the crazy thing i (she) did

March 18, 2011

Tonight I’m off on a journey to St. Louis for one of my best friend’s bridal showers that will be on Saturday! Luckily for you, I have lined up a great guest post from Freya @ Brit Chick Runs. I’ll be back Saturday night or Sunday morning!

Firstly, biiig thank you to Clean Eating Chelsey for letting me do this guest post! (I have no idea why, but Clean Eating Chelsey is never referred to as Chelsey in my head – always, always Clean Eating Chelsey.) I really admire not only her writing skills, but her humour and eats and attitude, and even her temper at times! Thank you girl :)

Hello! I’m Freya, and I blog at Brit Chick Runs – running, horses, cats, recipes + food…it’s all there! Do come check it out, simply cos – and here’s where I’m shameless – I want some more wonderful readers 😀

Last year, I did something pretty crazy. A lot of people told me I shouldn’t do it, and I’m pretty sure many thought I’d have to pull out before I DID do it. So what was this crazy thing?
Why, I ran the Marine Corps marathon on October 31st, 2010!! My first one! Oh, and it was halfway across the world (in Washington DC – I’m British).  And I’d just become vegan. AND I wanted to gain 12 pounds during that time. Soo..a new vegan, wanting to gain weight and train for her first marathon alone, and then do the actual race in a foreign country? Twas a challenge!! There were obstacles, including many a long run with tears and upset stomachs (far outweighed by the good runs, mind you)…


… and in fact, you’d think I’d have taken the fact that my planned running partner, Emily,  got hit by a car just a few weeks before the race as a bad omen, but nope! I ploughed on, picked up a few tips and learnt a lot from the experience.

1) America does really friggin good coffee:

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Even the instant stuff! Though a Starbucks actually IN the hotel my mum and I were staying at was maybe not so good for the bank balance… I credit my little USA/Starbucks-rendez vous with my current coffee addiction, actually. Cheers for that, America.

2) Despite all the posts I’ve read across various blogs this winter, America does NOT do cold weather.


I actually think you guys were all lying about the snow, and had a nation-wide scheme to get the rest of the world to pity you all :p cos seriously – late October, I was in two layers, and I was sweating like…like…well, a really large sweaty man. Except I was a large sweaty woman instead (all 5ft9 of me). Not attractive, at the best of times!

3) If you’re at the start of a marathon, arrive approx. 3days early, so you can get in line for the portable toilets:


Yes, that is toilets stretching into the horizon, as far as the eye can see (and that was just one side of the parking lot). If you happen to find yourself near the back of the line, as I did, it’d probably be a good idea to a) bring a blindfold with you when you step inside (nervous runners? Imagine the damage) and b) accompany said blindfold with a nose peg. You’ll need it!

4) Make the most of the whole ‘marathon thing’, or you’ll regret it! In fact, waggle your way to as much free stuff as you possibly can, cos seriously – at big marathons and races, the expos give away SO much crap! dscf5888 dscf5886 dscf5887

5) Make the most of the fact that as you’re running a marathon, you actually have a reason to give to the waiters who stare at you strangely when you order the toast AND oatmeal for breakfast….


Or to the confused waitress, when you ask for extra bread alongside the bread basket and quinoa in your meal:


It’s tremendously satisfying to explain that you’re doing a marathon 😀 But let’s face it – I just like ANY chance to show off that fact, cos to me, it’s a Big Deal!

6) One of the biggest things I learnt during the whole marathon thing, was the importance of fueling right. Except, in a non-traditional way! So many folk talk of hitting the wall, so I decided in my marathon that that darn well was not going to happen. So, during the 26.2miles I was running, I consumed:


1 PowerBar
2 Gu shots
1 mini Clif bar
1 large Clif bar
Copious amounts of Gator/Power/Whatever-is-coloured-and-full-of-sugar-ade
Mini salted pretzels
Not enough water
Jelly beans
An Oreo or two
A pink wafer

And a bagel the size of my head straight after.

I’ll save you the trouble of trying out how that mix works for yourself, and tell you straight up instead: it doesn’t.
During marathon training, I did eat Clif bars, Gu shots, PowerBars, and drank foul blue drinks. HOWEVER, I didn’t do them all in one run!! But apparently, when the dreaded Fear of the Wall strikes, my brain only had one solution – eat eat eat!! You know what happened? By mile 20, I had a big bloated stomach, lots and LOTS of stomach pain and a heck of a lot of nausea!! The wafers and Oreos were meant to help settle it down in the last 2miles, and they kinda did…which is weird, seeing as I had never had an Oreo before that day (and haven’t had one since), and hadn’t had wafers in YEARS!

7) My mum and I cannot navigate to save our lives….3hours walking round DC to find Trader Joe’s? Proof right there!


We did find it however; my mum found a bathroom, and I found the infamous peanut flour. Well worth the 3hr hike!

8) When you’re in a foreign city, expect the unexpected:


Horses in the middle of Washington DC?


Sure. *shrugs* That’s what happens in American cities, apparently.

So that’s what I learnt…but what about the original problems I faced? ie gaining weight, running it alone, and actually FINISHING the marathon?
Well, I hung out with my horse to keep my sanity:


(ok, that was just an excuse to show you a photo of the One and Only :p but still! That was taken the morning before my 20miler, so there IS a link!)

But to solve the 12-pound-problem, I did eat a lot of these:

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And a lot of this:

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And I didn’t lose a pound :) In fact, I gained 12! Mission: accomplished.

Oh, and this shiny red medal proves that I did complete my other mission:


Would I do another marathon? HECK yes! I’m doing one next April in fact, and I can’t wait for it – just keep me away from those Clif bars, and I’ll be fine….

If you want to read my actual marathon recaps, you can go here ( and here ( Orrr you could just trawl backwards through my blog, one post at a time, if you happen to be bored one year….

Question: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced, and overcome?
Have you ever tried peanut flour? I know Clean Eating Chelsey is quite a fan of it, and I gotta say, I’m hooked….
How dark do you go with your chocolate? I had a bar of 99% the other day – incredible!

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