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December 2018 – April 2019

I find myself a little behind schedule with the blog this time, although the extra month or two gas given me far more to report on! I had just made it to 7K week in the last blog and was adding a further K on every two weeks. This routine worked really well for me and I can’t believe I am writing that I recently did my first 16K week! When the distance achieved was lower, I was really struggling to see how I was ever going to achieve the end goal. Now much further on, I am starting to get quite excited about race day in September and taking part in this amazing event. Don’t get me wrong, I moan to my lovely wife continuously about all my aches and pains, she deserves a medal…or maybe noise cancelling headphones?!

Sadly, the distance I’m running every week is now too far for our dog Bella, especially now the warmer weather is moving in. She made it to 13K and still comes along with me if I do a shorter fitness run. 16K is only doable once a week for me, both with the amount it takes out of my body and the time it takes to complete! I have also switched to adding the additional K on every month, to be in-keeping with the end distance in September. My plan it to make it to 20K in the weeks before race day, leaving the final distance of 21K until the race day itself. I also think attending another event before the Great North Run would also be good for experience purposes. I am considering running the Manchester 10K in a few weeks.

The Good

  • When the weather is good, running is so much more pleasurable! However, the right balance is often rare. Days without rain by far the best! I have perfected my rain face.
  • Being out running has made me so much more aware of my surroundings and nature. I run at Byrom Woods and seeing the seasons change there has been lovely. This is a far cry from the days Marge had to talk me into walking across Manchester, instead of hailing a Taxi…often bribed with a Prosecco and bag of crisps!
  • The running has continued to boost my fitness. I have now lost 3 stone and am fairly close to my ideal weight. This has made a huge difference to my self-esteem, yo yo weight days are now a thing of the past. The increase in fitness has encouraged me to try new things and I recently started playing football on a Saturday with friends. This is something I never would have thought about this time last year. It is a highlight in the week for me, I really enjoy the session and playing alongside my Step Son is a real joy.
  • One of my most memorable runs so far took place quite recently. I was on the way back from Byrom Woods, clocking about 13K and really having to dig deep. I saw a group of people up ahead and only when much closer, realised it was our best friends Fiona, Darren and their family. They all started cheering and shouting my name, encouraging me to keep going. Then lots of high fives as I ran past. This was brilliant and gave me such a boost. It also gave me an insight into how important supporters are on race day, cheering from the sidelines.
  • It has been brilliant to see the fortybyforty team fundraising page get going. I have done a fair bit of fundraising and social media sharing so far and will continue to do so to try and reach that magic target. I think some additional fundraising activities would be a good idea over the next few months to boost my total.

The Bad

  • …and lots of it! I have struggled with my feet, ankles, back and pretty much every other moving part in my legs. The need to drop to one run a week was highlighted by my struggles and this has helped aches and pains. My feet and ankles in particular have been really sore. I am monitoring everything closely and will seek physio if it gets any worse.
  • As much as the perfect weather makes for great running, the alternative takes real determination to get out of the door. In the last five months, I have run in pretty much every weather combination possible. Snow, ice, wind, hail, fog, rain and more recently some very warm sunshine. Much like everyone else, I will be hoping for the perfect weather conditions on race day, who knows what we will get!?
  • One of the downsides to running such a mammoth distance is the time it takes. Like most people, we have a busy, actioned packed life in our house. I have had to really plan ahead to make sure I have the time for running now. It has become such a fixed part of my routine and I can imagine I’ll continue running after race day now (I may retract that on Monday 9th September).

The Ugly

  • Only I could accidentally get caught up in a running club for teenage boys on a sunny Sunday morning at Byrom Woods. Right at the point they were practising sprint runs up and down a hill. The entire group was halted as I bobbed along with Legally Blonde blasting in my ears!
  • Pink grapefruit isotonic energy gels really are as disgusting as they sound.

My final blog will now be in August, at which point the final preparations for our adventure will be underway. Who knows if I will then be running 20K! We will see.

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