Great North Run diary pt 2 – a second wardrobe malfunction but the endorphins kick in

THREE months into my Great North Run training and I would love to be able to say I’m becoming a lean, mean running machine, writes Helen Russell.

But that would be telling a big fat fib.

I wish it was as easy to get back into fitness as it is to take a break from fitness.

First of all, I got a cold. Then it was my birthday, which resulted in a week of indulgence and laziness. Then I suppose life happened.

I worked the Easter weekend and Bank Holiday Monday, then I decorated my living room, dining room, kids’ playroom, stairs, landing and door frames all within a week. Decorating counts a workout doesn’t it?

I also started a training course to become a bereavement volunteer with CRUSE, oh and not forgetting the two wonderful little toddlers who I centre my life around. So running has been well down my list of priorities.

After a backside-kicking speech from my very-straight-talking husband, Sean, I finally got my running shoes back on a couple of weeks ago.

It felt SO GOOD. And I was quite pleasantly surprised that I had maintained my fitness.
I eased myself back in with a gym session where I managed 10km on the bike and 2km on the treadmill.
Confidence restored, I decided to attempt my first pavement run. Which resulted in the second wardrobe malfunction of my fitness career  – read about ‘boobgate’ in the swimming pool in post one here

After a five-minute warm-up walk, I thought “right, here goes” and I started running. And felt my running trousers slowly start falling down every time my foot hit the ground. So I stopped, yanked them back up (classy), and set off again, only for them to start falling down again. This scenario repeated itself a few more times, then I tried holding them up with one hand whilst running, which just didn’t work.

According to my pedometer, I managed 0.02 miles before giving up and returning home but I had a fist-in-the-air moment a few days later buying a pair of running trousers in a size smaller.

Pavement run take two was much more successful. It was raining, windy, cold and pretty grim outside but I just had this massive urge to go out running. So I squeezed into my new running trousers, safe in the knowledge there was no way they would fall down, and headed off into the wilds of Thornaby. I think I managed about a mile. My pedometer decided to switch itself off for a good chunk of the run so I don’t know for sure, but I can’t even describe how much I enjoyed it.

Very unexpected hit of endorphins. Pretty sure I could’ve gone on for longer if I hadn’t spent the afternoon eating ice cream and doughnuts.

Being part of the Great North Run is a great conversation starter and I feel an instant bond with anyone I speak to who is also in training. Everyone has a story to tell and I find it fascinating, and sometimes very humbling, to hear other runner’s reasons for doing it and how their training is progressing.

Always in my thoughts is the charity I’m running this for – One To One, in South Durham, which supports adults with learning disabilities and their families.

To put into context just how little cash this charity receives, my father-in-law Mike, who is the manager, only gets paid for two days a week. I know for a fact he does so much more unpaid hours out of love for the job and because of how much he cares about the clients One To One helps.

When the charity applied for Lottery Funding a couple of years ago, Mike pretty much locked himself in the house to write the bid. We hardly saw him for weeks, and when we did see him, he was distracted or rushing to get back to the bid-writing. He didn’t get paid any extra for that.

So for anyone reading this and thinking “I’ll cough up some pennies for One To One”, please hold that thought, a donations page is going live very soon….