When I received my bib number I realised that I only have three weeks to go until the run. It’s finally dawning on me what I am actually doing. I talk about running the Grizzly on a daily basis to interested friends and work colleagues. But now, I find that I’m talking to myself, “Nicola, you’re running 21 miles, across the pebbles, up and down hills, what are you doing?!”. The thought now terrifies me. I don’t know why I’m so nervous, I ran the Edinburgh marathon last year and looking back I really enjoyed it. At the time, running 26 miles around the beautiful city with blisters, an aching back and witnessing many people fainting in front of me because of the heat wasn’t something I was enjoying. But now I can say that I ran the Edinburgh marathon and I couldn’t be more proud.
In the weeks coming up to the run my diet is changing. I’m consuming more carbohydrates. This is the best part of the training programme for me because I love my food! I’m eating more bread, pasta and taking double the amount of cod liver oil vitamins than I usually do. They help maintain healthy bones and I need all the help I can because of the amount of pressure my legs and knees are going through.
I run approximately three times a week and take part in aerobic exercises in between my running days. I swim once a week and I love it. I started swimming when I was three and go with my sister, who is also a keen swimmer. Swimming is a great exercise especially if you’re training; the water supports your weight and takes the stress off your joints by 75%. I’ve also been advised to swim two days after the race as swimming also helps repair the muscles in our body.
My work colleagues can often see me cycling up the extremely steep hill to work. I really enjoy cycling and live close to The Donkey Sanctuary, so I figure the perfect way to get to work is on my bike - even if I do have to get up earlier in the mornings! Cycling is a good example of a non-weight bearing exercise; it helps strengthen the bones which will then decrease the chance of injury during a race.
I also attend a yoga class once a week which has helped me both mentally and physically. On the first day, having cycled to the class, I arrived in my cycle gear - the instructor was a bit shocked to see me so energised and advised me that this wasn’t a ‘jumping around’ class. I explained that I was training for the Grizzly and needed to do something relaxing like yoga! I’ve only been going for four weeks and I’ve already noticed my core strength and flexibility have improved. I’ve found yoga helpful. It’s nice to take part in a gentle and calming exercise.
I shouldn’t be worried about the run, like my dad said to me - it doesn’t matter if I can’t run it all. What’s important is that I took part and that I’ve raised as much money as I can for The Donkey Sanctuary. In a way I am looking forward to it, just seeing my family there supporting me means everything. The thing I’m going to find strange is running it by myself. I’m used to my boyfriend running with me; unfortunately he didn’t get a space. He’s been my personal trainer, best friend and my words of encouragement throughout my training. I couldn’t have got this far without him and the staff and supporters of The Donkey Sanctuary. So far I’ve raised over £780.00 for the charity. My aim was to raise £500.00. When I think how many people have sponsored me I feel overwhelmed and I can’t thank you enough for all your support.
I have set up a JustGiving page where you are welcome to sponsor me, for this I’d be truly grateful. Please visit http://www.justgiving.com/Nicola-Russell2 or you can donate by text by texting ‘NICR54’ and the amount you would like to donate to 70070.