Things I have learnt from 3 marathons!

I’ve completed 3 marathons. I have a love hate relationship with them all.

  1. Edinburgh

I learnt gels do not work for me, throwing them all up at 13 miles was not a highlight!

I also learnt what overtraining can do, tired legs very early on. I paid for that overtraining!

That and going out too hard will come back to bite you! It did from about mile 15! Not fun when theres over 10 to go.

Oh and out and back is great on the going out section (if you’re a slow runner this is) but not so great on the coming back when there is no one else around. 

2. Brighton

Clif bars are lovely but after a while get really boring. As do Jelly babies. Variety is the spice of life when running 26.2 miles! 

Once again (I never learn) going out hard will bite you on the bum. I went out WAY too hard. I had a pace band on my wrist so there really was no excuse other than going – “Oh look I’m 20 minutes ahead, I could SMASH my target if I keep going”, I couldn’t and eventually that 20 minute advance got less and less until I was past that and watching my goal disappear. 

Having family to support you is awesome. I saw my Mum, best friend and my boys twice in the early stages, along with my Dad and then one of my other besties was EPIC at popping up at numerous points around the course, she covered some mileage herself! It made a huge difference compared to Edinburgh where I’d had no one.

Play a mental game with the out and back, note what order you see your friends, make note when that order changes! Tick them off as you see them! Its a great distraction. 

3. Liverpool

I was carrying a tear in my quad. Doing this marathon was dumb. First thing I learnt! 

2nd thing I learnt – June is WAY too hot for a marathon, I am a spring/autumn runner and the heat just zapped me, I ended up running in just a sports bra at times. 

Clif shot blocks worked well but after a while I found I craved something salty, crisps will be packed this year! 

Being a slower runner doing a race with such a tight cut off – not advisable. It meant to a stressed last few miles which isn’t much fun really! 

Note the cheap hoodie brought from the charity shop that I chucked away when I was warm!

So from all that what SHOULD I know about this years Brighton?

Don’t go out too hard, stick to my planned pace … NO MATTER HOW GOOD YOU FEEL HAYLEY!

Fuel regularly even if you don’t feel like you need it, hitting a wall is not nice.

Enjoy the out and back sections. Look for people you know.

Respect the hills. There are more of them in Brighton than you realise.

Disposable layers are great, its often cold in the morning but once you get going and the day warms up suddenly that long sleeve layer is a pain being strung around your waist, buy something cheap you don’t mind ditching with a marshall.

Plan your hydration strategy. Are you carrying water and sports drinks? Or are you relying on the on course providers? Do you have a back up if that gatorade doesn’t work so well for you?

Ultimately 26.2 miles isn’t a distance you can just get up and run, well most people can’t. It should be respected.



5 Years of Blogging!

This week I’ve moved my blog off a self hosted server and taken it back to I don’t tend to review anymore, nor do I accept any sponsored posts etc so I didn’t feel the need to keep paying for hosting anymore. I simply didn’t need it. I have kept my URL though, thats part of my identity I feel. When I moved it to I chose it because it didn’t tie me into being a parenting blog totally.

My blog started out in June 2009 according to my records. At the time I had named it ‘Single Motherhood Challenges’, that was a bit of a mouthful! At some stage it moved to being but then again I reached a stage where I didn’t want to be tied to it being about parenting so thats when it became This blog has all 5 years worth of posts on it, over 1000 of them! Many have now been put into draft mode as I don’t want them in the public domain anymore. But I can’t quite delete them. Its like looking back at an old diary.

There are the days when blogging was much smaller, early 2010, when at all events there were the same few familiar faces. Blogging now has exploded. I talk to my few blogging friends and they mention names of people I have no idea who they are! I liked the way it was back then, I do miss those days.

This blog also saw me through my second pregnancy and provided me with a place to keep a diary and write about my concerns and fears over my planned c-section and how that all turned out, as well as our volatile early days of breastfeeding.

More recently it has become my place to talk about my running, marathon training and race reports as well as my charity fundraising for the lullaby trust with the Matilda Mae Skydive.

Although I don’t blog on a regular basis now I like that its always here if I want it. I dont think there will ever come a day where I could hit the delete button. I’d be lost without my little space to come and get my thoughts down, that being said in recent years I’ve self censored so much that theres barely any of ‘my thoughts’ here now. Too many friends and family read it and I have to be conscious of that, gone are the days when no one knew I wrote it and I could say anything that was on my mind without any repercussions, thats generally the problem with all social media now.

I wonder where my blog will be 5 years from now…

To Matilda Mae xx

This coming weekend will be a year since the beautiful Matilda Mae passed away suddenly. My friend Susanne has set up a linky for letters to Matilda. This morning I’ve just run 5k and as often happens I thought of Matilda but today I thought of what I would write to her. There is just SO much I could say. Many ways she has impacted me. So hopefully I will do this justice.


I’ve followed Mummys blog for years and I loved reading the updates on how you were growing and developing into a beautiful little girl. I can remember the day Mummy posted on twitter to say you had passed away. I remember reading what Mummy was posting with tears streaming down my cheeks. I held my boys so tight that day. I stopped saying ‘In a minute’ and appreciated every single moment with them. Suddenly life seemed so precious. I developed much more patience with the boys and grabbed every opportunity we could to have fun together  and you were always in my thoughts. You still are.

Then I decided I needed to do something to raise money for the Lullaby Trust. I’ve always wanted to skydive but I needed a reason that was close to my heart to get me out that plane door. You were that reason Matilda and in the lead up to that skydive I told so many people your story. How beautiful you were. How SIDS is cruel and sudden. How it happens in a blink of an eye and a beautiful baby is gone. We told so many people your name and we raised over £6000 as a team in your memory for the Lullaby Trust. I was so proud of what the team achieved. But at the back of my mind was always the fact that it wasn’t right that we were having to do this and to raise the money because really you should still be here with your family. Having mummy there that day was amazing and she gave out the most amazing hugs and cried with me when I landed. That day the only thing that got me out the door of that plane when I was questioning the safety ‘what if’s’ was the feeling I had whilst we took the flight up that you were watching over us and that we were going to be safe.


I tell my boys mummy jumped out of the plane in memory of a beautiful baby girl who was taken from this world too soon. When we blow bubbles we talk about you. When we are out at night and theres stars in the sky I tell them to look for the brightest star in the sky. They know you are special.

This year we are going to do it again, we will jump out of a plane and shout your name. And I’m going to run two half marathons and am now contemplating a full marathon. I plan to play Katy Perrys Firework as I finish all those races and I know I will cry at the end of all of them. When I run and it gets tough I think of you, and your wonderful loving family who have been so amazingly strong and it pushes me to carry on through the pain.

Matilda your name has spread so far and wide and Mummy has arranged some wonderful events and is continuing to do so. I think of you, and Mummy, and Daddy, and your wonderful brother and sister on a daily basis. You’ve had such an impact on the way I parent and live my life. You’ve taught me how precious life is and to embrace every opportunity. To be patient and take in the little things. Not to wish life away. To treasure the now. And I know I’m not the only one that feels that way.

You are in so many hearts, so many memories. We wont forget. We will always remember. xxxx

Letters for Matilda Mae
Click here to read more letters to Matilda Mae x

Changing faces of a mother

I was browsing old pictures a few weeks ago and looking at them I felt like I hadn’t changed alot since I had my son. Other than my hair that is which has been an array of colours and styles! So I thought I’d share the years with you, tell me what you think, have I changed?

Pre Baby (Although pregnant with a small bump) Aged 16

I think this was the June half term. I know we were on a guide day out to chessington and the guides didn’t know I was pregnant, I couldn’t ride things obviously so feigned a bad back, I must have been around 18 weeks I think.


December 2006
 Babywearing before I learnt the more comfortable way with no2.
Trying to find a post birth picture I liked was hard. The few I do have make me look thin and ill. I forget the impact losing 3 pints of blood, a 2.5hr operation and complications afterwards had on me. The pictures go from the first cuddle where I’m swollen with excess fluid to a week later where I look almost bony, really I shouldn’t be suprised that I fitted back into my pre pregnancy jeans immediately because I look horrendously thin! In this photo my face for me looks pretty thin! 


A year I’ve found hard to find a good photo from. I was struggling with depression on a grand scale. I can remember going on holiday to Cornwall and turning my phone off for a week and it was by far the best week of the year. I went surfing for the first time and spent the week feeling free of difficult times. I was torn on weather to go to college full time and leave my boy or to stay at home with him. I did however meet my amazing Homestart volunteer who I am still in touch with today and I love her to bits. She is the most amazing woman and she supports me through everything. I also learnt to drive this year and that gave me a focus which I badly needed, I passed the day before my 18th Birthday!

 Being a bridesmaid. A better year. I got my first tattoo and moved out of my parents into our first flat, just me and my eldest, I was 18. Alot of my friends couldn’t fathom why I would want to leave home but it was hard being at home because it was easy to lean on my parents for support and as my friends know I’m stubbornly independent and I wanted that independence back. Although that flat wasn’t in a great location it was big and spacious (which is something I love) and it holds many happy memories of our first year in our own home. 


The year I started my blog
A year filled with happy memories.
Holidays to my favourite place (Cornwall)
We moved house again and spent many happy days with friends.

A good year with some amazing friends and I changed my degree from Youth Work to a BA in childhood and youth studies which I was happier with. I was focusing heavily on studying and eldest was in nursery which I found so weird. I was 20.


2011 (A mum again)
Babywearing again but this time in a more comfortable way. Being a mum a second time was so much easier than the first. I knew what I was doing and had confidence in my ability. I wasn’t terrified of my newborn and nor was I struggling with PND. I was strong and needed to be as it was a difficult year for other reasons. My eldest started school which was terrifying being a 21 year old Mum on the school playground! But being the outgoing chat to anyone person that I was I soon made friends.
I loved 2012, the Olympic spirit in London was wonderful and we were lucky enough to see the road races come through our county, visit the Olympic park and see beach volleyball, football and a volleyball final. As well as a damp but awesome day out to see the Olympic torch with our closest family and friends. In the September I started my first job and by December was being interviewed for the supervisory position, which I didn’t think I would get.

2013 –
The year I got my fitness back! I took up running again through our children’s centre, did Race for Life, cycled London to Brighton in my quickest time, did a skydive, enjoyed a job that I was promoted into within 3 months and prepared for the final year of my degree.



Looking back I can’t believe how much has happened over 7 years. Even more than I have mentioned because there is alot I choose not to discuss. I have grown in many ways. Just when I think I can’t ‘mature’ more I do. I’m on track to the goals I’ve worked towards and am starting to set new goals. My hair may have changed but I’ve always been the same underneath. Friends have come and gone. The true ones have stayed. I feel blessed to have such an amazing network of support around me, family and friends. They all carry me through when times are tough and I turn to each of them over different things. I’m incredibly lucky.