It is of course Monday which is weigh in day and so after a busy week and weekend I was looking for a loss but I got nothing so stayed the same again but onwards and upwards and all that!
So I am managing to get a sub 30 minute 5k on pretty much all of my runs now (I am not talking minutes off but below the 30 minute mark) and the 10k is always around the 1 hour mark but I have managed once to get a sub 1 hour 10k run in. I run with my dog and the loop from mine to the park sees me having to stop at a set of traffic lights, then again briefly to take the dog off and put her back on her lead and of course if she goes to the toilet I have to stop to clear it up so it is very rarely a run where there are no stops unless it is an event but I do keep them to literally just this – it is not stopping to walk because I can’t do it but if I did have to stop to walk a bit then who cares at least I am doing it right?
On the 5k can do this without stopping with no problem and on the 10k I have not yet done this without stopping though it is for literally 40 seconds on average of stopping on the events I have done so almost there but every time I set off for this distance it is in my head not to stop not to stop.
The next distance is a half marathon. Not that I want to complete a half marathon and nor have I signed up for one but in terms of events it pretty much goes 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon. To put it into perspective a half marathon is 22k so the leap from 10k to 22k to me is daunting and would actually encourage me to run……..in the opposite direction.
On facebook I follow a page run by the lovely Julie Creffield called The Fat Girl’s Guide to Running. You may have heard of her or seen her on the TV or her website http://www.toofattorun.co.uk. I had the pleasure of meeting her briefly when I was in Hackney’s Victoria Park earlier in the year supporting my husband in the Hackney half marathon that Julie was also taking part in and she was lovely. I did that awkward ‘excuse me I read your blog and love it’ introduction but thankfully she was gracious about it and stopped to say hi and talk to me before heading off to the start.
I instantly liked Julie when I first started reading about her and found her website as she is a normal woman. Too often do you see adverts for diets, gyms, exercising etc and the people in them look like their body fat percentage is probably 1! You know the ones I am referring to where they are trying to sign you up by showing you an amazing lady who is a size 8 to incentivise you and you think good for her she looks amazing but really?! Julie describes herself as not your typical runner because she is fat (her words not mine). She is an inspiration and like me blogs when she runs. I blog when I have done a run or bike ride and as I have said before if I am honest my blog was a selfish way to keep me on track. Julie is similar as I read on her website – no running then no blogging.
Recently it came up on my newsfeed that Julie was hosting a half day workshop in London for half marathon training. To take part you must have completed a 10k, which I have done. I quickly sent a message off to Julie telling her how nervous I was and that I could do a 10k and wanted to up the distance and the workshop sounded like a good way to do so. She replied very quickly and was lovely assuring me that I would be fine and that there are a range of pace groups so nobody is left behind. Before I could change my mind I signed up. Then panicked…….a lot.
We would be running 10 miles over the course of the morning and as my furthest is 10k which is just over 6 miles I was getting more jittery as the day got nearer. Before I left the house I went to the loo about 4 times and then again when I got to Hyde Park and then again before we set off into the park to begin. I don’t know what I was worried about!
The workshop was amazing and talking to like minded ladies was such an inspiration especially to know that all the worries and insecurities I had most of the other ladies shared. I am always worried about being heckled, laughed at, being last, having to walk and the list goes on but as we were all talking about what we worried about it turned out the list was the same for most! Julie put it simply – who cares? Why would you care what someone else thinks? Ignore them! And in a bid to put us at ease more we partnered up and simply laughed at each other and did we die? Of course not! Though I am now sporting some rather ridiculous looking tan lines.
To begin we stretched and I must admit I never stretch before a run, which I know is bad but bike or run there is no stretching for me and in future I will make sure that there is! Then we spoke about paces. I always assume I have one pace and that is it but Julie was teaching us the difference, and importance, of race pace, your normal pace and recovery pace. I’ve been told by so many people that essentially you need to go slower to go faster so to mix up my runs with slower paced runs and also interval or speed work. Again my reply is usually I only have one speed.
Julie also ran through the drop back technique with us and as a cyclist I am aware of cycling in a group and taking it in turns on the front and essentially it is the same with running so no one person is left at the back – it is never fun to be the one stuck at the back!
We then set off for our first lap of the park (which is 8k) and we had to do so as a group ensuring we dropped back when necessary and checking our pace as we went. It was a slower pace than I am used to but with my nerves I was pleased not to be running at full gas for the whole session and it gave everyone a chance to chat with each other as we ran. At the Prudential ride we rode as a group and again it made the whole experience so much more enjoyable.
We got to a point in the park where we split into two groups and had to run around an oversized pond/small lake in our groups and the first group back won. One group headed off anti clockwise and the other clockwise and as we passed we hi-fived each other. It was to be run at race pace. Race pace is where you give that final sprint at the end of a run and this was about 800 metres and race pace for that made us all puff! Was great fun! Never thought I would hear myself saying that!
Once we had done a full lap we got split into groups based on ability and we then ran our second lap staying with our group. This was at my usual speed of about 9-9.5 minute miles. We were all aching a bit more on the second lap! But we completed it and when everyone returned we had a group pic:
Then we headed off for some lunch. We ended up falling into natural conversation about events we have done and those we have coming up. How much we had all enjoyed the day and Julie found that she had been tweeted by someone in the park who was behind us as we ran saying how lovely it was to see us all – amazing!
I found I was the only one who had not yet taken the plunge and booked up for a half marathon – they are all much braver than me! I am tempted now though – if I crawl over the finish line that still counts right? And i still get a medal right?
If anyone is, like me, on some sort of fitness journey or starting running and is thinking of getting some advice on running or techniques or increasing your distance I cannot recommend Julie enough!!
You can find her website here: http://toofattorun.co.uk/
You can find her facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/TheFatGirlsGuidetoRunning