Year 2 week 32

6th – 12th August 2017

In some stages of my life I have suffered with depression. It has usually been when I have tried to lose weight and failed. 

Depression is something that comes on so gradually that you hardly notice you’re getting it. Once it has got hold of you it’s like  you still don’t notice that you have it – it’s the people around you that notice and they are the ones that suffer. 

For me, when I had it, I didn’t want to do anything. I would sit on the sofa all day and do nothing other than watch films. Jobs that needed to be done around the house just didn’t get done because I couldn’t be bothered. Any slight little issue that cropped up I just couldn’t deal with it, I would end up in tears not knowing how to sort it out. It usually meant that Matt sorted it out for me. My kids have learnt to become very domesticated, which is great now,  but I am sure at the time it wasn’t fair on them. 

This may sound really stupid but depression was a place, at the time, I think I was happy to be in while I was living it and I didn’t have the desire to leave. Thankfully, now I am not there anymore, I see it as a place I do not want to go back to. 

Over the last 18 months I feel I have found a remedy – it’s called exercise. If I think back some of my most happiest times is when I have been doing exercises. Training for my half marathon in Rwanda was one of the hardest things physically I have had to do, but mentally it was a release from all that negativity in my life. It also gave me purpose – something to aim for. 

We have been very lucky because we have room in our house for a gym. It is a place I have been a lot over the past 18 months. However over the past 2 months we have decided to renovate our house and our gym is no more. Well that is until the work is completed. 

I have not done too much exercise since coming back from Rwanda. Partly because we have been away a lot and partly because we have no gym.

I do like exercising outdoors but I like to go with other people. But the days I plan to go it always seems to be raining. 


Exercising in the rain is not much fun. I have never been a person who is really proactive when it comes to exercise so l struggle to go on my own – especially if it’s raining!

I have to admit that over the last few weeks I have been getting slightly down. It can only be the lack of exercise. This week though I have tried to be a bit more proactive and get myself back out there. 

I have managed to do a few bike rides and some walks. I have not started the running back up but I will soon. I have to say it’s worked and cheered me up no end. That’s probably because the weather has been nice as well. 

So I never thought I would ever say this but I can’t wait for the gym to be finished so I can start running again and not have to go out in the rain! 

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. https://challenges.compassionuk.org/profile/414/debbie-wattis

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! https://www.4muk.com/

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. 

https://challenges.compassionuk.org/profile/414/debbie-wattis

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. 

https://challenges.compassionuk.org/profile/414/debbie-wattis

Year 2 week 11

12th – 18th March 2017

I have always been a person who isn’t afraid of failing. To me failing is something to learn from, a way to improve. Failing is giving up. 

Thomas Edison made the lightbulb. For him to get to the lightbulb that actually worked he had hundreds of failed attempts. His response to those failed attempts were I now know hundreds of ways of how not to do it. The thing is he persevered and eventually succeeded. He never gave up. 

Sometimes when I draw a picture it can take me a good few attempts to get it right. I have, on quite a few occasions, been known to throw away my first attempts and try again. What I have learnt from it is that I now know a few ways of how not to do it. So I keep trying until I get it right. 

Because I am not afraid to fail it means I am not afraid to take on a challenge. One thing I have been aiming for since the middle of last year is the biggest challenge of my life. 

Last year when the weight was coming off and I could do a lot more activities I wanted to do a challenge that I would never have even attempted before I lost the weight and yesterday I signed up. 

Basically I have signed up to run a half marathon in Rwanda. It’s to raise money for a charity called Compassion. 

Compassion helps children around the world. You can sponsor a child for £25 a month and that money gives that child an opportunity to get an education which leads to a good job enabling them to be able to support their family. 

I am running to raise £10,000 to give 10 children the opportunity of a better future. 

Before I started this journey I was so wrapped up in my own little world that I didn’t think about the needs of others. Now though I feel I can and it’s helping me stay motivated on my own goals at the same time. 

However, this challenge is the first time I have ever got a fear of failing. I think it’s because there is so much at stake and the fact that I only have one shot at it. If I fail it’s not like I can try again. I would have just failed and I would feel I have let so many people down. 

I told Matt my fears and he said “at least you are failing up”.  I thought about that and I realised he was right. To fail is to not even try and I know I am doing that. 

I have however had a few setbacks. Before Christmas I could run 5 miles but I needed to have an operation because I knew I couldn’t run with all that saggy skin. So that was 6 weeks out. I then got vertigo which didn’t help and then I could finally start running again and I got the biggest blister on my toe which made my whole foot blow up like a balloon. 

This week though I managed to start my training back up again. I have ran 20 miles this week in total and now I am exhausted. I know this challenge will be hard, I know it is probably going to be the hardest thing I have ever done. I am not even sure if I will finish it but I am going to try my best and if I fail at least I will know I have done my best. 

The run is in 8 weeks time so I have a lot of training to do and money to raise in a short space of time. If you would like to sponsor me, tap on the link. https://challenges.compassionuk.org/profile/414/debbie-wattis