Up to 10km…

Having missed a couple of 5kms and my long session last week due to feeling under the weather, needing to up my distance for this week’s session was always going to be a tough ask! My plan had a distance of 6-8 miles for this week and I would rather have hit the middle distance, but I decided to go for 10km (6.2 miles) as that’s still a long way from where I’ve come from (nothing!).

I found the session frustrating because missing a couple of sessions hurt and I could feel it. It was probably my least favourite session to date; wind, rain, headphones that died early on and strava failing to record really frustrated me. I like to know my km splits and I’ll put more effort in accordingly (my competitive side coming out!) so I didn’t enjoy the session at all.

I got round though and did it, so that’s what really matters! Next week is a shorter distance and whilst I want to push on apparently rest weeks are important as your body adjusts, so I’ll stick to the plan and follow the advice of the experts.

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Back in the (stage rally) driving seat!

After nearly three years away from driving on stage rallies (March 2015 at Bovington), it was time to get back in the driving seat! A mixture of things; illness, Matt and I swapping seats etc, meant I had been out of the stage rally driving seat for longer than intended.

For 2018, our plans are for me to drive in the championships and Matt to co-drive, so with Brands Hatch opening both the AEMC/ASEMC and ACSMC championships it was an early start to the year. I took Friday afternoon off and headed to Brands Hatch for noise, scrutineering and signing on to take a little pressure off Saturday morning.

When Saturday morning came, it was a cold morning. Richard and Emma Olsen were helping us to service and it’s always great to have people there to help as it takes the pressure off us a little. After the compulsory crew briefing, before long it was time for SS1. I knew it was cold and slippery, but aside from one lockup and an overshoot early on things went ok. Chatting it through afterwards, Matt and I realised I’d not driven on rally slicks before and not in the damp; they were the right tyres from the options we had given there was no standing water, but I hadn’t appreciated the bit of time they take to warm up!

The stages after SS1 all merge into one a little bit, but the day went well. I started to enjoy more and more being back in the car, I started to build up the confidence in the car and things were going well. I was in a position of being behind 4th in class but ahead of 6th in class with a bit of a cushion either side, so it was a case of not doing anything silly! Because Brands is a single venue, by it’s nature you sometimes see other cars on laps, and Ian Crocker pictured me passing another car up the inside going the “wrong way” (i.e. the opposite to normal circuit direction) at Druids.


Photo thanks to Ian Crocker

There was one particularly sideways moment going through Graham Hill Bend which was captured on our onboard, with Matt shouting “power power power” and me “flat” in return, but thankfully she (the car) came back and we carried on our way. As the day continued, it got wetter and wetter and we changed to wets in the afternoon which were tyres we hadn’t run before (some Dunlops, not out and out rally wets – unfortunately out of budget!). These worked well and it was definitely the right choice to swap with the standing water appearing.

To finish 5th in class and 53rd overall was a good return. Unfortunately with the nature of these single venue events sometimes other people’s events can impact on your own and we finished one second behind the car in front. We did get impacted by others getting stuck at the hairpin and some other incidents, but that’s the nature of these events, and you don’t know who else has had similar challenges too!

You can view an onboard from our MGJ Engineering Brands Hatch Winter Stages, including the sideways moment, by clicking here.

Photos thanks to M&H Photography

Training interruptions

So, week three training and a bit of an interrupted week! It started off well with a 5k after work on Tuesday evening which was my quickest yet. My plan was to get my second 5k of the week done on Friday morning before work, but having stepped out the front door I found everything was covered in ice. I decided it wasn’t worth the risk, because it was pretty likely I’d end up on the floor and it simply wasn’t worth it.

We were away on Friday night, so for the first time I hit a treadmill to get miles in by using the hotel gym. I was trying out my new trainers as I need to start breaking in another pair. It was interesting how much quicker it is on a treadmill – but how much more boring too! There was more running than in previous sessions which was good and the right way forward. I didn’t quite go to 5k, I was conscious I was rallying the next day and didn’t want to overdo it.

The plan was to do five miles on Sunday morning, and I set my alarm to get up and get out before heading to football in Southampton. Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling up to it for various reasons including the start of a cold. I’ve read various opinions on whether you should push through or rest until you feel better and I decided to rest. Not ideal because I need to get the miles in but I’m feeling rather lethargic and bunged up so fingers crossed for later in the week!

From 5k to 5 miles!

The training plan I’m following for the marathon has two short runs a week, with a long run at weekends. The current long runs at weekend are time rather than distance based, but due to my interval-ing and slow speed I shall always be aiming for distance.

The week two long run was a time of 65 minutes, so definitely the longest I’ve done to date! I had in my head that I wanted to reach 5 miles, which was a reasonable increase on the 5k I’ve achieved so far as my shorter training distances. I didn’t manage that within the 65 minutes, but I did reach the 5 miles.

The key thing for me was that it felt comfortable and didn’t feel too much of a step up from having just reached 5k. Yes, I’m still mostly power walking with some jogging but the jogging is increasing and I’m building up the miles in my legs, which is what is needed!

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Second training 5k

Having completed my first 5k on Friday, I wanted to try 5k again on Monday lunchtime. I completed the distance on Friday but had a few aches afterwards and wasn’t fully keen on the route – doubling up a couple of bits of it to up the distance wasn’t ideal and I wanted to find a better loop.

My idea of “finding a better route” doesn’t involve anything useful like looking at a map, just a sense of distance and heading out with my trainers on! Aside from having to do 150m in the wrong direction and double back (which I got wrong, as I ended up doing 5.1km but that’s what you get for my random approach!) it worked much better.

It’s funny how much I’m enjoying getting out and about, and again a lunchtime session was just enough to break up the working day and the fact I’ve got time to do 5k, have a quick shower and bite to eat and get back to work is brilliant.

I’m still not quick at all; I know people will be almost doing 10k in my 5k time. But for me, the key thing is I’m getting out there and doing it having previously done nothing. I’ve been told I have collapsed arches and I tried some insoles today to deal with that. The result was I couldn’t jog because it caused shin pain, so perhaps they are not the solution.

In terms of PBs, I was two seconds of my 1km best time but I took quite a bit off my average pace per km (19 seconds quicker per km than Friday) but I also felt much better when I got back. Working away this week will make things harder, but I plan to be out on Saturday and hopefully to squeeze in a session ideally on Wednesday evening.

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Training – my first 5k!

Training for the London Marathon started before Christmas, but I’d not done more than 2k/3k every other day to build up some miles in my legs having gone from doing absolutely nothing. People talk about doing Park Runs and the like but having only ever done one 5k in my life, back in 2010, I knew I needed to up my distance and see what time I could do i.e. would I be last/keeping everyone from going home if I go to do a Park Run!

Friday lunchtime I decided was time to tackle 5k and see if I could do it. I’m still power walking with some limited jogging intervals, because going from nothing to marathon distance is a bit of an ask! I knew I’d head out towards the train station and new estate, but I didn’t quite get the route right with a bit of doubling back on myself to up the distance. I found the park and river paths still flooded which was a shame, because they are good to use.

It wasn’t the best time in the world at all, but to have got out there and done 5k was pleasing. Plan is to rest Saturday and Sunday, and do 5k again on Monday!

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Why am I tackling the London Marathon?

Why is someone who doesn’t work out anywhere near enough and loves sport but isn’t particularly active tackling the London Marathon?

I will be undertaking the marathon to raise money for Marie Curie.

In 2009, my Father in Law Mike was told he had terminal cancer and had a very short time left (less than two weeks). Matt and I were engaged at the time, and with thanks to a huge number of people from friends, family and strangers, and particularly to Sarah Manston who told us we could do it/gave us the info needed, we arranged our wedding in 24 hours. It was more important for us to have our close family there if possible, than to have the “big white wedding.” We were married on 19th August 2009, and sadly Mike passed away three days later.

Mike had decided he wanted to be at home for his last days, but there was a point where extra support was needed and that’s when Marie Curie stepped in. Their support was invaluable, and quite simply for that reason I want to raise funds for them to help support others who find themselves in a similar situation. Marie Curie provide help and support to those with terminal illness, we all hope we won’t need them but if we do, it’s vital help and support is there for those in need.

Those close to me know “our story,” and some people spot we have two sets of wedding photographs (where I have two white dresses, and different coloured hair!) but this is the first time I’ve really spoken about it. It’s important to me, but it’s not something I’ve ever felt the need to discuss but having decided to tackle the marathon now is the time!

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Suze Marathon


London Marathon 2018!

It’s 2018, and what does that mean? It’s the year I’ll be tackling the London Marathon, for Marie Curie!

Training is underway, but I’ve kept things quiet until now and could count on one hand the number of people who knew until just a few days ago.

Like many people I have a bucket list, and it is somewhat varied. A marathon has always sort of been on there, but as my family and friends will know working out isn’t high on my agenda; motor sport, football, baking and other activities always appear first.

I applied through the ballot for the marathon without success, and found you can apply for charity places. Quite simply, I would only apply for a charity which had a personal meaning for me and Marie Curie supported us when my Father in Law was ill.

I applied, and heard nothing, until a phone call one afternoon; I thought it was a prank call, but it was true; Marie Curie offered me a place!

The long and short of it is I said yes. Now being realistic, I won’t be running all 26.2 miles and some purists or those focussed on time will have their opinion on that. For me, I simply want to complete the distance whilst raising as much money for charity as possible.

At the moment, it’s about training every other day and building up miles in my legs having gone from no exercise/distance to training for a marathon. I’ve been surprised how much I’ve enjoyed it and just getting out. There’s a tough 16/17 weeks ahead, but it will be worth it! (Incase anybody wonders, I have had medical sign-off to do this, especially after the October car accident. Given I’m going for a finish not a time I’ve been told I can go for it).

I’ll be keeping my website up to date with my training as well as social media (Twitter, Instagram) but for now, thank you for reading. All support is gratefully received!

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