50 Days to the London Marathon!

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RUNNING THE LONDON MARATHON IN SUPPORT OF 

SPINAL RESEARCH UK

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

Day 1. Strength Exercises

Day 2. Run 10 km

Day 3. Rest Day

Day4. Strength Exercises

Day 5. Rest Day

Day 6. 13 km

Day 7. Stretch Day

Day 8. Rest Day

Day 9. 15 km Fast

Day 10. Rest Day

It was an early morning of October 2016, when Harriet found me in class and asked me if I would be happy to join her in running the London Marathon on the 23rd April 2017. I then hadn’t even run a half marathon but did not hesitate a moment before saying I would. Together we have pledged to raise awareness and money to innovate research into spinal conditions such as scoliosis as well as Spinal cord injuries. Spinal Research is the UK’s leading charity funding medical research around the world to develop effective treatments for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury.

HARRIET’S STORY

At the age of 16, Harriet was diagnosed with scoliosis. Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature (in a C or S shape) of the spine, and can be of varying severities. As in Harriet’s case, the cause is generally unknown and it can have a rapid onset during the teenage years. Unfortunately, scoliosis is relatively unknown, and most schools in the UK do not screen for this condition. This is a shame, because had Harriet’s scoliosis been picked up earlier, she may have avoided the surgery that followed in later years.

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Harriet’s scoliosis was picked up (by chance) by her singing teacher who commented on her lopsided posture. Prior to this, Harriet had suffered from chronic back pain for several years, which painkillers did not touch. It had meant that she was unable to take part in sports and often had to miss school to rest her back. 
Unfortunately, Harriet’s scoliosis curve was progressive- her curvature was deemed “severe” and she was therefore offered the option of having spinal fusion surgery. In spinal fusion for scoliosis, titanium rods and bolts are attached to the curved part of the backbone and the spine is straightened. Small pieces of bone are then put over the spine. The bone pieces will grow together with the spinal bone, fusing it into the proper position. Spinal fusion is major surgery that usually takes several hours to complete.
Harriets recovery was not an easy one. She had to re-learn walking, and then adjust to having two rods keeping her straight. Even the simplest of tasks such as getting dressed were difficult for many months. Harriet tells me it felt like having two chop sticks in her spine- and to this day she remains unable to bend where her spine is fused. She was also reliant on morphine for many months, and found the psychological aspects of the surgery hard to deal with. She was however delighted to have gained two inches in height, aharriet-spinend finally have the posture that shed always dreamed of!
Her scoliosis means that studying is difficult- sitting for long periods of time causes her back to cease up, and her muscles get tight and painful at the end of each day. She therefore tries to undertake daily stretching regimens and attends regular pilates or physio appointments. Within six months of her surgery, Harriet somehow managed to start running! Ever since, she has found running to be one of the only ways to prevent her back from ceasing up.


On Wednesday (Day 1), I spent a full day in the library until the fire alarm went off and I decided to head home. The weather was windy and it had just started drizzling…Instead of heading out for a run, I decided to stay in and do a high intensity strength workout. This included, squats, planks, side planks, burpees, leg lifts, sit ups, push ups…etc. I tend to do three sets with 1 minute on each exercise and 10 seconds break in between. I use an app called Seconds, simple and easy to use, but I’m sure there are other apps good to use and I open to any suggestions you might have.

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Storm Doris woke me up on Thursday (Day 2), but as I had planned to go out of a run I didn’t want to flake out. I headed out on possibly the most windy day I have ever experienced in London; I managed to run 10km on  5:37 min/km average pace. Apart from being worried I would be hit by a tree branch or a tree itself, the main issue during this run was things kept on getting in my eyes…Despite all this, it felt really nice to have completed my planned run.

On Sunday (Day 6), I started my run from Canada Water headed west to London Bridge and then run across the bridge to the north side of River Thames back to Canary Wharf. Sadly, I was not able to complete my planned half marathon and only managed to do 13km on a 5:49 min/km average pace. A number of things did not go to plan and my body just told me I have had enough…so I had to stop. As important as it is to push yourself and not give up, sometimes we all need to take a step back and allow ourselves to breath…

On Wednesday (Day 9), after taking some days off from running I decided to head out for a 12km run. This time, instead of marking my route on a map, I decided to set a destination as the goal – my plan was to run to Battersea Park from Southwark and back…I had slightly underestimated the distance, as when I reached the park I had already completed 10k. I am very pleased as I managed to complete the 12km in 1h3m!!! I then run 3km extra to get closer to home…

With the next update I hope to complete more km and get back to my target 40-50 km/week.

TUNE OF THE 50 DAY MARATHON UPDATE!

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Back to my favourite Podcast – Don’t Salt My Game! I couldn’t have wished for a better duo the past two Friday’s. Laura Thomas, PHD and Charlotte Stirling-Reed, two of my favourite registered nutritionist discuss nutrition for fertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding, babies and daddies!

This week I would like to say a special thank you to The Kabitsis, Andreas, Andrew Gee, Ben, Hassan, Beatrice! 

Also a thank you for their generous donations to 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!

 

 

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