Monday, 17 March 2014

My best keeps getting better!

After Thursday’s successful run to Newbiggin I was quite looking forward to the Newcastle Parkrun on Saturday. Having missed three consecutive Saturday’s I was determined to get a personal best and felt really motivated before we began. My previous pb stood at 35:37 and I was aiming to get about 34 minutes on Saturday.

I had a good breakfast (more than my usual banana) as I think this was part of the reason I did so well last Thursday.

I arrived in Newcastle with my friend Rachael, and we met another friend Claire there (she’s started running at the same Monday group as us). Our coach was also doing the Parkrun with his son and we said hello before the run began.

There was a strong wind on the Town Moor and this made for challenging conditions but I was determined not to give up. I wanted to keep running all the way round as sometimes I think I walk because my brain thinks I need to even though my body says it’s doing ok. I do find it easier to keep going when I’m at a parkrun (or at my running group) than when I just go out on my own.

When I was running into the wind, it was getting quite difficult to breathe but I just kept talking to myself as I put one foot in front of the other ‘’ – this worked surprisingly well and I was delighted when I turned the corner out of the wind for the final stretch of the race. All the way around I could see Rachael just a little way in front of me (usually I lose her the first couple of minutes in) and knowing she would be at the finish line waiting for me kept me going.

I started to feel a little sick after 4km but knew that I was nearly there and I didn’t feel so bad I needed to stop. Steve (our running coach) was near the finish, and just as I was starting to feel like I was losing energy I heard Steve cheer me on. He told me to keep going and it was just the motivation I needed for a sprint finish! I was so happy to cross the line and I was pretty certain I’d achieved the pb! It was definitely a challenging run but not the worst Parkrun I’ve done (that has to be the one with the torrential downpour!)

I was delighted when I received my official Parkrun time and it was 32:53! I still can’t quite believe it, but the runner in me is already thinking – how can I get it nearer 30 minutes!

Rachael and Claire both did really well too! Rachael has been having problems with her ankle but she still did it and with a great time too! It was Claire’s first parkrun and she was delighted with her time as well!

I went back to Rachael’s house before home and enjoyed a cup of tea and some biscuits! My first cup of tea of the day and I felt it was well deserved!

I was practically dancing around the house all day on Saturday afternoon and it even made me motivated enough to start the Spring clear out I’ve been meaning to have for quite some time (probably since last spring!)

I was looking at my running journal over the weekend and this particular entry in October made me realise just how much progress I have made.

“Just got back from running session with Steve. I ran for 3 WHOLE minutes without stopping! Super happy!”

Off to running group again tonight and I am feeling motivated! I’m taking my nephew to Cardiff tomorrow for an overnight trip (to visit the Dr Who Experience) so I won’t get running again until Thursday. I will be doing the Parkrun again on Saturday and then after that I don’t know what my running routine will look like as I am starting a new job on Monday and there will be a lot of travelling involved so I’ll have to fit running in where I can.

I’ve set up a JustGiving page for the Great North Run. As you may know I am running for the North East Trust for Aphasia, supporting people with communication difficulties following a stroke or other brain injury. I went to visit them on Thursday and gave them a cheque for some other fundraising we have been doing. They were absolutely delighted as the money really does support their work. They were also really pleased to hear about how my running is going (and some of them even remember that this time last year I said I’d never run!)

If you can support my fundraising for this fantastic charity then it would be greatly appreciated. Any amount you can spare really will make a difference, lots of little amounts add up a large amount! Here’s the link: – Thank you for reading!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

When the going gets tough...keep going!

Ok, so I don’t know where the time is going, or indeed how I am even finding time to run in my currently rather hectic schedule. The amazing thing is though, is that I am finding time to run…just shows that when you really want to do something you can find time.

So, since last time I typed I’ve been to the improver/intermediate group twice. Both weeks the group has been quite small and they’ve been a tough work out! It’s taking a little bit of adjusting to running in a group rather than with 1:1 support but it is good. I found the first session particularly difficult and was questioning why I even run at all…then I felt good when I finished and realised that it’s worth the hard work if I want to improve!

Last week I went out for two runs on my own: Wednesday and Friday. Wednesday’s run wasn’t easy – I did 6.3km and had to walk quite a bit of it but I was still pleased that I’d been out there and done it! I stopped to take some photos of the lake and the swans too… I’m so easily distracted! Friday was just a short quick run as I met a good friend for a cuppa and then went off to London for an overnight stay (Giving Voice Innovation Group – sharing ideas about ways to raise awareness of Speech and Language Therapy).

Yesterday, I was really looking forward to going for a run today but when my alarm went off this morning, I wasn’t so sure. A couple of people provided some motivational words (virtually - mainly my big sister – who I still blame* for me running at all!).

Anyway, after my porridge digested, I set off with the aim of completing 6KM. It’s the first time I have had anything other than a banana before a run. I want to start experimenting with things I can eat for breakfast before running, as I know a banana will not be enough for me once I am running further distances. (I can report that porridge was a good choice!)

I set off from my house (without a jacket!) and headed towards Newbiggin. I decided to run to Woodhorn Church, though I wasn’t exactly sure how far this was. When I got to Woodhorn Church, I felt just like Forest Gump and just kept running (except I was slower than him and didn’t run quite as far!). I ran for 3km in total, then turned round. I walked a little bit and stopped to take a few photos but I did run most of it today.

I’ve been experiencing a motivational dip over the last few weeks but I quite enjoyed this morning’s run and I can say that even though it was tough. I enjoyed being out in the sunshine, not wearing a jacket, feeling the Ashington/Newbiggin breeze cool me down as I ran, and random people saying Good Morning. Also, when I was on my way back, two drivers stopped to let me cross the road which I thought was really nice of them!

I was really pleased that by the time I got home I’d completed 6.5KM (4 miles!) which is my furthest run yet. I am so pleased with the progress I am making and even though it isn’t easy I am not planning on giving up any time soon.

I’m going to visit the North East Trust for Aphasia this afternoon with a cheque from some fundraising we’ve been doing. I’m looking forward to seeing the members again and telling them of running progress in my Journey to running the Great North Run in aid of them.

I'm doing the Newcastle Parkrun on Saturday with Rachael. I haven’t done one in a
month so I’m looking forward to seeing if I’ve made any progress! Hopefully I’ll get a pb!

Thanks for reading, it really does mean a lot that so many people are supporting me in my greatest challenge yet!

*I obviously mean that I am very grateful for being inspired

Monday, 3 March 2014

Holiday Running!

I arrived home from holiday on Saturday evening after a lovely week with the family in Fuerteventura. As mentioned in my previous post, I surprised myself by wanting to take my trainers with me!

Eager to get at least one run in during my week away, I got up early on my first morning there and went for a run with my brother-in-law (Craig) and nephew (Dom). We set off at 7.30am and headed towards the coast. Craig has been running a lot longer than me so he kept doubling back and doing some interval training in order for him to do more miles without losing Dom and I.

We ran along to the harbour and saw some people doing some fantastic sand sculptures. I was so busy watching one of them that I almost ran down a ramp onto the sand instead of keeping to the path!

I was struggling a little bit (not sure exactly why, it wasn't hot, but I think it might have been due to running in a new place), so I was glad when we turned round to head back towards the hotel. On the return, both Dom and I walked parts of it (Dom's new trainers were hurting his feet, and my legs were sore). We all, also stopped to take in some of the scenery.

Taking in the view, thank you Dom for taking the picture!

I was pleased when I got back to the hotel (4.8km run) and enjoyed a relaxing day with the family.
We walked back to the harbour in the afternoon to show everyone else the sand sculptures.
One of the sand sculptures when we went back in the afternoon.
On Wednesday morning I got up early again and went for another run, this time with my sister, Joanne. We set off in the opposite direction to where I ran on Sunday and ended up at the beach. The tide was out and the sand was wet and the view was amazing (sadly I didn't have my camera). My legs were aching quite a lot when I was running on the sand and I turned round a little sooner than I was planning to as I was getting cramp. I'm not sure if this was running on the sand or the change in diet on holiday but I was disappointed in myself for needing to walk a bit on the way back. Overall I ran 4.5km and by the time I was back at the hotel I wished I had kept going a little further in order to have made it 5k!

I was a little disappointed with the efforts of both of my holiday runs, however I am super impressed and proud of myself for 1) taking my trainers on holiday, and 2) getting up at 7am on holiday to go for a run (Twice!) I wanted to do a third run but decided taking part in the karaoke would be more entertaining than setting my alarm on holiday for a third time!

Last night of the holiday :-)

Tonight is my first session at the improver/intermediate group with Dynamic Running Fitness and I can't wait! My friend Rachael is picking me up and we are going together :-) I am really looking forward to running in a group and making some new friends. I will let you know how I get on...I just realised today that the Sunderland 10k is just 9 weeks away! Scary yet exciting!