I Graduated Yesterday - a bittersweet story with thanks to Sue, Delia, Liz, Colette, Gayle, Steve, Julie and all of you and, LAURA

Hi everyone :-)

I started this addiction, in the main, because of my parents' dwindling physical health and watching the effect of it on them.

I started Week 9 thinking it would be just as straightforward as all the other weeks - hell no!

Firstly, battling horrendous heel pain thanks to rapidly growing spurs in the general direction of achilles tendon - not pleasant BUT thanks to Sue's stretching exercises I'm still going :-). The other gremlin showed itself during 9/1 saying "you're not getting away that lightly" and decided to niggle my previously, neatly arthroscopied knee.

Sooooooo with gremlins in tow I prepared for my week which included a trip to the UK to bring some cheer to my parents (whose courage in the face of all the indignities associated - for some - with being over 80 is amazing) and then back to Austria but having a 3 night stay in Vienna before heading home to our rural Idyll.

I can't remember 9/1 BUT 9/2 was along the beach at Walmer/Deal on the Kent coast at sunrise. I went out for a run while my parents were struggling to lever themselves out of bed. I went to each of them and said "I'm running this for you - thank you for giving me the spirit of adventure and courage to face the unknown".

It wasn't the best of runs as the old knee started complaining but it was a beautiful run and I managed to 'steal' 3 beautiful dogs who left their owners and decided I looked like a better bet for some fun :-)!!! When I got back and had showered, my parents wanted to know all about it. I was so worried that getting out there and running would be deflating for them but no.... in the face of all that they have lost they REALLY wanted to be part of this experience :-).

Taking the beauty of that time with me back to Vienna, I then embarked on THAT RUN. For the first time, I was surrounded by other joggers (Delia, Viennese runners don't smile whatsoever!!!).

With the spirit of my parents and the words of Gayle's last Blog in my mind I ran for all those people whose health has been diminished in ways that leave them unable to enjoy the freedom of movement with confidence which we are all lucky to experience.

I RAN 5 KMS IN 30 MINUTES (oh... and 33 seconds).

Thank you, all of you for the support that has allowed me to feel part of something courageous and liberating.

I'm sorry this isn't a laugh a minute BLOG but it is heartfelt and the way I feel about graduating right now.

Hugs and love

Sara xox


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49 Replies

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  • Yay! congratulations - 5k in 30 mins is fantastic !! im a long way off yet but reading inspirational blogs like yours is helping me stick to the plan! well done!! x

  • Thank you Spinrek... it really does work and the inspiration everyone brings to each other here is so generous. The main thing is just believing that we can achieve the extraordinary :-) - good luck and well done so far, Sara :-) x

  • Well done. What an amazing time. London runners don't smile either. I smiled at a woman last week, I thought in a sisterly way, and she looked at me like smiling back would cause her enormous grief. I might go an a run where I smile and greet everyone running towards me.

  • Hi Delores... It is odd isn't it... maybe we all here have created such a community that we imagine everyone else must be feeling the same way. I thought that, like you, it's a sisterly thing of acknowledging all the blood, sweat and tears we all go through to get where we are :-)!!! Anyway thank you, Sara :-)x

  • Sara, my international friend and runner - you are amazing!! Big hearty congratulations to you on graduating, for pushing on through the pain and for running 5k in 30 mins - absolutely fantastic!!! If ever you deserved big hugs it is now (((SARA)))

    You touched me so much with your account of your dear parents and running it for them.....beautiful!

    I'm glad you had a run in Deal and in Vienna before setting off back to the comfort of home and hubby. Enjoy this moment and be proud of what you have achieved; it is sometimes hard to believe isnt it?

    Very best wishes and take care of those niggles Sara. Keep running and enjoying the freedom it brings!

    Big hugs

    Sue xoxoxo

  • Sue, Sue - what a wonderful HUG :-) - thank you sooo much for your support.

    I've got two knee supports on my left knee now so we'll see what that does.

    I think I'll give stepping stones a go as it sounds a gentle start to life beyond C25K with a bit of running discipline thrown in.

    Yes, it was quite unexpected to have such an emotional end to the programme, but a fitting one I think :-).

    Hope your back is well and truly mended now Sue and that you are enjoying being back on track :-).

    Big hugs to you too (((SUE)))

    Sara xoxox

  • Well done you - give yourself a big pt on the back, you deserve it!

    Now you can get out there and enjoy the freedom of being a graduate! :-)

    As for non-smiling others - I always give a big smile and say goodmorning or whatever, just to show I'm fit and healthy and having a good time... even when I'm crawling inwardly... :-D

    Let us know about your first post-grad run!

  • Thanks Mitts :-). What a lovely post. Hope I meet you around the track one day - I like the picture in my head of you and your cheery "good morning" :-).

    Will keep you posted re what I choose for post grad 1st run... oohh eerrr!!!

    Cheers, Sara :-) x

  • congratulations :D amazing story. keep on trucking! :D

  • Thank you so much runfatboy81... and you keep on trucking there too and good luck, Sara :-)

  • Congratulations on getting to the end of C25K and the start of your ruining journey.

    Keep running and keep smiling. :-)

  • Hi Swanscot, thank you. I think it's going to take a bit of time to adjust and become a proper, independent, all growed up runner like you but the getting there will be interesting I've no doubt :-). BUT I WILL be smiling all the way! :-)

  • Well done Sara - and a cracking time too.

  • Hi Spud... pretty amazed, I can tell you!! Thank you :-) x

  • Great blog and congratulations! I am thinking about Viennese cake now!

  • Oooooohhh, Mabbers... d'you know I nearly did have a congratulatory coffee and cake at one of the Konditoreis but I actually never feel hungry after running so I'll have to have it another time...... mmmm

    Thanks for the congrats, Sara

  • Congratuations, well done and 5K too, fantastic. Hope all those niggles leave you and you continue to enjoy your running. Reading all these great blogs inspires me to keep going. Thank you and congratuations again :-D

  • Hi Rolphie and thank you sooooo much. Really pleased the forum is inspiring you. I'm not usually a joiner of things like this but have found it to be truly refreshing. Keep on truckin' rolphie and good luck, Sara

  • Dear Sara, you have done it...weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!

    Now you will get a green shiny badge. Lovely blog. Made me think about my parents and how I miss them. As you know, they are alive, but only in body. Also running on the beach in Deal got me all reminiscent about Southern England -- I only got back from there Sunday but how I miss it, especially at Christmas time!

    Anyway big celebration and gigantic hug,

    Delia xoxox

  • (((DELIA))) - thank you and bravo you in your Santa claus themed first post grad run - guess you just didn't think you could take being a graduate seriously huh LOL :-)!

    Yes, it was rather lovely being over there - Deal is really the place that time forgot, honestly, and sooooo natural.

    Anyway - here we both are, the other side of the fence - phew! Think I'll go to Sterling stones for my first PG run, will keep you posted.

    Glad you had a good trip D :-). Am sitting in my pension in Vienna at the Mo and can't wait to be home tomorrow.

    Big hugs - Sara xox

  • Sara -- forever waiting for trains, and planes and whatever .-)

    Talk to you in Vienna, right! xox delia

  • Ha ha D :-)... actually, I replied to your post when it came in but realised I'd not hit 'reply to this' only 'leave a comment' so you wouldn't have received it. Soooo, now I'm at home waiting for no transport at all!!!!!

  • A fantastic achievement, and a great blog. Well done :)

  • Hi Annie, thank you - I hadn't really realised what a special moment this is but it really is :-). Thanks again, Sara :-) xox

  • Oh my goodness, what a lovely and thought provoking blog. I'd never thought of it like that before. Inspirational, and will definitely be at the back of my mind on my next run.

    And.....CONGRATULATIONS graduate! Well done on a fantastic achievement. Enjoy your new badge and keep us posed with your C25K+ adventures

  • Slater, hi and thank you :-). I'm really touched that you found my blog inspirational...

    Hope to step some stones on the weekend and will certainly post about them as there seems to be a lot of debate about this podcast so can't wait to try it out for myself.

    Thanks again, Sara :-)

  • Congratulations, woooo, woooo, you've done it Sara! You are a star!!!!! Your parents must be sooooo proud of you-I know I am. That was a fantastic read-and inspirational. Here's to your shiny new badge arriving soon!

    Enjoy stepping stone and all the other pods.

    Keep on Running and smiling :-)

    Big hugs }}}}}}}}}}}}! Colette xx

  • I did Colette, I did :-)... and you've made me laugh because Mat (my OH) calls me SaraStar which is really sweet as quite often I really don't sparkle but lovely that he sees it when I do :-). Soooo thank you for the star!

    Can't wait to see that green badge there - I keep checking but John, I know, is very busy soooo I'll just have to be a patient little PG :-).

    As I said above to Slater.... really intriqued by Stepping Stones because of all the discussion about it... can't wait to find out on which side of the fence I stand :-)!

    Hugs to you too ((((Colette)))) and will certainly keep running and smiling - even if through gritted teeth sometimes :-) LOL xoxox

  • What a lovely blog Sara - huge congratulations on graduating and what a great time! 5K in 30mins is my post grad target - I'm some way off but I'm determined to get there.

    Keep running. Look after yourself.

    Susan XX

  • Susan Hi :-)...

    Thank you... just waiting for that badge - I keep checking to see if it's there.....

    Susan, you will get there... it seems to just happen as part of the process. I was checking my progress chart recently as I haven't looked at it since I started and was interested to note how subtly times, pace, distance changes. For me this is just a confirmation that I'm doing something right and encourages me to keep on :-)!! Personally, I have no idea how I got to be able to do that - just really odd!!!!!

    You said it... determination - I think that that's what this forum gives us. Having been away for a week or so, I wasn't checking in as much and thought "oh well, I can do it anyway" but somehow I didn't seem to have as much spunk without having a little Forum Fix - LOL :-)!!

    Sooooo.... you WILL get there Susan and I'll be the first standing and cheering you over that mark :-).

    Thanks again for the lovely comments, Sara xox

  • Susan Hi :-)...

    Thank you... just waiting for that badge - I keep checking to see if it's there.....

    Susan, you will get there... it seems to just happen as part of the process. I was checking my progress chart recently as I haven't looked at it since I started and was interested to note how subtly times, pace, distance changes. For me this is just a confirmation that I'm doing something right and encourages me to keep on :-)!! Personally, I have no idea how I got to be able to do that - just really odd!!!!!

    You said it... determination - I think that that's what this forum gives us. Having been away for a week or so, I wasn't checking in as much and thought "oh well, I can do it anyway" but somehow I didn't seem to have as much spunk without having a little Forum Fix - LOL :-)!!

    Sooooo.... you WILL get there Susan and I'll be the first standing and cheering you over that mark :-).

    Thanks again for the lovely comments, Sara :-) xox

  • Thanks Sara - waiting for my badge to appear too - I shall keep plodding on. Just amazed that I can actually run 5K at all! :)

  • Ditto the amazement Susan :-). How long d'you reckon it will be before we're wondering how we got to 10k :-) ? - LOL!!!!!!

  • Well done, congratulations! I wish I had known you were in Deal, I have been back there quite a bit in the last two weeks and I also ran from Deal Castle to Kingsdown the week before last. Perhaps you were the only runner that smiled at me??? We could have had a run together (I'm still only doing 30 minutes, although it sounds like you are faster than me!).

    I also smile at everyone, I don't know what is wrong with the world that people do not smile back or even acknowledge one another.

    I'm really impressed with your motivation and determination, and you shouldn't apologise for such an honest blog. Here's to you and your shiny new badge that is coming soon.

    Vix xx

  • Hi Vix, thank you for a really happy post :-). So you have a cottage (?) in Kingsdown or Deal?? Isn't it a wonderful place... Do you know the 'sheep meadow' next to Walmer Castle?? Well my parents live across from it (on Liverpool Road) - to the right of the 'Prem Vadan' House as you look at it.

    I was running very early on Sunday morning (18th) - it wasn't you running past with some picked flowers in your hand was it??? That lady smiled at me :-). Your on Vix... I'm hoping to visit again at the end of January - let's see if we can meet up and run together. It would then have to be breakfast at Pete's (the little cafe hut near the Bandstand) 'cos not sure how great I'd be at conversing during the run :-) - LOL!!!!

    THANK YOU SOOO SOOO MUCH for your kind words. I truly am thrilled that my parents can be involved with the progress - they too are waiting to hear I have received that badge.

    So thrilled someone else knows that wonderful stretch from Kingsdown to Walmer and am quite envious that you get to run there reasonably often :-).

    Thanks again Vix, Sara xox

  • Hi Sara

    I grew up in Deal for most of my childhood, but haven't spent much time there recently until I got back from holiday a couple of weeks ago, so this was the first time I've run there. I've had to spend some time down there just in the last two weeks, but I do have a niece there and intend to spend a bit more time with the remaining family there. My daughter also likes running, although doesn't come out very often with me (I am currently running in the mornings, as I'm not working at the moment), she is hoping to run along the seafront with me. Its really beautiful and the pounding of the sea onto the stones on rougher days is very soothing. I spent many hours snuggly wrapped on Deal beach while I was going through all my teenage angst!

    January will be pretty chilly, but I'm certainly up for it! :-) I do know the meadow by the castle, I had some happy times there with a bunch of friends and got into trouble for going home tipsy afterwards - way too young to be drinking ;-)

    I know that I saw a bandstand, but can't remember where, is it on Walmer green? I don't know that cafe either, we used to go to the Lobster Pot, but it's no longer there (my first Saturday job was there).

    Look forward to meeting you!

    Vix xx

  • Heeeee Vix.... I know/knew the Lobster Pot - all changed now tho'.

    Yes the Bandstand is on the Walmer Greensward - opposite the off licence, pub and post office.

    Well.... once my return trip is planned I'll let you know. It really would be a real treat to run with another C25Ker. I wonder if we couldn't get Sue (SBG356) to join us - another Kent girl.... What fun that would be.

    Looking forward to meeting you too, Sara :-) xox

  • Hi Sara

    Big Congratulations to you.....You did it !!!! Well Done.....your blog was sooo inspirational, you must be so happy and what about your time, that is a GREAT achievement xxx Looking forward to hearing what your going to do next.

    Pinkus xxxxxx :-)

  • Hi Julie (d'you prefer Pinkus??? - tell me if you do) thank you :-).

    Yes the time thing remains a mystery to me. I've always been a great hiker/walker so perhaps there's an added bit of oomph in there somewhere - not sure!!!!

    I think.... I think I'll give Stepping Stones a go tomorrow - I like following the natural process of things so I'll give Laura a chance and hope to learn some good running tips - will keep you posted :-).

    How was your first PG run?

    Sara :-) xoxox

  • Sara, huge congratulations, and 5k too. You should me very proud of your achievement and I can see it means so much more to you than just the lovely badge :-) Keep running, but don't forget to squeeze in that celebratory coffee and cake!

  • Hello Foylefiend - you couldn't have said it better really, the achievement and what it has meant (and will keep on meaning) to me is something about which I am still experiencing new insights. It really is quite an amazing thing we are all doing.

    I WILL squeeze in the coffee and cake somewhere :-) - will have to swish it all down with a few bubbles too!!!!!!!

    Hope you are enjoying the programme FF and that you are getting a lot from it too :-).

    Sara :-) xx

  • Congratulations Sara - very well done :-) from one star to another - you are amazing!

    What a lovely blog - from the heart is always best - thanks for sharing.

    Good luck with Stepping Stones :-)

  • Goldstar, what a lovely message, thank you :-).

    I agree with you entirely.... I love reading others' heartfelt posts and it's always clear when it is truly heartfelt :-). To my mind, the simpler and more heartfelt I live my life, the happier and more harmonious it becomes.

    Just did my first Stepping Stones today... actually, even tho' it was slower I really enjoyed it as a sort of Kindergarten for the beginning of being a 'real runner' - it feels like just the right amount of instruction and also reined me in from going on with bad running posture. So, yes, I enjoyed it - thank you, Sara :-) x

  • That was beautiful Sara. Thank you for sharing a wonderful experience. All the very best with the rest of your running adventure.

  • Lucy, Lucy, hello :-). Thank you, yes, although the experience is bittersweet, it has also been wonderful.

    Thank you for your kind wishes and I look forward to hearing more about your adventures too, Sara :-) xox

  • Congratulations, Sara!! What a brilliant way to put a cap on this program!! To run for those who can't run themselves is the greatest way to remind us just how lucky we are that we have our good health and strong bodies that make this possible!!

    I must apologize for being so slow in sending my congratulations, but it seems that Thanksgiving in America slipped in the way of staying up on running blogs!!

    I am sure that you have made your parents very proud!! You also have very much to be proud of!! I believe that it is about time for that "Graduate" badge and the proud smile that goes along with it!!

    Congratulations again and Keep Running!! :-)


  • Thank you Steve and no apologies for enjoying yourselves necessary :-)!!!

    Not sure where the Grad Badge is ... I've given John a gentle reminder but there must be a large number of Graduates to process - what a success this programme is being :-).

    Here's to all our functioning bodies - no matter what they look like or how loud they creak, at least we can get out there and run :-), Sara :-)

  • Sara, Sara, Sara, I am so very proud of you and welcome to Graduate-land!!!! :-) Thank you for such a beautiful and honest blog posting. I'm sure your parents welcomed the visit and are so pleased with your achievement!!!!! I developed knee issues week 9 as well, I believe it is from the added time and distance. Which by the way, what awesome time on your 5K!!!!! I do apologize for not posting earlier, we had a busy week here filled with holiday, food, shopping, food and more food!!! :-) Time to get back on plan! Very well done Sara, you earned that bright, shiny badge! Gayle

  • Gayle, THANK YOU :-).

    Glad you all had a happy time over Thanksgiving.

    Gayle, it's kind of good (!?!?!) to know you experienced knee pain in the 9th week. How is it going now?? At the risk of being boring, the knee that hurts had a clean out of the miniscus 3 years ago. Because I love hiking up and down our mountains here I spent a lot of time training on my home trainer (indoor training bike) and stepper in order to strengthen the quads in order that the knees were better supported so they wouldn't niggle when I started going down the mountain.

    BUT... that niggle has come back, just on the left outer knee and I'm hoping It's not structural and that it's just a signal to adjust my posture and strengthen my core while I run.

    How did you sort out your knee niggles Gayle - have they got used to the longer running times?

    Anyway.... thank you so much for the lovely thoughts and comments about my blog - yes, it was special to do that run there for them and with them in my heart :-).

    OHHHHHH... did you and Steve see the special message I left for you both on one of Steve's blogs????

    Hope, getting back in the saddle doesn't prove too sore - good luck, Sara :-) xox

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