On Friday 5 May Steph told me that she’d also got a place to run for Leukaemia Care. Suddenly, our fundraising target had increased to £6,750, but I told the girls to just see the total and not worry about their individual targets.
To say that Ann-Marie was overwhelmed would be an understatement. Team Weller suddenly had three members. Steph wanted to put something on Facebook straight away but I asked her to wait so we could word it carefully, but eventually word got out via her social media post. Funnily enough, she received the most stick for entering. I think that people who know her were genuinely shocked. I’m not worried about Izzy as she’s already completed a half marathon. I’m worried about me but I’m also very determined. Steph will probably have to work the hardest, but her sense of achievement when she crosses the line will be all the greater. I’ll be so proud of us all.
Andrew then said he’d do it with me but there’d be no point. He’s a foot taller than me at 6’4” and I’d never be able to run with him. Imagine the length of his stride compared to mine. No, we would need him for support (and to drive us home as none of us would be fit to walk, never mind drive). Also, we’d have to raise even more money…
Sunday 7th May
I put my running kit on this morning and went out running, because the weather was nice and I just fancied it. No idea what was wrong with me and I never thought I’d be one of the silly idiots running along the footpath that goes along the back of my house on a Sunday morning, but there I was.
I covered about 1½ miles, but alternated between running and fast walking, and estimate that I ran about a mile in total which is already double what I did yesterday. I know that I need to take it steady to start with but tend to be a bit like a bull in a china shop, so that needs taking care of. In any case, another 25.2 miles on what I did today and I’ll be done!
I stopped off at Sue’s house just to show her that I was out. She’s going to have her work cut out with me, without having to drag me round the whole 26 miles. She’s already signing us up for a 10km run at the end of July in Magor. 10km? I can barely do 2km right now.
This afternoon I wrote to Asics and asked if they’d help me out with some shoes for the event. I’m sure the answer will be no as they must get thousands of requests every year, but I hope my request was at least unique enough to interest them to the end.
I also contacted Fitbit on live chat as I found when I was out this morning that I was unable to see the display on my Alta model. Just for asking I was offered 25% off any Fitbit in the range. This was a very good offer; however, the one I wanted had an immense offer at Tesco. Coupled with 10% staff discount, I could save £26 and earn Clubcard points too. It was such a shame as Fitbit had been so helpful. Also, they had a range of colours whereas the Tesco choice was black or black, but I placed the order with Tesco. I have another couple of ideas for procuring “goods” instead of asking for money, but I’m not averse to just plain asking.
Feeling excited, positive, determined and scared all at once. It’s fine all the time we have nice weather, but I don’t think I’ll be so positive when the nights turn in or if it’s pelting down with rain and I’m supposed to be out. But perhaps I’ll come home at lunchtime and go out for a run.
Wednesday 17th May 2017
Word is starting to get out about my marathon adventure but I think people will be keeping the purses and wallets firmly in their bags. The weather was awful all day and I told Sue that, for now, I don’t see the point of getting soaked if I don’t have to. I know that eventually I’ll have to be out in all weathers, but not yet. We decided to take a rain check on our walk for later.
And would you believe that the weather dried up and I could not think of an excuse not to go. So off we set, me running down the path towards Sue’s before we started out on our loop around Caerleon. Each week we’ve done something slightly different and I’ve seen parts of the village that I’ve not visited before. However, the sting in the tail today was interval training; walking, interspersed with a lot of running. Probably a good job Sue hadn’t told me her plan or I might not have gone out. I had a coat and a fleece on as it was cold when I left home, but they were soon taken off. We were out for over an hour and I had left Izzy looking at possible choices for accommodation in London. Once back at Sue’s, again I elected to return to the path and run home.
I made the mistake of sitting down with Izzy when I got in and was really pleased with the options she’d found for us. I know that nearer the time, particularly in October when the ballot places are allocated, accommodation costs will skyrocket so I want to get ahead of the game. Izzy had found a really nice place just 16 minutes by train from the start point, with parking and breakfast, and room for eight people to stay. Even better, we could book now and pay a deposit and it was free to cancel until the day before. So, we booked and I sent the link to it to Sue and Steph. However, there were no reviews on the accommodation, and the owner still had to confirm our booking (within 24 hours). Having sat for so long, I then got really cold and just could not warm up. I was still in my running clothes and certainly didn’t smell very nice; I won’t be making that mistake again: run then shower in future.
Friday 19th May 2017
Today Izzy did come out early for a run with me, although we didn’t get out until almost 6.30am. Although we did the same run that I’ve been doing along the path, it was quite apparent that I straighten all the corners and curves along the way. This time, with Izzy by my side, I had to keep to my stride and ended up doing 1.61 miles rather than 1½ and it took 30 seconds longer too! My knee was sore but I just ran through it; I am determined to go the distance.
Before Izzy went to work, I asked her what she thought of a sponsored head shave but I’m afraid I can’t possibly print her reply. I tried to point out that some people who are battling cancer have no choice about whether or not they have hair and we could show our support by shaving our heads. Needless to say, she was not tempted so I’d be on my own for this one. In fact, Izzy went on to say that she was off to work “before you have any more crazy ideas.”
Back to the drawing board with the accommodation search and eventually Izzy found something else which would be suitable. This time, there was free cancellation and parking, it was close to Greenwich and the booking would be confirmed as soon as we made it so we booked it. We’ve booked two apartments which accommodate eight people to include family, friends, trainer and official photographer.
Thursday 1st June 2017
I’ve been putting tiger balm on my shin (and knees) since my last run on Monday in the vain hope that it would help and it seems to have done so. No pain in my shin but a strange sensation instead, especially when I sit and cross my legs, like a dragging feeling.
Decided to try running anyway and wanted to go out with Run Newport. Knew nothing about the group except that they meet at Gala Bingo in Newport at 7.00pm and run next to the river. Oh, and it’s free to just turn up. I was hoping for a bit of coaching on how to make my running style better, and how to stop sounding like a steam train, especially when the people next to me hardly seem to be breathing.
Izzy and I rocked up and Kate was the leader tonight. She had a chat with us so I told her our aim. Big mistake as we were later introduced as “Rona and Izzy and they’re running the London Marathon next year”. I’m sure there’ll be some who will be wondering how on earth I’m going to finish at all but I will get there. They were such a friendly bunch and I found myself enjoying being there.
We set off along the river up a path I’ve not used before and up to the Blaina Wharf pub/restaurant. Izzy was at the front of our group with such an easy looking running style, whilst I was right at the back of the group. But I kept running. We stopped whilst Kate divided us into two groups. The seasoned runners set off across the SDR bridge while the rest of us had to do a circuit around the Sytner BMW garage in a clockwise direction.
Back round to the start, we met a waiting Kate and she sent us off to run over the SDR bridge, get to the 30mph sign and turn back. I had somebody running next to me this time and we got chatting. Felicity is a primary school teacher who is about to return to work following a period of maternity leave. It was lovely to talk to her and I was able to chat as I ran. Short sentences only, but more than I’ve done before.
When we got back to the start point, the whole group was together again and we did some group stretches. My Fitbit told me I’d covered 3.46 miles, which was my furthest ever distance and I think I probably ran about 75% of that so I am extremely happy with that. Roll on the Parkrun on Saturday. I had had no pain in my shin so am really hoping that it’s just a case of a few niggles for an over 50 who has just started running. I’m sure there will be more though.
Back at home I registered for the Parkrun, as did Andrew and our barcodes came through quickly so we’re all set for Saturday, weather permitting, and that will be my next run.
Saturday 3rd June 2017
Woke up really early thinking about my park run debut. Not a very big deal I know, but a huge deal for me. Second time running out in public – could I do the distance? Would I fall over? Would I pick up an injury? Felt very nervous and a little bit sick.
We arrived at the Riverfront very early and had time for a toilet break and to put my knee supports on.
As the time approached 9.00am I went off to find Izzy and Andrew and to listen to the instructions, which were being given out for first timers. A Park Run virgin, that’s what I was, but not after today! Izzy was much further up the field whilst Andrew was with me. I told him to run at his own pace or he’d pick up an injury and I’d be fine so off he went, somewhere behind Izzy.
Going through the start point, I pressed my Fitbit for it to record my “vital stats”. I was very near the back but I didn’t care; I was running and I was enjoying being out there. And I kept on running, with the marshals shouting words of encouragement to everyone. It really was a lovely atmosphere but getting extremely hot for that time in the morning.
It wasn’t too long before the serious runners started to pass me on the way back. They weren’t so friendly, concentrating only on bettering their previous time. Other runners were happy to say hallo, or exchange words of encouragement. At the end was a bouncy bridge which was really strange, and not long after that was the turning point to come back and still I ran, passing two Where’s Wally characters, dressed up to make us smile.
I passed Andrew and wondered how I could have missed Izzy, but further on I saw her, behind Andrew by now. Her foot was playing her up – she has a lump on it and is awaiting a podiatry appointment, but she was still running.
On the way back, I started to catch people up. I was really happy with my slow pace and knew that I could keep it going. I came across a young girl about Izzy’s age who was walking and extremely red in the face. I kept my legs moving, even if they weren’t taking me forward as I asked her if she would like to run with me. I explained that I was really slow and happy to go slower but wanted to keep running and she joined me. I even managed to chat a little! We then caught up with another lady who was also walking and she joined our little group. It was so nice to help people and I hope that when the going gets really tough for me, that there are people out there ready to help me.
Finally, I could see the Wave ahead, indicating the finish. I kept on going and, as I turned past the Riverfront Theatre for the final push, I sprinted. Andrew didn’t even notice that I’d got faster (shows the speed he thinks I run) but Izzy did and videoed it. I was on my own going through the finish funnel but didn’t hear the applause until I watched the video back.
Later that day, my official time of 36.13 minutes came through, slightly longer than I made it because that was the time I took from the official 9.00am start time to actually pass the start point. I came 179th out of 193 and was the 67th female to finish. In addition, I was 10th in my category of women aged 50-54. Most important of all was the fact that I completed 5km without stopping, a new distance of 3.125 miles. FANTASTIC.