Following the highly anticipated 2012 London Olympics, I decided to take up running, and by May 2013, I loved it, more than I loved swimming. I was running at least 3 times a week.
In May 2013; I decided, that I wanted to do something special, in 2014 as I would be turning 21. I thought, "how amazing, it would be to say to people that I ran my first racing event and marathon at the age of 21". I unfortunately missed the on-line ballot and so decided that if I was determined to it, I'd do it for a special charity. I choose one that was gave something different to the community. I wanted to run the marathon, nothing was going to stop me, and raising funds for charity, was just another bonus to the achievement. I choose to run for Sparks, for children's health. As an early years practitioner, studying their degree in working with children and young people, I felt that this charity was the right one for me.
Three weeks before I found out if I had secured a place for the 2014 London marathon, I also decided I wanted to go to university and move forward in my career. In June, I found out, I will be starting a Foundation Degree AND training for a marathon. Normally I would choose which I would plan to focus on, but not this time. I made the tough decision of attempting to do both things. I guess you could say, I literally ran away with this idea.
It wasn't the smartest choice, I have to admit, trying to train for a marathon, trying to raise £2,000 for charity, work two jobs, study for my degree and fitting in some good old family time. After a few weeks of not really having a structured routine, I was running myself to the ground, staying up late to complete work, not training as much as I should have been, working 40+ hour weeks and trying to spending the rest of my time at the hospital, spending time with my ill grandma, who then passed away in December 2013.
My routine was all over the place; Working (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) in one place, attending university on Wednesdays, Working on a Saturday and only training on a Sunday, wasn't the best idea. A change was well needed. I then created a routine which had 3 short runs during the week and one long Sunday morning run, but this still wasn't as could as it could have been.
After a bit, I had finally got myself sorted and training was in full swing, was when the other shoe dropped. It was sad, cold, December morning when we lost someone special in our family leave us. It was a very difficult time and I was then running 3 miles a day to escape the pain I felt. It was amazing, I felt free, it was just me, and some amazing tunes from my staying strong playlist. This was just the push I needed.
After a very sad and difficult December, I sat myself down on January 1st and created a very structured routine which clearly identified when I would sleep, eat, work, train, travel, have family time and study.
Once I finally sorted myself out, had made such a difference, to my training and I made myself follow it. Each time, I ran more than 9 miles I would feel unstoppable. It was an amazing feeling. I couldn't wait for April 13th. I knew it would be hard, and how the run itself will be long and both physically and emotionally draining, I never realised how hard it would actually be. I felt like I was dying, By mile 18 I was wondering why I always wanted to run a marathon, but my mile 26 I understood why.
When I finally made it to the finish line, all the heartache, the late night study sessions, the early morning runs, the missed family dinners, all the other sacrifices I made, had made it all worth the satisfaction I felt at the end. It will always be one of my bravest moments. I learnt so much about myself. I now know that, no matter what life throws at me. I will survive, because you know what? I am a fighter.
After completing the London marathon, Bupa 10,000, the brand new Amba Hotels City of London Mile Race (Won by the amazing @RyanGregson ). I decided to take the plunge and join my local running club. It was my best decision ever, since joining, I have noticed myself getting faster, and more aware. There's so much to learn from them, but so little time.
Did I also mention The University of West London even gave me a shout out via Twitter for this achievement @UniWestLondon. You're awesome. Thanks.
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