The London Marathon, 23rd April 2017!

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A minute after completing my first ever Marathon…

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 On Sunday, 23rd April I completed the London Marathon!

It’s been two weeks since I run the London Marathon and in the meantime I also completed a ‘marathon’ of exams during the first week of May. This post is my Marathon Update from the days leading to the marathon and the actual Marathon day. I would like to thank once again everyone that sponsored me and Spinal Research UK. Your warm wishes were in my mind during the toughest parts of the race and kept me going! For those of you that still wish to donate, you can find my fundraising page here.

The lead up to the Marathon Days 

Trying to carb-load the 3 days prior to the race was quite fun to start off with but turned out to be a bit challenging as I still had to study for my upcoming exams and a pasta food comma was not fit for studying…It somehow though, all worked out in the end. 

I picked up my bib on the Friday from the London Marathon expo. The expo was fairly quiet thankfully as I made sure to get there first thing in the morning. A great experience and atmosphere that made me even more excited about running the marathon! The expo had a lot of product stands and also had activities where you could win money for your chosen charity. I was very pleased that I managed to strike for Spinal Research! I left the expo with a goodie bag of several products (that I munched on the next few days…). 

The night prior to the marathon I made sure to get a good night’s rest. As most of you will know by now, I decided to run the London Marathon back in October to support Spinal Research UK. I thankfully had my amazing friend, Alice give me a rigorous training plan and I managed to run 8 long runs (>21km) prior to running the marathon. This set me in a very good mental position to run the distance without worrying whether or not I would cross the finish line but rather to enjoy it! I am not sure if it was my preparation that kept me calm or the idea that the marathon would be a fairly easy task compared to my upcoming ‘marathon’ of exams…

The Marathon Day

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Pre-race face

I headed to the starting line by 9:20 am and started the race about an hour later. It was great to chat to fellow runners and hear their reasons why they were running the marathon. There were runners in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. It was an incredible feeling running alongside so many runners and along the way it somehow felt like a big running party! 

Running alongside over 40,000 runners it meant we started off the first few miles not having enough space to run and although this improved as we went along, in many parts, the roads were too narrow to accommodate the number of runners. This meant that when some of the runners stopped and walked instead of running there was no space to overpass them and keep a steady pace. Despite this, my marathon data analysis showed that by 35km I had passed 10,282 runners

The crowd along the way was an incredible motivator and there were numerous sites to get hold of water and Lucozade while people were offering jelly babies and orange slices!

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I was lucky to have family and friends cheering me along the way and although I didn’t manage to see them all in the crowd, I knew they were there for me and that kept me going! 

My finish time was 04:20:23! 

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Overall this was a great experience, I challenged myself though training for and running the actual race but most importantly I was able to raise awareness and money for Spinal Research, UK! With only two weeks left to meet my fundraising goal (23rd May), I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all once again for your support, it really means a lot to me! 

The question everyone asked after I completed the race was if I will be running the London Marathon next year? Well if you asked me two weeks ago, I would have probably said no, no time for marathon training on my final year of university… 

 

…But just as I said I would not be running the London Marathon next year (or any other marathon on my final year of university) my brother convinced me to enter the Ballot…So come October 2017, I will have to inform you on whether next year I will be taking up this challenge for the second time!

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Continue reading “The London Marathon, 23rd April 2017!”

10 Days to the London Marathon!

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RUNNING THE LONDON MARATHON IN SUPPORT OF 

SPINAL RESEARCH UK

PLEASE SPONSOR ME via Elisabeth’s Virgin Donation Page!

Day 1. Study day

Day 2. Study day

Day 3. Study day

Day 4. Run 9 km

Day 5. Study day

Day 6. Run 25 km

Day 7. Study day

Day 8. Stretch Day

Day 9. Run 10 km

Day 10. Study Day

 

My last long run prior to the London Marathon

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I decided to complete my last long run prior to the marathon running past some of my favourite parks in London. It was a beautiful warm day and it felt appropriate after spending a morning in the library studying to escape. I started my run from Guy’s Campus, headed to Westminster. St James was Park n-1, Park n-2 was Green Park, n-3 Hyde Park, n-4 Holland Park and finally beautiful Battersea Park. Truly one of the most enjoyable runs to date, and on a gentle pace of 6:30 mins/km was able to enjoy the views!

In this hectic lead up to the marathon and exams I only managed to fit two more runs. My run yesterday was one of my fastest 10km runs (5:16 min/km pace). Having to write these updates has pushed me to train and while I train, stretch, train and stretch I have in my mind all the beautiful wishes I have been reading on virgin donation page! I couldn’t thank you all enough! 

This week I would like to express a special thanks to Annemarie and family, Zaelias, Lucinda, The Abbotts x3, Jaime Schwartz and Malgo for their warm wishes and generous donation!

I would like to say a special thank you to my mummy Lena, bro, Carol 2, Abbey, Alice, Michelle, Josh, Rachel Victoria, Costis, Lawrence Mascarenhas, Louisa, Alice, Zoe, Nap and Eleni, Rachel Wevill, Sheila, The Kabitsis, Andreas, Andrew Gee, Ben, Hassan, Beatrice, Irene, Bob and Colette, Odette, Polly, Esther, Ed and Katerina, Dr ‘Clever’,Eirini , Freya, Masha, Michael and Teresita and Takis, Vangelis, my dad- John for their donations!

If you wish to sponsor me please visit Elisabeth’s Virgin Donation Page!

All donations will be greatly appreciated and will contribute to the development of the research on spinal injuries.

screen-shot-2017-01-12-at-19-22-12I am hoping to complete the marathon in 4h30m! I know this training will be really hard for me and I need your help! To keep me accountable, I plan to post an update of my training every 10 days, so stay tuned for the next post on 50 Days till the London Marathon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “10 Days to the London Marathon!”

30 Days to the London Marathon!

Sadly, I start this marathon update on a different tone. I was at Waterloo campus when I received a message saying there had been an incident at Westminster, my BBC app flashed up with Breaking News and seconds later I heard ambulance sirens and the helicopters over Southwark…I was about to hand in an assignment, walk home and head out on a run.

In my weekday runs I usually run past Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, Westminster Bridge and turn around at Lambeth Bridge. I didn’t go on a run yesterday. But   today I will go on a run and my training for the Marathon will continue as planned…We are not afraid. 

My thoughts are with everyone who was affected by the Westminster attack.

Elisabeth

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ONLY A MONTH AWAY!!!

RUNNING THE LONDON MARATHON IN SUPPORT OF 

SPINAL RESEARCH UK

PLEASE SPONSOR ME via Elisabeth’s Virgin Donation Page!

Day 1. Rest Day

Day 2. 5 km  10 km

Day 3. Rest Day

Day 4. 13 km

Day 5. Rest Day  32 km

Day 6. 32 km  Rest Day

Day 7. 5km

Day 8. Stretch Day

Day 9. 13km

Day 10. Rest Day 13km

Continue reading “30 Days to the London Marathon!”

The relationship between the immune response in pregnancy, birth outcome and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)

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Toni Spence completed the Summer Studentship at the Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health, Ulster University under the supervision of Dr Emeir McSorley, Dr Alison Yeates and Dr Maria Mulhern

Project Title: The relationship between the immune response in pregnancy, birth outcome and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA).

About the Project:

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The aims of my project were to investigate the relationship between markers of immune function and birth outcome and to assess the influence of maternal polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) status on this relationship. The study found no relationship between the maternal immune response at 28 weeks gestation and birth anthropometrics irrespective of maternal PUFA status.

What was the best aspect of your summer studentship experience?

I thoroughly enjoyed the lab work involved in my project as I gained experience in using Mesoscale Discovery (MSD) multiplex ELISA equipment and software.

What was the most challenging part of your studentship?

The most challenging aspect of my project was the statistical analysis of the results. I had little experience using statistical analysis software for a large dataset prior to the studentship.

What’s the one thing you learnt that is transferable to future work you might do?

I learnt how important good attention to detail is when working in research. For example, record keeping, data entry and analysis.

Tip for anyone who is interested in applying for the NS – SS or a similar fellowship:

Be enthusiastic, it’s a great opportunity to learn new skills.

Would you be interested to do more research in the future and if so what topic(s) would interest you?

I hope to pursue a career in biomedical/nutrition research.

Continue reading “The relationship between the immune response in pregnancy, birth outcome and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)”

Interactions between TCF7L2 and MC4R gene variants with dietary factors on Type 2 Diabetes-related factors in the British population

16839641_10155070326003824_1091244081_nCindy Bei completed the Summer Studentship at the University of Reading under the supervision of Dr Vimal Karani

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Project Title: Interactions between TCF7L2 and MC4R gene variants with dietary factors on Type 2 Diabetes-related factors in the British population.

About the project:

Statistical analysis on a study cohort to investigate the interaction between TCF7L2 gene variants [aka: single nucleotide polymorphisms] (rs12255372 and rs7903146) and MC4R gene variant (rs17782313) and dietary factors on Type 2 Diabetes related factors, in the British population.

What was the best aspect of your Summer studentship experience?

Being able to create my own work plan towards the project and getting the chance to experience what research is like.

What was the most challenging part of your studentship?

Overall my project wasn’t particularly challenging, but having to learn all of the basic and advanced knowledge so quickly in a short amount of time was hard.

What’s the one thing you learnt that is transferable to future work you might do?

Creating and delivering a presentation to professionals and non-professionals was an experience, especially translating complex science into simple lay-man’s terms.

Tips for anyone who is interested in applying for the NS – SS or a similar fellowship:

Use this opportunity to learn and experience as much as you can. 8 weeks (or however long other fellowships may be) isn’t that long, but it is long enough to learn some excellent skills that would be useful in future work: in industry, academia or charities. What you learn depends on what you want to learn.

Would you be interested to do more research in the future and if so what topic(s) would interest you?

I’m definitely going into research. As for the topic, I’m especially interested in the gut microbiota-brain axis, especially seeing the influence of diet on the gut microflora and subsequently, mental illnesses like depression or anxiety.

Continue reading “Interactions between TCF7L2 and MC4R gene variants with dietary factors on Type 2 Diabetes-related factors in the British population”

Glycaemic response and satiety after consumption of gluten-free bread containing buckwheat

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Hanna Walsh completed the Summer Studentship at Oxford Brookes University under the supervision of Dr P. Sangeetha Thondre. You can find Hannah on Twitter

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Project Title: Glycaemic response and satiety after consumption of gluten-free bread containing buckwheat.

About the project:

My project was about looking at the effects of a gluten-free product with buckwheat on glycaemic response and satiety. Buckwheat is naturally gluten-free and has high levels of fibre, protein and minerals which we are hoping could be used to create healthier product options for coeliacs following gluten-free diets.

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What was the best aspect of your Summer studentship experience?

The best part of my summer studentship was being able to apply all the knowledge I had about not only nutrition, but research methods and statistical analysis. I liked being given responsibility and being able to work on my own project.

What was the most challenging part of your studentship?

Though I liked the independence, it was at times challenging especially in the beginning when everything is new. I study in Finland so coming to England and getting used to the working environment was a big step.

What’s the one thing you learnt that is transferable to future work you might do?

I learnt all about the practicalities of undertaking research: lab skills, recruiting people, recording data. In general, it also made me more confident in my own skills and abilities.

Tips for anyone who is interested in applying for the NS – SS or a similar fellowship:

Try and find a good supervisor who will be there to support you but also give you responsibility because that is how you learn the most. They will also help you shape a strong research project.

Would you be interested to do more research in the future and if so what topic(s) would interest you?

I think I would enjoy doing more research in the future. Currently, I am interested in tackling nutritional problems in developing countries so being able to build a better understanding of that via research would be interesting.

Continue reading “Glycaemic response and satiety after consumption of gluten-free bread containing buckwheat”

Estimating the dietary intake of “free sugars” in the teenage population in the United Kingdom

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Dove Yu is a final year Food and Human Nutrition student at Newcastle University. Dove completed the Summer Studentship at the MRC-EWL under the supervision of Birdem Amoutzopoulos and also received support from her advisor Professor Chris Seal at Newcastle University. You can find Dove on Twitter or contact her via her email: doveyu30@hotmail.com

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Project title: ‘Estimating the dietary intake of “free sugars” in the teenage population in the United Kingdom’.

About the project:

The recent SACN report recommends in line with WHO that free sugars intake should not exceed 5% of daily energy intake. However, UK NDNS reports sugar intake as “total sugar” and “non-milk extrinsic sugar”. Therefore, this study aimed to explore the feasibility of estimating free sugar intake using NDNS year 4 data and identifying suitable sugar definitions which can be used in population-based nutrition studies.

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What was the best aspect of your Summer studentship experience?

This studentship allowed me to have a practical experience of doing my own research from thinking the rationale of the study to reporting the study findings. This is so different from doing coursework, where you may receive instructions or guidelines as you need to be creative and show your initiative while doing research. Through literature search, I understood more about the different definitions of dietary sugars and the scientific evidence pertaining to the benefits of reducing free sugar intake. Through designing my own study protocol, I developed my critical thinking and decision making skills. All of the skills that I gained here are very useful for doing my dissertation.

What was the most challenging part of your experience?

Manipulating a large database can always be challenging. I used to maintain a list of tasks that can be accomplished in a short time block. However, some tasks took me a lot more time than I thought to complete. So the challenge really is how you plan, prioritise and use your time effectively. Originally, we aimed to look at all of the foods consumed by the teenage population in NDNS year 1-4 but then we finally considered using NDNS year 4 only due to the limited time available. In doing research, you need to be adaptive as well because there are always changes happening.

Tips for anyone who is interested in applying for the NS – SS or a similar fellowship:

If you want to engage with any projects related to food composition, you’ve got to be well organised and pay attention-to-details. A good plan is important for any type of research project. Do prioritise things that are important. If you really get stuck with your research, think of any alternative ways to complete your tasks and do seek advice from your supervisor. Best of luck for those of you who would like to participate in this good opportunity!!!! 

Continue reading “Estimating the dietary intake of “free sugars” in the teenage population in the United Kingdom”