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Sunday 22 April 2012

I can officially say I've run the London marathon

What an amazing day. After weeks of training in rain and high winds today was glorious sunshine. I even ended up with some dodgy sunburn. I'll write a proper post tomo when I have some energy back but thanks so much to all of you who've supported me over the past few months and today. It's been brilliant, if not a little painful! :-) xxx

Friday 13 April 2012

Just a week to go!

Hi there,

Hope you all had a fantastic Easter and eaten plenty of chocolate. I certainly did! I think I've earned my Easter Eggs this year though as I've been in the final stretch of my Marathon training efforts.

I'm now feeling a little more confident about the big day as I completed the 16 mile Kingston Breakfast run on the 1st April in a respectable 2hrs 25 minutes.  It was a really early start and freezing cold hanging around Kingston at 7am but I had my race support crew (aka James) to cheer me on at the start which really helped. It was a great learning curve for me on what to do and not to do on race day...

1. Dont do your laces up too tight - you end up with massive blisters.
2. Have something you like for breakfast (yukky porridge at 5.45am doesnt go down well).
3. Get there early and dont get stuck in the queue for the portaloo at race start time!
4. Learn to enjoy Lucozade :-S

Although it wasn't quite a marathon I was very proud of myself and, of course, I wore pink.

I've also been on holiday this week with a group of friends down on the South Coast which has been fabulous, but no excuse to stop training. I had a massive 20 mile run planned for Sunday morning in the New Forest. Unfortunately I only managed 16 as I got a bit lost and didn't know where I was going and the weather was awful but at least I gave it a go! I also hardly touched a drop of alcohol, which for any of you who have been on, or heard about Isonda & its resident barman, is a near miracle in itself. Watching everyone else enjoy a glass or two of Rose over lunch when you have do go off and fo a six mile run in the afternoon is torture!

I've also had some extremely kind sponsorship donations over the past couple of weeks. THANKYOU SO MUCH! Every penny donated is another reason to keep running on the 22nd! For anyone who'd like to donate please go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RachelToolan.

Thankyou very much


Enjoying the Easter Eggs, including a 900g chocolate bunny! Don't worry - it was shared between 8 of us.

Wooo I finished!

Thursday 22 March 2012

Just a few things I've been up to...


I just thought as you've been so kindly following my blog, I'd update you on a few of the things I've been up to.

Firstly my weekend walk - Mum I'm not sure an 8 mile walk is a rest day! We had a great day & Spring has sprung on the Bucks/Oxfordshire border aaaaaaaaaw.

With the help of my lovely team we raised £70 auctioning off props from our latest photo shoot, check out my Picasso (print).

And...saving the best till last. I hung out with my mate Spud the Dulux Dog at EcoBuild yesterday :-). And after standing in heel's ALL day I still made it to the gym. Go me!

Sunday 18 March 2012

5 Weeks to go!

Hi Everyone,

Hope you are all well, enjoying a lovely Sunday and have all treated your Mum's to at the very least a Mothers Day phone call!!!

Today I'm swapping running for a nice walk with my Mum :-). Don't worry folks I'm not cheating as I ran the best part of 18 miles yesterday - one of the toughest training runs I'll have to do.

Anyone who lives in the West London area will know that yesterday was not exactly a sunny day, in fact as soon as i tied up my shoe laces and got out the door the heavens opened, and I had to run almost 3 hours drenched through and thoroughly miserable!!! I must have looked it too as I had a fair few friendly van men yelling 'go on you can do it' rather than the usual horn tooting and wolf whistles so i must have been looking particularly low.

Two things made my run even harder.

1. The Six Nations Rugby meant running past lots of crowded pubs with people enjoying themselves far too much.

2. A UK University rowing competition made for a very overcrowded riverbank all the way from Barnes to Putney which made the mid section of my run very stop start - a nightmare when you're already tired.

Still, I'm pretty proud of myself for managing to do that kind of distance, I couldn't have imagined it even a few weeks ago! There is so much you learn about places, people and things when you start running which I've found interesting, scary and depressing in equal measure.

On the upside, improving how far you can run whether your starting from scratch or like me are covering hefty distances gives you a massive sense of achievement and is a definite natural high.

I've also found, whilst running alongside the canal in Slough (never alone I promise!) that small rats can run extremely fast over short distances.  Just when I thought I  had quite a good pace on on the home stretch a little rat popped up and totally out ran me, gutted!!! So can small children, I have found little boys find it amusing to try and race you which gets really embarrassing. And final gripe, it turns out small dogs get quite intimidated when they see a massive neon pink thing (aka me) running towards them and can get quite aggressive - luckily I'm getting better at avoiding these obstacles!

At this point when the training is pretty tough, quite frankly really hurts and takes over much of your free time, its good to have a goal like raising money for a great cause to keep you motivated as you really don't want to let people down. Thanks so much to all who have already kindly supported me and The Outward Bound Trust already. I've had lots of people pledge their support and ask where they can sponsor me, if you'd like to donate simply go to the Virgin Money Giving site and search for my name - or you can use the link in the side bar of my blog. http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RachelToolan

I've had some great fundraising help in the office over the past week - a bake sale raising over £200 pounds which i'll get paid into Guy & I's fundraising pages this week. Also my fabulous team mate Jo McMullen has been auctioning off props from our latest Colour Guide photoshoot to raise money for the Outward Bound Trust. So far I've bought for a Picasso (print!) for my flat. If anyone would be interested in some IKEA dark wood effect flooring please let me or Jo know, you could pick it up for just a donation to a great cause so its an absolute bargain.

Thanks very much and have a great day

Rachel xxx

Tuesday 6 March 2012

The Pink Peril takes on the Elements

Hello all.

As I write today's blog I'm a very tired lady, having just run from the office to Windsor Great Park and back with Ron. It was so nice to have some company and support although he did make me do sprints all the way down the Long Walk!!! I'm sure I'll thank him for it on race day :-). For anyone who's not visited Windsor (and you should, its very nice) have a look at the link below and you'll see the long walk is a seemingly never-ending straight path with lots of hills, thanks George II.


Now there's only seven weeks to go until the London Marathon training is getting super tough! There really were no excuses for braving the horrible wind and rain on Sunday to complete a 14 mile run. Lots of puddles meant soggy feet all the way and it was so tempting to give up and go home but I persevered as the nerves about actually achieving the marathon distance are really setting in now. One of the things that kept me going was meeting the staff of Arbour Vale school last week, a Special Educational Needs school in Slough which directly benefits from the support AkzoNobel provide to send pupils to experience Outward Bound Trust courses.

For the children that are able to attend these courses, the experience really has a huge impact on their confidence and approach to life. We were told how the experience, in this case at the Aberdovey centre in beautiful Pembrokeshire, has such a positive impact on the pupils that they keep a photo of themselves at the centre on their desks as a reminder when they're struggling with challenges (whether physical or learning obstacles) in the school day they have a reminder of just how much they are capable of when they put their minds to it. Where pupils have behavioural issues taking part in teamwork challenges and helping their friends succeed has a hugely beneficial effect in helping them understand how to apply their energies positively, for some pupils the programme is so successful that just the possibility of being able to attend massively improves behaviour all year!

It was great to meet the staff and really understand how we're making a difference to people in the local community.

Of course without the support of charitable donations the Outward Bound Trust would not be able to run the centres at all, never mind have the highly trained and motivating staff that help schools like Arbour Vale be a part of it. Thanks so much to all of you who have supported me so far - your donations really will make a difference.

For any of my lovely colleagues, I hope you're looking forward to the bake sale this Friday. I'm planning lemon drizzle cake, fairy cakes and chocolate brownies, and due to popular demand Guy Cunningham's (wife's) homemade cookies will be back!

On another note, there looks to be another pink peril out there! Do you rekon she's been taking style tips from my blog? ;-)


Sunday 26 February 2012

The 'Pink Peril' Strides Again!

So finally feeling a lot better now my calf has recovered, am no longer running like Long John Silver and completed a lovely 10 mile run today.

Living in Hammersmith I'm lucky to be able to run along the river (today through Chiswick, Barnes, Putney, Fulham and home again) and made sure I was out early today so I would avoid the terrible jealousy of seeing people enjoying drinks in the sunshine outside my favourite local pubs on the home stretch.

I love living near the river (hopefully the pics below will help show why) and its always an uplifting place to go for a run, even if you dont feel like it! Having said that, there are a few major obstacles growing in number along the banks of the Thames, kids on scooters and small dogs on leads; both of which I think should be banned at least until April 22nd for fears I may break my ankle as a result of a collision - which will of course be my fault!!!

In other news, I have signed up to the Kingston Breakfast Run on April 1st, a 16 mile race from Kingston to Hampton Court and back which appealed to the history geek in me. If my time is bad I got lost in the maze ;-).

I have also been christened 'The Pink Peril' by my mother, due to my fabulous choice of pink neon running gear. As a result I'll be looking for all pink neon running gear for marathon day so i can be easily spotted in the crowd, I only wish it was my colour!

Have a good week

Rach xxx

Thursday 23 February 2012

Just a little message

Just finished my first pain free run in a couple of weeks and had some fantastic support over the last two days. Very excited but a little scared there's only 58 days to go.

Thanks v much :-)

Rach xxx