Well it's 2 days since the inaugural London Landmarks Half Marathon...The first time I have ever tackled 13 miles and it didn't disappoint! Up until 18 months ago (31 years old at the time) I hadn't ran further than the top of my street since my football days ended due to an ACL injury over 10 years ago but a holiday to Majorca and the promenade of Puerto Pollensa changed all of that. Encouraged to take my gym things with me on the holiday I ran 4 times over a 10 night holiday and the feeling of jumping in the sea at the end of the run coupled with being able to eat what I wanted because of the calories burnt got me hooked (even though at this stage I couldn't run further than 1km without stopping for a rest).
When I returned from Majorca I had been well and truly bitten by the running bug. Unfortunatley running down the Guided Bus Route in Leigh, Greater Manchester wasn't quite as easy on the eye as the prom in Puerto Pollensa but that didn't stop me. Every other day I would get my running shoes on and head down the bus route and each week that went by I would get a little further...2km, 2.5km, 3km, 3.5km, 4km etc etc. There were some days I didn't get quite as far as I had a couple of days before but I didn't let that disappoint me and figured the fact I was out running was better than being sat on the couch.
I kept progressing and the distance I could cover increased the more times I got down the bus route and around 6 months after my first run in Majorca my stamina and fitness had improved so much that I was now able to cover 7km, 7.5km, 8km, 8.5km, 9km, 9.5km and then I hit my target of 10km. It's important to set yourself a target and my target was 10km but my time was around 1 hour 10 minutes. I then set myself a target of covering 10km in under an hour. To give me extra incentive to achieve this I signed up for the inaugural Leigh, Greater Manchester 10km which took place in August 2017. Around the same time I registered for the London Landmarks Half Marathon which was to take place over 12 months later but I then had 2 targets to aim for.
I was now running 10km 2 or 3 times a week and instead of feeling pain and getting breathless I started to enjoy running (not just getting to the end of my run). Coupled with starting to enjoy running my 10km time improved dramatically. A holiday in Greece in July 2017 didn't stop my training and I headed on a run 4 times over a 10 night holiday and it was whilst in Greece I hit 10km in around 58 minutes but I wasn't going to stop there and I kept pushing and pushing and at the Leigh, Greater Manchester 10km I hit 10km in 56 minutes...A year earlier I couldn't run 1km without getting breathless.
I contined to run 3 or 4 times a week, I would usually run a 5km, a 7.5km and a 10km to keep my fitness levels ticking over. I had now started to get the countdown emails for the London Landmarks Half Marathon and these added the incentive to start my fundraising and to start increasing the distances I was covering. Now in December 2017 I still hadn't covered further than 10km so i started to increase my distances but due to the weather it was difficult to get out as many times as I would've liked but once the weather conditions eased in January, February and March I upped my game and increased my distances. I used the 5km, 7.5km and 15km (9.32 miles) weekly technique when my schedule and the weather conditions allowed it (I can't run on a treadmill). I used this technique up until the half marathon.
The London Landmarks Half Marathin was now here and I felt fit and strong. Loaded up on carbs the evening before and fuelled on a breakfast of porridge with a spoonful on honey I was ready to go. The weather conditions were perfect and the atmosphere gave me a real buzz. As I was now a bit of a pro at 10km the first 10km went by without any issues, 12km, 13km, 14km, 15km, 16km and 17km I felt strong but i started to feel the pain at 18km onwards. It was now a mental battle and it was at this point that the encouragement and support from the crowd gave me that extra push I needed to finish. Going around the corner and seeing the finish line was one of the best feelings I have ever felt. The fact as a business we were fundraising for Shine who offer specialist support to all with spina bifida, something that gave it extra meaning for us personally meant I was never not going to cross that finish line. Please see link to our Just Giving page! London Landmarks Half Marathon we will be back :)