Sunday, 14 August 2016

South Shields 10 (S)Miles!

This morning I completed South Shields 10 Mile run. I’d been poorly earlier in the week and had decided I’d only be running today if was sure I was 100% well as I’m going on holiday on Tuesday and didn’t want to push too hard. I missed a planned training run on Thursday as although I was feeling much better I felt that additional rest was more of a priority.
I had a relatively early night and woke up feeling refreshed. I felt very different to last Sunday when the alarm went off and staying sober last night was a very wise decision. I had my usual pre-race breakfast of porridge with Nutella, before leaving the house, and a banana when I arrived in South Shields.
We arrived in South Shields in plenty time and joined the queue to pay for parking. Ten minutes before the race began I suddenly decided I needed the toilet. I joined the queue and kept my fingers (and legs!) crossed that I wouldn’t be doing a sprint start. Luckily the queue went down quickly and I was on the starting line with Tony in plenty of time.
Pre-run Selfie :)
Me and my boyfriend Tone
I was feeling good this morning and think the extra few days rest did me the world of good. I love running near the sea and South Shields is one of my favourite beaches in the North East so I was excited to be running there this morning. The first mile or so were much easier than expected and I was extremely grateful that the weather was perfect for running.
And we're off...
Thanks Patricia White for the photo
Tone and I chatted most of the way round, enjoying the experience and really taking in the beautiful scenery. The sky was often beautiful and dramatic on the backdrop of the gorgeous coastline and I felt truly alive breathing in the sea air.  Tone also kept me laughing telling me some funny jokes which also helped to take my mind of the fact that I was running.
It was a lovely route, with a part 2 lap course around Souter Lighthouse, enabling us to see other runners at different points of the laps. It is always lovely to wave and cheer on running friends and spotting people we know.
My feet got numb and after trying to run it off I decided to stop and readjust the laces on my trainers. This was a break well spent as I could instantly feel the difference once running again and it certainly made the rest of the run more enjoyable (and less uncomfortable).
At around 8 miles in my knees were beginning to niggle and I was looking for ways to distract my mind from my legs. I focused on lifting my feet and also began chanting under my breath (a chant I used last time round after reading it in a magazine.) I change the chant a little each time I run to keep me interested and to fit with what I am doing.. today’s was ‘I am fit. I am strong. I like, this South Shields Run’ – it’s amazing what difference this can make and I would definitely recommend it to help get you through the tough moments.
As we began to approach the finish we discussed whether we had a sprint finish left in our legs. We weren’t sure but I never know until I see the finish line and my competitive streak kicks in. As we approached Gypsies Green Stadium Tone began to pick up the pace, so I increased my pace too. As we were running down the hill and into the stadium I was concentrating on ensuring my feet were hitting the ground as I felt like I was gathering momentum and could end up on my bottom at any moment. I heard lots of people cheering us on as we picked up pace. Just as we reached the track someone said the dreaded words ‘just round the track to the finish’. We’d peaked too soon. We sprint finished before the finish. We slowed our pace but continued to run and although we were both struggling to breath and I didn’t know how my legs were still moving we ran the whole way round the track. We didn’t sprint finish but we crossed the finish line holding hands which was extremely special. I met Tone through running and he’s the reason I’m doing the Great North Run again. It was lovely to cross the finish line holding hands after we’d encouraged and supported each other the whole 10 miles round.
When I trained 2 years ago I did my 10 mile training run solo and I very clearly remember coming home and crying – with relief it was over and pride that I’d done it. Today I finished a 10 mile run with a smile on my face and love in my heart. I was so proud that we completed the 10 miles and feel like my legs have more in them too.
Post-run Selfie - complete with lovely new medals!
I do have sore legs (from my hips right down to my calves) and I know I need to stretch more. I can feel the real benefit when I stretch and foam roll and am really going to prioritise this over the next four weeks.
I loved this morning. It wasn’t pain free but the scenery and the company definitely made it achievable and I am so proud of us both for doing a good 10 mile run! I can honestly say after today’s run that I know I can complete the Great North Run again. I know deep down in the back of my mind I’ve known this since I signed up but I still had ongoing doubts every time I had a bad run or my legs hurt. I don’t expect running to be easy but lots of things require hard work and the sense of achievement is definitely worth it.

Thank you for following my story - if you'd like to sponsor me and help me to raise valuable funds for the North East Trust for Aphasia you can do so here. Every penny is gratefully appreciated. To find out more about the work of NETA click here.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Let the countdown begin!

I am writing this post from the comfort of the sofa, wrapped up in a blanket, feeling rather under the weather (but feeling better following an afternoon nap). It’s been an extremely busy few months and now I’ve finally handed in the keys to my flat in Leeds and truly began to unwind, my adrenaline has plummeted and I am feeling it. This is not something new to me but it is at a rather inconvenient time; I am going on holiday with my boyfriend next week and it’s just over 4 weeks until the Great North Run.
I feel the urge to blog today because my NETA t-shirt arrived this morning. It reminded me of one of the reasons why I am running the Great North Run; to raise money for a very worthy cause. Every step I run is a step closer to covering the half marathon on 11th September. The t-shirt is a lovely blue tech top and I can’t wait to try it out for one of my training runs in the coming weeks.
Posing in my new t-shirt
I’ve done a bit of running over the last week or so and I’m starting to feel well prepared for the Great North Run. I’m also really looking forward to it because I am sharing the experience with my boyfriend. We did a long run on Sunday (9 miles) and although largely difficult, we enjoyed getting out in the fresh air and covering the miles together. We (foolishly) thought it would be a good idea to have a few drinks on Saturday evening to celebrate successfully moving all my stuff back from Leeds over the previous few days. On Sunday morning when the alarm went off, I realised it was not a good idea at all. Why didn’t we celebrate with a nice ice cold glass of water, or some ice-cream, rather than prosecco?! That said, we still had a 9 mile run to do, so although we set off later than planned we still covered the distance. I could really feel in my legs that I had not had enough water in the previous 24 hours and it was a hot day. We tried to remain upbeat and chatted our way round; pointing out pretty scenery or counting lampposts. I was glad I wasn’t running alone as it was a tough route and I was so pleased when we made it the end. I feel better about the GNR knowing that we covered 9 miles on Sunday (in less than ideal conditions).
Tone and me on our long run
Last week my niece Toni came to stay and I told her I wanted to run the next morning. I asked her if she wanted to join me as she is training for the Junior North Run on 10th September. I was excited by her enthusiasm to run with me (and she didn’t argue when I told her we’d need to get up quite early too!). My Parkrun 50 t-shirt arrived the night before and I was keen to run wearing it! After breakfast, my dad took some photos of us, then we were ready to go. We were aiming for 4K (the distance Toni will be running) and left my parent’s house and headed to the lake at QEII Park. Toni did brilliantly and was keen to do some faster bursts of running in between steady pace and run walking. We didn’t quite do 4K as when we were back home we’d only reached 3.6k and she didn’t want to run round the block to make it up (she’s obviously not as obsessed about rounding up running numbers as I am!) I left Toni in the house with a glass of water (and my dad) and repeated the route again myself (coming home a slightly different way which made it 4k). I enjoyed the second lap and ran more (but not all) of it though I preferred the first lap with Toni. I love that she enjoys running and that we got to share a training run together. I am really looking forward to going to cheer her (and my cousins children) at the Junior GNR. They are all raising funds for Diabetes UK as one of my cousin’s daughters was diagnosed with Diabetes when she was 6 years old. If you’d like to support in their fundraising you can do so here.
Toni and me :)
Even though I wasn’t feeling well yesterday I still went to running club last night. I decided not to go to the efforts session but enjoyed a nice 5K with Tone and the rest of the club at the first session. I felt better having run and the weather was perfect, slightly cool and drizzling. It was 100% better than the run on Sunday and I am glad I went out. Tone and me have a run planned tomorrow night and South Shields 10 miles on Sunday. I am going to wait and see how I am feeling over the next couple of days as I don’t want to push myself too hard.
I’m looking forward to going to Amsterdam next week and Tone has already been researching possible running routes. We are excited to be packing our trainers and training in another country! As it is getting closer, I am now really looking forward to the Great North Run (and will hopefully fit in another few longer runs before the big day!) If you’d like to help me support NETA I’d really appreciate it. Every penny counts (here’s the link to my page).