Why would I do this to myself?
Last March, it sounded like a great idea to sign myself up for a half-marathon. After all, I’d managed a 5k run before (in a less-than-impressive time, mind you) so how hard could doing ‘a bit more’ on top really be? And, at the time I signed up, it was a full year away and I had AGES to train for it. First though, I would have a few months of doing relatively little as a sort of reward. I could eat what I wanted, drink what I wanted and avoid any form of exercise if I wanted because soon, I’d be so fit and healthy that I deserved it. Talk about self-sabotage.
So I gave myself a few months and then figured I should really put down the chocolate and get to the task at hand…but then summer struck. Usually this is a good thing, but not when you’re out running! When it comes to pounding the pavements, I’d take the rain, wind and even snow over the searing summer heat any day.
So the start of my training got pushed back again. It was simply too hot to run.
Eventually, in September 2017, I dragged my bum off the couch for a run around the block. I’d moved home on September 1st so ‘the block’ was unknown territory, but in went the earphones, on went the dodgy 80’s rock Spotify playlist and off I went. The wind was in my face. The sun (warm, not hot – perfect!) was making the odd appearance from behind a fluffy white cloud and I was actually enjoying myself. In fact, I thought to myself, I could keep going for ages. So that’s what I did. I ran for ages and ages, miles and miles, and then when I finally looked at my watch to see how long exactly I’d been moving…it was a little over seven minutes.
What. The. F**k?
It was at that point that it dawned on me that training for a half marathon – let alone running the damn thing – was going to be a bit tougher than I’d imagined. To top it off, I’d moved to Ewhurst, at the foot of the Surrey Hills, and my new neighbourhood was far from flat. A nice gentle jog around the streets involved at least 4 mountains, or that’s how it felt.
But anyway, out I went again the next day, and the next, and the next… and although it really hasn’t gotten any easier, I must have improved. In the early days I thought I was going to be sick if I pushed myself to keep going up the final mountain back to the house, but somewhere along the way the mountain became more of a hill, and these days it’s just a nasty slope.
So anyway, my longest run so far has been 8 miles. Ironically, it was better than some of the runs a fraction of that distance. On the day itself I will be running over 13 miles. How exactly, I don’t know, but I’ll do it somehow, no matter how much it hurts. A large part of the incentive to keep going is that I’m raising money for Last Chance Animal Rescue in Edenbridge. My first dog, Fred, was rescued from there when I was 14 and he lived until he was 14 himself. He was an absolute superstar. He was also a completely hyperactive nightmare, but he was a superstar all the same and he brought so much fun and love with him wherever he went. I will forever be grateful that he was given a second chance to find a family to love him and that I could be a part of that.
Last Chance Animal Rescue take in dogs, cats and rabbits that may otherwise be put to sleep. They are a small, local charity; not a large national entity. They don’t have an annual TV fundraiser and you won’t see their name on ribbons or lapel pins, but they need just as much support – probably more.
Is this is a shameless plea of ‘sponsor me please’? Yes, but I make no apologies for it. Without Last Chance, neither my life or Fred’s would have been the same and there is nothing that will ever be a big enough thank you for that.
…and if you think you might as well save your pennies and sponsor me when I decide to run a full marathon, think again. While everyone else is complaining about Dry January, I’m in the process of dry January, February and March. Sat here sober on a Friday night, as that’s the only way I can get through tomorrow’s run, I can assure you that I won’t be doing this again in a hurry!
You can find out more and make much-appreciated donations at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/running-for-fred
Bottles of wine, prosecco, gin and anything else that will make a satisfying sound as it glugs into a glass, to make up for three months of sobriety, can be sent to the address in my website footer. Honestly though, I’d prefer the donation.
Thank you for reading and if you are able to make a donation, then a massive thank you for that too.