21.0975 km

One week until I can stop bothering you all with half marathon chat! (And not get on a treadmill for a significant amount of time!)

So, here we are! This time next week I will have completed my first half marathon. I’m hoping that I’ll more than crawl over the finish, who knows, I might even limp over the line. I’m joking, (sort of), I’ve done the training- and have the blisters to show for it- I even bought kale for the first time in my life today. Note: Kale chips will never, ever, come close to Doritos.

I went into Sports Direct a few days ago hoping that the ‘all the gear, no idea’ attitude might spur me on to greatness but in reality I’m pretty sure they just flogged me £34.89 worth of stuff that will be of minor difference on the day. So now I’ve got the bum bag, energy gel and blisters I’m ready to undertake what would have been absolutely ridiculous and unthinkable a year ago.

I’m not a runner, I don’t know when -if ever- i’ll really be able to call myself one. One thing I’ve learnt this past year is that I’m 1000 times more comfortable on a bike. I’m relatively sporty and I like to think I’ll give anything a go once but long-distance, stamina requiring activities just aren’t in my comfy zone. But here we are, runner or not, limbering up and ready to go.

I’m still not exactly sure what possessed me to enter the Manchester half marathon. It was a mix of a few things really, but ultimately I needed a date to work towards, if I wasn’t entered for the half then I’d probably just postpone ‘getting fit’ for another 12 months. I think all in all I wanted to prove to myself that I’m capable, both mentally and physically, that I could do something that I thought was pretty impossible for me and quite frankly just too much effort.

Over the past few weeks quite a few people have asked me what time I’m aiming for, the thing is, as long as I get over that line (and I will!) then I’m happy. That’s my goal achieved. From someone who literally couldn’t run down the road without my inhaler a year ago, I’ve come a fair way. I regularly get annoyed with myself that I can’t see my progress or that I’m not particularly fast or that my technique isn’t great but still, even I can see that I’ve come a long way.

In the Summer of 2018 I took part in my first Midnight Runners 10km bootcamp in Berlin. The people were amazing and the attitude was great but I found the prospect really daunting and to be really honest I just simply wasn’t fit enough to be able to do it. I’ll never forget the pain my legs were in the next day, in fact, I sat cuddled up in a bean bag at work the entire day! It was really embarrassing that, although I was so active in many other aspects of my life and that my whole job revolved around sport, I couldn’t run honestly more than 2 minutes without having to stop.

So whilst I was procrastinating and probably a little ambitious I booked a place in the Utrecht 15km a place in the Manchester half marathon (this Sunday!) and the Sheffield half marathon in March next year. This delirious race booking spree was mainly dllone because I wanted to keep myself accountable to making a long-term change and to really overhaul my fitness. I have to be honest, it’s working. I can run faster, for longer and even sometimes with a smile on my face.

One thing that I simultaneously laove and hate about running depending on the day is that there are no short cuts or cheats. You can’t just buy a lighter bike to shave off a few seconds. If you don’t do the miles, if you don’t eat right and if you’re not determined enough then you just won’t get better. I’ve had to learn to be a lot more disciplined, stick to a timetabled work out routine and I’ve just had to try hard. re

There are no abs in sight yet but I’m toned, healthier, making better choices-especially when it comes to how much I drink, and overall I think I have a better balanced lifestyle. The bigg est change is that now, I make time in my day to work out. I usually go to the gym or do some other type of exercise usually 6 days a week. I’ve worked out that my weekly movement looks different each day ranging from running to yoga to zumba to weights at the gym to netball practice and a commuInity park run on a Sunday. Usually, I don’t have a strict routine with myself I will do whatever I have time for and whatever I fancy that day and I find that to be really freeing.

At the moment of course my exercise routine has been pretty centred around cardio but I can’t wait to get back into doing a little bit of everything and seeing even more progress to my fitness the more I continue.

I’d still stay that I’m at the start of my fitness journey and have a whole list of ideas in my head of what I’d like to do next but let’s just get through this race first! It’s going to be rainy, tough in parts but also completely fulfilling when it’s over. Of course…I’ll let you all know how it went soon. 😘

Wish me luck ✌️

-Aimée

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