by Nicola Adams
(United Kingdom)

Mind over Matter

I started running when I was at school.
I was bullied a lot, so running gave me an outlet for all those hormones & anger or I used to take it out on my brother
I was asked to join the School relay team.
I think It was more pressure from the teachers, and as I was failing in every other class, I felt I had nothing left to lose.
I then discovered it was something I actually quite enjoyed & was good at.
I loved being the anchor ( last runner) it gives you a sense of belonging being in a team & at the back, like my team needed me, they need me on that last leg to get them over the finish line.

When you see that end goal & cross that line it gives you a runners rush ( high).
Hard to explain but its like a sense of euphoria that takes over your body that makes you feel relaxed, happy & calm all at the same time.
Like a beginning to an end.

My dad said" I had mastered the art of running, as I was always running away from school.

I have found over the years & through some really difficult times, running has always been there for me.
Everything in me mentally & physically loves running. I love the challenge, I love the rewards. I just love to run & reading that makes me sound like a running geek.
Running through the streets or on rugged terrain & In the rain, brings me childish joy. Running harder & further away from life & structure. Its a weird feeling of being strangely elated, detached, yet at the same time still stay connected
Connected to myself, with nothing but my own two legs moving me forward, I get a real sense of who I am. It shows me im not a quitter, I am strong. I may love to hate it at times.
This is my prescription, its my daily anti- depressant dose.

Mind over marathon.

I have to admit I’d always wanted to run a marathon. Im not fast & Im not an athlete but.. I can run.
Little did I know looking back that it would be the hardest but the greatest thing all rolled into one.

The London Marathon is one of the worlds second largest in the UK & one of the worlds, greatest Marathons.

Go big or go home, right!!

I had been offered a Charity place. What, no way!! Me. I felt a wee bit like the child in Willy Wonka who had been given the golden ticket. 17 weeks to go. How could I say, NO! I was buzzing!

EXCITED.... but I knew that raising almost £2,000 for a Charity in 17weeks & with a training & nutrition schedule that even reading it, made me feel sick, was a huge task. The charity were delighted to still offer me a place & I was so excited to accept ( I think) & raising as much as i could for a charity close to my heart.
I was set.


I found myself joining every marathon page, bought books, down loading apps. I contacted a friend who is a PT instructor for some strength training, and set about a proper nutritional meal plan as I wanted to lose a stone too.
One of the most amazing feelings during my training was being able to run further than ever before. I had ran half marathons, did a few 10k & obstacle runs before & enjoyed them, but i wanted to go the distance.

Before I knew it I was up to 15 miles, then 17 during training. WOW! That feeling was amazing. I had moments during training thinking, Why" have I never run this distance before.
Then I took shin splints, 7 weeks before my Marathon.
WHAT!!! NO!!! Run!! I could barely walk.
I have never QUIT anything in my life.
My Mother always taught me, mind over matter. Shes the strongest person i know.
I realised then that this was my race.
I would be on that start line, even if i had to walk. It was tough, mentally. Seeing everyone else out running.
People on the group page all chatting about their pb & how great all their training plans were going.
I had to start my training all over again & with 7 weeks left to go!! I would do this, how could i let People down that had sponsored me or let my Charity down.
I heard People talk about jeffing?? Where you can run a min, walk a minute or run for 5 mins, walk for 30 seconds. I set myself a plan. I could do that!
I had some Chryotherapy sessions on my shins. Loved these.

It was tough, mentally & so frustrating at times but as the weeks drew closer my shins grew stronger.
There’s something so incredibly freeing about being able to just run/ jog and reach a destination under your own steam, carrying your own water and nutrition, feeling like you could go on forever. Knowing now that throughout my Marathon, if i wanted to walk, I walked.
I didn’t have a time goal, I just wanted to finish. I was told it was rare to get to the start line uninjured. Im thankful, through great support & advice. I was on that start line feeling the best i had ever felt, mentally & physically.

I think i listened to the entire 70s & 80s collection during training. I ate carbs without regret. Before I knew it, race day had arrived. I was so nervous! I hadnt run any long distance in 7 weeks, but could hear my mum in my head. Say" Mind over matter. I knew i had this!!
Little did I know it was going to be one of the best days of my life.

I arrived at the start line a different person from the person who had signed up to the race. I had worked my ass off (almost literally) to get to this point. This was it. I was going to run a marathon.

Before we even started the race I could feel myself getting choked up. I looked around at all the thousands of other people here, wearing charity vests & fancy dress, all bouncing nervously, all about the embark on the same challenge. We all had different reasons for being here, or maybe they were all the same. Ultimately, if you don’t enjoy running, you wouldn’t do it, and you certainly wouldn’t run a marathon. This was a sea of people with a shared passion.

As we ran through the streets, people cheering me on & calling my name. My name was on my vest. I felt like a celebrity! I smiled and waved & applauded back to those that stood on pavements to hand us out jelly babies & water.

Physically, I felt good, my shins were good. I heard my Husband & Sons screaming my name at the first 6 mile marker & stopped for quick hugs, your doing great!! Great time, Keep going!!
I was still jeffing. Run 5 mins, walk 30 seconds, blethering to others on the way.
I met lots of incredible People enroute, all with wonderful & brave stories.
Dave, the chap who ran in the Rhino costume, i had a wee blether with him as i let his wife go in front of me in the toilet que. Mile 20. I would be lying if i said" I didnt want this to be over but the crowds carried me around with all the music & cheering. I knew at that 20 mile marker, i had this in the bag. The euphoria that comes over you at this point! Mentally, I felt the best I’ve ever felt. It felt like my mind and my body were separate entities, helping each other move forward, supporting each other like best friends. They were getting me round the course. I was proud of them.

I didnt cry when i got to the finish line. I took my medal. I applauded others & went to pick up my bag. I then headed to the meet point to meet my Husband & Sons.
I saw all 3 faces standing at the top of the stairs. It will be a moment i will never forget & i cried like a Baby, i was a sobbing & snotty mess.
"I did it! I ran a marathon!” and reached my goal. I worked hard to get there. No one had helped me. It was something I did myself and I can be eternally proud.
Running has helped me change the perception of myself. It helps me to love me. It makes me realise just how incredible the body is & whats its capable of. I feel I belong. I feel liked. I feel loved. Its the first time in my life, I realised I could go further, than I ever thought I could.
&I would do it all again,again & again.

Whats next... Sky running, Ben Nevis.



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Dec 16, 2023
Well done!
by: Nicole

Wow Nicola, what a story. You must be so incredibly proud of yourself! Really well done for what you have achieved. I couldn't wait to get to the end of your story just to find out if you made it to the marathon finish line!

I hope the shin splints are getting better and I would love to hear what you achieve next.

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