Colchester Half and Fundraising…

As I begin this post it’s already 11pm and I’m sitting in my lounge with Quinn’s toys all over the floor and her clothes scattered everywhere in between. I’ve just managed to get a poorly Quinn back to sleep after holding her for 30 minutes and unfortunately she has a poorly mummy too, who has caught the stomach bug Quinn had over the weekend. So please excuse any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors that may follow…

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I myself am also recovering today but not from an illness, my aches and pains are self-inflicted. At the weekend I ran the Colchester Half Marathon as part of my preparation for the London Marathon and lots of people were asking how training and fundraising is going, so I thought I’d write a quick update.

As of today there are just 39 days until the London Marathon (squeaky bum time!!!). Since starting training on January 1st so far I have run 223 miles, as the crow flies the equivalent of running from where I live in London to Cornwall. If I were able to run on water I could have reached Paris, Brussels or Amsterdam in less miles, and if I had headed north I’d be a mile or two shy of Durham.

Training is going well, most weeks I’ll run two long runs and two slower short ones. I’m slightly behind where I should be as I rolled my ankle four weeks into training. Ten days out gave me a rest but also a lot to make up since. I’ve been getting there slowly, although increasing the distance is coming easier than upping the pace. Sunday before last I ran the furthest I’ve ever run before, 17 miles in 2 and a half hours. During the run I felt good but after I suffered for not taking a drink with me and felt really sick from dehydration. Not a mistake I’ll be making again!

Which brings me on to yesterday’s half marathon. It’s the second time I’ve run the Colchester Half and both times it’s been beautiful sunshine. Living in London it’s nice to come back and run through where I still call home, and even better to see some familiar faces. I had mixed views how to treat the race, whether to go out and run the fastest time I could or to treat it purely as a practice for the full marathon and run at marathon pace. In the end I decided for somewhere in the middle, setting out at a decent 8 minute mile pace and seeing how I felt. As it turned out the race went really well, I dug in to keep to my pace during the hilly first 6 miles averaging 8:03 minute miles and then was able to quicken slightly through the second half averaging 7:53. I finished in a new PB 1 hour 44 minutes and 22 seconds (7:58 minute miles), taking nearly five minutes off the time I ran in 2014. What was even more pleasing is that in 2014 I basically crawled across the line, whereas this year my last mile was my quickest and I definitely felt I could have continued for a few more. Obviously I won’t be running that pace in the marathon but it’s given me a huge amount of confidence going forward, oh and the biggest medal ever!

More importantly my fundraising has been ticking along steadily without much pushing on my part, so a massive thank you to everyone who has already kindly donated to my cause. I’m more than half way to my target, but I’d love to go past it and raise as much for Tommy’s as possible.

If I had any doubt about the importance the money I’m raising this for, it has been brought home to me on two occasions this month…

Firstly through work I became aware of the story of Miller Goleby. Miller entered this world on 16th January 2016. Unfortunately, he came to his parents sleeping much to their complete devastation. 37 weeks pregnant, Phil and his wife were confident they had passed the scary bits and now at full term had everything to look forward too. However in their own words, on 14th January 2016, “a Midwife uttered the four most soul destroying, heart-breaking words you will ever hear in your life to us, “there is no heartbeat” – in that moment time stood still and our whole world fell to pieces. Two days later, after many tears and much screaming, shouting and questioning why, all whilst not believing this could have possibly of happened to us, we held Miller in our arms. Despite the deafening silence – I have never felt so completely in love in my whole life”.

In conversations with Millers father Phil, the loss of such an experience really hit home to me, particularly when he told me of the pain he felt knowing he’d never take his son to his first football match.

I have also been told of a family member of a friend who went through the same heart-breaking ordeal in the past few weeks. Nothing can take away the pain that comes with such a loss but the work that charities like Tommy’s do gives some support and comfort to families going through these terrible experiences. Just as importantly, Tommy’s also work tirelessly to understand the reasons behind why this happens so that they can try to reduce the chances of it happening to other parents.

I know that for all of us our money is hard earned and there will be some who simply can’t afford to. But if you can, any donation you make will by hugely appreciated not just by me, but by Tommy’s, the families they support in times of need and the babies they save thanks to your help. You can help me by visiting my Just Giving page here.

And so my training continues with 3 miles tomorrow, 8.5 on Thursday, 3 more on Saturday before a new longest run yet of 18.5 miles on Sunday! Thank you for everyone’s support so far, it really does make getting up at 5am for those long runs much easier. Finally if you’d like to read more about Miller’s story and the Miller’s Stars charity set up by his parents in his memory click here.

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