Sunday, 27 July 2014

Running Rainbows

Only 6 weeks to go! Six weeks until I complete the hardest challenge of my life to date! I am a combination of nervous and excited, and the proportion of this changes each day!

I’m training hard and this week has been particularly difficult. I got new trainers last Saturday and got my gait analysed again. After wearing the new trainers around the house for a few days I decided they weren’t a wide enough fit so I had to go back to the shop for some different ones. The new ones are a different make and size. I’ve been running in them a couple of times now and they are much better than my old ones (the pain in my shins is a lot better and I no longer feel like I am being kicked in the bum!)

However, both times, I have had that tingly numb feeling in my toes that I used to get when I very first started running. This could be the trainers, or it could be because both times I ran in them, it was ridiculously hot. I will have to see how they are over the next few runs.

Last Sunday I completed the Colour Run in Sunderland with my sister (Joanne), brother-in-law (Craig), best friend (Rach) and her boyfriend (Karl). We’d been excited about this for ages and who ever would have thought I would be excited for a run!
Rach and I before it began!

For those of you who haven’t heard of the Color Run, it’s a 5K run (originated in the USA) where you get powder paint thrown on you at each kilometre. So by the time you reach the end you look like a beautiful rainbow (well that’s the idea, I just looked like a bit like one of the purple minions from Despicable Me 2!)

Purple Minion (me!)

The sun was shining on Sunday and it was really warm, a bit too hot to run! My legs were still a bit sore, so I was struggling to keep up with everyone (especially as their ‘slow’ appears to be my fast!). We walked parts of it, partly as it was so congested with walkers, and partly due to the heat. After each kilometre we stopped for a photo and it was fun that the five of us were doing it together. The first paint stop was at 1K and it was pink. Phil, one of the runners from the Great North Run Beer Tent Group, was a volunteer and did a great job of colouring us in pink paint (so good that it took a week to get it off my glasses!)

Once we crossed the finish we were given a sachet of powder paint each and the 5 of us had great fun throwing this on ourselves to make us even more colourful!

On Monday I went to Dynamics Personal Fitness (DPF) in Cramlington and we did pyramid training (200m, 400m, 600m, 800m 1km, 800m, 600m, 400m, 200m) and it was difficult in the heat! It’s always a good session with Steve though and I am really feeling the benefits.

My training plan for Wednesday was a slow and steady 3 mile run. On my way out of work I told them I was going for a run when I got home. They asked me how far and I said ‘just 3 miles tonight’. I didn’t think I would ever say ‘just’ before any distance but I was confident it would be an easy run. The rather high temperature and large numbers of midges flying around made me eat my own words (and almost a fly or two!). I felt every single mile and hated pretty much every second of the run. I was so glad to get home and have a cold bath (another combination of words I NEVER thought I would say!)

On Thursday I went to the Strengthening and Conditioning session with DPF. I love these sessions even though they are hard work as I can really feel the benefits. My core has only just stopped aching today!

Yesterday I went out for my longest run to date. Eight whole miles! It was another warm morning and I struggled in the heat. My legs felt a bit heavy and my feet began to feel tingly/numb after a few miles. This was made a little easier with walk breaks so I just kept doing that every so often.

There were so many friendly people about (many of whom told me it was too hot to run!) and that made the running a bit more bearable. I had to stop at the shop for a cold drink as it was just too hot, and this made me feel a bit better.

I don’t really enjoy long runs, but the sense of achievement I felt when I got home, made me glad I had gone out.

Next weekend I will be running 9 miles! I haven’t decided where I will go yet but I think I’d like to plan a bit of a different route, as my last few long runs have been mainly the same route with a bit added in each time. I’m looking forward to the sense of achievement I know I will feel once I am home. I am still searching for the excitement at the thought of running 9 miles! I know I can do it though, as I’ve been working hard and have already made more progress than I ever thought possible!

Thank you for joining me in my Journey to the Great North Run!

Friday, 25 July 2014

A Day to Remember...

It had been what felt like ages since I’d last done a Parkrun, so last Saturday I decided to do South Shields, for a number of reasons:

1.       My big sister was off work and was also running

2.       I wanted to try for a sub 30 personal best

3.       Colin, Parkrun director, was running in a wedding dress ahead of his marriage to the lovely Sam
I woke up bright and early and was excited to be doing a Parkrun. I love the course at South Shields and I love it even more when Joanne does it too. Joanne hasn’t been running much recently due to working a lot so she said she wasn’t aiming for a pb this time, just a gentle run round the course.

Me with my sister Joanne

Before it began the blushing bride (groom) arrived in (his) her wedding dress and I went and took a photo. I was mighty impressed he was doing a Parkrun in a dress – I can only just manage it in my running clothes!
Colin before the run

Joanne and I started off together and it was lovely that we were running alongside each other, as Joanne is usually faster than me and I don’t try and keep up. Back in December when I did my first South Shields Parkrun, Joanne ran with me (slowly for her) to keep me company and support me round. I came last with a time of 39:40 which was a new pb for me! That day, it was Joanne that got me round the route so it was lovely that on Saturday we were running along together. I am so proud of the progress I’ve made in the last 9 months and Joanne is one of the reasons I started running in the first place.

I was chatting to her along the way - and commenting how I couldn’t believe, that even in a wedding dress, Colin was still miles in front of us! At the first mile my Garmin beeped and told me that it had taken 10.14. I knew that I needed to stop chatting and run faster or I wouldn’t get my much desired sub 30 personal best! We both picked up the pace and having Joanne alongside me kept me going. My legs were getting heavy and the sea mist was holding the heat in the air, making it a bit too warm to run. I was so impressed that our second mile was my fastest yet (9.36!). Joanne was beginning to struggle with her breathing as she hasn’t been running much and was running faster than planned. I began to go ahead of her, but felt bad about leaving her behind. As soon as she saw I was slowing down to keep running with her, she told me to just keep running, so that I could get my pb. She’s a lovely big sister!

The last mile was difficult but I kept going as I was determined to get a pb (and hopefully a sub 30). Once I was on the final stretch I began to increase my pace. I felt sick and my legs hurt and I didn’t know if I could keep going. I wasn’t sure if I was going to manage a personal best but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.
Once I crossed the finish line I stopped my Garmin and had mixed feelings about the numbers I saw. At 30:20 it was a personal best by 8 seconds!!

But it wasn’t the sub 30 I was hoping for...

I could see Joanne approaching the finishing stretch and went to cheer her on. There was something really special about seeing her cross the finish line and I was proud to be there cheering her on. I’ve never finished before Joanne so it was nice to support her instead of the other way round.

I told her I got a pb but not as good as I was hoping for, and she was really pleased for me. I no longer felt sick and I’d had time to think about the run and I realised that I should be really proud of myself. When I started running my aim was to run. Nothing more than that. But each time I have made progress over the last few months it has just made me want to get even better.

I knew I shouldn’t feel bad about running 5k in 30:20 as back in December that was a time I could only have dreamed of running it in! I think this is a perfect example of how it is important to look at how far we have come, not just how far we have to go. My coach Steve is always telling me this.

I got my pacing a bit wrong on Saturday and I know that I ran the first mile too slowly for a sub 30. But I ran it with my big sister and I enjoyed it. After having time to think about it I am really pleased with my time and I’ve realised that the time it takes isn’t the most important thing. It is getting out there and running, enjoying it along the way (as much as it can be enjoyable!). I couldn’t think of anything better than running with my big sister, and if that means that I missed out on a sub 30, then that’s ok because there’ll be lots more times to run and it’s something to improve on next time! I don’t get to run with Joanne every time I go out.

After the run I congratulated Colin for his big day (in awe of the fact he still ran superfast in a dress!)

Joanne and I then went back to her house for a cup of tea, before I headed off to buy some much needed new trainers! I was very excited and I never thought I would be excited about buying running things!!

Thanks for reading and joining me in my journey to the Great North Run for the North East Trust for Aphasia.

Rachael and her Raspberry Rescue!

Another couple of weeks of running have passed in my journey to the Great North Run. When I am not running I can’t stop telling everyone how much I love it. Then when I go out running again it always shocks me how difficult I still find it. I talk about it so positively between runs that I almost forget how hard it is until I start running again.

By the time I blog, the pain has gone, the endorphins have kicked in, and I’ve had time to reflect on the whole run, therefore it usually results in a positive blog about how great running is. I love how much running has changed my life and how much fitter and healthier I feel, but there is no denying that I still find it extremely difficult. Just as it begins to get a little easier, I am pushing myself harder, and further out of my comfort zone, in order to keep improving, therefore it never gets to a point where it is actually easy. I started running as I wanted a challenge (and to raise money for a very worthy cause) – and a challenge is certainly what I got! My daily calendar really resonated with me today as it says ‘Nothing worth doing is easy’ and I couldn’t agree more.


I’ve had a few difficult runs since I last blogged (and some good ones too!) and I think it is just as important to reflect on both, as every run teaches me something, even if it’s just that (even when I think I can’t) I CAN do it.

Last week my Running Coach Steve set me a 7.5 mile run. This was scheduled for the same day as my best friend Rachael’s run so we decided to go out together. Rach arrived at my house straight from work and I was excited to run with her as it has been a good few months since we went out running together. The aim was a slow and steady run, as I was still recovering from the Great North 10k and I didn’t want to overdo it.

That morning I saw my lovely friend Katie (a physio) and was telling her about my painful legs. She offered to give them a little massage for me and afterwards told me that there is nothing to be concerned about (no injuries etc) but that a new pair of trainers would probably help the pain I have been getting. My legs felt much lighter after the massage – the best they’ve felt in ages!

When Rach and I first set out on our run it was raining pretty heavy, but this didn’t put us off! In fact, we were glad of the rain to keep us cool. You can imagine our disappointment when the rain dried up and the sun came out! (Actually, you may only be able to imagine this if you are a runner yourself, as the non-runner part of me still can’t believe that I sometimes complain that the sun is shining!)
I already had my 7.5 mile route planned (as I had done it previously) so we decided to go with this. Rach was looking forward to trying a new route and I was looking forward to having some company.

As always the first couple of miles were difficult but having Rachael with me to chatter to really helped. It’s a nice route and the scenery is pretty, which always makes a run more enjoyable. It didn’t take long for the sun to feel uncomfortably hot and I began to wish I had put a vest on rather than a t-shirt.

I’ve been having trouble with pain in my calves and shins for the last few weeks and I could feel it in every step I took (although not as bad as previous runs due to the massage). The route we chose wasn’t flat and it was difficult in the heat. The view of the river at Sheepwash was a pleasant reprieve (and was also about half way through our run!). When I was running downhill I felt like someone was kicking me in the glutes (butt cheeks) and I began to wonder if I needed new trainers more than I previously thought. I wondered if this could be an indication of the cushioning in my trainers being worn out (coupled with Katie’s and Steve’s advice about new trainers too). Not one to give up though, I kept plodding along.

About 5 miles into the run, I was really beginning to suffer with the heat. As we approached the shops in Stakeford, I told Rachael that it was typical that the first time I would have stopped to buy a drink was the first time I didn’t run with a pound in my pocket. Rachael told me she had a pound and suggested we go in to the shop to buy a cold drink (stopping our Garmin’s first of course!)

She bought a bottle of Raspberry Lucozade Sport, and never have I felt like I needed a drink so much! I don’t normally like to run with a bottle, but I was extremely grateful for this one. Once feeling (a little more!) refreshed, we started our Garmin’s again and began running again.

When we got to Stakeford bank, I managed to run down it ok (still feeling like someone was kicking me though!) but my knee began to hurt on the upward bank so I decided to walk rather than risk hurting my knee further. Rach did brilliantly and ran all the way up the hill (and waited for me at the top).

With just a mile or so to go, I was still struggling in the heat, and my legs began to feel heavy again. At 7.2 miles I could not run another step and told Rachael I would just walk home from here. I told her she could run ahead and I would catch up with her at my house, by she told me that as we’d started together, we would finish together and she walked home with me. *True Friends*

Once home, we stretched and had some more Lucozade before tucking in to a large portion of homemade lasagne!
We did it. We ran 7.5 miles, which so far is my furthest distance (though I had done it once before). It took us an hour and 35 minutes, which is probably a bit faster than if I’d gone out on my own. Having someone to talk to and share the experience with made me run faster.

It was definitely made more bearable running with Rach, and her raspberry Lucozade was very welcome on the hot run!

I was booked in for a deep tissue leg massage the day after this (from the lady who does my monthly Indian Head Massages). Even though I’d had a massage the previous day I decided to keep my booking. This was just what I needed, although slightly painful in parts, it made my legs feel much better. She said the same as Katie about there being nothing to worry about in terms of injury, just that there’s a little fluid around my ankles which could be attributed to needing new trainers. I went home and had a cold bath and put ice on my ankles for 20 minutes afterwards and my legs felt as good as new!
And guess what I went shopping for on Saturday….

Friday, 18 July 2014

GN10K..Impossible?…no! I’m Possible!

I booked the Great North 10K months and months ago when I hadn’t been running for long and 6.2 miles seemed virtually impossible. I booked it as a good training event pre Great North Run at the recommendation of my running coach. It was the first 10K that I booked but has ended up being the third one I’ve done. Of course, 10K isn’t impossible (and as the saying goes even the word itself says I’m Possible) and I’ve been excited about it for a while.

Back in May I did the Sunderland 10k in 1 hour 19 minutes and I found it extremely difficult. Two months of hard training and another 10k behind me (Lambton 1 hour 17) I was excited to try for a new personal best. When I booked it I estimated a finish time of 1hour10 minutes and I was hoping that I could do this though I knew this would be a challenge. I’ve been going to a lot of training sessions with Dynamics Personal Fitness and this has included speed work, hills and core strength. It hasn’t been easy but I know the hard work will pay off!

A couple of weeks ago I persuaded my brother-in-law to sign up too. Anyone that has known us for a while, will know how much of a turn of events this is! Whoever would have thought I’d be encouraging Craig to sign up for a race?!

On Sunday morning, my friend Claire picked me up bright and early and we were raring to go (bin bags at the ready to protect us from the rain!) We were so keen, that we were the first car in the car park! Due to the torrential downpour we decided to sit in the car for a while so that we wouldn’t get too wet before the run. We got into our bin bags (not as easy as it looks!) ready to embrace the weather! We made a dash for it when the rain lessened slightly and went to meet Craig.

I suddenly began to get nervous but once at Gateshead Stadium the nerves began to turn back to excitement.

We met with Craig and saw some other runners we know too. We also met for a Great North Run Beer Tent photo (we did of course remove our bin bags for the benefit of the photo!)

On our way round to the start line we saw Hippie Lee with his camera and waved. Here is the awesome photo he took! (Proof that Craig does smile sometimes!)

We saw some of the girls from my Running Group (Dynamics Personal Fitness) and got a photo. I love how whenever I go to a running event I always bump into someone I know (and have met through running). The running community really is a happy place to be!

Craig had a white number and I had a green number but he dropped back into green so that we could start off together. It still feels really surreal that I am running and even more so when I am standing waiting to run, next to my lovely brother-in-law (who’s probably been running longer than I’ve been walking! Haha) I told Craig how excited I was to be at the start with him and he told me he couldn’t believe it either… and he was cursing me when he was driving to Gateshead in the pouring rain on Sunday morning!

Once we started I wished Craig good luck and told him I’d see him at the finish (he’s a faster runner than me). I had worked out that I needed to run at an average pace of 11.5 minute miles to get the pb I aimed for so I started off nice and easy to ensure I didn’t overdo it.

I struggled to see out of my glasses due to the rain but I just kept plodding along. About a mile and half in I was struggling. I saw the fast runners that were running the other way and decided to watch them as I ran to see if I knew anyone. I saw Colin Robson (South Shields Parkrun Director) but by the time I noticed it was him I’d missed the chance to cheer him on. He was running really fast, and the thought that he was near the end of his run, made me think if I keep going, I’ll be there before I know. I kept looking at the other runners as I ran in the hope I’d see some more runners I know. Some of my running friends spotted me and shouted to cheer me on (Andy and Jane) and this kept me going even though I was finding it difficult. I was looking out for Craig as I reckoned that it wouldn’t be long before I would see him. I was so happy to see him, and even happier when he hi-fived me! It was such an amazing feeling that I saw him as we were running and it kept me going (with a smile on my face) for at least half a mile.

I saw some other Beer Tenters and waved at them and they waved back; it’s so nice to see a friendly face! At the half way point Metro Radio were there cheering everyone on and encouraging us to do an aeroplane as we looped back round. Just after this I saw my friend Claire E) as she passed me and we gave each other encouragement as we ran.  I saw Catherine, one of the girls I went to uni with and I cheered her on too.

 Another one of my running friends, Claire S, appeared alongside me and we ran together for a while. I noticed my pace had increased by an average of a minute a mile but I still felt reasonably ok so I kept going (making the most of the flat while it was there). It was really nice to have someone to talk to as I ran.   I saw Sam (Colin’s fiancĂ© - they are getting married tomorrow!) and cheered her on, but she was so focused on her running, with her earphones in that she didn’t see/hear me.

Claire S and I ran together for a little while then she increased her pace for the final mile, while I wanted to maintain (my slightly faster than planned) pace I was doing. I knew the final hill was coming soon and I wanted to make sure I had enough energy to get up it. I have been doing some hill training and I was really pleased with myself for running up all of the hill. I walked a little once I got to the top but then I was running again and I was on the final bit home.

Before I knew it, BOOM just 800m to go. I could hear the cheers from the stadium and knew it wouldn’t be long until I was finished. Once on the track I began to increase my speed, but then I felt really sick. I slowed down slightly as the track was a lot bigger than I thought it would be, but I just kept going. I knew that Craig would be finished by now and my parents and niece were also there to see me finish. I heard someone shout my name so I smiled (I think it might have been Hippie Lee as he was there taking awesome photos) and I really pushed hard for a sprint finish.

I felt so emotional as I crossed the finish line and was so excited to see my parents, Craig and Toni waving at me from the stands. I was so unbelievably proud of myself. I waited for Claire S to cross the finish line and we walked to get our goody bags together.

It was such an incredible feeling to think that I had completed another 10k. My legs were heavy and I felt sick but that soon passed when I thought about my new personal best.. 1 hour 10 (and 34 seconds!). I DID IT! Great North 10K I’m Possible!

I still find running really difficult but it is getting easier. Only 7 weeks to go until the Great North Run...

Whenever I think about how hard it is, I remember why I started in the first place, to raise valuable funds for the North East Trust for Aphasia (NETA). NETA are a brilliant charity supporting people with communication difficulties following a stroke or other brain injury. They are a fantastic charity and I have had the pleasure of getting to know some of the members over the years. NETA really does makes a difference to their lives, and if you can help support them by supporting my (difficult) journey to the Great North Run then it really would be greatly appreciated. You can show your support here.

Thank you so much for joining in my journey to the Great North Run.

Monday, 14 July 2014

There was a young runner who swallowed a fly...

It’s been another busy few weeks (with lots of running of course!) and I’ve been meaning to blog for a while again but this is the first chance I’ve had! My training plan is going well and I can’t believe there’s only 8 weeks to go until the big day!

Last Saturday I had a brilliant session at the track with Dynamics Personal Fitness. Celia and I both worked together really well and although it was a hard session, I was smiling all day long from my achievements! We were doing 200m repetitions of the track, maintaining a certain pace (aiming for 2.26 which we did well, and even improved by 30 seconds on the last repetition!)

Me, Celia
At the track
After the Lambton 10k I had a blood blister on my left shoulder where the strap of bra had obviously been rubbing. I’ve been meaning to get properly fitted for a sports bra for a while as I knew the one I had wasn’t perfect. The shoulder ‘injury’ was the push I needed to get one fitted properly. I went to Sadie the Bra Lady last Saturday and she sorted me out. Whoever said that running was a cheap form of exercise, obviously wasn’t a woman! Not helped of course by me needing to buy a white one and a black one, to ensure I have a suitable one according to the top I am wearing!

I went to London last weekend to visit my cousin Kirsty and I wasn’t planning to take my trainers as I didn’t think I would have time to go for a run. Not wanting to rule it out completely, last minute I decided to pack my running things ‘Just in case!’

On Sunday night we went to the pub and I had a couple of ciders, so when I went to bed on Sunday night I decided it was unlikely that I would be running on Monday morning. I got up the next day, running the last thing on my mind until I saw my trainers. I couldn’t really be bothered but Kirsty and her boyfriend asked me if I was going to go running so I began to think about it again. About two hours of deliberating later I finally got ready and headed out the door for a quick run. I ran to Hampstead Heath, about half a mile from Kirsty’s house, for a nice run around the park.
It was a warm morning and I was struggling a bit but I was enjoying being out in the fresh air. Hampstead Heath is quite hilly and every time I turned a corner there seemed to be another one! I just took it easy and tried to enjoy it. I never thought I would go out for an enjoyable run. At the top of one the hills I could see the running track below and I could see a beautiful view of London. It literally took my breath away…coupled with the fact that I had just ran up a hill which was probably the main cause of my breathlessness! Looking at the view I could see the London Eye and I had to stop to take a photo. It made me think of one of my favourite quotes:

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”

I was so happy that I decided to go out for a run (4 miles) as it was an overall enjoyable experience and I wouldn’t have been out that early if I hadn’t decided to go running. It was also the first run in my new bra and I realised that I should have bought a better one much sooner (to any women runners that haven’t been measured for one, I’d recommend it!)

Kirsty and I did lots of walking on Tuesday (and we went back to Hampstead Heath) so by the time I got home on Tuesday night my legs were aching!

On Thursday I went to the strengthening and conditioning session with Dynamics Personal Fitness, in Cramlington. This was a brilliant session working on core strength. I feel like I get a lot out of these sessions and it is greatly improving my running. I was impressed with my ability to do sit-ups and press ups as these are exercises I used to avoid. By Friday afternoon I could feel my muscles aching and this was even worse by Saturday morning…just goes to show how little some of my muscles are used, but also how much good it is doing.

My training plan for Friday was an easy 3 mile run. I’d been looking forward to getting out after work and was raring to go when I got in. I got ready and went out as soon as I got home (with the view that the sooner I get out, the sooner I could come home and have something nice to eat!)

I decided to just run from my house, round the lake at the QE2 then home. It was a warm evening and I foolishly wore my long running bottoms. I also had different running socks on to what I usually wear and after a mile I could feel they were quite tight. My legs were heavy and my feet were hot and beginning to swell; I couldn’t wait to get home. I then choked on a fly! A very unpleasant experience (for me as well as the fly!) I spent the next 5 minutes coughing and spluttering and subsequently stung my arm on a nettle! 2.8 miles later I arrived home with very uncomfortable legs, a sore throat and an itchy arm. I got straight into a cold bath, which is normally torture but was actually rather pleasant on my aching legs. Needless to say, what started out as a pleasant 3 mile run, turned into one of my least enjoyable runs to date! But I can’t expect all of my runs to be a success; in fact it still surprises me that any of them are!

Thank you for joining me in my journey to the Great North Run.

Coming soon…..My First Great North 10k


Friday, 4 July 2014

BOOM...just another Julie-ism!

On Sunday morning I was up bright and early for the Lambton 10k. My brother-in-law Craig and friend Claire were also running. My best friend Rachael and her boyfriend Karl came along to support us.

I drove us to Craig’s house then he drove to the Lambton Estate (partly as he has a bigger car, but mainly as he has a better sense of direction!)

We set off nice and early and I was nervous and excited rolled into one! As we approached the car park I saw a sign that said ‘BOOM’. As we got nearer we were talking about running down this stretch of road and I realised that the sign didn’t say BOOM at all…it actually said 800m (clearly an easy mistake to make… and certainly one which had us laughing all the way to the car park! And as Craig pointed out... it's just another ‘Julie-ism’)

We were pretty much the first people there (after the Marshalls) and got parked really easily. We wandered around looking at the grounds and the excitement built the busier it got.

We posed for some pre-race photos and we also spoke to some of the other girls from running J We queued for the toilet (which took a surprising length of time due to the large number of people and small number of portaloos). I saw Colin (South Shields Parkrun Director) and I waved and said hello :) it's always nice to see a friendly face.
Craig, me and Claire
I started off with Craig, not far into the race there was a little bit of a bottle neck due to the large number of runners but it didn’t take long to get past this (may well have cost some people a personal best though!)

My sole aim for the event was to get to the finish – I hadn’t ran many hills previously so decided to use it more as a training session than an actual race.
Me running
(Thanks to Hippie for the photo)
I set off at a steady pace and tried to maintain this throughout. I was doing ok, and the scenery was making it a much more pleasant experience. The hills were hard work but I’ve learned a lot from Steve in the training sessions. I kept asking myself ‘are you going to own the hill or is the hill going to own you?!’ I was doing well at owning the hills until the last mile and there was a killer hill. I was determined to keep running up it but my poor little legs just couldn’t keep going so I walked the remainder of the hill. I started running again when it was flat then my heart sank at the next bit of hill (which was really just an extension of the previous one!).

I knew I didn’t have far to go so just kept telling myself to keep going. Some of the marshalls were really friendly (others not so much) and the smiley ones really helped me to keep going.

BOOM just 800m to go! (Just twice round the track!) I knew if I kept going at the pace I was running at I would be able to finish in a good time so I kept focused and put one foot in front of the other. At 400m Craig and Hippie Lee were there to cheer me on, they started to run with me which really helped, but also made me go faster. At 200m to go I had very little left but just kept going.

Everybody was cheering me on as I got near the finish, and seeing Rachael and Karl really helped! When I finally crossed the finish line I felt sick and my legs were like jelly - but I DID IT. I completed my 2nd ever 10k race (in a time of 1hour 17 minutes which was two minutes faster than the Sunderland 10k). I was so pleased with myself even though I was aching all over and could hardly breathe!

Rach came running straight over to give me a hug and tell me how proud she is of me! I’m proud of Rachael too, she’s part of the reason I run – she’s an inspiration J

When I was eating my refresher and drinking my water I met a fellow Great North Run Beer Tenter and said well done (unfortunately I didn't catch his name but it was nice to meet another member of the group). I really enjoyed the whole experience and I am excited for the Great North 10K a week on Sunday!
Huge thanks to Rach and Karl for coming along to support us (after a night out too!) and also to Hippie Lee and Craig for getting me to the finish. Thanks to Hippie for the fab photos too!

My official 10 week training plan started on Monday (with a well earned rest day!) I went for 7 mile run last night (which accidentally turned into 7.5miles). I really struggled with the first couple of miles (heavy calves) and didn’t know how I’d get to 7. I settled into it after a little while and I actually enjoyed the middle few miles (who ever thought I'd say that?!). I really struggled with the last mile as my knees began to hurt. I walked a little bit during the first couple of miles as I was getting cramp in my calves but from about 2.5miles until 7.2 miles I ran all the time which is really good going for me when I run on my own! Looking forward to a track session in the morning!
View on my evening run yesterday
A huge thank you to everyone who is reading this and those who have supported me in any way on my journey to the Great North Run.