Marathon Ten on the Horizon This Winter

I’ve been quite busy, honestly.  Despite the strange weather that is making it seem like April in near-August with it’s sunny spells and unannounced downpours playing havoc with hay fever.  Finding the right weather window has been tricky.

I got round to actually registering for the Bristol Half Marathon as I’d only popped it in the calendar before.  I did a long run of 10k on Tuesday.  I timed it awfully and gave myself only half an hour to get ready for a family trip to the Zoo so I need to remember to schedule better now its summer holiday.

I got round to renewing my membership at Southville Running Club.  Last Tuesday I went for a four miler with the club’s beginners group in the humid head.  Following it with a nice cold pint afterwards back at base felt truly wonderful.  I’m putting regular club appearances on the agenda along with last blogs promise of regular parkrun’s.  I can’t do every week but i’ll at least make an effort to give them more time.

Last on the to-do list of running I got round to signing up for the Portsmouth Marathon 2017.  Not having a marathon on my calendar was starting to make me feel uncomfortable.  I don’t want to break a currently four year streak by not doing a marathon.  Because Portsmouth is mid-December it gives me time to recover from the Half Marathon before I ramp the training back up in Autumn.  It’s UK based so should be sensible health wise relieving any out of the country travel stress.  After the two previous visits to the event I’m familiar with the course.  I’ll be aiming to beat my previous best time set on the course of 5 hours and 15 mins.

Additionally I’ll be trying to get the most rum, Mulled Wine and brandy out of the race entry that I can physically muster without feeling unwell … something has to make up for the fact that the Portsmouth Coast will be in my shoes for 26.2 winter coast miles ….

You can register here –

Happy running,



Training for the Bristol Half Marathon 2017

Recently I put the Bristol Half Marathon on my calendar.  It feels good to see it scheduled in there.  I couldn’t run it last year due to my slipped disc.  Since I’m now seeing specialist physiotherapy up at Southmead Hospital I feel confident I have the right help to do it safely.  They are aware of my  running habit.

My Personal Best currently sits at 2 hours 17 minutes and I’m aiming for 2 hours.  I dusted off a running book from Runner’s World with running plans in the back.  I chose an Intermediate plan to avoid going over my 10 miles a week too rapidly – I don’t want to over do it with excitement!  I started the plan a bit late as it should have required 10 weeks and I’m giving it 8 weeks. I won’t be able to stick to it even by about 80%.  The plan is useful to know what to do in the sessions I do do so that I make the most of them.

The first 3 weeks have been a case of slowly building up the distance of each run. Two mile runs in week one,  three mile runs in week two, four mile runs in week three.  I’m now under 9 stone which seems to be helping speed. I’m back to averaging 9.30 minute miles in shorter runs and 10-11 minute miles for longer ones.  Average weekly mileage is slowly starting to creep past the 10 miles a week as a result which is fantastic – I hope it continues.

I finished last week with volunteering a Eastville Park Junior parkrun event #17 as a Funnel Manager.  I’ve had to step away from being an RD  for a bit as I’m relocating back to Bristol for autumn  but will keep up with general volunteering.  It’s lovely seeing this group grow.

Happy running,



Bristol 10k 2017 – Remembering to Race

Back in May I ran the Bristol 10k – yeah, I know this blog is super late.  I did it in 58.34 mins which is 2.92Bristol10K2017A mins slower than last year, I feel this is an acceptable margin since I’ve not been able to train much past 10 miles a week yet.  I kept an even pace of (according to Strava) 9.22-40 throughout with a random 8.29 min mile at the start for good measure.

I had a good mix of music to run with and it was inspiring seeing so many running friends out on the course.  Southville group on the bridge cheering people on! I think one of the best signs was ‘run like winter is coming’.  Afterwards I went for a victory lunch with friends at a cafe on the harbor.

I reflected on those 2.92 minutes.  What could I have done differently?

  • Mileage.  Even though my weekly mileage may seem small there are plenty of articles out there that say training on 10 miles a week is doable.  It still keeps up fitness (I break it down into hill runs, faster runs, etc) and keeps off the odd pound.
  • Don’t run with a post-holiday hangover.  Ever.  Just don’t do it.  Sure, run with a hangover in your holiday.  You won’t be quite as travel worn.  You’ll still have the determination.  Once you’re home, though, that’s when tiredness starts to catch up.  I’d gotten home Saturday afternoon and raced Sunday morning.  I don’t think it was wise.
  • Sleep.  I hadn’t had much of it the week leading up to the race.  I was knackered come race day morning.  Waking up bright eyed and bushy tailed is much better than waking up thinking, ‘should I really be running this?’ I’ve run races with a hangover before but being travel tired is a different kind of exhaustion that you can’t fix with good hydration. 
  • Carbo-loading.  In Spain I ate mostly fresh fish and red meat.  Absolutely delicious food but mostly proteins and good fats.  Carbohydrate options were scarce past veg or fruit with meals and bread sides.  I did my best.  I took one for a team at breakfast times in the hotel.  Since there were tables upon tables of breads, fruits, and pastries here I used this as the daily Carbo-loading opportunity but it still didn’t feel like enough with all the tourist walking.  It was a newbie error, I admit. 
  • Race Day Magic.  It’s entirely circumstantial.  Don’t rely on it to get you through.

So, it looks like I skipped a few of the basic fundamentals we learn as newbie runners Eleanor Duvivier's photo.right at the start of our racing lives.  Each of those bullet points probably accounted for seconds of that 2.92 minute fail.  It’s important to remember these and get back into the habit of good racing practice. I hope to sign up for more races over the latter half of 2017.

The best thing this race did was remind me how fun it is to be out in the crowds again … adding a well-earned update to my medal hanger was rather satisfying!

Happy running,






Relocating – Resetting The Start Point


Over the Easter weekend I took my leftover Easter Eggs and a room full of boxes to Reading.  I have established a new nest here.  Trying to balance the final months of my degree with finding a job in the Marketing industry.  It’s a bit of a stressful time but it does keep things interesting.

One good thing about this is that it means a whole new city of running20170415_111304 routes!  I’ve been keeping my agoraphobia in check by exploring bits at a time to reset my homing pigeon slowly.  This seems to be working.  Right behind my house there is a Cycle Track that goes as far as Newbury and even back to Bristol.  It is beautiful with an abundance of large willow trees over lapping the water.  The track itself is a bit small and only just big enough for one walking one way and one another so it makes it a bit of a challenge at rush commuting hours.  It’s the most natural place I’ve found so far in Reading that has considerably less central focused trees and parks than Bristol does.

Another good thing is that I had a run last week with 0 elevation.  I don’t remember ever seeing this in my running years to date.  I think Portsmouth had a bit that was below sea level along the coast.  A flat out 0 for 5k is just odd for me.  It means I can work more on speed work without being exhausted.  The hill nearest me only equates to 76 elevation when run up and down twice.  Friends tell me that Reading was built in a swamp which accounts for the lack of elevation.

I’m also close to a couple of local climbing wall so I’ve been doing more of that with friends.   It’s a nice way to get strength training in that isn’t just crunching kg’s at the gym.  Progress is measurable with the colour route systems and it makes you feel like you put your body properly through the mill the next day.  Victory caffeine afterwards is always a win.

Up Next?

I’m tapering off the running a bit as I’ve actually signed up for the Bristol 10k on Sunday 7th.  I hope I can beat last time’s PB of 55:42:0.  Although my training hasn’t been much at ten miles a week this year it has been regular and steadily improving in terms of distance and speed so I hope this puts me in good stead.

Happy Running,





Movement Is Freedom

I mentioned in my last post in March that I’d barely been scraping the barrel of my 10 mile a week goal due to my back problems.  I’ve now been told that my slipped disk won’t need surgery and should be fixable with specialist physiotherapy.  I’ve been advised to try Pilates as well and to keep on running.

Even before this terrific news I’d set myself free.  I made an internal intention to stop letting my health hold me back and to find more joy in the run.  It must have worked because I’ve started to see the return of the 9:30 minute mile in my short runs that haven’t really been seen since last spring.

The goal of ten miles a week hasn’t been restricting.  It’s set good running habits which I practically ignored before.  I increased the mileage by a mile a week until I hit ten mile20170404_130719s a week.  I then focused on making one run a mile longer each week and making up the remaining miles spread between shorter runs with the shorter runs being speed work or hill work.

I managed to do a 10k the week before last for the first time since last August.  It was a wonderfully sunny Saturday and I felt quite comfortable afterwards.  I got a bit of delayed ache a couple of days later but not more than I could manage.  This felt like a huge victory, getting back to 10k again – in my view a proper Long Distance Run length – with fairly even pacing.

It’s a good excuse to be getting into the kitchen a bit more for some tasty treats.  Things I made recently have been a delicious Hot Cross Bacon Bun afterwards followed by a Coffee and Walnut Cake which was more20170407_181739 of a Latte Cake as I didn’t put enough coffee in … whoops!




That Sunday I had my debut as a Run Director for Eastville junior pa
rkrun.  After all that training my turn was finally here!  The kids had a great time and because of the sunny conditions it was a perfect day for lots of PB’s all round.


Happy Running,

Eleanor.  20170409_082423



Consideration of Self


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As my health is an ongoing work in progress and I haven’t had any official diagnosis yet – regardless of it being nearly a year since I began to get unwell – I have had to evaluate my training regularly. I can’t follow snazzy training plans because if I’m knackered that’s me not getting out of bed tomorrow. This gets even trickier because I’m allergic to over the counter anti-inflammatory medicines so I have to rely on Paracetamol which doesn’t really impact it. So my training has been barely scraping the 10 miles a week barrel I’d half-heartedly set on Jan 1st and is more just ad hoc – doing what I can when I can.  Consideration of self capabilities is super important.

What else have I been doing?

Honestly, studying has been taking up much of my time. I’m finishing the last module of an Open University degree so my nights are spent researching Greek and Roman myth until past midnight in hopes of achieving a predicted 2:2. This means a lot less time to spend in the gym or working out.

Improvisation is key. I’ve been doing yoga daily either in the morning before work meaning a six am rise (thank heaven for SAD lamp!) or in the evening after I’ve put my daughter Holly to bed. This time last year I was running – or trying to – and doing yoga probably once a week if I remembered. I’ve found yoga such a gre20170301_130759at way to stay mobile with my spinal back problems and I’m really relishing my time on the mat. It’s so awesome when you get to see measurable progress. Things like being able to put the entire foot on the floor during a Downward Dog or indeed keeping stable on left leg balancing exercises. The left leg is where I get the pain from my back issues causing
some entertainingly shaky Tree poses! Hats off to Yoga With Adriene! Her videos are legendary. Alongside that I’ve been dancing with friends and the occasional social bouldering session. Bit of an ad hoc mix as I say but it appears to be working at keeping me fit and keeping off any weight increase from doing less than I’d like.

Running wise I’ve been slowly building using the 10% effort increase method over mileage and speed. I’m able to get away with doing 2-3 miles two times a week. I want to get confident in 3-4 miles so I can start club running again in spring and enjoy the lighter days in summer.

20170226_090020My highlight of February has been on training for Run Director as part of a team of Run Director trainees banked for a new Junior parkrun event at Eastville Park in Bristol. As part of the training we ran Little Stoke Junior parkrun as a group and attended an arkrun ethos and event running protocols. Last weekend we hosted our trial event with 11 runners and plan to launch on March 5th. It’s beginning to feel real now!
Happy running,



Still Endeavouring – Intervals

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything to do with running.  I’ve not really been racing this year.  I want to say a huge thank you as the blog has still been getting active followers based on the older posts and that feels great.  I have been finding it hard to deal with the cause of the intervals – Anyklosing Spondylitis.

No one really knows what it is, people can hardly pronounce it most of the time and I’m clearly too young to have arthritis in most people’s high opinion. BUT despite GP’s excellent advise of, ‘do nowt’ I did not let it take my life. I worry about things, sure, but I keep doing them. I keep loving, dancing, writing and being creative. I’ll build back up again. I’ve got a wonderful foundation of old true friends who’ve really shown me their light combined with fantastic new ones I’ve met this year who seem determined not to let me wallow and get me out to things and I’m so grateful for all of them.  My story wouldn’t be so positive without them – and it does get there.

Pain is temporary, pride is forever.

An old running mantra that got me through eight marathons to date.  It had positivity worked up until February 28th 2016.  In my memory the last day that pain wasn’t normal – you don’t forget a date like that.

I used to be the type that couldn’t even bare to take paracetamol.  I’d wait it out a few days and reassess. Then the downhill started at the top of a kidney infection during which it swelled to an egg sized bruise in my left side.  It took five different types of antibiotics and two months signed off sick to clear the infection.  Mysteriously the pain remained.  Doctor Whally would say, ‘no matter how much investigation we do it might remain forever with no answer.’ She was convinced the pain was Chronic Fatigue related combined with anxiety.  I pleaded it had nothing to do with my stress and that the fatigue was caused by the pain.  During delays for a scan and Chronic Fatigue specialists my leg collapsed sending me to A and E twice.  I required crutches.

Marathon girl … crutches!  I was shocked it could go so terribly bad so quickly without warning.  Made miserable by not being able to run, of being told the scan of my tummy came back with perfect biology, they could see no cause.  X-ray scans of A and E showed no results after checking for Sciatica.

Still I tried to juggle work and my nine year old daughter Holly.  Worrying for our future if I can’t work.  The Chronic Fatigue specialist advised going part time to rest mid-week and spreading running out daily.  After two sessions she thankfully understood that the leg pain was not connected to fatigue and referred me back to Doctor Wordsworth who then referred me onto pain specialists and a somewhat terrifying MRI scan.  Cue thinking of all the worst diagnosis you can bring up on Google.  After weeks of my hypochondria driving my anxiety up the wall the MRI proved what I’d been trying to tell them all along – that I had an illness.

‘Anyklosing Spondylitis,’ said Doctor, ‘You’ve been referred urgently to Rheumatology.’

I was finally validated that it wasn’t all in my head thank you very much.  That Anyklosing causes depression and fatigue by nature.  That I had in my left hip and spine additional bone growth that signified the arthritis.  After six months of nerve pain medication that didn’t work because there was no evidence of nerve pain I could go on to anti-inflammatory tablets called Naproxyn whilst awaiting Rheumatology.

Image may contain: 2 people, sky, cloud and outdoor

‘A CT scan in early 2015 showed signs of it,’ said the MRI report.  But they weren’t looked for it then so they didn’t tell me.  I could have known for a whole extra year.  I could have been managing my life differently to ensure it didn’t get as bad as it is now.  The pain hit just as I was starting to feel secure and happy in my job and finances.  Now thanks to the NHS’ negligence I face uncertain future not knowing whether this will get worse and what I can do to make life manageable now?

Every time my legs stop working I have to build my life and fitness back to run again.  Or at least just to being able to walk.  So now pain isn’t temporary.  But pride is still forever, so long as I can still walk, I can dance, I can swim and I can stretch.  Life is a marathon and I might not be able to run a fast one in the future but so long as I can still join the crowd and do the best each day I still have my pride.

Thankfully, after writing the most of this post in October, I went onto run the Florence Marathon on November 28th with no negative health outcome finishing in  6 hours 15 minutes.  This makes marathon number nine.  So, my lesson from this is that whilst things can be painful it’s important never to give up on the things that give you joy.  I thought I could never run a marathon again but this proved otherwise with an OK time considering my average.

"Victory marg! 26.2 Marathon Miles completed in 6 hours.  Not my fastest time, about midrange for me. Met a fellow Southville Club Runner and a lovely lady called Karen who interval sprinted with me at the end.  Come back race of all come back races.  A big "FUCK YOU" to my self doubt!"

I am hugely grateful that despite being unable to walk twice this year I somehow finished the year running a marathon.   Met a fellow Southville Club Runner and a lovely lady called Karen who interval sprinted with me at the end. Come back race of all come back races. A big “F**K YOU” to my self doubt!

Again, thank you to all my friends and family, and a thank you to those who kept reading.


Eleanor (Endeavouring)

A little yoga goes a long way


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Yoga is the difference between me cursing an entire bloodline or breezing through the day positively like a summer sky scattered with clouds on a bit of a breeze (representing daily hiccups) whilst being able to actually manage them like a fairly balanced person.

That’s a pretty significant difference, isn’t it?  ‘It can do all that!’ I hear you cry.  Yes, it can.  For me anyway.  As you can see from these photos I tend to do yoga anywhere I can whatever I’m wearing!

It’s a moment of me time. So long as my surroundings allow I can turn the few feet around me into a sacred space in my mind.  In a crowded house this can be quite tricky and the noise of other people filter through.  Life goes on around the sacred space.  However, for that moment of me time it is of no consequence accept for when one of the cats slink in to bother you during baby cobra.  When you juggle a 9 year old, a full time job, studying, writing, and training for a marathon me time can be quite hard to come by.


Awareness about the body increases as your breath into areas and postures creating feeling to alleviate muscles exhausted from running.  Stretching is so important to maintain healthy muscles.  This aids the warm up or cool down  process and improves flexibility.  Core strength, little thought of when running, gets a good workout with familiar postures like plank.  Because yoga is about flow it doesn’t just focus on one part of the body.

It invites you to pay good mind to your whole body.  For a runner this is quite significant.    Apparently it’s quite easy for us motivated individuals to ignore a niggle and gain an injury due to over training.  When we stretch and pay attention we can sensibly establish the severity of a muscle because we are using the muscle in a different way that isn’t quite so repetitive.  It’s like a highlighter on areas that need rest and recovery.

Take time to appreciate your body because you don’t just run with your legs – you run with your mind and with your soul.  If your mind and your soul power on faster than your body can catch up harmony can fall apart leaving you burning the candle at both ends at dangerous levels.

Never tried yoga and not sure where to start?  Used to do it but fallen off   I’ve recently been working my way through Adriene’s videos on You Tube which can be found here.  It’s a great place to start, so get stretching!

Happy stretching,


Bristol Rainbow Run – Holly’s 1st Run!

On Saturday 18th of June my 9 year old daughter Holly joined me for our first race together at our local park with Rainbow Run.  The route was out and back from around the Water Tower to the Sea Wall over looking the Suspension Bridge.  We dressed all in white and Holly cartwheeled to the start in excitement.

She ran quite a bit more up to and past the colour stations.  These were tremendously RainbowRunexciting and she made sure she got a good hit on each colour, green particularly – one of her favourite colours.  Her only real complaint was that her feet hurt half way through which seemed a relatively reasonable issue all things considering.

It didn’t matter about the time.  Holly found the very best bit getting her medal at the end and then going for an ice cream and victory lunch at Cafe Arabia afterwards.  She understood that she’d earned that and that is something that no one can ever take away from her.  The best bit for me was her saying that she wanted running shoes and to do it in fancy dress next year!  Running bug caught?  I think so!

(Photo credit: Faolan Alley)

As a 10.0 experience run my nutshell of this also got a mention in this weeks Marathon Talk as a kudos for parents getting kids into running.

Perhaps we’ll even get up for a Parkrun sometime 😉

Happy running!



Bristol 10k PB 55:42 + £1000 for Bristol Mind

This review is a little late but better late than never …

Runners of the Bristol 10k were blessed with beautiful sunshine on Sunday May 15th 2016. After a light breakfast of toast I strolled down to the Waterfront Hub Bristol Energy’s new office which was perfectly located for the run today.  The Bristol Energy 10k team met there relatively early and chatted over cups of tea and smoothie fruit before heading out to our various start pens.

10kpbOnce I got to the start line I just had to think that it was only a 5k until I was on the way to the finish line.  I switched up my Garmin screens to focus on per mile than overall distance.  This was a great stress reliever.  It meant I just focused on my yoga breathing and let the body take me on the hot journey from start to finish enjoying each mile individually.  Before I knew it I was at the end again.

It was my best friend Kat’s birthday club night the night before so I had to go out.  I tried my best to call it an early night at midnight but got in when the birds started singing… whoops.  So despite rolling in at 3 am I only went and got a Personal Best of 55:42:0 at Bristol 10k.  How this happened is beyond me considering I was sleep deprived.

As my first race since being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome this couldn’t have gone better if I’d planned it.

The best bit was as I collected my medal a guy stopped me and thanked me for being his unofficial pacer and helping him get his Personal Best!  Well done to you runner and thank you for including me in your day!

Holly met me at the finish line and enjoyed the pedal powered smoothies at the Hub shopfront! We then went off to the Watershed with the team to celebrate! What an amazing day!

Having checked the Bristol Mind fundraising page we raised a giant £1 000 for the local branch of the charity fighting for mental health which is so important.  This will be matched by Bristol Energy and sent to the charity directly.  Thanks so much to all those who donated with pounds or kind words 🙂

Happy running,