This marathon has been entwined with writing my book since the day talks began with my publisher, as the deadline for the writing has always been the day after the marathon. Some people groan when I tell them that, but honestly, the day after is perfect. If the deadline was a week or two after the marathon, my head would’ve been full of all the things I needed to finish and stress on getting everything done. Having the deadline the day after meant everything was already finished, I could relax, and use the race not only as a celebration of all my hard training, but a celebration of writing a freaking book, too!
My publishers asked if I wouldn’t mind running the marathon in designs from the book to help with marketing down the line, and as it turned out, I was able to squeeze in not only a pair of shorts but a top as well! I’ve run all 6 of my previous marathons in me-made gear, but I usually wear a Run dem Crew shirt or vest on top. This time I wanted to both rep my crew AND show off my book designs, so I made my shorts and vest from modified designs which will appear in my book (coming out early 2018), and took the vest up to Big Teezar in Camden to get the RDC logo and my name vinyl printed onto the front.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – “those shorts just look like her Duathlon Shorts, what a cop-out!” 😂 These shorts are actually a leggings design from my book chopped off above the knee, which unfortunately cuts out a lot of the design interest! But I can assure you that those side panels are a) wider than the Duathlon and fit even the phattest of your freaking enormous phones, b) constructed differently than the Duathlon, c) contain twice as many pockets as the Duathlon (two on each side!), and d) those panels don’t just extend straight down the entire side of the leg, ‘cos that would be boring!
And then I went and added an additional back waistband pocket (included in my Steeplechase Leggings pattern) onto these just for good measure bringing the pocket total up to FIVE. FIVE BIG POCKETS, PEOPLE. I was actually a bit concerned during my test run a few weeks ago that I’d need braces (suspenders) to hold them up when fully loaded with gels, ha! In reality, the gels were not problem at all, but I do notice in the photos that my phone in its heavy battery case is pulling them down a tad on the right side (I only ever need the battery case for 3+ hour runs when I use my AppleWatch for pacing).
My vest is a hybrid of two of the top designs from the book, taking the offset side seams of one design and using the neckline and armholes of a different vest design (and I tweaked the ease to be somewhere between close- and loose-fitting, too). I know what I like for racing, and I wanted it to be perfect!
As I made the vest only a week out from the race, I only got to test it on my last long taper run, which was just an hour. I opted to finish the neckline and armholes with my coverstitch binder and I don’t know what gods were smiling upon me that day but omg the binding went on all three lengths on the FIRST try, no seam ripping!! (I love my coverstitch to bits, but that binder attachment is a fickle, frustrating beast). The only issue I had on race day was from the binding joining, which I chose to place at the underarm seam, because I’m vain and I didn’t want to have it showing at the shoulder (the only other place it could go). With a coverstitch binder, you have to attach it flat rather than in the round, so you have to then sew the final seam with the two binding edges together, which creates a little bump, even if you topstitch it flat afterwards like I did. I didn’t notice it during the race, but afterwards I realised I have a nice big chafing patch on the soft, inner bit of my upper arms where my arms were swinging and rubbing the binder join. Serves me right for my vanity – next time I’ll just join it at the shoulder where nothing can brush up against it!
Back view at Mile 21, photo credit Andy Elks
The colour scheme started with the flame-print lycra I got printed at FunkiFabrics, using rust supplex, red supplex, and yellow chitosante down the side pockets, and reusing the red and yellow in the vest top. I was trying not to see it as McDonalds (or Serpentine!), but a friend said I was channelling Baywatch and Hulk Hogan, so I’m going to go with that!!
With the marathon and the book out of the way, I’m taking a well-deserved rest this week before heading off to Copenhagen for a long weekend with friends (hello, Stoff & Stil!), and then starting my new office job next week. Because I really need a mental break as well as a physical one right now!!
If you’d like to read all about how my race went (spoiler alert: another GFA/Boston Qualifier, but very hard earnt!), head over to my running site to read my full marathon race report.
And if I’d inspired you and you’d like to contribute to my fundraising for my next big race, representing Team GB at the World Transplant Games, then you can donate here.