Wednesday, 15 March 2017

A Word Of Encouragement

I've been reflecting this week on my participation in the Grizzly. I've been going down to watch that race and support M in it for eight years now. It always filled me with awe, that people were capable of taking on that particular challenge: the hills, the pebble beaches, the distance, the weather. I loved watching the runners gather at the start and come back after a couple of hours and more out on the hills, covered in mud, sweating, red faced, some looking completely knackered but everyone with a real feeling of achievement about them. But I never, in a million years, ever thought it would be me doing it.  I simply didn't think I had the capacity, the strength, the fitness or the ability. 

And then, a few weeks ago, we were talking about me maybe doing it next year, or trying to find a ticket no-one wanted for this year, and M suddenly said there's an obvious solution- you take my place. And that was that. Without me really making a decision about it, it was decided. I still wasn't sure I could do it but I didn't want to let him down. Knowing how much he loves that race, I didn't want to make his sacrificing his place in it to me a waste.

So I trained. I focused. I set aside all the niggly worrisome voices that undermine confidence and chip away at strength and resolved I would do it. I put together a training programme and stuck to it. And then my knees threw up a problem that put my training schedule into complete disarray. For a while I wasn't sure I'd be able to run the race at all, and only then did I realise how important it had become. I felt gutted at the thought and realised I was completely invested in it. 

The knees improved, slowly, and with the right treatment, but by then my training schedule was completely to pot and I worried that I wasn't going to be able to put in the miles or the hills or the intervals I'd planned. My careful preparation was in tatters. There was, by that time, absolutely nothing I could do about so I decided to pull myself together, put all that negative nonsense to one side and stop worrying about it. I had to trust that I'd done enough, that six months of solid training and significantly improved fitness would stand me in good stead for nine hilly miles. I made my mind up that I would finish the race come hell or high water by crawling round it if I had to.

I had no expectations of it going the way it did. It was, unbelievably, an easy run. Obviously it was tough, but I loved every single second of it and wished it had lasted longer. It was well within my capacity and comfort zone and everything on the day worked. I had no pain afterwards and although I was in bed and asleep by 9pm on Sunday night I woke up feeling great and (much to M's disappointment) wasn't hobbling about like an old lady when I got up the following morning :o) I ate masses on Monday to replace used up calories, but other than that I have felt no after effects at all. I've been out for a run this morning and feel really good on it.

So what I want to say to anyone who feels life could do with a shake up, that they'd like a focus, a challenge or something to work towards, or they've seen something they want to do but don't think they can: YOU CAN IF YOU CHOOSE TO.

If I can run a tough race well that I've spent eight years being in awe of and believing was way above my capability then you can do whatever you set your mind to too. All you need is someone who believes in you to tell you it's possible and not to make a big fuss about it. M did that for me, and I'd like to do that for you. So go for it. You really don't know until you try just what you're capable of. And don't let anyone ever tell you different. 

With that in mind I'll leave you with one of the quotes out on the Grizzly course which to me says it all: "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." 

It's a mantra I'm sticking to.



  1. Really really well done, and they are lovely primroses. They are all out here too now. I've neglected my running a bit with my niggly calf strain, and cricket practice, but now the lycra shorts are out again!

  2. You've done so well. Such an achievement. 😊 What's next on the cards? x

  3. You have really worked on this.
    Beautiful Primrose and post today.

    cheers, parsnip

  4. Wonderful. In every way. Nothing else I can add! xx

  5. Fantastic, you've achieved so much, I'm quite inspired. No running for me at the moment, I have a pain under my foot, the heel part. No idea what it is, it feels as if I have stamped my heel down really hard. I was hobbling at times today. Really annoying, because even if I don't go running I need to walk a decent amount every day or I don't sleep well. Hopefully it will resolve itself soon. Well done again on the race results. I was thinking about how brilliantly you'd done earlier today and wondering, what next..? CJ xx

  6. You really are an inspiration. I've been off the running for 2 weeks now following the injury at the gym. My leg feels fine at the moment but I'm wary of starting again too soon. I might give it until the weekend and then try again. Your primroses are gorgeous; spring certainly has sprung hasn't it. xx

  7. Inspirational as always CT. I'm taking heed of your words as I approach my first 20 minute run. Daunting tho it feels I will have your words in my head as I go for it. Enjoy your week riding on a high :). B x

  8. I absolutely wholeheartedly agree with every word you wrote. Brilliant! You are an inspiration to all those who have that nagging whisper "I cant" - yes you can if you think you can. I know too well that without looking forward and focusing on my goal of becoming well and fit and recovering from BC,I would have sunk...sinking isn't an option in my book.
    The thing is it doesn't have to be running, it could be study or yoga or walking more, learning a language or learning to cook Korean food....there is so much choice.
    Spring is in the air and with it the resolution of trying something new is the mantra of choice.
    Happy days CT. xxx

  9. It's a good mantra to apply to all sorts of challenges we face. I ran for charity and carried on for a while, but it wasn't my thing. I dance...I found it really hard for a long time [still do sometimes] but after 4 years I have greatly improved and have learnt that I can do it. Many has been the time I've wanted to give up when I felt I wasn't good enough or not improving, but thank goodness I haven't because it's such an important part of my life.

  10. I agree CT, as my mum used to say, there is no such word as can't. We can do anything, as long as we put our mind to it and our best foot forward. I was in a deep despair last year (the first time in my life I had felt like this) and it took me a long time to start taking the first steps out, but that is all it takes, baby steps soon become great strides and before you know it you are on the sunny uplands once again. I'm so happy for you and others that you are recording your inspirational running here.


    Yes, the human body is a remarkable creation. We were born to run and walk long distances over natural terrain. We have the genetic material, but many don't use it.


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x