Olivia runs the London Marathon

Olivia jumping in her young epilepsy top

Hey everyone! My name is Olivia Salvati and I am excited to announce that I will be running the London marathon for Young Epilepsy this October. I have epilepsy myself, in which I have absence seizures, myoclonic seizures, and tonic-clonic seizures. For years my epilepsy took over my life and caused me many ups and downs. Nonetheless, I recently celebrated my 2-year tonic-clonic seizure-free anniversary, which has given me a new lease on life. If you spoke to me 3 years ago, I never thought I would be able to do anything like the London Marathon because of my epilepsy, but here I am and I am still in shock.

I am here to prove to myself and anyone with a disability that we can still achieve amazing and extraordinary things, nothing can stop us! This London Marathon is also extra special to me as the London Marathon has gifted me this place, along with 39 other runners for charities, for their 40th anniversary after being inspired by my story. I have just begun my training and will be posting occasional updates and milestones on my Instagram (@livsalvati), and Young Epilepsy's social media (@YoungEpilepsy, https://thechannel.org.uk).

So please follow and donate! Thank you so much everyone! ūüíú

Olivia in the gym training

Good Luck Olivia!

Read Olivia's Blog below to see how she's getting on with training. We'll be following her journey here on The Channel right up to 'Marathon Day'

4 Months to Go...

This week I have officially started my training! The surrealism of running the London Marathon 2021 has officially hit me, and I could not be more grateful for this opportunity. I am not someone who is massively into exercise, so running my first round of 5Ks has been extremely tough. I have been running with my house mate, Joe, who has really motivated me to keep going, even though it feels like I’m dying inside. For anyone who has epilepsy, I would really recommend training with someone who motivates you and understands your condition. I only say this because I felt that there was no pressure to do more than body was capable of doing. As we live in London, we have been running alongside the River Thames and the breath-taking views of the city, which makes me even more excited for the actual marathon so I can spend this monumental moment in my hometown. I also discovered that the marathon course will be passing my road, which makes me even more excited to think that my friends and family will be cheering me on from my home!  

Olivia Training
Olivia running past cutty sark

3 Months to Go...

This month I have realised that I need more of a structure to my regime. I have usually been running three to four times a week, but with this crazy and unpredictable English weather, I have been slacking recently. Also, balancing my marathon training with a new part-time job as well as my Law postgraduate degree has not been easy. I have found that I run better in the evenings, but I know I need to start training in the mornings as the marathon has an early start. The NikeRunClub app has been effective in tracking my progress which has helped slowly boost my confidence. I have also been finding it easier to monitor my distance in kilometres rather than miles as it seems less daunting. 

Recently I have been running with my mum, who is massively into fitness. My mum has completed many half-marathons and off-road multi-terrain races, so she has been teaching me a lot about running. For some of our runs, we have been doing fartlek training. Fartlek, which means "speed play" in Swedish, is continuous training with interval training. Fartlek runs are a very simple form of a long-distance run. Fartlek training “is simply defined as periods of fast running intermixed with periods of slower running." This training should help me with my cardiovascular fitness, so running further should start to feel easier. When I first did this type of training, I nearly threw up as my body was not used the intensity. However, I now find myself racing with my mum which is a lot of fun!  

Olivia and her mum
olivia run stats

10 Weeks to Go...

This week has been extremely exciting as my boyfriend, Alex, has decided to run the London Marathon with me for Young Epilepsy. He has been part of my epilepsy journey for five years now and has helped me in so many ways. Alex, like me, is not particularly into fitness, but after seeing what I have been through with my epilepsy, he really wanted to join in on the fun and set a challenge for himself. He is also at university, so we have been learning together how to balance the training with all our deadlines approaching which has been quite difficult, as it is so easy to say, ‚Äėlet‚Äôs just run tomorrow‚Äô. Therefore, this marathon is going to be an emotional journey, but so unbelievably rewarding.¬†¬†

This week I have reached £700 on my Virgin MoneyGiving page. I am so grateful for everyone’s generosity. It has been hard fundraising whilst balancing life alongside being in a pandemic still, however, I am still hopeful that I can reach my target of £2,200

Olivia and Alex

8 Weeks to Go...

With marathon day fast approaching and a step-up in my training, I have realised that I need more running clothes as I can’t keep up with my washing! As the British weather is so unpredictable and the marathon being in October rather than April, I need to prepare for all weather conditions. I am planning to wear my Young Epilepsy vest with my name on it, and I cannot wait for people to cheer my name as I know this will give me an extra push when I am struggling on the day. I need to get used to running with a bum bag that will have all my essentials in on the day, such as, Vaseline for chaffing, plasters for blisters, and some sugary sweets to give me that needed sugar rush. I also need to decide what running trainers to wear on the day so I can begin training in them. I am currently wearing Nike React trainers, which have been so comfy and have given me that extra bounce when running on concrete ground. I need to invest in a second pair of trainers as spares for the day, just in case anything goes wrong, fingers crossed nothing will! Regarding nutrition, I have been making sure I have been eating plenty of carbs and protein, so my body has enough energy to fuel my runs, which isn’t hard for me as an Italian who loves pasta! At the moment, I have not been taking any liquid with me while training, but I know this is something I need to get used to as it is so important to stay hydrated, especially if I want to avoid getting a stitch on the day. 

Nike React Trainers

6 Weeks To Go...

It dawned on me how close the marathon is with 6 weeks to go. I have been really fortunate to not have to worry about my epilepsy on this journey, but now I am finding myself thinking about my seizures more often. Even though I am two years tonic-clonic seizure free, I have never completed this much exercise before because of my epilepsy, as when I was younger, too much exercise would cause a seizure. I am now feeling stronger than ever before, but sometimes it is very difficult to tell those doubts in your head to go away! I have realised throughout my journey that I am more resilient than I realised physically and mentally, and thus proving to myself that anyone with epilepsy is capable of doing anything!  

Olivia running along the Thames