Sunday, 19 January 2014

110 seconds...

Yesterday I completed South Shields Parkrun again. When my alarm went off at 7am I was beginning to wonder why I'd agreed to give up another Saturday morning lie in to brave the cold weather outside. Not one for going back on my word I dragged myself out of bed and got ready to pick Rachael up and meet Joanne and everyone in South Shields.

We met up with our friends for a photo before the run began (and jogged on the spot to keep ourselves warm!). My sister Joanne said she would run with me again and we made our way to the back of the group ready to start.

Before the run
The first kilometre was pretty difficult as we were running into the wind and rain and we started off a little bit faster than I normally run. When we turned the first corner the wind was no longer in our face which made it slightly easier. I enjoyed running with Joanne again. I was aiming to complete the 5k with no walking again so just kept putting one foot in front of the other. There were lots of puddles and mud so we kept weaving our way around them, and even (long!) jumped over one of them!

The run was challenging but being with my sister kept me going! Joanne said she would walk with me whenever I needed to but I was determined to keep running. And we did! All the way to the end. There is some sand at the end of the route which is difficult to run through so we sprinted before we got to this part to try and keep to our good time. Micky came back to run to the end with us, which was nice. As I approached the sand I could see the finish and knew there wasn't much further to go. I just kept running and everyone started cheering me on, which felt amazing. I felt so proud when I crossed the finish line! I did it without walking and achieved a new personal best (37.50 - an amazing 110 seconds faster than last week!). Joanne found it difficult to run through the sand so I ended up finishing 3 seconds ahead of her even though she'd ran slowly with me all the way - oops, not such a good little sister! I really appreciate the support she gave me throughout the run and feel a little guilty I finished ahead of her!

After the run we went to Mac n Alli for a nice cup of tea! Dawn and Alex got changed first as they'd been for a dip in the sea after the run (mad in this weather?!). I really enjoyed our trip to the cafe and catching up with good friends (and making some new ones too!) we all did really well yesterday, lots of pb's! Rachael is now super close to reaching her 30minute goal and I know it won't be long before she gets there!

After the run :-) thank you to Alex for the photo!

Another fab Saturday morning, totally worth getting out of bed for! Roll on next time! I am really happy with the progress I'm making and I'm really starting to enjoy running a lot more :-)

Friday, 17 January 2014

New Year, New personal Bests!

Welcome to my first post of 2014! Where has the time gone? More than two weeks into the new year already! I haven't had time to sit down and type but I have managed to fit some running into my busy life...just!
I haven't been running since last Saturday (running was cancelled on Monday and other priorities this week have meant no running!) I am planning on getting my trainers back out and doing the Parkrun in South Shields tomorrow morning with my sister and friends!

I've started keeping a running journal to record my progress and effort. I regularly keep a journal of my life in general so I am enjoying having something new to write about. Even though I haven't been blogging about running I do still have a record of my progress so far this year - and I have lot of progress to report!
My first run of 2014 was Newcastle Parkrun on 4th January. I went with my friend Rach and saw a friend (Micky) from the Great North Run Beer Tent Group when we were there. I also had opportunity to chat to one of my teachers from High School, which was nice!

I found this run difficult and needed to walk a few times. I was just about to start walking again when Micky came back for me, so that was the encouragement I needed to continue. During running with Micky, Rach also came back to find me,  and the encouragement from both was invaluable. I started to get a stitch which I was not able to run through so I did slow down to a walk again. Once it cleared I ran some more and my friends encouraged me to have a sprint finish. I found this run difficult but I achieved a Newcastle Personal Best (40.03) and felt great that I'd got to the end! My friend Rach and I then went for a most deserved hot drink (and I chose a healthy snack of some fruit - starting the year as I mean to go on!)

Rach and me - enjoying a hot drink and a snack!
The following Monday I went to my running session which hadn't been on over Christmas, so I was happy to report how I'd been doing since the last session. I'm still the only person in the 'group' so the sessions are tailored to me! I ran 3.1 miles without stopping as my next goal was to do a Parkrun with no walking. With encouragement, I managed to run the 5K in 39 minutes but by the end I couldn't feel my feet and I had cramp in my legs! I was wrapped up warmer than I needed to be and felt quite hot (the weather milder than I thought it would be), which didn't help. But I did it! I ran 5k without stopping for the second time ever in my life! To say I felt good would be an understatement. I was so proud! 

Later that week I went for a 2.5Km run with Rach after work - we did this in 18 minutes. I wanted to do a shorter, slightly faster paced run to vary my training routine and also I didn't have much time available. A short run is better than no run! I really enjoyed this run and it was lovely to see my friend after work!

Last Saturday I did Newcastle Parkrun and my aim was to complete it without stopping. I now knew this was possible because I'd previously run this distance with no walking so I knew that the voice in my had just had to believe it! Rach and I arrived promptly at 8.45am and it was bitter cold! We were talking to Una (from the GNRBTG) whilst we all tried to stay warm! There was an announcement to say that there was ice on the route and they were going to have to delay  the start time. Some people chose to go for a freedom run at 9am, but Rach and I (and a number of others) waited for the official start time, which was 9.30am. I don't think I've ever been as cold in my life as I was waiting for the Parkrun to start (except maybe the time I got caught in a blizzard after a night out but that's a completely different story!).  

By the time 9.30am arrived I was painfully cold (I had been jumping/jogging on the spot but this only helped raise my temperature momentarily). My aim was to get to the end without walking and then treat myself to a cup of tea! The first 2.5km were difficult and I was still freezing! There was frost on the beginning stretch of the town moor but I ran carefully, just focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. I felt like if I stopped I might never get started again so I just kept going. My sister, Joanne, text me before I started and told me to picture her telling me to keep going – this worked in real life when I did the South Shields parkrun. All the way through the run I kept hearing Joanne’s voice telling me I could do it and my desire to succeed was greater than my desire to stop!

Crossing the start line - thanks to Newcastle Parkrun for the photo
Towards the end of the 5K, Rach came back to meet me and she provided encouragement and support to get me across the finish line. I don’t think I have ever felt so happy and proud of myself as when I crossed the finish line (except maybe the day I graduated!), knowing that I’d done it without any walking! The volunteers at the end were all cheering me on and they asked how great it felt to know I’d done it! I told them it was the first time I’d completed it without any walking and they all seemed genuinely pleased for me. I achieved a pb with 39.08! Rach was also super proud! We went to the metro centre afterwards for a hot drink and to get Rach fitted for some trainers at Sweatshop. The man serving us was really helpful and he too had done the parkrun that morning. Rach’s trainers are lovely and I bought myself a new jacket and my big sister a purple t-shirt that says ‘Will Run for Wine’ – I saw it and thought of Joanne (her favourite colour is purple, it had nothing to do with drinking wine…honest! ;) hehe

So happy...I DID IT!!! :-)
I can’t wait to go to South Shields parkrun with Rach tomorrow. I'm running it with Joanne, which will be good, she's the best big sister (and worst!) when we are running together. I’m hoping we can do it without any walking but it is a more challenging route than Newcastle, so I'm just aiming to get to the end! I’m excited to go for tea (and cake!) with our friends after the run also.  

Who would have thought that not only would I be so excited about running, but I’d have so much to say just 17 days into the New Year! If you made it this far thanks for reading! Here’s to a happy and healthy 2014!