Sunday 18th September 2011; the day of Bristol’s 5k ‘Run For The Future’ charity event, and the day myself and fellow runner JJ had been working towards for 6 long weeks.
Having started off as complete beginners in the joys of athletics, we decided a short while ago to keep fit all in the name of a good cause. “A charity incentive will keep us going” I said…. “it’ll stop me from giving up as I usually do”, I said. So we signed ourselves up for our first ever 5k; a reasonable distance to start off with. However, the weeks that followed were hard as we tried out new running courses and accompanying diets, algae supplements and health drinks in order to improve our stamina, to last the distance. This is a little of what happened….
Week 1; Wednesday August 3rd 2011
“Ohhh God. What have I talked myself into here? I’ve put on weight during our holidays and even my saddle bags have saddle bags! My hips have separate post codes and I am really regretting that spontaneous trip to the burger bar when I was stuck for time and resources on our kiddyfunday last week. Ok, tonight’s the night. JJ and I are running on the Downs for the first time… I’ve gone for the odd preliminary jog.. nearly taken out a few wing-mirrors on the way, but hey… they’ll never notice! Let’s hope JJ will have gone for a few swift pints on his way up to the Downs and will be swaying too much to keep up with me…. One can dream!”
Thursday August 4th
“Well actually, that wasn’t at all bad last night; all things considered. I was aiming to run 300m , then walk for 100 alternately.. build up slowly and all that (being a novice you see). I had the trainers, I had the talent!! Or so I thought until several groups of seasoned runners flew past, leaving me in a G-force tunnel. I heroically kept up with JJ as best I could and only turned purple with asphyxiation the once (or twice… maybe). The camaraderie between us beginners kept us going for around 3k’s worth. We only took 50 minutes…. maybe we did mostly walk after all then. JJ did turn to me at one point musing “are they going forwards really fast or are we running backwards?” Note to self: must do better next time.”
Monday August 15th
“I have been running every 3 days since our first attempt at joint athletics! It’s hard work, but I’m sticking to it with a goal ahead of me. Apart from that, it makes me feel pious when I succumb to a square of that evil chocolate stuff as my previously sedentary thighs will be working all evidence away within hours! Tonight is night 2 of our now vaguely competitive running partnership. I’m looking forward to seeing if there’s a difference with either of us in performance. I’ve been taking lone jogs round the park to the I-pod jiggedies and JJ’s been jogging in his kitchen to the sound of grilled sausages. The bets are on!!”
Tuesday 16th August
“A very good night for JJ… looks like the spirulina algae tablets are taking great effect with his general health. There is a marked change in his stamina when running. Meanwhile, I am having serious problems with tiredness as we run. Lesson number 1 learnt: don’t try running with little or no fuel in the system, it just doesn’t work. Having had a banana, a vitamin drink and some almonds 2 hours before, I thought I was covered for energy. I was wrong. I needed decent amounts of lean protein and a few carbs to top it off. And lots of water. We end our 4k run at opposite ends of the confidence spectrum; JJ is positive and motivated; moving onto talk of a full 5k run next week… I’m totally deluded and desperate to get back to that drawing board. It’s taking all my mental strength and willpower to not sit down all night with a humungous box of chocolates and bury my woes in a celebfest a la Hello magazine.”
Thursday August 25th
“I’ve managed to re-motivate myself and keep up the running. Keep looking at those photos of famous ladies in their pencil thin dresses and pinning my hopes on getting there too… eventually. Added incentive has taken the form of my sponsorship pack arriving. The glorious parcel with shiny instruction and sponsorship pages plus a lovely white t-shirt to wear on the day, bring my intentions back into full focus. It’s for the charity!!! Come on girl, get a grip! Today is my last day of full training with JJ for a couple of weeks as I am about to set sail for France. Better make it a good one then!”
Friday August 26th
I am now sailing to northern France and mulling over the success of last night. I feel a sense of refreshed excitement. JJ and I attempted and achieved a full 5k run/jog last night. It was great! I fuelled up with pasta and water 2 hrs before, took my multivits and this time walked all the way to our meeting spot; giving me an extra 25 minute warm–up! This is what I needed. Success at last! My body muscles seemed to have taken over from my brain muscles as I couldn’t find the right vocabulary for the success of our run. Were we experiencing less sluggishness and more “runny bits” now? – I’d asked JJ…. He pointed out, that wasn’t quite the right terminology. Longer bursts of full-on running and less walking breaks resulted in a good night’s results by all. Got our time down to just under 45 minutes – great!! We pledged to get it down to 40 or under if we could. Time to holiday next.. but not necessarily to relax.
“Only 10 days to go until the big day now! The holiday provided plenty of exercise in the form of running, swimming and a 10k cycle on a velorail. I returned home smug and raring to go. Friends have noticed my modest weight loss. I point out it’s probably an optical illusion due to my tan. However, I am quietly pleased.
Tonight’s run with JJ was great; we’re still keeping up our timings and are both genuinely feeling fitter and faster with less recovery time needed after each stretch. We’re aiming to run all the way through the 5k and are pushing each other like mad. A good friend has also mentioned that ‘Callanetics’ can help put the leg muscles into the right positions for maximum impact when running. Anything to make these legs streamlined is fantastic in my books! Having said that, whilst still not quite heading into the Beyonce Bootylicious arena, these buns are turning more rock-like and less like pink blancmange in a tracksuit.”
Thursday 15th September
“We’re nearly there!!! Six arduous weeks of training and not giving up, keeping each other’s competitive spirit going and dreaming of raising decent money for a good cause and we’re days away! Today’s the last day of running though we’ve trained every night this week. We followed the suspected 5k route on the Downs last night and broke our time record. Got it down to 42 minutes. Aching like mad today though. I’m keeping mindful of the lessons I’ve learnt as a beginner over the last 6 weeks. Always eat enough protein and carbs at least 2 hours before the run. Take multivitamins if you can, drink plenty of water and allow yourself loads of warm up time to keep your muscles happy on the run. My last workout this morning took me into running 1k at a time before a short recovery walk for 100m, then another 1km; this is going to be my strategy on the big day itself. Cross fingers!!!!”