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Thursday, 2 June 2016

Gold is the new black

There are no words to explain my choice of running kit for last weekend's Edinburgh Marathon. As it was to be my first marathon since getting into sewing, I thought I would make my own kit for the occasion, and things snowballed from there.

The idea for gold came to me when I was indulging in one of my favourite lazy parenting tactics, and watching this with my girls. I suppose I just thought, `F**k it. You're not going to make a habit of running a marathon, so you may as well make yourself an awesome piece of kit to wear while you're doing it.' Dress awesome, feel awesome, no?

Duathlon Shorts
I'd originally intended to just make a pair of Duathlon Shorts to wear alongside my charity vest. I bought the gold fabric, but then developed a weird superstition about cutting into it before I had completed a significant long run. I think this was because in February, I had had a few knee problems, and was still a bit uncertain of whether I'd manage to complete the training and run the marathon. 

Then, with a successful long run of 16 miles done, I spent a gleeful hour or so sewing golden leggings. My daughters were all horrified when I put them on. 

After wearing them on a 20 mile training run (to test they didn't chafe), it occurred to me that the green vest didn't go with the gold at all. In fact, I had nothing that would go with gold leggings (who knew?). There was only one thing for it, and that was to go all out gold on top and bottom, and, to slap my name across my chest, to guarantee myself some extra crowd support. 

Chafe test passed (the gold is surprisingly breathable), I ordered more fabric for a matching VNA top.  

I loved the process of making it - I channelled my increasing nerves about the looming marathon into a sewing project that turned out to be pure fun from start to finish. The way this top is constructed is really clever - it is like a jigsaw puzzle in which you end up a nicely shaped top that is super comfortable for exercising in. As with the Duathlon shorts, I found the instructions were easy to understand - most of the sewing came together quickly on my over locker, just using the ordinary machine for a bit of top stitching at the end. If you look at the neckline on mine, you can see it isn't quite perfect - I think I could have pulled it a bit tighter. I reckoned that on this particular version, a slightly gaping neckline wasn't going to matter. 

My daughters were once again horrified by the sight of me when I tried on my Kit of Bling. The Kit of Bling marks a peak in my potential to embarrass my children - I have used this weapon to my advantage, making regular threats to collect them from school, or, to accompany them to the school disco with it on. This has worked wonders in getting the middle girl to eat her dinner in under half an hour. 

Race day finally arrived. Before seeing me in the Kit of Bling, my running friend, Gis, had said I wasn't to laugh at her socks. Here we are, all fresh faced, posing outside the hotel before setting off to join the crowds for the race.

The course was a beautiful one. It takes you out of the city, and the bulk of it is run right next to the coast line, in a sort of out and back way. There was a depressing point at around mile 8, when I looked into the distance at miles and miles of runners still heading out before us, with the turning point to come back too far away to even see, and the penny dropped about what a long journey was still ahead. I'd say from that point onwards, the challenge was as much about telling my brain to keep running as it was about overcoming tired muscles. As running by the sea is one of my favourite things to do, (and, living where I do, something I don't get to do that often) and so I tried as much as possible to make the most of it and enjoy the experience. 

I expected mile 20 onwards to be tough, and it was. But, nothing hurt, beyond the obvious fatigue you'd expect to experience after three hours or so on the road, and I kept telling myself this was good and that I was lucky not to have picked up any kind of injury. Three things kept me going - the thought that walking or stopping would just mean it would take longer to reach the point I could lie down; my pride, and (having already attracted a lot of attention) the fact I knew I would look totally ridiculous giving up in such a conspicuous choice of kit. I could not let myself give up.

Finish line joy
The moments leading up to the finish line were just brilliant. The crowd shouting my name acted as rocket fuel for my knackered legs, and I romped home with a big grin on my face. 

A few days on, my legs have finally stopped aching, and I can walk down the stairs easily again. I feel so good about myself for having done it - both for the ongoing happier state of mind six months of training gave me, and, for the massive amount of fun I had on my 26 mile catwalk. I'd recommend it!

Soundtrack Shake it off by Taylor Swift


  1. Bravo! Well done on everything - the marathon and the AMAZING outfit. I was thinking about you on Saturday when all the roads were shut and things were kicking off with the first lot of races. Glad you had a good day on Sunday. I thought the weather was pretty perfect - a bit cooler and cloudy early on and then sunshine and warmth later. My youngest spent most of the day naked or semi-naked (he did agree to put on a t-shirt at one point), but he is three. And, I think it's more or less compulsory to go through that phase when you are little...

  2. Well done with the outfit and the event. I have only done 1 marathon but appreciate what a long hard effort it is. You looked great at the finish K xXx

  3. Brilliant!! You are a golden superstar! Proud of you Mrs! X

  4. Congratulations Janet! What a fantastic achievement - all run in gold! xx

  5. Well done that's a huge achievement. And your running gear is fabulous.

  6. well done! what a fantastic achievement - and your outfit looks awesome!

  7. Janet, you are amazing. I am in awe of pretty much everything you do. Go You! xx

  8. That is amazing! Have you got a justgiving page so I can sponsor you for your achievement?