https://www.bowelcancerresearch.org/Fundraisers/sue-matthews-llhm-2020

Hi all,

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

I am in the process of training for the London Landmarks Half Marathon on Sunday March 29th for this fantastic charity the ‘Bowel &Cancer Research’. It’s now only 8 weeks to go before the big day for me doing it for this fantastic charity.

I must be honest, I am rather nervous about it as I only began my training on New Years Eve. I’ve been a regular runner at Farsley Flyers running club every Thursday at 6.30pm and I do some other races, so I’m not a novice, but this will be the first half marathon I’ve ever done.

I find it a fantastic achievement to complete a race and I get a rewarding feeling at the end when I finish - it’s more about the run for me and not about the time. I do a weekly Parkrun every Saturday morning at 9am. I try to do a different Parkrun destination when I can (with all different course types, from tarmac, grass, muds, trails etc as well as an elevation), also pushing to get a PB (personal best) if I can, although it always seems to be around the same time every week.. I strongly believe Parkruns are a great opportunity for anyone to make a start running no matter how fit you are: you can start with a gentle walk-leading to a jog and then enjoying the run at your own pace and meeting new people-it helps benefit your health and it’s extremely good for bowel health as well as preventive for heart diseases.

You can see on my fundraising page why I have chosen this absolutely fantastic charity for me to run for as I wanted people to be more aware of the Bowel & Cancer Research website. Please take the time and browse the website as it has a lot of useful information that many people, including me, are not aware of. After my half marathon next month, I am going to get myself tested with a bowel cancer screening test as, having read an article this week on Daily Mail website on 28th Jan, has made me realise how important it is - I will be passing on the information on soon through this blog soon.

It will be great if you could spread the word to everyone to get themselves tested as many leave it too late, even when there’s a change in their bowel movement (many because they are too embarrassed to go to doctors).

Here's my what I have done so far running diary from New Year Eve blog:-

My first training for LLHM was on New Year Eve - I started with a tough Pudsey 10K (6 miles) multi-terrain route with hills and mud trails (took me 1h:16m). I realised then that I must do some more serious training!

At the start of the New Year-I was mentally affected by stress and was having difficulty trying to run 20K (approx. 12 miles ) Half marathon is 13.1 miles.

I continued the usual Farsley Flyers running club (Thurs) as well as the Parkruns (Sat)

On Jan 12th  I made my first attempt to do 20K (approx. 12 miles)- I was able to 15.85K at 1h:47m and tried to run back home with the last 4K, but had to get my daughter to pick me up at the end -I was disappointed, I must be honest!

On Jan 15th I ran to work with a colleague at 59m:42s  for approx. 6 miles, but running back home was even harder after a full day at work. In fact I had made an attempt to get the bus back after nearly 3K but then I changed my mind and ran all the way home-it was a great feeling. It was nearly a total of 20K (10K each way). Decided it would be good to do it weekly for my half marathon training - it will help to build my strength as well as mental strength.

On Jan 23rd- 10 miles running (1h:40mins-uncompleted) in my new running shoes was a very silly thing for me- I ended up walking/hobbling part of the way back. Why did I not think of breaking them in at home first?. Wearing them in the house would have been the best thing! You learn a lesson as you go on with training! I was tempted to wear my old trainers but they have done over 1000K (160miles -recommended time for changing shoes-I got a reminder on Strava!)

On Jan 29th- I ran to work in my new trainers with a wonderful colleague and felt my feet were happy as my pace started to improve. I realised I have more cushioning in my new trainers so boy, I am glad I changed them at the right time as my right knee was starting to feel the affect a bit in the old ones. My confidence started to improve as I ran all the way home for the first time without stopping (except for traffic lights) - took me an 1h:04m (felt longer though)

On Feb 2nd- I did my first Farsley Flyers championship race of the year at the Kirkstall Calverley Cutter 10 mile. It was an extremely tough race and the head wind didn’t help at the start- I was worried by getting swept away by the wind or falling in the river as it was a close by, and was more than happy to have completed the race. I did it in 1h:56m:37s To add to my surprise-I won a prize at my age category (coffee beans were the prize and it made my day too) This has boosted my confidence a bit more also with the support of my running club.

Also, in amongst all that training I had something to celebrate. I ran my 50th Parkrun at Bramley on a cold windy day: I was very nervous at the start but I really enjoyed it once I started running, and thank you to all of the Farsley Flyers who came out to help me celebrate.

So, above all the training I have had so far is about a combination of all sorts of running; road, multi-terrain, running club, and not forgetting the Parkruns (for speed ability ). I still have not managed to do the full 13.1mile yet but then it’s 8 weeks from today so plenty of time to prepare!

I sought advice from my runner friends about using energy gels -the advice was everyone’s different and some get a reaction too. So for the first time, I tried SIS orange flavour before my run home on Wed (Jan 29th)-hated the texture of it-it was thick and rather munky-took me at least 20mins to eat(slowly) it all and ran home without feeling any effect!

Felt it was a waste of time to take it. However on Saturday (2nd Feb) I used the blackcurrant SIS flavour (more refreshing) I had it 8K into my run and It did help me a great deal this time, felt more energy were produced. I’d definitely recommend it for anyone doing a half marathons to try this.

I will have the another practice with the energy gel next week in my 10 mile training-watch this space.

So all in all- it’s all about understanding your running method for anyone doing the HM/or even full marathon training: we all have to accept we are unique to any kind of training -not forgetting to train in all weathers too. I will keep a blog of my training.

Many thanks for reading this and hope you will donate to this great charity. I will post a blog every 2 weeks – hope you enjoy reading my diary and information about other things as well.

To donate to Sue's page, please visit: https://www.bowelcancerresearch.org/Fundraisers/sue-matthews-llhm-2020