There are only 4 days until the half marathon!! My number arrived yesterday 315!!
Some days, I just want to get the start line, other days, I feel like I have an impending exam. I have found tapering my training quite difficult, as I want to keep momentum. But at the same time I do understand about resting my legs for the big day.
I have been busy pestering friends and family for sponsorship, which has been quite steady. (www.justgiving.com/ChiHalfBeginners) As well as reflecting on my journey. I can still remember those early April mornings, feeling intimidated and overwhelmed by the whole thing.
So far the running has already paid off, I have lost 1.5 stone in this process and I really look forward to a run now. It becomes addictive, not only do you feel good afterwards, but I also enjoy the time by myself to clear my head.
I have to pay tribute to my colleague Nick, who became my running partner in the early days. He helped keep me focussed and I can still hear him saying: ‘We’re not finished, one more lap of Oaklands Park’.
I can’t wait to get to that finishing line, bring it on!
Not only are Matt, Elaine and Sarah letting the ups and downs of their running progress be plastered around the web, they've decided to join forces in raising money for Children on the Edge's work in Uganda! You can find out more about the project and sponsor them by going to their JustGiving page. Every little helps, and as beginners, they need all the encouragement they can get!
Since last time I’ve been training hard and am feeling fairly confident about the distance. It took a lot to twist my arm to do the half marathon but I'm so glad I've signed up. The training has been such good fun and so far has given me a fantastic sense of achievement. I think the best bit is running with my colleagues from work. There is a group of us doing the half marathon and we run regularly together. It’s great because we all motivate each other and have found some amazing local routes.
We have practiced Chalk Pit lane and the Trundle which was a challenge but I find it helpful to practice these parts of the route so I know what to expect on the day. We also do a speed session on Friday lunchtimes which is so hard but has definitely made a difference to my longer runs.
We all entered the Goodwood 5 mile hill climb on 19th August. This was a great event despite the pouring rain. The route started with an initial climb up Kennel hill and remembering that what goes up must come down, the second half was all downhill. Ive never run so fast in my life and came in with a time of 41.56 which I was very pleased with. It was a great experience and good practice for the main event.
Doing the Goodwood run gave me the chance to look at what I need to eat and drink before an event. I get very nervous and lose my appetite, running on empty isn’t helpful but I struggle to eat much without getting stomach cramp. A colleague recommended Cherry Active which worked for me and kept me going during the race.
Matt, Sarah and I have put together a Just Giving page so if you are reading this and would like to sponsor us all funds raised will go to Children on the Edge. Thanks in anticipation.
Our lunchtime running club has certainly helped! I must say, running with people is so much better, the comradery gets you through. Once you set a comfortable pace, you can agree a goal and get through it.
I recently got some new running shoes; they make an unbelievable difference to running. My feet now feel like I’m on springs!! I would say that should be one of the first things you do, if you want to start running. I’ve also learnt loads about hydration, it’s worth drinking throughout the morning of your run and the day before, it almost gives you a cushion and everything seems smoother.
I find running almost like driving a car, I allocate where on the run I can go into each gear. This makes it so much more manageable! It’s hard to get out of 1st gear, but then you move into second and third, then you can see the finish line and you can open up the bonnet!
My colleagues and I have tackled trundle hill, which is worth doing pre-half! This made me very aware of what I’m going to face. You learn how to have a small gait and pace yourself through it. We’ve also tacked the Goodwood 5 mile race; this was my first race experience! I was quite nervous, but the adrenaline takes over and my playlist helped.
I’m really enjoying running now, different scenery and new routes help to make things more interesting.
The running is slowly (very slowly) beginning to improve so I thought it might be time for a new pair of trainers…
The obvious choice for running gear in Chichester is our lovely supporters, iRun. I am always horrifically intimidated by running shops, or any kind of sporting shop to be honest, but this was an entirely different experience.
Once I had explained what I was looking for (I have no idea, a shoe I can run in?) and made clear that I wanted something dark, that wouldn’t draw attention to me and my attempts at running in public, I was on the treadmill for a gait test. A warning for anyone as unprepared for this as I was, there was a lot of running involved so don’t go on a full stomach and wear a spots bra!
Anyway, it was fascinating being able to watch footage of my feet running as you can really study your technique. My feet / ankles seemed to turn inwards so I was advised to go for a supportive trainer. The lovely sales assistant picked out 3 pairs, which I tried on, ran around for a bit and filmed myself in to see if they fixed my ankle/feet issues.
Once we had decided on the type of shoe, being a typical girl, I asked if they had them in any different styles as I wasn’t very taken with them. 5 minutes later he opened a new box with a sheepish look on his face, saying that he wasn’t sure I would like them as they might be a little bright… One look and I was sold. The hot pink Asics were mine!
Thank you iRun for your great shoe, sock and running advice, for putting up with my awkward giggling and bad running and for completely ignoring me when I explained the kind of shoe I thought I wanted. They make me smile whenever I catch sight of my feet on a long run.
The excitement over my bouncy new shoes lasted until about 1k into my first run, when I realised with severe disappointment that they were not magic shoes and that training for the half was still going to really really hurt.
So… I think it’s safe to say that this running thing was not going well.
Having warily agreed to sign up for the Chi Half quite a few months back, I struggled to get into a routine or to get off the sofa, with uni deadlines looming and every other excuse under the sun, running had been lodged firmly at the back of my mind, only surfacing every so often for a jog around the block.
I work for Children on the Edge, and through this running challenge I’m hoping to raise money for our projects. It turns out, that with help from my colleagues, and inspiration from the cause I’m running for, I can go further than around the block.
With our Comms Officer, Esther asking me to write a running blog and Emily (who is one of the main organisers of the Chi Half) sneaking me old issues of running magazines for inspiration, I quickly started to panic. I felt there was no way on earth that I was ever going to do this. A well timed road trip with Ben (our Head of UK) had him quizzing me on my running and trying to find reasons behind my laziness. He also casually mentioned that he might be able to help - a suggestion I brushed off with a wary giggle.
Later, Serena (our Community Fundraiser) managed to convince me that taking Ben up on this offer to help was the only way I would have a fighting chance of getting round the course in October. Within 5 seconds of agreeing, I had a horrific looking training plan, was signed up to Strava, had agreed to run with him every Monday and a sick feeling in my stomach!
I am now quite a way into that horrific looking training plan and I have completed a few Monday runs with Ben. I often hurt and ache but I haven’t been sick or passed out and I always surprise myself with how far I can go.
Last week I was lucky enough to go out to Uganda to take part in the yearly playscheme at the Child Friendly Space we run in Soweto. The week was incredibly full-on with lessons in the morning (around 150 children aged 3-5!) and play sessions in the afternoons where children from the community were welcome to come and join in. We led activities such as sock puppets, making crowns, volley ball, making collage pictures of the local environment and completing an outside wall mural to brighten up the space.
I was also able to visit the two new areas that we are starting to work in and met the Community Child Protection Committees and some of the local people we’re helping. Over the course of the week I met some truly inspirational people, from the wonderful staff who form these committees, to the social workers who support them, the incredible team of teachers, cooks and security who work everyday to keep the Child Friendly Space safe and to provide for the children.
It's rare that people have such an affect on me and I was overwhelmed by the passion and the kindness of everyone I met, all of whom are fighting against all odds to provide a better future for the children in their communities.
Whilst in Uganda I managed to squeeze in two training runs and I found that I had a new sense of steely determination. I ran further and for longer than I ever have before and that was in the African heat, along dusty and potholed roads! I found to my immense surprise that I was enjoying running. This was probably helped by the old man on his motorbike who got off and ran with us and the group on the corner who gave us a little cheer every time we ran past!
It is these wonderful people I met who get me out of bed in the mornings and back into my trainers. I am lucky enough to be able to go to work everyday to do my bit for the vulnerable children we work with, but every little helps and the more money and awareness I can raise, the more children we can help.
One thing is for sure, if I get round that course in October, it will be 100% a Children on the Edge team effort.
From June 1st the full training starts! However, a few more challenges have come my way since my last blog. A foot injury hampered my training for a number of weeks and I have gone back to square one. This knocked my confidence substantially and I became a metaphorical ostrich! I well and truly buried my head in the sand, becoming more and more overwhelmed by the half-marathon.
Away from the black clouds, there is some good news! I have since met with Gary Williams (Fitness instructor) at Westgate. He has been totally superb, by not only setting a schedule for me to train but also helping with my confidence. Gary has even shown me how they can set the half-marathon route (including inclines) on the treadmill.
Having received this boost, I have also been encouraged by my mate Lewis of Brighton Indie band fame Half Hour Hotel who has joined me in the challenge! These shoots of positivity have been boosted furthermore by our new ‘Thursday lunchtime jog’ crew at work. This involves a route including Oaklands Park and gives me valuable time on my feet.
I almost felt like I couldn’t complete this challenge, especially by starting at square one again. But with the support of friends and Westgate, I’ve picked myself up and I am moving forward.
Since my first blog I’ve been doing loads more running and I’m happily back up to 10K. I’ve suffered with a recurring injury called plantar fasciitis - which is a very common foot injury I’m told. So after a couple of weeks out and a strict routine of stretching, ice and sports massage I’m back on it with the realisation that I need to listen to my body and not do too much too soon.
We’ve started a lunchtime running group at work which is great. We have planned an easy run once a week and a hill / speed session once a week and I do my longer runs on Sundays. I have discovered the joy and challenge of running with other people and now the sun is shining its fab to get out of the office.
I entered my first 10K in years last weekend, the Petworth Park Discovery Run. To say it was hilly is an understatement and it was definitely a challenge but I came in just under the hour and was very pleased with myself. It was good practice to know what race day will be like and I’m really glad I did it. I feel much more confident now and was buzzing for days afterwards!
Now I’m putting together my training plan for the next few months increasing my long runs gradually each week and including some strength training.
Until next time………….
Starting on Monday 11th May and finishing on 29th June. Just in time to get you all fit for the summer runs you will be able to make on completion of the course. Remember our aim is to go from zero to 30 mins. continuous running in 8 weeks. Very achievable we can assure you, whatever level you are starting from.
The course will run for 8 weeks starting on Monday 11th May. I will lead the group every Monday night for 8 weeks meeting in Oaklands Park - the top end parking in the Rugby Club Car Park. We will meet at 6.30pm till about 7.30pm. We will always meet as group each Monday night but as you will be required to run 3 times a week I will see if we can arrange either formally or informally to get at least some of you to meet up on Wednesday evening and perhaps over the weekend as well. With other groups members have made informal arrangements to get together to go for a run. One of the good elements of the course is to give you the opportunity to meet new friends if you wish - although getting fit and running is our primary aim!
The course itself is free but all participants will be required to join Chichester Runners (cost £25pa or £15 for O60s). This means that you will be able to go on running after the course has ended with one of our other club running groups. We have different groups to cater for all levels of runner from junior to O60s.
I am still wondering why I agreed to do a half marathon, as even though I have a good base level of fitness, I know how hard it’s going to be. I’ve been running on and off for about 5 years particularly enjoying the easier option of the treadmill, the furthest I had run until very recently was 10K. I have done one 5K and one 10K race but never been very up for putting myself out there.
Working alongside the sport team at the council you can’t help but get swept along by their enthusiasm and commitment to improving your fitness and over the years I have found myself doing spinning classes and circuits till my legs drop off! Running on the other hand is a whole different kettle of fish, I really admire my colleagues who can run with what seems like relative ease and I want to be able to do the same. So I decided to let them twist my arm and also agreed to the publicity as well!
So, no more treadmill, I have been running outside trying to increase time on my feet and my speed across a 5K distance. I have always been an average 10 minute miler and am struggling to improve on this but I have managed to increase the time I spend running to 1hr 45 mins which was 10 miles - am very pleased with that so far. So for now my plan is to keep going, gradually increasing the time I spend running whilst continuing with the spin and circuits that I really enjoy. I have time on my side (for now)!
Chi Half Beginners Blog
This year the Chichester Half team are following the progress of three beginners, all with their own reasons for giving the Trundle their best shot.