Between August and November 2015 I didn’t do a lot of running. I was so disappointed in myself; I’d trained hard for my first 10k last July. Needing to find some motivation, I joined Run Mummy Run – an online community of women runners – and signed up to their Advent Streak: a commitment to run every day from 1st to 24th December. On Day 15 of #100DaysNoTV I completed the challenge.
During my Advent Streak I kept a light-hearted personal diary with a short note after every run, as I wanted to keep a record of how it felt for me, and I thought I’d share it with you. 🙂
my Diary intro
So, why am I doing this? I loved training for the 10k but since then I’d only been out a few times. A running challenge sounded like a fun way to get the running bug. The thought of doing this in the knowledge that hundreds of other mummies are running too – like a huge, virtual event – plus the chance to look better in my little black dress . . . Where’s the catch??
Day 1: Afternoon run today. A lot harder than expected; I only managed 2km. This cough is obviously going to have an effect. Sob. Trousers were a bit loose.
Twinge in my left knee during the evening. Come on, Em. You’ve got a long way to go yet!
Day 2: Actually had to put safety pins on the waistband of my trousers for fear of losing them mid-run! (Note to self: get some new running gear.)
It was a late run as Rob was stuck in London. Felt slightly easier than yesterday so carried on. Made it to 2.7km today.
Day 3: In memory of beautiful Sez – my inspiration. Longest run so far: 3km. It was emotional and I burst into tears when I got home. Wasn’t expecting that.
Day 4: Very tough today. Had to stop twice cause I thought I might pass out. Shortest distance so far: a pathetic 1.4km. Should it be getting harder? This chesty cough is a pain in the butt. If this turns into another infection, I’m in trouble. I’ve got 20 days to go!!
Day 5: Wow, it’s windy out there – like running through treacle at times. Managed 2km without slowing or stopping so pretty happy.
I want to be doing 3km each day so hopefully this cough will do one, and I can start to increase the distance.
Day 6: Got a sharp pain in my side today after a few hundred metres. Wondered what on earth it was. Safety pin had popped open. 🙂 lol. Shopping tomorrow, I think!!
Got spooked from the street lights casting double shadows of me. Kept thinking someone was right behind me. Silly.
Day 7: What a day. Run hurt. Didn’t enjoy that.
Day 8: Rob’s flying to Ireland so got to get the run done while mum’s here. Midday run it is.
So, a third of the way through the challenge. I won’t lie, this has been a hard eight runs but I think my tummy might actually be toning up. Woop!
Day 9: Another daytime run. Wasn’t looking forward to it but managed to do the slightly longer run so pretty happy.
Day 10: Before: Oh this week can do one. Not feeling it today.
After: Well, obviously the stress helped! Managed my longest run. Still only 3.1km, but it felt easier. It was raining pretty hard so maybe the air was clearer? Definitely easier to breathe. Saw Father Christmas!
Day 11: An early and short one today. All I could fit in, and good job it was out of the way, ’cause I got a migraine an hour later. 😦
Day 12: Feeling properly sorry for myself. Glands hurt, head is fuzzy. But today my Advent Streak medal arrived from the awesome Tay! It pushed me out the door for a solid 2km.
(There were a limited number of Advent Streak medals, and by the time I signed up they’d all gone. Tay wasn’t able to complete the streak and she so kindly sent the medal to me. Such an amazing gesture, which seems to be very typical of the RMR community 🙂 )
Day 13: I. Am. Drenched.
Day 14: Felt good tonight. Second 3.4km run in a row. Part of Alexander Chase was dark from faulty street lights which was a bit spooky. Distance so far: 31.6km.
Day 15: Put it off as long as I could, but that rain was going nowhere. Waterproof running gear could be useful!! Oh, and pretty sure my calves are looking bigger than 15 days ago. Nooooooo!!!!! 😥
Day 16: Tonight’s run highlighted the importance of good running underwear! Nobody wants to see you hoiking up your knickers mid-run.
Felt good, I considered doing another run after my stretches but remembered I still have 8 days to go. I think I’ll push it on the final few days, but not before.
Day 17: I knew it’d be a short run as it was getting close to school pick up, so I went for it on the Around The Spires segment and nailed it – a Personal Best. Boom. And, it was uphill. Hmm. Never thought of trying the opposite direction. I’ll do that tomorrow!
Day 18: No hangover from last night’s Christmas party with the girls, but feeling a tad dehydrated. Plus, stupidly busy with the boys’ end-of-term, Christmas prep, presents . . . Tried my route backwards (No! I did not run backwards!!) so the Around The Spires segment was slightly downhill, but what I’d forgotten was that it’s on the last third of the total route, so I’d run pretty far before getting there. Still pretty happy with the time.
Day 19: New running trousers!! Love ’em. Mum bought them as an early Christmas present as she’d heard the safety pin story (see Days 2 and 6).
Day 20: Slow and steady wins the race. First run without a mid-run coughing fit!! And, it made such a difference: longest run this streak!! Very happy with 4.5k, especially after the boys’ treat for earning 30 marbles: hot chocolate and cake at Caffè Nero. Quite an ache in my left knee, though. Surprised it’s taken this long to play up, to be honest.
Day 21: Felt good today, so did an extra lap of Alexander Chase and kept my fingers crossed it was enough to reach 5km. And, it was!! Soooo happy! This does mean I have to keep that up for the last three days . . .
Beautiful starry night. Think I saw the ISS! 🙂
Day 22: Nearing the end now and I couldn’t do a short run after reaching 5km yesterday. Rod for my own back! Hard work on the up-and-down of Alexander Chase – four laps, argh! Achilles were tight and knee not quite right – don’t let me down now, body!!
Day 23: Earlier run than normal, today. Nice to see the sun still rising. Body’s starting to complain – hard work. Not sure if the actual running is taking its toll, or whether it’s because I know the streak is nearing the end so I’m subconsciously winding down.
One day to go, and I will do 5km no matter what. It’s going to be tough, but, This Girl Can!!
Day 24: I did it! I’m elated! Rob and Ollie were there to greet me at the end. So happy. Little Ollie gave me my medal. Bit choked up. Full of emotion and bubbles (ice cold prosecco instead of water today 😉 ).
So, a total of 66km in 24 days. Yeah, happy with that! My new Run Mummy Run bauble is now on the Christmas tree (bought when I didn’t think I’d have a real medal) and I’m going to take a prosecco-tree-and-medal selfie. 🙂
SUMMING UP (GUSH ALERT)
I’ve learned a lot about me and my 39-year-old body; I can challenge myself and succeed. The distance actually doesn’t matter. In the end, I know that I had difficult days, emotional days, tiring days, but none of that stopped me from completing my daily run – 24 times.
As a mummy of two little boys I think it’s so important for them to see me as a strong person with commitment and determination – they might not totally get it at the moment (they’re two and four) but our eldest did seem to realise it was a big deal and they both asked when I was going running each day.
I definitely feel stronger now, both physically and mentally; I’ve never been super-confident so this has been a powerful experience. There were many times when I had to talk myself out of feeling too tired to carry on, and tell myself I could get to the finish without slowing.
It has helped with my body confidence too. Rob has noticed a difference in my tone (woo hoo!) and with my 40th birthday looming and a boudoir photoshoot as a birthday present to myself, being body confident is a definite plus!
I realise there are many, many people who have taken on much bigger challenges, but (for once) I’m going to focus on myself and enjoy my personal little victory. For me it was an emotionally, physically and mentally difficult challenge. Forgive me, but I’m proud. 🙂
I have to finish with a massive shout-out to the Run Mummy Run ladies, and especially Leanne Davies who started this sooper dooper community in 2012. There is absolutely no doubt that without the encouragement, support and a lot of laughs with the group, this challenge would have been a lot, lot harder.
Rob and I have signed up for the Grand East Anglia Run (10k run around King’s Lynn) in May, so we’ve got training for that. We know nothing about the course, so would love to hear from anyone who has done it before!
For extra motivation, we’re going to put £1 in a jar for every run that we do in 2016. The money will pay for an end-of-year treat. Hmm, what will it be?
I would love to hear from anyone who has completed similar challenges. What was the hardest part for you? How did you keep motivated? Would you do it again?
Bye for now!