Wednesday, 28 September 2011

First Run

So I finally did it!  I got myself dressed and ready before J2 toddled off to nursery so I could go straight off running when I parked the car on the drive, and I stuck to it!

I decided to ease myself in gently, given that I have done no exercise for about 4 years and went with a 4 minutes run, one minute walk strategy, on the basis that I would do 20 minutes at a reasonable pace and that seemed to work really well.  I covered more distance than I thought I would certainly!

I also decided that this time around I would run with an Ipod.  This is not something I did in the past whilst training or racing, and oh my god, what had I missed out on.  It was fantastic!  The time flew by and it was much easier to gage the time I had been running by how many songs had played rather than doing the dreaded 'looking at the watch' every 30 seconds!  I am a definite convert.

I found that I ran better to 'heavy/noisy' songs rather than perhaps the type I would just listen to indoors.  When I am starting to get tired I try and make myself run faster so that when I slow my original pace seems good again and I certainly needed the music to help me achieve that.

And I must note, I think that Mother Nature was listening when I pledged that I would run today.  It was the most perfect and beautiful weather for it, warm with a light breeze, which made the seafront which I ran absolutely picturesque, the sea was blue and twinkling away, stunning.  It made me realise how much I have missed it and that I am very blessed to have the ability to be able to run.

This was certainly the right decision.

As well as being good and going out for my run today I also entered myself into the Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon in March 2012, so I now have a firm goal to work towards.  Now I need to find myself some shorter races to build on! 

What a good start!  Until the next run!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Exciting Bit

As with any new (or in this case 're-born') hobby, one of the most exciting parts is the bit where you get to go out, check out what you need to par-take in aforementioned hobby, and BUY it (you shouldn't be surprised that I am excited at this, afterall I am female and gave up shopping for myself when I had kids!) 

Now as noted in my previous blog, I started running because it was free and that is still one of the best parts about it (plus, you can literally run 'anywhere' so you can see all manner of amazing things) but one thing you do need to invest in for this activity is a decent pair of running shoes.

Now I lucked out in a BIG way the first time around with this particularly need to expend lots of cash.  I went along to watch my great friend (Big AW) participate in a Basketball Tournament.  While we were there, raffle tickets came around and I bought a frugal one strip.  At the end of the tournament, the tickets were drawn and I won.  The first prize?  A pair of (massive) Mens Basketball Shoes!

Now of course I didn't donn that particular pair and run the marathon attempting to be a clown, no no, the actual prize allowed me to go to the (very generous) shoe shop and swap them for something in my size.  And, this is a good story for kids actually, because I went along and didn't choose the most expensive pair of running shoes in the store (remember you have to find running shoes for fit and comfort, not look or style, although I did love my first pair, and we went through so much together!) he also chucked in a load of running socks, some sweat bands and sponsored my Marathon quest.

But alas, one pair of running shoes does not a life time make, and I am pretty sure that my old faithfuls wouldn't serve my knees well this time around.  So today, my hubby informed me last night, we are off out to get me some new foot coverage, and I have woken up today as excited as a child waiting for Christmas!  I am slightly surprised by this, because usually I am a bit adverse to spending on money on things for myself (I have plenty and I am not the one growing out of everything, fortnightly, it sometimes seems!)  However, I think because I really do need these to be able to slot another piece of the 'Back to Running' plan into action, it throws a whole new light on the matter.

I have noted however, that I do only need shoes, I still have (and somehow fit into) all my running clobber from last time.  But I suppose if there is something hi-vis in Pink, that wouldn't go a-miss...

Thursday, 22 September 2011

All the excuses in the world...

I remember when I was training for the Marathon the first time around, anything and everything could be an excuse.  No matter how weak an excuse, someway or another it could be justified.

As this blog is here to serve as my 'running conscience' I thought it was best to 'oust' these potential excuses so that they are cast in stone, black and white, so that whenever I dare to use one that is not deemed 'legitimate' I feel 'The Shame' and should therefore technically be guilted into getting my backside out pounding those streets.

So, here forth are 'The Excuses' :

1. 'I'm tired' - Exercise will make you feel more energised so get going!

2. 'I'm hungover' - I can't see this being a problem this time around to be honest...

3. 'I'm not in the mood' - Tough, get in the mood, people are going to a lot of effort so you can do this, move it

4. 'I've got my period' - See number 1

5. 'I haven't got a babysitter' - O.k legitimate one that I can't do a lot about so let's hope that doesn't happen very often... although they do make 'running buggies'... the women in NY manage to jog with babies around Central Park (yes, real, seen with own eyes)

6. 'I've got to make dinner' - Do a stew and let it simmer whilst you get out on those streets

7. 'I'm hungry' - Eat a banana and do something when you get in, best to eat as soon after running as possible remember because your body absorbs it up better (I read once if you can't face food straight away have a milkshake - I liked that article...) and mental note, schedule runs / eating better next time, still not a legitimate excuse, off you go...

8.' I ache' - You'll get past it, and doing a marathon requires mental stamina, you'll get two lots of training in one today!

9. 'I'm supposed to do the training I don't like today, maybe I'll skip it and do it another day' - Won't ever happen, deal with it and get outside, and just remember the less enthusiastic you are about doing 'fartlek' (yes it's a real training session intermitting sprinting with jogging, on inclines... why do I want to do this again...?) when you have completed it you'll feel on top of the world.

10. 'I don't feel well' - Not to be confused with 'I am unwell' - Depending on level of 'feeling unwell' take a judgement call, but don't be weak, or use 'unwell' to mask just plain old 'tired'

11. 'I am unwell' - Legitimate reason and shouldn't run or do exercise if unwell, could be more detrimental than good.  But don't become 'man' like an call a sniffle a cold

12. 'What's the point' - Look at your son that would love to be able to walk let alone run

In fact, for all these pathetic excuses just remember that.  You have the ability to do something amazing, to run free, to get pumped up, to join in races that are fun and rewarding.  Stretch yourself.  Push yourself.  Imagine how much running he should have done now in his life.

If that doesn't get you outside, nothing will.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

On Your Marks...

The post from my 'family life' blog that started it all...

The Challenge (Sunday 18 September 2011)

Once upon a time, I pounded the streets of London for 26.2 miles (and not on a drunken 'let's try and visit every pub in London (impossible btw) mission on a Friday night).  Once upon a time... I ran a marathon.  I was as shocked as everyone else (although they graciously tried to pretend that they were not) when I announced I was going to do it.  It was one of those experiences where I could feel and hear the words leaving my mouth, talking enthusiastically about training for body and mind and brainstorming with friends on how I was going to do the fundraising for Scope.

It was one of those moments in life however, where I could talk the talk, make as many lists, positive affirmations notes to stick up, training schedules in pretty colours as I liked, but without actually getting out and doing the grass roots training I was going to fail.  And I pretty much live in fear of the word 'fail', so there was no way I was going to be able to let that happen.  I was going to have to do it. 

Now I had 'claimed' I was going to do things before, perhaps bought the gear to do it, planned and planned and planned to do it, but never actually got round to doing it.  So what was different this time?  What had made me fill out that 'Scope London Marathon Application Form', write out the £50 deposit cheque, put it in an envelope and put it in that ER Royal Mail Post Box?

My son.

My son was born in 2003.  One year later in 2004 he was diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy.  What did that mean?  It meant my boy had tragically suffered brain damage when he was born.  The damaged part of the brain is the part that controls his ability to sit, his brain doesn't send the messages to his torso to say 'sit your body up' so, it doesn't.  He can not sit unaided.  The messages his brain tries to send his legs and arms get confused so they sometimes do what he wants them to, but not with many of the fine motor skills required for it to not be a struggle or very hard work for him.

It was watching him struggle to do the most basic of moves that compelled me to think about the disgusting lazy attitude, I had been taking all these years about the gift of an my own able body.  All those years of driving to the corner shop instead of walking for 5 minutes.  All the times I 'couldn't be bothered to go swimming' or for a bike ride.  All the years I had moaned about having to walk urgghhhhh into town along the beautiful seafront.  What a selfish girl I had been.  What my boy would give to be able to do that huh?

So I decided to try and right some of that wrong and decided that I would look at some of the 'adventures' that the charity Scope offered people to do to raise money for them, that would give me a goal to get fit.  A friend and I mused over the idea of the Inca Trail in Peru, and decided that before we committed ourselves, both of us should try and get fit, because for that trip in the high altitude, you needed better lung capacity.

Being a single mother I did not have the money to join a gym so thought I would start walking and jogging, merely because it was free and I lived in the most perfect area for walking and jogging!  I think because I had been the most unenthusiastic (hear - 'lazy') person with regard to exercise before (just ask my PE teacher - I only managed to scratch a 'D' for effort because I was willing to pack up the equipment after every lesson, not for my athletic ability or want) the fact that I got myself out and complete a 10 minute walk/jog cycle that first day, it made it even more satisfying.  And I love that feeling.  So I tried again, and again and again.

Of course the first issue to overcome was finding the time to fit in the training sessions.  I had a young baby.  Cue my fantastic parents, who I think were so blinded in shock by the fact I was choosing to run that they fell over themselves to help.  In fact they not only baby sat, but my dad dutifully trailed me on his bike (my mum thought it was a safety wise move I think) as of course, most training is done in the cold, dark, cold, wet, cold, snowy (you get the idea) months!

I got signed up to a running magazine which had inspirational stories, ideas, tips and advice.  I got chatting to 'other runners' and felt better when they said sometimes 10 minutes in they felt like quitting too, but likewise when you did complete a run after that it felt even better.  I signed up to local races, and by then well and truly got the bug.  My life took on a whole new timetable and it was great.

About half way through I started blogging about 'the lead up to the marathon' and this was the most useful tool.  I found some great people to chat to and other blogs to read that made me laugh, feel better, sympathise with.  I met those people in person at races we established we had all signed up too.  It was a fantastic network.  And I found that blog all neatly printed a while back, which is what I think gave me the final push to start this blog.

The year I ran, 2006 was the year it rained, cold and miserable, from start - to - 'got so sick of rain dripping off my eyelashes sorry for myself I wanted to sit in one of the tunnels and never come out (well that's how it felt at the time - finish. 

26.2 miles.  That's farrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

But I didn't realise or appreciate that at the time.  And I was told, it would take year's before I would actually comprehend what I had achieved.  And they were right.  People also said that I would take a break afterwards and probably wouldn't go back to it.  They were right.  I wish they weren't.  Because I never did get back into it.  Life got in the way.  A change of jobs meaning I was working in the city with a long commute was my main excuse.  Then I fell pregnant again and now have 'Mr Energy' himself to contend with 24/7 as well as raising my older son of course.  Excuses, excuses.  And SHAME ON ME.  Because I still have that exact same driving force with me every day and that vigour to want to do it for him, to raise money for the wonderful charities for all those people like my son, should still be there.

And it is, today it has raised it's weary head.  So I plan today to sign up for a local race and set into the schedule times to train.  Hubby, sorry you will be on baby duty at least once over the weekend for training and then my dear family I will need your support on race days.  Then we will see just how much training and stamina building I can fit in to see how high up the length of race ladder I can go!

Maybe I could even start a blog specifically on that, an extra little driving force maybe?

Wish me luck people!