I should run

I’m on doctors orders that I should run again. I haven’t been since June, when I did my 10K. I was going to go this morning. I should go this morning. It’d release a lot of the energy that I’ve got bundled up inside me right now.

I’m not sure what’s going on. I’m not sure how my brain is processing as of recent. I’m not sure what I want, and what I don’t want. But right now, I know I won’t run. I’m just hiding until I know everything is okay. I won’t leave this room until it’s sorted.

I’ll run tomorrow.

That’s what they all say.

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Officially a Runner

At primary school, I always came last on school sports day. At high school, I used to dread the summer – the hot weather meant outdoor PE, which inevitably meant athletics. That of course meant that eventually, the 800 meters would come around. I’d be at the back again, struggling to breathe but determined not to drop out like many of the others. A year ago, when my best friend suggested a 10K run, I laughed in her face.

12 weeks ago though, I signed up for the Race for Life. Three weeks ago, I still couldn’t run more than 2K, and today was the first time I ever ran a full 10K. Today was race day.

My plan to keep on running went out of the window. Wait, no, that’s not what I mean! I ran it all, and I did it in an amazing 1 hour and 11 minutes, but I didn’t use all the tips I made for myself. I simply read people’s back signs, chatted to a few people along the way, and concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other. A few times, I turned around to see someone just slowing to a walk, and I said ‘Come on, you can do it.’ The smile that they gave me in return spurred me on, and when at one point someone turned around and said the same to me, I smiled too.

At 8K, I began to worry that I hadn’t spotted my best friend yet. She promised that she’d come back for me, and she hadn’t. What if something had happened to her? At 9K, I got angry. She must have finished by now, where on earth was she? I’d never ever say this out loud, but all that had kept me going from the 5K point was the knowledge that she would come back for me, and we’d finish together. I was exhausted but under no circumstance was I going to let her down. With about 500m to go, I was just coming to terms with the fact that I’d have to finish without her, and suddenly, she popped up. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so hard in all my life. We did it, we crossed the line together, we crossed the line hand in hand, and we crossed the line at a sprint. I was so happy with myself and I couldn’t help but pull her into a hug.

‘See,’ she said later. ‘I came back for you, didn’t I?’ She knows. She knows exactly how much I had resting on that, and how much it meant to me. ‘You could have done if without me though, you ran it all, and you didn’t even need me!’ I just wish that I’d asked the question that was lurking in my head. I didn’t, because even now, I’m still a little afraid of what the answer might be.

‘You will always come back for me, won’t you? Always?’

Now though, I’m a runner. And you know what makes me know for sure? The thing that made me finally decide? I got back into the car, started driving home, and a few minutes later, I said ‘So, are we still running this Saturday?’

Three months ago, I would have never EVER have even dreamed of saying that.

Living. Laughing. Loving.

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Believe.

A few months ago, I bought my friend a ring for her birthday that said ‘believe’. That’s a word that’s really important to us both, but today, I realised just how far that goes.

We finished the 10K Race for Life (more on that to follow!) and as we were walking back to the car, I said ‘I can’t believe that I just did that.’
‘I can,’ she said. ‘I always knew you could do it.’

It made me realise that sometimes, it’s not about believing in yourself. Sometimes, it’s a hell of a lot more important to know that there is someone out there who believes in you. That’s what really counts.

Living. Laughing. Loving.

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How I’m Going to ‘Keep on Running’

It’s only 86 hours until I run the 10K Race for Life. There is absolutely no way that I feel like I’m well enough prepared. I went out for my first ever 10K run with my best friend personal trainer yesterday. I love that girl, but my god is she a pain in the bum when I’m exhausted. I’ve decided that I prefer her as my best friend, but even then, we didn’t run the whole thing. I’m mentally kicking myself for it. This weekend, I WILL succeed. I have a goal – to not stop running – and I AM going to achieve it. I don’t care if it takes me two hours, as long as I don’t walk. My aim however is 1hr 20 mins, and I’ll be bouncing if I do it in 1hr 10. If by some miracle I manage 1hr 5 or even faster, please have an inhaler ready, because I’d be on top of the universe if I managed that, never mind the world. I’ve been reading around, and thinking about things that my friend has told me, and I’ve grouped my tactics into six categories:

1. It’s all mental. A positive mental attitude will be what gets me through this, and even though I’ve probably never had a positive mental attitude in my life, I’m going to start now. All I have to do is just keep running, because I don’t want to be a failure. I’m always a failure, and I don’t want that this time. I want to achieve, and I want to be proud of myself. Maybe, just maybe, if I’m really lucky, I might make somebody else proud of me too. I can’t even begin to imagine how amazing that would feel.

2. Reward. I’m not 100% sure yet what I’m going to reward myself with, but there will be one. And I’m going to tell my friends that if I walk, they’re not allowed to let me have it. I know that I’m not running this race for me. It’s not about me, and it never will be about me, but having that little something to look forward to might just push me on, especially if it’s cold and wet. That reward is going to consist of a flask of chai, but also something else. Probably another edible treat, if I’m completely honest. But perhaps a notepad, too. A really pretty notepad so that I can draw to my hearts content, and keep it all in one place. I know that’d make me really happy.

3. The world around me. I’m running the race for life, for goodness sake. At least the firstly ten minutes is going to be spent reading people’s back signs, thinking, and sympathising. I couldn’t fit on everybody who I’d want to onto mine, so I picked the one who is the most positive – the survivor. And someone my own age. But there will be many many people there with names of people who have died, or are even just racing for fun. I love to read the back signs as I jog along, and it will spur me on. My first line of defence when the tiredness hits will be to think about the pain of hearing that someone has or might have cancer. Trust me, I’ve heard it more than once, and it’s crushing. But I’m running for the pain to stop. I’m running for a cure. And I’m going to be sending £352.50 to Cancer Research, and the same to The Little Princess Trust, and that’s why it matters. They will find a cure, and the physical pain I have to go through while running is nothing compared to the smiles that it will give to another.

4. Improving with each stride. My best friend has taught me how to run. She’s told me about the posture, the breathing, the pace. Admittedly, I’m still pretty damn rubbish at it, but concentrating on a better posture could keep me going for another few minutes. Even counting my strides, and setting myself targets. That tree. Okay, now that bush. That bench. Look, there’s the sign for 5K, half way there!

5. Distraction. Distraction has always worked wonders with me. I can be having the hardest day ever, but if you can distract me, I’ll be fine. I’ve found that talking while I’m running can really help. Of course, I won’t have that this time – my best friend will be much faster than me. Instead, I’m going to give myself some alternatives. I’ve always been a keen mathematician, and I read somewhere that numbers can really help to pass the time, and also to strive for goals. How many strides am I taking in a minute? I’ve run the first kilometre in so much time, so how long will it take if I continue at this pace? What fraction of the way there am I? How many strides until the top of that hill? How many people can I see who are younger than me? How many houses are there?
There’s other things too, that aren’t numbers. Can I guess what her job might be? If I give that kid a high five, maybe they’ll carry on? What am I going to have for tea tonight? Can I remember those key words for biology? What can I cross off my bucket list next year? What’s it going to be like when I go to Turkey with my best friend? How’s uni going to be? What do I need to buy for uni? Is there any teachers I need to see before my next exam?
Got the idea yet?

And finally, number six… The thing that will really keep me going is the thought that my best friend is faster than me, but as soon as she’s done, she’s going to come back and run the last bit with me. She’s going to spur me on, and we’re going to cross the finish line together. And yes, my head is a little weird, and I’ll make that seem more than it is. It’ll mean more to me than just finishing the race. It’s about friendship, future, and a silent promise to never forget. Every time we do something together, we get a little closer, and I feel a little more sure that university won’t separate us, because we won’t allow it to.

So, wish me luck. I sure as hell am going to need it. I’ll let you know how the plan goes, and I’ll let you know my time. Here’s hoping that I finish with a smile on my face. Secretly though, at the same time as dreading it, I’m just a tiny weeny bit excited.

Living. Laughing. Loving.

alex122rw

Fitness is 95% mental.

There is three weeks to go until our Race for Life 10K. If you’d have asked me two days ago if I was ready, I would have said no.

But then my best friend decided to make herself my personal trainer and take me on a 7K run. It took us fourty eight minutes and I was only allowed to walk twice for about ten meters each time. I was well and truly knackered… She ran most of it backward. She tells me that we’re going again next weekend… I’m telling her that I didn’t realise it was possible to love some and hate them so much all at the same time!

But hey, I did it, and I feel proud. Maybe that 10K is achievable, after all.

And I’d hate to say it out loud, but maybe I’m starting to look forward to the 1st June. Just a tiny bit.

Living. Laughing. Loving.

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The Big Chop

I did it! It’s gone – all fourteen inches of it!

I’ve raised £612 so far, and I’m really happy! I’m not sure I like the new cut, but I’ll get used to it eventually. It’s going to make a little girl somewhere very very happy, and that’s what matters most.

I thought that it was fair to share, but right now, I don’t have much else to say, so I’ll leave you with a photo.

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Living. Laughing. Loving.

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The Bucket List

About two years ago, I started writing a bucket list of fifty things I wanted to do before I die. Today, my list is fourty seven items long, and I’ve completed seven. I’ve decided that it’s time to give you a little peak into my world. My list, as you’re going to see, rangers from the small and seemingly easy to the massive mental and physical challenges, as well as some exciting things along the way.

Number 24 was the first item that I completed: read all the Harry Potter books. Although not a particularly difficult challenge, I felt a great sense of achievement from being able to write ‘done Jan 2013’ next to it, and it really spurred me on to keep going with my list.I first made s’mores over a fire at winter camp with Rangers in February 2013. They were amazing! Giving blood was challenge number 23. It was something that I really wanted to do, but I was very afraid of. However, a week after my best friend turned seventeen, we went together. I’ve been three times now, and am going for my fourth in a few weeks. Is fantastic, and so rewarding! I was so happy to pass my driving test with one minor in October. Alcohol has always been an issue for me, and it’s always something that I worried about. I’m proud to say however that in February I completed number 13, and 14: drink a glass of wine and go to a party with alcohol. My most recent achievement, and something that I’m extremely proud of is getting the Chief Guide Challenge award. I went to the presentation evening in April, and it was fabulous.

I’ve also got fifteen that I’m planning to try and complete in the next year.

1. Complete gold dofe
6. Complete my ALQ
8. Train as a monitor for ATE
9. Get my grade 8 flute
18. Keep in touch with my best friend from high school while at university
19. Watch the sunset on a beach with someone I love – of course, I’m not sure if this one will happen, but it’s an aim
20. Write letters to myself for later stages in life
22. Enter a photo competition
34. Take an exam without stressing – I’ll be very very lucky if I manage that before I leave school!
35. Before I leave school, donate hair to the little princess trust – booked in, it’s on Friday!
37. Bake each friend a special muffin for the last day of year 13
38. Run 10K – in three weeks!
39. Learn basic piano – my best friend was supposed to be helping me with this. I hope we get there sometime!
42. Say sorry only when you need to – this is a massive mental challenge, but I feel that I’ve come so far, I can make it all the way in the next year
47. Surprise my best friend one weekend at uni with coffee, pizza, cinema, and lots of chats

Today however, I discovered something really cool – a bucket list of friendship. I don’t think it’s something that I’d ever mention to my best friend, she’d probably think I’d gone mad. Separately, privately, and without discussion, you each write five things that you want to do together in the next year. Then you sit together, combine your lists, and make the first plan. As you complete each thing, you cross the item off the list. Going off to university is something that I’m really worried about. I’m a complete ball of anxiety over silly things sometimes, and I’m often worried that my best friend will forget about me. I do wonder if this would help me feel better? To know we always have a plan… That way, she can’t forget. As I said, ill never mention it though. I may be a lot more confident than I was when we met three years ago, but I still have a bit of a fear of being judged. Maybe you can try it though, I’m sure it’d be great fun!

Living. Laughing. Loving.

alex122rw

The Clock Keeps Ticking: Four Weeks Until the Big 10K

I thought that it was about time that I took a break from the A Level panicking posts, and told you about my fundraising. For me, the big deal is that it’s only one week until my 10 inch hair cut. For you however, I’m sure you’re much more interested in hearing the update on the girl who doesn’t run but is about to run 10K.

It’s been a really good week. Of course, it’s only day four, but aside from crippling myself by doing too many sit ups, I’m happy. I only ran 2K on Tuesday because I was feeling ill, but swimming this morning has made me realise how much my fitness has improved. Aside from a minor ‘oh dear my chest hurts and I didn’t bring my inhaler I should just have literally thirty seconds or else this could get worse and end badly’, I swam for a whole thirty minutes straight. I’m really happy. The sit ups have made me feel good, too. Although 10K still seems very far fetched at the minute, I really hope that I’ll get some support from the friend who made me sign up to this run. I think maybe if we get the chance to run together, I might be surprised by what I can actually do. Someone to spur me on and tell me that I’m doing well might just be the thing that gets me over that finish line in four weeks time.

I’ve raised £451 so far. Only £49 from my goal! I’m so happy, and I’m sure that the two amazing charities that ill be supporting with my two events will be very very grateful. To all other fellow race for life runners, I wish you all good luck… And happy fundraising!

Living. Laughing. Loving.

alex122rw

Six Weeks Until the BIG DAY

So I did as I said, and I’ve run every day so far. Since my brother was away, it has meant I’ve not been able to go to the gym, and so I’ve just made the most of the track and trying to build my general fitness instead. Here’s what I’ve been up to…

Friday 11th April – 2K, 11.54
Sunday 13th April – 2.08K, 12.05
Monday 14th April – 2.08K, 11.58
Tuesday 15th April – 2.08K, 12.26
Wednesday 16th April – 2.08K, 12.02
Thursday 17th April – 2.08K, 12.12 – first time running the whole lot on the track! Yey!
Friday 18th April – 2.08K, 11.45
Saturday 19th April – 2.08K, 11.42

I don’t know if I’m going to get to run today. I’m going out for dinner with my nan, and I just can’t see how I’m going to have time between revision ending and needing to leave. But hey, don’t tell me that I haven’t tried!

Saturday was fun. I got myself all ready, looked out of the door, and my neighbour was outside. Oh no, what the heck to do? And she’s with two people I don’t know. Even worse. And she doesn’t look like she’s going in any time soon, she’s pretty into that game. Yes, she’s only seven. No, it doesn’t matter, I’m still a wimp. It took at least ten minutes to working my way up to getting out of the door. And when I got home, I did of course have to stop and chat. She was greatly amused, but her little friend just looked at me like I was some kind of alien as I stood panting on my front lawn.

My recovery time is getting a lot better and although I’m finding the run difficult, my breathing is recovering a lot faster and I can now flick my trainers off and run straight upstairs for my berocca and some fruit or veg that i prepared earlier. Before, I’d have to sit on the steps and recover for at least five minutes before I could even contemplate taking my trainers off.

I now have encountered a new problem however – cramp. And damn does it HURT. I’m fine during the run itself, I get home, sit down to catch my breath and finish my water and BOOM, it hits. It’s not every single time, and sometimes it’s worse than others, but it feels a bit like menstrual cramp but about ten times worse. For about fifteen minutes, I end up doubled over, feeling very nauseous, and have sometimes had diarrhoea as well. It’s just foul. Looking at food makes me feel sick, I usually just about sip half a pint of water or berocca, but that’s all I can manage. I’ve done some google research, but everyone seems a bit undecided on what it is. I never got it until the past week or so, so I just don’t understand! I’ve tried running at different times of day, eating and not eating, drinking water or other fluids, but I can’t work out what it is! Sometimes it happens, sometimes it just doesn’t. If anyone has any bright ideas, please help me! I’m desperate, and if this continues, I’m not sure that I’ll be able to run my Race For Life. And that would just be gutting.

My plan for next week is to do 4K every other day starting on Monday. So that’s four lots of 4K, and three lots of 2K. Lets see how it goes, shall we?!

Living. Laughing. Loving.

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Not long now!

So, is four weeks until my hair comes off, and seven weeks till the day of the big 10K! It’s all getting very close now, and in total I’ve raised £175 so far! Yey!

I’m planning to go track running every day in the Easter holidays and build it up a bit, because at the moment I’m finding the gym quite easy and the track really hard. I also want to swim a couple of times (and revise lots, of course!)

I’m getting really excited. I’m a little nervous but I know it’s all for a good cause, and when I’ve had a hard week I get to Friday and counting down the weeks is a fool proof way to make me smile.

Living. Laughing. Loving.

alex122rw