Friday, 2 August 2013

Running the Great North Run as Jo Whiley's running buddy

I've blogged before about how I've fairly recently started running. I started doing it as something just for me, where I can get out, headphones on, forget about things, and run. I've surprised myself with how much I enjoy it, with how much of a buzz it gives me, and how actually I'm not nearly as bad at it as I thought I probably would be! A few weeks ago I did a local 10k race, and that made me think about whether I could stretch myself to do a half marathon, something I would never have even considered a few months ago. At about the same time I saw that Bupa Running were running a competition on their Facebook page, where you could train with the brilliant Jo Whiley as her running buddy, and then start the Great North Run together. This seemed like an amazing opportunity and so I entered.
I explained on my application that, like Jo, I had 4 children and so knew how hard it was sometimes to find both the motivation and the time to get out for a training run. Also in common with Jo this would be my first half marathon. I also mentioned that I have a stubborn streak which enjoys the challenge of pushing myself that bit further, which should make me a good person to be a running buddy, and should stand us in good stead for getting to that finish line. I also explained that I would run to raise money for Ambitious about Autism, a charity that is obviously very close to my heart. Much to my surprise, Jo and Bupa picked me!
So this week I had a brilliant day in London to meet Jo and have our first training session together. It wasn't what you would call a typical day for me! There was a photographer taking lots of photos of the session, as well as a film crew filming and interviewing us. The Bupa physio was on hand to give really useful advice, amongst other things on the best way to warm up and down before and after a run, and on our running style. He filmed us running so that he could explain which parts of our running style were good and where we needed to do some work. Apparently Jo and I both run like gazelles - up until then I was fairly sure that I ran in a style similar to Phoebe in 'Friends' so I'm holding on to the gazelle comparison! A brilliant part of being Jo's buddy is that I have the support of the Bupa team during my training, so I can have access to this type of expert advice. As a completely novice runner this is invaluable.
The buddy system means that we can encourage and support each other, for me it's an extra incentive to keep training and pushing myself, being part of a team means you don't want to let anyone down. I've been a big fan of Jo's for a long time and it was so lovely to meet her, to talk to her about why I started running, and why I want to raise money for Ambitious about Autism.
The physio gave me confidence that I'm on target in terms of my training, and now I know what I need to be doing between now and the race on the 15th September. We have another training session later this month so I shall report back. There will also be updates on the Bupa Facebook page.
In the meantime, if anyone is able to spare a pound or two to sponsor me I would be incredibly grateful. This can be done via my JustGiving page here.
Alternatively you can text SSAA77 £1 to 70070 to sponsor me £1, or text SSAA77 £5 to 70070 to sponsor me £5. 
Thank you! I shall keep you updated, and in the meantime leave you with some photos from this week's training session.