My first marathon – London Marathon 2016

It was as if a switch flipped inside me giving my legs super powers when I crossed that 20 mile marker.

I rapidly picked up my running pace and zipped past hundreds of slow runners and walkers – 912 in fact, my stats later revealed.

As I zig-zagged through them, I thought “only 6.2 miles left to go” and the more people I overtook, the more my confidence grew.

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25 miles into marathon

Thousands of spectators roared at every point of the side-lines.

The atmosphere was electric.

I felt incredible and my legs were as strong as the moment I’d first stepped over the start line.

Before I knew it I was running down Victoria Embankment, alongside the River Thames, and turned onto The Mall, leading up to Buckingham Palace.

Union Jack flags lined either side of The Mall and I felt truly honoured to be running through them, along a road usually reserved for the Queen.

I approached a sign saying ‘600 Yards to Finish’ and I looked at my watch, which read just short of 4 hours 58 minutes.

I’d struggled between miles 15 to 20 and lost time then, but seeing how much I’d made up since passing mile 20 made me think only one thing: “There’s no way I’m finishing after 5 hours!”

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At the finish line

I started sprinting.

Who knows where on earth I got the energy from but I was running flat out, past the 400 yard marker and through the finishing gates.

I looked at my watch: 4 hours 59 minutes. Yessssssss!

Grinning like a mad banshee, I took a quick selfie then walked over to the gate to receive my medal.

I bowed as a woman put the ribbon over my head, looked up and thanked her through the biggest smile I’ve ever worn and proudly walked off to find my friends, feeling like a champion.

The build up

London Marathon is the largest organised marathon in the UK and this year it was the biggest yet, with more than 39,000 people taking part.

Cheering spectators fill every space along all side-lines of the route, showing support to their family, friends and everyone else running.

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2016 saw the millionth finisher at London Marathon

People travel from far and wide to watch, residents watch from windows or balconies, and the whole thing is filmed and broadcast live on national television.

It’s a massive event and taking part in something like that has its own pressures, let alone the thought of running 26.2 miles.

When I arrived in London the reality of what I was about to do hit me.

I’d only run up to 16 miles in training and when I applied to take part, I’d placed myself in a fast group with a finishing time of 4 hours.

That was my original predicted finish time before shin splints knocked me back in training. I knew that finishing time was no longer possible.

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At the ExCeL

I was worried my start group would push me to run too fast and anxious about how I would manage the extra ten miles.

I barely slept a wink that first night and then I was up early to register at the ExCeL London, in the east of the city, on Saturday morning.

The journey to the ExCeL was nearly identical to the trip I’d make to the marathon’s start line the next day and I was surprised to learn it took nearly two hours to get there.

When my friend Beth and I walked into the hall and saw all the registration desks separated into groups of running numbers, I realised the scale of the event I was about to take part in.

Excitedly I waited in line, signed my name on an official registration form and was handed my race number and kit bag.

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Registration

There was a sports fair in the hall filled with stalls selling all the top running gear, charity representation and sports activities and competitions.

We watched a freerunning display, then moved onto another stage area and saw famous runners speaking about their experiences.

I even caught a glimpse of my favourite runner Paula Radcliffe as she offered advice on beating “The Wall”.

Then we spoke to people from Alzheimer Scotland who told me where to meet them after the race for a celebratory reception.

And with that it was time to go home and relax ahead of the big day (or in my case, stay up until midnight helping Beth make a cheering banner, applying kinesiology tape and laying out my clothes).

The race

On Sunday morning my alarm buzzed at 6am and I dragged my sleepy self out of bed and into the bathroom.

The modern myth of runners jumping up on race day is exactly that – a myth. Early is early.

An hour later Beth and I were out the house, having fuelled up with porridge and coffee, and were enroute to the biggest physical challenge I have ever undertaken.

I sipped a sports drink on the first of three train rides while feeling surprisingly calm.

Yes I was nervous but more than anything I felt excited, perhaps blissfully unaware of what lay before me.

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On our way to start line

The sun shone as we headed to the start line in Greenwich Park, where runners were saying their farewells to family and friends.

I said bye to Beth – who began to make her way to mile 11 to cheer – and entered a restricted area for participants.

And with only half an hour until the race started at 10am, I searched for my truck to put my kit bag on.

Trucks are separated into batches corresponding to runners’ numbers and driven to the finish line to be picked up after the race.

Then I looked for the toilets (portaloos). When I found them I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Queues of at least 100 people for each batch of three or four portaloos.

Suddenly a Tannoy went off, announcing 15 minutes to start and asking runners to make their way to their starting area.

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Heading to start line with Beth

In a fluster, needing the toilet and without having warmed up, I rushed off to my starting area and was swiftly ushered in.

There was little space to stretch there due to the amount of people, but I managed to squeeze in 3 or 4 minutes of dynamic (moving) stretches at the back before moving into place.

As I stood surrounded by lots of very fit looking people I began to feel butterflies in my stomach.

We counted down from ten, let out a cheer, then walked to the official start line and began running at 10.12am.

I ran with the group for about 5 minutes at what felt like an easy pace, before remembering advice not to start too fast because it would cause early burn out or injury later on in the race.

My watch was reading ten minute miles which is the pace I was doing in training but, aware I needed to run an additional ten miles on top of what I had done in training, I dropped my pace to 10.30 minute miles.

Now, having done it, I know I would’ve managed ten minute miles fine, but at the time I didn’t want to risk not finishing.

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Enroute to red start line

It took a conscious effort to run at a slower pace than usual. I was continuously checking my watch to make sure I was sticking to it.

Just before the one mile mark I saw portaloos with NO QUEUE and jumped into one – a move which was definitely worth it.

For the next couple of miles I settled into the slower pace and around the three mile mark we merged with other runners who had started at the green and blue start points (I was at the red start point).

With that I began to spot all sorts of elaborate costumes.

A rhino ran alongside me and on his other side was a dame in a hooped skirt and long-haired wig.

The “Official Dinosaur”, I think it was a T-Rex, approached on the other side of the road and a man with a washing machine strapped to his back.

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My hat running

I also passed elderly Adam and Eve in revealing skin coloured swimsuits, with strategically placed leaves, and countless superheroes.

There were loads of team costumes with people attached to each other.

I saw Thomas the Tank Engine, then two Native Americans in a traditional wooden boat, then four firefighters in a fire engine, which got a great reaction from spectators.

In fact, crowds were cheering for all the runners.

Every step of the way the streets were lined with people making a day of the event, enjoying a drink or a barbecue.

Many stood handing out sweeties or slices of orange to runners and kids held out their hands for passing high fives.

In a flash I’d already done more than ten miles and was preparing to look for my friends Beth and Andrew at mile 11.

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Mid marathon run

I glanced at my watch which read 1 hour 51 minutes and felt like I was making good time.

At mile 11 I saw a flag for Alzheimer’s Society (Alzheimer Scotland’s sister charity) and many people in their branded tops cheering and waving.

My eyes searched for my friends, but I couldn’t see them so I ran on feeling a little disappointed.

Andrew later said he was on the opposite side of the road and Beth was stood just before the charity’s flag.

Beth said  saw me and said she screamed and waved her cheering banner as I passed, only to feel a little foolish when I didn’t see her. Andrew missed me completely.

Continuing my journey, I passed live DJs and bands.

The most entertaining was an African drum band, which got runners whooping as they energetically beat their drums under a tunnel.

Traditional brass bands, rock bands, and reggie groups also appeared along the route.

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Approaching Tower Bridge

Then, without any prior notice, I turned a corner and was about to run over Tower Bridge.

The historic bridge has always been one of my favourite landmarks in London and when I looked at the route beforehand and realised I’d be running over it, I knew it was going to be a special moment.

Almost overwhelmed, I gasped when I saw it and quickly reached for my phone to take a couple of pictures.

As soon as I made it over the bridge I passed a halfway marker, 2 hours and 15 minutes after starting the race.

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Mid marathon at Tower Bridge

I couldn’t believe how quickly the first half had gone but I was starting to feel it in my legs.

The  way the route was designed I could see people on the other side of the street coming towards me.

I knew they were approaching the 20 mile mark and to think of how far away I was from getting onto the other side of the road was disheartening.

At that point I’d only had two energy gels and about half a bottle of water.

My plan was to take a gel every five miles so I fought on until mile 15 when I took another one.

I also picked up a bottle of water and carried it with me until it was finished, taking small sips as needed.

And for the first time in the race, I walked a little. It was only a few yards but it made my legs feel so much better.

For the next five miles I switched between fast walking and running, trying not to lose too much speed, but my head just wasn’t in it.

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Half way point

That section of the race, around Canary Wharf area, is a bit of a blur.

The main thing I remember thinking then was that I might not be able to run much further and feeling really down about it.

Luckily I’d brought extra gels and started taking them every three miles which helped a lot.

Then as soon as I hit the 20 mile mark, everything changed.

I got a second wind. My legs felt fresh – as if I’d just stepped out the door to start a short run.

I picked up the pace and was running much faster than I had at any other point in the race.

From that moment onwards things couldn’t have gone any better.

My earphones were just over the top of my ears so I could hear my music but I could also hear the thousands of spectators cheering.

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At the finish line with my medal

As I came out of a short tunnel I looked up at their bright, encouraging faces along both side-lines.

I overtook runner after runner, most of whom were walking by now and I felt stronger with every step.

Beth was at the 25 mile mark and later said she was expecting to give me a much needed cheer, but she nearly missed me as I zoomed past, in the process of overtaking.

It’s hard to describe how good I felt at that point – it was like no other run I’d done before.

I finished feeling stronger than ever and bobbed off to collect my bag as many others around me hobbled and moaned about “popped hamstrings” and “sore knees”.

To be honest I think I could’ve done it in a faster time if I’d ran at the pace I’d trained at and taken more gels earlier.

But I don’t regret a single decision I made during the race.

I ran over the finish line injury free, feeling strong, proud, happy and having thoroughly enjoyed my run – and to me, that’s what it’s all about.

The aftermath

As soon as I’d collected my belongings and passed through the restricted finishing area and into the public meet and greet area, I felt totally lost.

Thousands of people were squished into the space and I was glad I’d arranged to meet my friends at the charity’s reception, rather than relying on phoning as there was no signal.

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Celebratory reception

I looked for the Alzheimer’s Society flag and someone from the organisation walked me to the building where the reception was being held.

Once inside I met Andrew, Beth and many others who had run for Alzheimer Scotland or Alzheimer’s Society.

Chatting with them, hearing their stories and realising I was part of such a large fundraising team added another dimension of achievement to completing the marathon.

Having run the London Marathon for charity, I now can’t imagine why anyone would choose not to do it for charity.

I’ve raised £2,331 for Alzheimer Scotland and that total is set to rise when GiftAid is included. My gran would be so proud if she realised what I’d done.

Knowing my participation in the marathon will help many people affected by dementia is much more meaningful to me than having run a “fast” time for nothing other than personal records.

Yes it’s given me the running bug – already I’m looking for another marathon to sign up for – but more importantly, it’s made me want to do more for charity.

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After marathon with Beth and Andrew

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Alzheimer Scotland pic

I ran London Marathon 2016 to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland in aid of my gran who has dementia. You can still sponsor me. All donations, no matter the size, extremely welcome via my fundraising page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SheanneMulholland

xxx THANK YOU!! xxx

Final thoughts on week 16

“Are you ready?” people keep asking me over and over.

“As ready as I’ll ever be,” I reply.

It’s a response on autopilot, having been asked the question so often, but it couldn’t be more accurate.

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Marathon outfit

I’ve completed 16 weeks of endurance training on a marathon running plan.

During that period I’ve ran a total of 406 miles, as well as an additional 58 miles between signing up for the event and starting my training plan.

I’ve battled the elements by running through frost, snow, rain, wind (a storm in fact), darkness, midday sunlight and heat.

Not to mention the hills. Oh the hills! Dundee’s full of them.

The intensity of my training programme, together with my enthusiasm to progress quickly rather than build up the mileage gradually, led to injury early on in my training plan.

On week two I developed shin splints and spent the next seven weeks doing everything I could to try to get over it.

I rested, then cross trained with swimming and yoga, then returned to running (too soon) and fought back tears as I tried to run through the pain.

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Products

I had physiotherapy and acupuncture, invested in a number of muscle injury products and strapped my legs with kinesiology tape before running.

It was an emotional period. I seriously considered pulling out of the marathon as I didn’t think my leg would get better in time for race day.

But I wasn’t ready to give up and decided to focus my energies on fundraising for a while instead.

The main reason I’m doing the London Marathon is to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland in honour of my gran who has dementia.

Since diagnosis her illness seems to be rapidly taking hold of her. She’s confused all the time and struggles to follow a conversation.

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Fundraising

Nearly a year ago she moved into a care home but she still constantly asks when she can go home.

It’s heart-breaking having to repeatedly explain that the care home is her home now.

And to see her relive the pain of losing her own home every time, as if it’s the first time she’s heard it.

What’s worse is that she doesn’t feel safe or secure in the care home.

She forgets she’s moved things, such as chocolate biscuits or nighties, and thinks people are coming into her room to steal them.

On several occasions she’s started arguments with other residents accusing them of wearing her clothes.

To us it seems absurd because it’s just so illogical but to her it’s real – and very frightening.

All my family and I can do is be there for her and knowing she’s getting the help and support she needs at the care home is reassuring.

Seeing my gran struggle with dementia made me want to help others in her situation.

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Raising awareness

I set myself a target of raising £2,000 and at first I had no idea how I would achieve it.

By week nine of my training plan I’d asked everyone I know to sponsor me and raised around £700 which was a brilliant figure, but a long way off my target.

I’d previously considered organising a club night, although decided it was too much of a gamble in terms of making money.

Then I decided to host a pub quiz night and raffle, which turned out to be a great success.

Through that I raised £817 with much help and support from friends and local business people.

For two weeks I was so busy organising the quiz, sourcing raffle prizes, selling raffle tickets, and promoting the event, that training was placed on the backburner.

And when I returned, it was as if I had a new leg – my injury was completely healed.

Changing my focus to fundraising really lifted the pressure and gave my body and mind time to recover from my injury.

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Week 16

Over the next four weeks I cranked up the mileage, squeezing in many long runs of up to 16 miles, before starting to reduce the amount I was running (taper) last week.

It’s not as far as I should’ve gone if I’d managed to remain injury free but I’m damn proud of myself for making it that far given the setback I faced.

Donations continued to flood in and last week I managed to reach my target of £2,000 with more pledged on my sponsorship form to be collected after the event.

Now with just three days left until I take on the biggest physical challenge of my life, I’m feeling on top of the world knowing that the hard work is behind me.

I honestly can’t wait to go out there and give it my best shot, for my gran, so many others like her, and for myself too.

It’s been a fierce journey but I’ve made it through. All that’s left to do now is enjoy the experience.

I’m running London Marathon 2016 to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland in aid of my gran who has dementia. Please sponsor me. All donations, no matter the size, extremely welcome via my fundraising page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SheanneMulholland

xxx THANK YOU!! xxx

Running au naturel on week 15

At first I felt self-conscious and slightly anxious but it didn’t take long before I realised how freeing it was.

For the first time in years I was running au naturel.

I’d left all my gear at home – my watch, music, kinesiology tape, energy gels, water.

It was just me and the road, no timing, no pacing, I just ran.

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Pre-run stretching

Although it wasn’t exactly planned.

After my last run I’d forgotten to charge my watch and when I turned it on again it was flashing low battery.

When I’m training, my watch is the boss.

It tells me when to speed up or slow down and when to put more effort in depending on mileage.

But it was late and I didn’t have time to wait for it to charge, so I reluctantly decided to run without it.

I’ve read many articles preaching the benefits of a weekly run without gadgets, allowing your body to be driven by effort rather than pace.

“This is as good a time as any to try that,” I thought, and decided to leave everything at home.

Surprisingly it was one of the most enjoyable and stress-free runs I’ve had since starting my training.

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Week 15

I felt great and covered my usual ten mile route with ease.

When I got home I checked a stopwatch I’d left running (okay I’ll admit that might count as cheating as far as au naturel is concerned).

I did ten miles in 1 hour 41 minutes which is the same pace as my current marathon pace.

It must be drilled into my legs at the moment and realising that is a huge confidence boost.

Only one week to go until race day!

This is my first taper week. It feels strange to be running a reduced number of miles so close to the marathon but I know my body will appreciate being fully rested for the event.

Breakdown of week 15:

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Marathon training

Mon: 4 mile walk (to work and back), rest

Tue: 4 mile walk, 9 mile run (1 hour 35 minutes)

Wed: 4 mile walk, 1 hour yoga session

Thu: 10 mile run (1 hour 41 minutes)

Fri: 4 mile walk, rest

Sat: 1 hour 30 minute squash session

Sun: 9 mile run (1 hour 34 minutes)

Total: 16 miles walk, 28 miles run, 1 hour yoga, 1 hour 30 minute squash

I’m running London Marathon 2016 to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland in aid of my gran who has dementia. Please sponsor me. All donations, no matter the size, extremely welcome via my fundraising page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SheanneMulholland

xxx THANK YOU!! xxx

Peak long run on week 14

I probably looked like a maniac, grinning through gritted teeth – my face a mixture of pain and elation.

Knowing that every step I took was further than I had ever run in my life was an incredible feeling.

I was so proud of my wee legs and how far they’d carried me but they were aching, heavy and tired.

When I finally clicked the stop button on my watch at the 16 mile mark, I dropped my pace to a walk.

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Putting the miles in

I walked for about a quarter of a mile, letting my legs cool down, before stretching and thinking about how far I’d come.

Shin splints knocked me out of the game for weeks and I’ve not long returned to training because of that, and yet here I am ploughing through the miles as fit as ever.

It’s the most positive I’ve felt about my ability to complete the marathon since I signed up.

Not only was that the longest run I’ve done in training but it also marked the beginning of my taper – a period of reduced running in the lead up to race day.

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Week 14

Tapering allows the body to replenish glycogen supplies (essential for providing energy) which have been lost through prolonged excessive training.

It also allows muscles time to repair and rest, meaning that when race day comes I can give it my best shot rather than being tired.

I’m not sure I’ve done enough long runs to justify a proper taper but the frequency of my training has been intensive enough that I feel it would be beneficial.

I want to arrive in London feeling rested and ready to take the challenge of a marathon head on.

Now I know I can do 16 miles and still feel strong. What happens after that I’ll just have to wait and see.

I’ve got this far through sheer determination, nothing’s going to stop me completing it now.

Breakdown of week 14:

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Week 14

Mon: 4 mile walk (to work and back), rest

Tue: 4 mile walk, 10 mile run (1 hour 42 minutes)

Wed: 4 mile walk, 1 hour yoga session

Thu: 10 mile run (1 hour 44 minutes)

Fri: 4 mile walk, rest

Sat: 1 hour 30 minute squash session

Sun: 16 mile run (2 hours 51 minutes)

Total: 16 miles walk, 36 miles run, 1 hour yoga, 1 hour 30 minute squash

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16 mile run

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I’m running London Marathon 2016 to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland in aid of my gran who has dementia. Please sponsor me. All donations, no matter the size, extremely welcome via my fundraising page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SheanneMulholland

xxx THANK YOU!! xxx

Experimenting with gels on week 13

It was the strangest sensation when my stomach grumbled ten miles into a long run.

Was I really hungry? I’d eaten the same amount of food throughout the day as I usually would and I was pushing hard.

Hungry is the last thing I would expect to feel half way through a tough workout.

However, I had taken an energy gel at mile five and realised the grumbling feeling must’ve been my body asking for another gel.

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Marathon training

I didn’t have another one with me to top-up but I only had two miles left to run so I just ran through the feeling until I got home.

Now I know my body wants a gel roughly every five miles, which means I can work out how many to take with me on the marathon.

This week was all about experimenting with quantities and brands of energy products to discover what works best with my body.

The first gels I tried out – which are now my favourite – were made by Science In Sport.

They have a subtle flavour, very little sugar and their watery consistency makes them hydrating and easy to consume on the go.

I also liked Clif Shot Blocks – chewy jelly sweets about the size of Wine Gums which are loaded with caffeine.

To be honest I didn’t enjoy eating them, it was as if I was eating cubes of concentrated jelly.

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Energy gels

But I got great energy from them which lasted longer than the gels.

Later in the week I tried Torq gels.

They’re made mostly from fruits and other natural products but have a higher sugar content than the SIS gels.

I found the flavour a bit strong and they didn’t sit as nicely in my stomach as the SIS ones did but the energy provided from them was on a par.

And I tried Honey Stinger gels which contain the most amount of sugar (I’m trying to avoid taking too much sugar at the moment).

The Stingers tasted amazing and surprisingly I really liked the thick, honey-like consistency to eat but after a minute or so I had a little sicky burp.

My stomach felt heavy and I continued to have sicky burps for the next couple of miles.

It wasn’t enough to put my off my run that evening but it sure did put me off Honey Stinger gels.

Breakdown of week 13:

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Week 13

Mon: 4 mile walk (to work and back), 1 hour 30 minute yoga session

Tue: 4 mile walk, rest

Wed: 4 mile walk, 1 hour yoga session

Thu: 12 mile run (2 hours and 14 minutes) with 3 chews and 1 gel

Fri: rest

Sat: 1 hour and 30 minute squash session

Sun: Half marathon 13.1 mile run (2 hours 25 minutes) 2 gels

Total: 12 miles walking, 25.1 miles running, 2 hours 30 minutes yoga, and 1 hour 30 minutes squash

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Half marathon 13.1 miles

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I’m running London Marathon 2016 to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland in aid of my gran who has dementia. Please sponsor me. All donations, no matter the size, extremely welcome via my fundraising page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SheanneMulholland

xxx THANK YOU!! xxx

Food and fuel on week 12

Now my leg is healed, I’m starting to really look forward to running the marathon.

But there are still a few things I’m yet to practice ahead of race day.

One of them is proper fuelling, both on race day and in the days leading up to the event.

This month, everything I put into my body is going to have an impact on how I perform at the London Marathon.

It’s time to give up the sweeties and junk food and concentrate on eating more healthy foods, including carbohydrates for energy and protein for muscle growth.

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Pumpkin and sunflower seed bars

That’s not too big an ask as far as meals are concerned – on the whole I’m pretty healthy and eat mostly fish or chicken with veggies.

But I do love to snack, so I made up a batch of pumpkin and sunflower seed bars which I can have with my morning cuppa instead of a chocolate biscuit.

I’m impressed with how tasty they are. It almost makes the two burns I received when cooking them worthwhile.

The first time I made them a bit of boiling honey flew out of the pan and onto my thumb.

My automatic reaction was to lick it off rather than put my thumb under cold water, which left me with a nasty scab.

This time I burned my arm taking the tray out of the oven.

I think the recipe is jinxed because I cook and bake all the time and never burn myself, so anyone who wants to try making them – you’ve been warned.

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Week 12

Fuelling on race day is also extremely important.

My plan is to stock up with a sturdy breakfast of porridge and a banana before the race and then have one energy gel per hour during the race.

Energy gels are essential for replacing carbohydrates and other essential nutrients lost in the body through prolonged physical exertion.

I don’t take them when running less than half marathon distance (13.1 miles) but I know I’ll need them for the added mileage of a full marathon.

Digesting food at the same time as running can be a little confusing for the body so I’ve decided to introduce gels into my training gradually.

I had one for the first time ever during a 12 mile run on Sunday. I took it in small doses at mile five and it felt fine in my stomach.

I didn’t get a “hit” after taking it but I didn’t really need the energy at that point, it was more of an experiment to see how my body reacted to it.

Next week I’m going to try out different brands and see how I get on with them.

Breakdown of week 12:

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Marathon training

Mon: 4 mile walk (to work and back), rest

Tue: 4 mile walk, 10 mile run

Wed: 4 mile walk, 1 hour yoga session

Thu: 10 mile run

Fri: 4 mile walk, rest

Sat: 4 mile run

Sun: 12 mile run with 1 gel

Total: 16 miles walking, 36 miles running, 1 hour yoga

I’m running London Marathon 2016 to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland in aid of my gran who has dementia. Please sponsor me. All donations, no matter the size, extremely welcome via my fundraising page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SheanneMulholland

xxx THANK YOU!! xxx

Success of charity pub quiz night

You could’ve heard a pin drop during the first round of questions at the charity quiz night I organised in aid of Alzheimer Scotland.

No one dared talk in case a neighbouring team heard their answers. Instead they silently conferred with their own teammates through written word.

I’d sold a ton of raffle tickets to people as they arrived so I started to prepare the raffle at that point.

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Leftover raffle tickets

There were 59 people playing the quiz, making up 14 teams, and a further four people in the pub who weren’t playing but very kindly still donated to the cause.

The atmosphere started to lighten up after the first round and an interval, as the drinks flowed and people became more relaxed.

Some punters even began to heckle quizmaster Scott, who responded with quick-witted banter, and before long there was lots of fun and laughter.

The winning team bagged themselves a box of six bottles of wine and ten drinks tokens at the bar, courtesy of the venue, Clark’s on Lindsay Street, Dundee.

Then the teams in second, third, fourth and fifth place took to the stage to participate in a round of sudden death Kerplunk – a game made from a plastic tube with plastic straws sticking out of it and marbles balancing on the straws.

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Killer Kerplunk

Players were knocked out of the round if they pulled out a straw which released a marble. Last man standing won their team the runners up prize of ten drinks tokens at the bar.

There was also a bonus joke round where players were to guess the punch-line.

I had the idea of reading out the funny wrong answers and if the room laughed then that team could get a bonus point.

Quiz Details

Quiz poster

However I hadn’t anticipated such a serious crowd.

No one laughed at any of the wrong answers because they didn’t want any other teams to get a bonus point!

That round went down like a lead balloon.

The team who got all the punch-lines right and had the highest number of quiz points won a mystery prize – a box full of prank items, such as a whoopie cushion and a fake ice cube with a fly in it.

With that it was swiftly onto the raffle, for which I had gathered many great prizes courtesy of local businesses in Dundee.

And I also held a silent auction for the top prizes.

With hindsight I probably should’ve done an actual auction as I think it would’ve raised more money, but I’ve never held an auction before so it was a bit of an experiment.

Overall the event was a huge success and raised £817.32 for Alzheimer Scotland which will go a long way for the charity.

Alzheimer ScotlandIt also takes me incredibly close to reaching my target of £2,000.

Including sponsorship and online donations I’ve now raised £1,911.36 and with another four weeks to go until the event, I don’t anticipate any problems getting there.

I’m running London Marathon 2016 to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland in aid of my gran who has dementia. Please sponsor me. All donations, no matter the size, extremely welcome via my fundraising page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SheanneMulholland

xxx THANK YOU!! xxx

Buzzing from the runner’s high

Glistening in sweat, I grinned from ear to ear as I sang along loudly (and badly no doubt) to my current favourite tune.

I’d comfortably ran 7.5 miles and still had two miles to do until I was home – but I felt like I could run for another ten.

Suddenly both my arms swung out above my head in a fit of euphoria, as if I was an Olympic runner crossing the finish line first.

Riverside Drive-10

Runner’s high

I felt AMAZING.

I was experiencing the runner’s high and it’s been ages since I had it, so I was lapping up every minute of it.

The runner’s high is caused by a surge of endorphins in the brain, which act as a natural pain killer.

However they are only released when the body is in discomfort, rather that excruciating pain, so finding the balance can be tricky.

Too easy a run won’t produce enough discomfort to trigger a rush and the effort needed for too hard a run will outweigh the feel good factor of endorphins.

It’s been such a long time since I’ve had a comfortably challenging run because of my shin splints.

Endorphins can’t override injury pain, so to feel them confirmed I was well on the road to recovery – but it’s been a roller coaster ride getting there.

Riverside Drive-20

Marathon training

When I signed up for the London Marathon people warned me training would be tough. I just didn’t realise quite how emotional it would be.

Two weeks ago I was nearly crying mid-run and seriously considered pulling out of the marathon due to the unbearable pain in my leg.

And now I feel like I’m on top of the world and can’t stop smiling as I clock up the mileage with ease.

It took 1 hour and 43 minutes to do 9.5 miles, which is the best I’ve ran since getting my injury.

Not every run is as easy as my runner’s high one but I’ve had many more good ones than bad this week and I’m finally starting to believe in myself again.

Riverside Drive-14

Running on endorphins

I’m running London Marathon 2016 to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland in aid of my gran who has dementia. Please sponsor me. All donations, no matter the size, extremely welcome via my fundraising page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SheanneMulholland

xxx THANK YOU!! xxx

A new attitude on week 11

All I can do is give it my best shot – that’s what I’ve decided.

It’s only five weeks until the London Marathon and I’m so far behind my training plan – due to lost time with my injury – that I’ve stopped looking at it.

But I’m making a conscious effort not to stress out about it.

I’m training at the rate my body will allow me to and on race day I’m just going to do the best I can.

If that means I have to walk some of it, then that’s okay.

I’ll be happy as long as I can complete the whole 26.2 miles because that in itself is a big achievement.

Wormit-7

Running in Wormit, Fife

When I first signed up I was aiming to finish the marathon in less than four and a half hours.

I know I won’t get a time like that now so I’m going to forget about timings and just go with how my body feels.

More importantly – I’m going to enjoy it.

The pressure to get a good finishing time was only coming from myself and now that I’ve let go of that I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

I’m getting stronger and stronger each time I go running and my times are getting faster.

My injury’s nearly gone, thanks to acupuncture, but it’s more than that – it’s as if my mind has healed too.

I’m enjoying running again, which is one of the main reasons I signed up for the marathon.

The other reason was to raise £2,000 for Alzheimer Scotland, a charity which is close to my heart as my gran has dementia.

Wormit-13

Week 11

And meeting that target is much more important to me than getting a race time of under four and a half hours.

I have no doubt I will meet my fundraising target. I’m a determined soul and don’t give up easily.

Then I can relax and look at the marathon as a reward, knowing all the hard work is behind me.

Come race day, I’m going to make the most of every minute of it, no matter how I’m feeling.

And now I’ve decided that, I can’t wait to do it.

I’m running London Marathon 2016 to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland in aid of my gran who has dementia. Please sponsor me. All donations, no matter the size, extremely welcome via my fundraising page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SheanneMulholland

xxx THANK YOU!! xxx

Changing the focus on week ten

After the acupuncture session my leg took several days to settle and feel normal again.

The floppy sensation was apparently caused by the release of tension in the muscle.

It was a great pain relief but my leg didn’t feel strong enough to return to running, so I decided to turn my attention to fundraising.

I’m now half way towards reaching my target, having raised more than £1,000 for Alzheimer Scotland, and I’d like to take a moment to say a massive thank you to everyone who has donated. Alzheimer Scotland

The charity is one very close to my heart as my gran has dementia.

Her suffering with the illness is developing at far greater a speed than I ever imagined it would.

Seeing how it is affecting her has made me want to do all I can to help others in the same position.

I’m keen to raise as much money as possible but I’ve asked everyone I know to sponsor me for the marathon.

If I want to raise even more, then I need to start organising events.

The first thing that came to mind, after my attempt at organising a club night, was to host a pub quiz.

Everyone loves a quiz, well everyone except me – I am completely rubbish at quizzes but I am a good host so I knew it could work.

Quiz Details

Pub quiz poster

I approached a venue which is popular with my friends and work colleagues alike and the landlord at the pub, Scott, was more than happy to get involved.

After deciding on a date, I set to work organising prizes.

For this I approached local business and asked if they could donate anything as a prize.

And by that I mean literally going into each individual store/pub/centre/etc. and asking if they could donate anything.

This was much harder work than I had anticipated and took a lot of chasing up, but I’ve had a great response.

I’m touched by how many kind-hearted business people there are in Dundee who are happy to help charity in their local area.

Through their donations I now have a brilliant prize list for the event, most of which will go into a raffle and silent auction in aid of the charity.

Scott, who will act as quizmaster on the night, and myself together have created an new quiz with traditional question rounds, interactive rounds and a few additions.

It’s looking like it’s going to be a great night, I’m actually really excited about it.

Charity Pub Quiz Night, 7pm, March 22, Clark’s on Lindsay Street, Dundee.

Prizes donated by: Clark’s on Lindsay Street, Energie Gym, Ursula’s Beauty Salon, Arkive, David Lloyd, Apex Spa, Mecca Bingo, Dundee Rep Theatre, Frameworks, Natural Balance, Hummingbird Beauty, Beauty by Cheryl, Bank Bar, Run 4 It, The Health Store, Carnaby’s of Dundee, Brewdog, Cakes That Lan Did.

Prize list for tables

I’m running the London Marathon 2016 to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland in aid of my gran who has dementia. Please sponsor me. All donations, no matter how small, would be extremely welcome via my fundraising page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SheanneMulholland

xxx THANK YOU!! xxx