Thursday, 1 September 2016

10 days and counting...

In 10 days I will completing the Great North Run. Back in April when Tone persuaded me to run it, I thought I had ages to train. I can’t believe how quickly the last few months have passed and that GNR is this month!
We packed our trainers for Amsterdam, keen to do some training runs while there. Staying in a hotel with an all-inclusive bar meant that we procrastinated running until the last morning. I didn’t drink any alcohol all day on the Saturday as I wanted to feel fresh to run on the Sunday. We set our alarm early and ate a banana before we left. We could see from the window that it was raining but we didn’t let this put us off. We knew we were heading to Vondelpark as we’d looked it up before we flew out to Amsterdam. It was about half a mile from our hotel and we walked there, as a warm up before running in the park. As we walked the rain was getting heavier and I began to feel cold. Once in the park we began to run and by this time the rain was torrential. It was bouncing back up from the puddles and had made my glasses so wet I could barely see anything. We followed the path round the park, trying to stay a little sheltered under some of the trees.
I think the park was pretty and picturesque but it was difficult to concentrate on anything other than putting one foot in front of the other. It was still warm out for all it was raining and after running a mile or so I began to feel quite hot and my glasses were steaming up as well being covered in water. We tried to stay upbeat and chatted as we ran. We navigated our way round in a circle of the park which was approximately 3 miles. Our original plan was to do two laps but we decided a hot shower and breakfast was calling. We took some photos at the park gates after our run and proceeded to walk back to the hotel. The rain had almost stopped at this point and I felt mildly tempted by another lap… but the dry patch didn’t last long and we were soon walking back to the hotel being thoroughly drenched. I like running in the rain when it’s light and refreshing but this wasn’t light rain! An hour later after we’d both been showered and were sitting eating breakfast we had that post-run glow that made us wish we’d set our alarm earlier in the week so we could have ran in Amsterdam more than once. The rest of the week had been hot and sunny so in some ways I’m glad it rained on the day we chose to run.

After we ran
I went to running club and did a 5k the day after we got back and it felt good. I over indulged while I was away and needed to get back to running as soon as possible. I knew I needed to get out and do a longer run later in the week too, to get some bigger miles in. I wasn’t free the same time as Tony so I had to plan my own run. I thought I’d do about 7 miles on Friday morning. I saw my friend was looking for some company on her 18 mile marathon training run so I contacted her and I arranged to do some of her route with her as she passed through Ashington. I’d ran almost 2 miles when I met Karen and we ran about 4 miles together. This took me further from home than I’d originally planned but despite the heat, I was feeling relatively good, and had a lot of motivation. I left Karen at about 6 miles into my run and turned around to head home. I’d finished my bottle of water and ate my jelly sweets; I decided to call into a garage for a new bottle of water on my way home but I only had £1 and this wasn’t enough. I wasn’t brave enough to ask if they’d let me off with the pennies so I just kept running, safe in the knowledge that every step was a step closer to home.
When I was almost home I had done just over 9 miles and was very tired, achy and hot. I knew I would be annoyed with myself later in the day if I didn’t make it to double figures so I ran past home to make my run a little longer. I made it to 10.05miles. I was so proud of myself as I really hadn’t intended to go that far and I did a fair part of it on my own. I really enjoyed Karen’s company and I think I ran slightly faster than my usual long run pace during the 4 miles I ran with her. This makes me even more sure that I can complete the half marathon distance next weekend. When I got home I had a cold bath which made my legs feel much better. It was almost enjoyable as I had been so hot outside! Almost. Not quite. But it certainly made my legs feel very refreshed when I got out!

Running with Karen
Tonight is my last long run before the big day. Today I am resting in the house, drinking plenty water and eating healthy. When Tone finishes work we are going to head out for a long run and I am quite looking forward to it. I didn’t think I would ever get to a point in running where a long run doesn’t fill me dread, but hard work and determination has got me there. And having lovely company definitely helps! I haven't ran since my long run last week as I've been away to Liverpool for a hen weekend followed immediately my a trip to Leeds to catch up with friends while I am still off for the summer.
I feel more mentally prepared for the Great North Run this time round, though I am certainly not complacent about the distance I will be covering. I’ve worked hard and I am looking forward to creating some wonderful memories along the route J
I signed up for the Great North Run to raise awareness of and funds for the North East Trust for Aphasia. NETA supports people with acquired communication difficulties following a stroke or other brain injury. It’s a fantastic charity based right here in the north east and every penny raised makes a huge difference. If you would like to show your support then please do so on my fundraising page here. Thanks so much for all your support, every word of encouragement has really made a difference. I know some of my friends and family are still in disbelief that I am running it again after my ‘never EVER again’ comments 2 years ago. Until this year I was still convinced that I wouldn’t but look at me now... 10 days to go!

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