The struggle is real…

With the wedding last week and tiredness kicking in I decided that by Friday evening, having only ran once on the Monday, that I would give myself that week off.

My logical side knows that it’s important to be able to give yourself a week off occasionally and so I’m trying not to be too disappointed about it.

But this morning when I woke up to run, as it was a new week, my body just didn’t want to go. I was already dressed to go and I just couldn’t step outside the door. I was tired, it was cold outside and I thought going back to bed and sleeping for an extra hour and a half seemed a lot more appealing and so that’s what I did.

Sometimes it’s just really hard to get up and go for a run. The idea of how far you have to go, the warm up, the cool down. It all just seems like a lot of work!

I prefer to run early in the morning when no one else is up so I can get it out the way. Especially as after work is much harder than the morning as you’ve worked the day and you’re missing out on plans with friends.

So I didn’t run today. The lazy side of me took over. So I now have to face the day with my runners guilt that I didn’t go. The thoughts that are running through my head already are that I’ve lost all ability to run, my fitness has already gone out the window and what if I’m not cut out for this marathon stuff?

I know they’re nonsense but they happen.

Some days running is great and I love it, no better feeling. Then some days it’s just really hard. I never thought it would be easy but I am definitely being challenged more than I imagined.

I will get back to it though, I have to. I will do this! I’ve got running club tomorrow night to help motivate me and an amazing team at Headway who are supporting me for what I’m doing.

So let the journey continue…

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Poole Party

6pm Tuesday 25 October.

Work’s over and I’m really excited. Why? Because once I leave the office I’m off to get Stu and we’re to make our way to Poole to see our friends Amy and Will get married.

“That’s all very well Siobhan” I hear you say, “But why are you telling us about your friends’  wedding on your running blog?”

Well, Amy and Will are the couple who introduced me to Headway; the charity I am running the marathon for…that’s why! So stop asking questions and just enjoy the post.

So, the morning arrived and I couldn’t wait for the festivities to begin and after a bacon sarnie and a quick catch up with Will over breakfast in the hotel Stu and I made our way to the church.

The day was wonderful. It was surrounded by love, the bride glowing, the groom looking mighty dapper and the weather was flawless (as were mine and Stu’s dance moves).

Usually the words that a couple make to each other are promises that they vow to keep:  ‘for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health’, but not for this couple, oh no, this was more of a checklist of what they’ve already done for one another.

Will and Amy introduced me to Headway because after Will suffered a brain bleed in 2013 they have been supported by the charity. It’s amazing to see the journey that they have been on.

(You can watch their love story here – once you’ve finished reading of course.)

They have stood by and supported one another and battled and fought everything that has been thrown at them with laughs, love and strength and it was an honour to watch the get married.

I’m proud to be running the London Marathon to fundraise for Headway, to support the charity in providing the tools that will help other people achieve the same successes as Amy and Will.

I want to say a huge congratulations to the new Mr and Mrs Perringwood! I look forward to your next chapter…


Amy and Will have been filmed for a documentary for ITV which focuses on those who thrive after surviving. The wedding was included in this documentary so please do watch for yourselves on 8th December 9pm ITV1.

To sponsor me for the London Marathon click through to my sponsorship page here: uk.virginmoneygiving.co.uk/SiobhanSharp .

To find out more about Headway and what they do visit their website here. 

 

Why run the London Marathon?

That is a question I have been asking myself a few times since starting training…

But the reason I am running is to raise money for Headway the brain injury association.

In 2013 my friend Will suffered a brain bleed which left him in hospital for many weeks and when he finally returned home, his girlfriend Amy cared for him 24/7 including moving in with him – relocating from Poole to Gloucester. As the months went on Amy would tell me about a charity called Headway that provided help and support to the couple.

Being in London there wasn’t much I could do during the difficult times. So I decided I’d run a Half Marathon to raise money for Headway Gloucester who had been helping Amy and Will so much.

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Here we all are at the finish line. Look how happy Stu is that it is over. 

I’d never even ran a 10km race before and managed to persuade my boyfriend Stu to join me in the challenge. So in 2014 we ran the Vitality Hackney Half Marathon in EXTREME heat.

Stu hated it. But I fell in love with running. I enjoyed the feeling of being fit, I loved the excitement of races and I loved the accomplishment of covering so many miles using just my body.

I have Headway to thank for turning me into a runner as I don’t know if I would ever taken the plunge without doing it for such a great cause.

As much as I was enjoying running, a full marathon wasn’t for me. I mean quite honestly it is just INSANE to voluntarily run 26miles, so I stuck to my half marathons and 10kms.

Plus, Amy and Will were doing fantastically and even though Will still has to live with the effects of his brain injury everyday, things are moving in a positive direction.

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Grandad Ron, me, Dad and my sister Roisin after the Marathon

On 24 April 2016 my Dad ran the London Marathon at the age of 51. The buzz was really exciting and it was a great day. I started to wonder… could I do it?

My Dad was amazing. He completed the London Marathon just 8 months after being knocked down on his bike by a car. He broke the side of his neck and his ear got mashed up!

On the awful day where Dad was knocked off his bike he was, like he always does, wearing his bike helmet. His helmet saved his life that day.

What I love about Headway is that they not only help people who have suffered a brain injury but they actively campaign to try and prevent brain injury. They are currently campaigning about the importance of wearing cycling helmets, this means so much to me as it was what saved my Dad!

GO HEADWAY!

Then one night I watch a Louis Theroux documentary called A Different Brain about people living with the long term effects of brain injury.

It made me realise that even though Amy and Will are okay now there are so many people who still need Headway’s help, support and expertise.

“I could run a marathon” I thought. “It would be hard and take a lot of work but I’m going to run the London Marathon and I’m going to do it for Headway!”

If there is ever something to stop me from giving up when it gets hard or when it’s too cold, it is to run for something that I totally believe in.

That night I applied to run the London Marathon for Headway and was delighted when they accepted me.

So here I am, ready to experience some of the hardest training months I’ve ever experienced; covering hundreds of miles through the weeks, giving up a large part of my social life and boring Stu, my friends and family about my running plans and thoughts (ARRGGHH).

But it will be worth it.

It’s also going to be a huge personal challenge and I’m proud to be doing it.

I can’t express enough how amazing a charity Headway are and I urge you to take a look at what they do.

I will keep you updated on the progress. Thanks for reading.

Siobhan x


If you want to help me in my journey please sponsor me here: uk.virginmoneygiving.co.uk/SiobhanSharp .

To find out more about Headway and what they do visit their website here. 

P.S. You can buy your Christmas Cards from Headway this year.

Marathon Madness

I’ve never entered the ballot for the London Marathon before. I mean previous to this I was dead against running one at all.

Why on earth would I want to run all that way and put my body through that much training and pain?

But against those (more logical) thoughts I decided to enter to run to raise money for Headway, the brain injury association.

When I applied for my charity place (which in case you hadn’t realised I was successful in), I also entered the ballot as should I get a ballot place Headway can allow someone else to run for them to also raise money for their great cause.

October.

That’s was when we’d find out our fate in the ballot goblet of marathon opportunity.

And as time went on, it was discovered that this would be the week.

The London Marathon send you one of two magazines to let you know if you’ve made it: one says ‘you’re in’ and the other ‘sorry’ or ‘bad news’ or something along those lines on the front cover.

Now I know I have a place but the anticipation is still very exciting. I have since moved out of my mum’s house and am constantly texting ‘any post yet?’…it’s only been two days. My poor mother.

In the office, a few of us who entered have been saying ‘heard anything yet?!’

Then today one of the girls got a rejection email!!! An email?! That’s not standard Marathon behaviour…WHAT?

‘What do you mean you got an email?’

‘Have you got an email?’

‘Me? No, maybe it means we’re in’

…I mean I tell you, you’d think we were 11 year old mudbloods waiting for our Hogwarts letter to arrive.

But alas no magical school of witchcraft and wizardry can help you with this one.

There is huge anticipation around the London Marathon ballot and I never thought I’d ever get this excited about an event that, a year ago, I didn’t even want to do.

I guess it is one of the biggest sporting events in the country and it is a big deal!

So hey, why not…LET’S GET EXCITED!!

Whatever the result I will be running and I am proud to be doing it to raise money and awareness for Headway.

(I’ll explain why soon I promise).

So in these final days of waiting I want to wish good luck to all ballot participants who are yet to hear and to all those who have been successful – I’ll see you in April.

Bring on the training!


I’m running the London Marathon to raise money for Headway, the brain injury association. You can sponsor me here: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SiobhanSharp

University Challenge

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Today I completed the Oxford Half Marathon.

The day began with Dad picking me up from my Mum’s house at 6.45am and I left with a belly full of tea and two slices of toast. Some might say it’s the breakfast of champions.

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Me and my bin bag. I think it’s a great look.

I knew it would be a pretty cold morning  and had packed a bin bag so when Dad left me on the start line and took away my jacket and phone, I started rocking the bin bag jacket look.

I would recommend this to other runners for cold race days as it keeps you warm and easily disposable just before you start.

At 9.35am it was kick off. The first 3 miles were great, really flat course and was running just under 9 min miles.

Around 4 miles (with a bit of an incline) was a wonderful band playing Mary Poppins songs and it was nice to run merrily along to.

Edging to 5 I came to the first Lucozade station. I didn’t need it as I carry my own bottle but I felt this was a really good place to put this as usually it comes around 8/9 and I feel by that point it is a bit too late for an energy hit. There was also another Lucozade point at 9 miles.

I saw Dad again at 5 miles. This was the third time I’d seen him already. It was a good spectator race because it looped back on itself quite a lot, which meant spectators didn’t have to go too far in between miles to see their runners again.

Hit 10km at 56min 27secs and was feeling like an absolute running legend…oh yeah. I had been averaging at 9 – 9.01 min miles and smug Siobhan was loving life.

After 7 miles, we came to a point in the race where runners had to move onto the pavement and it became busy. As much as I appreciate the difficulty to close all the roads it felt a little sad that we had to move along to a pavement here.

But then the joy came as there was a Jelly Baby station!

What a great idea. Everyone knows that Jelly Babies are runners gold and it’s the first race I’ve taken part in with an actual station. I didn’t take any this time but I think it something they could consider in the London Marathon.

For this race I was wearing my brand new Headway jersey – it’s bright yellow and makes it easy to spot me in a crowed.

I passed 8 and on the biggest incline so far, my thoughts were starting to get negative – this is where it became hard last week in the Cardiff Half.

But then a women ran past me and said “The charity you’re running for really helped my Dad, keep going!” My negative thoughts disappeared.

This is why I am running and training to help Headway to help more people. I powered along to 9, saw Dad again and now just 4 miles to go! Woo.

The last bit of the race took you back into the centre and at 11 miles I looked at my Garmin Forerunner and thought “I’m going to make under two hours here, YES!!”

At 12… (where, by the way, I threw my Lucozade towards a park bin, with cover and got it straight in SCORE!)… DISASTER struck. I needed a wee SO bad. 

I’m not sure whether you have ever tried to run really fast and hold a wee in at the same time but let me tell you it is not easy, so something had to give. My under 2hr dream faded away and I slowed it up to give effort to the other issue.

50 yards to go and my mind forgot about the toilet drama and finally I sprinted to finish in 2hrs 58seconds. Though not the finish I wanted I was proud to beat last week’s time by 7 minutes.

What better way to rewards yourself than a chunky medal, a vitality goodie bag, a hug from Dad and a bacon sandwich at the local cafe. Yum.

Overall it was a good race, great medal and nice finishers T-Shirt.

I think it is an excellent route for those attempting their first half marathon and runners after a PB, because like they advertised it was flat, fast and enjoyable.

A big thanks to the organisers, the volunteers, my number 1 fan Andy Sharp and the wonderful woman who made me remember it’s all worth while.

Thanks Oxford. Challenge complete!


I ran this in training for the London Marathon to raise money for Headway, the brain injury association. You can sponsor me here: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SiobhanSharp 

You can pre-register for Oxford Half 2017 here. 

 

 

A Welsh Welcome

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Last Sunday 02 October I ran the Cardiff Half.

I had never even been to Wales before so thought it might be a good idea to run round the capital as my first experience…Good plan Siobhan!

It all came about as my Dad and I wanted to run an event that wasn’t in London/Surrey so about 6 month ago we entered the race. Unfortunately Dad got injured and so wasn’t able to race, but it did mean I had a supporter. Supporters could download an app to track their runner which would track when the runners reached 5k, 10k, 15k, 20k and finish, which was great. I liked that.

The atmosphere from the beginning was amazing, there were so many people, massive balloons everywhere, music and a backdrop of the castle for the start line. It was a good start and by 10am had all kicked off.

From mile 1 – 3 I was speeding along, getting caught up in the race and then I remembered I had 10 more miles to run and I slowed it down.

There wasn’t a moment where the people of Cardiff weren’t out supporting – there was even a moment where one resident had moved her coffee table and a few chairs outside her house and sat drinking tea and eating cake with friends whilst cheering runners by… I liked her.

The crowd were great, one of the best I’ve ran in. I enjoyed giving high fives to the children on the side lines and smiling at the people shouting support and clapping.

The best bit by far was running over the bay. It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky and at that moment the whole experience felt really good. There was a bit of a curve on the road so you could see all the runners ahead of you and there were so many of us, all running along this beautiful bay – it was a great sight.

After the bay we went past the Millennium Centre. What an atmosphere there! People filled the sides of the road cheering, there was music playing and BBC Wales were filming. I felt like a champion.

At mile 7 I saw my Dad for the second time (saw him just before 2 earlier). There’s nothing quite like seeing someone you know to cheer you on. I loved the proud look on his face and it got me excited thinking about all the people I’ll see on the marathon route in April.

After this, it started to get a bit hard. The description of the race was ‘mainly flat’. I think the organisers and my idea of flat are two different things.

As we started to get into a constant incline it got much harder. Ugh. It was tough…

Just get to 10 Siobhan, after 10 it’s just 5k’ I kept saying to myself.

 

…I didn’t think it would be so hard from 7 – 10 but it was a struggle. I shut down from taking in the crowd and went into focus mode.

When I finally got to 10 we went round what seemed like the worlds biggest lake to 11.

Then at 12 we hit the steepest hill yet! The only thing that got me through was knowing it was less than 10 minutes to go and then it would all be over.

Finally, onto mile 13 and from there it was a sprint to the finish line coming in at 2.09. Finished!! YAY!

Time for the medal…and what a good one it was. Round, chunky and good design specific to Cardiff. A good medal is always important (as well as a nice cup of tea and something sweet to celebrate).

Overall I really enjoyed the day and felt a real buzz after completing. I would have liked a better time but at the stage I am of training I think maybe it wasn’t too bad.

A big thanks to the Cardiff Half team, the volunteers, the people of Wales and my No.1 supporter, my Dad.

If there was one thing I would change it would be to make it a 9am start time as I think by midday it was just a bit too warm.

A recommended race for all levels. Hopefully see you in 2017 Cardiff!

I ran this in training for the London Marathon to raise money for Headway, a brain injury association. You can sponsor me here: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SiobhanSharp 

You can pre-register for Cardiff 2017 here.