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Rebecca

 It was tough, but I did it!

A week on from the St Albans half and I’m feeling proud and somewhat relieved that I managed it! With training that was completely disrupted by salmonella, and generally not feeling at my best, I was very worried that I wouldn’t be able to complete it.

I was pretty disappointed with my 2hour 25minute time, but it was so worth it for the amount I raised for suicide prevention charity Papyrus. £754.36 will pay for 150 calls, texts or emails from young people feeling at their lowest to be answered by specialist staff – worth every painful second!

It was a really hot day but was so well organised and somehow managed to be lovely despite the pain! This was down to a couple of reasons:

  1. The atmosphere

    The atmosphere was awesome – I definitely would not have completed it without the cheers from supporters and pep talks from fellow runners and pace makers.

  2. The ice lolly!

    Aside from the fact that the thought of an ice lolly kept me going, it was the most refreshing thing EVER at the end.

  3. The music

    As someone who always listens to music while running, no headphones proved a pretty terrifying thought! However seeing various musical groups along the way eased the pain (slightly!)

  4. THE WATER

    Oh boy was it hot. Those water stations were a dream come true! And the people at the water stations were incredible, it must take some serious skill to fill cups as quickly as they were doing.

  5. The medal                                                                                                                                                                                   Anyone who says they don’t care about a finisher medal is surely lying. Mine is hanging proudly up in my house and will continue to for a while!

AAAAAAH I did it!!! I have officially completed my first half marathon. It’s time for another challenge… but maybe give it a couple of weeks!

 



It’s here, the week of the Half Marathon!

 

I am so scared. Seeing the weather looking pretty warm is adding to the fear (although interval training this morning in the rain was less than desirable).

Thankfully, I had a great penultimate session with PT Lucy Hurley at everyone active last Sunday – lots of core strength exercises to make sure every part of my body is ready (or Lucy just enjoys torturing me, I hurt all over!).

And then last week I managed to run 13.1 miles before work.  It is incredibly flat where I have been training, so it doesn’t really mean all that much, but it has given me a bit of confidence ahead of the big day – I have run that distance before.

The more I’m running, the more I’m realising what a big part mentality plays.  Your brain can tell your legs to keep going when your legs can’t go on any further. So I need to make sure my brain is on best form this Sunday!

The main motivation that is keeping me going, however, are the amazing people who have helped me raise £624.36 (so far!) for the amazing charity Papyrus. Suicide is the biggest killer of young people aged under 35 in the UK and Papyrus do such great work delivering awareness, providing confidential support and delivering prevention training as well as campaigning and influencing national policy. I will be running these 13.1 miles for my cousin Patrick who took his own life aged 25 – what more motivation do you need?

So I guess here goes, the countdown is on….! Wish me luck!

 


 

 

Post Vietnam Training 

The last couple of weeks have been a huge struggle. Unfortunately, Vietnam left a lasting impression – in the form of salmonella poisoning!  Training became pretty impossible and I got really upset, finding myself getting weaker and weaker whilst the half marathon came close and closer…

As soon as I was well enough to run again, it was so difficult not to try and make up for lost time and instead build my stamina up again slowly. Luckily I met with the fabulous Lucy Hurley, who is a personal trainer with Everyone Active.  After long discussion she helped to create a plan for these last couple of weeks.

After a gruelling first session trying out the Skillmill for the first time (a non-motorised treadmill) and a 15km run the next day, I was exhausted. But luckily Lucy also has plenty of yoga and foam rolling down in the training as well – those are definitely proving my favourite days so far…!

Yesterday was a morning of interval training (incredibly painful) and it is currently 4:15am and I’ve just completed a body weight circuit – being busy the rest of the day means some serious early morning commitment!

“It’s supposed to be hard… that’s what makes it great”


 

 

Training in Vietnam  

 

As I child, I hated sport and exercise in general. ALL OF IT. As well as being teased for my ‘tomato face’, I was very aware of how much slower I was than everybody else, and being incredibly competitive would take myself out of any sporting activities completely to avoid the risk of losing.

I have spent the last 10 days biking, hiking and kayaking my way through Vietnam and it struck me how much my mind-set towards exercise has changed.  Challenging myself with all of these sporting activities, which was made a lot harder by the humidity, once would have terrified me. Instead it was fab – the achievement after running up hundreds of steps to find a cave, or cycling long distances through busy cities and swampy countryside was so worth every minute of pain.

I was hoping to fit in some training around the travelling but unfortunately didn’t get the chance until the day I flew home. On my last day in the capital Hanoi, I went for a run around one of the main lakes in the centre of the city. I was told by a local that I should go no later than 6am, mainly because of the heat but also, rather mysteriously, because of the other activities happening at the same time.

So at 5:45am I set off, feeling bleary and still very much asleep. But it was impossible to miss the crowds of people out at the same time. All around the lake were groups of Hanoi residents doing different types of exercise; from tai chi to jogging, to weight training and aerobics. They even had stereos with them providing music and barking instructions.

I had never seen anything like it! Men and women of all ages and shapes with varying fitness levels all participating in some form of exercise. I couldn’t imagine it happening on such a huge scale here – maybe a group of young women running together or a mixed ability boot camp in the park, but nothing on this scale.

There was no embarrassment, no fear of looking stupid and no heavy competition. Everyone was celebrating what their bodies could do, from running several times around the lake, to arm and leg stretches with minimal impact. That’s something I hope to bring back with me – I want to stop fearing what I look like and worrying I’m not good enough; the only person I am competing with is the one I see when I look in the mirror.

 


 

My Visit to Runners World