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:

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


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!