Sunday, 25 December 2016

And I'm finished!!!

What a fabulous feeling. A few weeks ago I was struggling with the fact I had several events to do, and the thought of doing them just seemed completely out of reach. But today, on Christmas Day, I completed my 40th event at parkrun this morning. It's so nice now that it's all done. 

The last 15 months has seen me through a mix of good and bad experiences. There have been times when low mood has really affected my motivation and focus, and this has been part of the challenge. It's not natural for me to want to do exercise, although I'm well aware of the health benefits, both physical and mental, and this is where a large part of the challenge has lain - moving myself to complete these events, and to try and do a variety of events that would challenge me. Sometimes anxiety has really played its part in not doing more things than I could have done, and coupled with low mood, this has affected my focus and motivation to get out. Physical health problems such as bronchitis and viruses, that have floored me, have also played their part in not seeing this challenge finished earlier than it could have been. I have faced personal challenges of pushing myself to do things that have taken me out of my comfort zone (trail half-marathon comes to mind), and facing demons in my head who would be telling me I was incapable of doing things and there wasn't much point, that I was useless at running, and because I was doing a mix of running and walking I felt I wasn't doing it properly.

On the positives I have done things I might not have normally considered doing, and usually I've been with friends at events, which makes so much difference. I have taken myself out of my comfort zone, which does add to the exhilaration of finishing an event I initially thought I would bulk at, and pull out, or not even enter. 

Over the last 15 months I have completed half marathons, parkruns, virtual races, 10k races, 10 mile races, 5mile races, a quarter marathon and a triathlon. In terms of seeing achievements I have finally been able to run 5km more consistently than before. 

But ultimately, I have actually done this challenge. I've completed it and to be honest, at one point I was worried that it wasn't going to be achievable. But I DID IT!!!!!!!! 

There is no medal to show I have completed this, nor have I reached my fundraising target, but I know every penny that has been donated is going to make a difference to those affected by PSP - both individuals and family members. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me during this time, both friends and family. I have received much advice, information and support over the time, all of which has made a difference in how I then faced each event as it came up.

Some stats over the challenge:

Total mileage covered - 201.54 miles of which I did:
18 parkruns
7 X 10 km
X 5 mile
1 quarter marathon
2 X 10 miles
2 half marathons 
1 X 8 miles 
1 triathlon
1 X 7 mile (multi lap race)
2 virtual races
1 mile fun run

My medal collection through out the challenge:
Plus two of the following medals which were virtual races (the Father Christmas and Rudolph medals). The other two I did combined with the parkruns yesterday and today, where part of my entry fee went to Girlguiding UK. 

So, what next? Well, a few weeks ago I was contemplating having a break from running completely. Then, more recently, I remembered I had signed up for two virtual races in January. Not letting my entry fee go to waste!!! Guess, I'm not giving up that easily then. But at the moment I intend to run just for the sake of looking after me, without worrying about trying to raise money. Mind you, I keep saying that and then I find another cause to try and raise money for!!!! 

So Merry Christmas my faithful readers. There have been good times. Not sure when the blog will get updated next. But I'm keeping it open.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

One to go!!!

So, the penultimate event was completed at parkrun this morning, on what probably is the hardest course physically with 6 hills but I still ran it all. Having woken at 6am, a decision was made that I may as well go to parkrun since I was up. It was extremely chilly with a brisk wind, but, once out of the wind, I'd discarded the jumper I was wearing.

So, one more event to go. I think I've been persuaded to go to Christmas Day parkrun tomorrow. It would be awesome to finish the challenge on Christmas Day. Best set the alarm. I can't see me waking up voluntarily before 8am two days in a row!!! 

Another virtual runner medal earned as well, again for Girlguiding UK. 

Friday, 23 December 2016

Event 38 of #fortyb4forty

As with a lot of the races I have done, I do not plan far in advance. It's been known that on the morning I will enter a race. At least last night I had a few hours when my friend texted me to ask if I wanted to go for a run this morning. I still had some virtual runs to complete, having entered them. Again, I had entered a race where part of my entry fee went towards Girlguiding UK.

Two weeks ago saw me commiserating and feeling sorry for myself because my son had decided to pass his germs onto me. Well, those germs mutated into something that floored me for a good couple of days but has taken a lot longer to recover from. So last night when the message came through I thought I'd give it a go, and try and run 5km and earn the medal I had entered for.

The upshot is that I ran 3.6 miles (5.8km). Further than I intended to and, aside from stopping to cross the road safely, I ran the entire distance. My running buddy is awesome and very patient, despite training to run an ultra distance herself. I certainly wasn't quick, but for me, the fact that once again I ran 5km (and the rest) it feels like I'm finally reaching some consistency with my running, and instead of having a break from running, which was what I was planning on doing once the challenge is over, means I might actually keep going. 

I have felt increasingly disillusioned about the point of carrying on with running and, I guess I've been frustrated with the fact that for so long 5km seemed such a hard target to reach. It feels that for many of my running chums 5km is not as hard as it is for me. Hence struggling to keep going with the challenge because I have so woefully inadequate about myself.

But now it now feels that things are turning round and it seems that I could have a running buddy most Friday mornings which will help so much. And giving up running might not be happening.

As I have pretty much been raising money for one charity or another since May 2014, I'm not planning on setting a challenge for myself. I think I need to learn to enjoy the sport for myself, and reap the benefits (both physical and mental) without the pressure of hitting a deadline or target.

So here is a picture of my medal in its rightful place

I have two events left to do. It is entirely possible to finish on Christmas Day if I was to go to parkrun tomorrow and on Sunday (yes, there is a Christmas Day parkrun). I still also have two virtual medals to rightfully earn. Can I get myself up and sorted the next two mornings? I've been enjoying some decent lie-ins since the schools broke up for the holidays!!! 

Friday, 9 December 2016

Events 35, 36 and 37.

As I write this I am feeling quite sorry for myself, my son having passed on his germy germs onto me. However I have already done. 5k run today which I shall talk about later.

so, event 35: this was parkrun at Netley Abbey. This was on a new winter course and contained a few hills. It was cold and windy standing by the shore waiting to get going. However, after running the entire course I was not feeling as cold as I had been. And yes, I ran the entire course. The second time this year that I have run 5k without slowing to walk. I was feeling really pleased with myself. My time wasn't as quick as it has been previously but to run it all was definitely a major achievement.

Event 36: Boscombe 10k. As the name gives it away we were in the Bournemouth area. I was very close to pulling out right before the start of the race. I just didn't want to to do, to the point I was in tears. But after some encouragement from family I went to the start line. At one point in the race there was a long slow hill but despite this I was pleased as to how I ran the remainder of the course. 

Event 37: this event was slightly different. It was a virtual race organised by virtual No, this doesn't mean I run on the Internet. What it means is that I pay an entry fee, of which a percentage goes to a specified charity, I complete the distance in my own time in the dates specified, and once the race is completed in my own time and I have submitted my result, I receive a medal. That was my 5k this morning. I went with a friend and, again, ran the entire 5k distance that I set myself. The charity that was being supported was Girlguiding UK. I have three more medals to run for, again for the same charity throughout December. I definitely had endorphins going around my brain today. It was a good feeling. On this occasion, the medal had been sent out prior to the event due to Christmas post, so I captured a photo today:

So 3 events left.