Do something you can’t

Today I ran a half marathon. It is a little less than two years since my first 5K.  In the summer of 2014 I signed up for Race for Life…. And something began.

The following year, my first 10K followed later by a 10 miler.

For me, this is nothing short of a miracle. I have spent most of my life avoiding exercise.  At school I was useless.  Always the last one to be picked when it came to the weekly horror that was Physical Education.  That put me off anything relating to fitness for years.

But today I ran a half marathon. Proof, if it were needed, that I have changed for the better.

The highlights….

  • The start. The buzz of standing there, waiting to set off. Crossing that start line along accompanied by the sheer noise of a big event.
  • The sounds. That first mile or so when everyone is still bunched together all you can hear is the slapping of feet and there is something fantastic in it.
  • The people that turn out to cheer you on. The kids who hold their hands for a high five. The people that take the time to look for the name on your shirt and shout for you personally.
  • The street at just past the 7 mile mark, where the residents had set up their own refreshment station. Orange segments, Jelly Babies and a hosepipe.
  • Crossing the finish line.
  • Raising money for a charity that is doing great work.
  • Post-race Prosecco. Had to be done.

The slightly less good bits….

  • The heat. It was a very warm one. I rocked the tomato look all the way around.
  • The pain in my thighs that started at about mile nine and slowed me down, knocking on the head my target time.
  • Being over taken by a man, considerably older than me, who was skipping the whole route.

Here’s the thing. Until this morning, I couldn’t run this far. I’d never run further than 10 miles.  Every step past that particular marker was unchartered territory.  But there is power in challenging yourself with the unknown.  With something slightly scary.

I often ask people ‘what is the worst thing that could happen’. Today, the worst thing that could have happened was that I didn’t make it all the way around the course and had to hitch a lift back with a marshal.  It would have been a little embarrassing perhaps, but not the end of the world.

As they often say in running, did not finish is better than did not start. But, as if usually the case with those things that scare us, that didn’t happen. It wasn’t even close.

Do something that you can’t.

There is no better feeling.

#LeedsHalf. Bring it on.

One of the greatest joys of life is doing something you didn’t think that you could do. Or so a quote I saw on Pinterest said anyway.

On Sunday I am running the Leeds Half Marathon.

Right now, I don’t know if I can do it. I have never run that distance before and if I am honest, my training hasn’t been that focused.  My preparatory long runs have equalled, well, none.

But I believe that I can do it. And that is what counts.

It may be slow, it may not be pretty, it may not be podium worthy, but I will get around that course. Somehow.

I’ve got a strategy. Turn up, run as fast as you can, try not to walk and try not to die.

I’ve got something to prove you see. To myself.

I’m going to do something that a few years ago, when I couldn’t run for a bus, I never thought possible.

Bring. It. On.

I’m running for Retrak Charity, who have a vision that no child should live on the streets. If you would like to sponsor me for this great cause, you can find the link here.

The exercise adoption model

In my experience…..

Stage One – I hate this.  Why am I doing this? I don’t belong here? This. Is. Not. Me.

Stage Two – It’s getting better.  I am never going to like it, but I no longer feel like a fish out of water.

Stage Three – I get this.  I can do this.  I’m going to enter an event just to prove to myself that I can.  I don’t love it, but it is no longer a chore.

Stage Four – It is no longer something that I have to do but something that I want to do. If I can’t do it, I miss it. And I can’t stop entering events.

Stage Five – This defines me. I am actually a fit person. If I can’t get to the gym WHO AM I?