Wow, so okay here I am embarking on a totally new experience, a new challenge involving running?!
Like most people, the prospect of running strikes the fear of god in your heart. 'Come on, admit it' I thought to myself, 'what better way to start of this new year then to over come that fear'? Running for me is actually quite an intimidating form of exercise and I usually shy away from it – I mean I don’t even run for the bus! So between you and me, I reckon I’ve thrown myself in the deep end here!

I will triumph. FACT.

Day Nine

After having a week off, surprisingly I think I was suffering withdrawal symptoms.. I was looking forward to re joining the girls for a run!

Tonight’s session was all about the 100 M sprint.  That’s enough to strike the fear of God in anyone’s heart – I know.

100 M is a lot further than it sounds, after doing a few I began to realise I was losing strength about half way in.

Attempting the first set at a comfortable but fast pace was quite hard.  I tried to think about many things – keep the arms moving, the legs pumping as fast as you can etc. I don’t  even recall focussing on the “finish line” which I suppose is the most important thing!

After a few attempts Cat told us the proper way to start off – just like the Olympic runners – It felt slightly alien at first – but it certainty made a difference.

Apparently the first few secs are crucial – this is where you cover the most distance in the fastest amount of time – so practicing setting off in this manner was fantastic, as it helped me cover more distance!

Once I got home I researched how long it should take a “healthy” person to sprint 100 M.

15 secs.

How long did it take me?

22 secs.

Not bad for a first attempt 

Motivational Words

Motivational Words

(via teamspirittraining-deactivated2)

Day Eight

Exactly one week later : I had another ten Km race!! This one was in the beautiful Regent’s park but tbh with you, this was probably the one I was dreading the most.  I had signed up for this race with a group of friends whom I believe to be significantly healthier than me….. yes yes I know… I shouldn’t matter…..

I don’t know why but it mattered to me and it was playing on my mind right up until the day of the race.

Out of the group of ppl, only three of us signed up for the 10km, the rest did 5km.

I had previously texted Cat asking her what time she thought I could do it in.  She swiftly responded with 1h05mins.

Shave off ten mins from last week? Ha ha ha you’ve got an awful lot of faith in me I thought.

The route in comparison to Wimbledon’s route was much easier to handle  - a relatively flat course and one terrain to deal with.

This time, I didn’t stop once during the whole course (which I was extremely happy with ). I had my IPOD with me as well, so it helped to shut out the rest of the world.

Once the finish line was in sight I sprinted as fast as I could (something I didn’t do last week as @ that point I was haggered) Crossing the finish line, I couldn’t quite believe my eyes…I even asked the marshall if the timer was on the blink.

I HOUR FOUR MINS.

Let  us just take a moment  and let that sink in.

Anything is possible once you put your mind to it.

Day Seven

The Wimbledon Ten Km Audi Run

The day finally came.  I don’t  know weather I was excited or nervous – or both!!  I heard from a friend of mine,  that this route was a toughie – did I mention that this friend is a proper runner?!

Once I got there I immediately became intimidated.  Swarming around me were many what appeared to be professional runners decked out in the correct runner gear….

and then there was me in my crusty gym Kit…..

I tried to reassure myself that if they appear to be professional looking doesn’t necessarily mean they are….

An announcement breaks my thoughts

A presenter on the mic is interviewing one of the runners…..

“..have you ever done a 10km run before?…” I hear him ask…..

“Yeah….its my seventh one….”

Oh My God

Looking back at this day, I realise since I had no idea of the route, it was  really a blessing in disguise….. I f I had known what to expect I may have purposely accidently got lost on the way to the venue.

Everything that could have featured in a race was present in this one:

Multi terrain

Dodging cars

Dodging other participants with a tendency to push you out of the way (yes you heard right)

And (see I saved the best till last here) a 500 metre steeeeeep hill.

At the advice of Cat I attempted running up the hill by taking really small strides.  100metres in, and I honestly thought  I was going to make it.

By 250metres it was a different story – my heart was going to pop and my legs felt like lead. So, sadly I stopped and walked the rest of the way up.  Although it was just 250metres of the whole race, I was disappointed in myself for giving up.  Perhaps I’m over reacting but I had set myself an aim of not stopping  and sadly I wasn’t able to hit that aim.

In hindsight, I do realise I was being far too harsh on myself and that the route as a whole was absolutely hardcore.  I should be, in fact I am very proud of myself for finishing it in 1hour and 15 mins.

Bring on Octobers Audi 10Km race – I aim to beat this time.

Things can only improve from here.

Day Six

Our last session before the Audi ten Km run.  Where on earth did it all go? Honest to god, it just feels like yesterday that we started our LTR Training.

Tonight’s session was all about running at a steady pace for a long period of time.  Cat gathered us all together  and began directing us on the course we were meant to take.  She must have seen me zone out or something as she stopped midway and asked if I was following…

“Yeeeeeah course I am” I responded, in a slightly over  confident manner.  Blast she’s not going to fall for that….

Off we went, with just one thought in my head…just keep up with the group, you don’t want a repeat of last time…..

A small trip down memory lane.

The first ever  LTR course I did, I got lost in the “Steady State 8km” session.  To cut a long story short, it was dark, I wasn’t wearing my glasses and ended up turning into Battersea Park too early.  Having multiple heart attacks once realisation had set in that I was indeed lost (remember I was effectively running blind) I began to ask random joggers for directions back.

Turns out everyone  else did 8km , but because of my little adventure, I shaved off a few Km and ended up doing just 6km.

Back to present day….

So here I was in the same predicament, dark and no glasses (I can’t bring my self to wear contacts, poking my eyes really doesn’t sound appealing to me)

Barely five mins had past and I had lost everyone  - Jeez Deja Vu or what?

Positive thinking!!  Positive thinking!!

I actually made it past the point where I got lost last time and made it to Chelsea Gate. Totally in a euphoric  state.

Sadly this didn’t last for long.  I had forgotten the little loop we were supposed to do in the park (on the way back)

Faced with a dilemma – Do I go in the park and get lost or do I take the safest option and return back to base along the route I came from?

Choosing the latter, (what I thought was the most sensible choice) I get back to Cat just as she’s ringing around the hospitals (just kidding)

As  I explained to her, that I thought I cheated again  - she promptly collapses in a fit of laughter.

“You just did 10 KM, you’ve been running for 1h 22 mins non stop”

Perfect, I thought. I got lost again and this time I made my route longer?!

I guess that kind of evens it out from the last time….

A rough estimate of the route I took that evening…

http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/31297450/?open_ive_done=1

Day Five

The Five Km Run.

Tonight we were left to our own devices to tackle a five Km route that Cat had mapped out for us.  The last time I had attempted to follow directions for a mapped out route, I got lost, and gave poor Cat a heart attack.  What will happen this time I wondered.

Needless to say, I zoned out when the directions were given, but I pretended to understand (think Joey from Friends) Hmmm just keep up with the person infront of you and you’ll be fine I thought to myself.  A sudden flash of worry crept up on me and it was at this very instant that Cat was looking at me – Blast my cover’s been blown!

Bless her cotton socks, she does her best to reassure me, but it’s too late the look of fear is paralyzed on my face.

Off we go, keep up with the girls, keep up with the girls, pushing myself to do so, I soon wear out…embarrassing…slowing back down to catch my breath a big distance soon appears between me and the group.  Christ they are fast.

I decide to take it at my own pace, this is not a race, well actually it is in a way, a race with myself.   After establishing this key point, I actually felt a lot calmer.  So what If I get lost, I’ll just ask for directions like last time hahaha.

The route as a whole was actually a comfortable route, I didn’t feel the need to stop at any point.  This in itself shows massive improvement.

I made it back to the “finish line” in just over 37 mins beating my original time of 40 mins CHECK! aaand   I didn’t get lost DOUBLE CHECK!

Day three

Sweaty betty organised something called the “great British run”.  This even took place the night after my training session in Sloane square with the girls.  Now in theory this shouldn’t have posed  a problem.  In reality – one word = “ouch!!”

I have never in my live attempted running two evenings in a row.  In hindsight, I may never do it again (haha I’m just being melodramatic) 

So anyway, I felt a bit stiff during this run, but nevertheless I persevered.  We all ran down to the local park, which was 0.7 Miles and began doing our laps around the park which was 0.28 Miles.

The object of this exercise was to clock up as many miles as we could in one hour.  Each store would then add up these miles and take the average (depending on how many people turned up, if that makes sense)

This put me at ease, running the  laps at my own pace, I just didn’t feel the pressure of keeping up with anyone and tbh once I started, the aches and pains from last nights sessions just melted away.

About half way through, still amazingly trudging along, was totally in my own little world as I passed by a group of young boys playing with the footie.  I heard one of them say “look at her, she’s got a fat bum!”  needless to say that snapped me back to reality in an instant! I was going to answer them back, but by the time I thought of something witty I was already half way down the park! Damn that always happens .  I believe these sort of situations are what prevents many women, including myself, from running outside in the public. Bizarrely enough – tonight – I shook it off.  I’m proud of my curves!

The hour was soon over once back at the shop I calculated that I ran roughly 7.5 km in one hour.  Okay, so I didn’t  hit my aim of 10km, which initially upset me. But then it hit me, I ran 12.5 km over  just  two evenings.  What on earth have I got to be upset about?

Day Four

If there’s one thing that strikes the fear of god in me, it’s that word.

SPRINTING

Bold, just for the effect.

And to add to the matter, it started to rain just as we left Sloane Square and embarked on our usual route down to the park.  I don’t know what it is about running in the rain, but I always feel as if the “eye of the tiger” is playing in the background. (and would you believe, now that i’ve mentioned it, I can’t get it out of my head)

Arriving safely at the park (yes for all of you that never experienced it, its hard to run in the rain, I couldn’t see where I was going L ) we set up for our sprinting exercises.  After listening to explanations about how to run, how to use our arms to power us along… (Think terminator)  we all lined up and gave it a shot.  Woah running as fast as I can pumping my little arms, I felt like I was flying , adrenaline pumping through my veins…. this is actually more fun than I expected it to be (shuuush don’t tell Cat)

We were told to envisage an athlete’s  stance, at the start line, how when they begin to run, they are almost at an angle and then gradually there chest it up and face right ahead – imitate this.  That’s exactly what we did.

Mixed up in the session were some stomach exercises – my core is practically nonexistent, so any help is much appreciated.  Its amazing to see the strength of the other girls, I don’t think I saw one of them stop during the crunches… I aim to be like that one day!! Practice makes perfect and thats what I intend to do bring it on.

Doing these reps (both the sprinting and the stomach exercises) in the rain was someone liberating – added a nice little twist to the whole session. J   

Looking forward to next weeks session, I can feel the improvement already.

 

 

Day two

Okay, so I’m back for more – already this is a positive sign.  You may be laughing at that fact, but I assure you it’s a significant milestone!

Just between me and you, tonight I actually arrived a tad late and instead of proclaiming my happiness to the heavens above ( at a legitimate “reason” for missing the session) I was actually sad and a little annoyed with myself!

I actually surprised myself here with these genuine feelings! I thought my first reaction would have been one of Joy.

Needless to say, I thankfully arrived in the nick of time and joined the rest of the group did a few quick stretches and off we went.

Almost straightway I noticed that either the group as a whole were running faster, or (the plausible reason) I was running at the speed of a sausage dog

the little fella looks quite dramatic eh?

(the little fella looks quite dramatic doesn’t he!)

As these thoughts were running through my head I noticed one of the girls was running next to me  (lol I usually have tunnel vision you see) and it was almost as if she was reading my mind.  She too thought that the group were running faster (hurray! I’m not alone I thought) Perhaps our first session was just to ease us in? She suggests. Yeah no kidding, I feel like I’ve been thrown in the deep end here and I’m struggling to swim.

I must say though, it was nice to know I wasn’t the only one feeling like this.

The drills tonight had a bit of a twist to them – each one was 1km in distance and we were required to do three sets before a small valuable break. 3KMS?!  Oh no L a slight panic attack flowed upon me – we were required to put the elements we learned from last weeks “mini drills” into practice this evening.  So in my language, How on earth was I to run 1km straight at an 7, 8 or even a 9? 

I wont lie, I didn’t manage to keep up the intensity for the whole distance and I did feel myself slow down towards the end – but I tried my damndest  to push myself.  That’s what this course is all about pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Lord knows I did that!

Our last 1KM push yourself girls I hear Cat say.  Oh dear god, I’m going to need someone to push me in a wheelchair I thought .  I make it to the band stand and turn to run back to the finish line – have a guess at what happens next… a bunch of good looking lads decide to cross our paths

I’m well aware that the above photo is a slight exaggeration, but you get my drift…

There’s no chance for a break now, must save face! So i pushed my little legs that little bit more and sped up as I was passing them while at the same time trying to look like I was enjoying it.  I know women are meant to be able to multi task  but jeez louise – that was tough!!!

So there’s no looking back now, day one of learn to run as come upon us.  There’s no use trying to avoid it, so of I go. Greeted by everyone by Sloane square station – instantly any fears I have melt away.  I’m ready and willing to put in the effort.  Tonight’s session was (and I quote) is meant to ease us in to it, with some drills *gulp* Don’t worry says Cat, it’s not as bad as it sounds!  The thing I find hard with running is maintaining my breath usually within a few minutes, I feel like I’m about to have a heart attack and struggle breathing *normally*.  How to address this issue is simple, practice.  I’m not in a race with anyone I’m looking to better myself I tell myself as we sett off. 
Okay so far so good, concentrating on my breathing, deep breath in and out, still keeping up with the group (I know I surprise myself sometimes!) 
Cat drops back to chat to me, have a general catch up*uh ohhhhh* I think, I can’t talk and run at the same time.  This is a key moment for me – I actually held a conversation, albeit a small brief one.  I couldn’t do this before, noticing this slight improvement in myself spurred me on!
Arrived in the park and after a few stretches, we all get ready for the drills.  As explained by Cat, these drills are perfect for improving our stamina and working on our running technique.  Tonight we focussed on using our legs and arms correctly.  A few drills on each separately and then teaming our knowledge together all in one drill.  The knowledge that was imparted on us was very technical but we were assured that further down the line, once we become comfortable with running, this will become second nature.  I’m very glad I’m here listening to this as its important to lay strong foundations when learning to run.
I lost count of how many drills we ended up doing I could feel myself slowing down and getting tired esp after the sprinting drills – I began to wonder if I’d have enough energy to run back to the station? I quickly put these thoughts out of my head. I can do this, I will get back to the station without walking.
In any case, the journey back seemed to be much longer – has anyone else experienced that? – I began to wonder if we had taken a different route back haha.
I honestly began to slow down to the speed of a sausage dog, it took all my effort and determination not to walk.  Approaching the last set of traffic lights, I began to pray for it to turn red I just want a few seconds rest pleeease! Would you believe it – the lights turned red…casting my eyes up I whisper thank you and smile to myself.
Batteries recharged, i tackle the last part of the route with ease.
So there you have it, I didn’t stop J the red light doesn’t count, I mean that can’t be helped right?
I later find out from cat that we ran 3.5 / 4km wow I didn’t feel that at all.  Rewind two years and I’m not sure I could have done that– could it be I’m finally getting the hang of this running malarkey?! .
Leaving Cat and the rest of the girls, I was positively encouraged.  This is going to be a good experience, I think I’m actually going to enjoy this.
Leaving Cat and the rest of the girls, I was positively encouraged.  This is going to be a good experience, I think I’m actually going to enjoy this.

So there’s no looking back now, day one of learn to run as come upon us.  There’s no use trying to avoid it, so of I go. Greeted by everyone by Sloane square station – instantly any fears I have melt away.  I’m ready and willing to put in the effort.  Tonight’s session was (and I quote) is meant to ease us in to it, with some drills *gulp* Don’t worry says Cat, it’s not as bad as it sounds!  The thing I find hard with running is maintaining my breath usually within a few minutes, I feel like I’m about to have a heart attack and struggle breathing *normally*.  How to address this issue is simple, practice.  I’m not in a race with anyone I’m looking to better myself I tell myself as we sett off.

Okay so far so good, concentrating on my breathing, deep breath in and out, still keeping up with the group (I know I surprise myself sometimes!)

Cat drops back to chat to me, have a general catch up*uh ohhhhh* I think, I can’t talk and run at the same time.  This is a key moment for me – I actually held a conversation, albeit a small brief one.  I couldn’t do this before, noticing this slight improvement in myself spurred me on!

Arrived in the park and after a few stretches, we all get ready for the drills.  As explained by Cat, these drills are perfect for improving our stamina and working on our running technique.  Tonight we focussed on using our legs and arms correctly.  A few drills on each separately and then teaming our knowledge together all in one drill.  The knowledge that was imparted on us was very technical but we were assured that further down the line, once we become comfortable with running, this will become second nature.  I’m very glad I’m here listening to this as its important to lay strong foundations when learning to run.

I lost count of how many drills we ended up doing I could feel myself slowing down and getting tired esp after the sprinting drills – I began to wonder if I’d have enough energy to run back to the station? I quickly put these thoughts out of my head. I can do this, I will get back to the station without walking.

In any case, the journey back seemed to be much longer – has anyone else experienced that? – I began to wonder if we had taken a different route back haha.

I honestly began to slow down to the speed of a sausage dog, it took all my effort and determination not to walk.  Approaching the last set of traffic lights, I began to pray for it to turn red I just want a few seconds rest pleeease! Would you believe it – the lights turned red…casting my eyes up I whisper thank you and smile to myself.

Batteries recharged, i tackle the last part of the route with ease.

So there you have it, I didn’t stop J the red light doesn’t count, I mean that can’t be helped right?

I later find out from cat that we ran 3.5 / 4km wow I didn’t feel that at all.  Rewind two years and I’m not sure I could have done that– could it be I’m finally getting the hang of this running malarkey?! .

Leaving Cat and the rest of the girls, I was positively encouraged.  This is going to be a good experience, I think I’m actually going to enjoy this.

Leaving Cat and the rest of the girls, I was positively encouraged.  This is going to be a good experience, I think I’m actually going to enjoy this.

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