My Year in Running

Well I say my year, but it only started in May so it’s kinda just over a half-year. I’m not going to go over how I got into running because I’ve already done that, but I’ve seen some great recaps over the blogosphere so I thought I’d give it a crack myself!

Races I’ve taken part in this year:

I wouldn’t have even considered entering any races had it not been for Gary. I was just starting to run and finding that 1 mile was knackering, but I remember he’d seen an advert for the Race for Life and unknown to me had been researching how long you’d need to train for it with relation to when our local race was. He told me to sign up. I had to think about it because it seemed way too soon but after mentioning it to a friend and hearing she’d done it before and would happily train and run it with me I was all set!

Running 3.1 miles is a daunting thought and training through some of the hottest days of the year was no picnic. But alongside Tash I found my running mojo and as much as I hated it sometimes I could see the progress I was making. And always at the back of my mind was the thought of owning my very own shiny running medal. That was motivation enough. It wasn’t until about a month before the race that I found out my sister was volunteering at the event – she’d signed up totally separately, not knowing I was running, and just so happened we’d be there together. The feeling of support from friends and family kept me strong, and I seemed to be motivating people I worked with at the time to consider running too.

I loved the suspenseful feeling and anticipation of waiting to race. When you finally do set off there’s so much going on around you that you don’t really notice you’re running for about a mile, which is good with me! This particular race ended with the king of all hills. I’m still proud to say I ran the whole thing whilst dodging walkers all around me –  I was the only person around me who ran it. Next year I plan to do the same, but better! My family was at the sides cheering me on and at the end Tash and I had a big hug wearing our medals. We did it!

after

The Big Fun Run was about a month later, and took place in the area that I, and now Gary, had been training in. I liked the idea that the route was familiar. I roped Tash in again and the three of us had trained and were ready for a new 5k. Being a fun run there were many fancy dressed people and I got a little annoyed at consistently being overtaken by Bananaman and Spiderman…… ah well. Again I loved the buzz of this race and got caught up with the runners at the front – I ran off too fast pulling a face much like Animal. I didn’t care. The sense of achievement and being able to run a race with Gary too was immense. Two races down, two shiny medals.

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I knew by this point I wanted to move up to a 10k but I didn’t know which one. I’d seen a Crohn’s one, but was put off a little by the lack of medal at the end. I’m sorry but if there’s no medal there’s no point. I’d searched through loads of race lists to find the ideal one and nothing was jumping out at me. Then one morning a twitter friend and fellow runner retweeted about a Women’s Running Series 10k taking place in London’s Finsbury Park. It was far enough away to train for, had a medal and goody bag at the end AND cake! Well I was sold!

The idea of travelling to London to take part in a race was a little odd – train there and thankfully Gary’s parents came to watch and drove us back home afterwards. I must say it was exciting getting off the tube and seeing so many women of different ages, shapes, sizes and fitness. Having been told it was a flat course I was a tad surprised to see so many hills – I’d say the route was all hills and one big slope back down. Two laps of the same route and the 10k was complete. I still can’t believe I achieved it and sub 70 mins, which was my aim.

after

I had assumed my racing was complete for the year and Gary and I continued to train but it’s hard without a focus, I find. I had been suffering with runner’s knee which was being supported by a patella strap – those things are magic. I also started to suffer with ITB pain, which I’m still struggling to understand and deal with. But the next opportunity appeared and I grabbed it with both hands – and dragged my work colleagues with me!

The Mo-Run for Movember just happened to be right outside our doors and so it seemed rude not to support it. With races of 5k or 10k we signed up for the longer option and I roped Gary in too – He really wanted to run a 10k before the year-end and this seemed perfect. The race was less than perfect for me, however, due to injury, pain and severe lack of preparation – but we did it! With masses of support from my team-mates I made it and in a shorter time than my first 10k! Whoop!

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The buzz of the race has definitely got to me. So much so that I already have a pretty hefty race list for next year, some already signed up for! So here’s my race list for 2014 – I’m sure it’ll be added to….

I’m so pleased that Women’s Running have added Milton Keynes to their 10k series locations. I’m really lucky to live somewhere that’s quickly becoming a go-to location for races, but I also like the idea of going away to run in a new location too. Gary and I also intend to apply for the 2015 London Marathon once they open registrations.

I still get asked why I run. I really want to turn back to those people and ask ‘why *don’t* you run?’ but instead I usually say it’s for the medal – which it honestly is because who can resist a reward for that hard work? But it really boils down to this: I run because it’s difficult. There’s no point in doing something if it’s easy – where’s the reward? I want to push myself and when it starts to get easy I want to make it hard again and run further, or faster.

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I’m excited to see what I can do in the next year, frustrated that I’m contending with injury, but motivated to overcome it. Along with the strength training I’m doing at the gym, I can see by the end of next year I will be stronger, fitter and hopefully much more tanned – running outside in the summer is amazing for the skin!

Here’s to the next year and whatever shiny discs come with it!

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8 thoughts on “My Year in Running

  1. I can see you’ve become a little addicted…! 😛 One of the reasons I run is because I’m not relying on anyone else. Results are down to me working hard and it’s easy to set my own personal targets with running and the feeling of beating your goal is something pretty amazing!
    I spotted that the WR 10k series was coming to MK as well. Hopefully it will fall on a weekend I can make. London was a little far for me to go this year but I heard so many good things about the race it would be nice to give it a go. I’ve not raced a 10k since I first started running so it would be nice to see how far I’ve come over the distance.
    Hope you have a great 2014! 🙂

  2. I’m a runner from milton keynes too 🙂 doing a few of the same races as you this year too. I’m doing the mk half (same day you’re doing the 10k), sport relief 6 miles (end of march some time), mk half (5th May same as u), womens running 10k (same as u) and iv not yet decided whether to do the race for life or Whipsnade stampede, as they are on the same day! I also did the mo run last year, was brilliant but very cold! Good luck with your training 🙂

    1. Wow! That’s great 🙂 Thanks for mentioning the Sport Relief 6 miles – hadn’t seen that one so will look into it! Whipsnade Stampede looks good but from what I remember it’s rather expensive? Good luck with your training too!

      1. Yeah that’s why I didn’t do it last year! I ran quite a few races last year. Northampton half marathon at end of September was brilliant. As was nspcc half marathon in July, but it was waaaay too hot. Would definitely steer clear of run to the beat though. That was absolutely awful! So bad they had to refund some of our entry fee and send us a second Nike tshirt as compensation! Avoid at all costs!

      2. Run to the Beat has been on my list for a while. Last year’s was the only one that had problems from what I’ve heard so I’m intrigued to see how they change it for this year. It’s not off my list yet but I want to see how they guarantee it to be better. The premise seems very fun!

      3. Yeah it did sound fun, and hopefully it will improve, but I wanted a race where I could see interesting parts of London and listen to great music, but unfortunately the music stands had really tiny speakers so you didn’t hear it until you were running right past, and the route wasn’t very nice 😦 was a bit of a let down for the price. If it had have been cheaper or closer to home it would have been worth doing though. Don’t rule it out just yet but just be wary. Year before it had bad race reviews too!

      4. Noted! I have so many races planned so far that I’ll probably end up missing it anyway! I’ve had a look at the Sports Relief Mile and it looks really good. I’m very interested in taking part in the one at the Olympic Park. Once their entry site is back up there’s a good chance I’ll sign up – it’s half price at the moment too so cheap as chips 🙂

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