Fraz73's (Long) Graduation blog - this is only the beginning!

Fraz73's (Long) Graduation blog - this is only the beginning!

So, as planned after W9R2 yesterday, I got up with the intention of completing my C25K journey this morning as my partner is going abroad for work for a month tomorrow and I really didn't want to spend my graduation day alone. My legs felt fine but I made sure I did a LOT of stretching before I set out. I didn't want what should be a great experience marred by a silly injury.

I was just about to set off when I decided to leave my garmin at home. Heeding everyone's advice yesterday, I knew I didn't need to go chasing times or pace or distance and when I wear my garmin, I'm always checking it to see if I'm on track. So off with the garmin and out I went, determined to finish my journey on a high.

I had decided to just do my normal close to home laps that I have been doing since the end of week 7. But I didn't. I just set off and when I started running, it felt easy and relaxed and I just ran. I had no idea where I was going to go but I didn't care. I just wanted to enjoy myself.

And so I ran and ran and ran and quickly realised that I was touring all my old running haunts from the beginning of the programme; places I hadn't seen in a few weeks. As I did so, I started to reflect on the journey I've made, remembering the complete non-runner who was huffing and puffing after 60 seconds in a thick hoodie, crap trainers and jogging bottoms. The running wannabe who invested £££ in some cracking running shoes and thought he could conquer the world in week 5. And then the injured, tired and listless runner who struggled so hard to make it through weeks 7 and 8 and desperately just wanted to chuck the towel in, thinking he had met my match and wouldn't ever be able to run 5k or 30 minutes.

But here I was at the final hurdle, running on air, in no pain, breathing easily, feeling relaxed and above all enjoying myself. The whole thing just flew by and when Laura said I had 60 seconds to go I just started sprinting; really sprinting with a huge smile on my face because I could, because I've learnt something, I've achieved something I never thought I would be able to.

And now it's over, I'm strangely elated and bereft at the same time. I need new goals and one of those is to replicate what I did today - run without my garmin. No pressure, no time trials, no distance tracking, just running because I can and because I want to.....for FUN!!

I have another more important goal to achieve. I've never mentioned it before but I am a smoker and because I'm crap at multi-tasking, I figured giving up AND doing C25K would be way too much for my little old brain and nervous system to deal with. So now one target is met, another begins so today marks the last day of my life as a smoker. As someone who associates smoking with calming nerves and is generally quite highly strung, I'm in for a bumpy ride. But I promised myself that if I achieved this then I would stop smoking. That's the deal and I can't go back on it. Wish me luck!!

Here's a before and after pic to show what C25K has already done for me. The before was the last night of my holiday in Turkey in August. I started C25K the day after I arrived home. After is this morning after my run, complete with chocolate gold medal as promised.

Thank you to ALL the wonderful and inspirational people here. This is without doubt the most friendly and caring online community I have ever found and there's no way I could have achieved this without all the support everyone here has given. Good luck to all of you in your continued running endeavours.

Frazer :)


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37 Replies

  • Sounds like an amazing graduation run. Congratulations :)

    Good luck for tomorrow and the next stage of transforming your life! Just think how it will improve your running :)

  • Thank you AliB1. Yep C25K has been the first of many changes I'm planning. And of course my running can only improve as a result. :)

  • Well done Fraz :-) your blog really made me smile. You've worked hard to get to the finish line and you should be more than proud that you have archived your goal. I bet that chocolate gold medal never tasted so good.

    I'm sure that you can crack your next challenge of quitting smoking :-) hope you stick around to update us on post graduation running :-)

  • Thanks Clare. Truth be told, I haven't eaten it yet!! And I'll definitely be sticking around here. This is such a friendly and motivational place to be!

  • You have discipline, I'd have eaten it before even doing warm down stretches :-)

  • Fraz....I dont know what to say as I am pretty emotional after reading this and have tears in my eyes! The journey has been amazing and so to the transformation - look at you with your gold medal! You must be soooo proud and so must your OH who, though, leaving for a month will be leaving you on such a high and will be coming home to a fitter and healthier partner as a result of the continued runs and stopping smoking. I hope that challenge goes just as well for you as this one has - I'm sure it will.

    I too am looking forward to just running free of times and distances and to just try and enjoy running for runnings sake just as you describe - sounds so good and exhilerating!!

    Now, go and enjoy the choc medal and the champers and thank you too - we have all been in this together so the encouragement is two way. Best of luck! Sue x

  • Wow what a lovely message, thanks so much Sue. I'm waiting for the lamb dinner to finish cooking before I open the champers. Even at 38, I'm a lightweight drinker on an empty stomach! Maybe the medal will be pudding ;)

  • As am I Fraz, even at 50!! Enjoy!

  • What a brilliant blog Fraz, you look great! Such a transformation in a few short months - you can see how much work you've put in to achieve your goals. Welcome to the graduation club and enjoy that medal! :)

    Good luck with your goal of stopping smoking. I'm not a smoker myself, and never was but I've had a number of friends go through the process of quitting. Some "cold turkey" and others phasing the cigs out; with varied success. But if you can achieve c25k, you can do it - just remember why you want to do it, and think of the long term gains rather than the short term ones.

    Enjoy the rest of your day and congratulations again!

  • Thanks so much NewbieRunner! Can't wait to get my graduation badge and join the club :D I'll do it. If there's one thing C25K has taught me it's that I actually do have willpower! Who knew? ;)

  • That's brilliant, really well done! Now you have joined the club of people who know that (almost) nothing is impossible. Think back to W1, how very much further away that seems today than a mere 5K... Just do exactly the same thing with the fags and you'll be laughing.

    And for goodness sake eat that chocolate medal :-D

  • Thanks very much Mitts. And the medal is now definitely going to be pudding ;)

  • well done Fraz! Sounds like a great graduation run and lovely to see a pic of you! :) What a transformation you have made so far and as you say this is just the beginning!

    Regarding the smoking thing, I quit over 2 years ago and can honestly say it was the best thing I ever did for myself (with C25k coming in second!). You know it's not going to be easy, but I think C25k has also taught you that all the best things are worth the hard work that goes alongside achieving them. There will be harder and easier days, so feel free to message me if you want extra support when you're finding it tough.

    Anyway! Congrats on the graduation and welcome to the club! Hope you celebrate in style today :)

  • Thanks Rollertoaster, and I will definitely take up your offer of help. I'm not looking forward to it but I just HAVE to do this! I will, I promise :)

  • Oh I didn't look forward to it either, but you can do it!!!!!

  • Firstly Fraz, congratulations on your graduation, well done.

    Our progress, quite by accident has been side by side through this programme so I've come to consider you as a virtual colleague or class mate, which makes it all the more amazing to watch you graduate.

    I'm also an ex smoker of almost a year now and it was without a doubt the best thing I've ever done for my health. I won't pretend it's easy but multiple by ten how you must feel having achieved C25K and you'll get that from stopping smoking. You'll be invincible.

    Have a great time celebrating today, you've earned every sip and mouthful of your treats.

  • Thank you so much Chewy. Likewise, we started this programme at the very same time and I've always looked forward to your progress reports and I'm looking forward to seeing you graduate this time next week! Hopefully we can be virtual running buddies for a long time to come. Your constant support over the last two months has meant so much to me Chewy. I can't thank you enough :)

  • Very nice blog Fraz. Very impressed that you've done it. And glad to join you as of 10 am this morning. It's a brilliant feeling. Hope you find the struggle against smoking as successful. Well done, keep running and take the fight to the next stage. Best of luck.

  • Thank you and congratulations to you too janda on your graduation today :)

  • So happy for you Fraz!!!! The wine is chilled and the party hats are out...just run on over!! ;-) good luck on the smoking... I am an X smoker, you can do it! Best wishes to you and I hope you continue to post here! Welcome to Graduate land!!!! :-)

  • Thank you Gayle. Are you back up and running? I know you've had an injury but I miss your blogs. Looking forward to hearing much more from you and smhall in graduate land :D

  • Lets say I'm jogging ever so s..l..o..w..l..y... :-) the knee and hip still hurt. I honestly think its my age. We are signed up to do a 5K the next two weekends, so we will see...they have the option of walking also. I am hoping and praying I can run all of it, but only time and experience will tell. Again, CONGRATULATIONS! :-)

  • Well good luck Gayle, hope all goes well and don't forget to blog so we know how you're getting on!! Just waiting for my badge now. Soooo hard to be patient lol!

  • Congratulations, Fraz. Not only on completing the C25K programme, but for finding that you can run just because you want to and finding it fun. :-)

    All the best with your continuing running journey and with quitting smoking.

  • Thank you very much swanscot. Today was my favourite run since W5R3 and what a time for that to happen! It's completely spurred me on to carry on my running journey :)

  • Congratulations Fraz! My graduation run this morning wasn't nearly as fun as yours, it sounds like you really got into the zone!

    Best of luck with the stop smoking. I stopped just over a year ago, cold turkey. Don't think of it as 'giving up', think of it as stopping, you have so many good things to gain by stopping, and C25K has shown you how strong you are, you can do it! You are already running pretty fast, give it a month without the cigs and you'll be leaving us all far, far behind! :-D

  • Thanks vixiej. And congratulations on your graduation too. Here's to more continued running for both of us :)

  • Congratulations, Fraz - what a fantastic achievement, and a great blog too! One of my favourite bits about graduating was the sudden release of pressure - I could just run when, where and how I wanted to, because I knew I had graduated.

    All the best with giving up smoking. It will be hard, but you can do it. And keep running :)

  • Thank you Anniemurph. Definitely agree about a release of pressure. I just hope that doesn't manifest itself in me not running for a while. Have to get out there tomorrow to make sure!!

  • Congratulations on graduating :B... good luck with the non-smoking, you know how much you can achieve by trying. I did it the other way around, I've been a non-smoker for the last 9 months, and I'm looking forward to graduating this week..... Hope it all goes well for you :)

  • Thanks eshaz and good luck with your graduation this week. :)

  • Well done. I'm 17 years smoke free, and if you want any encouragement to stop look at the skin of smokers in their sixties.

  • Thanks Dolores. Yep that's definitely a good image to think of when I'm tempted, :o

  • Well done, Fraz. What a great achievement. It has taken discipline and determination so you know you have those tools in your armoury in order to beat your addiction to nicotine.

    I have stopped smoking twice now and it isn't easy. I would suggest you attend a clinic fpr help and support. My husband and I both quit together and we encouraged each other which helped but we each had our own coping mechanisms when stress and tension could have seen us reach for a cigarette. My husband's was alcohol, which we have also quit, mine was swimming and saunas. I used patches and inhaler, hubby used lozenges and gum. If you are going cold turkey, hypnotherapy might help.

    It's not easy but with strength and determination yiu will kick it and feel cleaner and clearer and will lessen your risks of developing smoking related health problems. You will smell a lot better too!

    Good luck.

  • This is absolutely fantastic. You must be SO proud. I can't wait to be where you are- I'm going out for my final run of Week 8 today, and am still in the aforementioned doldrums- this week and the last have been bloody hard work! Can't wait for it to get easier!

    But reading things like this absolutely inspire me. You can hear the joy in your voice through the words, and it just sounds like the absolute best feeling.

    Good luck on quitting. Me and my partner did it in January... It's nowhere near as hard as C25K!! Trust me, if you've done this, you'll walk it. Use running as stress relief instead! That's what I do, as I started both at roughly the same time!

  • Congratulations Fraz (my hubby's name too!) You look really well and what a great run to graduate on - you must on a high at the mo! Running is really quite special! No need for fancy gyms, expensive gadgetry, just a good pair of trainers a focused mind and off we go! Good luck for the rest your journey. In the words of Karen Carpenter (showing my age!) You've only just begun...... :)

  • Congratulations on graduating! I loved your blog - don't stop posting just because you've completed the program. I'm delighted that you have found running without the garmin, too. Next stop is to run without Laura - that took me quite a while to adjust to. As for stopping smoking, good for you. If you have the staying power to do C25K, you know you can quit and if you get stressed, instead of reaching for a pack, pick up your trainers and go for a run. The endorphine kick will feel much better than the nicotine.

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