Wednesday, 27 July 2016

I am.

I am back in Leeds packing up my flat once and for all as I’ve officially moved back to the North East. This is a time of mixed emotions as I love Leeds but I’m glad to be home.
On Saturday, my boyfriend Tone and I did Temple Newsam Parkrun with 2 of my friends from my old job in Leeds. We then went for breakfast after and it was a lovely morning. I made a conscious decision before I left the flat on Saturday morning that I was going to enjoy the run. I don’t know when I will next get the opportunity to do a Parkrun in Leeds so I wanted to make the most of it. This conscious thinking begun on Friday when I ensured that I was drinking plenty water all day long. I usually only have a banana before a Parkrun but I didn’t have any in my flat on Saturday morning so I opted for a bowl of cereal instead. I usually feel hungry on my way around but on Saturday I didn’t so I think I need to start eating a better breakfast! Tone and I really enjoyed the Parkrun and I liked being back at Temple Newsam sharing in Tony’s first experience of this route.
Me, Tony, Maria and Laura before it began!

Tone and me

Cooling off with an ice lolly before breakfast number 2!
My running has been a bit inconsistent of late and I am determined to get more training in for the Great North Run (and indeed for South Shields 10 miles next month!) On Monday morning I text Tony to ask if he fancied doing York 10 miles in October and when he said yes I went ahead and booked 2 places – I’m not sure what’s happened to me but I am making the most of my renewed enthusiasm for running. We’ve also just booked a trip to Amsterdam and are planning to take our trainers as it’s only 3 weeks before the Great North Run!

I decided to go for a run yesterday morning. I wasn’t sure how far I would go but I knew I needed to get out and get some miles in my legs. My Facebook memories told me that 2 years ago yesterday I ran 8 miles in 1 hour 44 minutes. While I was out running yesterday I was actually quite enjoying it and decided I would try and match this (distance or time, whichever I got to first). At 1 hour 44 I was at 7.2 miles and wasn’t too far from home so decided this would be long enough. I did 7.6 miles altogether and I was incredibly proud of myself. I took time to enjoy my surroundings and really appreciate that I was running in Leeds. Sometimes, in fact, most of the time, I don’t enjoy running solo. But sometimes if I have the right mind set I get a lot from it. My aim yesterday was to enjoy it and I knew it was one run closer to the Great North Run.
Yesterday’s run is proof that running is as much in the mind as it is in the legs. Whenever I felt tired or had a niggling pain I tried to find something pretty to focus my attention on. This ranged from looking at the clouds, to spotting 2 magpies (2 for joy!), or seeing an aeroplane overhead. These are all such simple things that are around us each and every day but sometimes I appreciate them so much more when I’m running. I walked a few times, sometimes to stretch out my legs and sometimes to take a photo. It’s so easy for me to beat myself up about walking or going too slow but yesterday I chose to look for the good. It wasn’t bad that I was walking, it was good that I wasn’t still in bed. I had my trainers on and I was out in the fresh air. It’s so easy to be defined by the self-talk we do and that’s why I chose to try and make it as positive as possible. I’d be lying if I said it was an easy run or that I enjoyed every second, but I made the most of the experience and looked for as many positives as I could find.

I am going to focus on positive thoughts and being less critical of myself when I run in all my future runs. I’ve been putting too much pressure on myself again recently and that’s when I stop enjoying it. Running has had such a massive positive impact on my life, physically, emotionally and socially, and I don’t want to fall out of love with it completely.
I believe a lot in the thoughts we have influencing what we become. Recently I’ve told myself I didn’t like running and therefore as a consequence each run was getting tougher. I’ve been doing lots of stretches and trying to tell myself that I like running, and I am actually looking forward the GNR!
When I was running yesterday I thought a lot about my thoughts. One of my favourite quotes is from Henry Ford: If you think you can or you think you can’t you’re right. I totally agree with this. From now on I am focusing on what I can do and who I am. I am a runner. This means I run. It doesn’t matter how fast or how slow. I run. Lots of things make me who I am and running is only one part of the puzzle. But it’s a very important piece, not least because of the people it has brought into my life. I am a runner. I am going to enjoy my training. I am going to enjoy the Great North Run!
(I am also going to raise lots of much needed funds for the North Easy Trust for Aphasia. If you can help in any way please do so here. I am truly grateful for all the support!)

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