Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Last run of the year!

This morning I went out for my last run of the year! I got up to go for a run yesterday but I decided not to go out when I heard the wind! Determined to fit in another run before the end of the year I got up early and went out for a run today instead.

I didn't have a lot of time as I was meeting my friend for a cup of tea late morning. I decided a short run was better than no run though! I ran for 3km and overall it was good. I walked for a short part of the run after 17 minutes, but it was mostly running. I was full of energy when I got home and I'm so glad I went out! I still find running difficult but I am impressed with my progress in the few months since I started! I struggled to run for 30 seconds at a time when I began and now I'm doing a 5k parkrun most weeks :-) I am hoping to do the Newcastle Parkrun on Saturday :-)

I still cannot believe how much my life has changed in a year! This time a year ago I never dreamed that I'd be a runner, yet here I am..funny how things turn out. I absolutely wouldn't change it for the world. I've found a new hobby, made new friends and have new (running!) goals for 2014! I can't wait to see what the new year will bring for me!

Wishing you all a year that is filled with happiness, love, laughter (and running!)

Saturday, 28 December 2013

South Shields Park Run

When my alarm went off at 7am this morning I was so tempted to turn it off and go back to sleep! I couldn't understand why I had agreed to do another parkrun when I could have stayed in bed where it was nice and warm. I'd agreed to pick my friend up and meet my sister and some other Great North Run Beer Tenters at the parkrun in South Shields so going back to sleep wasn't an option!

Rachael and I arrived in South Shields bright and early (8.20am) and I enjoyed seeing the beautiful sky as the sun was rising! It made getting up so early on a Saturday much more worthwhile :-) Joanne arrived not long after us (I text her to tell her we'd arrived) and she came and sat in my car with us while we waited for everyone else to arrive and the Parkrun to begin!

Pretty sunrise
As more people started to arrive I began to get excited to be running at the coast. I recognised Sarah from the Facebook Group (who suggested we do the South Shields parkrun today - thanks Sarah!). I also saw Kelly so we got out the car to say hello. Andy also arrived and we took some group photos. We knew Dawn and Alex were coming too but they hadn't arrived in time for this photo - they're always fashionably late ;)

Group photo before we began! Thanks Joanne for taking the photo :-)
Joanne and I headed to the back of the runners and waited for the whistle to blow! I set my Garmin and began to run! Just as we started, Dawn and Alex got to the back and went running quickly past us - just on time! :) Joanne and I set off slowly - I'm still not fast and Joanne said she would stay with me. South Shields is Joanne's local run and it was nice to be able to run it with her!

There were lots of puddles and mud and a few more inclines than I was expecting, (I thought maybe I'd got lost and ended up doing cross country ;) but Joanne's persistent encouragement kept me going!  She reminded me of the cup of tea waiting for me at the end of my run which also helped!

The little bit of hill training I did at my last running group session helped with the inclines. The run is currently in reverse for the winter so there were more downhills than up. It was a difficult run and at times I felt like giving up. If it wasn't for Joanne's encouragement I think I might have done as there weren't many volunteers today so I wouldn't have known where I was going and it would have been quite lonely!

The scenery is beautiful and I am glad I decided to get up and run this morning! Joanne told me when we could see the finish and I've never felt so relieved in my life! It still felt like quite a way to go but I was glad I could see the finish line! We were right at the back (Joanne was my very own tail runner - there wasn't one today) so we were last across the finish! The final stretch was the most difficult - running through sand! I didn't think it was ever going to end!

We met up with the others in the club hut and got our bar codes scanned. I came in 86th place (out of 86!) with a time of 39.40! This is quicker than the last Parkrun I did which I wasn't expecting as it was a more difficult run. I think I did better as I walked less (due to Joanne's brilliant encouragement). I am so proud of myself and can't wait for the next one!

After the run we went for a cup of tea!  I also had cake (as a reward for running!) - I'd like to point out that I had already had breakfast and this was my mid-morning snack ;)

We got another group photo and chatted about the morning's run! I had a brilliant morning and am looking forward to running again soon. I still find running difficult (and my left knee has been sore all day) but the sense of achievement I feel is worth all the pain!

Group photo (this time with Dawn and Alex :)

Well done everyone! Lovely location, lovely people and lovely morning :-) hope to see you all again soon!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas presents!

When I woke up this morning Santa had left me a stocking of exciting presents :-) along with the usual sweets and CD I was super excited to find it also had a pink running hat, pink running gloves and an armband for my phone. Thank you santa! (I'm never too old for a stocking!)

When I opened the rest of my presents I was delighted that my friend had bought me a pink running t-shirt (notice the theme...) and my parents bought me a Garmin! I was super excited by this! I didn't ask for one so it was totally unexpected! I can't wait to try it out...maybe tomorrow?!

This time last year I wouldn't have been at all impressed with running presents as I didn't run - can't believe how things turn out! Merry Christmas everyone! Hope Santa was kind to you too :-)

Lucky girl :-)

Sunday, 15 December 2013

My First Park Run!

I can't believe how long it is since I sat down and typed an entry for my blog! I have still been running but I haven't had time to write about it.

Yesterday morning I completed my first Parkrun! I am so proud of myself and I am pleased I took part but I did find it difficult. I've only run 5k a couple of times previously so my aim was just to get to the end!

I picked my friend Rachael up early yesterday morning and drove to Newcastle. I felt a little nervous, partly as it was something new and partly as I knew I had to run 5k!

Once parked, we headed into Exhibition Park ready to run! We started off near the back (as I didn't want to go too fast). I encouraged Rach to go ahead of me as she is a faster runner than me and I didn't want to hold her back.

I still find running pretty difficult and 5k is definitely challenging for me! I started off well and was feeling positive. It started feeling like a struggle and I thought I must be half way so was most disappointed when I saw the 2k sign! At this point I decided to walk as my legs were hurting. I soon started running again though. I slowed to a walk again further along the course but I did do more running than walking overall.

I was very excited to see the 4k sign and know that I only had 1k to go! Though at this point that felt like 1k  too far! I was determined not to give up and knowing that Rachael was at the finish line waiting for me kept me running. Also, I knew I was going out for lunch with my friend Katie and her gorgeous boys (Benjamin and Joshua) which inspired me to get to the finish. Joshua enjoys running and I am going to be his accompanying adult in the mini GNR next year :-)

Joshua and Benjamin in front of my Christmas after a lovely lunch!

As I neared the end, Aidan (from the Great North Run Beer Tent Group) came to check I was ok and ran the final stretch with me.

I was so pleased to cross the finish line and was pleased with my time of 42.06! I found it difficult but a few months ago I would have laughed at anyone who said I would do a parkrun before the end of the year! I look forward to doing another one again soon and hopefully as I continue to improve I will enjoy it a little more. I do love how happy running makes me and the sense of achievement after I've finished though so I'm not planning on giving up! My running niggles are definitely improving and I am recovering much quicker!

Me crossing the finish - thanks to Rachael for taking the photo! :-)

I will be at my running group tomorrow night. The last few sessions have involved some speed work so I look forward to finding out what tomorrow has in store for me!