Mission complete: My 2013 victory

It's been a while since my last blog post. These few weeks have been manic and, I'm chuffed to say, full of training sessions. But that's not all. Earlier this year I gave myself two goals for 2013, and in September I achieved both of them.

That's right. I took part in my very first 10km race, the Swansea Bay 10k. I actually did it. And I completed it along with my second goal: to change the way I run, namely with a mid-foot strike. This meant I glided across the finish line in Swansea with good posture, and none of the aches and pains I got from landing on my heels.

Adapting my running technique was as big a deal as reaching the 6-mile mark. Back in March, I felt frustrated and often in pain; hounded by shin splints and a sore SI joint. But 're-training' to run with natural, fluid movement didn't feel natural at all. It took a long time to get the balance right between monitoring gait and over-analysing every movement.

And it's still something of a shock that I have done it. Not that long ago, the idea of completing my first 10k and getting my head (and feet) around a new way of running seemed a daunting task. Realising that I've accomplished my goals for the year, and in plenty of time, I almost feel baffled by my fears and lack of self-belief.

Celebration sandwiches (and cake!)
Looking back on those doubts actually makes me feel pretty good. If I blasted those fears from just a few months ago, what else can I achieve? I'm already thinking I have it in me to run a half marathon - even a whole marathon. Can this really be me?!

Lining up for the race (deep breath...)
(c) Mark Hawkins
Almost there
(c) Mark Hawkins
Surely this is living proof that reaching a goal is one of the most satisfying ways to improve your wellbeing. Before I started running, I didn't really set myself any goals. Knowing that I'm capable of achieving something I put my mind to makes me want to go further - in both running and my other lifelong ambitions.

And here's the charity I ran for...

I live and breathe the work of helicopter charity Wales Air Ambulance, since joining their team in 2008. There were dozens of runners supporting WAA at the Swansea Bay 10K, which gave it a brilliant vibe - I'm just gutted I missed the mascot race with these two handsome devils!

My new heroes who waved me off on my race, before taking part in the mascot sprint
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