Saturday, 28 June 2014

Running Rewards!

I’ve done quite a bit of running since the last time I wrote. It’s difficult to find time to run AND write but I am determined to record as much of my journey to the Great North Run as possible!
I’ve been feeling a bit lost with running over recent weeks, literally just taking it from one run to the next and not really sure what I should be doing and when. I’m starting a 10 week training plan with my coach on Monday and I think this will be a great help! I still don’t think it has sunk in that it’s only 10 weeks until I am running an actual half marathon! I know that with hard work I will do it, as this time last year I couldn’t even run at all! That said, it doesn’t make it any less scary or daunting!
I’ve been going to quite a few running sessions in Cramlington (Dynamics Personal Fitness) and I am really enjoying the social aspect of running too. I’ve made some new friends and everyone is so supportive that it makes even the difficult sessions that little bit easier.
I went to a track session at Whitley Bay a couple of Saturdays ago with Dynamics and although difficult, I really enjoyed it. I couldn’t make it last Saturday as I was working but I was excited to come home to my first ever copy of Woman’s Running (and it was free too!)
On Monday I went to training with Rachael. I picked her up from work and we got ready at my house. I didn’t have any Lucozade Sport for after the session, so we called into the shop on our way. The chocolate muffins at the till were calling out our names and we bought them as post-run treats! All the way through the session we were running for cake! (not the healthiest post-run snack, but a well-earned treat!)
I am particularly ‘enjoying’ the strengthening and conditioning sessions on a Thursday evening. (You may notice my use of inverted commas for enjoying – I use this term loosely as they are really hard sessions!) They always make me feel like I’ve done a good workout though and I can usually feel it for a couple of days after, therefore I know they are doing me good! This also highlights, how little used a large number of my muscles are!
On Thursday evening the session was challenging again and it was purposely more difficult than the previous weeks. When Steve told us he wanted us to do some press ups, my heart sank. I’ve never been able to do them but I was determined to give it a go as I never used to be able to run. Steve demonstrated, and although I found it difficult I was able to do ‘an almost press-up’. I did the next ones using my knees as a lever and although they were still difficult, I was proud that I was getting better at them. We ran for 200m between each set and by the third set of press-ups my arms were shaking. We did a variety of other exercises, all of which were equally challenging and I was proud of myself for doing it. They are all things I once would have said ‘I can’t do’ – which just goes to show that anything is possible if you try! The session ended with hill sprints which were really hard – but no pain no gain!
I was expecting to ache yesterday morning, and was really pleased that I was feeling fine. I shouldn’t have been so confident though, because as the day went on I started aching more and more! I’m aching a lot today – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness has definitely kicked in! My sides, and the front of my shoulders are particularly achy, which shows that the press-ups obviously did something! :)
During the session on Thursday we were talking about generally being fit and healthy, running and weight loss. I mentioned that I started running as a way of controlling my weight and that I’ve dropped a dress size, without altering my diet very much. Five years ago I lost a stone and a half with slimming world but began to put some of this back on last year. I hadn’t been weighed for a while but at Steve’s suggestion on Thursday I just got weighed today and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I have lost half a stone since I took up running! And I haven’t had to stop eating chocolate and cake!
Most of the running I have been doing recently has been at Cramlington with the running group but I did go out on my own for a 5 mile run last week. I intended it to be longer but it was so warm that I cut the route shorter! I still had to walk some of it but I was proud that I did it (with a couple of hills thrown in too!)
A few months ago I signed up for the Lambton 10k and later found out that it’s a very hilly run (this serves me right for booking it without checking such a thing!) I wasn’t too concerned as ‘it’s still ages away’ and I got my brother in law to sign up too! Time passes by so quickly and I cannot believe that it’s actually tomorrow! I am also excited that the run is on the Lambton Estate, where The Paradise was filmed (not the most logical reason for booking a run though!) :)
I am using it as a training session rather than a race, as it’s terrain I’ve not ran previously and I can’t compare it to my previous 10k as they are so different. Two weeks tomorrow is the Great North 10k and I am hoping for a pb for that. My best friend, Rachael and her boyfriend Karl are coming to cheer us on and a number of the girls from running are doing it also so it should be a good day out! And hopefully I can still walk on Monday (just as well it’s scheduled as a day of rest!)
Thanks again for reading! :-)

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Highs and Lows

Today is National Running Day and although I haven’t been out for a run today, I have done quite a bit of running since I last wrote on here. It’s sometimes difficult to find time to sit down and type! I have a tendency of blogging mainly about the good runs and the fun times that come with running but I can assure you there are just as many lows as there are highs.

Last Tuesday I planned to go for a 7.5 mile run. I didn’t really want to go for a run and by the time I actually got motivated I didn’t have time for a long one. I got ready and decided that I would go out for a shorter run, but foolishly did not really have much of a plan.

I got new shorts and a vest for my birthday and they were a size too small so I took them back and exchanged them for a bigger size. I was wearing my new shorts on Tuesday afternoon and it turns out the bigger size weren’t an ideal fit either as I spent as much time readjusting them as I did running!

I really wasn’t in a mood to run and frequently walked, for no other reason than I didn’t want to run (well the too small shorts may also have had something to do with it…)

I did a lot of walking on the 3 miles I was out, but I tried to make the parts that I did run, a bit faster. It wasn’t the greatest runs I’ve ever had but I guess it was good that I went out and did something.  

I went to training on Thursday, enthusiasm still on the floor, from Tuesdays unsuccessful run. Steve had a tough session planned for us and although it was hard, by the end of the session I could feel my enthusiasm returning. We were doing Fartlek striders (speed play between certain distances) and the group was small and encouraging. Steve reminded me how important it is for me to look at how far I have come rather than how far I still have to go. I definitely think I am too hard on myself sometimes.

At the end of the session I was talking to Steve and Claire about my current lack of enthusiasm with running. I mentioned how I hadn't updated my blog for about my 'bad' run as I am always less motivated to do so. Claire told me to keep blogging as it inspires her to go and run, which really made me smile :-) It's always nice to know that people enjoy reading it, and lovely to think that I might inspire people :-)

I signed up to be the tail runner at South Shields Parkrun last Saturday as I wanted to put some enjoyment back into running instead of always pushing myself so hard. I also thought it would be nice to give someone encouragement as I have been fortunate to receive lots in the months since I started running.

It was a lovely sunny day on Saturday (a little too hot to run!) and I was looking forward to taking part. My best friend Rachael also volunteered (barcode scanning) and my niece Toni ‘helped’ too. My sister, Joanne and Rachael’s boyfriend Karl were also running. It was Karl’s first Parkrun, and where better than South Shields?! I live in Ashington but I love the South Shields Parkrun and do it quite often, so I was looking forward to being the tailrunner.

I chatted to Joanne and her running friends before we started then I headed to the back, ready to run.  I made sure I was the last runner (Colin told me that my only job was to be last across the finish line, so I wanted to make sure that I carried out my job successfully!)

I began to run a little faster to catch up with the runner in front of me and to run with him. I introduced myself and we chatted all the way round the route. The runner introduced himself, Eric Appleby, and told me all about his running career. I was inspired to listen to his story and amazed that at 81 years old he still does the Parkrun every week! I told him I hope that I can run every week when I’m his age! Saturday was Eric’s 187th Parkrun (amazing to my 15!). The previous week was his 150th on the Town Moor and he told me this was a very special occasion - there are photos of Eric running, through the years on the Newcastle Parkrun Facebook Page.

It was an absolute pleasure running with Eric and I am delighted that I decided to be the tailrunner. I could have ran another 3 mile in his company quite easily. As well as enjoying Eric’s company, it also highlighted how much progress I have made since the first time I did the Parkrun at South Shields. Back in December it took me around 39 minutes and I really struggled. On Saturday I ran it in 42.35 and found it quite comfortable (although Eric’s time was 41.24 and I crossed the finish line seconds after him rather than over a minute!)

It was nice that the last two marshalls joined us in running the final stretch of the run, I really felt like I was part of something special. It really was a pleasure to run with Eric and I’m glad to have met him.

Joanne got a pb (a fab 29.04!) and Karl made an excellent Parkrun debut with 27.07! Well done to everyone who took part, and as always the volunteers were amazing. After the parkrun I went back to Joanne’s for a cup of tea (after going to buy some delicious cake at the bakers!) as a well earned treat J

On Saturday afternoon I noticed my right foot/ankle was quite painful (so much so I was limping) and I was still aching a little bit from Thursday running session. My ankle was still painful on Sunday and I didn’t know if I would make it to running on Monday night. It was niggling on Monday morning but by the afternoon it was ok and I decided I would go running (even the torrential downpour didn’t put me off!) Monday’s session was really good, although I think I spent a bit more time chatting than running (I love the social side of running!) I enjoyed chatting to Claire and meeting a new member Celia (who I recommended to the running group through the Great North Run Beer Tent Group :). My ankle started hurting again towards the end of the session so I ran 800m with Deb instead of the full km for the last repetition.

I’ve decided to have a few days off from running until my foot feels completely better (I’m not sure exactly what the problem is, but I think I might not have been concentrating on my running form on Saturday at the parkrun due to chatting!) It’s much better today so I think I might go to training tomorrow night J I won’t be doing a parkrun on Saturday as I will be getting sorted for my charity event (a comedy night to raise funds for the North East Trust for Aphasia, who I doing the GNR for) but hope to return to a parkrun again soon!

Thank you for reading and happy National Running Day!