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 :D

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 :D 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:

 sat10211dscf5971 dscf5547

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!

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Jess@HealthyExposures March 18, 2011 at 6:19 pm

I love freyaaa!! Incredibly inspirational post, I loved to backtrack in time and go back to your marathon memories. Though I must say, and I think Chelsey can agree; this was a COLD winter, lol.


Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) March 18, 2011 at 6:19 pm

HEY Freya!! Well I’m hardly a new reader…! ;) CONGRATS on acheieving all your challenges and goals!! Amazing!! :D

This is SUCH a great post girl!! Can’t believe you and your momma wandered around for 3 HOURS looking for a TJ’s!! Haha!!

99% is the darkest I’ve gone, and I quite like it…BUT I prefer 70-85% really :)


Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} March 18, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Nice to meet you, Freya. I enjoyed reading your story. :-)


Kelly March 18, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Great story!! And I totally agree with your comment that Americans don’t do cold. I live in Texas any anything below 45 is COLD! We bust out the turtleneck sweaters! :)


cleaneatingchelsey March 19, 2011 at 7:59 am

Well, you are in Texas! :)


Katelyn March 18, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I loved reading this!! GIrl you are as crazykins as I am. I am hoping to run my first half marathon soon:) Good luck on your next marathon love!!


Cara Craves... March 18, 2011 at 6:35 pm

That’s a great story, thanks for sharing.
I am mgihty impressed by all the feats you overcame.
Way to go!


lindsay March 18, 2011 at 6:44 pm

way to go Freya! I love these challenges! What a great way to challenge the body and the mind, in a healthy way. and yes, I love my PB flour. ;)


Picky Nicky March 18, 2011 at 6:52 pm

I love reading this! Freya, you’re ABSOLUTELY SO INSPIRATIONAL! And I’m also 5’9 and have huge feet (when I used to dance the school needed to order my dance shoes from a “special” supplier… how embarrassing lol) so does that mean I can run a marathon too? :D That’s one of my dreams, anyway!
Stay awesome, ok?


Olivia March 18, 2011 at 7:09 pm

wow such a crazy post! I loved reading about you Freya!! You truly are inspirational, I’m trying to gain weight, but also eat a vegetarian/sometimes vegan diet and also love to run…haha thanks for your post and maybe you can visit my blog and share some “weight gain” tips sometime. XOXO


Kelsey @ Unmitigated Grub March 18, 2011 at 7:17 pm

wow good for you Freya! amazing! I will be running my first marathon this fall so I’ll definitely be checking out your running recaps as I will need ALL the help I can get. :) And yay for veganism!


Maryann (The Balanced Bean) March 18, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Great post! I want to run a marathon someday :)


Emily @ One Sweet Vegan March 18, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I just have to say that I loved this and will definitely be heading on over to your blog. And, when I got to the photo of the horses in the street, I couldn’t figure out what was unexpected in the photo…surely NOT the horses. hahaha :-)


cbrady3 March 18, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Loved this post since I’m running my first marathon in a few weeks!! I’d love to do Marine Corps one day.
I DO love peanut flour and have some in my cabinet.
And I can go about 75% with my chocolate, but bittersweet isn’t my thang!


cleaneatingchelsey March 19, 2011 at 8:00 am

You’re running a marathon? Can’t wait to hear all about the recap!


Katie March 18, 2011 at 9:14 pm

What a great post! I love it, you seem to live a crazy and fun life, and I think that is awesome!!!! You and your mom are too cute! Congrats on all your achievements girl!!!!


Christine March 18, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Great guest post!

The most challenging thing I’ve ever done is hike up Half Dome in Yosemite- 14 miles, thousands of vertical feet gained, pulling my body up cables, thinking I may fall and die on the way down, etc… It was hard because I’m not a nature girl and I have little upper body strength or hiking experience.


yourdailygrace March 18, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Thank you so much for sharing! I just signed up for my first marathon, the Disney Marathon 2012, and I’m pretty nervous about it…but excited, too! I live in Fl and there isn’t a Trader Joe’s near me so I always visit them on vacations but unfortunately they discontinued peanut flour before I could ever try it=(


Khushboo Thadani March 19, 2011 at 1:14 am

Enjoyed reading this post! Well done again for completing the marathon! It something you will always have and can always be proud about! Eating 99% chocolate is pretty bad ass…actually extremely bad ass…70% is as dark as i can go!


peacebeme March 19, 2011 at 8:33 am

Awesome for meeting all three of those goals!!!

I go as LIGHT as I can with chocolate. ;) I like white the best, and I like milk chocolate, but I HATE dark chocolate in any form, most overrated thing ever! :)


Elle March 19, 2011 at 10:09 am

LOVE this post!! freya, you seem so fun! i’m excited to check out your blog. :) congrats on running a marathon, i would love to hear more about that.


J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) March 19, 2011 at 10:37 am

I enjoyed reading your story! It’s so interesting to see what visitors from other countries think of America, lol. Congrats on completing your missions! It doesn’t surprise me to accomplish a weight-gain goal here in the US, lol. We have so much yumminess every step of the way.

I have never had peanut flour, but I hear so much about it! I do love almond flour, which I have in abundance.


movesnmunchies March 19, 2011 at 1:27 pm

I Think that is ALL INCREDIBLE!!! you must have felt amazing and should still!.. YES i just ate peanut flour sauce on toast with my salad ACTUALLY- lOVE IT


Sara @ The Bucket List March 19, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Congrats Freya!! You’ve just gained a new reader :) Thanks for sharing your story!


Little Bookworm March 19, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Fantastic guest post Freya! Such a great post. :) Dark chocolate – love 90%. I’ve had 100% before. 99% sounds amazing though!


eatinglikeahorse March 19, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Great post Freya! I love the “lost” pic of you and your mum and the medal is amazing – congratulations five months on :-)


Adi March 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Freya!! Congrats girl! That’s incredible!!!!
I was told the same thing when I signed up for a duathlon, not quite as impressive as a marathon, I give you props for that achievement! I also needed to gain eight (and I’m somewhat of a veg head who refuses to eat anything “unnatural”) I know how hard it is, I understand the stomachs and I’m really proud of you. Good job.


Shannon [Tropical Eats] March 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm

freya, you rock.

i love your humor!


Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit March 19, 2011 at 11:49 pm

I loved reading this post at the airport last night waiting for my hubby. You are a fantastic storyteller, Freya!
Thanks again Chelsey for introducing us to another fabulous blogger!


katshealthcorner March 20, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Haha, I love DARK CHOCOLATE!!!! 100% for me! :D

This is all so amazing! Thank you for taking the time to do this! :D



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