Monday, 25 August 2014

Last Long Run before the Big One!

After last Monday’s 4 mile run with Rachael we agreed to go out for 4 miles on Wednesday too, as this was in my running plan from Steve for this week.

I am still hoping that I will soon be finding shorter runs easier, but they still feel equally difficult to longer runs, they just last less time! Running with Rachael definitely makes the runs more bearable (though still not quite ‘enjoyable’). We find ourselves laughing at things that are neither funny nor entertaining but sharing in the suffering of the run makes us temporarily take leave of our senses! In no other aspect of my life would I find having a painful stitch in my side hilarious. I don’t find this particularly entertaining when I am running alone either, but there is something about the shared experience that makes things seem funnier than they actually are. My beautiful grandma always used to say “you’ve got to laugh or else you’ll cry” and I think this is very true when applied to my running experience!
Wednesday’s run felt particularly difficult. I don’t know why but my legs were heavy. I had been in the house on Wednesday afternoon and don’t think I drank as much water as I would at work so this could have been part of my problem. My friend Katie came out to watch my running style and to give our legs a massage after our run. Katie said that my right leg doesn’t look straight when I run but it felt fine when she massaged it. As ever, the massage from Katie was nice (though it was a little more painful this week as she massaged them straight after running).

I’ve put my old insole (that I had properly fitted) into my new trainers to see if this helped the lumpy muscle on my shin, as I felt it was being caused by my running style. I have noticed a massive difference so I think I should have done this from the start. Better late than never though. Hopefully this will see me successfully through the Great North Run.
On Friday, I went for my final long run before the big one – 11 miles in South Shields. I asked my big sister Joanne to run with me as she was off work and she is making this year’s Great North Run her last one. I did not ever imagine that I would be asking my sister to run 11 miles with me. It almost made me excited for the run. I say ‘almost’ as I knew I would appreciate the company but I don’t think I will ever be excited to do a long run.

I had a half day from work and drove to Joanne’s house. Having a half day was the only way to fit in this week’s long run as I went out for Rachael’s birthday on Friday night and have been away with family for the weekend. I think this demonstrates dedication to the cause!

I took my running clothes and got changed into them at Joanne’s house (in South Shields). Joanne was taking ages to get ready and then I got my brother in law Craig to take a photo of us pre-run.

When I went outside and set my Garmin watch away to pick up satellite it was taking ages to locate! I was starting to get quite impatient and Joanne was laughing at my watch as hers had located a satellite straight away.

I had been waiting all morning for a telephone call from the interview I had on Thursday. Just as my Garmin had almost located satellite, my mobile rang and it was the Speech and Language Therapist from my interview offering me the job!! I am glad that Joanne took so long to get ready and the satellite took ages to locate as otherwise I would have already been running when my phone rang!

I don’t think I have ever been so excited! I was also feeling enthusiastic about starting my run as I was in such a good mood. It was lovely to have Joanne there when I got offered the job and I was excited to be running with her talking about my new adventure. Unfortunately I think my excitement meant I set off too fast, and after a couple of miles running (and talking just as fast!) I was beginning to feel it in my legs. I slowed down a little and felt a bit better. Joanne was running just ahead of me, and she was wearing the vest she had printed when she ran for NETA last year. Seeing the NETA logo just in front of me, gave me a constant reminder of why I am putting myself through such a challenge. Every penny raised will make a difference to the North East Trust for Aphasia, and that makes it worthwhile.

We ran part of the Great North Run route and it wasn’t easy! I took Jelly Babies out with me and ate one every few miles. This helped me a little bit. I offered one to Joanne and she said she doesn’t like them. I told her that I don’t like them either but they are good when running. She decided to take my word for it and eat one herself but the look on her face suggested that she wasn’t impressed! And once again there was that uncontrollable laughter at something that is only marginally funny!

The route was hillier than I am used to running. I thought I put a good number of hills into my training runs but it would seem the GNR route still has more! I was seriously struggling just before Marsden bank (this was about 7 miles into our run) and opened my energy gel. This week I opted for tropical flavour. It did not taste nice. It did not taste nice at all. I did manage to open it with more success than last week, so it would seem practice really does make perfect(well not quite!) I tried to continue jogging whilst eating/drinking it this time. Last week I walked, but I wanted to experiment and see if I could use the gel on the move, so I know how this would feel on race day. After I had half the gel I began to feel a little bit sick, and the pain in my right knee had turned from a niggle to causing me to limp. I saw Joanne running across the road ahead me but I started to walk, not sure how I was ever going to complete my run.

I walked across the road to the top of the bank. I was still limping a little bit and Joanne stopped to wait for me to catch up with her. She asked if I wanted to turn back but I said I was ok to carry on. I began to run down the hill (and this felt better than walking). I heard a car toot their horn and looked at the road, not expecting it to be anyone I knew (as I don’t live in South Shields) but it was my brother in law and niece. They waved and smiled and it gave me the morale boost I needed. I was so close to giving up but seeing their smiling faces spurred me on.

We crossed the road at the bottom of the bank and ran part of South Shields Parkrun route. It was much quieter than I am used to seeing it as I have only ever ran it on a Parkrun day. The view, as always, is amazing. I stopped to take some photos, which I never do during a parkrun J and Joanne took a photo of me too.
The last two miles were so difficult. My legs were heavy and my knees were aching. The distance between me and Joanne was getting bigger. It was hurting her knees to keep slowing down so I told her to keep running. Finally, two hours and 21 minutes after I began, I finally reached 11 miles. I have no idea how I did it but am so grateful for Joanne’s support.
I was almost in tears when I finished and my feet were sore. I have noticed that I have the start of a blister (my first running blister – and I’ve a feeling it won’t be the last!)

I am so proud of myself for running 11 miles. I don’t know where I am going to find another 2.1 miles but I am sure the adrenaline and atmosphere on the day will get me through.

I went out with Rachael after my long run. We went for a meal and then to the comedy club at Ashington Football Club. I saw some people I know and one of them (Sam, a childhood friend) congratulated me on my running and said she really enjoys reading my blog. I started my blog as a way of keeping me motivated and a personal record of my journey to the Great North Run, so it really does mean a lot that people enjoy reading about my journey. Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far, through encouragement and sponsorship, I can’t believe that the journey to my first Great North Run is almost over! I am excited but also looking forward to it being over so that I can rest my legs!

I've just returned back home from a weekend away with the family and have decided I will go to my running group tonight....dedicated (or slightly mad!)

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