Friday, 28 February 2014

Runstreak Day #90

This month I have run 99.5 miles.

Part of my brain is going 'run to the end of the road and back and get to 100 miles'.  But the sane part of my brain is going 'shut up you crazy flippin' idiot!!!'... and today, sanity prevails.  Next month, however, 100+ miles will be mine.  :o))

90 days have now been run
90 days where trainers won

Some days in the rain
Some days were a pain
Some days where I grinned
Some battled head winds
Some out in the park
Most dingy and dark
Some days were just me
Some runs it was 'we'
Sometimes did a lot
Sometimes, well... just not
But all miles were mine
So bring on the wine!*

*  Actually, a cuppa cha would be better but it didn't rhyme  :o)


Here's to Day 91 and onwards to 100.

Oh, and Mr February mileage?  Just so you know...

I clocked 99 miles
But a stitch ain't come.  :o)

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:4.83 mi
Avg Pace:9:08 min/mi

Moving Time:44:06
Elapsed Time:46:13
Avg Pace:9:08 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:9:08 min/mi
Best Pace:6:50 min/mi

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Runstreak Day #89 - 'I couldn't run'

Short run today - but an okay pace and not knackered at all... and it makes me feel like getting under 25 minutes for 5k by the end of the year could be possible.  Which would be great!  I also went a new route and although I ended up getting hailed on, it was nice to run somewhere different for a change.  I ran a route I've only ever walked before and I was (weirdly) surprised by how quickly I ran it.  It always seems much further when I walk it.  Isn't that funny!

Anyway, as I was running today I thought about a conversation about running which I have occasionally with people, and which others probably had with me at some point before I started running.  It goes...

'I couldn't run'
'I didn't think I could run either'

'I don't like running'
'I'd have said that too'

'I'm not built for running'
'I was obese when I started running'

'I haven't got time'
'I make time'

'I'd be embarrassed to be seen running'
'So was I... at first'

'I'm not the running type'
'What is the running type? I'm female, nearly 40, never run before 12 months ago, have two children, a full-time job, a busy life and have never been particularly sporty'

'My knees couldn't cope'
'I run every day and my knees cope fine... they coped when I was 6 stones heavier too'

'It's alright for you, you're fit and can manage it'
'I wasn't fit and struggled to manage it, now I *am* fit and I *can* manage it, it just takes time'

'It doesn't look like fun'
'You obviously didn't see me running down a hill the other day with my arms outstretched pretending to be an aeroplane...'

'I couldn't run'

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:2.25 mi
Avg Pace:8:28 min/mi

Moving Time:19:04
Elapsed Time:19:05
Avg Pace:8:28 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:8:28 min/mi
Best Pace:7:01 min/mi

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Runstreak Day #88

He asks 'why do you run?'

He asks again, 'why do you run every day?'

And I reply, 'Because it makes me happy'.

But it's more than that.

I run because I can.
I run because it makes me feel strong.
Because it makes me fitter.
Because it gives me head space.
Because the rhythm of my feet on the pavement and the rhythm of my breathing is moving meditation.
Because it's totally absorbing.
Because even when it's hard it's all on me and there is nothing else.
Because I get to celebrate a tiny triumph in just a few footsteps when I conquer a hill.
Because it's a challenge.
Because it makes me feel aware.
Because I get to feel like a child again as I run down the other side.
Because I feel alive.
Because I feel free.
Because I feel powerful.
Because of the quiet satisfaction of having run.
Because it makes the stressful stuff not matter.
Because it shuts off the noise of a life which is full to bursting.
Because I get to believe in myself just a little more every day.

I run because.  Just because.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:2.62 mi
Avg Pace:8:47 min/mi

Moving Time:23:02
Elapsed Time:23:02
Avg Pace:8:47 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:8:47 min/mi
Best Pace:6:52 min/mi

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Runstreak Day #87

This was very nearly the run that wasn't.  I was not in the mood for it at all.  I procrastinated like a good 'un.  Managed to sit through my Garmin going into powersave mode several times after it had got a signal... and still I couldn't force myself to get out there.

My excuse is that I'm not feeling that well and running when you're feeling grot isn't that fun.  However, I also know that once I get out there and get going, I generally feel a lot better.  Today that was the case.  Or at least, it took my mind off it anyway which is almost the same thing.  There's something about the rhythm of running that distracts you from other things brilliantly.  Including the guys who beeped at me from their car as I ran up the big hill and yelled whatever it was they yelled in my direction.  Part of me is curious about what they said.  The other part was listening to music and concentrating on getting my legs up a mile of hill - which I bet you they couldn't have run up!

As I ran down the other side and into a dip before heading back up again, the time flew past.  Though I never actually find running easy, it was what I needed... and there is something brilliant about unleashing the little kid in you as you blast down a hill!  WHOOOOOOOOSH!!!!!

Another day done... Day 88 tomorrow... crikey!

PS  Does it count as 'hill training' when I just have to run up and down hills because where I live is hilly?
PPS  I think it sounds more grown up if I say that's what I did...
PPPS  Day 87 - Hill training  *puts on serious face*  :o)

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.10 mi
Avg Pace:8:50 min/mi

Moving Time:27:27
Elapsed Time:27:27
Avg Pace:8:50 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:8:51 min/mi
Best Pace:6:48 min/mi

Monday, 24 February 2014

Runstreak Day #86

Day 86 of the runstreak... all done and dusted!  Ta daaaaaaaa!

Did one of those 'getting changed into my running gear at work' so that I could run on my way home things today.  And although I very nearly detoured via home to pick up some headache tablets before I went, I didn't.  I figured a bit of fresh air would help.  Especially on a 500 calorie day of sadness, anything to get me going again has to be good.

Anyhoo... I felt like I was shuffling.  But while it wasn't the best of runs, it definitely wasn't the worst.  And the fact that it's always sub-9 minutes per mile even on a shuffly day is a big improvement on where I was this time last year.  In fact, I had to remind myself to keep on going when I felt like stopping because a year ago today I did my very first 20 minutes non-stop of running.  The day where I realised I actually might be able to do this whole running thing... and not die / collapse / collapse and then die.  If I could do it then, I could do it now.  And I did. :D

I run because it makes me happy.  I run even when it doesn't make me happy... just because I can.  And the thought that I *can* run makes me happy, so it's all good in the end!

Bring on the celebratory cuppa cha!  :o)

*happy dances over to her biggest mug ready for it to be filled with tea*

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:2.70 mi
Avg Pace:8:51 min/mi

Moving Time:23:54
Elapsed Time:23:54
Avg Pace:8:51 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:8:51 min/mi
Best Pace:7:27 min/mi

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Runstreak Day 85... well...

You know how some runs are magic?  That you feel like your legs are fresh and you could run for ages.  The weather is kind.  The sun sparkles.  Everything feels alive and vibrant.  The rhythm of your running provides its own momentum.  Running, breathing, running, breathing...

Today's run wasn't like that.



I ran with my littlest who was riding his bike with me.  The wind whipped and pushed against us.  No matter which corner we rounded, there it was, battering us into submission.  I was happy every time he wanted to stop because I could too.

Okay, so it was nice having his company and being filled in on every nuance of Lego.  But good grief I didn't enjoy the running very much today.

Fortunately, I know tomorrow is a whole new day and a whole new bit of interesting to experience.

Day 85... done.  Thank goodness for that.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:5.68 mi
Avg Pace:9:34 min/mi

Moving Time:54:22
Elapsed Time:1:02:40
Avg Pace:9:34 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:9:34 min/mi
Best Pace:6:47 min/mi

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Runstreak Day 84... another scary Parkrun

There once was a runner named Sarah
And park runs they really did scare 'er
She went anyway
Did a PB... hooray!!
And now is a great big grin wearer

Cooer there were LOADS of people there today. Yet again it crossed my mind to leave the park as I went round it I felt so nervous (my brain is yelling 'RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!!!!' most of the time)... and the only reason I didn't was because that felt slightly more humiliating than being the official 'she looks like she's going to throw up with fright' park runner. It's funny how they forget to list that in the volunteer roles, isn't it!

Day 84 of my run streak, I believe you and I have a date with happy dancing...

And tea. There *must* be tea.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.12 mi
Avg Pace:8:36 min/mi

Moving Time:26:50
Elapsed Time:26:49
Avg Pace:8:36 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:8:36 min/mi
Best Pace:7:24 min/mi

Friday, 21 February 2014

The meet-up...

For the first time ever I met up with someone for a run!  Someone who I only know through running.  Now, I know this doesn't sound like much, but for me it's a big deal.  Mainly because she's really good and I'm not.  I'm not dreadful, but I'm not good like she is, if you know what I mean.  She's run marathons.  Y'know... 26.2 miles of running.  That's grown up running, right?

Anyway - it was good!  I broke myself slightly with running up a big hill twice.  And didn't really run that well towards the end... but... I did it.  And I'm going to do it again next Friday!  Even managed to hold a conversation most of the way around.  Woooo hoooo!!!

I don't know if it's just me, but when you're just beginning with running it's hard to imagine that you can run with others.  It's hard enough to run with yourself let alone anyone else.  A bit like someone who's only ever sung into a hairbrush in their bedroom suddenly taking to the stage.  You just don't know if you could really sing after all.  Or, in this case, run.  But in the last month I've run with a couple of friends.  I've braved a couple of parkruns.  I've been along to a running group.  And I've arranged to go for a run with someone I met at the running group.  Before each occasion, I was feeling sick with nerves.  But I did it.  And I'm proud that I did.

I know I prefer running on my own - but it's good to know that another of my fears about running is gradually being reduced to something I can just do.

It turns out that running isn't just about running fast or far.  It's about all the other things it makes you feel about yourself and what you're capable of.  What a brilliant thing to tap into!

Geeky stats stuff (broken into two runs)

Up a hill to meet up with someone for a run...

Distance:0.48 mi
Avg Pace:9:38 min/mi

Moving Time:4:37
Elapsed Time:4:37
Avg Pace:9:38 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:9:38 min/mi
Best Pace:6:47 min/mi

The rest of the run...

Distance:3.58 mi
Avg Pace:8:56 min/mi

Moving Time:31:53
Elapsed Time:34:39
Avg Pace:8:56 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:8:55 min/mi
Best Pace:6:16 min/mi

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Running against the clock...

... that's how it felt today!  I needed to squeeze in a run before my husband went out and I returned to kiddie mode... so it was more pace than pleasure. Okay, so not really that fast by most people's standards, but fast enough for me.

How fast does it have to be to be a 'run' anyway?  I never really understand the difference between running and jogging, to be honest.  So, my definitions:

Run = you can't catch me
Jog = if you run, you'll catch up!

All the real runners would definitely do the first bit though... so... there's a flaw in my definitions... back to the drawing board I go!  Ho hum...

Anyway, for me, running isn't about feeling pressured or racing against the clock.  I don't enjoy it when I feel like the time is ticking away and I have to be back for something.  It's hard enough to run without adding in that on top of it all!

So, I ran.  I ran for me.  I ran for the 82nd day in a row.  And I got myself just a teeny bit of space in a life that's crammed full of other stuff.  Even with an added bit of pressure, it was still *my* time.  And that's all good.  :o)

And tomorrow, I'm being very very brave and meeting up for a run with someone I met at the running group I went to last week.  Am completely nervous but excited too!  Remind me I said this tomorrow when I'm trying to come up with pathetic reasons why I can't go running with her!!  I *will* get over my fear of running with other people.

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:2.49 mi
Avg Pace:8:30 min/mi

Moving Time:21:08
Elapsed Time:21:21
Avg Pace:8:30 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:8:30 min/mi
Best Pace:7:02 min/mi

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Another day...

... another run.

I could have run with the same running group I went with for the first time last week, but to be honest, I found it so stressful, I thought I'd be better off just going on my own.

I'm glad I did.

Same route as yesterday but today I took time to enjoy the view of the city as I ran down the hill... took time to appreciate the feeling of conquering the hill... and ran through the 'I don't know that I can do this tonight' feeling which threatened to stop my legs from taking another step as I set out.

I know I don't run that far each day, but each day feels like I've come pretty far.

Runstreak Day 81.  Done and dusted.

Geeky stats stuff (same route as yesterday but it says it was shorter - go figure!  Let's just call it 5k, shall we?)

Distance:3.09 mi
Avg Pace:8:52 min/mi

Moving Time:27:22
Elapsed Time:27:22
Avg Pace:8:52 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:8:52 min/mi
Best Pace:7:22 min/mi

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Around Nottingham in 80 runs...

80 days in a row of running every single day.  Cooer!  Tell you what, as I was running this evening every so often I'd catch myself going '80 days... flippin' heck'.

Not least because this time last year I was a few weeks into Couch to 5k and the thought of running 5k without stopping seemed almost impossible.  The thought of running a mile in less than 14 minutes also seemed remote.   And today I did both and not only did it, but enjoyed it.

I ran up a big ol' hill... and down it... and up another... and down... and up... and so on.  I didn't feel in the slightest bit trapped by the hills.

Good things:
Ran up and down hills without being bothered by them in the slightest
LOVE not feeling trapped by the landscape round here
Got my smiley face on every time I thought about having made it to 80
No rain
No wind  (finally!)
Not even that cold  (thank goodness!)
Ran a new route
Someone I met at the running group thing last week FB-ed me and asked me if I'd like to go for a run with her - yay!
Someone at work (who saw a presentation I did last week - but I don't know them) described me to a colleague as being 'that sporty one - the one that looks like a runner'  :D

Bad things:

Days like this I love running.  It totally makes me feel empowered.  It doesn't matter if I'm fast or not.  I'm out there, giving it a go... and letting my nearly-40 year old body show me what it's made of.  And it turns out it's not made (only!) of wrinkles and post-baby squidge.  Hooray!

The rhythm of running is strangely infectious.

80 days in a row.  Yeah.  That's alright, that is.  :o)

Geeky stats stuff

Distance:3.15 mi
Avg Pace:8:56 min/mi

Moving Time:28:08
Elapsed Time:28:07
Avg Pace:8:56 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:8:56 min/mi
Best Pace:7:11 min/mi

Monday, 17 February 2014

Some runs are hard work...

... some runs aren't.  This one was, even though it was only two and a half miles and all because I hadn't felt well earlier in the day.  Annoyingly unwell since I had the day off and ended up spending half of it in bed feeling icky.

By the time I felt up to going for a run, it was far later than normal and I was running just because I felt I should rather than because I wanted to.  As I ran, I was thinking about the running group I went to last week for the first time - and about my struggle with Parkrun nerves.  I think both remind me of being at school and the torture of cross country there.  Trying desperately not to be last, but never going to even vaguely catch sight of the sylph-like figures of the 'good' girls.  All I need is an obese drunkard of a gym teacher screeching angrily at me to hurry up from her car as I run past, gasping for breath, memories of her calling me a fairy elephant in front of everyone still freshly stinging, and it would be 1987 all over again.


When it's a good run, however, I feel free.  I feel like I'm in my space.  I marvel at the fact that my legs can run.  That they can take me places.  That I am in control.

Today.  I limped along like a terrified 13 year old schoolgirl.

79 days of running in a row though and nearly 250 miles run as part of this run streak.  Y'know what... I think that's a resounding 'up yours' Mrs Gym Teacher.  Even though I didn't feel like it, I did it anyway.

Geeky stats stuff (not that accurate - this run was definitely more than 2.5 miles!)

Distance:2.44 mi
Avg Pace:8:48 min/mi

Moving Time:21:28
Elapsed Time:21:37
Avg Pace:8:48 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:8:48 min/mi
Best Pace:7:24 min/mi

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Patchwork run...

Running with kids is not easy.  Running while your kids are on their bikes is even less easy.  Especially when they want to detour to the local park and you end up standing around getting cold.  And then your Garmin decides to eat your run and you're left with a fragment of a record and a sense of frustration as one of your children then reappears with their shoes off (in February) and covered in mud.  You just know at that point that it's all going to go terribly well.

Having got going again it turned into another stop-start affair.  Now, I'm not a quick runner, so even a small child on a tricycle could go past me.  But apparently not my daughter.  She has discovered a gear so slow that snails laugh as they zoom past her.  Anyway, by the time we were about half way around, everyone had discovered how to run / ride without slowing to a crawl or stopping and riding along the paths near the railway line and the woods all together was kinda nice.

I'm still amazed that I can run at all.  I'm amazed that I ran just about 10k (the Garmin chewed up the missing teensy bit of my run!) and am feeling fine.

My 78th run in a row.  And yup, still feeling fine after that as well!

Geeky stats stuff:

Part 1:
Distance:1.51 mi
Avg Pace:8:47 min/mi
Moving Time:13:16
Elapsed Time:16:25
Avg Pace:8:47 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:8:47 min/mi
Best Pace:6:29 min/mi

Part 2:
Distance:4.45 mi
Avg Pace:9:38 min/mi
Moving Time:42:51
Elapsed Time:53:35
Avg Pace:9:38 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:9:38 min/mi
Best Pace:7:08 min/mi

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Second ever Parkrun

Right... this is a confession... Parkrun scares me.  I get so nervous beforehand I take up almost permanent residence in the toilet.

I almost didn't go this morning but decided that I would just to force myself out of my comfort zone.  I don't really know what it is about it that I find so daunting.  Because I've only been running for a year and spent almost 40 years believing that I couldn't run at all, every time I set out for a run I'm not sure if I can do it at all.  Combine that with running with lots of other people who actually *look* like runners... well... that's a recipe for a nervous stomach and then some!

Anyway, I did it.  It was horrendously windy out.  The puddles were ankle deep in places, as was the mud.  My legs were splattered.  My white socks are now brown.  And by the time I rounded the smaller lake for a second lap and the wind hit me hard in the face AGAIN... I very very nearly left the park and ran back to my car!  Only the thought that I had less than a quarter of a mile to go kept me going.

And then a child, half my size, overtook me and leapt his way like a pint-sized gazelle towards the finish funnel.

Salt.  Wound.  :o)

I'm going to give myself one more go at doing a Parkrun to see if I can conquer my nerves.  If I can't, then it's nice, quiet, ownsome lonesome runs for me instead.  At least I might stand a chance of avoiding the mud on a Saturday morning!

Day 77's run... done.

Geeky stats stuff:

Distance:3.12 mi
Avg Pace:8:44 min/mi

Moving Time:27:13
Elapsed Time:27:13
Avg Pace:8:44 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:8:43 min/mi
Best Pace:7:06 min/mi

Friday, 14 February 2014

Dear Person-Who-Controls-The-Weather

You are doing an abysmal job of it all.

I have just gone for my 76th day's run in a row and I have had enough. Yet another blustery, wet, dark affair and I am now officially pig sick of it. My skin is wind battered and wrecked. My hair looks as if the Honey Monster chewed it. My feet have forgotten how to do anything other than squelch. I have a perma-snail trail of snot forcibly removed from my nostrils by blastingly cold wind. And if I have to run into one more head wind I won't be responsible for my actions.

I will be speaking to my lawyers in the morning. You haven't heard the last of this matter.

It may be Valentine's Day, but you and I both know that we are headed for a divorce.



PS I also have a blister
PPS I blame you.
PPPS You are not invited to my post-run happy dance

Geeky run stuff:

Distance:2.64 mi
Avg Pace:8:41 min/mi

Moving Time:22:56
Elapsed Time:23:22
Avg Pace:8:41 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:8:41 min/mi
Best Pace:6:36 min/mi

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Just over a year ago...

I wouldn't have said I was a runner.

I wouldn't have said I was fit.

I wouldn't have said anything about me was sporty.

I was obese.  That's a fact.  I was unhealthy.  I hadn't taken care of myself for a long while and as 2012 tipped into 2013, the realisation that I was in my last full year of my thirties struck me.  If I didn't start to take care of myself now, it wasn't going to get any better.

So, I cut out the junk.  Started the 5:2 fasting diet.  And began the Couch to 5k programme - which is designed to get complete non-runners off the sofa and onto their feet.  At first, I couldn't run more than about 45 seconds without feeling like my lungs were going to explode.  I was shocked at how unfit I was.  The thought that I'd ever be able to run 5k seemed laughable.  And only the fact that I had chosen to run in a quiet nature reserve where scarcely anyone would see me, let alone notice this obese woman shuffling around - sometimes quicker, sometimes slower... but always shuffling - seemed to be the only good thing.  No-one would witness my humiliation.

I don't know what kept me going other than curiosity at first.  I had no idea whether the programme would work, but I just kept on keeping on with it.  Week after week.  Increasing from a minute's run to a minute and a half... to three minutes... then five... and gradually on to a full half hour.  The day that the podcasts I was listening to said 'you can now call yourself a runner' I could have wept with happiness.

Fast forward a year and I'm no longer obese - and have been at a normal weight since the middle of May last year.  I weigh over 80lbs less than when I started running and since the beginning of December 2013, I have run every single day.  As of today, that's 75 days of running!

... my fastest mile is currently 7 mins 38 seconds.  I'm entered for a 10k race in April and two half marathons later in the year.

I still find running REALLY hard work and have confidence issues about how far I can run and fear running with other people, which is ridiculous.  I feel like they'll find out I'm not a proper runner and discover I'm a fraud.

I thought I'd like to blog my experiences of trying to become a runner.

So here goes nothing!