We never know where life is going to take us or what challenges it brings. In January 2010 I was happy, so happy I wanted to stay that way for as long as I could. I realised that if Ali and I wanted a long and healthy life together, we had to change. I was clinically obese, had a bad back and my knees were feeling the strain. I had various health problems and I was ageing faster than my years. I looked ahead to a life I did not want. It was time to change. By the end of the year I had lost 4 stone - 56lbs. My confidence rocketed - I had taken control and it had worked. I was exercising, enjoying buying clothes, speaking up for myself.

I began to believe in myself again, I began to dream. For years I had watched marathons with admiration and a lump in my throat. In April 2013, I ran my first marathon.

This blog is about living life as a slim person, staying slim and fulfilling my dreams. Come and join me, support me, advise me!

Take care, Sue

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Running for Dad - the Edinburgh Half Marathon

I still can't believe I did it, that I ran 13.1 (+) miles.  All the training runs, all the advice I read, nothing prepared for me the experience of that first half marathon. I was used to running with a chum or two and on long runs was very much a lone wolf - sticking on the headphone and setting off for a few hourse with Jenni Murray to keep me going. Running the Edinburgh Half on Sunday was something else...

I'd thrown myself into the pre race tweeting and face booking which was great to get to know some of the basics about what was to come. I asked lots of stupid questions, realised that lots of us were nervous and got an idea of just how different we all were, but all coming together to run. It was great and I really felt part of something as I headed off to Meadowbank Stadium.  It was so exciting to see people walking, cycling and bussing to the stadium in all sorts of gear.  But I was nervous too and poor Ali left a rather tense wife in the queue for the porta loos.  I was not alone and the queue got longer and longer, but luckily for me I was befriended and soothed by some lovely ladies from North Berwick. 

Then into the stadium to walk about and get my bearings. I stood in the sun to get warm and gradually began to relax and just absorb the fact that I was about to do what I'd been planning for about 6 months.  As the elite runners headed off, we all waved and clapped and I once again had that lump in my throat. What is it about these runs that is so moving? There is something so completely and wonderfully human about long runs, unaided by wheels or bits of wood, just legs and what we can persuade our bodies and minds to do.

And then it was my turn and  the 2 to 2.5 hour runners were off. No amount of lecturing about water loss could stop be sniffling as I headed towards the gate and the open roads of Edinburgh.  We had started. It was slow and packed, but I just told myself I had plenty of time for a burst of speed later on and that did the trick.  I headed off to Afro Celt Sound System - suitably Celtic and atmospheric and just went with the flow.  Gradually I became aware of a really weird flopping/slapping noise, quite unlike anything I've ever heard before. It was the sound of thousands of trainers hitting the Leith pavements. I have that sound in my head and will carry it with me forever - the sound of runners en masse. Never expected that one!

It was the most beautiful sunny day, just great to be alive and outside, and so great to be able just to run and enjoy it. Some of the runners did tend to cut me up a bit. At 5'2" and being a female of a certain age, I am not unused to being invisible until trodden on, but I was a bit freaked by some of the close shaves. However, the zen of the run (or maybe the endorphins!) came to my rescue and I decided I had to run my own race, to own my bit of the road  and not be intimidated. It worked and I relaxed - I wish it was always that easy!

There were so many high spots. The kind and warm Edinburgh and East Lothian people who came out to wave and wish us well, particularly at the end where some lovely people really kept me going and made me cry again!  The marshalls were just wonderful, really encouraging and gave up their time to make sure we didn't get lost. The kids and dogs who thought we were really amusing and a bit bonkers (how true) and the police and ambulance folks who kept us safe.  Most of the drivers were friendly and patient too, I hope they all got where they needed to on time.

It was hard work at the end, I have never been so happy to see Cockenzie Power Station and turn that last corner. I saw the finishing line and it was truly one of the best sights ever. I still don't know why it seemed to move further away the more I ran, but I did get there in the end. I made it over the line at 2h 5 minutes, my final time was 1 hour 58 minutes and 57 seconds. Ali was waiting for me with a big hug and a post race bag of goodies. I'd made it.

As we left a sunny and busy Musselburgh RaceCourse, I'd already started to think about what next. If I can do a half marathon then one day I can do a full one, it's just about training and hard work. 

Once again I'd proved to myself that I can achieve what I set out to, that I can do challenging things, that I can go beyond my own expectations.  Just like losing weight, I could do it if I set my mind and heart on it. All that and it's good for you too! 

As we left the stadium, I knew that somewhere my Dad was so proud of me. Parkinson's Disease had stolen a lot of his life from him and his family. He loved to be active and it was his death two years ago, almost to the day, that had inspired me to do things now whilst I still can. I'd run for him and for Mum who has Alzheimer's. 
Here's a piccie of a very happy but tired me at the end.

Happy running!

Love, Sue