I hadn’t planned to write this blog entry. In my head my next post was going to be about making the decision to pursue a career in the fitness industry and how that decision has changed my life. I’ll save that post for another day.
Between writing my last entry and today, lots has happened and I’ve learnt an awful lot. So, I’m going to empty my mind out onto the page in the hope that perhaps some of it will, one day, help someone else.
A few weeks ago, deep into my training block for my first full marathon – I started to feel unwell. Initially I presumed I was getting a cold, so I dosed up and carried on. Carried on working, carried on studying, carried on training and, carried on doing my most important job… Mummying.
Unfortunately, after three or four days it became apparent it wasn’t just a cold and that actually, I might have to take a rest if I wanted to get better. I missed a couple of days training and tried to take it easy, but, to my immense frustration, I carried on getting worse and a severe chest infection was diagnosed.
I’m generally a positive person, but, when something is very important to you it’s natural that you become incredibly protective of it. So after not running for 6 days, when the Doctor told me I would probably need to take at least another week off I cried and I panicked. I hated the loss of control and immediately started to think that all my hard work would be undone, that I’d lose my fitness and that my marathon goal time would now be an impossible dream.
But you know what? There isn’t one single occasion where being negative has improved a rubbish situation. One of my favourite sayings is…’Just because you’ve been given a cactus, doesn’t mean you have to sit on it’. And it’s so true. So, I pulled myself out of the hole I’d retreated into, dug deep into the pit of my stomach, found some grit, stuck a smile back on my face and got on with it.
As the weekend approached and after a week of almost total sofa rest, I felt much better. I was entered in the Village Bakery half marathon in Wrexham on the Sunday and, on Friday, after a week of thinking that I wouldn’t possibly be able to do it, I changed my mind.
Now I knew that I’d need to be really sensible and not race. But, the weather forecast looked good, it was only a short drive away and the medal was a beauty! So, after not running a step for a fortnight, I stuck my kit on and got out there. I’d missed so much training that it was just about time on my feet… I slowed my pace right down, walked a bit, took water at every station and never got out of breath.
Some people will think I was out of my mind to run a half a week after being so poorly, but I know my body, I knew I could do it… and I knew I needed to do it for my sanity. Actually, our bodies are capable of much much more than most people realise. All you need to do is convince your brain that you can do it – your body is there, ready to do its best for you.
I have learnt such a lot from these past few weeks – not only that I mustn’t be afraid to rest when I need to but, more importantly, when something is scary and difficult, I mustn’t be afraid to try. This body of mine is able to do great things, if I look after it and learn to quiet my mind when it tells me to give up.
Irrespective of where you are on your journey. Regardless of whether you’re training to run a mile or a marathon. There will be times where your brain tries to make you believe that you can’t do it… that you won’t hit that pace, that you won’t manage 10 minutes running without a break, that you won’t finish those 26.2 miles…
In those moments, please remember this. That voice in your head, the one which is saying “you can’t do this” – that is not your voice. You weren’t born with that voice in your head. Someone else has put that voice there. So learn to talk louder. Do whatever you need to do to drown that voice out. You CAN do it.
Dig deep, find that grit buried under your diaphragm and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
I believe in you… now start believing in yourself.