Sunday, 10 April 2011

Run, previously fat girl, run

When I first started going to running club in January I had one simple aim: to keep going to running club so I didn't lose face. Additional aims were to lose weight (in combination with a diet) and, if I didn't injure myself horribly, to perhaps run the Standalone 10K in October. So I didn't really expect to be running a 10K race in April. But today I did.
 My aim before I started the race was to finish in just under an hour, since I ran 10 km a few weeks ago with the running club in that time. But that time was set in the cool evening, and I was racing in daytime heat (I think it was about 20 degrees today), so I wasn't too hopeful. Furthermore, the Flitwick 10K course is described as "undulating", and I can safely say, there were a couple of hills!

Check out my new red hair!
As I set off I kept repeating various tips I'd picked up at running club: don't set off too fast, keep your strides short, take the downhill sections easy. It was quite difficult to do anything other than follow the crowd for the first 2 km. The first noticeable hill was around 3 km but, because I spotted a photographer was snapping away, I took it at speed (and overtook a couple of neighbouring runners in the process)! 

Around this point I was aware of a lady running in a thick T-shirt and long trousers, panting like she was about to collapse (I imaginatively nicknamed her panting woman). I targeted and then overtook her, only for her to speed up and retake me. Damn, she can't do that!

There was a water station at 5 km (roughly 3 miles) and I gratefully took a cup, only to almost drown myself by inhaling most of it. This is why I don't drink while running. At 7 km there was a rather daunting looking hill and at this point I sneaked one of my two secret weapons (a jelly baby) from my back pocket, and the energy boost/placebo effect got me up the hill without faltering. And I (finally) shook that blimin' panting woman!

There was another horrible hill around 8 km (another jelly baby consumed to help) but by this point I knew I was nearly at the end (and that it was mainly downhill). Ignoring the advice I'd been given, I upped my pace and overtook dozens of other runners. THAT is a fab feeling! As I saw the village green come into sight I knew I was almost finished. A spectator shouted "Come on Stotfold!" (YES!) and I managed to find a bit extra to get me over the line quickly.

Rear shot because I have a nice ass now, apparently ;)
And my time: 57 minutes and 18 seconds! So I achieved my aim by quite a lot really. The summary from is below; I was really pleased to see those steady 9 minute miles, ending with a fast "sprint" (times not 100% accurate though, iPhone not up to the job as usual).

The pain wasn't quite over for me; both my kids wanted to run in the children's 1-mile fun run. I told my 5-year-old son to stay with me and his sister, but he sprinted off into the distance! My husband spotted he'd got away from me and I have never seen him run so fast to catch him up so he could run with him! Son finished in less than 10 minutes (future runner I think [Stotfold juniors?!]) and me and my 3-year-old daughter in about 20 minutes (she said "Mummy this is really hard!"). But neither of them stopped for a moment, so I was very proud. And we all have a medal to show for our hard work.

Proper medals!

Roll on my next challenge. Any ideas what I should do?!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

800-mile challenge

Last Friday, I spent the evening catching up with two old work colleagues. Both of them are runners, so we all swapped our achievements and stories over dinner. Abbie ran the London Marathon last year, she swears she will never run it again (she's currently training for a half marathon in May). Zoe is running a 10K later this year.

Abbie was telling me about a website she's set up called 800-mile challenge. The idea is simple: to log 800 miles worth of exercise in a year. The exercise can be of any type (walking, running, cycling, swimming, etc), or a combination. She reckons it's easy enough, only 15.5 miles a week! Easy for someone training for a half marathon!

Sounds like a challenge even so, and since I'm a naturally competitive person, I've signed up. Fortunately, I've been logging my runs since January on Runkeeper, so I know I've already clocked up 124 miles (although some of those are from cycling).

I'm going to have to buck my ideas up though, I've got a long way to go. I'm either going to be logging all my short walks on the school run or doing loads of exercise in December!

Are you up to the challenge? Let me know in the comments if you sign up, or if you want to share any achievements.
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