SL Marathon 2013 – Update – Facilities and Resources



Well it’s been a while… the past 6 months have been amazingly busy and I’ve struggled to keep up, which means that the writing and blogging side of things has had to take a very dim and distant back seat.  This year is also already getting pretty booked up, so I shall be posting as and when I can… hopefully without disappearing for another 6 months.

So the last time I really blogged, it was about the marathon itself in Sierra Leone… and one thing I meant to mention was that of the help I received to actually get out there and do the run safely!  Very often when we embark upon something new it can be daunting, and when it’s to do something physical one of the things we need to make sure is that not only is it going to be possible, but that we can do it safely.  A lot of people already know, some don’t, but one of the main concerns I had for this trip was my hip: I sustained an injury years ago with my karate training which eventually turned into an impingement.  Unfortunately due to the amount of time that had passed by the time I got it sorted out, it was pretty nasty and required open surgery (crutches for 3 months is not much fun).  However, rather than letting something like that stop me from going out there and doing what I wanted, I figured I’d get some help to make sure it was done safely.

Very often when we go to do something new, our lack of awareness about the new “thing” can put us off, we can feel intimidated, unsure and hesitant so one of the best ways to get around this is to look at what facilities and/or resources you have available to you that can help!  Very often people think they actually don’t have any.  Time to open your eyes *grin*… you may be very surprised to find out just what, and who, would like to help you out…

and let’s not forget that if you don’t ask, you may not get help, and by asking… well, that too can be a gift.  Who doesn’t like to feel wanted, needed and know that they are able to help another?  Doesn’t it feel good when you know that someone wants and really appreciates your help?  I’m not talking here about people who constantly “take” and drain you, that’s a whole different ball game.  Here we’re looking at positive boundaries, respect and compassion… all aspects of kindness that we can give to ourselves and others!

In my case, it turned out that a friend I’d met when he taught classes at my local gym had opened up his own business in the City, loved the idea of what I was going out to Sierra Leone to do, and offered to help me by structuring some personal training sessions for me during my lunchtimes.  This was alongside the running and yoga I was already doing and helped to build strength and condition my legs so that I could run a full 13.1 miles without stop.  Of course, that was the plan… but one of the reasons I changed to the full marathon the day before was that I knew I was strong enough to complete the full 26.2 miles, even if I had to walk half of it!

Niron was an absolute godsend… I cannot praise him enough, especially since when the going got a bit tougher and I hit some emotional roadblocks along the way, he then kept me going with added encouragement and helped me to focus on what was really important!

Here he is putting someone through their paces (not me):

photo 1

So I guess this post is also a recommendation one… if you’re in the City (London, UK) and want some personal training, whether that be for conditioning, helping you get fit or to meet specific challenges you’ve taken on (including marathon training) then give Niron (or one of the team) a call, and let them know where you heard about them.  Their details are:

Templeton House, 33-34 Chiswell Street, London, EC1Y 8LP

Tel: +44 (0)20 7628 5514
Mob: +44 (0)7835 918 368 / +44 (0)7932 668 505


And remember, someone may be wanting to help you right now, if you would but ask.  So why not reach out a hand and do just that… or offer to someone who may be in need!

Have a great week everyone! 🙂

© 2014 Michelle Payne


SL Marathon 2013 – Update – We’re here!


The first post coming to you from Sierra Leone! Yes, I actually made it out here… not that I didn’t expect to… it’s just it suddenly seemed to have come round really quick!

First up, a shout out and much gratitude to Niron Noel of activatepluspt… he’s been the one who has been there every week for the past 3 months, not just helping me get fitter and build my core strength to cope with the endurance running, but also kept me encouraged me when my mental and emotional states have been battered… I cannot recommend him enough, so look him (or his colleagues) up of you’re in London and need some personal training/coaching! I will be doing a separate blog post on their company at a later date.

So yes, we’re finally here and the run a reality! The British Airways flight was good from London, only 7 hours to Freetown and ours was probably over half full with runners alone, a very friendly bunch indeed. Getting from Freetown to Makeni did take a few hours… and while there is the sweet Salone time you quickly get used to, this was also due to distance and the state of the roads… not all of the main road there has been built! Remember, this isn’t just the poorest country in the world… but its’ civil war ended in 2002… and is still recovering from… the infrastructure building is slow… but it is coming…


It was hot and humid. Just reading and knowing that doesn’t quite prepare you for the blanket of heat and sweat that envelops you as soon as you get off the plane… Thursday night was 82 degrees to sleep in (no air con here, but fans do cool the room for a few minutes if there’s electricity and you’re not charging your phone or camera). The humidity… it was high, probably higher Friday due to a fantastic thunderstorm and downpour we had very late last night. As for running in it, at the time of drafting this, I didn’t have a clue.

… best get this published as it’s been sitting in the draft box while I’ve been trying to get enough battery power to continue drafting!

More to come…

SL Marathon 2013 – Update – Week 3 #SLM13


Week 3 has now been and gone… and it seems to have gone so fast!

So what has this week encompassed? That would be the usual full-time job, the commuting, back at college (why is half-term only one week?)… counselling and admin, plus a best friend’s celebratory birthday cake to indulge in and a catch-up with friends.

Not bad when you also take into account the exercise stuff done, which included:

***lunchtime yoga session x 1

***lunchtime treadmill run x 1 (40 minutes)

***PT session with Activate Plus PT x 1

***lunchtime outdoor run x 2 (30 minutes each)

***2 hour karate session x 1

***weekend run x 1 (another 50 minutes)

Total overall running: 15.77 miles / 150 minutes (2 hour 30 minutes)

And how did it feel?

Not all that bad considering there was only a 10 minute increase overall but almost 1.5 miles extra which I think increases my average pace/speed slightly.  The treadmill run was hard and I’m finding that the runs outside seem easier… maybe easier isn’t the right word for it… maybe it’s because there is different scenery rather than running on the spot on a treadmill looking at a video screen that makes the difference.  And it’s cooler outside at the moment. However given the high temperatures in Africa, I’m not sure whether it would be better to train more indoors or not.

I’ve also been lucky enough to have one of the karate students accompany me on the weekend runs which means I’ve kept my pace up as it’s the longest time run I’ve done so far.  Probably a good job that I didn’t give them all too hard a time on the Friday evening when I ended up teaching the entire session (2 hours of kata anyone *evil cackle*).  And although it was cold on the seafront… it’s not a bad place to run.  I may change my mind about that when the warmer weather arrives and there are a lot more people to run around!

phone update 136


My fundraising page: MichellePayne13

Street Child

Sierra Leone Marathon 2013

© 2013 Michelle Payne

SL Marathon 2013 – Update – Week 2 #SLM13


Week 2 has now finished!!!

So what has this week encompassed?

***full-time working day x 4

***one day off, however no rest for the wicked as I’ve used that to catch up with college homework, coaching admin, personal admin and other stuff at home that has been put to one side for far too long

***CPD counselling workshop (daytime) x 1

***3 hour daily commute x 4

***counselling evening x 1

***supervision therapy evening x 1

***no college evening this week as such due to half term, however… yep you guessed it… spent that time actually doing college stuff!  The call from my very bereft and lonely tv was hard to resist… I caved on Saturday evening!

***evening admin work x 1

As for socialising… one party which started too late so I forfeited that, clash of plans which meant cancellation with another friend but managed to fit in an after work catch up with friends, a group get together for a few hours after training one evening and another friend dropping by, so have not turned into an absolute hermit yet.  I also got fed cake.  What’s not to love about that!

As for the actual physical work/training… achieved:

***lunchtime yoga session x 1

***lunchtime treadmill run x 1 (2.89 miles)

***PT session with Activate Plus PT x 1

***lunchtime outdoor run x 2 (3 miles each)

***2 hour karate session x 1

***weekend run x 1 (first 5 mile target hit!)

Total overall running: 14.36 miles / 140 minutes (2 hour 20 minutes)

And how did it feel?

All things considered, not too bad at all… and when I look at the distance and time over the course of the whole week, I’m rather pleased, which is saying something considering my perfectionist tendencies :).  It also helped today that I did my longest run of 50 minutes and had a karate colleague with me.  He helped me keep the pace up when I possibly would have lagged a bit more had I been on my own!  The biggest challenges at the moment are getting the breathing right, pushing through around minute 25, and then the last 5 minutes of each run.  I’m assuming the last 5 minute thing is what happens to most people when they start out running seriously and is more of a psychological aspect than physical.

Time now to get back to the college work… hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!


My fundraising page: MichellePayne13

Street Child

Sierra Leone Marathon 2013

© 2013 Michelle Payne

SL Marathon 2013 – Update – Week 1 #SLM13


My intention is to post a general update at the end of the week on Sundays.  Unfortunately Week 1 went by so quickly with not enough hours in the day, that I never got round to typing everything up in time.  Fingers crossed for this weekend.

So yes, training has indeed started and I’ve survived the first week.  So what has this week encompassed:

***full-time working day x 5

***3 hour daily commute x 5

***counselling evening x 1

***college evening x 1

***evening admin work x 1

***healthchecks x 1

and let’s not forget some socialising being chucked in there!  I definitely agree with the work hard/play hard ethos… after all, you have to have balance in life and fun, right?

As for the actual physical work/training… unfortunately due to health checks, one lunchtime session got missed which I was not happy about but you have to go with the flow on these things I guess. Anyway, I digress… training achieved:

***lunchtime yoga session x 1

***lunchtime personal training session session x 1 with Activate Plus PT (check them out on Twitter: @ActivatePlusPT, great guys and more information on them to follow in later posts )

***lunchtime outdoor run x 1 (3.80 miles)

***lunchtime treadmill run x 1 (2.89 miles)

***weekend cross-country run x 1 (4.40 miles – and dying!!!)

***and I almost forgot, an hour of karate: including kihon/kata and jiyu kumite.

Total overall running: 11.49 miles / 112.26 minutes (1 hour 52 minutes 26 seconds)

Not that bad for a first week I think… as for an actual training plan… personal training sessions, travel planning and other arrangements… more to come in later posts!

And how did it feel?  Considering I’m battling a few personal challenges at the moment which need to take into account the physical safety aspects of taking on this challenge, I think it felt pretty good overall, even if I did resemble more of a squished red tomato than a boiled one after the cross country/trail run on Sunday (thankfully my friend Charlotte was with me and encouraged me every painful step of the way).


My fundraising page: MichellePayne13

Street Child

Sierra Leone Marathon 2013

© 2013 Michelle Payne

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