins giving free cuddles and choir singers!

Waiting at the start line but not for long

Right from the off I was struggling. I’d set my watch for 59 minutes and my plan was to stick to it as best as I could but if I couldn’t it wasn’t the end of the world. I hadn’t run a 10k distance for 4 months so I definitely wasn’t in the best shape for trying to get a PB but I was at least hoping for under the hour.

It didn’t take long for my watch to let me know I was 17 seconds behind and while I did catch up a couple of times I eventually ran out of steam and 17 seconds turned into a minute, then two, then two and a half. I was pretty disappointed that I’d lost my race pace but I physically couldn’t have given any more. I kept telling myself that I might never get to run in London again and did have a couple of spurts of energy but I just couldn’t keep up and ended up crossing the finish in 1:02:34.

While it’s unusual for me to talk to strangers, especially those dressed as animals, I did ask one of the volunteers on the finish line if I could take a selfie with them. I had to put down my Soreen, water, coconut water and protein ball first though, perhaps a goodie bag would have worked out better!

Looking atrocious but it’s not every day you get to take a selfie with a Polar Bear

Once the race was over, we headed back to the hotel to check out by midday and luckily I had enough time to have a shower and warm up a bit (I’ve never not wanted to get out of a shower that much before).

The Queen was home, I hope she likes my medal

We met up with the BFF again and took a couple of selfies and then made our way with a slow walk back to the bus station. We walked through Saint James’s Park which was so pretty with all of the birds and the lake with the London Eye in the background, and back to the Queen’s house again. Obviously, it would have been rude of me not to take pictures in front of all of the London landmarks that we passed!

Obligatory post-race selfie

We finally made it back to the bus stop (after getting a little bit lost) and we were super cold by now. We then had to wait for around 2 hours for the bus to arrive as it was delayed. Because we’d been waiting for so long, and sat down, a huge queue had formed for the bus and by the time it had come we ended up right at the back of the line. That meant we couldn’t sit next to each other for the journey home, which wouldn’t have been so bad except I ended up at the front of the bus again in the freezing cold, I also was sat next to a lady who had no ‘cold etiquette’ and was sniffing up her drippy nose every few seconds and then proceeded to spend the entire 3 hours elbowing me, turning the lights on and generally being a nuisance.

Hi there cute medal

To drown out the ‘drippy nose sniff’ for the duration of the journey, I’d put in my headphones and listened to Derren Brown’s Happy on Audible. His soothing voice made me feel much better about the cramp in my shoulder that I couldn’t get rid of, my cold aching bones and the niggling feeling that I 100% was going to catch a cold from the lady next to me. I kept telling myself that this was only temporary and I wasn’t going to feel this horrible forever…

Pelican shot

Our plan was to get back on the bus from town back home but after that uncomfortable journey we decided to treat ourselves to an Uber ride home. So I called the Uber on my phone and it was 2 minutes away, hoorayyyyy! Except he then messaged me shortly after to say he had arrived. He definitely hadn’t arrived! There was no other car around to be seen. He then called me and asked where I was. ‘Right outside of Blacks where the busses stop’ I said. ‘Ok, no problem’ he replied ‘I’ll need to turn back around’. So I watched on the app as he drove around the round about back towards our destination… and then drove right past us for the second time. I tried to cancel the journey but now they charge you so I couldn’t!

He then called me again ‘I’m here, where are you?’. ‘I’m across the other side of the road, you drove right past us again’ I said just desperate to get into a warm car. ‘Can you wave so I can see you’ he said. I did and he clocked that we were across the other side of the road and had to turn around again.

When he finally got to us he exclaimed ‘did you cross over the road!’. In my mind I was thinking ‘yes, we crossed 6 lanes of traffic across a busy intersection with no crossing and a barrier in the middle’. ‘Nope’, I said ‘we literally got off the bus right here and have been waiting here ever since’. I was absolutely incensed to learn that I had been charged 3 minutes waiting time!

By the time we got home I was grumpy, exhausted and in dire need of something to eat as the hot dog I ate in Saint James’s Park 6 hours earlier just wasn’t going to cut it.

Note to self: if I run this race again, please stay an extra night!

I hope you enjoyed this race weekend post (of mostly me complaining about my Uber driver) and hopefully see some of you there next year.