Monday, 25 August 2014

C25K, a Runner’s World. Bringing things up to speed

I’d already done 2 weeks of the C25K before I had the bright idea that writing a blog would motivate me to keep going and might even inspire others to give it a whirl. 

I was going to write a slow burner giving a flavour of how I felt after each run and blog my progress.  I wanted to chart each run but after 8 runs on the plan I’m realising how much can be achieved quickly.  If I don’t bring the blog up to speed with where I’m at I'm going to forget as I feel completely different about running now than I did 2.5 weeks ago.  

Week 1, which already seems a long time ago, was revolutionary for me.   Running was novel.   If the truth be told I’d never run, I’d managed to avoid it at school, and did not believe that I could do it.  My thighs hurt.  My breath was jagged.  I learnt that my in the ear earphones were not fit for purpose.  Having to cope with them falling out whilst running and frantically scrabbling to get them back in for fear I’d miss Laura telling me to slow down was somewhat of an issue.  I was astonished at the number of runners that I encountered during 30 minutes.  By Day 3 of Week 1 I was beginning to feel like I was privy to the world’s best kept secret.  How had I not noticed all of these runners before?  I learnt the ‘runners’ nod’ and began to feel a lot less self-conscious in my running pants.    Mine are positively boring compared to some I have seen. 

Week 2 looked like a leap.  The increase from running 60 to 90 seconds seemed a big step up but I smashed it.  It didn’t hurt so much.  It helped that Laura talked to me a fair amount, giving me hints whilst I was running.  She chatted to me about my breathing.  How did she know that I was struggling with this?   Her tips gave me a focus and before I knew it the run was over and I was walking again.  As I’m running on pavements, I embraced the inevitable beeps.  I laughed with the chaps in their work van who wound their windows down and shouted, ‘Come on love, you can do it!’  The headphone situation had been fixed courtesy of Mr Running-on-Sunshine but now I was realising that my earphones falling out were the least of my worries.(.)(.) This possibly explains the beeps and shouts of ‘encouragement.’  Being school holidays and tag-teaming childcare with work there has been no chance to rectify this situation but it’s right up there on my list, along with new trainers to replace the aged Reeboks.    

So here I am in Week 3 already.  Now I’m running for 3 minutes at a time.   It is harder but I am sticking with the plan.  Today I ran the second run of the week in rain and into wind and it felt good.  I am thinking about what I’m eating.  I’m drinking more water.  I’m making healthier choices because I’m considering what will keep my body in better shape to get through the plan and … **whispers** … beyond.   I’m sleeping better.  My jeans are slightly looser and my thighs are less lumpy.  What a difference two and a half weeks has made. 

Another development of Week 3 was setting up this blog, opening a Twitter account and creating a Running on Sunshine Facebook page.  A copy of Runner’s World landed on the doormat on Saturday which was an unexpected surprise and has been devoured.   There is such a huge running community out there, it’s great to feel supported and part of it even though I’m new and what I have achieved so far is comparatively tiny.   

I’ve had some great motivational tweets.  One from @Rula10:  

@RunningonSun just read your blog, looking forward to hearing more about your running journey!! Just a warning - it can become addictive!

The warning is too late, but I’m glad!  

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Week 1, Day 1. My new friend Laura.

The smack of realisation that I needed to give running a chance hit whilst on a camping holiday with family friends.   I am a huge advocate of camping and love the freedom it provides for us and the children.  I could write a lot about our fabulous Outwell tent and the thrill of being outdoors. 

I’m starting to see a pattern here.  Camping was also something that I had decried as the last thing on earth I would ever do.   I’d rather gnaw my own arm off.  I was unable to see past the lack of socket for hair straighteners. 

Times change, so it seems.   

During two years of camping with the same friends we have built up an annual tradition.  This WILL stick.  For one day the Daddies are dispatched to Bovington Tank Museum with the children.  The Mummies have a glorious child free day of chatting (without interruption), browsing the shops (not simply ‘shopping’) and relaxed lunching.   

On this shopping trip I bought running clothes.  I’d not even put one foot in front of the other in my very dusty and old fashioned Reeboks.  Nothing like the spur of the moment, I was buying neon. 

On the way home from our holiday I downloaded the NHS Couch to 5K app on my phone.  Swiping through the 9 week plan I started to realise what I was letting myself in for. 

Week 1, Day 1:  Run 60 seconds, walk 90 seconds for 20 minutes.   Whoa.   

The fact that I was a little bit in love with my bright pink running vest spurred me on to do it.  Two days later I stretched a bit, attached my iPhone to my arm, plugged the headphones in and was off. 

After the five minute warm up walk I ran for 60 seconds.  I can’t say it was easy but Laura, I adore ya!  

Laura is the voice of the NHS Couch to 5K.  She seemed to realise that this was tough, she told me how well I was doing and encouraged me not to stop.  60 seconds run, 90 seconds walk and repeat.  

You’ve just got one more run, you’re doing well.  

Hearing her voice in my ear kept me going through the 20 minutes.  At the end of the session she congratulated me and told me to give myself a pat on the back.   I actually reached round and gave my back a couple of taps and then laughed out loud!  I was beaming.   I burst through the front door red faced but elated.   

I cannot describe the sense of achievement I felt.   

I will do this.  

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Can't run, won't run.

I can't run and I haven't run, not even for a bus, since Sports Day 1992.  

I can't run and you'll only ever see me run if something large and scary is chasing me ... or if there's a glass of wine waiting for me.  

These and many other anti-running quips have regularly passed my lips over the years.  The thought of running, or indeed any form of exercise, has never filled me with glee but I stand strong in the certain knowledge that I just cannot run.  

Sports Day 1992 and every other Sports Day before that were days which I anticipated with dread.  I've done the Mum's race once for each of my kids.  Let's just say that neither of those occasions ended well.   

Can't run, won't run.  That is me.   Friends suggested running together, I looked at a treadmill once but ... no way.   


I am pretty stubborn so that should have been THE END but something strange happened:

Three weeks ago a striking realisation crept up and hit me square between the eyes!  An epiphany, if you will.   

When one of my children tell me that they can't do something they get a good motivational talking to and are encouraged to give it a try.  I have plenty to say, not least:

Can comes before can't. 

I am right there behind them, motivating them to do their best, cheering them on until they get there and then celebrating at the (real) end.  Why not the same for myself?   

So, perhaps I can!   This is a blog of trying and seeing where it takes me.