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Let the taper begin!

2 Apr

Let’s catch up!

I know I’m terrible at blogging at the moment. I worry that I’ll bore you all ha ha.

I’m officially in the tapering zone right now. Eating right and fuelling my body and mind for the 21st April.

The past few weeks have been filled with long runs and my last long run was on Easter morning. 20 miles. It took just under four hours. Feeling really happy with that time.

It’s really interesting how my body has reacted to these runs. I am finding the last one – two miles the hardest each time. But never unreachable goals. I think my body just knows that only 20 more mins or so and I’ll be at the end. It can see the finish line and it’s a bit of mind power to push to the end.

I think my hardest long run was my 15miler. I did it with my cousin the week after Paris. He is quite a lot faster than me and it felt like I pushed it quite hard for that run.

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Running 18 miles in the snow a couple of weeks ago was definitely challenging, mainly because I was trying to stay up right but this was the run that I feel helped me find my pace for Race day. 18 miles in 3hours 27mins. That’s what I like.

The last two miles up hill in to Highgate were something special. And not the good special, but ploughed through it and felt great afterwards.

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My final long run this weekend was of a similar pace. 20miles in 3hours 52mins. We took in a shortened version of the marathon route, doing a circuit of Canary Wharf and up in to the Mall. That took us to 17 miles; we finished with the final few miles along the Thames down to Tower Bridge.

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Man, the end of this run brought with it such relief! The taper has begun.

It’s now time to finish prepping and feeding my mind and body for the biggest physical challenge I have ever undertaken.

A lot of people keep telling me how casual I am about running all these miles. It’s not that I am being blasé, I just don’t think I have fully realised how far 26.2miles is, I’ve tried to comprehend how far I would get if I ran for 26miles outside of London, but it just doesn’t make sense. I was never good with distances at school.

I’ve finished with the fundraising part of the marathon a few weeks ago and having hit my target meant that for these last few weeks the focus on my running has been much less intense and with out worry. Thank you to everyone who donated and who continues to donate. You can add to my epic total here.

Weight wise, I have no idea how much I weight right now. My weight over the past month had gone up and down around the 15st mark. I am extra hungry and probably not making the best food choices after my long runs so therefore I am not seeing results on the scales and I don’t want to feel disheartened about this. So I agreed at the suggestion of the amazing Saz, my weightwatchers leader, that she would weigh me but not tell me the results. This has taken such pressure off let me tell you, but I do need to ensure I am eating correctly in order to be able to fuel my body properly.

And regardless of the scales, I am now pretty firmly into a size 14 clothes wise with a few size 12 dress choices. So I can’t complain.

I am starting to like what I see in the mirror and as a result I am finding myself taking more and more pics of me in my new purchases and sticking them up on instagram. I started to feel a bit narcissistic but then I remembered how I used to feel. Big and bloated and now I don’t. I’m so happy with my progress and I do want to show it off a bit. People keep telling me I need to look at how far I’ve come and I’m starting to believe that.

A friend of mine this morning asked me to post some “top tips”. I can’t really say I have many, apart from this. If you really want to become fitter and healthier and slimmer then you will do it. No matter how hard it gets.

You will eat better, you will train hard. You’ll set your goals and you’ll make sure you hit them because you’ll be so sick of how you currently feel that you’ll have no option but to change.

Seeing and feeling the changes. Feeling unstoppable is the most gratifying thing.

I’m currently reading A Life Without Limits by Chrissie Wellington, as suggested by one of my blog readers the other month. Sitting on the tube reading this book has reduced me to tears thinking about all the things I can push myself to do. I suggest anyone who has goals, reads this book. You just don’t know until you try.

I’ve recently been wondering how I will feel after the Marathon. Will I want to continue running marathons? I do know I want to really push my body to see what it is really capable of. I also know I want to see how many miles I can run in one day. I’m not talking about racing, but if I was to take a long leisurely run with gels and water etc. how far could I really go?

We’ll see aye!

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Throwback Thursday

7 Mar

There is a trend in social networking site “Instagram” where by people post old pictures of themselves and hash tag them #TBT or #throwbackthursday.

Thought I’d do a little throwback Thursday here.

Enjoy 🙂

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And back to today….

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Halfway point!

26 Feb

Well, it’s been a while. I had a little blogging break. Had a bit of brain freeze and wasn’t really sure what to put in this space.

First things first, I want to say thank you to everyone who commented and emailed me and checked up on my after my last blog post. It really means a lot too me.

I want you to all know that I’m fine. That post was exactly what this blog is about, me getting my thoughts, fears, happiness, anxiety and realisations out to you all.

My journey is long and hard, it’s about health, weight loss, running and most importantly, succeeding.

Over the past few weeks since my last post I’ve achieved a lot! My fundraising is going epically well. But that’s a separate post for you all.

On Saturday 3rd February, I actually ran half marathon distance. Say whaaaat?

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A small group of us headed out from Blackheath, across the Thames to East London up to Tower Bridge and back down the other side. It was meant to be 12 miles but by the end we just thought, “what the hey” and carried on.

2hours and 26mins later I had done it.

Now, no matter what, I know I can take on Paris and win! There is no doubt.

My times are getting faster. On the 12th February I ran my fastest mile. 9mins 40seconds.
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I honestly couldn’t see myself running under 10min miles. But that night two of my miles were under 10mins and the rest (bar one) were all faster than any previous run.

I cried when I got back to the RDC HQ. it was a tough week. I had fallen out with a friend, I was feeling unwell and that run broke the emotional barrier for me.

Sometimes things happen which make you ask “what’s the point?” I didn’t want to run that night, but I knew it would do me good. And Good it did.

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I haven’t run since then. The little head cold turned into a full blown viral infection. Anti-biotics for an ear, throat and sinus infection. I barely got out of bed for 5 days, the following 7 days after that I had such a sticky cough that walking up stairs killed me.

I had to reach in to my faith pocket that I’d be well this week before Paris and after a successful 4hour Zumba marathon, I can say I feel I’m back on form.

I really missed running but I knew I had to have this week of rest or I just wouldn’t feel healthy.

So here we are at the halfway point of my marathon journey and I feel right on track!

So now me and the mister in are in super excited “Paris here we come” mode. I keep googling the area and looking at the Paris Semi website to see what we need to do, where we pick up our bibs.

Medical certificate signed off (legitly) I am on my way folks!!

Update of the race on Monday or Tuesday next week, pics and all!

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A mild strain…

24 Jan

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This blog is a bit of a moan. I guess. I’ll start my saying I am so grateful and happy to be doing these races. I’m lucky to have my marathon place and appreciate the love everyone has shown me.

The training is going well. I need to work harder to ensure I am getting in the weekly long run but overall I am doing fine J.

What I didn’t anticipate is the strain it would have on my body and social life.

I am someone who really suffers when my mind and body is under stress. I get run down, glandular and can get quite ill. I take medicine for it when it crops up. But over the past few weeks its been cropping up a lot.
I wake up feeling fluish and groggy and it goes from there. Pushing through it isn’t really an option. Taking anti inflammatory medicine and rest is how to combat it. But I can’t really rest. I’m on such a tight schedule that taking 3 -4 days out to recover ain’t an option.

Woken up this morning with a very sore throat and blocked nose. Bringing out the herbal teas lol. This, I can feel is just a cold and it’s not going to stop me!! Not at all but for the other symptoms I need to sort it out. Trip to the doctors I think.

I do wonder how those of you who are seasoned in training for the bigger races cope though. What happens when you’re stuck down by a nasty cold or a sticky eye?

I’ve got a sweat rash behind my ear and on my cheek. So itchy and sore.

I’ve got a flare up of eczema behind my knees!! Are these all common runners ailments?

I need to buy a knee support as I’m finding when I’m not running my knee is quite sore. It gets a pain through it when I bend it or sometimes take stairs. Recommendations on good knee support?

So my body is taking a battering but so is my social life. My training plan means that along side weightwatchers My only free weekday evenings are Thursdays and Fridays. Thursdays I see Chris and come Friday I’m so tired I just want to sleep.
Everything is scheduled around running. Making sure I don’t make any Saturday plans until late in the day in order to complete my long run and Sunday’s its game over as I try to do some real rest and get my washing done.

I knew there would be a sacrifice but its tougher than I thought. I had my first booze craving on Tuesday night. Having a good catch up with my housemate who I hadn’t seen properly in over a week and could have really done with a nice, cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc. *sigh* This is the journey I chose.

It’s not all bad though. I am improving and seeing these improvements. Mondays RDC West session was epic. We ran about 9km in circuits around an icy Paddington Rec. I ran with people who pushed me and supported me and I could see I was faster. I think my average pace is about 6 and a half minute km. It used to be 6.50

I will admit I have been scared to test myself in a faster paced group for fear of failure, but when I realised I wasn’t even breaking a sweat in slow hares, I knew it was time to pick it up. Come out of the comfort zone and start to make it count. So at RDC on Tuesday, I led fast hares and ran our fastest km in 5mins 57seconds. Running with fast hares did challenge me but not as much as I expected, but it was a work out. And I felt it after. The group were great and everyone supported each other. We ran just over 8km and we ran it strong.

I always feel so proud to lead the groups as everyone pushes for their best, we work together so well as part of a team and the conversations you have with others constantly lift you. It’s the best feeling! I’m going to work hard over the coming weeks and my goal is to be in greyhounds by the time VLM comes around. Yes!

The strain on my tear ducts has also been intense. I never dreamt that the amount of running I’m doing and the reasons for doing it would cause such an emotional upheaval in me.
I have a good run, I cry.
Someone sponsors me, I cry.
Someone says something nice to me, I cry.

Most of the days I am on the verge of tears. Always happy tears mind you. It must be the enormity of what I will achieve, for myself, for the charity. Perhaps I underestimated how much this really means to me. I’m welling up now as I think about it.

I need to put a lid on it but I don’t know how. So if you see me crying don’t be alarmed just know that I’m in a very emotional place and I’m extremely happy.

Weight wise, my birthday celebrations went well. I put on half a lb last week after all the cake but knocked it off again this week. So back to 15st on the button.

Let’s hope come Wednesday I’ll be under. That would be superb!

I bought my first pair of size 14 jeans. the last time I wore a size 14 in trousers was least 2007. Probably before. So this is a big thing for me. Go team.

Now I’m going to plug my event.

It’s the 2nd of February at Rocket Bar and Restaurant in Canary Wharf.

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7pm. £10entry. Cocktail making and fun times.

Plus an excellent raffle!

Please come and support or you can also sponsor me online via: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Leeleegraham

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Oh this is my friend Krystal who has been running with me a lunch times. She is amazing! More about her another time!

Happy Birthday to me!

9 Jan

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It’s my Birthday tomorrow. In fact by the time most of you read this it will be my birthday today. Happy birthday me.

I’m turning 28. I’m a proper adult.

I go to work, I pay my bills on time. I go to bed when I’m tired and mostly get up when I have to.

It’s not too shabby.

I also make crazy decisions like running a half marathon and a full marathon within weeks of each other.

The training has fully begun and with some minor adjustments I am doing the following training plan.

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I’ve adjusted to make allowances for Run dem crew on Mondays and Tuesdays and the fact that a friend of mine has recently begun running. She is making such amazing improvements and is so much fun to run with that I can’t give up those lunchtime runs.

I’m making sure I get enough active and total rest.

So far so good….. Apart from the massive panic I had on Monday.

Run a marathon they said. It will be fun they said.

What if I can’t run the marathon? What if I faaaaaaail!

Then I went for a run and felt better. Funny that. Haha bonk.

I’m training well and I’ll run well and there is no way my family, friends and crew will not let me finish that marathon. So I’m cool now 🙂

I got me a marathon mentor. In fact I have many mentors all around me. So many kind offers and advice from seasoned pro’s. I’m lucky.

But I got me a mentor who ran his first marathon for London last year. And his experience is going to show me I can do this.

The Sue and Papa G clubbed together to get me a voucher for runners need. Two new pairs of runners, here I come! Thanks family!

No only do I have to train for this marathon, I have to fundraise for this marathon.

I need to raise £2,000 for my chosen charity, The London Community foundation. And it ain’t gonna be easy. But once again my support network is coming through for me in more ways than I could imagine.

I’m also organising a series of fundraising events.

The first of which is on 2nd February.

An evening of cocktails and fun.

All my UK readers are welcome and it costs £10 to come in.

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I’m also going to be holding a zumbathon, maybe two. Details to follow.

If you would like to donate any prizes to my raffle, please get in touch. Any offers gratefully received.

Sooo, today is the 1st anniversary of my Weightwatchers meeting.

To celebrate, I lost 3.5lbs and finally! Finally can say I weigh 15st exactly. So thats exactly 3stone i’ve lost in my meetings. biggest thanks ever to my Weightwatchers leader, Saz Back and all my supportive friends at the meeting.

Omg! I’m going to be under 15stone!

What? Naaaaaah. Over 18stone and now I’m going to be under 15. Totes amaze mate, totes amaze.

So, in summary.

Happy birthday me!

Sponsor me

Come to my event

Please!

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Leeleegraham

Bye Bye 2012, Hello 2013.

2 Jan

Wow. What a difference a year can make.

2nd of January 2012 I was upset and fed up. I felt angry and disappointed that I had allowed myself to become so unhealthy and fat. I was 18stone 3lbs.

I’d just spent almost two weeks eating and drinking myself in to a state of pure glutton.

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I decided to take action… I joined weightwatchers, I took up running and I set goals.

It’s been really, really hard. I’ve cried, I’ve had temper tantrums, I’ve been lazy, I’ve put on weight and I’ve eaten more pizza than I should have.

I’ve also laughed, bought clothes 4 sizes smaller than the size 20 trousers I was wearing a year ago, I’ve run 10k races, I’ve run over 10miles in one sitting, can feel bones that have been hidden for years. I’ve challenged myself and I have won!!!

People have not recognised me. People have been stunned my the change in me, not only have I lost weight and gained health, I’m so much more happier with life.

This New Year’s Eve, people who last saw me a year ago at my biggest stopped me and told me what an amazing change. I lost count of the people who looked totally shocked when they saw me. Is that the same girl? Yes darling, it’s me. People actually stopped me to say “wow”. My ego has been well and truly stroked, but it has also shown me that I can not go back to that again. I don’t want to be the “big girl” any more.

It’s very strange though. My face has changed a lot. There are times when I don’t recognise myself in the mirror. It’s still my face but the puffy roundness has gone. My cheeks and jaw line seem to have changed slightly. Maybe that’s my imagination.

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I couldn’t have done this with out the masses of support I have received from my friends, family and those reading this, my tweets and supporting me.
I want to shout out so many names but I’ll be here all day, so I’ll do those who with out a single shadow of a doubt I would, no scrap that, COULD not have done this with out.

Chris, Charlene A, Rochelle, Saz, The Sue, Papa G, C-Hoolz, Angel, Jane, Sabrina and so many more.

A big thank you to all of you who have shared the past year with me.

So, what now…?

· I keep going. Marathon/Half marathon training is in full effect. I have my plan and it’s time to get serious. I want to finish the marathon in under 5 hours. Erm, actually, I just want to finish it haha.

· I want to be the fittest I’ve ever been

· I want to hit my goal weight.

Tonight was my first weigh in of the year.
At my last weigh in I was 15st 3.5lbs.

Over Christmas I decided that I would allow myself from the 22nd to the 26th to eat what I wanted. With out being a total pig but to not stress about what was going in my mouth and to enjoy it.

I weighed on the 26th and was at 15stone 6lbs. Not the end of the world.
Where I am now is my new starting point for the year.

This is day one!

And on the 2nd of January 2013, I weigh back at 15stone 3.5lbs

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So let’s go, I’ve just finished one amazing year, I cant wait to get started on the second.

Thank you so much to all of you who have read my blog, who have commented, who have inspired me and have never let me give up. It’s amazing to have you by my side going forward…

Merry Christmas! Yay

24 Dec

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My plan is to full enjoy the next two days. I won’t be going mad but I will be enjoying myself and so should all of you.

See you in a couple of days for my review of the year.

Xxxx

The Run Dem Crew Gunfinger 10k

16 Dec

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I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I seem to be freely giving up my time to run.

Something’s changed inside. I hope it lasts because I’m going to need this to pull me through marathon training, but currently I’m actually enjoying giving up my time to run.

I’ve gone from want to sleep all day on a Saturday and Sunday to having my alarm set at 7am to be ready to run nice and early. Wonders never cease.

My most recent early rising was the the first official, unofficial run dem crew 10k.

A point to point race covering 6ish miles across the city of Landan town.

Ensuring I did as I said I would and actually turned up, I arranged to meet a fellow RDC west friend before the race and we said we would run together. Motivation and all that. Which led me to being at Old street at 9am on a Saturday morning.

The start point was Shutter bug, just off Rivington Place in shoreditch.

Even though this was a race I decided that thinking of it as a race would put a lot of pressure on me so I approached it like a normal Monday or Tuesday run, I was going to have fun.

I was aware that I was likely to be one of the last in. So a small group of us got together and hit the start line.

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The starting horn/whistle/I dunno went off and we were off.

The whole group started very fast.

One thing I’ve learnt recently is that if I start too fast then I’m doomed. So I tried to slow it down a little but it wasn’t happening. No time to moan though, just run init.

We hit check point after check point. Macdonalds Liverpool street, the millennium bridge, Waterloo skate park, Fabric night club, look mum no hands – a bike shop, and finally a sculpture called the button near shoreditch.

Knowing we were the last group to hit the check points we stopped and grabbed a picture at every point. Why not ay?

It was tiring. I was running faster than usual for this distance but I could do it, nothing hurt, or ached I was just out of breath. Keep it going Leeanne.

I had a slight guilt that I was slowing my group up but that went very quickly, they weren’t miles ahead of me at anytime, we were all running the same pace and I had constant support and encouragement for Lyric L and Ash. Thanks ladies.

After we reached the Button it was a sprintable distance to the finish line.

Lets push it we all said. My energy reserves were low but I pushed, I saw them zooming off ahead of me. I “sprinted” as fast as I could but man it was hard. As I came upon Rivington Place it seemed to be snowing. That was a but surreal.

I turned the corner and heard cheers! I was last but there, before the finish line was Lyric L waiting for me. She ran with me across the finish line. What a friend. I’ll never forget that.

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Last in, but first place in my head.

We did 5.91miles in 1hour, so faster than I’ve done before. Happy leelee.

The atmosphere after was of such triumph. I did have a little cry when no one could see.

Not only that, as I keep on finding out, it’s not how fast you go, but how you cross the finish line. I crossed with gunfingers blazing.

I finished the morning with a fantastic crepe and peppermint tea care of Shutterbug. Do pop in if you’re in the area. It’s right by Cargo.

And I got a medal. I win! Haha

Thank you Charlie Dark and the Run Dem Crew. Keep on pushing me!

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Imagine that!

14 Dec

Imagine this.

I’m sitting having lunch with my mummy. A rare treat especially as she paid for me and we’re having general chitchat and I say to mother how I am focused on my half marathon training and a bit over not getting in to the London Marathon.

LIES

Later that day I get an email telling me there are charity places for a fantastic organisation called the London Community Foundation. Who, amongst many other things, support charities and local initiatives arranging funding for charities, community groups and social enterprises of often miss out due to their size or resources.

They were offering 50 spaces to run for them in the Virgin London Marathon, on a first come, first served basis. I went in to overdrive. I wanted in!! and in I got.

I fired off my email and got such a speedy response. This was meant to be.

Long story short. I’m in! I will be running the Virgin London Marathon 2013.

I have to raise £2000. That in itself will be a challenge but like I said on the little application form I completed. I have no qualms making my self look silly to raise this money. Once my fundraising pages are set up. I’ll be circulating and promoting.

We all know charities and organisations in our communities which need our help and LCF do this, so please support when the time comes.

Oh yeah, I also lost 1.5lbs this week taking me back to 15stone 2.5lbs. one more meeting before xmas. Please let me drop this 2.5lbs!!! Pleeeeease!

December

8 Dec

Yo!

Here we are in December, almost a year since I restarted my weightloss journey.

I’m not going into all the amazing achievements I’ve had this year. That’ll be a new year blog post.

Today’s post is a quick update really and some pics haha yay.

After my terrible run a couple of weeks ago I feel I’ve come back even bigger and better.

I’m seeing my running improvements every single time I hit the road.

Running at work at lunch time I’ve found myself doing over 3miles each time and in less than the 3mins I give myself to get it done.

I’ve gone from feeling like I’m a 11/12min mile girl to pulling in the miles in under 10mins.

This, coupled with feeling like I’m not really pushing myself hard enough on my Monday and Tuesday runs has led me to decide to go up a group on Tuesdays. So as of this Tuesday I’m going to try the Fast Hares group. Push push push.

For the Monday runs defo time to try and push up the pace too but as we don’t tend to run in defined groups it will be about me pushing to keep up with those ahead of me.

This morning I pushed. I’ve never ever run further than 10k. Even though I know I can go further, I never do. Well this week I thought “no more” no more will I feel fear as I reach that 10k mark. I won’t stop. I’ll keep going.

So I planned to wake up early and do my home to London bridge run, this time with a difference. I’m gonna run back!!!! Whaaaaat? That’s right, run back again.

I really wanted someone to run with because I didn’t trust myself to actually run back. But alas people have lives and I don’t have a pack of people who are at my beck and call. So I set of a 9.30am on the dot and hit the roads.

My plan was to not tire myself out and to take it nice and slow. Harder than you think. I’ve gotten used to starting at a certain pace so going slower was really hard.

One shop stop for some skittles, loo break and a quick run by the river I reach the big L Bridge.

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Self taken shot at the big boat and then I was off on my way back again. I did have a quick thought of “lemme just jump on the train back”. But since I’d told the whole of twitter I was doing this run I couldn’t let my people down. I actually picked up the pace slightly. I wasn’t tired at all. But for me this was all about getting it in.

The run to L.Bridge wasn’t hard and neither was the journey back but by the time I got to deptford I was really feeling it. I didn’t walk any of the journey but took a little pitstop and when I started again my legs felt sooooo heavy. But knowing I was so close to home, onwards I went. I had no choice, no direct bus to home meant I had to move anyway.

I made it back into lewisham. 10.81miles, 2hours2mins later and the run was done.

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I can do it. I can put in serious distance.

I’m a winner! Whoop.

I had energy left so I’m sure that I can do the full half marathon distance.

Roll on March.

There is this 80milemonth challenge going on at the moment. Created over at the spikes and heels blog (found here). The idea is that you clock up 80running miles over the month of December. Sounds impossible right? I’m giving it a go anyway.

I’ve clocked up 20miles since the beginning of the month.

It will be a great way to keep me on track during the festive period, since I’ve already started on the quality streets at work.

I put on 1.5lbs this week. Back up to 15st4lbs. Oops.
I expected it to be honest, but it would be nice to be under 15st by the new year so no time to slack really.

Here are some funny pics.

See ya later 🙂

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