Saturday, 26 May 2012

3k Thursdays

In my last post, I had a hare-brained idea; to start a running group aimed at beginners which would act as a support system and encourage more people to take to the streets and parks of beautiful Harrogate. 

Since then, things have been a little crazy - the response has been great; there are now over 100 followers of @RunHarrogate on Twitter and almost 40 people have signed up to take part.

We had our first session on Thursday; it was really nerve-wracking but everyone was lovely and 15 of us took part, with my physiotherapist, Vicky leading the warm-up. As it was the first session I really didn't know what to expect and other than seeking advice from the lovely Bangs and a Bun, I didn't really do much to prepare. I wanted to go with an open mind and see what kind of pace people were running before making any decisions, which worked out really well as the group fell naturally into three groups: Laid Back and Lovely, Caught in the Middle and Speedy Gonzalez. 

For the next session I plan to separate out the groups, choosing someone to lead the pace for each one - hopefully this will encourage some of the less confident runners. 

The feedback from the first session was fantastic, with pretty much all of the runners dropping me a little message to say how much they enjoyed it and how welcome they felt, which was great - mission accomplished! Hopefully everyone will take the group to their hearts and become proud of it - but more than that, I hope it helps everyone on the way to reaching their goals.

So all is going well, we have even created a little identity for it:

It's all fairly simple, but it seems to be working, so fingers crossed everyone still wants to come down and run as the weeks go by.

In other news, Lindsey and I are continuing with our preparations for the Berlin Marathon, and are clocking up a decent amount of miles per week. I was hoping to hit the big 50 miles on my blog counter by Monday but not sure that will happen now as I was forced to take a rest day today (my hip felt a little twangy on Friday - I have definitely learnt my lesson!).

On Monday I start the Lean Body Challenge, a three-week programme designed by Leeds fitness guru, Brendan Chaplin. It's pretty complex by the sounds of things so will post about everything's going when I've managed to get to grips with it, but from what I've heard he definitely gets results - hopefully it will get rid of the last of my baby podge!

Sam x

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Run Harrogate

So, I may have just started something pretty cool. 

This evening, my Berlin buddy, Lindsey was held up at work and for the first time in ages, I just didn't feel confident enough to hit the streets on my own. I think it was a timing thing - I've never run on my own in the evening before, preferring to jog around the streets of Harrogate under the relative cover of 7am. I feel good running at this time; safe, almost. Hardly anyone will see me, and if they do - well, they're either runners themselves or too bleary-eyed to care.

So it got me thinking - if I feel this way, surely others must as well. What I need is a group of like-minded people at a similar level who will run at a set time each week. That way if one of us can't make it, the support is still there. And so it started - Run Harrogate was born.

The response in the last half an hour alone has been incredible, with RTs, follows and enthusiastic e-mails about the first meet. So now I'm going to have to figure out a good 3k route - although I don't know if people will want to go further - I guess it's up for discussion, but I would hate to scare anyone off - especially first-timers.

Run Harrogate is a laid back alternative to traditional running clubs, where people can run entirely at their own pace and feel supported by everyone involved in the session - hopefully it will mean that everyone at some point will have the confidence to run the Harrogate Park Run on Saturday mornings, in addition to 3k Thursdays.

So there we have it - it's all very exciting!


Sam x


Monday, 7 May 2012

Picking Up the Pace

I'm not being funny, but time really needs to slow down a bit. Despite feeling like yesterday, it's almost a week since my last post - I have managed another seven miles and my hip is feeling great, thanks to Vicky and her wonder cure. But we're now just 20 weeks away from Berlin.
Lindsey and I have been out on our first three runs, managing a steady 3k each time. We both had boozy weekends filled with poisonous junk food (hello, Ikea meatballs and Krispy Kreme doughnuts) and it really took its toll. Our run this evening was just shy of the 3k mark and at a very slow pace - but at least we got our asses off the sofa on a Bank Holiday, so I guess it's better than nothing. It is actually pretty scary to see what an impact the food and drink we put into our body has on the way we perform. I went out running with Paul on Sunday morning so didn't feel too bad, but Lindsey felt very light-headed and nauseous so we walked some of the distance. At least lessons were learnt, and we conceded that boozy weekends would become fewer and further between as we approach September.
With my hip now feeling so much better, the temptation is there to go out every day to try and push myself - although I have learnt the hard way that this is the worst thing I could possibly do. It's great that I have the bug again - I'm even typing this extra fast because I'm so excited to get out there.
In spite of regular runs (however short), I have noticed that my weight seems to have plateaued - I have almost given up feeding Ruby myself so I don't have the calorie burn to rely on (500 kcal a day on average), which means I have to look elsewhere. It pains me, but I'm going to have to re-introduce Jillian Michaels and her bloody 30-Day Shred. I actually hate the woman, but she is very good at what she does and I can definitely manage 20 minutes a day. 
I'm also knocking the gin on the head for the next few weeks - I'm going to the Races for my friend's hen do mid-June so until then it's strictly nil-by-mouth booze-wise. 

In other news, I can't post without mentioning Sheffield Wednesday - what an amazing season, topped off with promotion back into the Championship. The whole experience was all the better as it came at the expense of the other side of the city - the majority of whom seem to have gone very quiet after their 'mind the gap' comments just a few short weeks ago. Football is a funny old game and they gave us a great battle but we're back where we should be - I'm very much looking forward to taking my place as a South Stand season ticket holder in August. 

So there it is - I don't think it's too much to ask to hit the 50 mile mark within the next fortnight; we are planning to increase our distances by .5km each time we run so fingers crossed I can stay injury-free.

Happy running,

Sam x

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Game Changer

Quite a lot has happened since my last post. My running has improved a lot since the physio sessions with Vicky and I have now clocked up 20 miles since I began this journey. It doesn't seem very much, but when I started out I couldn't even run 500 metres and I have been blighted with injury from the start - it's my first milestone of sorts, so I was pretty happy when my last run took me over the line. Next stop - 50!

In terms of Tough Mudder, my whole training regime is now changing after I surprised myself and volunteered to run the Berlin Marathon for Children with Cancer. I wanted to run Berlin a couple of years ago - my Dad ran it three times and we actually lived in Germany for three years when I was very little. I have the most amazing memories of Christmas markets with beautiful, sparkly decorations and the deepest snow imaginable - although I think it maybe just seemed really deep because I was so small. The chocolate is much better in Germany than over here and Easter is a huge deal - I remember these cute little chocolate ladybirds my sister and I used to eat, and I found some in this beautiful independent chocolate shop in Sheffield last weekend.

Anyway, I digress. I just wanted to write a little about how much I'm looking forward to going - it will be 28 years since I left but I'm hoping it will stir up a few memories.

So, I spoke to a lovely man at Children with Cancer called Ben. He ran Berlin last year and said it's a great course for a first marathon as it's predominately flat. The world record was set there and it's described as the fastest course in the world. Not that this has any relevance to me - if I get to the finish line I'll be over the moon - although we are going to try and finish in a time of around 4:30. My partner in crime for this event is the lovely Lindsey McNally, who was the one person I knew would say yes in a heartbeat; I had already signed her up before asking the question so I was more relieved than anything when she agreed. Tomorrow night will be our first training run and we plan to do it by the book - starting off slowly and building it up using the MARCO pacing strategy. If we run to an average pace of 10:18mi then we should finish just shy of 4:30 and we have 21 weeks left to train.

In addition to the marathon training, I am also going to be doing circuits at Performax at least once a week. I went last night for the first time in ages and absolutely loved it - Justin has moved to a new studio just out of town and there's oodles more space, so he has installed a TRX machine which I can see myself getting completely addicted to - our nine minute circuits last night included squat pulls followed by leg extensions on the TRX followed by; squat push with 10kg kettlebell, push up to plank, squat-hold with 5kg medicine ball, tricep dips, side twists with 5kg medicine ball (all on Powerplate), burpee to push up with one of those horrible air filled domes and then this weird rope exercise which makes you look like you're interviewing for a job as Santa. Anyway, all that three times and I was knackered, but it also felt amazing to be back in the studio so a big thank you to Justin for that.

I have started a countdown to Berlin now - 151 days until Lindsey and I line up against 30,000 others at the Brandenberg Gate. Holy crap.

Sam x