For Helen ‘Hates Running’ Gatward, the finishing line is in sight!

Week 6, 7 and 8 – Week Commencing 9th October

At the start of week 6, and with only 3 weeks till race day, reality kicked in and I realised it was time to start upping the distance on my runs and to try and not slow down to a walk as often, in the hope of making the 10k on race day easier! I planned my schedule for the week; my usual gym classes on Monday evening, Wednesday lunchtime and then Thursday evening and I decided to do longer 2 runs; one on Tuesday lunchtime and one on Thursday lunchtime.

My Monday started off as normal this week with the Circuit Box class, which was as tough as ever but with some foam rolling that evening, my legs felt good enough to head out on my lunchtime run on Tuesday. I set off on my planned route, being adventurous and tackling Farley Hill one more. This time I ran all the way up, and although slow, I made it without having to a walk. I cut round the edge of the park and down to the golf course, and felt quite comfortable, as I headed back up to the park. So comfortable in fact that I decided to add on some distance by doing another lap of the golf course that I just did! I impressed myself by wanting to go further – so I must be doing something right! So I carried on my route, still running, and headed back up through the park and out round to the junction with London Road and Cutenhoe Road. Much to my disappointment, I had to stop and wait to be able to cross the road; there had been a traffic accident so it was all a bit chaotic with cars everywhere and the lights seemed to take forever to change to the green man! Once the lights changed, I was on my way again. Down Cutenhoe Road and along Park Street, before turning up Seymour Road, and heading back along New Town Street before turning back in to Latimer Road and heading back to work. I managed to cover 7.34km (4.56 miles) in 45 minutes. I was so chuffed with myself – it was the furthest I had run, ever!  And despite the annoying short stop, I ran the whole way and started to find it ever so slightly easier the further I got into the run. So my confidence for the big day was overflowing – I could do this!

Oh boy, how I was wrong. The run caused the tendonitis to flare up again. I struggled to walk and put pressure on my foot for the rest of the day.

The rest of this week was a write-off for training. My foot hurt even more than the first time so it wasn’t wise to try and do too much as the only treatment is to rest. On the Thursday, I attended the Meet the Manager night at the Eric Morecambe Lounge, which was a really enjoyable evening. Nathan was on great form as usual, and asked me how my training was going and we spoke about running after the evening had finished. All of the proceeds collected from the raffle on the night were very kindly given to me to add to my JustGiving page. This totalled £425! First prize was won by Mike Hooker, who chose the signed football and happily gave it back for us to auction off, of which it got to £90 between two people. At this point, Nathan grabbed the microphone and proposed that if each of the two bidders paid £100 each, they could both have a signed ball and also attend a training session – which they both jumped at! That was another £200 to my running fund! So it was a fantastic night for Keech Hospice Care too!

The week that started 16th October was also no good for running. The tendons in my foot were still sore, and it wasn’t worth the risk trying to run on it when it didn’t feel 100%. I still managed to do my usual gym classes, but took it easier than normal. It still meant that I was keeping my fitness up but wasn’t putting any extra pressure on my foot. It was thoroughly disappointing to not be able to run; after last week I felt like I was getting somewhere, and now I couldn’t run at all. I kept thinking I could just ignore the twinges and just try and run. But I didn’t want to end up making it worse. Rest is key, it wouldn’t get better if I didn’t rest it!

I wasn’t able to run for 9 days, and when I did run, it was only a very short, gentle run on a treadmill, just to test out the foot. It didn’t feel too bad so that was a positive step!

My final week I was determined to get some training in, so my return to running came on Tuesday 24th. A lunchtime run with Paul was on the cards – with a route not containing hills! Keeping at a steady pace, we managed the route out to the Eric Morecambe statue along the Lower Luton Road, and we even went a little further this time. On the way back, my legs were tired but I felt I could push on so we added some extra distance in on our approach back to work. We covered 6.91km (4.2 miles) in a time of 38 minutes. So I was pretty impressed that I managed that after 2 weeks off from it!

That’s it as far as running goes now. I don’t want to push it before the big day just in case the tendons in my foot decide to go again! My race starts at 9am Sunday morning, so I have to be up Stockwood Park bright and early so I can collect my race number and timing chip, plus warm myself up so I’m ready to run! The weather forecast is dry, which is a bonus and the football club have very kindly donated a LTFC home shirt for me to run in on the day with LTST 4 KEECH on the back! So look out for me! I am hoping to make it round the 10k route in somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half; but hopefully it should be nearer to the hour mark! I am not pushing myself to complete in in under an hour – my main aim is to do the whole route without slowing down to a walk! My reward for completing the run – the medal at the end, and obviously knowing I have raised money for very worthy charity – plus a big Full English breakfast at the Whitehouse in town!

The support I have received has been absolutely fantastic and I have totally smashed my original target of £500 for Keech Hospice Care. I don’t know everyone who has kindly sponsored me, but thank you so much! It means so much to me you know that you are supporting me in my challenge and at the same time, helping to raise vital funds for Keech Hospice Care.

If I could make it to £2000 – I’d be over the moon! It’s not too late to donate to this very worthy charity, and you can do easily so by visiting my JustGiving page

Alternatively, you can text the words ‘LTST62’ plus your chosen amount (ie. £1, £5, £10, £20 etc.) to 70070. For example: LTST62 £10 to 70070.

The nerves are setting in a little now, but I am also looking forward to the day, just to get it done and dusted! I’m hoping that on the day, the atmosphere and adrenaline will get me round the course. If anyone is going to be anywhere along the route on the day – look out for me and give me a wave! I’ll be the one in the Luton Town shirt! If anyone is there at the finish line – hopefully I will still be standing!

Wish me luck!


Helen ‘Hates Running’ Gatward




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