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C25K to Half Marathon in 382 days!

Back in May 2019 at the age of 52 I was just glad to have started the couch to 5K and didn’t even think further than the 9 weeks. I remember how I felt at the end and still feel that buzz when I set myself a new running goal and achieve it. But that changed and before lock-down I continued running with the Rothwell Ladies every Monday evening and went to the 9am Park Run every Saturday with them. I even ran by myself once a week when I couldn’t find a running buddy. I prefer running with others as I find when you’re chatting away you’re not thinking so much about the finish line, oh and I like to chat.

After the 9 weeks of C25K I was so proud of myself for running the 10K (Abbey Dash) in the October. By February 2020 I’d set myself a new challenge and I signed up to run the Asda Foundation Leeds Half Marathon to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society. A charity close to my heart as sadly we lost our mum to this dreadful disease in October 2014. I’m also a side by side volunteer for them and supported 2 ladies to live as independently as they could for as long as they could in their own homes. So I thought I can set myself a new challenge and help raise money for such a worthy cause.

My training was going to plan but then we had lock-down and the Leeds Half Marathon was postponed. I continued to run my 5k, 3 times a week and talked my husband into running with me when I wasn’t feeling it. He’s a keen cyclist and missed going on his solo long distance rides so reluctantly came with me. It turns out he’s a runner and he didn’t even know it. He’s going to join me on the Saturday morning park runs when they’re back on again. The Half Marathon was eventually cancelled and I eased off the training programme. I thought what was the point as the lock-down meant I wasn’t able to exercise for long periods of time outdoors. However, I did feel uncomfortable as lots of people had already sponsored me but I told myself it was out of my control.

Then the exercise rules were relaxed so I decided to run my half Marathon a week later than planned on Sunday 17th May. Sadly one of the ladies I supported through side by side passed away in April and I thought I’d do it in her memory as well as my mum’s Lena. I’m not going to lie it wasn’t easy, there weren’t crowds of people cheering me on, no medals at the finish line or well wishers pushing me on but I did it! And once I stopped aching I just about managed to give myself a massive tap on the back for doing it. I’m still smiling now about actually doing it as believe me that last 1.1 miles felt as though it was never ending.

I can’t say I honestly enjoy running but I do like my food and I do like my red wine, those that know me well will know that I’m not that keen on gin but I love to challenge myself. Now I run 3 miles, 3 times a week and feel fitter and it’s great for my mental health and my waistline.

I’ve downloaded the BBC Homefront podcast and it keeps me company especially as I’m not able to run with my lovely inspirational Rothwell Social Run (Leeds Girls Can) ladies because of the lock-down. It’s been hard but having a goal as well as being part of a WhatsApp social run group has kept me motivated. They’ve now become great friends and we not only run together but we have been on nights out and will continue to do so after lock-down.

If you’re like me and prefer running with others I know it’s not easy to get motivated to get your kit on and get out there because of lock-down. So I challenged myself to run a minimum of 5K, 3 times a week and I do it. No ifs or buts, come rain, wind or shine it’s half an hour out of my day that I know I’ll feel better for doing it. That’s my challenge to me, yours could be to run for 5 minutes, it’s whatever suits you and what you can fit into your schedule.

Once lock-down is over if you see a strange woman running with a stupid grin on her face that’ll probably be me as it’s going to take a long time for me to come back down to earth, I’m still buzzing, 13.1 miles who knew I had it in me, I didn’t!

If I can do it then I’d say give it a go, you never know where it may lead. I never thought for 1 second that I’d be where I am now it was such a big achievement to be able to run 5K.

Couch to 5K, 5K to 10K, 10K to Half Marathon all in 382 days. To be continued ……

 

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