Half-Marathon – training with my Sis

Saturday was the first time my sister and I trained together for this craziness that she has talked me into. We drove to WIndsor evoking a myriad of memories. Windsor was the last place I rode horses, other than the occasional holiday hack.

The weather proved to be typically British as it boasted its array of seasons. From the comfort of the car we looked on as it rained. Both of us wondered what had brought us out on a day like this but the rain stopped and the sun shone.

We entered the park from the Bishop’s gate entrance and started our run. We went along Snow Hill up towards the Copper Horse, it took a few minutes to adapt to a pace suitable for both of us. In my little running bag sat my MP3 as I didn’t know whether I could run without it. Julia and I managed to maintain a conversation throughout, pretty impressive I think so there was no need for musical distraction. We ran down the Long Walk seeing the horses splashing around in the pond at Bears Rails. Our run took us all the way through the park to the castle where we did a U turn and faced the run back up the Long Walk with trepidation. I found the last part of this exceptionally hard and my breathing suffered as I lumbered up the hill. Conversation stalled at this point with the exception of the odd update I provided from my running app as to how far we had run.

I know I need to work on my hill running, something to focus on at the gym…although going to the gym is now going to be more of a trial after running in such exquisite surroundings. At the top of the hill we headed back towards Snow Hill. Our aim was 10km. We reached our goal and decided to increase it to as far as the gate, when we reached the gate we increased it further thinking that 11km would be a good point to reach as it was half of our ultimate goal. We turned towards Savill Gardens and kept our pace…although I was struggling by then until the app proudly informed us that we had reached 11km. Yay us…we have four months to double that.

A bite to eat, a long soak in the bath, a quick lie down on the sofa and I was good for nothing else that day. I did have an overwhelming sense of achievement though. From the woman who couldn’t run outside for more than 5-10 minutes I had managed 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Why are we doing this? Our Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a couple of years ago and this is a little way that we can show him our support and thank not only him but our mum for the brilliant parents that they are and the continuous support they have given us.

A little bit about Parkinson’s that I have copied from: http://www.parkinsons.org.uk/ 

A quick introduction to Parkinson’s

No one has to face Parkinson’s alone

If you have just been diagnosed or know somebody who has, you’ve probably got a lot of questions and perhaps some worries. That’s where Parkinson’s UK can help.

We’re the UK’s Parkinson’s support and research charity. We’re committed to finding a cure and improving life for everyone affected by Parkinson’s. We provide a range of information and support through our 370 local groups, website and free, confidential helpline manned by expert staff and nurses.

Every person with Parkinson’s is different

The symptoms someone has and how quickly the condition develops will differ from one person to the next.1 Although there’s currently no cure, a range of medicines and treatments are available to manage many of the symptoms.2

Parkinson’s is not infectious and doesn’t usually run in families.3 For most people, their life expectancy won’t change much because of Parkinson’s.4 We don’t yet know why people develop Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s affects people of all ages

Around one person in every 500 has Parkinson’s. That’s about 127,000 people in the UK.5  Most people who get Parkinson’s are aged 50 or over, but younger people can get it too.6

It can take me longer to do things

People get Parkinson’s because some of the nerve cells in their brains that produce a chemical called dopamine have died.2 Lack of dopamine means that people can have great difficulty controlling movement. Sometimes people can ‘freeze’ suddenly when moving.1

Parkinson’s can also cause some people’s hands and bodies to shake.1 This can make everyday activities, such as eating, getting dressed, or using a phone or computer, difficult or frustrating.

Parkinson’s doesn’t just affect movement

As well as difficulties with movement, people with Parkinson’s might experience other symptoms such as tiredness, pain, depression, anxiety, problems with memory and constipation.1 These are often referred to as non-motor symptoms and can have an impact on people’s day-to-day lives.

Back to me again:

If you know someone who has been affected by Parkinson’s or you would just like to support a couple of crazy women as they build up a sweat in the name of a good cause then please visit our just giving page. Donations of any size are appreciated.



Half-marathon training

Today was my first run outside in well over a year. I always struggled to run outside as I couldn’t regulate my breathing so after about 5 minutes my chest would hurt and I would be puffing and panting. I used to run with work colleagues and they were all a lot fitter than me and ran easily. I think I must have tried to emulate their speed. I have since joined a gym and regularly run on the treadmill; this is a lot easier as it regulates the pace for you as long as you don’t set it to a ridiculous pace.

Today with great trepidation I headed to the Heath for a run. I have signed up for the Windsor half marathon in September to raise funds for Parkinson’s which is a disease that affects my dad. So I don’t have a get out clause, it is booked in, donations have already started pouring in. A joint enterprise with my sister and I can proudly say we have reached 90% of our £150.00 target in 2 days. We may need to increase it soon.

It took me 20 minutes to walk to the Heath; I fiddled around with the Map my Run app for a minute or two switched my music on and took a deep breath started. The first 5 minutes were the hardest but I didn’t have trouble with my breathing and my pace was nice and steady. My aim for this run was five kilometres but when I reached about three and a half I realised I needed to do more. I needed to push myself right from the word go. If I couldn’t now how would I managed in September. So I reset my target. My usual run on the treadmill is an hour so that was my new target one hour.

The terrain was varied as I ran on pavement, grass, uneven surfaces and slight gradients. I was overcome with elation when I slightly exceeded that hour by a mere 20 seconds and reached eight and a half kilometres.

The only problem was that I had to do the twenty-minute walk back!

I can honestly say I enjoyed it more than I do the gym as I was out in nature but I hurt a hell of a lot more too.


Windsor half-marathon

Okay, you could be right I may have lost my marbles…but the fact of the matter is my sister Julia, and I have signed up for a half-marathon. We are doing this craziness in support of our dad who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease about two years ago. Our dad is the best dad ever, I’m not just saying that because he’s my dad but because that is the truth. Our dad has always been there for us, a man who worked hard but had time for his three children, who took us to the park to play cricket and other ball games. He taught us to ride our bikes and picked my bruised and embarrassed self off the floor when my bike literally fell apart on me. He was always there when we needed advice; he fixed things when they broke. Every step of the way through our lives he has been there for us even when we didn’t necessarily deserve it.

Over the last couple of years, we have seen the deterioration that this wicked disease has wrought on him. The strong, active man now struggles with the everyday things, but he still pushes on. He tries to bring forth the words that flow freely from our mouths. We can see the frustration that these debilitating affects have on him. He cracks jokes and endeavours to stay upbeat even though he is in pain at times.

So for him we are signing up for this half-marathon, for him we will push ourselves to our limits -or certainly I will be – my sister is more of a runner that I am.

Now let me tell you just how crazy this is for me. The most I have jogged is 10km on a treadmill…I now have to do approximately 22km outside. Did I mention that I can’t run outside, 5 or 10 minutes is my PB. Can’t seem to regulate my pace or breathing. Oh yes, I can hear you all cackling, the laughter bubbling up from deep inside you, rising up your throats and bursting out as you split your sides. “Good luck.” I hear you say. I’ll take that, I need all the luck I can get.

I have until the 27 September to train…so watch this space. I may update my blog over the next few months with the highs and lows, the pain and the…mmm might need to think about that one!

I used to ride through Windsor Great Park on a horse…I wonder if that would be allowed.