The running so far…

As I mentioned on my ‘new venture’ blog, I am not a complete beginner to this running malarky and have been regularly running for just over a year now. Someone once asked me why I started running and my simple answer was because I like food (and gin but as one of my pupils asked me this, I didn’t add that last bit)! So let’s rewind to see if I can piece together bits of the old running journey…

I invested in a pair of pink (yep, I’m that girl) Adidas trainers back in the summer of 2016 deciding to make the most of having the Lon Las Ogwen cycle path right on my doorstep and would go out for the occasional plod. Obviously, I downloaded a couch to 5k app and would give that a try but always got stuck/bored around the week 3-4 mark and would give up. My Head of Department, Chris (that’s the second one who may feature in this journey) has been running for a while and religiously attends the Parkrun in Penrhyn Castle and he said I should just go and do it.  I completed my first Parkun on 3rd September 2016 with a time of 38:10 and I was properly chuffed with myself. The course at Penrhyn is not an easy one and though I had to walk parts I still did it! Coffee and cake after also helped to sweeten the deal. So I tried a few more Parkruns always with the idea of trying to run a bit more of the track and by the time we got to the end of November I was managing to keep running the whole way round albeit still very much plodding with a time of 37:01.

On 10th December, 2016 I convinced my very good friend Gez to come up and complete our first ever running event – The Santa Dash in Llandudno! And I was very much enjoying this new found ability to run 5k without stopping. Then, the inevitable happened; I got carried away in someone else’s grand plan…

Santa Dash
Gez and I with our bling!

I’d been on a fantastic skiing holiday with my friend Andrea and whilst away had been asked lots about my new found running hobby. At one point there was a fly away comment about how I should enter the Cardiff half marathon and run it with her but I didn’t take that very seriously given the fact I was just about managing 5k. On our return, however, the Cardiff half matter was not dropped and on 7th January, 2017 I found myself paying my entrance fee after all, October was ages away!

About an hour later, panic set in. WTF was I doing? A half marathon is over four times longer than any distance I have ever run before and I had no training buddies and did I even know what I was doing ffs?! My solution to this, obviously, was to enter a 10k event (honestly, my logic fails my sometimes) so out came my bank card again and on to race entry number 2, the Anglesey 10km. Now the proverbial had become real and I was going to need to start training like yesterday. At these times you have to be thankful for the power of Google and I quickly downloaded the Bupa 10km training plan to follow in the run up to this first event. Time to get serious…

Now I don’t intend to bore you with every other event I managed to do between January and October (the half marathon goal) but it is worth noting here the complete and utter backwards way the sequence of events started to pan out… I completed the Anglesey 10k on a pissing down wet March Sunday morning (the 5th to be exact) in what I considered a very respectable time 0f 1:09:03 – I was aiming for 1:20 – whoop! And then I slightly lost my mojo. Every time I thought about going for a run I talked myself out of it, I wasn’t even regularly doing the Parkrun but I still had this half marathon hanging over me and, though time was on my side in terms of usual training plans, I panicked that I wouldn’t get back out there on my own. Cue advice from Gemma… why don’t I join a running club?! This had simply not occurred to me and mainly because I didn’t feel that I was good enough to be part of a club, I was a plodder, someone who put trainers and a sports bra on and then hoped for the best. She sent me a link to the clubs in the area, I did some research and then sent my enquiry to the Bestis. On 22nd March, 2017, I put my gear on and ventured in the dark (and the rain!) to Bangor for my first ever session and this was a major turning point. Finally, I could meet up with like-minded people once a week for a session where I was developing my skills as a runner and my social circle. (Having already entered a half marathon and completed a 10km – why would you not join the club first??? Laura logic right there…)

 Anglesey 10k
Nearing the finish and still smiling; soaked and stoked!

The Betsis are brilliant, Chris the head coach knows exactly how to approach everyone in the club and her advice and guidance is spot on. She also knows how to have a laugh whilst enjoying some of the sadistic routines she puts us through but hey, it means we are getting some decent training. She designed for me training plans for a few events that I decided to sign up for and then got me through the big plan for the half. It’s so lovely to chat with people from different backgrounds and hear about their running achievements and have people celebrate your achievements with you. I can’t see myself ever wanting to leave my purple family and know that, should I go ahead with this grand/crazy idea, I would have all the support I would need to get me through right there. The question now is… am I going to go through with it and bag my place?!

Cardiff Half
Me and Andrea, Cardiff Half, 1st October, 2017

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