Hectic

It’s been a bit of a week. In fact, if I’m honest it’s been a bit of a year! I’m currently sat in my hotel room near Sheffield wondering where the last 6 months have gone.

For those who aren’t aware, I work full time in London, but also operate two small ‘businesses’ (actually it’s one, but there are two sides to it). The first is my Photography and the second is software development. The software side has been my baby for years and it’s the reason I’m ‘oop North’ this weekend.

I find myself, complete with iPad, phones, laptop, camera kit (you never know) and a rather pathetic array of clothes, in a recently refurbished hotel room attempting to work out how I approach tomorrow. In my previous work, I was always working away here, there or wherever and I always had a brief. I knew what to expect (ish) and I delivered the goods (if my ex-boss if reading this and has other ideas… I’m sorry). But this time is a bit of an unknown. The software relates to data collection in Sport and as such I need to ensure that next weekend, the iPads have good enough internet signal to do the business. I have armed myself with an array of goodies downloaded from the App Store which are hopefully going to tell me good news and snacks.

I managed to entertain myself briefly in the rather packed (and noisy) hotel bar this evening, enjoying my beer and burger. The diet is nowhere to be seen and that’s working fine for me right now. I’m at the end of the first week of my marathon training but so exhausted from everything that it’s had to be turned into a 15 week plan. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Anyway, I’m quite excited about exploring this new part of the North. I normally skip straight past here and head for York! In fact, I think the last time I was in Sheffield, it was a day trip about 10 years ago!

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Training

I am little over 4 weeks away from taking part in one of the hardest challenges I have ever attempted.  The Warwick Half Marathon in aid of the British Heart Foundation (http://www.justgiving.com/JemmaPhillips-Warwick). It seemed like a good goal to have and has helped me really move on with my running, but I have hit a wall in my training. I have yet to run further than 5 miles and I am struggling to move past that.

I have been working with a PT (http://highdefinitiontraining.co.uk) who has been brilliant at not only focusing me on my training, but also helping me remain positive and even managing to make me laugh when I feel like I want to die! The most impressive thing is that I actually listen to him. Those who know me well, know I don’t take kindly to ‘advice’. Certainly not straight away. Unless those people have come recommended from a friend or I have seen what they can do, I ignore them. Yeh, I know… I’m working on changing that.

Anyway, my hope is that the sessions will help not only my running and general fitness but also pull my body out of the slump it’s been in since my virus two years ago. Despite the fact that I haven’t been going to regular sessions, it seems my body is happy with even a little bit of advice and my running feels easier. I have also noticed I no longer have the pain in my legs, which used to stop me running and render me useless for a day or two.

So what is the problem?

Well there are two. Firstly, my chest is still recovering from flu over Christmas/New Year, leaving me with a nasty cough and a bit of reliability on my inhaler. Getting into a rhythm with my breathing is taking a lot longer and I’m not breaking through my initial wall until well past mile 1.

The second? I’m getting bored. This is the most difficult one to fix. Music isn’t helping and even the information from Runkeeper about how I’m doing, annoys me.

I’m not sure if this isn’t just down to the fact that I am used to team sports. In particular, I’m used to being in a boat with at least 3 other people and all of us helping to keep the other going. The best bit? We were all stuck in the same place so one person couldn’t go off and leave the rest behind even if they wanted to! Well, not without getting wet.

A few people have suggested joining a running club, but this isn’t what I want. I don’t want to be running with other people where I realise just how slow I am and how much work I have to do! At this point, I will acknowledge that yes, most runners are supportive and would help me… blah blah blah… but I’m not into that kind of help. I’m a competitive person. I need to feel I’m competitive, not that I’m there for everyone to pour pity on. I know that getting help from a club works for a lot of people, but I’m just not that person.

Taking part in the running events this year is about raising money and awareness of my chosen charities not how fast I can complete them. I just want to get round the course (before they close it) and prove to myself and the doubters, that I can come back from that virus and be fit again.

Inspiration v Age

What did you dream for your life when you were younger? Was it for fame and fortune? Perhaps just money? For me, it was to be a Paramedic. At least that was until I realised I hated people being sick, so I then decided I wanted to be a Fire Fighter. This still holds some weight with me. I would love to be able to say that I help people. To be able to say that I am making a difference.

Money and fame seems to be the driving factor for most people. I wonder whether this is born out of a need to be noticed, a sense of worthlessness in their life, or whether these people honestly believe that the only way they can make something of themselves is to be on X Factor, or some other ‘talent’ show.

London 2012 was a chance for everyone to experience a different sort of ‘talent’ show. The likes of Jessica Ennis, Charlotte Dujardin, Pete Reed, Jade Jones and countless others put themselves out there to challenge to be the best in their respective sports. The aim of the games was to ‘inspire a generation’, but I wonder how many young people will step up to this challenge. And is it only the ‘young’ who can dream to compete? Nick Skelton took Gold at the age of 54.

I have seen a number of comments on Twitter, particularly from younger people, who would love to represent their country in a sport. Some have no idea which sport to take up, but all the same, the interest is there. I think in that way, the message has been broadcast, heard and understood. I only hope that those who have the passion to compete, are given the support by their families, friends and have the money to undertake the training. To everyone who makes the choice to take up this challenge, I wish you all the luck in the world and I hope that one day we are all watching and cheering you on to Gold.

But, I have also seen others who claim that it’s too late for them to try. These are people who are currently sportsmen/women, some in their 30’s, who feel they would be unable to compete at an international standard due to their age. At what point are you too old? I remember having a conversation with a fellow crew member at a rowing club who said she would love to compete at the Olympics, but because she’s in her early 30’s, she was laughed at.

So is that it? At the age of (nearly 30) am I now too old to ever reach an international standard? I agree that there are times you may be out done by a younger competitor, but does that mean that we no longer even try? I refuse to regret decisions I have made in my life, but sitting here, I wonder if I should have continued with my Karate training (and taken my black belt exam) rather than a change of direction and treading the boards at the local theatre. You certainly get more support, it seems, when you are younger.

I start my Karate training again this week but people approach you differently when you’re heading toward (or stumbling past) 30. As the average population age increases, why should people in their late 20’s and 30’s be made to feel like they are heading over the hill?

Personally, I think I’m still (slowly) climbing the hill and have no desire to hit the top or head over it, until I’m heading toward 50!