Creative writing at school was never my thing, so I’ve decided to start a blog. Here goes…
I initially began running around 3 years ago when I moved back to Milton Keynes following University and a short stint of living in London. I was back at home and wanted a new hobby; something to fill my spare time after work and on the weekends. I bought a shiny new pair of trainers and started jogging around the estate where my parents lived. A few years on, running has now become a big part of my life and something which people quite often associate me with. I am no Paula Radcliffe or Mo Farah by any means but like many other runners, I enjoy the buzz, adrenaline, social element of being part of a club and the overall positive impact it’s had on my life. Don’t get me wrong, some runs are tough, sometimes you just want to turn back round after two minutes and occasionally you just want a day off. I know as much as the next person with a goal in their sights, it’s hard to motivate yourself when it’s raining or dark outside, but, when you have 4 miles written down on your training plan, sometimes you just need to suck it up!
Over the years I have run in a variety of races but in 2014 had the ultimate privilege of taking part in the London Marathon. This race has to be my most memorable for a number of reasons as I obtained my place through a charity, Children with Cancer UK. Having lost my Mum to cancer, I dedicated this journey to her and hoped I could raise money for an amazing cause on behalf of everyone who has ever been affected by this illness.
I completed the 26.2 miles in a time of 3 hours and 54 minutes. My target for the day was under 4 hours and nothing can beat the feeling of being supported and cheered on by your family, closest friends and half of London. I have to give a big shout out to my Dad and best friend Freya at this point, they have both travelled miles to watch me and have always been there come rain or shine.
Despite the highs I’ve experienced, there have also been some recent lows. Injury is common with runners due to the high impact it has on the body. I’ve personally always suffered with shin splints and this time last year I was training for my second London Marathon. I was around 10 weeks into my training plan and up until that point, I was very pleased with my training. I was applying the knowledge I’d gained from my previous experiences, and have to say I was really enjoying it.
A milestone in my training was a 20 mile race at the MK Festival of Running. I completed it in a relatively impressive time of 2 hours 57 minutes, however, as soon as I stopped I was barely able to put weight on my leg. I knew it was bad news, I was in absolute agony. I remember having to deal with such mixed emotions that evening, after achieving a good time I wasn’t able celebrate due to the pain I was in. I tried to persuade myself the discomfort would go away, however, I had to take myself to A&E the next day. Following a misdiagnosis from the hospital, I still had my hopes pinned on London, hoping I would recover following some physio and I’d be able to get my training back on track… 5 weeks on (and only a week before the London Marathon) I’d not seen any progress so off I went to A&E again. It was here when my London dreams were shattered once I finally had an X-Ray. It turns out I’d sustained a stress fracture and potentially had multiple experiences in the past.
Since then I’ve really struggled to get back into a routine with my training and I think a lot of it has been due to phantom pains and the anxiety of not wanting to experience the same heartbreak again. A long while on, I finally feel like I’m back in a good place and am currently running once or twice a week. I have complimented this with regular weight and cross training at the gym to build up my strength, core and maintain my overall fitness levels.
Now that I’m back on track I thought the best thing to do was to set myself a new goal. In every aspect of my life I always strive for better and thrive off of new challenges.
So on Sunday 12th June I intend to take on the St Albans Half Marathon. For anyone who knows me, they may be thinking that I’ve done plenty of half marathons before and even completed a marathon… how is this a challenge, surely this will be easy? Personally, this is a big step in terms of making a return to consistent running over a prolonged period of time. My confidence has been knocked and I want my training to be progressive but also be sensible and not over do it. I’m not looking to set any records in June, I just want to be able to enjoy the journey I am about to embark on knowing I’ve had a solid block of training behind me, passing that finish line with a huge smile on my face.
The next 12 weeks, will be a balance between increasing my training, fuelling my body correctly and building my strength (both mental and physical). I intend to blog my progress with updates on my preparation, new recipes I’m experimenting with and documenting my emotions throughout the course of the next few months. A lot of running is mind over matter! I believe I can do this, and I will…
p.s. if you’re wondering why I picked the St Albans half, you get a free ice lolly at the end!!