Are you sitting comfortably…

Then I’ll begin.

Once upon a time there was a club called Leicester City – the ugly sisters of the Premier League who had waited 132 years to meet their Prince Charming.  After a number of suitors turned them down along came Claudio Ranieri.  How the fair kingdom of the Premier League laughed, “you wanted Prince Charming “ they cried “and instead you got Buttons!”

Who is laughing now at this happiest of endings…

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King Claudio – Kate Street, Leicester

I’ve just got back from a busy night/day in Leicester after reporting on a story that has turned out to be one of THE greatest sporting tales of all time – the stuff of dreams, fairytale and legend.

It’s been a joy to watch the story of Leicester City unfold this season, a real page turner. Beating odds of 5000-1 they will be lifting the Premier League trophy this weekend and deservedly so.

We’ve all been charmed by Ranieri – he has been funny, warm and relaxed throughout the most tense of campaigns.  He has trusted his players to do their jobs and this has in turn created a team spirit, the likes of which you cannot manufacture, the team have enjoyed their football, been good at it and are now Champions with 2 games to go.

These players have all had difficult paths to get to this point, they were described as the ‘leftovers’ of football (after what they have achieved I hate writing that), their captain Wes Morgan  describes  them as “a band of brothers”  who play for each other and scenes of the team watching their fate unfold on Monday Night Football at Jamie Vardy’s party summed it up perfectly.  And anyway, everyone knows the leftovers are often the best bit.

I was a student in Manchester when United won the treble and I remember watching  that famous Champions League win in 1999 and then spilling out onto the streets to celebrate, then just for good measure soaking up the atmosphere during the open top bus parade on their return home.

It was one of those “I was there” moments but to be honest I’m not a Man United fan and it felt a bit like I was invited to a party through a friend of a friend who knows the host’s sister, oh ok they only met briefly once.  But with Leicester City’s celebrations it really felt like I and everyone else was invited personally by the City of Leicester.

Never again will a team win the Premier League with fans of every other club to a man, woman or child applauding their success and ready to admit that if it couldn’t be their team, they are glad it is Leicester City.

LCFC Live pic

Live at the King Power Stadium for Sky News

I remember after London 2012 football was the target of criticism.  Why can’t footballers be role models like these athletes?  Why can’t the game and it’s acheivements inspire like the Games? This year it has.

Such has been the style and attitude of this Leicester City team – that everyone is a Leicester City fan this season and it’s ok to say it out loud …
Leicester City has ripped up the Premier League manual,  Ranieri has admitted that he’s even not too sure how they did it.

This club has given every fan hope going into next season whatever division they are in.  But this isn’t just an inspirational tale for sport – it is much more than that.  The majority of these City players and their manager were written off but they have shown that NOTHING is impossible.

Some bookies said there was more chance of finding Elvis alive than Leicester City achieving their dream – well Leicester City have done it and I saw Elvis in Bru on Granby Street where he served me a mean Vardycino….

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The Final Countdown

So …..we are nearly there!
Last time I blogged I was literally falling apart – I’m pleased to report that my knee and ankle are in good shape thanks to rest (frustrating) and physio (fantastic) – my longest run since my injuries is  15 miles and I won’t lie it hurt but reassured me I can still run and more importantly I WILL still run.

I heard someone say at the beginning of my training that the biggest battle is getting to the start line in one piece – that rings so true now!  I’ve done everything I can in the last 3 weeks to make sure I get there – most of it has been putting my feet up which at any other point would sound like heaven but it is so so frustrating.  I’ve even run in a bubble to try and keep my running up without aggravating my injuries.   

A massive thank you to Vicky and Rob at Equinox gym who helped me use their anti-gravity treadmill to get some miles under my belt.  It allowed me to run at 20% of my body weight by inflating a giant bubble that covered my waist to my knees.   It helped mentally as much as physically.  Who cares if I looked like the girl in the bubble.  Such a strange feeling!

  Equinox

This week is ‘taper week’ so we are only supposed to run a total of 6 miles, get plenty of rest and hydrate.
I did 4 miles yesterday and I have been going to BarreCorre Stretch classes  www.barrecorre.co.uk which are really good and use medicine balls, foam rollers and yoga moves to do the kind of stretching you should do for 45 mins after a run, but let’s face it most of us never do as much as we should.  I’ve also got a sports massage booked in for the Friday before to get rid of any last minute knots and congestion.

I’ve ditched my regular morning (well several actually) coffee as well to help hydrate and also to give those caffeine gels a chance to kick in on the big day.  I’m also obsessed about electrolytes and anything that will hydrate me before the big day – water can get a bit boring so I’m adding lemon to it and also drinking Coconut water and pressed juices – both from Press London which taste so good it’s not as much of a chore as just drinking water.  I’m finding the key to hydrating is mixing it up and adding variety so you don’t get bored! 


I’m excited about Sunday but nervous too – which I guess is a feeling lots of first time runners will have this weekend especially if like me the training hasn’t quite been the walk – or run – in the park we imagined when we started this journey.

We’ve still got a few days left so any carb loading, hydrating, stretching, relaxing tips you have please do tweet me, it’s been so much fun and so much has been learned through runners on social media.  Thank you for your advice and support.

Victoria and I found extra inspiration this week from incredibly sad circumstances.  Our ‘other mother’ and my mum’s best friend Trish Makepeace lost her battle with cancer and a wonderful family Dave, Daniel and Nina lost a wonderful woman,  So Victoria and I will be running in memory of her and her bravery and the fact that she said we were  mad to run it but amazing at the same time will keep us going every step of that 26.2 miles

Trish Makepeace 💖

They say bad things happen in threes…….

So it turns out I have wonky hips……….this was causing my right knee to turn inwards and damaged the soft tissue on the outside of my right knee.  As a result I haven’t been able to run for 2 weeks!

So I have been in a bit of a grump and not blogged.  During that time Jamee and Caitlin at Six Physio in Chelsea have been working with me on correcting my running style and helping with strength training for my core and glute muscles.  It’s been so frustrating not being able to train and wasn’t helped by the fact I fell over a footstool last week and ended up with 2 black knees!

Just when I thought I was on my way this morning to get the all clear and go for a run this afternoon……..I fell over and sprained my ankle after my shift at work.  Seriously, YOU COULDN’T MAKE THIS UP!!!

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  I now can’t run for ANOTHER week!

It means the strapping and tubigrip has moved a from knee to ankle – not quite the progress I was after.

  

Feet up……again!

  

Has anyone had worse preparation for a marathon?  I’ve still not hit 16 miles and I am terrified that I’m not going to be able to do this.

Meanwhile my sister is having much better luck.  Victoria is going to smash this marathon and I’m going to try and get to the start line and not hold her back.   She is being a very very patient training partner and sent me these today:

  

Her card reads “Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses” she worries I’m too busy and pushing myself too hard.  Well I won’t be for the next 7 days!

In the meantime I’ll be following my physio plan and hoping for the best.  If you are interesting some useful exercises below that are good to do every day and just before you run.

PS my knee has a clean bill of health and my knees are no longer black.  Just need the ankle to catch up.

   

   

R&R – Running and Relaxing – one more than the other…..

So with less than 6 weeks to go it was time to get some new running shoes.

 

A big thank you to Stephen and the team at Sweatshop’s London Marathon store near Liverpool St station – they put Victoria and I through a series of tests to find the best trainers for the rest of our training and the big day.




 

Stephen put me on the treadmill to assess my gait – which basically means seeing how my foot lands when I run.  My right foot rolls out slightly so my shoe needs to compensate for that.






 

I had my arches measured as well to see how much support I needed – you’ll be please to hear they are fairly normal!




 

We then had some inner soles moulded to our feet to go in the new shoes for extra cushioning.  Don’t be surprised if you come out with the same brand of trainer as your old pair – apparently if you have had no problems or injuries in your current pair it’s important to stick to the same type as that is what your feet are used to.


And here they are – my new Asics that will get me over that finish line on 26th April……you won’t miss me in these.…..




 

It was Mother’s Day at the weekend so for a treat we took mum to the spa at the gorgeous Corinthia hotel in London……it was as much a treat for us as mum.

 

Swimming, sauna and some snoozing in the sleep pods was a perfect way to spend a Friday afternoon – makes a change from a long run in the cold and rain.  I had a relaxing massage – which couldn’t be further removed from the painful sports massages of recent weeks.   Bliss!






Anyway enough of the relaxation – back to the running  – Victoria and I set off on a 16 mile run on Sunday morning to keep us on schedule with exactly 6 weeks to go……………..


At 13 miles we were going well averaging 10 minute miles and it was one of those runs where you are feeling so good that another 3 miles feels the easy bit.  Then a mini disaster, my right knee simply seized up without warning and I couldn’t even bend it to walk.  Cue call to mum to come and pick me up 3 miles from home – Happy Mother’s Day!  Victoria went on without me and finished with a flourish.

 

I’m so upset.  I didn’t realise how much I was enjoying my running and how much I wanted to do the marathon until I was taken out of action.  I literally couldn’t take another step to walk never mind run.


The last 24 hours have all been about ice and elevation.  The outside of my right knee is quite swollen and I really hope I haven’t done anything serious.


I’m off to see the team at Six Physio with my fingers and toes (ouch!) crossed.


Now less than 6 weeks to go……………….

 

 

 

Back on track – with a little help from Barry, Lucy and Adnan……

So there has been a slight set back…….we’ve been ill.  That wasn’t factored into the training schedule!


I was taken out for a week by laryngitis and the next week Victoria was in her sick bed with a knock out cold.  This means we haven’t been able to train for a week each and for a fortnight without each other.

Some of you may have noticed my Marge Simpson impersonation on Sky Sports and Sky News recently. I didn’t want to run outside in the cold and make it worse so hit Barry’s Bootcamp @BarrysBCLondon to keep up my training.  It’s an hour of high intensity interval training and helps massively with your fitness and speed.  By the end of an hour class with Faisal @f_fizzle you feel like you’ve done a Marathon!  Psycle London is great too – it’s essentially a spin class at a rave – my friend Katy and I loved it.



The weather hasn’t just made me feel bad on the inside but on the outside too.  There is some serious damage being done to my face!  Wind and rain is not great for your skin.  Now bear with me on this one, it might sound odd but I bought some Lucy Bee Raw Coconut Oil @LucyBeeCoconut as it came highly recommended for use as part of my training diet……but I’ve found it’s just as good if you smother your face in it!




And last but not least I have to mention Adnan.  Running long distances solo can be so dull – so I’ve missed my sister and Jericho.  I don’t want to get tired of my playlist so I downloaded the Serial podcast @Serial.  I’d heard great things about it on Twitter.  It’s the true story of a high school girl who was murdered in Baltimore and her ex boyfriend Adnan who was found guilty and sentenced to life.  A journalist decides to review the case and find out if he really did it…..Adnan says he is innocent and in 12 episodes we go through all the evidence. I found myself going for a run just so I could listen to the next episode…… I’ve just finished episode 11 and still have no idea how this will end.

These 3 have got me through a tough couple of weeks but Victoria and I are reunited next week for a 14 miler……

On that note – special mention to 5Live Breakfast presenter Rachel Burden who is running the Marathon too – she tweeted @rachelburden: “Today, 14 miles for @Project26_2. Longest so far. Felt great at 11, and sh*te by 14. How the heck do I get to 26?”

My thoughts exactly Rachel! 

Please donate using the link below it gives us great motivation – will run for money!

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=victoriaandsarahmee

Marathon Blog 2: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

So I have become obsessed with fueling and foam rollers.

I’ve learnt in attempting longer distances that parts of your legs will hurt that have never caused you problems before. There I was worrying about my knees only to discover it’s my calves and ankles that are painful this week. Plan of action:

1) Sports massage
2) Foam roller session every day
3) Epsom salt baths

My Nutribullet is my new best friend – it was the new must have Xmas gift and it seems everyone is swapping recipes. I like to have one first thing in the morning and then post run.

You don’t just need more calories when you run, you need more protein.

Protein helps muscle growth and recovery. So there are a lot of dishes being served up at the Mee household that include chicken and scrambled eggs!

To help get my protein intake up I’m making a lot of shakes with almond milk, whey protein powder and another supplement called L-Glutamine that helps muscle repair.

So much to my disappointment it seems running a Marathon is not an excuse to eat Pasta Carbonara every night.

My morning shake normally contains:

Banana
Peanut Butter
Whey Protein
L-Gutamine
Flax Seed
Chia Seeds
Spinach
Almond Milk

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All this fits in that tiny cup!

I’ve found that a slice of brown toast with peanut butter and banana and a black coffee helps too about half an hour before setting off.

Post run – I’m having a protein shake straight up, with either water or almond milk.

Two 8 mile runs this week! Building up to double figures this coming week.

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Victoria is in charge of the Nike Fitness app and lets me know what mile we are on – if I’m listening to it I just get obsessed with when it will tell me I’ve reached the next mile and I keep checking to see whether it’s broken – I call it ‘are we nearly there yet’ syndrome.

I’m getting used to being overtaken by a lot of runners out doing their training. Apparently that’s what I’ll have to get used to on the big day. I try to console myself that they are probably only on their first mile and that is why they are so fast……… It’s when the 6 year old running in wellies is keeping pace with you on mile 8 you feel a little disheartened!

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Jericho is a terrible pace setter, always racing off……

In other news:
Mixed reaction from my Saturday Night Football team to my decision to run the Marathon from ‘Are you mad?’ from David Jones, ‘Good effort Mee!’ from Jamie Redknapp and a cool shake of the head and wry smile from Thierry Henry. Best though has to be Dwight Yorke who said I had to beat his time of 3 hours 31 mins………..and he walked 2 of those! No pressure……

http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/victoriaandsarahmee

For my next trick………

For those of you who followed and supported me riding the 1st stage of the Tour de France in Yorkshire last summer many have asked ‘what next?’. Well for my next challenge………. I will be running the London Marathon!

My sister Victoria and I will be running it for Sparks – a fantastic charity that helps to fund pioneering medical research in child health.
http://www.sparks.org.uk/

First thing’s first…………….Google ‘When is the London Marathon’……..’26th April ‘– right that gives me exactly 93 days to train. Is that enough? Google ‘How long does it take to train for the London Marathon’ – unfortunately the search engine isn’t as exact on this particular point.

Some experts say I should have started a year ago others in November – I choose to read the article that says if you are a regular runner starting in January is ok.

I ran the Royal Parks Half Marathon a year ago and after crossing the finish line marvelled at how runners went on and did the same again.

My first training run with my sister was an epic….. 4 miles….. and my knees hurt. I’m definitely going to have to work on my IT Band – that instrument of torture, the foam roller, from my Tour de Yorkshire challenge is going to have to come out of the cupboard and be put to work. Ouch.

I’m excited and I’m nervous – can I even get through the training?

So now what? Well, the adventure begins ……….. We are going to be blogging up until the big day – if, like us, you are running in April too – let us know how you are getting on. All tips and advice most welcome.

There is a pub at the finish line right?

http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/victoriaandsarahmee

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Victoria, me and Jericho…..we haven’t told him he can’t enter yet.