Year 2 week 22

28th May- 3rd June 2017

I always knew that my trip to Rwanda was the end of one thing and the beginning of something else. I just didn’t really know what. 

However I don’t know why I had that feeling because, as far my weight loss goes, I still have a very long way to go until I get to my goal. 

If I think about it I haven’t really started anything new and as far as the diet is going I feel like I have taken about 100 steps backwards. 

I have never been a fearful person.  I’m not afraid to fly, I am not afraid to go on roller coasters or things like that. If I am afraid of anything it would probably be the fear of failing, the fear of getting it wrong, the fear of looking stupid, a fear of going backwards. So in past I wouldn’t do much because of that. 

Before I went to Rwanda one thing that almost stopped me from signing up was the fear of failing. I have to say that fear continued up until the day I left. I was so worried that I wasn’t going to cross that finish line, that I hadn’t trained enough, that I totally underestimated my ability. 

While in Rwanda on the day before the run I was sitting on a bus and I put my headphones on. I was happy listening away when a song came on that really affected me. I was sitting there with tears running down my checks. It was a song that I had heard many times before but it never affected me like that before. 

The line that affected me the most went,”I’m no longer a slave to fear, but I am a child of God”. Knowing what I was about to do I found that this song really helped. 

By subconsciously taking off those shackles I had a sense of freedom and excitement while doing my half marathon. I felt like a weight had been lifted. 

But since coming home I have come to realise that I have put those shackles back on again.  This time though it’s a fear of going backwards. I don’t know what it is about fear, but I find that sometimes by fearing it I am helping it to happen. And I feel that is exactly what is happening with me. 

Since feeling this way I have heard that song a few times and it has had the same emotional effect on me. 

Over the last few days I have been to a women’s conference with 8,000 people there. On the last day they played that song. I couldn’t believe it. I had already drawn my picture too. It was so much more than a coincidence – it was like God was trying to tell me something. It was like that song was played just for me.

After the preacher talked about the fact that sometimes we need to begin again. It’s not always an easy thing to do. I thought at the time it doesn’t apply to me because it’s something I have already done 16 months ago. But then I got to thinking that I already knew since coming back from Rwanda that it was the start of something new. So why was I denying it? 

For me to begin again is to go back 16 months and start it all over again. That in itself can be really scary because this time I know exactly what I am getting into. All those days of being hungry, all those days of watching people eat nice food and me craving to eat it too. I need to get an awful lot of will power back again as well. 

So I have decided I am going to take off those shackles and embrace the journey I have ahead of me. After all I have done it before I CAN do it again and it can’t be as hard as last time!

Year 2 week 21

21st – 27th May 2017

Last week was such an amazing week, with lots of fun and laughter. My time in Rwanda was so busy and was spent meeting new people, going to new places and of course completing my challenge of running a half marathon. 

Since coming home it has been a bit of a come down from last week. It’s been a bit of an anticlimax. I thought I would enjoy the rest and catch up on some sleep. I thought I would enjoy getting back to normal. But I have to say, now, I find that going back to my old routine is totally boring. 

I never found it boring before I went. I think it’s because, now that I have accomplished my goal of running a half marathon, I find that I need a new focus – something to keep me going down the same path. I just need to keep moving forward one step at a time. 

While in Rwanda the food was mainly things like rice, pasta and potatoes – all things that I shouldn’t eat to much of. They even provided spaghetti bolognese for breakfast!!!

Since coming home I have been trying to cut down on the amount of carbs and eat more salads and fruit. I am finding this extremely difficult. I found it easier to do a half marathon than cut back on my food intake! If anyone offered me an apple or a biscuit at the moment I think I would choose the biscuit.

Since coming back from Rwanda I am even finding it hard to exercise. I went for a 5k run and I was so tired when I got back that it made me wonder how I ever did a half marathon at all.

So I think I need a new focus to aim for because staying on that right path is hard and challenging at the moment. All I know is that I can’t go back – I need to keep moving forward. I just have to!!!

Year 2 week 20

14th – 20th May 2017

This week has been amazing. My time in Rwanda has totally exceeded my expectations. 

The run up to my trip to Rwanda I was worried, apprehensive, and very unsure about going at all. It has turned out to be the best and most rewarding thing I have ever done. 

While in Rwanda we went and saw some of the things Compassion do. We went to some of the projects where Compassion help children, mothers and babies and families out of poverty. 

One day we visited a child’s home who is sponsored by Compassion. We saw first hand how Compassion helps each and every person and family who goes through their program. 

I also had the opportunity to meet my sponsored child. It was such a special moment and something totally worth doing. I think it will be something that we will both remember for a long time. 

I was so much more impacted by the whole experience than I thought I was going to be. At first I thought I was just going there to run a half marathon but it became so much more than just that.  

On the run up to going I would get nervous every time I would have to do a long run. The night before I would not sleep with worry knowing what I was to do the next day. 

In Rwanda I didn’t worry at all. The run was on the last day and I hardly thought about it all week. I was just enjoying each moment as it came along. 

The night before the big day I slept really well. I had such a peace about what I was about to do. I had spent the last few months thinking and worring about this and when it arrived I didn’t have one concern. 

In the morning I was eager to get going. Up until that point I had been counting up the miles. This was the first time I could start counting them down, knowing I wouldn’t have to do them again if I didn’t want to. 

The day was misty and overcast at first but warmed up through out the run. I had no injuries or problems on my way around. It was such a special moment. I ran with another lady from our team the whole way around. We had kids come and run with us. They would hold our hands as we went. It was such a lovely moment. 

The last few miles were the hardest. We were getting tired and starting to slow down. All we knew was that we needed to keep moving.  We did and then we heard it in the distance – we heard drums. Those drums were there to welcome us across the finish line.

To hear those drums was the best feeling ever. It showed us that the end was in sight and we had almost reached our goal. It helped us and motivated us to run faster. 

We ran across the finish line with the drummers playing in the background. It was the most amazing experience of my life. Straight afterwards we hugged each other and just cried. 

We had both been down such an amazing journey to get to that point and to find that we had actually done it was so overwhelming. 

I will never forget that experience of crossing that line. It has been the result of a lot of hard work and pain. But the more work you put in the greater the reward and my reward was great indeed.

One thing that made it extra special was that over the last few days of the trip Matt came out to join me. Knowing that he saw me cross the finish was wonderful!

I have learnt quite a lot from this experience. I learnt that I can and should go out of my comfort zone more often than I do. 

I have learnt that it is a good thing to go all out and aim for your goals however hard it may seem to achieve it.  It’s good to reach beyond ourselves, to stretch ourselves and push through. 

I have learnt that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. That’s all that we were on that trip – just ordinary people but all wanting to make a difference. And doing things for others rather than just thinking of yourself  brings its own rewards. 

And we did learn that the money that is donated to Compassion actually goes to help people out of poverty.  We can’t necessarily help everyone all the time so it might just have to be one child at a time – but with enough children being reached maybe we can all make a difference.

I have made so many great friends on this trip. I don’t think you can go through something like that without making friends.  

If you are interested in a challenge, in pushing yourself, in making a difference in your life and the lives of others, then I definitely recommend you think about doing a Muskathlon. You might even see me there!

Year 2 week 19

7th – 13th May 2017

So this week I have been very busy packing for my trip to Rwanda. 

The day I was to leave I had changed my mind and I decided I didn’t want to go. I am comfortable with my home, with Matt and my family around me. I was going to Rwanda alone, and it’s totally out of my comfort zone.

When I was a teenager I was very adventurous. I can remember catching a plane by myself at the age of 15 to go to Zimbabwe on mission for the summer. 

Over the years I seem to have lost that adventurous spirit. So that is why I found it so hard to go.

However this time I wasn’t alone – I was meeting 23 other people most of them I had never met. Speaking to them they felt exactly like me! 

So I stepped on that plane, and as it flew off into the sunset I actually started to feel excited, excited for the adventure I have ahead of me. 

We landed in Rwanda safely and I spent time getting to know my new friends. 

We went to the genocide museum. This is a place that really makes you think about what went on, and the pain and suffering that still continues today after 23 years. It has put my problems into perspective I can tell you!

While I am here I am happy to be helping people who were affected by that. It makes me glad that I can help them in my small way. 

If you feel you can help too click the link

Year 2 week 18

30th April – 6th May 2017

It’s less than a week now until I go to Rwanda and I face a pretty big physical challenge for me.

Training for a half marathon has been really hard. If I think about it now, I think I must have had a moment of madness. It seems a crazy thing to have done.  When I signed up it was something that was totally out of reach – at that time there would have been no way I could have ever done it.

I think one of the reasons I did sign up was because I wanted to continue on this journey I have been going down for the last 16 months. I was finding it hard to stay focused on my goals and I felt I needed a challenge to continue. My focus changed from myself to all the children I will be helping along the way. 

It has taken a lot of grit and determination to train for this event. I don’t think I could have done it though without a few people helping me along the way. 

Matt has been great – he has trained with me on some occasions. He has also been a great encourager. 

There are also a few ladies that I train with once a week. One of those ladies has gone out of her way to help me. One week we went and with no warning I said I wanted to go 8 miles. She was brilliant and totally up for the challenge. This week I told her I wanted to do 10 miles – she went out of her way planning what route to do. 

We did pick the hottest day, but we did it. We actually went 10 miles. Sometimes I think I dreamt it, but I didn’t – we really did it. After, when I got home, I was so happy that I was dancing around the house. I don’t know where I got the energy from. 

For the past 6 weeks I got myself a running coach because I felt I needed all the help I could get. He has been brilliant, he has shown me a few techniques that should make it easier for me when I am running. He has told me where to position my feet with every step, how to swing my arms, to look up, how to breathe and so much more. 

You would think that these things would come naturally that you would automatically know how to swing your arms and breathe. But no – apparently there is a wrong way. So the training with him has been vital and I think I have come on a long way since he joined ‘Team Debbie’!

I think when it comes to doing the half marathon I will have his voice going around in my head telling me to lift my head and control my breathing – much to Matts dismay I’m sure. 

Thank you everyone who has sponsored me too. It shows how much you are all with me in this. If you haven’t yet but want to, tap on the link

Year 2 week 16

16th – 22nd April 2017

This week has been a real struggle. I don’t know why, but I am struggling to get motivated to do anything. 

I always seem to find things harder when the kids are off school, I think it is because my routine changes. With the kids off school this Easter, I have forgotten appointments, struggled to eat healthy and I have found it hard to go out training for my half marathon. 

I have taken my training very seriously. I know if I don’t train there is no way I can do it. Even though I have struggled this week, I have still managed to go out running. 

One thing I have noticed lately is that I seem to have slowed up a lot, things that I found easy all of a sudden now seem hard, I also feel like when I am running I have a big heavy weight on my back slowing me down. 

I feel like I have led weights in my shoes too. I am managing to do the distances I want to achieve, but it seems to be taking so much more out of me than normal.

I am hoping that when the kids go back to school again next week I will start to find things a bit easier again. Until then I will have to continue struggling.

Year 2 week 15

9th – 15th April 2017

Training for the half marathon in Rwanda is well under way. I am managing to get out at least 3 times a week and averaging at least 12 miles a week running. 

It has caused a problem. With all the extra running means I am ending up extra hungry which means I am eating extra food. 

One of the rules I am finding hard to keep is only eating my meals and not eating for 5 hours between my meals. 

Last year I spent half of the year hungry and I seemed to cope with it ok. Now the hunger seems to get to me a bit more. I don’t know if it’s because I have lost my motivation or because the extra exercise is making me hungry. 

The good thing is that I have noticed it and I can now start reeling it back in.

I am finding the training pretty tough. I am not a runner and I have not, in recent years, ran 12 metres a week let alone 12 miles. I have still got a long way to go and a lot more miles to put in before I go to Rwanda in less than a months time. 

I have never trained for anything in my life before. I am starting to wonder if I can do it at all. I think it is going to be the hardest thing I have ever done. The more I train the tireder I am getting and the more I am doubting my ability. 

One thing that keeps me going is knowing I am going to be helping children out of poverty – it makes every step worth the effort.

Year 2 week 14

2nd – 8th April 2017

Over the last few Saturdays I have been on a course at church called The Healing Rooms.  It’s based on a book called ‘The Essential Guild to Healing’ by Randy Clarke and Bill Johnson. 

I went because of the healing that God has done in me over the past year and I thought it would be great to know how to help others with emotional healing. 

One thing that was talked about was the power of a testimony.  We got together in small groups and we shared our testimonies.  I shared about my journey over the last 15 months and told them where I was heading and then I thanked God for the change. 

I said I had gone from a person who was out of puff walking up the stairs to a person who’s about to run a half marathon. I also told them my concern over my knees. 

Before I lost the weight I limped for 5 years and I was concerned that with all the running it would come back. I had been having a few twinges but nothing major. 

They decided to pray for my knees and I have to admit that I did feel them tingle at the time. I wouldn’t know if they were healed or not until I started running. 

Training this week has not really gone to plan.  I arranged to meet a few people to go running with but each one cancelled. I am not a person who likes running on my own. I wouldn’t even think of going on my own. However I did!!!

The first time I went I wanted to do 5 miles. As I was running I realised that I had no pain at all in my knees. It was the first time ever I actually enjoyed it. 

It was a good job I was on my own because I had my music playing and with the new found freedom in my knees it was like I danced every step rather than ran it. 

I think I must have looked funny and I definitely wouldn’t have looked as elegant as my drawing.  I was happy I was on my own in the end because if one of my kids saw me it would have been filmed and put on YouTube and probably had at least a million views by now with people in hysterics!

After the 5 miles I could have done more and I realised that I did it so much quicker too. So the healing has also helped me go faster. 

Even though my training this week was mainly on my own, it did nothing but improve and it has left me looking forward to the next time I run. That’s a new one even for me. 

So I went on the course to help others but it was me who improved instead.

Year 2 week 13

26th March – 1st April 2017

This week has been quite a tough week. Training for a half marathon is hard – a lot harder than I thought it would be. 

Last week I ran my first 10k. I was really happy with my achievement to run 10k with only 2 weeks training since my operation. It made me feel that a half marathon is achievable. 

This week though things have gone totally in the other direction. I feel like I am making 1 step forward and 2 steps back. 

I have managed to do some training. One day I went with Matt and Jake (my youngest son).  Going with Matt is usually really good and helpful but on this occasion it was slightly demoralising. Jake is a very fast runner, he is always winning his cross country races at school and Matt started physically running circles around me. 

Then the running circles turned into skipping circles and laughing as he did it. He was trying to get me to enjoy the experience and have fun. 

I did laugh along with him but for me seeing him and Jake with so much energy while I was totally exhausted I don’t think really helped. 

My pace is just not challenging enough for him. It made me feel like I was putting in so much effort but physically going nowhere. 

However when I got back home and collapsed on the sofa I realised that I did it a minute quicker than normal. So I think Matt running circles around me worked. 

It hasn’t stopped me feeling extra tired this week. One thing that keeps me going is knowing that I am doing it for a worthy cause. 

Every time I run I think of the fact that I will potentially be helping some children that need it. It is exciting to think I will be actually meeting the children I will be helping. I will be seeing the good work Compassion does and see where that money I have raised goes to. It makes every step, however hard, worth it. 

If you feel you can help me on my challenge and help those children get out of poverty then click the link.