Meade TKD champions Tina all the way in the 2013 London Marathon…..

Tina Lannin had never done any running before joining Meade TKD. She decided she wanted to run the London Marathon to raise funds for a charity, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, in memory of her hearing dog Smudge who passed away in November. We asked her about her running training and the marathon.

How did you prepare for your first marathon?

Tina Lannin running her first marathon

I decided to run the marathon in January so I only had 3 months to prepare, instead of the recommended 6. The first thing I did was to enlist the help of  Darren as a personal trainer every Saturday morning for 2 hours. We would do an hour of running in Springfield Park, hill work and fartleks (interval training), followed by more running with his martial arts group when they turned up, and some Tae Kwon Do exercises. I could see myself improving every week. I gravitated from crawling up a hill and being pulled by Darren, to running up the hill without stopping.

I went to the gym 2 or 3 times a week to run on the treadmill – which suited me very well as I don’t like running in sub-zero temperatures! I couldn’t face long runs at the weekend so I made up for this by putting in the miles each week and increasing my total each week. I joined a local running club, which has free street running group sessions every Tuesday with hill work and fartleks. I find it much easier to run with someone else than on my own. Up until the day of the marathon, my longest run had been 7 miles.

My muscles were so tight that I got tendonitis in my right leg, pulling my kneecap to one side. I had a few physio sessions and a sports massage, and got a foam roller. I discovered that you should use a foam roller daily when you start training – don’t wait until you are in pain!

I’d had issues with getting the right pair of trainers and I had 3 pairs that gave me pins and needles, so in desperation I bought a pair of Adidas Boost a whole size bigger, a few days before the marathon. I had a 2 hour massage at Venus Inspired in Chigwell, and a facial which was just wonderful, the massage left me with a very sore back (which was better by race day) and the facial was so relaxing I almost fell asleep – lovely!

What was your race experience like?

I was nervous about the race and had a bad tum for a week running up to it. I was both nervous and excited at the same time. I felt it was going to be a fun day but also a tough one because of how far I had to run.

On race day it was scorching hot. I stuck plasters anywhere that might rub, and packed my iPod, iPhone, and a book (just kidding!).

Start line – It took 20 minutes to get to the actual start line as I was in group 9, right at the back of the crowd of about 35,000 . It was a real party atmosphere.

Miles 1-7 – I had an annoying stitch for the first 5 miles and ran through that. My shoulders were very sore, they felt as if I was running with them around my ears (I probably was!). I spotted a friend Jamie standing at the roadside at mile 5 and it was lovely to get a supportive hug. It was really quite weird running around my old neighbourhood in Greenwich. My longest run to date has been 7 miles and at the 7 mile marker, I was surprised that I could just keep going; my body did what I wanted it to do and kept moving forward. I had warmed up now and was running comfortably, with the odd walking break.

Mile 12 – The halfway point. It was lovely to turn the corner and see the majestic Tower Bridge rise up to greet me. As I ran over Tower Bridge, I had a psychological shift and started thinking about how many miles were left, instead of how far I had to go. As we ran through Wapping, the faster runners were passing us in the opposite direction on their mile 22, and I looked at them thinking “I’ll never make it that far!”. All the supportive messages I’ve had from everyone kept coming into my mind, and helped me to keep going. I was also getting a constant stream of messages of support on my phone, which was just awesome.

Mile 17 – All of a sudden, it was as if someone had waved a magic wand. Everyone around me started walking like zombies; they had “hit the wall”. My quads started to hurt, but I kept pushing through the pain. I slipped into a walk/run strategy. I was expecting to be running around the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf and enjoying the views, but we were running underneath the walkways and through long dark tunnels – the least interesting part of this course.

Mile 19 – I saw the Hearing Dogs banner, I whooped when I saw my friends there and elbowed everyone else out of the way to get over there for some much-needed hugs. My phone died at this point so I concentrated on the cheering crowds – they really made my day. I dug deep and kept pushing forward, one foot after the other. I felt like Pacman, eating up the miles, one by one. Each mile seemed longer than the last; I was getting tired.

Mile 20 – My quads got worse and worse. At this point they were killing me but I didn’t want to stop, I wanted to finish the race – only 6.2 miles to go! I stopped to stretch – St John Ambulance came over to see if I was okay and gave me a quick thigh massage. After that I was walking a lot, in quite a lot of pain. I was walking/running past a lot of street parties – it was hard to watch people with huge plates of hamburgers and glasses of wine, with barbecue smells, as I ran past wanting to feed my gnawing hunger pangs! I had a bit of banter with people in the crowd and that helped to lift my spirits. So many people were standing there handing out sweets, oranges, drinks, or just with the palms of their hands out for me to touch as I went past. I loved this London spirit.

Mile 23 – Funnily enough it started to hurt more to walk than it did to run. I had sort of got used to the pain in my thighs and was running more, and then my lower back started to hurt, which I really didn’t like. My feet were sore by this point too – thankfully, I don’t have a single blister anywhere. I kept pushing forwards.

Mile 24 – I ran past St Pauls. Not far to go and I really wanted to push.

Mile 25 – Running down the Embankment, past all the tourists, the cheering crowds were getting much bigger now and I was pushing, pushing, pushing. I was buzzing, feeling really happy.

Mile 26 – Outside Buckingham Palace, I turned the corner and saw the finish line, but when I got there, a roadside notice said ’800 yards’ …! GROAN. The next notice said ’600 yards’, then ’400 yards’, ’200 yards’ – then I saw the real finish line with all the photographers lined up, and shot through with a finish time of 6:39:54.  I DID IT!

How do you feel Meade TKD has made a difference with your training?

Training with Meade TKD meant a 3 hour round commute on Saturday mornings but I didn’t care, as I had found someone to whom disability wasn’t a barrier. Being deaf, I am often treated as if I am not the full shilling, just because I can’t hear well. People often forget I need to see their face to lip-read, so the communication isn’t there. I found the personal training and the group work very accessible as Darren didn’t forget I’m a lip reader.

I really loved running this marathon and best of all was the support I got from friends and the cheering from the crowds. My legs are very sore and I have learned how important it is to stretch. I am still in shock that I’ve managed to run so far, and I’m so happy I can’t stop grinning. This marathon and the training for it has made me realise that I am able to do what I set out to achieve. It’s given me a sense of achievement and belief in myself. If I can do it, you can do it too. I have signed up to run a 10k on 18 April (We Own The Night), I’m abseiling down my office building on 8 June, and I have reserved a place in the 2014 London Marathon!

Tina ran this marathon to raise funds for a great cause, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. Please donate so that another deaf person can have a fantastic hearing dog like Smudge. 

Tina’s donation page : Just Giving

Abseil -
We own the night –