Hello people! Last day of July, it’s gone by so fast, or does time fly when you’re having fun?
August is gearing up, PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT!! I’ll be on “Power Talk with Stephanie” (www.powerplayradionetwork.com) and other special guests on August 7 at 5.30pm CST, talking fitness, travel and answering a lot of the questions you’ve been asking. My first radio show!!!!!! It’s radio you can watch like TV. Do tune in! I have big news coming up! Post script – the play back is now on the home page of my website – just scroll down to the “features” section.
But first, July.
Yesterday, I returned from a mini family reunion of sorts – a weekend in Dublin Ohio (US) celebrating my cousin’s 60th birthday AND his 25th wedding anniversary. Family flew in from the UK, US and Nigeria, My mum is one of seven siblings so I have an endless supply of cousins, next gen cousins, plus those adopted along the way. We had four sisters all together for the first time in ten years, first cousins who have never met each other’s kids….we laughed, danced, partied, ate, made fun of each other, took endless photos and had a family photo after Sunday brunch which was almost like herding cats. It was fabulous! The weekend went by so fast!
It got me thinking. “Fast” is everything these days isn’t it? Fast food, fast lane, faster download speeds, the fast train, quick cooking oats, lose inches of your waist in a blink of an eye, get a beach body before morning, click here to earn money fast etc etc etc…(did you click?).
Quick fixes are abound but some things you do have to put in some work, go the distance for, go it slow. “Where is she going with this”? You ask. Give me your 5 minutes.
Ok, you know I’m training for a marathon (26.2 miles/42km) this year right? Read my previous blog post – What’s the 411 hun? for the how’s and whys of that. I’m using “Run coach”, an online Marathon Training for beginner to advanced runners, it’s an app (of course) you enter some data and it customises a plan for you based on your skill level. The good people of the app give me a certain number of miles to do each a week, and it’s incremental. What I don’t achieve during the week, I add it to the “long run” on Saturday. That’s just my plan, I don’t sweat it.
Two weeks ago I did 17.5miles on Saturday. My furthest distance EVER. Even as I write this I’m still in awe. Some of you might be thinking, “never”. If you think you CAN’T, think again.
In 2009, I ran my first 3miles/5k. I was still in London, England at the time. I remember it well because I thought I was going to DIE that day. It was three loops around Bexleyheath Park. When I had done 1 loop and saw the “1 mile” sign, I thought they were joking. My lungs were on fire. I soon forgot about that pain at the end though. Or maybe it was the medal?
In May 2011, my friends and I from British Military Fitness Blackheath (our park bootcamp workout aka “BMF”) travelled to Scotland for the “Edinburgh Marathon festival” – a weekend of races. I did the 6miles/10k on Saturday, my friends did the half marathon (13.1miles/21km) and marathon (26.2 miles/42km) on the Sunday. I looked at them in AWE. I NEVER thought I could EVER run a half marathon (emphasis on “could”), Whaaaaat? HOW?!!
In September 2011, I ran my first 10 miles – “the Para’s 10” – this race is not here to play with you. “Regarded as The Ultimate 10 Mile Endurance Race, the PARAS’10 is based on the 10 miler from The Parachute Regiment’s P Company test week. The first event of test week, the 10-mile march is conducted as a squad over undulating terrain with each candidate carrying a bergen (backpack) weighing 35lbs (plus water) and a weapon. The march must be completed in 1 hour and 50 minutes”.
This is hard core at its hardest. People. Do not try this at home.
No, I did not do the above. The race is open to the public just to run it or do the challenge. I ran it. Again, my BMF friends and I, travelled, this time to North Yorkshire. The race seemed to go on forever. I was SURE 10 miles would be the furthest distance I’d run. Seeing all the super fit buff men in uniform running all around me did take the edge of the pain though. Oh the memories….sorry, where was I? (Ps, some of my BMF friends DID the challenge and WON, I come from good stock).
2013, I’m now in Texas, US and I did my first half marathon, the Dallas rock ‘n’ roll half marathon. Another memorable one! I kinda sorta twisted my ankle going down the staircase to the car on race day. ON RACE DAY. Of course I still ran the race. By the next day my ankle was the size of balloon and it was two years later before I could do any more running. I gave it time to completely heal while I immersed myself in other activities.
2016 was the year of the races – 4 Half marathons, 3 Spartan obstacle course races, trail runs, the year itself was fast! And I’m not referring to my running. My slogan is “go at your own pace”. I take it slow and steady.
Back to the present day and 17.5 miles on July 21. Before the day I bought a knee sleeve to prep for recovery, I was extra foam rolling and stretching. I didn’t know what to expect at 17.5miles. After any run over 5 miles, I’d feel a slight soreness behind my left knee so I was slightly concerned, but not fazed. I woke up at 4.40am that day as I wanted to avoid a lot of the Texan sun. Waking up at that time is already an achievement for me. I had a “superhero” muffin for fuel, more on this later.
Hours and 17.5miles later, my legs were feeling…..not bad! Slightly wobbly but that behind the knee pain was not there. Even more amazing, my legs were FINE the next day and without using the knee sleeve! It was as if my legs were rewarding me for my time. I also decided to test my half marathon strategy – to pick up the pace the last 3miles. This is a mind trick I do with my legs. Considering this was longer than a half marathon, again, I did not know what to expect. It worked!! I was thanking my legs the whole day.
I’ll be doing the Marine Corp Marathon in October. It’s taken me 9 years to go from 3miles/5k in 2008 to 26.2miles/42km in 2018. NINE YEARS. Almost 10 years of staying the course, building endurance without even realising it was in me until I decided to test myself. To try. To do something for the first time.
You really never know what you’re capable of till you try!! Just like any skill, you have to invest in it.
You NEED to start the course and stay on it to win it – quick fads will only get you so far. A consistent little over time adds up BIG time.
Could I have done it sooner, maybe? I don’t know. Other people have. Everyone’s story is different. When I did that 5k YEARS ago, I wasn’t thinking “oh one day I’ll run a marathon”, I just did the 5k. Years later, I said to myself “when I turn 40 I’ll do a marathon”, it sounded like a good goal. Come 40, I ditched that idea. I wasn’t ready. I saw my friends in marathon training and it looked TOUGH and painful. Where will I find time to put in the hours? My legs hurt just thinking about it. MY MIND WASN’T READY. I’ve learnt sometimes you won’t be ready, that’s ok. Re-plan, re-set. But you’ve got to get your mind in the game. I think my body wasn’t ready but my mind was. It tapped into the years of training and my body responded.
You see me now all “fit looking” but it didn’t just happen overnight. It rarely does!!!
My advice – instead of thinking “I can’t run or I can’t run a half marathon”, well what can you do? Do that. A lot of people have told me about medical issues or injuries, I totally understand that. Running may not be for some, there are lots of other paths to building a fitter lifestyle. The little we can do now will pay us greatly later.
You always remember your first time don’t you?
What will you do for the first time? Start today. Start small. Maybe you had some fitness goals to start January 1st and you’ve derailed. That’s ok, start tomorrow, start August 1st, what better day for a first?! I have a first tomorrow, a bungee jump workout!
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”
– Zig Ziglar
Go it slow, get it fast. Be your own superhero people! I hope this helps. Do you have any questions? Want to know more. I’d love to hear from you!
Remember!! I’ll be on “Power Talk with Stephanie”, August 7 at 5.30pm CST, http://www.powerplayradionetwork.com – click on Power TV to watch and listen! There will be more announcements. Subscribe now, smiley face.
Cover photo credit to Pixabay free images.