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 fiancé - 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.

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