Why London?

For anyone that doesn't know, one of my main goals in the last couple of years is to run London Marathon. Partly because it's so iconic, I watched it from time to time over the years (not really knowing anything about it) and because I love the idea of 'travelling' to a marathon. The main reason though, is a lot more personal than any of that.

When I had my third child I wasn't very well. It is something I will never understand as it didn't happen with the first two so how can it happen with the third? I asked every professional under the sun this question and no one could give me an answer. I became isolated from everyone, rarely went out and when I did it was just me and my baby. I would watch endless nonsense on the telly and pretend I was going to go somewhere more exciting than the 4 walls of my living room. London being one of those places. To cut a long story short running is what changed all that. But the want to go to London never changed.

And then, once I was in a better place, disaster struck. As I opened my 'Thanks, but no' magazine from VLM my baby, who had just turned 2 the month before, jumped off the couch and broke his leg. The magazine was thrown to the floor and the next 6 weeks were spent threatening to put me back to day 1 of 'being back there'. How can a 2 year old break his leg? And from jumping on the couch? That was it, I wasn't leaving him, I had to be with him 24/7. I had to know exactly where he was at all times or the panic would set in. I was back to being imprisoned by myself.

Of course he recovered well. He's the type of boy who rarely cries – if he bangs his head playing he simply shakes it off. Instead of my mind numbing shows we watched toy story over and over and over again. But the thought of London never left me. And now it had a greater meaning.

I have to put 'that episode' to bed, once and for all. Kick it back to the past with a mighty boot and leave it there. And to do that I need to do London. It is now the race that is associated with my baby breaking his leg. My baby is the reason I started running. I can't fully get past all of that until London is done. Some may not understand that – but it makes sense in my head. Of course I know I may still have bad days even after I run London but knowing I can do something to change it will be the key.

So. How do I get in to London?

There's the ballot, which I will of course apply to every year and cross every finger and toe in the hope I get in. I will be sat at my front door awaiting the postman in October – with my son in my lap until I have opened the magazine, just to be safe. I refuse to be negative about the statistics surrounding it. It is what it is. If I get in EVERYONE will hear me! I could apply for a charity place but the pressure of raising such a large amount of money would be too much for me.

So looks like I'm going to have to run really bloody fast! A Good For Age place for me is under 3hrs 45. My current time is 3hrs 55. That's 11 minutes I need to shave off. Less than 30 seconds a mile. Can it be done?

I'm going to find out at Loch Ness in 8 weeks! When I joined my local running club someone said to me 'yeah, you can do it. You just need proper training'. So that's what I've been doing. It's killing me, but I'm doing it. I was beyond ecstatic to get a sub 4hr marathon back at Stirling. But I know I can do faster. I have to.

So my next posts will be about my training. What's going well and what isn't. Then I can review them all, increase what works and change what doesn't. I'm getting that time. I have to.

The Night Before Post

”Twas the night before Ironman70.3

And not a creature was stirring

Well, maybe just for a pee

Two wholesome triathletes 

A man and his wife

Were lying there ‘sleeping’

Contemplating life

Would they survive this ordeal

In the Scottish choppy sea

Or would they succumb to the elements

And walk away saying ‘not for me’

Would the jellyfish make an appearance

And sting them to death

Or would they own the waves and swim them

With every deep (or dying) breath

Would the wind be too strong

And knock them about

All through the course in Edinburgh

Oh there was no doubt

Would the climbs be too steep

And the descents be too much

For this pair of triathletes

Did they have the guts?

And if they made it to the run

And the tunnel of doom

Would they be able to climb that mountain

Or blow up like a balloon

In less than 24hrs

Time would tell

Nothing could be done now

There was no magic spell

They asked themselves ‘why am I doing this’

As they lay there pretending to sleep

Worries running over and over 

Going through their minds on repeat

I might actually die

Was initially the first thought

Not to mention the cost

Of all the gear they had bought 

But you can’t buy pride

Or being able to say ‘I CAN’

And at the very end of this

We will be able say ‘I’m an Ironman!’

Ok maybe just a ‘half’ ironman

In Edinburgh at least

But we might go Full one day

And become Team Iron Beast

Thank You

All day.  All freaking day something’s been bothering me.  And it’s the culmination of a few things all rolled in to one.

Negativity.

Not mine.  But other people’s. That’s right, YOURS.

(Well maybe not you personally but you get my point)

Now.  Where to begin?

When I first started ‘being active’ I feared negativity.  I was convinced I was the centre of everyone’s attention as I waddled down the road, Lycra clad, trying to put one foot in front of the other at a pace faster than a granny with a Zimmer frame.  Of course I wasn’t – (the centre of everyone’s universe I mean but no, at that time I was also not faster than the Zimmer frame) – but I had that fear.  The same fear everyone does when they start something new.  But I got over it (or over ‘myself’ which is a bit more accurate – the dog chasing its tail will always be more entertaining to watch than someone running past).  It’s gone.  I moved on.

And I’ve never really experienced negativity at running races either.  At the first few I’ve possibly thought people would wonder what I thought I was playing at attempting to run but that was my own head issues.  Yes I’ve had one or two blokes clearly not happy at being beat by a 4ft midget women but I put that down to competition and the majority of us set a target person to beat anyway, it’s not that bad a thing.

But never, absolutely NEVER, have I experienced the volumes of negativity surrounding a race as much as I have of the Edinburgh Half Ironman.

Moaning about it being called ‘Edinburgh’, complaining about the disruption, bumping gums about what others call it, referring to it as just plain ridiculous.

I honesty can’t take much more.  It’s 2am and this shit is keeping me up.

Let me explain.

Firstly, the ‘Edinburgh’ reference.  Now if you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ll know my geography is probably on par with a pre-schooler however, I do recognise that the race route for Ironman Edinburgh 70.3 is not entirely in Edinburgh.  I’m not sure if some people expected a new open water place to magically just appear in the centre and  for almost 2000 people to cycle and then run through the centre of Edinburgh closing even more roads but come on.  Doesn’t take a genius to work out where the route would likely be.  So having used my pre-school map and compass before entering (along with my back pack, thank you Dora), this does not bother me.  It’s Ironman Edinburgh 70.3 – says so on the uber expensive registration form.

Disruption.  Ok.  I get it.  A big nuisance to those not involved or interested in the race.  But you chose where you live.  You know it’s a popular place for events.  Roads are closed for both the safety of those participating in the event and everyone else.  EVERYONE ELSE.  Have you ever been hit by a cyclist? Has one cycled in to your car or your dog on the out-stretched lead?  Has anyone ever run in to you full pelt and knocked you over?  It’s not just us participating that can get hurt.   But yes, I can appreciate having to work around the area you live in being closed for a few hours is a pain in the backside.  Why should you have your life disrupted because some people want to have ‘a pissing contest’? (And yes, that’s an actual quote from a keyboard warrior).  There is notice that goes out so you can forward plan.  You’re complaining now which means you are aware of it and therefore have time to arrange alternative means.  I do appreciate it’s annoying, especially if it’s something you’re not even remotely interested in – But – can you not appreciate what it does for your area? No Edinburgh doesn’t need ‘put on the map’ – pretty sure Trainspotting did that very successfully, not to mention every other blockbusting movie that likes to film in the centre – but the Ironman brand is a worldwide spectacular event.  It is well known for its support, its expertise in these events and how to pull off said events in a phenomenally easy manner.   

Can you not just be the same just for one day?

So many of us have put ourselves through months and months of training to do this frightening task on Sunday.  No you may not be interested one bit in what we are doing or how we have trained or that we have had near death experiences along the way but surely you recognise it’s all for a good thing?  That it’s not just for ourselves.  That some of us are raising money and awareness for several charities (ironically my chosen charity being SAMH – mental health – this negativity does not support good mental health).  That some of us are trying to demonstrate a healthy lifestyle to our children and also to our friends and families? 

But…

It’s not just those outside of the sport either.  I’ve said before how I’ve not found all triathletes to be the most welcoming.  And my experience of Ironman Edinburgh 70.3 has not done anything to improve that.  Not just the raised eyebrows from a few weeks ago at the Loch swimming but the quick and sharp correction months ago when I mentioned on a Facebook site I was doing Edinburgh Ironman that I MUST put in the title that it was a Half Ironman.  Stupid me. I had presumed any die hard Ironman fan would automatically know Edinburgh only has 70.3 and not the Full Ironman.

My bad.

I should not be surprised though that keyboard warriors are out there and like to express their opinion.  Fine.  Everyone’s entitled to their opinion – hence this post – but I personally prefer to be supportive rather than rant and rave over something that has absolutely no effect on my life what so ever.  Yup, the majority of these ‘fellow triathletes’ aren’t even taking part in Ironman Edinburgh 70.3.  Maybe thats why I prefer being part of my running group.  At least people will say hi rather than the equivalent ‘you can’t call yourself a runner, you’ve never ran a race’.

But let’s not get in to that debate on when you can and can not call yourself a runner or a triathlete.  

It’s now after 3am.  I’ve read back through some of my own blog posts to remind myself how far I’ve come.  How hard this training has been – not just on me but my family too.  And how much I want this.  I’m doing this for me. Not for you.  Not your approval or acceptance.  But for ME.  I know for a fact Ironman will put on a good show.  I don’t doubt it in the slightest.  The atmosphere will be out of this world.  There will be many tears, probably a few moments of seeing my breakfast again and many, many souvenirs bought.

So, thanks for shitting on my parade, but I don’t need your negativity.  I will stick with being on the positive fence and at least try to see the good in all things.  If nothing else you’ve distracted me a little from my nerves.  That can only be a good thing (see what I did there, not hard is it).


Thank you.

Shadys Back

I am desperately trying to think of a positive start to this entry but, I can’t.
So the above will have to do.
Truth is, the anxiety seems to be back. I say seems, let’s be honest, it is back. I am managing to use coping techniques quite well but one of the problems it is giving me is trying to keep up with the training for the Stirling Marathon and the Half-Ironman. It’s kind of hard to force myself out the door when all I want to do is curl up in bed and stay there until the next day. Swap a running marathon for a Netflix marathon and the physical Ironman for the Marvel Ironman and that right now is the easier option.

But is that really what I want? Sometimes. 

They say endurance events aren’t achieved on the day but in training. The race itself is your victory lap. Well I tell you, right now, if I make it to that finish line, I will be amazed. 

I watched ‘400 meters’ on Netflix last week. A man diagnosed with MS decides to do a Full Ironman (not a half!) having never done anything like that before. He has several set backs, a father in law that isn’t too dis-similar from my own dad, and a determination to rival Donald Trump. I keep thinking he found the strength to keep going – and again, to do a Full Ironman – what’s stopping me? 

I haven’t ‘lost my mojo’. Genuinely hate that saying. I still love running, miss it if for some insane reason it’s been more than 2 days since we last met. I am very slowly getting more confident on the bike and the swimming isn’t that much of a chore. It’s just my mind. There are less and less ‘happy thoughts’. Thursday took me by surprise. It was bring your child to work day so I had my daughter with me. I thought she would be with me the entire day but I had to drop her off in a room that felt it contained half the population of the human race. She was fine. I was not. It took my greatest strength not to go back in, grab her hand and take her to my desk with me. Literally the only thing stopping me was the embarrassment I would cause her. I spent 20 minutes alone in a room trying to calm down. It worked though. Breathing techniques don’t get the credit they are due. And later that day when a friend of mine came in she presented me with a surprise gift she had made. It was a box frame with photos of me running and ‘Live, Love, RUN’ written on it. The tears turned to happy tears then – and she hadn’t even known it was a bad day!


I had the next Championship race that night and, as the day had been that bad, I asked Joe to pace me. I had asked him a few days earlier, just for something different. I have never really ran with a pacer and he has never paced someone – could have been tragic! On the day though it didn’t really end up being about time but more just about having someone there as a distraction. You never know what ‘could have’ happened and is there any point in thinking about it? Could I have ran just as fast or even faster? I don’t know. What I do know is that it was nice and it worked. I was distracted. It gave me a little more positivity back. And I used the gift my friend had given me as a reminder of me how much better I feel when I am running. So I rocked up to the start line instead of pressing ‘play’ on the next episode of Designated Survivor. (It’s recorded though so it’s ok!).
And so I have decided I need that little something extra to push myself. Something I can focus on when I’m thinking ‘nah, just skip it, back to bed – retreat, retreat, retreat’. I contacted SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and I am now going to try and raise a little money for them by getting to the start line – the finish line will come later. Some of the coping techniques I have been given truly work for me and there are days I wouldn’t be able to do my day job without them. So why not say thank you? 

If it hadn’t been for people like them, the support I have received and discovering running I would still be locked away in my house, rarely leaving, unlikely to still be holding down a job, and not being an ‘ok’ mum. (I won’t claim to be the best mother in the world, I forgot it was my eldest last ever day at school yesterday!).  

This post may not have started very positive but it’s my nod to my issues to say ‘yeah, you’re still there, you might still knock me down, but I CAN get back up’.

(How bad will it be if I don’t manage this now? Ha ha).

The link for my fundraising – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Ella-Webley2

Sunday – No Race Day

It seems every man and his dog were running in a race today.  That is, except me.

Very unusual.

I may have mentioned it before but I really, really, really want to do the London Marathon but never got in through the ballot for this year.  There’s many reasons I want London but I won’t go into that just now.  So no, I wasn’t running London today.  

I also wasn’t running the Edinburgh 10 mile race.  Mainly because I didn’t really fancy it if I’m honest.  I’ve raced 2 ten mile road races recently, didn’t need another.  Also there was a Running Sisters 5k I did not opt for. And lastly, there was the Balfron 10k race today.  Another one I didn’t run.

But……Joe did.  And my #originalrunningbuddy Frazer, who also brought a friend Tristan, ran it too.  (Yes I did just use a hashtag).  

I was tempted, but I enjoy chasing round the course cheering people on and getting photos.  So I was Sherpa Ella for a change.  It also meant I could keep an eye on the London Marathon tracker as there were a few from the Road Runners who were in it and a couple of friends too.  It’s quite exciting watching it and realising they are running over Tower Bridge right now! (Even if I am insanely jealous of each and every one of those Runners.  Jealousy isn’t always a bad thing though.  And It WILL be me one day!).

I had an uncomfortable night last night so I was glad for the sun and an excuse for sunglasses to cover it up.  It wasn’t hot though and there was a chill in the air – good running conditions really.  Car packed and we were off, meeting Frazer there as logistically it made sense (so I’m told, geography still means nothing to me).  We found the place easy enough and were able to park with ease.  No ‘air line steward’ Marshall here but still friendly.  A short walk up the hill to registration and a wait for Frazer.


Hmm.  Lots of hills here.  Thought it was flat? I had told Joe it was flat.  And I thought Frazer had said it was flat.  Might have got this wrong.  I kept my eye out for any Perth Road Runners as I was sure someone had said there were a few running it.  Unfortunately with a 3 year old running circles round the gym hall it was impossible to look for anything – including my sanity.


Once they were off I knew I had about 40 minutes so we headed back to the car to get food for the hungriest little boy in Scotland.   His favourite saying is ‘I’m sooooo hungry’.  Again.  My sanity.  Slowly slipping away.  I made a cup of tea for my daughter and myself and checked the London app.  Everyone was going strong.  

We walked slowly back up to the finish and waited at a great spot with a cordoned in grassy area just before the very last corner. I was able to see everyone coming in long before I needed to get my camera ready.  I was at the top of a hill afterall – of the ‘flat’ course, whoops.  The first few Runners started coming in and I gave myself a good pat on the back for timing it so well.  I got this!  Joe came in quite near the front and I got some good photos.  It was an out and back route and he said he had spotted a Road Runner with rose tattoos – Steph.  Frazers friend Tristan was next to come in quite impressively in about 45 minutes.  Then Frazer who smashed his time from last year quickly followed by Steph.  I got photos of them all being the great photographer I am haha.  (In other words I was shouting so loud people moved out the way out of fear more than anything ha ha).



Back home I continued to be glued to the London tracker and I was reminded of just how difficult running can be.  One guy from the club was running and he ran the Boston Marathon just 6 days ago! A few I follow on instagram were also running, one was flying through and the other wasn’t having the best run of their life, but they were both doing it.  I saw posts from many in the Run Mummy Run community saying members names who were struggling and could we post comments to encourage them.  26.2 miles is hard.  I don’t care who you are or what you’re experience is it’s bloody hard!  And the toughest people, the ones I respect and admire the most, are the ones who are big enough to admit that.  Not make excuses.  But admit it is hard.

I probably should have gone out for a run but I’m a bit wary of my hips at the moment.  I did 30 miles on the bike yesterday and got to 25 miles before they started screaming which is good progress.  To be honest though, the combination of being attached to the London tracker and having a dip last night made me stay in.  Joe said to me it’s fine to have a day you do nothing.  And yeah I guess it is.  The fear is that that one day turns in to two, then three, and four.  I won’t let that happen though.  I can’t.

I’m going to write my plan for the week.  I’m going to speak to those who ran over the weekend and remind myself why I run.   I have my daughter joining me at work on Thursday and she’s coming to yoga.  I need to set a good example for her.  I won’t let last night turn in to anything.  

So it’s hats off to each and every runner this weekend – regardless of time, pace, or even if you finished.  I loved being a spectator for a change and I’m sure I will be doing it again soon.

4 weeks until Stirling Marathon.

10 weeks until Ironman 70.3.

All About The Base

I’m (loosely) following a Half Ironman training programme and this week had me doing a time trial for the swim section.  This came with more difficulties than you can imagine and it came with a serious threat of a panic attack when I was trying to plan it.

Let me explain.

Problem number 1.  I haven’t swam more than 400meters in one go since Edinburgh and even then I had what I call ‘Dip gate’.  (They changed the start, I jumped in and ended up only going down and not forward, drank and chocked on half the pool water and basically wanted to die – all within the first 5 seconds of the triathlon starting!).  Could I keep going for 1900 meters?

Problem number 2.  How do I count 1900 meters? My watch has been playing up so can’t trust it to count the lengths.  I can’t count and swim or I will sink and die. Breaking it down to sections will confuse me because, again, I can’t count past 4 before forgetting and ultimately sinking and drowning (spot the theme). 

Problem number 3.  It’s January, it’s mega busy.  I will either end up having to wait and let people past or getting really frustrated having to wait for people to hurry up. And let’s not mention the ‘I’m going to breast stroke in a medium to fast lane but refuse to get my head and hair wet and growl at those who splash me’ people.  (Stroke my ass with your arm again and I will grab your foot and throw you out the pool!)

Problem number 4.  I hadn’t been too well the few days before so the timing was all off.

Problem number 5.  I had no way of getting to the pool as the car had broken down and I was getting the blame for this.

Problem number 6.  I didn’t really want to do it.

After realising all I was doing was making excuses I decided to count the lengths in 10’s and check my watch at intervals to keep on track.  My mum has been coming swimming so she gave me a lift.  I had been a little dizzy, not at deaths door, so I was fit and well enough to do it. 

Suck it up buttercup or you won’t even make it to the start line!

I clicked my watch and off I went.  There was only 1 other guy in my 25m lane and he was slightly slower and taking rest periods so no problem there.  I counted to ten.  I got this! Start again, count up to ten.  Job done.  I checked my watch and it matched up.  Things are going great! Another guy jumped in but again it was no issue.  

Up to 30, then 35 – half way! Oh no wait.  You’re doing 76 lengths.  What’s half of 76? 35 isn’t it? No it can’t be.  Must be 36. How can it be 36 when you need to do 76? Is it 46? 

WHY CANT I DO SIMPLE MATHS?!?

Oh holy …. What length am I on?!? 

Right, calm down.  You were thinking you were half way when you were on the other side over there so you must be one number up from that so half way is 38 which means you are on 39.  But you can’t be on 39 as that’s an odd number and you are heading back to the shallow end – the shallow end is even numbers! 

This goes on for what feels like an hour (reality is 30 seconds) until I get to 40 lengths.  

Yes! Only 26 to go!

40 plus 26 is not 76 Ella.  It starts all over again.

In the end I somehow figure it out and then keep a very close eye on my watch as I count down the last 400 meters.

Hitting the wall at the end I click my watch and take a breather.  Despite all the chaos in my head (anyone else hear the voices? No? Just me then) I’ve done pretty well.  Not spectacular compared to some but for me, pretty god damn well.  I may look more like a sea urchin coming up from the dead than Ariel the mermaid but I feel good about the swim and that’s what counts.

Plus now – I have my base to work on.  I have my first time I need to beat.  And I have 5 months.  A lot can be improved in 5 months.  Maybe not the counting issue (I’m sure that’s a medical condition). Or the voices for that matter.  But definitely the time.

Game on.

Signing up for a race is no longer quite the ‘knees shaking, sharp breath inhale, turn white, what the hell am I doing’ experience it once was.  Still hard but just not quite that bad.  I wasn’t too bothered when I signed up for a local half – happening tomorrow.

However, after reading nothing but ‘warning, not for first timers’ and ‘the race that can throw anything at you’ then hearing that there were quite a few DNF picked up in an ambulance last year, topped with less than 150 people signed up and it being uphill for the first 9 miles – it’s fair to say, I’m definitely bricking it now.

I’ve entered races when I thought I was going to be really far back in the field and it didn’t bother me too much.  I ended up at worst middle of the pack.  This ones different though.  There aren’t many entries for a start so there is absolutely no hope I am anything but bottom of the field.  It’s also quite clearly a difficult route.  9 miles of elevation, and not gentle elevation, I’m talking the kind of steep you need a harness and ropes to get up.  There’s no earphones so I can’t use my 80’s power ballads to get me through it and oh, let’s not forget, it’s October in Scotland.  The weather alone could kill me.

Because of course, it’s very open in the middle of the countryside.

Why wouldn’t it be?
So, the plan.  Simple really.  Take it slow. Let the other runners go off and take my time.  Pace myself.  The aim for this one is to pace it right and finish.  No time in mind, just the finish line.

And my reward? I’m actually going out on Saturday night! First time in a long time!

Presuming I haven’t died on the run of course.

This may be my last blog……