Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Fundraising: My First Ever Marathon

Phoebe has documented her fundraising journey and preparation to take on the Robin Hood Marathon as part of Student Mind’sAmazing Raise.

- Phoebe Lau

When I finished the half marathon in June, part of me said “never again.” Hence my shock at signing up to does the Robin Hood Marathon! 3 weeks from my first ever-full marathon in Nottingham I really did question why I had signed up for. The truth is a couple of months ago I was feeling a little down and in a spur of the moment decide to challenge myself as I had never done before by signing up to run around Nottingham on a Sunday in September.

I mean that’s perfectly normal right? I can paint the scene for you if you like. Outside the rain begins to fall on a dark night. Me. Single. Twenty-four years old. Sitting alone in my living room with a spoonful of Ben and Jerry’s dangling from my hands while singing ALL BY MYSELF… Oh wait. That’s Bridget Jones. Still. Pretty similar. Except instead of crying over a Mr. Darcy I was crying over my non-existent common sense. 

As soon as I paid the entry fee (£45 who knew paying to torture yourself could be so expensive?) I realised I hadn’t thought things through. A marathon is 26.2 miles. That’s twice further than I’ve ever run before….

So naturally, I buried my head in the sand. I’m quite a nervous person anyways. Often my anxiety causes me to overthink everything but as the weeks turned into months and September crept up upon me I realised more than ever I had to face my challenge head on. I had already had a summer routine in place with weight training, a weekly long run and some shorter distances. I did a bit of research. Read some blogs. Did some motivational meditation on Youtube where some American woman intoned in her voice full of chakra that I was to channel my spirit animal (a tiger) into this task! I was starting to feel pretty confident.  I looked good! I felt good! I was feeling motivated!

Then… my ankle struck!

I had injured my ankle very seriously in the past and being the not-quite-as-young-tiger-cub (my mum calls me that, it’s much better than “little tiger”) it wasn’t healing as well and it got to a point where I began to worry about the fact that I might not even make it to the starting line. All summer I had kept my marathon a small secret, only a few friends knew about it. I think I did that on purpose because it was as if I didn’t believe it was going to happen. But now I had given myself a serious strain and needed to go sit out for a bit it hit me how much this challenge meant to me. I had to take a few weeks off to do physio and juggled that with just going to the gym and using the body machines. And gently in between trying out new fitness classes I did everything you could imagine. RICE. Rubbing tiger balm (hence the tiger-cub) lotions on my skin. Propping my leg up at every opportunity. Googling massage techniques for my knee joints.

It made me think a lot more about why and what I was running for. As a student while at University I have had a few mental health up and downs. Sometimes they do make me sit things out for a while. Whether it’s social activities, meeting with friends or lectures. Mental health is just like any physical illness or injury. You can’t rush it as my physio describes and you just have to try and be patient like how I needed to do my exercises readily every single day (I’m sorry Physio – I forget sometimes… ) but over the course of the month all that stretching, ankle flipping, me moaning, just waiting around has helped me build my leg muscles back up. I’ll spare you the details but I can tell you I have activated my glutes! And it’s looking good!

It still hurts! Don’t get me wrong! I’m not looking forward to 26.2 miles but what I am looking forward to now more than ever is trying 26.2 miles out for 

a charity that reminds me to look after my head as much as my body.

 If you would like to find out more about Phoebe and her challenge please visit her fundraising page here 

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