Friday, 5 September 2014

Encouragement and Excitement!

This time last year I didn’t run. I didn’t think I would ever run and I certainly didn’t think that I would be doing a half marathon in less than a year! It has been a tough 11 months of training but I am hoping it is all going to be worthwhile on Sunday!

On Monday evening I went to my running group – my final training run before the GNR! I’ve been finding running particularly difficult the last few weeks and I am so tired. I didn’t go out last Friday as I felt like I needed the rest more than the run. I felt quite guilty about this as a 3 mile run was in my training plan. I emailed my running coach Steve to ask him if I needed to amend the remaining days of my plan but he told me that it was fine that I missed a run. I felt better after Steve reassured me that rest is just as important as training.

I went out on Sunday morning with Rachael for a 3 mile run. We set off early to get it over and done with. It was uncomfortably warm, despite being early and cloudy. It was a horrible 3 miles as my legs were heavy and I felt too hot. I couldn’t have kept going if it wasn’t for Rach. There were lots of friendly people out, some of whom gave us words of encouragement. I was about to start walking when a man told us we were doing well. This was all the encouragement I needed to keep going. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and knew that we’d soon be home!

I still can’t believe that I am actually running a half marathon on Sunday! On 30th September last year I turned up at Alexandra Park in Cramlington and met my running coach Steve for the first time. I struggled to run between two lamp posts, and found it difficult to believe Steve when he told me that it would get easier.

I persevered and I am so pleased with the progress that I have made. I have trained in the dark, the cold, the rain, the sun, and the wind. I have trained when running is the last thing I wanted to do. I have foam rolled, had ice baths and leg massages to try and reduce the pain and aches in my legs. I have modified my diet, cutting things out and adding things in (though the flies I swallowed, weren’t part of the plan!)

I can honestly say that this has been the most challenging thing I have ever decided to do. It has also been one of the most enjoyable. I have made new friends, and achieved things I didn’t even think possible. I’ve changed from a walker to a (dare I say it) keen runner! It isn’t easy. It isn’t easy at all, but I would do it all again as it has been the most exciting journey so far.

I wanted to do something to raise money for the North East Trust for Aphasia. Those of you that know me personally, will know how passionate I am about my career as a Speech and Language Therapist. Communication is such an integral part of our lives and language is the thing that makes us human. NETA do amazing work with people who have difficulty in understanding and using language, following a stroke or other brain injury. The members are so inspirational and I am truly proud to be raising funds in their name.

I didn’t think for one minute that I would develop another passion (running!) whilst on my latest quest to raise funds and awareness. I also did not think that I would find myself so passionate about something that is so difficult.

I am so proud of my journey – I think it proves that anything is possible with hard work and dedication. I am so grateful to everyone who has been a part of my journey, whether they realise it or not. The encouragement and support I have had, often from complete strangers, has been amazing.

I’ve been struggling over the last couple of weeks, partly due to the intensity of my training and partly due to the realisation that I am actually going to be running 13.1 miles. This is now coming at a time of great change in my life as I have just got a new job and I will be moving house so it feels like everything is happening all at once!

I cannot thank Steve enough for his continued support and encouragement. I would not still be running now if it wasn’t for him.
Tomorrow I am looking forward to doing the mini north run with Joshua and seeing Toni do her first junior run. I am also really starting to feel excited about the GNR (although I am still nervous too!). I have decided that the time it takes me to complete it is no longer important to me. It was a few weeks ago, but now I just want to enjoy the experience as much as possible.
I went to the Million Ceremony with my parents, Joanne, Craig, Toni and Rachael last night and had an amazing time. We couldn’t see everything from where we standing but the atmosphere was really good. I am excited that the first year I decided to do the Great North Run, is the year of the Millionth finisher. Well done to everyone who has taken part in years gone by, and good luck to everyone running on Sunday!

My journey to the Great North Run is almost complete, yet I feel my running journey is still just beginning. I cannot wait to experience the sense of achievement upon crossing the finish line! Thank you to Joanne and Rachael for inspiring me to do it, and everyone who has continued to believe in me.

If you would like to support my fundraising you can do so here....every penny counts! I look forward to updating you about my first experience of the GNR! Thank you for sharing in my journey J

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