The Great North Run – A family affair!

I did it! I completed the Great North Run! It is the best thing I have ever done. Even more so because I reconnected with family. It’s a strange thing is social media. But thanks to Facebook, over 17 years ago when I reconnected with one cousin via a friend and then more family connected over the years, I have finally been able to see family who we had lost contact with due to my Dad.

This weekend has been incredible. In fact the journey leading up to it. I was intending to run the Great North Run last year but due to becoming unemployed I just couldn’t afford to and I wasn’t in the right mindset. Saying that, this year I have a job, but have been doing evening work and long shifts, so motivation to get out to train has been very low. The one thing I have been grateful for is parkrun and being lucky having the odd Saturday morning free. Yes it may only be 3.1 miles but it was something and it got me going. I just found this year I was working long shifts and then finding I wasn’t getting the right amount of sleep or too much therefore the motivation to get up or to go out just didn’t appear and I never made it past 6 miles in training. The one thing I did manage to keep on track was my diet and I’ve seen a massive change and I’ve managed to lose at least a stone and a half since Christmas. I’m so proud.

So, Sunday came around quite quickly. I stayed at my cousins on Saturday night and slept quite well. On the morning my cousins, Andy and Steven and I travelled to Newcastle via the train and a breakfast stop of bacon sandwich and walked to the start.

So I was in pink, my cousins were orange and white. My two cousins went in the line up together as I walked to the back. I probably could have joined them, but felt knowing my luck I’d get noticed and end up at the very back and goodness knows what would happen. Anyway I felt I could not keep up with either of them as one had done a lot of training and the other, apparently not as much, but is a lot taller and I’d have had to run twice as fast to keep up 😀 so I walked to my pen, and found I had an extra mile to walk back to the start. oh dear.

I have never experienced anything like it. I thought it would be the same as the 10k’s just on a bigger scale, but it was so much more. I spotted a couple of people also in Cystic Fibrosis tops like me and I was amazed at how much support we were giving each other. Not only that just everyone in general. We were all nervous standing around and jokes were made and everyone shouting good luck as we finally set off.

While I had been standing around, I found that Strava couldn’t pick up signal and wouldn’t even start, which meant I couldn’t track my pace etc. I took it as a sign it wasn’t important and that with the chip on my number I would have a time at the end and that’s all that counted. I decided I just had to do it and enjoy it. It’s the first time I’ve ever fully just absorbed everything. Being aware I didn’t know the course fully, even with going through the walk through online, I was still quite surprised about the hills, the long inclines. Yet at one point I just thought, ‘Thank goodness for Cross Flatts Park and those hills!!!!”  They actually did me the world of good training in that park. Yes I walked some bits of the route but I mainly ran and managed to keep going on the last mile to complete my first half-marathon and one that I grew up watching.

So with that said, it was an amazing journey. The support by the crowds was amazing. Running thought the tunnels and everyone shouting ‘Oggy’ and the response everyone gave made me feel I was never alone. All I kept thinking was, that I had to keep going, I couldn’t leave my cousins waiting too long, but on the other hand I just wanted to enjoy the run. At around mil 8 or 9 there were showers, or sprinklers in a tent, which you could run through which really helped. At mile 10 my legs started to hurt, but then more water and ice pops were handed out and I think the sugar helped.

When I realised I was on the last stretch I had an urge to push forward but knew if I did I wouldn’t finish without having to walk. My body was reacting and I knew I had to slow it down. And then I was on the seafront, the last stretch. I kept telling myself ‘you’re nearly finished, you can do this!’. Funniest bit was I had seen a woman dressed as a post box a bit further back, and had said hello, only for her to come flying past at the end. But I finished, I made it! I threw my hands in the air and I celebrated.

I collected my water, followed by my goody bag and then onto the medal. I bloody did it!

After that I tried contacting my cousin, found I had difficulty with signal, but finally got the instructions where to meet. I went over thinking I was going to see both cousins, but no just Andy who had finished first with an amazing time of 2 hours and 5 minutes (I think) to tell me I had beaten Steven. I was in utter shock. Turns out he had stopped at Tesco’s for food and had a couple of pit stops. I was in shock, I didn’t think that I would catch either of them or beat one.

So before the big day, you are able to sign up for a text service to get your results and also use an app that people can use to follow you. I didn’t realise how good the app was until I saw my pacing and the fact you can track how you did even after the race, so I was able to see how Andy and Steven did. When I got the message through about my time, I just couldn’t believe it. It was far better than expected. I had worked out what time I could possibly get and I thought it was more near the 3 hour mark and not what I got. It still hasn’t quite sunk in, see below……

2 hours 34 minutes 53 seconds

I have to say  a big thank you not only to my cousins, but also to my Mum and Sister. I stayed with them Sunday night, I travelled via bus to theirs and when I got there still in gear, my Mum insisted I get a bath first then have some food. While my Mum sorted the bath my Sister ended up helping me get my tutu and leggings off as I just couldn’t seem to do it. I just want to say thank you to them for their support it made a good end to a fantastic day!

So on to post exercise, yesterday I walked in town and back and today, after some good advice I tried to go for a run. I have to say, although it was a 5k with a bit of walking, it’s amazing the difference doing the half has done to my running. I felt stronger and taller. Can’t wait for the full recovery and try longer distances. Yes there will be more races, hopefully the Great North again, that’s a least one birthday present sorted. Along with some 10k’s, I’m hoping Norwich, Darlington and Durham. And of course not forgetting some parkruns. I have now got up to 14. Lets see if I can at least double that in the next year.

Today’s run:


And I leave you with this. I saw this today and I wasn’t aware of no 9 until the day 😀

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‘Sunshine On A Rainy Day’


My body may not be prepared my head is. The Great North Run is going to be the biggest event of my life so far. Yes, I haven’t done the full amount of running needed. Yes I may hurt after but I’m so looking forward to it. I’ve always said I’m going to complete it but not thought how. Then on Saturday I realised in a way it’s only 5 parkruns. So if I break it down I can do it in 30 minute segments and I’ll be flying home!

I also tried out my outfit. I was thinking of being a bee but ended up with some popstar style stuff or basically a tutu and a sweatband. At least I’ll be seen. So down to the maths. A parkrun is a 5k or 3.1 miles. and 5 of them is 15.5 miles. Now that’s 2.4 miles more than the half marathon, but I’m taking into account I’m going to be right at the back when I start and I need to allow that and what’s at the end.

I read something last night about when running a half-marathon to think about taking 30 minute walking breaks. This allows the body to recover and you can run in short bursts. Well I had already decided to do a bit of walk/running as this was the only way I would complete it. So I started to think of a plan. It’s not complete but for at least the first mile until I’m over the start line and first km it’s either going to be a fast walk or gentle jog then build it up. There’s going to be pacers at the race as well. Apparently pink bunnies, if I can keep one of them in sight at some point that might help, but other than that I will listen to my body, absorb the crowd and fingers crossed I won’t take too long and be back for lunch  and collect my medal and finisher’s t-shirt (see below).

So roll on 10.40am on Sunday morning.


And I’m going to learn this to keep me going …..

Keep on movin’ don’t stop rockin’ (ahh ahh ahh)

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Time changes everyone

Hello from me to you

A mish mash of my week, or what I can remember anyway

Yet we forget them some get left behind. Humans are funny people. Some move forward, some get stuck in a perpetual loop and need a little push. Or if they do break free and bec

Sleep like a starfish

Merida: There are those who say that fate is something beyond our command. That our destinies are not our own. But I know better. Our fate lives within us. You only have to be brave enough to see it.

 Reconciliation comes from setting aside pride, admitting your mistakes, and forgiving completely

see link below for what this film can teach us see link below for what this film can teach us

Lion king lessons 

Don’t stop believing!

Other than that just give up on trying to get people to listen. Funny I should say that as I haven’t been a good one. But that’s because I am scared of other…

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13th parkrun and I smashed it!


I got a course PB:

Cross Flatts parkrun results for event #225.

Your time was


Parkrun is truly an inspirational event. This morning at my local one there was one particular lady (don’t know her name) who cheered everyone on which made me grateful for volunteers and people giving their time up. She was constantly shouting support and encouragement and made the small tough hills bearable.

All volunteers at parkrun are truly amazing. they give up their time to let others achieve great things. I’ve volunteers around 20 times and try to do it when I can. To give a little back when I’ve achieved little miracles like this.

This has to be my favorite run yet. All the cobwebs are gone and I managed it a minute slower than last week!

So, so proud.

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Dont be afraid of the “What If’s”

Today marked my first run in a nearly year and a half.

I’ve been saying for almost a year I wanted to get back to running.

“So what?” you may say. Well for me, this is a BIG deal

I used to love running, I’d head off on a trail with my faithful four legged friend for miles previous to CFS. We ran for fun. We ran to tire her out. And we ran to train for 10K’s and half marathons.

Running was OUR THING. Then came the recovery process.

I had learn to listen more to my body and those inevitable signs. “Push and Crash”. I tried to get back into running. And so – Push and Crash I did.

This afternoon my daughter asked would I come for a run with her… “Yes” said I. “See you in fifteen minutes!”

I had a moment of panic… Ahh!! What…

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With a little help from parkrun

So its now 3 years that I went to my first parkrun, but I went with my camera and took photos. It wasn’t until last year I actually ran one. Instead I volunteered a lot and absolutely loved it. I think I got up to 20 volunteer slots. I love volunteering at parkrun, it’s brilliant to not only give a little back, but also to see some great achievements. From young ones doing their first from anyone walking it and taking in the fresh air. And with most parkruns there’s always, cake,coffee and token sorting nearby.

This year, I find myself doing shift work again and struggling to get the Saturday mornings off. But I’ve been so lucky these last few weeks. On Saturday just gone I visited Mum’s and went out at the crack of dawn to go find Durham parkrun. I was greeted by some amazing people. The best bit it is its where Newcastle United used to train and where I met some of the footballers when I was a kid. It brought back so many good memories. With strava primed, and barcode handy I set off with the crowd. It wasn’t going to be a pb, it was a new course and I just wanted to do a ‘home’ run. It was amazing. I was a bit worried running on the grass with it being wet and worried I might damage my knee. But I took it steady and eventually caught up with a couple who I was able to keep pace with. Not knowing people at these events can be a bit daunting but everyone is so friendly. I did the run in 35 minutes and 37 seconds and I’m so pleased with that. Strava didn’t start and so I missed out on pacing etc. But I managed to copy the route and there’s always next time. Plus I did it! I loved it! I ate cake and a bacon sandwich. I sat with some lovely people and the best bit is I got to walk along the riverside and see Durham Cathedral in all it’s glory, including it’s bandage.

So this weekend it’s back to Woodhouse Moor in Leeds hopefully with the following week at Cross Flatts. I’m keeping everything crossed that I can do these as I know I’ll get my miles in. Plus it’s less than 4 weeks away from the Great North Run and I’m trying so hard to get my miles in. And even if I can’t do the distances in one long chunk I’m still doing it and still making progress. All thanks to the inspiration form parkrun.

Find out more here

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‘Everybody’s Free’

‘Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
Wear Sunscreen
If I could offer you only one tip for the future,
Sunscreen would be it
The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists
whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…
I will dispense this advice now…

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth
oh nevermind;
you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself
and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before
you and how fabulous you really looked…

You are not as fat as you imagine
Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as
effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that
never crossed your worried mind

the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday

Do one thing everyday that scares you

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts

don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours

Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…

the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself
Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults

if you succeed in doing this, tell me how

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…
the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives
some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t

Get plenty of calcium
Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone
Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t
maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t
maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding
what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either
your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s

Enjoy your body

use it every way you can…

don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it

it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own

Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room
Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them
Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good
Be nice to your siblings
they are the best link to your past
and the people most likely to stick with you in the future

Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle

because the older you get
the more you need the people you knew when you were young
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard
live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft
Accept certain inalienable truths
prices will rise
politicians will philander
you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young
prices were reasonable
politicians were noble
and children respected their elders
Respect your elders
Don’t expect anyone else to support you
Maybe you have a trust fund
maybe you have a wealthy spouse
but you never know when either one might run out
Don’t mess too much with your hair
or by the time you’re 40, it will look 85
Be careful whose advice you buy, but
be patient with those who supply it
Advice is a form of nostalgia
dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off
painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth
But trust me on the sunscreen’

Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free