Pain is just the French word for bread

Anyone keeping tabs on my life will notice that I ran another marathon but haven’t yet written about it… But with Love Island starting this coming Monday and taking over my evenings for the foreseeable future, I thought it was about time to get the words down on the blog.

The lead up and the sensory deprivation tank…

Unsurprisingly, I complained ALOT about the Paris marathon on the weeks leading up to it.

I was worried about a bit of hip pain and not doing enough training and I would talk to anyone that would listen about it.

I went for a panic sports massage and didn’t do any exercise for a week and a half beforehand.

“I’ll just walk bits if I need to” … “It’s not about the time, I will just try and do it” 

I was feeling stressed out and like signing up for it was the worst idea ever… I didn’t even go out and buy a cute new outfit to wear.

I did, however, check myself in to a float spa with Jemma the day before we flew to France. And I think this was one of the best ideas we’ve ever had.

Let me tell you a bit about this…

The day before we flew was the 12th April – the 3 year anniversary of Adam passing away. I booked the day off work and did nice things like get my eyebrows done, go for lunch, pack my stuff etc.

Jemma and I walked past the float spa in Altrincham the week earlier and were typically sucked in to this new thing (although they can’t be that new as there was a Simpsons episode about them years ago). We Googled it and found an offer and decided that the 12th would be a good day to do it – to relax and switch my mind off.

Float spas, also known as sensory depravation tanks, apparently have a lot of benefits:

  • Reduce stress
  • Manage depression
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Pain reduction
  • Improve circulation

To be honest, we were just excited to switch off from the world for an hour and see how it made us feel.

Yes that’s right.. an hour. You basically strip off (or wear a bathing suit if you find that weird) and get in this big tank of warm water with about 500kg of epsom salts in it… then shut the lid and float…

Despite being able to fall asleep in the weirdest of places, I didn’t actually nod off in the tank like Jemma did. But my mind did go to some weird places. I went from hurtling through space, to floating down a quiet river, to staring at the starry scene from the Lion King.

It was extremely trippy. But very relaxing and I would recommend it to anyone just for the experience and completely switching off your mind. Unless you have claustrophobia, in that case I would sit this one out.

Image result for floating gifme in the float spa

The purpose of this, is that I actually think it had huge benefits for running the marathon. But more on that in a moment…


The race

After being asked if we were over 16 at Manchester airport (buzzing and had to get that in there), Jemma, Steph and I landed in Paris on the Saturday and were already having a fantastic time when the girls presented me with a marathon sign they had made.

IMG_0902.jpegSign full of quotes of the crap that comes out of my mouth

We went to the expo to pick up my running number and finally get a cute new top to wear which was actually a mens top because apparently women don’t need long sleeve running tops…

We had some food and drinks and went to visit the Eiffel Tower and I was in bed watching Kung Fu Panda in French with no subtitles by 10:30pm.

IMG_0964

The next day I had a little pick at the hotel breakfast on my own and ended up having a Snickers and a couple of coffees on the way, which I will tell you now is not the breakfast of champions. I met some great new people who were there with Sports Tours International so at least I wasn’t stood about on my own.

Side note: I would highly recommend Sports Tours International for anyone looking at doing a race abroad on their own – or one of the popular races, you can get guaranteed entry through these guys. It is what I have done with both NY and Paris.

I actually felt great and text Mum and Andy back home to tell them that I was going to ‘go for it’. I felt good and running around Paris was absolutely beautiful.

I saw the girls with the marathon sign and gave them big sweaty hugs 4 times throughout the whole race which was amazing. Great planning from them, I can imagine navigating that was more stressful than me running the race.

“will ya get…some scissors..”

The route was relatively flat and well supported (the title of this blog speaks for the many signs that said this). I just felt content and happy – I didn’t even end up putting my music on.

As I was running, I knew that my legs felt different. The hip pain wasn’t appearing and my running style seemed different – like it used to be before I ran all of the time. As if I had a new set of legs. I SWEAR it was the float spa and the epsom salts… To the point that I told someone about it who was running the Hamburg marathon a few weeks later – he went to the float spa and guess what…he smashed a PB on his marathon too. 🤷

I ended up finishing the marathon in 04:16:27 – almost 14mins faster than New York. Which is ridiculous really after all of the panic chat I gave everyone on the lead up… Sorry guys.


The aftermath and the birds

I was so worried about ruining the Paris trip by being exhausted from the marathon that I ate so much fruit on the way round the race, drank all of the water at every water station and wolfed down a slice of pizza and a full fat coke at the finish.

I needed to recuperate fast and get back out, or else I would just fall asleep.

Things were going far too well and I felt fantastic. That was until I lost a toenail.

I won’t go into too much detail but it was that bad, Steph couldn’t even come in the room.

Jemma sorted me out and bandaged my whole foot up and off I went in socks and sliders to an incredibly posh oyster bar.

IMG_1008high fashion

It was here that I decided I don’t want to do another marathon in the near future. There is nothing attractive about it. I had boob chafe from my sports bra, dreadlocks from sweaty hair and I was missing a toenail. It’s a no from me.

But the runners high whilst drinking champagne with my mates and wearing the medal was a great one, so it was worth it ❤️

The next few days were spent travelling around on Birds 🛴 (thank god for this scooter concept as my toenail issue wasn’t happy with walking at all). We were also really pleased that Steph was back on 2 wheels, 13 months after a bad bike accident. Good results all round.

We did some tourist stuff but no we didn’t burn down the Notre Dame as many people have asked. You could mainly find us in bars dotted about Paris or scooting around in bus lanes.

We had a great time and I was absolutely beaming to have completed my second marathon on another amazing trip.

IMG_1054

I haven’t signed up for another marathon as of yet, you will be pleased to know. But I did enter the ballot for London Marathon 2020. Being realistic though, it is highly unlikely  that I will get a place as I have tried twice already and a friend of mine has entered 10+ times. Impossible. I guess if I do get a place I will just have to hope that my toenail is back by that point…

I did run the Manchester Half marathon a couple of weeks ago though which had a little bit of a deeper meaning behind it, so I will be back to write about that soon..maybe after Love Island.

au revoir x

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