You always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself – The Wizard of Oz

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Week Nine, Day Three: 23 May

I write this blog with very mixed emotions; I am over the moon that I have completed the Couch to 5K challenge. Part of me really did not think I would be able to do it. I would have been pleased to have got as far as running for 10 minutes. But today I ran for 30 minutes for the third time in 6 days. I am also sad that this will be my last blog; I have enjoyed writing about my experiences, thoughts and feelings more than I had imagined. I have learned a great deal from this experience. I have learned that Winnie the Pooh is quite right when he says that ‘You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.’ This experience has taught me that I am capable of doing things that I had thought impossible, and I intend to remember that!

I woke just before the alarm and am eager to see what the day looks like. Clear skies, the sun will rise at 5am this morning, so I won’t get to see it but I am thrilled that it is going to be a beautiful morning for my last run. Dog and I leave the house at 5.29am and I have Queen on the soundtrack.

The 5-minute walk goes by in a flash, and then I start the run with Dog on the lead. I have learned that it takes me five minutes to settle into the run so I do not panic because it all feels wrong to start with, and it is impossible to settle while Dog is on the lead.

I let her off and relax into my rhythm. Just as I do some geese fly over honking and I smile, imagining that they are there for me, my personal fly by, celebrating my achievement. (My brother, who has been reading my blog, said that my native American name would have been Honking Goose!). The 5-minute marker comes, and in what seems like no time, as does the 10-minute marker.

It is a bit windy, which I am not keen on, but at least there aren’t any small white kamikazi flys about…swings and roundabouts! At a very hippie market in Byron Bay, Australia, a guy once told me that the reason I don’t like the wind was because I am Sagittarius and therefore part horse. I don’t believe in that kind of thing, but it did tickle me and I have never forgotten it.

I break the run down into stages again and only focus on getting to the next stage; this stops me panicking about how far I still have to go. I am very careful around the field as I don’t want to twist my ankle again. I can feel it twinging slightly but it is not a problem. The halfway marker goes, and then the 20 minute one, and, again, I think back to how enormous that first 20-minute run felt.

I turn towards the bridge, the penultimate stage in my head. I get to the incline before the bridge but haven’t yet heard the five-minute to go marker. I have never got this far without hearing it, what is going on? But then it comes as I am half way up the climb. Down the other side and this really is the last stretch. I reflect on how this run, although not easy, is easier than the last 2. I get the ‘60 seconds to go’, and increase my pace for a flying finish.

And then it is over.

I slow down to a walk, and get my phone out to call my husband to come and meet me to take some photos of me and Dog. He’s a bit grumpy; well it is not long after 6am on a Saturday morning, but he says he will meet me in the field.

I complete the run on the app, and get a congratulations, and end by hitting the very happy face for the first time. I take lots of photos on the way home, and then meet my husband who congratulates me and takes some photos to mark the occasion.

So, will I keep running?…absolutely! I have never felt fitter or more emotionally resilient. So all that’s left for me to do is to say goodbye and thank you for joining me on this adventure.

Charlotte Watmough and Juno (Dog)