Monday, 7 December 2015

Hurty feet indeed.

When I named this blog "My Feet Hurt!" I did it half jokingly. I was expecting my feet to be a tad sore from all that pavement pounding. I even expected a minor injury, perhaps from putting my foot down funny or slipping on some gravel, all of which I am told are the common perils of running. So when my first foot injury arose on Friday you'd think I'd have been celebrating. I would now be able to proudly show off my battle scars, proof of my dedication to my chosen exercise regime. Not so. I didn't hurt my foot out running. How, you ask, did I injure myself? A slip? A fall? No, no, no. 

My shoe bit me. 

Yes you read that right. Friday night I made my way to the tube station to go to my fiancé's work party, and my shoe bit me. My sensible, flat shoes that I had worn specifically with the aim of preventing foot injury. The sensible shoes I was planning on later swapping for the highly impractical 5 inch heels. My sensible shoes have a funny sense of irony that's all I'm going to say. In all honesty I had noticed a slight pinching sensation on my (5 minute) walk to the station, but I figured I must have just got something stuck in the shoe. Picture my shocked, disbelieving face when I pull the offending shoe off at the station to find my heel completely red with blood. Blood! My sensible shoes made my foot bleed! This is the type of injury I would expect had I decided to run a marathon in my aforementioned 5 inch heels! Or just taken part in an Army-style march across the Brecon Beacons. In the rain. 

My lady readers might understand this sentiment more than my male ones, but you place your trust in your sensible shoes and mine betrayed me. Traitors. 

Anyway, for those of you who like seeing this kind of thing, I have thoughtfully included a photo of my heel. It has healed over somewhat now and is no longer actively bleeding (yay) but still hurts to the point where conventional shoes (ie: anything that's not a welly or a flip flop) are agony to wear. 

Oh, and for those of you (probably not) wondering what happened to my night out? Well I went to the work party anyway, in my pretty knee-length cocktail dress with my handsome dinner-suited-up fiancé. And what did I put on my feet? 

Flip flops. I wore flip flops. 


PS: special shout out to my fiancé who left work early to go on a mid-winter mission to find and buy me said flip flops.


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Milestones

Since I started running back in May and started this blog I feel like I have reached many different milestones. I ran my first race back in July, I joined not one but two different running clubs, I can now run 5k without stopping or feeling like I'm about to die and I've met loads of new people who share this crazy desire to run around outside in the cold for some crazy reason. All of this is wonderful and I'm super happy for myself. One milestone has always eluded me however. Not because I couldn't reach it but because I always avoided it. Well, this past weekend I finally let myself get there.

I went for a run with my fiancé. 

I know, you were probably expecting something slightly more dramatic right? What you have to understand is that my fiancé was in the army for 5 years and, even on an off day, is a million times fitter than I am. This has always made me slightly apprehensive to go running with him. I always had visions of me huffing and puffing on hands and knees fifty metres behind him while he runs at a tenth of his normal pace. So I decided to wait until I would be able to keep up and show him how much I'd improved. (Pride is a funny thing isn't it?) 

Anyway, the run went really well. Yes, he did have to slow down so I could keep up but not to the cartoon-like exaggerated extent I had been picturing. Yes, at the end of the run I was in large amounts of pain. On the upside, the reason for the large amounts of pain was that his naturally faster pace made me speed up to try and not slow him down too horrendously. Which resulted in me shaving two more minutes off my time! 

So here we are. One more demon defeated. One more milestone reached. 

Basically, yay me. 

Saturday, 28 November 2015

The end of a (tiny) era.

This Monday was my last run club lesson in South Oxhey. It feels like it was just yesterday that I started that course and yet eight whole weeks have passed. It started out with around ten of us not being able to run for more than a couple of minutes without needing to stop and re-inflate our lungs, and ended with about four of us (the hardcore four!) running for thirty minutes non stop, up and down hills, chatting away. Lungs of steel obviously fully developed! 

I have to say I am genuinely going to miss run club on Mondays. It was a really invigorating way to start my week and it was great to be able to do it with a group. The next thing we will probably do as a group will be triathlon training but that won't be until April (more on that later). In the meantime my Tuesday run club in my town is still going strong and, hopefully, I have managed to convince one of the Monday girls to come join me and the Tuesday lot. So yay!

An extra positive to add to all of this is that the trainer from Monday run club has very kindly put together a training plan for me to help me increase my running distance and actually be able to do the half marathon I signed up for in Brighton at the end of February. So if you were thinking that activity levels would drop around Christmas you were wrong! Ha. 

I leave you with an oh so attractive photo of the four of us hardcore ladies that made it all the way from lesson 1 to the final lesson 8. Many high fives were given. 


End of week 8

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Marathon Misery

As you all know, last April I entered the ballot for the London Marathon and this October I got the email saying that I hadn't managed to get a spot. Gutted to say the least. I have considered going down the charity place route but having had a look at the options I seriously doubt I will be able to raise the (scarily large) required amounts in time at this point. This means I am having to think outside the box a tad. This blog is about going from zero to marathon in a year so I need to find a marathon to run. I have found a couple of other marathon options which could work for me timing wise. However, a new option has just presented itself to me today: a triathlon. 

I have to admit I have never really given much serious thought to the idea of a triathlon. I have friends who have completed many and even a couple of friends who have completed an Iron Man. Which is just beyond human. So why a triathlon? Well the lady who runs my Monday run club is also a certified triathlon coach and she sent out an email today about a triathlon course she is thinking of running at some point in the near future. I registered my interest in a sort of spur of the moment burst of optimistic thinking which I am sure I will later come to regret. Still, I have to start somewhere, right?

The point is that, while I can say with 99.99% confidence that I will not be running the London Marathon in 2016, I will definitely be taking part in either a marathon or a triathlon. Who knows, I might do both! How's that for optimism?


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Bang goes the other shoe!



Remember my last post where I talked about how everything was feeling good and I was getting the hang of things, and that it all made me very nervous and I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop? Well, drop it did. I have to hand it to those Running Gods their vengeance is swift. This time it took the form of a stinking cold which appeared on Saturday and stuck around until Friday, meaning I missed both running classes (and my dog's training class too but that's off topic). Normally I wouldn't worry about missing a run but the problem with missing a class is that they all move onwards and upwards without you. So when I came back to class yesterday I was told that we would be running for 6 minutes and walking for 1. The last class I had done with the group we ran for 2.5 minutes and walked for 1. Quite the jump in my opinion! Obviously I set off way too fast and spent the rest of the time mentally kicking myself for it. As we got to the last repetition I genuinely felt like crawling and am amazed I managed to make the drive home without my legs spontaneously dropping off. 

I woke up this morning slightly stiff (to be expected I guess) dreading this evening's run club. I battled the urge to miss this one too and dragged myself there only to find I was one of only two others who had managed to come along. While that made me feel happy (in a sort of proud we-are-so-hardcore way) it also meant that somehow the pace was sneakily increased to the point where, not only did we run 4K non stop but we also ran it faster than we ever have before, shaving three whole minutes off our time from two weeks ago. This makes me very happy. It also makes me very worried. Worried about how achy my poor, barely recovered body will feel tomorrow. 

Still, three minutes faster. Boom. 

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

When did that happen?

Yesterday I had a sort of out of body experience. Well, not really an out of body experience exactly. Not like the ones you hear about, when people are dying in hospital and they say they just floated up out of their body and watched themselves down below. I didn't have that. What I had would maybe be better described as an "out of personal context" experience? I know that's not much better. Bear with me and I'll try to explain. 

I have been doing my Tuesday run club now for four weeks and my Monday one for two. Last week I did my Monday class, my Tuesday club, and I went for a run on the Thursday too. It was only yesterday, halfway through my 4k run with the ladies from run club (that's right, 4k without stopping, check us out!) that I realised I had become the person I used to watch running down the street, on their second out of four potential runs that week. That infuriating, super motivated person who didn't look like they were actively dying right there on the street. There I was, in the freezing cold, dark October evening, jogging along quite happily, chatting to the ladies about how easy this was all getting. (Chatting while running! Actual speech creating capabilities. While running!)

Seriously when did that happen? I can't remember there being an actual moment where this transition noticeably came about but somehow, running is no longer wholly unpleasant for me. It's not fun, let's not exaggerate now, but it is definitely not unpleasant. 

I do feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop though. Like maybe the Running Gods are just lulling me into a lovely false sense of achievement before they make me twist my ankle or some such punishment. While I wait for the other shoe to drop I plan to revel in this realisation that I am edging ever closer to being able to call myself a proper runner. "Proper" by the standards which I have set for myself, not any ridiculous standards set by those photoshopped running magazine ladies. (Psst: they're not real!). 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Run Club: week 3 & Running Class: week 1

This week marked the start of my now weekly double whammy of running classes. Today's class, like every Tuesday, is more informal, a group of ladies who aren't "proper" runners just getting moving and motivating each other. Monday's classes, which started yesterday, are a bit more formal, and take place in South Oxhey. Both classes aim to get us running non stop for 30 minutes. Which a present I really can't do.

I definitely enjoyed yesterday's class. We did 8 reps of minute and a half jogging and minute and a half walking. There were slight inclines involved and we were also switching from pavement to grass, which always unnerves me cause I have endless visions of me slipping and landing oh-so-elegantly on my bum. Thankfully that hasn't happened. Yet. At the end of the class we were given homework. Yes, homework. Homework which consists of doing the same 8 reps two more times before next class. It's going to hurt is all I can say on that subject for now.

Despite warming up properly and cooling down properly with stretches and walking, I still woke up this morning feeling very stiff. This did not help motivate me to go to today's run club. Especially since it's so dark and damp out, and my house is warm and has a soft puppy in it. I dragged myself out anyway and I am glad I did. Normally we run around a park and do some interval training around a tennis court but as it was so dark today we decided to stick to the roads and just jog. And jog we did for 3.5km without stopping. It's the furthest I've ever run without stopping or slowing to a walk so I am really pleased with myself. 

I am not looking forward to waking up tomorrow and inevitably not being able to move but I will just try not to think about that for now and enjoy the fact that on a dark damp night I get to come home to a warm house with a soft puppy in it. 










Friday, 2 October 2015

Run Club: Week 2

I have to say, I am genuinely enjoying running class. I have never, ever been one to get the so-called "runner's high" after going for a run. Small sense of satisfaction, yes. But that amazing invincible feeling everyone goes on about? Nope. I secretly (or not so secretly) think that it's a conspiracy to lure people into running, thinking they're going to have this wonderful feeling at the end which will make it all worth it. Lies! Anyway, my point is that while I've yet to experience that "high", I actually felt quite good after this week's running class. Not in an invincible I-can-do-anything way, more in a "oh my god I can still breathe and don't feel like I need an ambulance" way. That is because for the first time since I started running, I actually ran for the whole half hour class without stopping to walk once. I know this may not sound like much to some of you but trust me, for me it's something. It keeps proving that the whole needing to stop and walk every two minutes was all in my head. I really don't need to stop. I mean eventually I will have to stop, I'm not a robot. But I won't need to stop as often as I used to. Which in my mind is progress. 

I think the only downside to the class is that it starts at 7pm and we run in and around an area which is sort of dimly lit which, as the nights pull in, will make it tougher and tougher to see. I'm not so worried about safety because there are at least ten of us girls so we have safety in numbers. I'm more worried about us crashing into each other cause we won't be able to see where we are putting out feet! So that'll keep things interesting. 

Finally, because this week went so well the Running Gods decided to intervene yet again, because god forbid I start getting too positive about all this. This time their intervention came in the form of a "thanks but no thanks" email from the London Marathon 2016 people. I had entered the ballot back in May but sadly didn't get lucky this time. However, I refuse to let the Running Gods win and have contacted a few charities close to my heart to see if I can get a charity place, so fingers crossed for me please and I will let you know if I get lucky!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Run Club: Week 1

Today was the first day of my local running club. I turned up expecting maybe four or five women total but there ended up being around ten of us! The lady running the course, Debbie, was really encouraging and simultaneously evil, making us sprint up and down a tennis court over and over again. Yay.

The class started out with a brisk walk/jog from the community centre to a nearby field and some stretching. We did some more jogging round the field, mixed in with some side steps before heading into the nearby tennis court to do speed intervals. These involved much sprinting at full pelt and then jogging and some changes of direction. Before I knew it we had been running around solidly for almost 20 minutes. Longer than I have ever run without stopping to walk! I am genuinely surprised by this and it just goes to show that any doubts I had about being able to run without run/walking were all in my head. 

After the speed intervals we were told to make our way back to the community centre at our own speed (but encouraged to jog), so I jogged back - much to my legs' displeasure- and we all did some stretching when we got back to the centre. All the ladies seem friendly and it's nice to know it's not just me starting out from the beginning. I am definitely looking forward to next week's run!

Anyway, I am starving now so am going to make myself some yummy dinner...and maybe some ice cream for dessert. I feel like I've earned it! Sort of. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

Running Lessons

Remember last post I mentioned I was looking into joining a running course? Well, for those of you who might still be thinking that the fact I cancelled my 10K means I've lost momentum, I would just like to say: I am now signed up to not one, but two running classes/clubs! That's right. I perceive myself as being so crap at running that I've decided I need a double whammy of lessons in order to stand a chance of completing a half-marathon in February.

The first class/club is run right in my town at the local community centre and is completely free (yay). It will start next Tuesday at 7p.m. (not a.m. thank god - couldn't cope with that!) and keep going every Tuesday for the forseeable. I'm excited to run with this club as I am familiar with the roads around here and have run on a lot of them so it shouldn't be too much of a shock hopefully. 

The second class is run by a personal trainer in the next town over. The course is eight weeks long and would normally be fairly expensive but luckily for me the council has decided to subsidise the course and so I will get to join in for just £10! That's a win in my books. This course won't start till the beginning of October but in a way I am glad as it runs on a Monday and if both courses started at the same time I think my legs would never forgive me for the Monday/Tuesday bashing! 

So there we have it. I am excited. I'm also looking forward to meeting some potential new running buddies. And also laughing at myself internally for taking two beginner's running classes (even though technically one is a club). 

For those of you not interested in a rant about English summertime, feel free to leave now. If, however, you would like to join me in our country's national sport (talking about the weather - we should make it an Olympic event) then by all means keep reading.

I would like to register an open complaint with mother nature and her minions. Specifically the ones working in the English branch. My complaint is this: regardless of the "Indian summer" everyone is chatting about which is apparently due at some point, (although I swear I hear this every year at the end of summer - coping mechanism maybe?), and ignoring the two days of non rain we have had this past week (I refuse to call them days of sunshine), the summer is most definitely over. A summer that, from my point of view, consisted of maybe two weeks of sunshine and heat (not all in a row either) but was mainly comprised of the usual grey, rainy, windy, crappy weather we all know and despise. 
Two weeks of sunshine does not a summer make and I am sick of everyone pretending it does and going on and on about glorious picnics (sat in the damp grass from yesterday's rainfall, worriedly eyeing those ominous looking clouds over there and fighting a losing battle with an invading battalion of ants), and beautiful sunshine, and "I might actually get a tan at this rate!" jokes. No you won't, don't be ridiculous. 
In short I am tired of the collective denial everyone in this country seems to enter into every year between June and September. Let's face it: summer in this country doesn't exist. If you think it does then you need to leave the country more often and see what a real summer looks like. Hint: it has sunshine. Consistently. Rant over. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Silver Lining

Hello again. I hope you have all had a lovely Bank Holiday Weekend. Mine has been rainy. Biblically so. Summer is most definitely over. Anyway, I am going to get straight to the point here. Over the course of the weekend circumstances have conspired against me resulting in my having to back out of my 10K race in Windsor. I am frustrated and upset but there is nothing I can do to change the fact that this is the way things have gone. 

If I am totally honest, along with the frustrations and upsets, I am just a teeny tiny bit happy that things have gone this way. I know deep down that I wouldn't have been ready for this race and would have gone out of stubbornness and probably taken hours to get round in the best case scenario, or done myself an injury in the worst case scenario. However, the main feeling at having to cancel is disappointment. I was looking forward to running this course. The distance, the location, it all appealed to me. Oh well. 

So where's this silver lining I mention in the title? Well, here we go.

I have been rummaging around the internet recently trying to find a running group/club to help motivate me to keep running now the weather is against me - who enjoys running in the rain, seriously? I found a running group near me but the best bit is that I also found a running course. It takes you from the very basics of running (technique, breathing, stretching etc) all the way through to being able to run solidly for 30 minutes, which is something I would like to be able to do, despite my quite liking my run/walk routine. 

Yes, you are reading all of this right. I will essentially be taking running lessons. I am aware of how silly that sounds. Surely it's just left foot, right foot....repeat at speed until required distance is reached or heart attack sets in. However, I feel like this course will not only teach me some useful tips like how not to die of a stitch halfway round but also get me meeting some potential future running buddies near me, which all adds to future motivation levels. The course starts sometime around the middle of this month (this month being September - when did THAT happen?!) and I will be hearing back soon about whether or not I have managed to get a place on the course. 

So there's the silver lining. One thing has fallen through but perhaps it did so to clear the way for this new chapter of my running training. 

Also, for those of you wondering when my next race will be, the only race I have booked for now is the Brighton half-marathon at the end of February 2016. I might enter another 10K before then but then again I might not. You, my lovely readers, will of course be the first to know whatever I decide. 

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

One of Those Days.


So as you might have guessed, today's run did not go well. I've had my ups and downs with my running in the past but today was just one of those days where it started off wrong and just got worse. You know what I mean? One of those runs where from the beginning something tells you it's not going to go well. I should have listened to my gut on this one. It is usually right. 

I was getting ready for my run today, the first one since coming back from holiday so I was already worried about having lost some momentum in my training. I go to charge my Mp3 player and nothing happens. Cue much plugging in and unplugging again, blowing into the usb bit and hitting the reset button. Nothing. Great. I've never run without my music. Here was my first sign from the Running Gods that they were busy conjuring up a plan. Still, I thought to myself, I have been putting this off for too long, I just need to get on with it, music or no music. I put my shoes on and out the door I go. I get to the end of my street and am struck with humongous self doubt: did I lock the front door? 

Back home I go to check. Yes, I did. Grr.

I set off again, trying to focus on my pace and breathing and for a little while things go alright. Not having music isn't the end of the world. I don't feel as psyched as I usually do but I'm not bored out my mind so it could be worse. Famous last words. 

As I get to the halfway point of my run (which takes me over a gravel path) I put my foot down and feel the gravel slip from under me. I don't fall down (that would have been the cherry on the cake of crappy-ness) but it does make my ankle start to twinge. Excellent, just what I need. Could it get worse?

Yes, yes it could. The Running Gods don't seem to understand sarcasm. 

It starts to rain. Ok, so not to the levels of my run in the hail back in May but still not exactly pleasant. At this point I give up hope of being able to turn this run into a positive experience and just focus on getting home. 

So there we are. The Running Gods punishing me for my two week hiatus from pounding the pavement. Hopefully my ankle will be ok by Thursday. It doens't feel too bad so lots of rest tomorrow and I should be fine. I would say it could have been worse but I'm not going to tempt fate for next time. Those Running Gods, they love a challenge. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Back to Reality

Delightful rainy England, waiting to welcome me home as I stepped off the plane. Yay.

Excuse the long-ish absence. Returning to real life was not fun and not as smooth a process as I would have liked. First world problems, huh? Anyway what this means is that other than my daily swimming in Italy I haven't really done much exercise recently. This will change very shortly as I have finally settled upon a 10k race to enter and so will need to begin training in earnest if I'm going to stand a chance of actually running that far on the day. The day in question is the 26th of September and the race is the Running4Women 10k in Windsor. I was torn between this and one in Finsbury Park but decided that I would enjoy a change of scenery from London. I've been to Windsor once before and it was beautiful so I am looking forward to running there. Also the race starts at noon which means a tiny bit of a lie in for me! Which is always good, right? 

What this all means is that training is about to kick up a notch in order for me to hit the new distance. As much as I love my easy, breezy two mile runs, I am going to be waving goodbye to them and replacing them with 5k runs instead. They will have to become my easy, breezy runs. Am I dreading this slightly? Yes I am. I'm worried that, when I eventually do run 10k, it will take me so ridiculously long that everybody will have packed up and gone home. 

Ok, so I exaggerate slightly but you get the point. 

Anyway, wish me luck over the next 50 days (according to the race website countdown) and as always I will attempt to keep you updated on and (hopefully) entertained by my struggles... I mean training. 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Life's Tough

So here I am half way through my lovely holiday. It was my birthday on Monday and I celebrated by getting up at 4am to go stand in many queues at Luton airport before landing in the 34 degree heat that is northern Italy right now. The 4am part wasn't ideal but at least I had the whole day ahead to enjoy my birthday. Since then I have done a bit of swimming, some sunbathing (although I will still be depressingly pale upon my return to England) and a lot of eating. Ice creams, proscuitto, salami, homegrown tomatoes and all of the fruit ever grown in this country. I have to say it has been a struggle, but someone has to do it. 

As for any running, well I didn't pack any of my kit so that's not happening. I am swimming every day though so hopefully should be able to pick up where I left off when I get back to training next week. The thought of doing any planned or regimented training at the moment is far from my mind. It is beyond hot and humid here. While this means I need a fan on all night in order to sleep it does also mean I can completely justify floating about in the pool with a cold drink all day. And (most importantly) I can have multiple ice creams a day. It is almost encouraged! 

Anyway, I am off for a swim now. I will leave you with a photo from yesterday's pre-lunch drinks in a town near my house.


Monday, 13 July 2015

Next Steps

So here I am, just over a week from my first race. I have to say I may have rested a little more than I really needed to but I also spent a lot of time thinking about what's next for me. My first milestone has come and gone in a sort of anticlimactic blur. It was amazing on the day but then the next couple of days I found myself at a bit of a loss. I went for a short run today which has re-awoken my motivation somewhat and this week will be the beginning of the new training period leading up to my next milestone: the 10K race. I haven't actually signed myself up for a 10K race. Don't get me wrong, I fully intend to very soon. As you know I use races to motivate myself (coerce might be a better word) into actually sticking to training, I just haven't been able to settle on which race yet. My favourite at the moment is the Running 4 Women 10K in Windsor at the end of September. Not only does this give me ages and ages to train, it is also a nice course which takes you down that long road away from Windsor Castle and round a big scenic loop before bringing you back to the Castle again. Also I hear it is supposed to be quite flat. I know I should try to like hills more or at least incorporate them into my training but really, (really?) let's get real, nobody enjoys hills. Unless they're the downwards kind. Or you have some sort of mechanism to get you up them. Like a car.

Anyway. I have to say I am feeling slightly daunted by the distances I'll be running. I know in my head that 10K isn't that far but I can't help thinking past that to what will come next. I will have to be doubling my running distance every three months until next April if I'm going to do what I said I would and actually run a marathon. I'm also going to have to get a tad quicker because while 5K races don't really have cutoff times, half marathons and full marathons certainly do and I don't think I could cope with being branded a non-finisher (unless medically necessary).

So you can see I most definitely have my work cut out for me. Am I constantly asking myself why I had this bright idea in the first place? Yes. Am I cursing myself for starting this blog because it means I can't slack off or everyone will know it? Yes. But at the same time, I know that when I ask myself in a year's time if this will all have been worth it, the answer will be YES. 

Oh and also, next week I am going on holiday to Italy where most of what I will be doing will be eating and sitting by the pool in the sunshine. I will aim to get some swimming in as a form of cross-training (and so I don't feel totally lazy) but I think I will limit my running and just enjoy myself. So yay!

This is not my photo or my dog but a) it looks like my dog and b) it accurately represents my plans for while I am on holiday.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Race For Life Hampstead Heath

The big day has finally arrived. I went to bed last night thinking I'd actually manage to get a decent amount of sleep. Ha. Of course last night would be the night a thunderstorm decided to come rolling on through. Don't get me wrong, with the heat we have been having recently I'm glad it happened. I just wish it could have happened when I wasn't trying to sleep. Anyway. I got to Hampstead Heath an hour before the race (which is what the organisers say you're supposed to do) and found there was absolutely no point in me getting there that early and I could have had an extra hour's sleep instead. Never mind. It was a gorgeous day today which was both a blessing and a curse. Blessing because it's always uplifting to see clear skies and feel the sunshine on your face, but curse because it was 26 degrees and humid so not ideal for running really. 


There I am before the race, still feeling fresh and showing off my number and sign at the back. Everyone else who was running today was over by the stage taking part in a group warm up but given the heat I figured the last thing I would want to do would be to stand in a large crowd under the beating sun and jump up and down for fifteen minutes so I gave it a miss. 

The race started on time (to my surprise and the organisers' credit) and the 1000+ people all set off. There was no staggered start so it took about five minutes for me to even get past the start line and, once past it, another while for the crowd to thin enough for me to actually be able to run without trampling anyone. 

Making my way slowly towards the start line

Now, the description of the course on the website said there would be "a few hills and mostly tarmac surfaces". HA. Where it says "hills" read "small, extremely steep mountains" and for "tarmac" just substitute "the entire course was gravel or uneven woodland". To say I was unprepared is an understatement. I have been training almost exclusively on nice, smooth tarmac roads and, while on my usual route I have to navigate a few inclines, I have never come up against something quite like this. So that was frustrating. I tried to stick to the pace I had set for myself but soon found that I wasn't going to be able to keep this up and, much to my disappointment, I had to stop running and walk between Km2 and Km3. Still, the park is beautiful so I tried to  soak in my surroundings and the atmosphere instead of dwelling on how my plan had completely gone out the window. By the time I got to Km4 I had perked up a bit, felt less sorry for myself and managed to find my rhythm again. While kilometres 1-3 were out in the open under the beating sunshine, the final two kilometres, thankfully, were through the woods and thus in the shade. I could hear the crowd at the finish line as I passed the 4km marker and before I knew it I was passing a sign telling me I only had 500m to go. I felt like I had enough left in the tank to sprint the final 500m and it felt great to speed through the finish line within the time I had set for myself. 

In all honesty today didn't go how I thought it would but, once again, I have nothing to blame but my over-inflated expectations. I didn't factor in the heat and how much all the unexpected hills would mess with my pace. Still, I made it in one piece, I wasn't the fastest by a long way (apparently the fastest person crossed the line in 23 minutes) but I also wasn't the slowest by a long way.

Overall I would say today has been a success and I'm very happy I did it. I probably won't be able to walk at all tomorrow but I am glad nonetheless. 

Here I am looking decidedly less fresh post-race but I got a nice shiny medal for my efforts so I'm ok with that.


Last but not least, I would just like to say thank you so much to those of you who sponsored me. And now I'm going to go have a nap.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

One week to go!

So here we are. One week to go before my first ever 5K race. Although I have to say I keep thinking the word "race" isn't exactly right. I don't stand a chance of coming anywhere near first. Honestly I'll be surprised if I finish in the first hundred! The only people for whom this is a race are the five freaks of nature that can run 5K in the time it takes me to put my running kit on! For me this is about milestones. This is my first and it will be a good indicator of where I am in my training and how I'm doing. It will give me a chance to re-assess my plan and take stock of how far I've come. And the raising money for charity bit, that too. I am generally quite excited for the race, partly because I get to cover myself in these: 


Race for life sent these, along with my race number, and I can't wait to stick them all over my arms! They remind me of when I was eight and stick on tattoos were the height of cool and symbolic of baby rebellion.

Anyway, now that I've got a week to go I'm trying not to panic. I'm keeping training fairly light this coming week, only two runs at the beginning of the week and then rest. That's the plan at least. However, the plan may not happen thanks to a humongous and extremely painful blister I have managed to pick up on my pinky toe. It looks angry. It feels angry. As much as I would like to use this as an opportunity for a rant about the Running Gods, I can't. For once they are not the cause of my misery. I managed to cripple myself (ok, slight exaggeration) by walking round London in heels and running (tottering might be a better word) from the tube station back to my house. The irony is that these were the lowest, least threatening pair of heels I own (hardly two inches in height!) and the ones I thought would never inflict such a wound on me. To say I feel betrayed by them is an understatement. So now I'm panicking at the thought of it not healing in time and not being able to train this week and my race being a very negative, painful event. *hyperventilates*

Moral(s) of the story: 
  • don't run in heels,
  • definitely don't run in heels the week before your first race
  • blisters hurt and I'm an idiot. 
Oh and a quick thank you to those of you who have donated to my JustGiving page, I am touched by the support! For any of you who haven't and are feeling generous you can still donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/ashleyrolando.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, 20 June 2015

People suck



I don't like people. I try to minimise the number of times I have to spend in crowded places with lots of people I don't know. Crowds of people irritate me. I'm sure we've all felt this at some point. You know when you're walking down your high street and there's some person in front of you walking so slowly it's incredible? And they seem to somehow take up the entire pavement? With their sixteen bags and a pushchair and a little scooter and twelve children and an old person? Staring at their phone and bumping into everyone in front of them? You know that person. We all know that person. Let's call that person Meandering Man. Well today when I went for my run Meandering Man was out and had brought some friends along. 

When I started my run today I felt positive (shocking, I know). It wasn't raining or overly sunny, my new shoes are still comfy and I had just put a couple of new songs on my mp3 player that really got me in the mood to run. Everything was fine until I reached the main road and realised that the town fair was today. I had been hearing about it for weeks but completely did not realise that today was the day. Silly me. Aside from the millions of cars parked everywhere, including halfway on the pavement, there were millions of Meandering Men (and Wandering Women, don't get upset). Everywhere. This made running in a relatively straight line impossible. It would genuinely have been easier and possibly safer to run on the actual road. Which at one point I had to do because Meandering Man, Wandering Woman and their entourage took up the entire pavement and grass verge. Any plans I may have had to run three miles today went swiftly out the window. I was not putting up with this chaos any longer than I had to. Adding to the fun was the fact that many very fit looking (fit as in healthy not the other "he looked wellll fit innit" way) firemen and military personnel were at the fair, making me feel very inadequate and at the same time incredibly aware of how un-sexy I must look. Damn it. 

Anyway, back to my main point. Having to navigate past, around, through, under and over these many Meandering Men and Wandering Women added a good 40 seconds to my run time (picture my unimpressed face) and resulted in me feeling absolutely knackered. Genuinely the most exhausting run I have been on since I started. So in conclusion, I refer back to the title of this post. People suck.

Except for my readers. I love all of you. :)

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Pretty in Pink

So I just got back from today's two mile run and sweet lord was it hot out. 23 degrees out there! Don't get me wrong, I'm loving the sunshine but running in this heat is definitely not something I am used to. I briefly contemplated running three miles but there's no way that was happening today. Still, I'm not going to complain cause running in the sunshine is way more pleasant and motivating than running in the hail that one time. Anyway, last week I did two runs and I am feeling pretty comfortable with the two and three mile distances. This didn't stop me having a small panic attack when I received an email from Race for Life reminding me that my 5K race is only three weeks away. In the rational part of my brain I know I will be ready and will be fine come race day. Unfortunately the rational part of my brain is tiny and easily overpowered by the crazy, irrational lunatic part of my brain. Hence the panic. 

One thing did calm me down a little and that was the arrival last week of my new running shoes. I have a pair of Asics which I love but I keep reading that it's good to alternate shoes to give them time to bounce back into their shape. Also my Asics will eventually need replacing and so I introduce to you all my awesome, awesome Adidas shoes.

Adidas Ladies Response Cushion 22

They are super pink. I have never seen or owned anything quite this pink in my life. Obnoxiously pink. Which of course is why I chose them. Nowhere else in life can you get away with wearing colours this bright so here we are. Also, handily, they will work well with the whole Race for Life "pink army" theme. So yay, two birds. I was suspicious about switching brands but I wore them for a week out and about and took them for their maiden two mile run today and they are very comfy. And pink. I feel like a superhero.  

Anyway, back to the weather. Having run in both extremes now, horrible hail and scorching sunshine (although I suppose the real extreme would be snow but let's not tempt the Running Gods), I have decided that running is nicest when it is sunny out but with a mild breeze blowing so I don't feel the heat. Not that I'm fussy or anything. So yes, if the Running Gods could sort that kind of weather out for me on race day that would be spectacular, thank you very much. 

Monday, 8 June 2015

Real Runners

I don't consider myself a real runner. Of course not, you'll say to yourselves, it's only been a month. But it's deeper than that. As a staunch non-runner throughout my life, I don't think I will ever see myself as a "real" runner.When I was at school I ran twice a week in PE class but that obviously doesn't count because that was enforced running. Real runners do it because they love it, or to lose weight or get fitter or for tons of other valid reasons. I am surrounded by lots of super fit running people. People who have been running for much longer than me, which somehow legitimises their "real runner" status. They belong to that club. Those people you see running down the road who don't look like they want to die, and who are clearly not having trouble pacing themselves and who definitely, definitely don't have to stop running every couple of minutes to walk for one minute. The people who eat all the right things know all the fancy stretches and muscle names.

Last week's setback definitely made getting back out there this week much harder and I don't think I've ever felt less motivated. Or less like a real runner. Real runners wouldn't struggle this much or take this long to bounce back. Then again maybe I'm just being too hard on myself. Still, the thought lingers in my head and I can't seem to shake it. 


Like this guy. Who looks like that when they run?? 


But you know what?

I'm ok with it. I don't think running will ever look good on me. I'm never going to be effortlessly running along, holding a conversation with a fellow running partner (who has that much leftover breath that they can just waste it like that?!). But I will be running. If I need to stop and walk every now and then to get there then that's fine too. Honestly, I would rather do that and not be a "real runner" than keep running non-stop and end up overdoing it or injuring myself. 

Who knows? Maybe one day I will change my mind and think of myself as a real runner. But for now, I'm happy on the outside, in unreal-runner-land. Unreal-runner-land has doughnuts.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Setbacks

Apologies for my lack of posting this week. After my fastest (so far) two mile run last Monday, the Running Gods obviously decided I was starting to get far too happy about this running malarkey. Their course of action this time was to send a large dose of the cold my way and so I face my first setback. I can't describe how frustrating it has been not to be able to keep up with my plan. I missed three scheduled runs. In the grand scheme not much but right now it feels huge to me. I had been finding it easier and easier to motivate myself to go for a run and I worry, now that I'm better, that I will struggle to get back into the swing of things. Not to mention I am now a whole week behind schedule!

Still, stubborn as I am, I refuse to let the Running Gods win this one. Yes, they kept me out of action for a week and yes, I am behind schedule but this has actually lead me to make some changes to my training plan. I can't catch up the week I missed, I just have to accept that life happens and move on. So instead of making myself feel bad I have taken control and really thought about what the plan was asking me to do. Having been running for a couple of weeks, I know now that the plan that was set out for me isn't realistic. It expects me to go from running three miles to running six in just over one week. When I started out I had no idea if this would be possible or not but having struggled through some three mile runs I can safely say that I am nowhere near ready to run twice that! 

So, instead of trying to fit myself to the plan and feeling bad when I don't match up, I am making the plan fit me. My first race is a 5k in July so the focus of the next month's training will be to get to the point where I feel comfortable running that distance and hopefully do it at a pace that makes me happy (aiming for the 30 minute mark but no promises!). Between now and race day I can't imagine I will be running any further than five miles at a time. Does that mean I won't have run the roughly eighty miles I thought I would at the beginning of training? Yes. Do I see that as a setback? Slightly (but only cause I'm a pessimist!). One thing I have learned: setbacks aren't always completely negative. This one has helped me understand that what I need doesn't always necessarily fit into tidy little colour-coded boxes. 

Although let's not lie, my new plan will obviously be colour-coded. Life is too short for greys and whites!



Tuesday, 26 May 2015

My Bra

My bra is awesome. I really can't say that enough. There is literally no bounce when I run. Zero bounce! Do you know the last time I could move without my boobs also moving? I was twelve. Countless "sports bras" later and I had basically given up hope that I would ever find something to strap my DD puppies down. Lo and behold I have finally found it: the Shock Absorber Run bra. My holy grail of bras. There is nothing worse than running (or indeed walking) around with an uncomfy, non-supportive bra on. Now I can smugly run around knowing that while I do, everything stays in its place.


(This is definitely not my stomach by the way, although my boobs are way more awesome than hers.)



See? Isn't she (the bra) glorious? No pointy wires that stab you, some extra heavy duty straps which don't dig in and a little bit of pink to keep me feeling girly. Love it.

Now, we've all at one point or another stuffed something down our bras: money, ID, another bra... so obviously, when faced with the dilemma of where to keep my music when running my mind went straight to my bra. I don't have a bumbag and the pockets in my trousers are far too small for both my music and my keys. With this in mind I decided to conduct an experiment and went for a run with my mp3 inelegantly stuffed down my cleavage. I attached a lanyard to it just in case the bra plan failed me mid-run but I have to say, so far I haven't had any mishaps. My mp3 player nestles snugly in there and I don't even notice it! This is nigh on miraculous for me and only adds to the many brownie points this bra is earning with me. I do hope that my mp3 player is at least slightly damp-resistant though cause you know, sweat is a thing that happens.

I should mention I haven't been asked/paid by anyone to write about my bra,  I am just genuinely this excited by it. Sad, I know.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Great Expectations



I was meant to go for a run yesterday. It didn't happen but not for lack of motivation. When I went for my run on Tuesday I pushed myself a bit too hard trying to hit a certain time. My legs were still quite sore yesterday (even after a full rest day and a yoga day) so while I could have tried running anyway on Friday I probably would have ended up doing myself more harm than good, especially given the extra mile I was meant to be doing. My legs felt slightly more normal this morning so off I went and while it was definitely not a pleasant experience it could have been much worse. I ran 3.12 miles in 38:45. Slower than I thought I would do it which is a bit disappointing,


This is my main problem, I think. I expect too much from myself. Partly in a naive "it can't be that hard" type of way, but also in an impatient "why aren't I improving faster" sort of way. I can't describe how frustrating I found it yesterday not being able to go for my run, even if deep down I knew it was the right thing to do for my body. I know that at this stage all I should be doing is just going out there and enjoying it and be happy that I manage to run the distance at all, without worrying about speed, but I can't help it. Every two mile run I've done so far has inevitably found me checking my watch to see if I am going to make it home faster than the last time. Which I have, every time. While this makes me very happy, I think it is also part of why I am fairly disappointed with today's performance. Before I set off this afternoon I tried to guess how long it would take me to run my three miles. But I based this prediction on my times and speeds from my two mile runs. I should have known that keeping up that pace for an extra mile wouldn't have been possible at this stage but, being pig-headed like I am, I figured I could probably make it home in 34 minutes. When that time (and an extra four minutes) ticked by on my watch it irritated me. I felt like I had failed. Even worse, this run gave me my first look at what my 5K running time could be and, I have to say, I didn't like it. 


This is what I'm talking about, though. I need to remind myself that this is still early days, this is all still new for my body, that I still have six weeks until race day and that I just need to cut myself some slack sometimes. It's easy to write it down here say this is how it's going to be from now on. Taking my own advice next time I look at my watch mid-run might not be so easy. 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Races

As I mentioned in my first ever post, I need a certain level of motivation in order to keep going with my running plan. Part of that motivation (other than the pretty new running clothes) comes from the fact that I have signed up for some races over the space of the next year. I can't back out. I have spent money on entry fees and running kit, all of which means that if I don't follow through I will not only have wasted money but also wasted running spots which could have been occupied by "real runners" (more on them later). 

It all started with the Race for Life 5K run in Hampsted Heath this July 4th. Having not run at all for over half a decade I figured this would be the place to start. Nice and easy. 


See? Proof this is actually happening. Has my name on it and everything so now I have to go through with it.

After the 5K I plan on doing a 10K. Haven't decided which one yet but this hasn't stopped me from going ahead and entering a half marathon in the new year. Yes, you read correctly. I have gone from 5K to contemplating running just over four times that distance. I signed up to the Vitality Brighton Half Marathon mainly because I have heard some very good things about it and also because the course takes you along the seafront for most of the race. At least I will have something pretty to look at while I curse myself for ever signing up for things like this. This will be happening on the 28th February next year. Did I mention that is two weeks after my wedding? No stuffing my face with cake and slacking off training for me!

Finally, I have thrown my name in the hat for the big one. The 2016 London Marathon. Odds are slim, given that almost a quarter of a million (247,069!!) people are hoping for a place, and I am not holding my breath but it still acts as motivation. If I do get a place and don't train I will be in a sticky, awkward situation. If I don't get a place I plan on running a marathon anyway, it just won't be the London one. 

So there we are. A year long plan with nice little distance markers along the way so I feel like I'm  constantly accomplishing things. 

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The Running Gods

Generally speaking I am quite a pessimistic person. I expect the worst case scenario. I try not to get too overexcited by or about things. This way, when it all goes wrong, I will be prepared. Healthy? Probably not, but it works for me. When I came up with this whole running plan I was, of course, not too hopeful I would be able to do it but as I got to the end of the first week I was feeling more optimistic. I had survived the first three runs and was improving with each one. Things were good. So when I cautiously started looking forward to today's run, the Running Gods had obviously had enough of all this positivity nonsense. 

Time for them to step in.

And step in they did. Today was drizzly day. It rained on and off from the moment I woke up. It even hailed briefly at one point. I nevertheless got dressed in my kit and forced myself out the door. As I started running I shouted a mental "HA!" at the Running Gods, as if to say "see? It is mildly damp out and I am still running. So there." 

The Gods obviously didn't appreciate this impertinence.  

As I got to the end of my road and started up the only hill of the run the clouds emptied their entire contents of water on my head. I was still close enough to home that I genuinely considered turning back. Then I thought that's exactly what the Running Gods wanted so I defiantly ran on into the rain. Five minutes later the rain fizzled out. I thought to myself, it was a test. They were just testing my resolve, to see if I would turn back and give in but I didn't, I won. I WON. Take that Running Gods!

Big mistake.  

They unleashed their best weapon. Hail. Yep. Hail. It fell almost horizontally right into my face (that'll teach me). By this point I was so far into the run that there was no point turning around. I kept going because now I didn't have anything left to prove to the Running Gods. I had to prove it to myself. I came across two other girls running through it all and as we passed each other we shared an exasperated look and a thumbs up. This show of solidarity surprised me and gave me the boost I needed to finish the run.

I got home and peeled my sopping wet kit off and looked at my stopwatch. I had shaved 50 seconds off last Sunday's run time. I had really really wanted to get out of that rain. Not to be outdone, the Running Gods had a final cruel laugh at my expense: the second I got into my dry clothes, the sun started shining. 

Post run - slightly damp!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Week one down!

Week one is over. Two surprising things. First, I really didn't think this week would go by so fast. I genuinely thought it would drag on in a never-ending haze of achy muscles. Second, I'm shocked I actually did what the plan said and didn't just stay on the sofa watching another How I Met Your Mother rerun. This week I ran seven miles and lost my yoga virginity so, all in all, I feel like I have accomplished something. Do my legs still hurt more than ever? Oh, so much. Still, when I got back from today's two mile run (in under 23 minutes) I had nothing but smiles!

...well, smiles and a yummy banana

Hopefully next week will go just as well. My long run next friday gets moved up from two miles to three but seeing as I already accidentally did that this week I don't see it being too much of a shock to the system! Roll on week two!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Here We Go Again

Run number two. After the first run's super uphill-ness I decided to change my route. I figure I should allow my legs some time to get used to the idea of running before I throw multiple hills at them. It's only polite. I managed to find a two mile route in my area that had minimal hills (zero hills is impossible I have found out) and while I was at it I created a similar three mile version for the next stage of my plan where my runs start getting longer. 

Music in my ears and sun shining, off I went. This time I thought I had managed to pace myself a little better as I set off. I made a conscious effort to rein my stride in knowing I would thank myself later. I kept to my two minutes running/one minute walking strategy but as I got to around twenty minutes into the run I started really struggling. I started thinking that this run was feeling and taking way longer than the last one. I started wondering how I could be so much slower this time round when there were fewer hills to navigate! I was thinking I'm obviously just not cut out for this running business and why am I putting myself through it anyway? Nevertheless, I kept trudging on, feeling frustrated, for another eleven minutes until I got home. I went to log my workout, feeling quite upset and confused. Which is when I realised something.

I had accidentally run the three mile route, not the two mile one!


Pretty much sums up my feelings right now!


Granted, I took the teeniest of shortcuts on the way home so I actually ended up running 2.72 miles, not the full three but still, no wonder I was exhausted and it took so long! I feel silly for not having realised that I had been running for almost a whole extra mile but at the same time quite surprised that I had managed to keep going at all. I did it in exactly 31 minutes which, I have to say, I am quite proud of. Compared to today, this Sunday's two miler should fly by! Hopefully. 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Yoga

This post I will be talking about yoga, my chosen form of cross training for the time being. However, before I get into that, I'd just like to preface this by saying a quick word.

OUCH

The past two days I have felt every single muscle in my body scream like it never has before (or at least, not in years and years). I can feel discomfort in muscles I wasn't even aware I had. Don't get me wrong, I knew this would happen and I braced myself for it but it has still taken me a bit by surprise, especially in terms of which muscles hurt the most. Obviously my legs take top spot there (no surprises as they did the bulk of the work on Tuesday) but an unexpected second place goes to the tummy muscles. Who knew? Actually, I'm sure lots of people knew and will be shaking their heads in a "silly girl" sort of way but, like I said, I am a complete newbie and so I reserve the right for things like this to still take me by surprise! So basically, to recap, everything (still!) hurts.

Moving on. Yoga.



I chose yoga partly because for the time being I don't have a gym membership so gym-based activities/classes are out. I will eventually join a gym so I can take part in some of the fun classes my local one has on offer but for now, home-based activities are where it's at. The other reason for choosing yoga is because I have read that it is helpful for stretching out those post-run aches and pains and can help prevent running injuries. And, you know, the whole relaxing, achieving calm and serenity stuff, that too. 

I thought I would just youtube a yoga video and that would be that but then I came across a website called Do Yoga With Me. There are hundreds of videos for different ability levels and different yoga styles, as well as for targeting different parts of the body and they are all lead by experienced instructors. I signed up (it's free) and downloaded a 6 week program for absolute beginners which included suggestions for which videos and tutorials to follow, as well as shorter classes if time is an issue. So far I'm feeling very guided.

The first video it suggested for me had some lovely calming music in the background and the man leading the exercises had a very soothing voice. It took me through some basic stretches from my arms to my upper body down to my hips. I have to say, while I certainly couldn't hold some of the stretches as long as the man could, I definitely feel much more relaxed and sort of looser in a way I can't quite describe. It was a very relaxing experience and I am actually looking forward to the next video this time next week. I may even squeeze in an extra session this weekend. Safe to say, I can see myself becoming a serious yoga convert!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

First Run




So there I am. Pre-run. Obviously, cause I'm actually smiling. Almost looking smug, like yeah, running is going to be awesome! Silly past me. Fast forward to now and I just got back from my first 2 mile "easy" run, as prescribed by my plan. Long story short: it was unpleasant. Painful, even. Made me question this whole idea of mine that running is something I could do. 

Long story a bit longer: 

I left for my run, all kitted out in my new motivating running leggings. I had my mp3 dangling from my neck and neatly tucked into my bra (more on that later) and my man's ancient casio watch on my wrist. I didn't have space for my phone anywhere and have no fancy GPS pacing watch so I just set off and hoped for the best. As I realised half way through the run, I obviously set off waaayyy too fast. Way too fast. Add to that the fact that, unbeknown to me (I should have known, really), most of my route was uphill. Oh and in a final karmic twist, no matter what direction I ran in, the wind was constantly against me. Are you feeling the unpleasant? Cause I definitely was. 

I set off telling myself it's only two miles, you can run that without stopping, that should totally be achievable. Boy, did I underestimate how unfit I am! One minute into the run, halfway up my first uphill, I decided that running all the way was not going to be an option. At all. In any way, shape or form. So, I adopted an approach I've heard many people have had success with. The run/walk. You alternate a certain amount of running time/distance with a smaller amount of walking time/distance. Most people I have read who do this seem to manage 4 or 5 minutes running for 1 minute's walking. I went for 2 minutes running and 1 minute walking. It worked quite well, by which I mean it stopped me feeling like my lungs were going to pop out of my mouth. 

In the end I managed to get home in 19 minutes, 11 seconds (and 81 milliseconds) and realised that I'd forgotten to take the long way back past my house which was part of my route, which meant that I actually only ran 1.7 miles, instead of 2 miles. Still, that means (according to my running app thingy on my phone) that overall I ran at 5.6 mph. Definitely faster than I thought I would do. 

Reading back over this post as I write it definitely seems like the whole thing was deeply unpleasant, and honestly, as I neared home at the end of the run I felt like I never wanted to do this again - so much for runner's high! But now that I'm home, out of my icky clothes, have done some stretching and had some water and a banana I can truthfully say that it wasn't as unpleasant as it felt at the time and I am actually looking forward to my next run this Friday. Although, I will definitely be amending my route to include fewer hills, at least until my legs and lungs have gotten used to the idea that running is a thing that is happening now. 


Post run looking less fresh

Saturday, 9 May 2015

The Plan

Organisation has never been my strong point. Ok, that's not entirely true. I'm great at organising other people. I just can't seem to take my own advice. However, fresh start and all that... so I went and found a running plan which seemed achievable and spent longer than I'm proud of making it all colour-coded with happy colours (no murky browns or icky greys for me, thank you).




So there it is. My own SmartCoach plan for running 5K in eight weeks. It lives on the cupboard the biscuits live in, in an attempt to discourage me from snacking on them unnecessarily (although I like to argue that biscuits are always necessary). The plan has me going for my first run this Tuesday and splits my runs into "easy runs" (blue), "tempo runs" (hot pink), "speedwork" (red) and "long runs" (yellow). Green bits are rest days, lilac is yoga and the solitary orange square is race day! I know that cross training is an important part of training for this sort of thing so for the time being I have chosen to do yoga as it is something which can be done from the comfort of my living room. Further down the line I will be joining a gym and introducing some other forms of cross training to keep things interesting but I figure easy does it in the beginning!

Given that I have no idea how fast I can run 5 kilometres - last time I did was in secondary school many many moons ago - when asked to estimate how long it would take me I said one hour. Basically, walking pace. But, and this is the key sneaky-mind-trick-motivation tool, when I get out there and realise that I can probably shave at least a couple of minutes off that hour estimate I will feel like I've already accomplished something. Even though I technically haven't, at all. See? Sneaky.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Lazy Lady


I am lazy. There, I said it. I have always tried to lie to myself, telling myself I'm not lazy I'm just doing what I want, when and how I want. Empowering myself by making all my own decisions regardless of outside pressures. Recently though, I've stopped buying my own bullshit and have forced myself to own up to it. Don't they always say that admitting you have a problem is the first step towards recovery? Well I am admitting it. Shouting it from the rooftops (silently in my head).

I am lazy.

This doesn't bode well for my running plan. Especially since the last fond memory I have of running was when I was ten and I was racing a classmate's little sister across the playground. I was sooo much faster than her (obviously. I was ten and she was six) but I still let her win. Since then all my running has been either enforced PE running around a 200 metre track in the baking Italian summer heat (I grew up in Italy and did all my schooling there) or half-hearted guilt-motivated runs on a treadmill in a gym. This cocktail of unpleasant memories coupled with my general slothfulness means that on paper I should really not be excited about the upcoming miles I plan on running. And yet, I'm excited. 

I'm excited because this morning it finally clicked in my head. I've never gone running for myself. It was always either because I had to or because I felt I had to. This time I set the goal. I chose it. And every time I find myself battling my laziness and struggling to get on with it I will think back to ten year old me running full pelt across that playground, not a care in the world, and I'll let it carry me forward.

Now all I have to do is get up off this couch...


Sunday, 3 May 2015

Ready...Steady... Couch!

Yes, I am still sitting on the couch. No, I haven't been for a run yet.

But I am going to. A week from tomorrow marks the beginning of my training which, a year from now, will see me entering and running in a marathon. I have been formulating this plan for quite some time now but only recently revealed it to my nearest and dearest. Parents and partner were supportive, if not slightly sceptical given the zero amount of exercise I have done in the past six years (yes really, zero). My best friend however was slightly blunter. "I'm questioning your sanity dude. You hate running. Really. You hate it." Obviously she was eventually supportive but I like to think this is a testament to my level of beginner-ness to running.

Now, don't get me wrong, I have tried to get involved in some sort of fitness/exercise activity over the years. Gym memberships bought and cancelled after a couple of visits. Perhaps a quick, painful run around my area and much vowing never to do it again. None of it has stuck. This time however, not only have I created an actual (free) personalised running plan, courtesy of Runner's World SmartCoach, I have also signed myself up for a Race for Life 5K this July. This is the crucial piece of the puzzle. There's no backing out now. I have made a commitment to raise a certain amount and run in this event and this is what will hold me to my training plan. At least in the initial "why am I doing this to myself" stage.


So here we go. I have my routes mapped out, my plan is set and my new running kit is due to arrive within the week. New pretty things, a motivational tool if ever there was one.