Team running and bikini clad American triathletes….

This has been a week of highs and lows.

I would describe myself conclusively as a positive person so we’ll start with the highs:

  • I am definitely getting fitter. This is excellent. I am walking more and (importantly) I’m happy to be walking more. I love the excitement when my fitbit buzzes at 10000 steps – this never gets old. Last night when I finished work, I realised that I didn’t have my purse with me meaning I couldn’t get the bus, so I walked home from work. I didn’t give it a second thought, I just put my trainers on and walked home. Fast. It cleared my head from a stressful day at work and I enjoyed walking fast and making my heart thump in my chest. I wouldn’t have considered doing that a month ago.
  • Running is slowly beginning to become like a habit. I still don’t really enjoy it when I’m actually running, but on the other hand I also don’t hate it either. Some runs are better than others but I haven’t missed one yet. It’s something I am making myself do, regularly. I’m trying to go every other day if possible and I’m achieving this. So far I have run in the ice (I was terrified I would fall over) and I have also run home in the wind and the rain. I quite enjoyed running in the rain, but I didn’t enjoy the wind.
  • I have managed to find a high-viz lightweight kagoul on the Sports Direct website that fits me and although it’s quite long and a bit like a dress, I do feel ok in it. It has secret pockets – not big enough for a phone though. I don’t know what I’m supposed to keep in them….at the moment I am keeping my inhaler in there but hopefully at some stage it will become clear. Does anyone know?
  • I am also using a “bum bag” to keep my phone in. Much as I love my Iphone 6+ (and I do love it), it’s not brilliant to carry on a run as it’s pretty big. The bumbag seems to be the only viable option at the moment. I could run without my phone of course, but I like the GPS option on the fitbit app which logs all the information so, I need it. Although I am beginning to research a Fitbut Surge….I do love a gadget.

And the lows:

  • This week I didn’t lose any weight – which possibly confirms my theory from last week about the alcohol. Although I have known that there was no way that my weight loss would keep on at the rate that it had been, I will confess that not losing any weight this week was disappointing. I am gutted if being completely honest (which is, after all, the point of this blog). It’s probably important to say also though, that I haven’t gained any either and I suppose given the amount of gin and red wine that I drank on Saturday night this is an achievement.
  • My right foot has been aching. It doesn’t hurt but it has been a bit uncomfortable. It aches along the outside of my foot and I have been very worried that I had injured myself (which I know I am risk of doing as I am so heavy – hence my disappointment at not losing weight this week). It started aching on Tuesday evening after my run home from work and ached all day yesterday, but this morning it was ok. I have just run home and it’s aching again. I’ll need to monitor this, but it could just be that running is hard and you get aches and pains. As Sister 2 would say (hockey player, takes no prisoners) I should just “man up and get on with it”. Hopefully this is all it is.

Since I last posted a blog I have run 5 times.

On Saturday, Sporty Daughter, who is keen to train for the Junior Park Run, wanted to come out with me. As is often the case with siblings, anything Sporty Daughter wants to do, the Little One immediately wants the same (even if probably she doesn’t really want to do it after all). Sporty Daughter running with me is one thing (she is 9 so old enough to not get in the way and is after all, very sporty) but Younger Daughter is a completely different proposition. If she gets a stitch, or gets fed up, I am not going to be able to stop  – well I could obviously, but I don’t want to as all I can really do when I’m out running is essentially put one foot in front of the other and manage to breathe (most of the time). So I enlisted the help of Husband and said that if Younger Daughter was coming, he has to come too.

He was quick to suggest that it might be better if he didn’t run but ride his bike, which in turn was quickly echoed by Younger Daughter. So now Sporty Daughter and I are running and Younger Daughter and Husband are on their bikes. (No, Husband did not have a megaphone as he cycled along like the scene from the film Rocky – and don’t give him any ideas). We set off and actually it was ok. It was hard as the running distances have begun to increase now on the app, but I managed. It was a bit hap hazard as Sporty Daughter was a little frustrated with my lack of speed, but with Husband in tow, was able to run on ahead and then come back, so it was a good workout for her too. The app had me running 8 minutes in one go and my chest nearly burst with pride when I heard Younger Daughter say to Sporty Daughter “I don’t think I could run for as long as Mummy is, she’s doing brilliantly”. I felt so proud. I was sweating, red in the face and out of puff, but I was proud. I was doing this and my girls were seeing me do it.

As a mother of two daughters, in my opinion, it is very important that they see you strive to do something that is hard. Life throws things are you all the time that are hard but human nature is to avoid them and then what do you learn? But it’s really only by doing things that are hard – really hard, that we can better ourselves. I want my girls to be the best that they can be and they both have things that they are good at, and they also have things that they find difficult. Hopefully, by them seeing me sweat and puff, they will feel happier about trying and achieving the things that they find hard and will not be afraid. As the old saying goes “Nothing worth having comes easy”. I have this on a postcard stuck on a wall next to my desk. I also have “Failure is not an Option” (AKA Apollo 13) stuck next to it.

On Sunday, we had a family gathering and were to go to Sister 3’s for lunch along with my Mum, Sister 2 and Sister in Law (Fitbit Buddy), husbands and children. We are a huge family and it’s always a bit of a riot, but always fun.

Sister 3 (training for the London Marathon) had asked me to take my running gear up with me and run a 3k loop with her (before she then set off to do 10k). Having run the day before, I was a bit worried but we set off. This was also the first time I had run with anyone else, or without the app, and I was feeling pretty exposed and nervous. But Sister 3 simply said that we should just go slow and if I needed to walk, we would walk.

Please take a moment to reflect on our running outfits if you will. I was wearing my high viz kagoul, ¾ length running trousers (tight at the top and baggy at the bottom) and black top. Sister 3 was wearing tight running shorts, running jacket and knee length socks. We both put on comedy headbands to keep the hair from our eyes and looked like the men from the 118 adverts (minus the moustaches!) and yet we didn’t care. We passed a couple of people on the run and nobody openly laughed at us, but I wouldn’t have cared if they had. I felt like we were a team.

On Sunday afternoon with Sister 3, I ran for 19 minutes consecutively and 31 minutes in total – and of the 31 minutes, I think I only walked for 90 seconds.

I cannot tell you how happy I was. Finally I felt like I was getting somewhere. I also really, REALLY enjoyed running with someone. It felt social, we had a chat (well a bit of one as I needed to concentrate on breathing) and it made me want to not let my running partner down. I know my running partner here was my sister, who has been supportive and fantastic since I started this project, but even so. It has further confirmed that I really want to get to a point where I can go out and run for 30-45 minutes with someone else. Hopefully my friend whom I talked about last week (I’m sure I will talk about her more over the weeks so I’m naming her the Red Lady). It has really spurred me on.

When we got back to Sister 3’s house, we were feeling pretty positive and inspired. Fitbit sister (who has just bought a treadmill to start running the c25k at home) and Husband started talking about us running and well, the upshot is, that Sister 3, Fitbit Sister, Husband and I have all signed up to do the Bristol 10k in May. #GOOOOOOTEAM. Maybe we should get matching T shirts?!

After my successful 19 minutes of consecutive running on Sunday, on Tuesday night it was pouring with rain. I had (ill advisedly) decided to abandon my app and just try and run home. It was partly successful, partly unsuccessful. I definitely managed to run further in one go than the app would have made me, but I was very tired, and towards the end, I definitely walked more than I had on previous runs. So although I still ran, and ran for 15 minutes in one go, I have decided to go back the app. I need the structure.

I have stopped using the NHS c25k app. It sometimes doesn’t work and although I miss the supportive chatter from “Laura” (the lady who talks to you on the app) I have now downloaded the 0-10k app. There is much less chat on this one and basically a terrifying American Lady (who sounds like she completes a triathlon in her bikini every morning before breakfast) tells you to “walk” or “run” after a timed “bong”. Not much else. It’s extremely business like and follows the “less is more” principle. However, if I’m to complete a 10k race in 4 months’ time, I guess it really is time to get down to business.

Running in the rain