Sunday, 1 May 2016

A Soggy Sunday in Sunderland...

This morning when my alarm went off and I could hear rain lashing on the windows I was wondering why I thought it was a good idea to get up and do a 10K on a Sunday morning. I have this battle every time I have to get up early to go running. Ironically, I didn’t go running yesterday morning yet I was awake at 7am (how annoying!)
I got ready and had my usual 10K breakfast of porridge and Nutella before lacing up and heading out the door. Half way to Sunderland I realised that I had forgotten to pack bin bags and so thought positive sunny thoughts in the hope I wouldn’t need to wear one anyway! Upon arriving at Sunderland, we parked a few minute walk away and heading to the new start area at Keel Square. It was cold, wet and miserable and I didn’t feel enthusiastic about running at all.  We stood shelter in the baggage tent which was marginally warmer, and considerably drier. My sister Joanne then rang and told me she’d arrived and was near the start with Craig, so Tony and I went to meet them.
Craig, me and Tone
I decided I wanted my number pinned to my jacket instead of my top so I could fasten it and stay dry when running. Unfortunately the event clips wouldn’t go through my jacket so I decided to run with my jacket open instead. (This turned out to be a fortunate decision as the rain stopped not long after we started running and I quickly began to feel hot).
It was lovely to see some familiar faces and running friends I haven’t seen for a while and I slowly began to look forward to the run ahead. It was lovely to have my brother in law Craig back out running too as he’s one of the people that inspired to me to run.
Tone, me and Chris
Me and Colin in his Big Pink Dress
The route was different to last year and it felt strangely disorientating in parts. I don’t know Sunderland very well and I couldn’t have run last year’s route from memory but it still felt different at times. I was of course happy I got to see the sea and quite enjoyed the route overall. It was hilly in parts but I am proud to say I ran the whole way. I know I must be getting better at running as I rarely think about walking. I still complain quite a bit but I just run through it.

All the Marshall's were friendly and supportive and it was also lovely to see my friend Fiona marshalling too. It's always lovely to see a friendly face out running!
There were a number of water stations on route which were definitely needed at times. They were water pouches which I always find difficult to navigate. Firstly I didn’t realise it was already open so squirted half the water out before I got any and secondly once I figured this out managed to breathe in as I was drinking and running and inhaled the water as well drinking it! I was still grateful for the water and I navigated the second pouch much better than the first.
When there were 3.2 miles remaining there was a sign in memory of Cpt David Seath, the 31 year old soldier who sadly died during the London Marathon last week. We ran the rest of the route in his memory and it really made me appreciate how lucky I am to be able to get out and run. Life is so short and we should remember to make the most of every minute.
I struggled with the final couple of miles as my hip began to hurt and my calves felt heavy. Some kind spectators were giving out jelly babies and it was a welcome sugar hit as we were approaching the end. Although I found it difficult, I did quite enjoy it overall, particularly as I had someone to talk to which always helps.
Joanne was waiting near the finish and cheered us on. We didn’t think we had a sprint finish left in us but the closer we got to the end I decided maybe I did after all so I ran with everything I had. Tony did too and we did another synchronised sprint finish! Just after we crossed the finish line I saw Craig and Chris cheering us on. We then joined the queue to get our t-shirt, medal and goody bag and went to find Joanne.
I was really pleased with our time of 1 hour 16 which is faster than we ran Blyth 10k a few weeks ago. I am particularly proud of this time as it was hillier than the Blyth route.
When heading back to the car I began to feel really cold and decided I needed to use the foil blanket we’d been given which made me a lot warmer! We also got a cup of tea on the way back to the car which helped warm me up even further.
This afternoon Joanne, Craig and the children came for tea and I shared a bottle of Prosecco with my mam and Joanne to celebrate. I spent the whole afternoon sporting my t-shirt and medal (which has a rather exciting moving propeller feature!)
Feeling proud!
I’ve had a lovely day with some wonderful people and I look forward to continuing to build up my miles towards the Great North Run. I am running for a fantastic cause – the North East Trust for Aphasia – supporting people with communication difficulties following a stroke or other brain injury. If you would like to show your support you can find the link to my fundraising page here.
Thanks so much for reading!

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