It’s definitely been a busy week of firsts! What better way to keep the running flame alive?
Club Hoppin’ across the runner-verse
So as I waved goodbye to one club and said a hearty hello to another, I was excited about the prospect of trying something new.
I’ve been a member of Maindy for around 18months and they’ve been so amazing and supportive as people. The club itself is owned by the local leisure centre so there’s an ask of paying per session to run outdoors. After a few conversations, I decided that this might actually be a good thing. There are some running goals that I want to achieve and some coaching that I’d like and the other club could provide this.
So I got in touch and was told to go along and see what it was all about.
When I arrived after work on Thursday evening, there were around 30-40 people at the meeting point. There were ladies and gents with estimated timings per mile on yellow boards so I had to decide there and then how fast I wanted to complete my 5miles in. I joined the 10min/mile group and got underway.
We went on a lovely run, through forestry, along the road, down woodland paths, through housing estates and we were chatting the whole way. I managed to keep up the steady pace which was surprising seeing as I tend to start slow and get quicker when I know I’m getting to the end!
There was a range of challenges from hill running, trail running, road running and keeping a good pace. I kept up with the guys I was running with who were really great and very supportive.
We finished around 50minutes later and had a warm down and more chatting/meeting other members. I was made to feel so welcome so definitely going back and definitely joining them!
Beat the Best!
After my successful 5miler on Thursday, my sister and me took our places in the usual Saturday morning Parkrun along with 600 other runiasts (running enthusiasts). On a time pressure to be somewhere an hour away by 11am, my sis and me hot-footed it around the 5k course, weaving in and out of fellow runners and enjoying the sunshine. We were going at a great pace and ended up beating both our PBs. My PB was 29mins for a 5k last year but beat it on the weekend, coming in at 28:44. Definitely want to get this down so will be trying my hardest. However, I did need to save some energy for the fun run 2 hours later…
Somewhere over the Rainbow…Run
Has anyone else ever taken the plunge and signed up for a Colour Run? I thought I’d give it a shot. It was for a local children’s charity close to the hearts of my other half and his family, so we thought why not.
It was a beautiful day down on the beach, with 1400 people signed up to take part. It was a great excuse to get your ne-on and join the party, while raising money for a great cause. Everyone was in fancy dress, including us, but we resembled the BT 118 118 blokes!
Now, the tough bit wasn’t fighting the freezing wind, or standing in a queue for a car park ticket for 45minutes, no.
The hardest bit was not running and being competitive for this race. In all honesty, this was a ‘fun’ run so we just plodded along, having a giggle and getting completely covered in powdered paint.
At first, I wasn’t too impressed but as the event went on, it got pretty funny. We went from Smurfs to Oompa Loompas in a manner of minutes and our white t-shirts were no longer sparkling.
We and everyone else ended up in a collage of paint and smiles and endless selfies (moreso me trying to get some crackers to show everyone how fun it was). No one would have guessed that we’d have taken a trip to the local supermarket looking slightly out of place in our questionable attire.
All that excitement, getting a Parkrun PB and the sea air made me a very sleepy person. But no rest for the wicked as Sunday brought some more challenges….
Running up those hills
Now, living in Wales, we’re gifted with beautiful countryside, offroad tracks that most trail runners would kill to complete and dozens of hills. I’m aware of the hills but I’ve never, ever had to run up quite so many of them.
I decided to take part in the Tenovus Cancer Care 10k in Carmarthen because it was for work, it was for a good cause and I really wanted to run somewhere else on a different course. I asked my colleagues what the course was like and they told me it was lovely and scenic and a little bit challenging.
So I went and volunteered on the registration desk, helped to set up for the event and got chatting to some other runners.
We started off up a steady incline through the Gardens and out of the Park. The course was very hilly with steep inclines and declines. Looking at my splits, you can see where the hills were! But as you can see, the long & winding roads were gorgeous to run on. As I made my way up the various mountains (they certainly felt like them at the time), I started chatting to a lady from a local running club. To her and the rest of the club, this was a great annual event and it got that bit less challenging every year. I was pretty impressed that we managed to keep up the guise of average conversation throughout this ordeal. She was a great pacer and I was always in her sights and vice versa.
Around 55minutes and with a kilometre left to go, I knew I wouldn’t beat my 10k PB. Alas, 4minutes later, I was over the finishing line with my newly made friend and we both finished bang on 59mins 10 secs. There were laughs and hugs after we’d done. BIG relief on my part! If I can finish the hilliest race of my life 4mins longer than my PB on a flat, this year’s 10ks should be awesome!
After a sit down, a well deserved drink and a chat with some of my fellow runners, I was back to working again. Taking down the last few times and helping to pack up. The usual post event stuff. My 10min chillout was captured by one of the volunteer photographers I’d briefed. Forgot to mention that I didn’t want to be snapped but hey ho!
The journey home involved breaking down how great the event was, how hilly it was, how much my legs hurt and how my colleague would make a fabulous van driver. When we got back to the office and I had to get out of said van, my legs were extremely wobbly and didn’t want to move. I think I used so much energy getting over those hills and pushing myself, I didn’t realise how tired I was.
My other half, needless to say, found my post-event whinging highly amusing especially when he foam rolled me and I laughed hysterically in pain.
Consequently, it ended with me wobbling to the sofa, plonking myself down and not moving for a sufficient amount of time. As you can gather, this race almost finished me off.
When you read the next bit, it might just make you question my logic….
So, you may have guessed by the subtitle… I’m going to enter the ballot for the 2016 London Marathon. This may be the best or in fact, worst thing I’ve ever decided but I won’t know until I’ve done it. I’m off to London this weekend to watch volunteers, family and friends run the Marathon and I know, like the Bath Half, I’ll be twitchy and get marathon-fever. I also know that I’ll be so inspired by the amazing people and the atmosphere and have a sheer competitive nature when it comes to beating what I’ve already done! I bet you guys know exactly what I mean right? I mean, isn’t that what us runners are guilty of constantly?
I’m actually really excited about entering. I know with the ballot it’s nigh on impossible to get in unless you’re an obscure age, living in an odd place, and happen to run ultra marathons in your sleep but I thought I’d give it a fair old bash. To be fair, I mentioned my eagerness to run the VLM 2016 to my charity work colleagues who have now said I can have a charity place so either way, as my other half rightly pointed out, I’m doing it.
I think all this exercise, and running, and planning to run, and taking part in excess events is taking its toll… Roll on VLM 2016… I might be in a constant state of this for weeks to come before, thinking ‘what have I done?’ and for weeks afterwards because all my limbs have packed in… I can’t wait! 4th May I’ll be signing up… Will you?
So if anyone has any advice pre-signing up, it would be great to know it! Is there anything I need to know?