Thursday, 18 October 2012

The time I ran my first 10k

So now that Running and I were back on track and having the relationship of our lives, I knew it was time to take it to the next level.

I'd set myself a Not Really Resolution of running 10km this year. And I'd specifically said that I wasn't going to enter a race because I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself. But I soon realised that although Running and I were getting on again, I needed something to push me or else we'd just stay stuck in the same 5km rut forever.

As luck would have it, Preston was holding a 10km race at the end of September and after much umming and aahing I decided to just go for it and book my spot and see how it would go.

I did keep meaning to train but the closing in of the nights, plus getting a job that means I walk a ridiculous amount every day, plus the rain, plus my general tendency towards idleness meant that training was non-existent tough-going. I managed to get to 7.5km one night which was great and then I made it up to 8km another night and I was feeling pretty good.

Then I got sick with the mean bug that has struck everyone down and in the 2 weeks before the race I managed one 5k run and that didn't go too well. I resigned myself to the fact that the race wasn't going to be where my 10k was going to happen.

One thing I did discover during the rekindling of my love affair with Running - I don't really like running to music. I get stressed out and distracted and start counting how many songs I've listened to and what the next song is and running to keep to the beat of the song, it just doesn't do it for me. The main problem I have with running is that I spend the whole time in a battle with my mind. It's just so mean to me from about 3km onwards it starts up moaning and then it begins;

"You're too tired. If you're too tired now and you've got to run even further then how are you ever going to run 10k? Maybe you should just stop now and oh my god you can't even breathe properly and wait do your knees hurt a bit, you should probably stop and good god aren't you running so slowly that you're basically walking? You should probably just stop now."

And this will continue until eventually I get to 5k and succumb to the voice. So I figured that I needed a distraction - music clearly wasn't cutting it.

Enter Desert Island Discs...

I have many of these podcasts downloaded to my iPod. And guess what? They're about 35 minutes each. And guess what? That's about how long it takes me to run 5km.

Hey. I never said I could run fast people.

So when I was at the startline of the Preston 10k I was there, iPod in hand, podcast cued up, ready to run.

Goldie Hawn kept me company for the first 5km. And I was glad of her because oh good god people weren't joking about the hills. I thought there was one hill I had to contend with, but pretty much from the get go I realised this was going to be tough. I'm not made for hills. I'm not used to hills. I don't do hills. I hadn't even noticed Preston city centre was that bloody hilly before - but I and my legs can assure you that it is.

I had made a promise to myself that I would try and get to 8km. Anything after that was a bonus. I wasn't going to beat myself up about it, I'd never run 10km before and I'd been ill and this course was frankly a little bitch. It wasn't really a course that was very geared up towards spectators either, which made it a kind of lonely experience, you need to know people are cheering you on I think.

I tried to not feel like the biggest loser alive when all the other people were running past me, I just kept my head down, listened to Goldie Hawn and did what I had to do.

Once Goldie was done and castaway, I turned to Mary Berry for help and I think she was what I needed. No nonsense Mary was the calming voice in my ear through the next 5km or so - keeping me company along the banks of the River Ribble and up the many ridiculous hills of Avenham Park.

The last hill is a joke. There are not even words to describe how steep it is. I struggle to walk up it normally. I can't say that what I was doing was "running" up it, more of a squatting waddle whilst vigourously pumping my arms, and by the time I got to the top, even though I wasn't entirely sure my legs were still attached to my body, I realised that I'd surpassed the challenge I set myself and had done over 8km. In fact, I was pretty much at 9km, and if I'd come this far....

The head went down. The arms pumped a little bit more. Mary Berry came to an end and Florence + The Machine entered stage right to see me through the final few minutes.

And a mere 1 hour and 18 minutes (I know. Don't laugh.) after I'd started out, I hopped over the finish line.

And pulled this face...

No it wasn't fast and no it definitely wasn't graceful. But it was done. And I could even tell you that I enjoyed it and I wouldn't really be lying.

And before you ask. No I will not be doing a half marathon next. I am not even a little bit tempted. 10k is good enough for me and I think this is where I'll stick and settle myself down. Long enough that it's a challenge, not so long that the training takes over your life and your body gets ruined.

Man it feels good to at least get one of those things cross off my Not Really Resolutions list. It's not going to be a good year Not Really Resolutions-wise...

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

How Running and I fell out (and then got back together)

Running and I had a pretty major falling out at the beginning of this year. Like a serious shouting, screaming, throwing things at each other falling out.

I didn't really understand how our relationship had got to that point - for years and years we'd hated each other, couldn't loathe to have anything to do with another but then we'd turned a corner and realised that actually we got on pretty well. In fact, we got on really well. Before I knew it we were having early morning and late evening get togethers. We were out on weekends together and frolicking in the rain. We even ran the Race for Life last year and celebrated afterwards.

I liked the way that Running made me feel. He made me feel good about myself. I felt energised and healthy and he played a huge part in helping me lose all my weight. I was so excited about our relationship that I ignored the major huge flashing warning signs that kept cropping up...

...Shin splints.

Many people get them and many people complain of them and everyone has them in varying degrees. I had killer shin splints. And only in my left leg. When it flared up I couldn't even have my trousers resting against them, let alone an ice pack, the swelling was gross and even when I could bear to touch them, a lump would remain. I saw a podiatrist, who gave me some insoles. I saw a physiotherapist, who gave me some exercises.

It was basically couple's therapy. And Running and I failed at it. The pain got too bad, having to start again at the beginning each time  they flared up was too irritating and eventually Running and I parted ways.

But I just couldn't give up on him. Especially seeing as I'd made a Not Really Resolution this year to run 10k and even more especially because my weight was slowly piling back on and I was going to 10ton tessie before I knew where I was.

Who knew that unemployment would have a silver lining? I suddenly had plenty of time to go out and have a run. I even lived near the Docks, which handily is 2.5km around the perimeter - almost a sign some would say.

So I did what I knew I had to and started from the very beginning. I spent a week only running 1km. Then ran 2.5km. Then ran 3.5km and before I knew it, I was back not only running 5km. It was a long and difficult journey that Running and I took though. It wasn't easy. Back last year, when I first started running, all I was doing was improving and therefore had the incentive to carry on, now I was back at the beginning again it was tough because my brain was vicious and would spend the whole time screaming at me, "YOU SUCK! YOU USED TO BE ABLE TO RUN 5KM AND NOW YOU CAN ONLY DO 3.5KM. GIVE UP GIVE UP GIVE UP GIVE UP."

For reals. My brain is well tough on me sometimes.

But Running and I stuck together through thick and thin and before I knew it our relationship was back on track again. And even better, I was running and not experiencing any issues with my shin splints.

I am at a complete loss to explain why my shin splints have gone away. Maybe all the professionals were right and I really did just need to be patient and build up slowly. However I much prefer my theory that the pavements in Preston are somehow squishier than those in Hull. It's just more fun that way.

Running and I soon found ourselves in such a good place that we knew we could take it to the next level and before I knew it - I had 10k in my sights....

To be continued...

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Conversations about sport with The Person: Cricket

Me: I don't understand what the big deal is about this Kevin Pieterson bloke. What did he do, send some texts?

The Person: Yeah he sent messages to the South Africa team slagging off his teammates.

Me: So?

The Person: What. You don't think it would be a bit demoralising and awkward sitting in a changing room knowing one of your teammates has been slagging you off?

Me: I'm a girl. That was literally my entire time at school and pretty much the entire time I'm at work at the moment.

Next time: Football

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


So I try really hard to make the best of my bad situation. Also known as The Worst Job in the World. I get on with my work and try hard to get on with my colleagues and generally be good natured.

But my god do I work with some thick people.

Allow me to elaborate.

The other day we had a quiz at work to raise some money for charity. One of the questions was,

"Which artist is responsible for the sculpture The Thinker?"

Then someone pipes up with,

"Bruce Forsyth"


What was more upsetting was not just that she'd said it, but that it was merrily being written down as an answer by someone else. And then when I cried out "No!" Another member of time tried to correct me and demonstrated the pose.

I should have known it wasn't going to get better but I didn't anticipate it getting even worse which it did when the same person piped up with the answer "The Sun" to a question about something having an orbit of so many years.

And don't get me started on the person on another team who thought there was 60cms in a metre and responded to the statement "Is the Pope a Catholic?" with, "I don't know. Is he?"

I also had the pleasure of trying to explain to a colleague why the kettle uses more electricity when you fill it up to the top rather than just putting in what you need. She had genuinely no idea and thought a kettle just used a set amount of energy regardless of the volume of water.

And that is why you may read about me one day in the news. The Girl who went batshit crazy at work.