White van drivers and waving ladies

So where to start with this week. If I had written and posted this blog yesterday like I had planned to, it would have been full of sunshine and glitter as things had been going well.

Actually, no. Good is not enough of a superlative to truly demonstrate how well it had been going. I was definitely feeling like I was making progress. Obviously I still want to shoot myself for the first 5 minutes of each run and I have to run/walk for the first 2-4 minutes of each session as my body goes into shock about what is now expected of it, but I am beginning to be able to run.

This week I haven’t used the app once and it was easier. The point of the app is to get you to a point where you can run either distance or time. Since I last wrote my blog I have run 4 times. The first time I managed 22 minutes in one go and for the second 2 runs I ran for 30 minutes and importantly this means that I can now run 3k.

I am speeding up slightly and all of my splits are now under 10 minutes (vary from 9.26 to 9.45 per km) which is brilliant news. I also now won’t let myself run slower than 10 minutes.

This has meant that I have needed a slightly more sophisticated app and so in turn I have had to get some new “kit”. Many readers of this blog suggested I try “Runkeeper” (thank you) and I am pleased to report that it works pretty well for me. The idea is that the kind sounding Lady tells you each time 5 minutes is up and then each time you complete a kilometre and also gives you your speed. She also tells you how far you have gone each 5 minutes. I like this because it’s easy to keep track of how far/how long you have run for and it’s good for pacing. I struggle with pacing and in some previous runs have gone off like a rocket (well a short, panting, sweaty, slow rocket) and then had to walk more than I would have liked. I’m also trying to get quicker as 5k and 10k races are looming and as much as I know it’s “about getting round the course” and “I’m only competing with myself” bla bla bla, I don’t want to be last and I definitely don’t want them to be taking the barriers down as I pass. That would be too much. If I’m honest, one of the most frustrating things about this isn’t that it’s hard, it’s that I’m clearly not very good at it. I hate not being good at things.

I’m still using my Fitbit app at the same time and the GPS between them definitely isn’t in sync. Other interesting things happen too when I run them concurrently as there is a playlist that springs into life as soon as I set off. I don’t mind this and the music is actually pretty good, but I am a bit confused as I am certain that much of the music that plays isn’t even on my IPhone. How is this even possible? I do need to investigate this further. One of the songs that plays (a Jessie J track) makes me run faster so if anyone knows if there is a way to use a song (beats per minute) and find a playlist which uses the same beats, please can you get in touch? I need to know how to do this.

One new unforeseen challenge that has arisen is my desire to sing along with the songs. Sometimes I mouth them to myself and wonder how mad I must look to people who see me. Imagine what might happen if Take That’s “Relight my Fire” manages to get onto the magic playlist? Have you ever seen Lulu in a running outfit?….Best not to think about it.

I have also bought a fit for purpose “bum bag” that will fit my iPhone in. I wear this inside my running jacket which makes me look like I have a pregnant tummy. However, given that 6 weeks ago I couldn’t even zip the coat up and now I can not only zip it up, but also wear a bum bag under it, I’m taking that one as a win.

Talking of wins. My weight-loss is continuing although frustratingly has slowed down. However, I am pleased to report that I now weight LESS than 17 stone and my BMI has reduced so I am now only “obese” rather than “morbidly obese” so I guess that’s good news?!

Last Friday I ran home using the new stride lengthening technique and I ran consecutively for 22 minutes. I was also considerably faster clocking 3 x sub 10 minute per kilometre splits with my fastest being 9.23. It didn’t hurt horribly until about the 18th minute and I was feeling pretty good.

On Sunday, my running squad unfortunately wasn’t around to keep me company and for the first time ever, I really didn’t feel like going out. It’s a bizarre feeling. As my blog testifies strongly, actually doing the run is awful, but at no point have I not wanted to go – which is weird. But on Sunday last week, I definitely wasn’t feeling the love and didn’t want to go. Sporty Daughter wasn’t interested in accompanying me either so I really was on my own. I feel part of the problem is boredom with running the same routes (ie back and forth to my place of work). However, I managed to drag myself out and decided to try a new route near my house. I ran for 30 minutes consecutively and this meant that for the first time I ran 3k in one go. The sense of elation here cannot be underestimated. I was absolutely delighted. Park Run is looming as is the 5k Colour Run Obstacle Course (reminder, I need to get myself a pink tutu) and this was a big step in the right direction.

Also on Sunday I was waved at by 2 other ladies who were also out running. This is part of the code that I have mentioned previously. One lady was wearing a “This Mum Runs” team head buff and she was grimacing but when she saw me running on the opposite direction, on the other side of the road, she smiled and waved. I waved back.

On Tuesday when I ran home and again managed 30 minutes in one go (and this time was quicker again) I was overtaken by a whippet like lady who looked to be in her late 40s. She approached with stealth and when she passed me she made me jump, which made both of us laugh and then prompted her to try and start a conversation with me. It’s important to note that I was about 26 minutes into my 30 minutes of running and so conversation was not easy. She slowed down and was very encouraging saying “well done” and “keep going”. At the traffic lights, as we did that weird walk/jog on the spot that you see runners doing (I don’t know why I do it, I do it because I see other runners doing it), she was telling me that she had started like me and had now been running for 5 years. She was lovely as she chatted away, clearly glad of the company but all I could think of was the bus stop further up the hill that I had not yet been able to run up to without having to walk. I decided to mention this (as I didn’t want to appear rude as she was being so lovely) and she took it upon herself to become my own personal cheer-leading coach. She encouraged and cheered me on as I lumbered up the hill and I did get past the bus-stop for the first time ever. I was elated and she was pleased too – but then she said bye and she was off again. What a lovely lady. Running does make you part of a special team and all are supportive because I guess most have had to start as I have, and they all know how hard it is.

The White Van driver who imaginatively shouted at me on Tuesday “Run Fatty Run” will never know how hard it is and will therefore never appreciate the feeling of progress. In my head all I could think to retort was “you should have seen me at Christmas” but of course was too out of breath to shout it at him. Karma will get him though, that or hopefully, a vigorous bout of gastroenteritis.

So as you can see, things were going brilliantly…until today.

Husband has also signed up for the 10k but as yet hasn’t been out of a run. My printing off our Park Run barcodes for next weekend had obviously alarmed him as he asked to come out with me today. Husband is healthy and fit and cycles regularly across Bristol. We set off and although I had said he should not wait for me and should go off ahead, when he did shoot off (and he went off like Mo Farrah in the final straight), as he disappeared from my view, I burst into tears. This is a completely irrational response and I felt like an idiot, but nevertheless it happened. I couldn’t stop crying. I felt pretty hopeless and upset. It’s been a black day for me today as feel like I will never get to where I want to be with the running. Of the 5k route that I had plotted, honestly I think I ran/walked about 2k of it and I walked the rest, crying. Goodness knows what I must have looked like – my appearance was obviously too much for one old lady to ignore as she asked me if I was ok. It took me an hour to walk/run 5k. This is a real step backwards and honestly it was the worst run since week one and I was puffing around the allotment.

When I arrived back at work, Husband was mortified and immediately started telling me how well I was doing and that I shouldn’t give up, whilst apologising for running on without me (even though I had told him to – and when I told him to, I had genuinely meant it). I didn’t mean to make him feel bad, but seeing him sprinting off after not having run for 15 years (he ran the Bristol Half Marathon in 2000) was (apparently) too much for me to take. Over the last few days I have also been feeling very hungry and I was definitely having a “what’s the point” moment.

Thankfully, Hockey Sister was on hand to offer “no nonsense” encouragement and advice as only a Sister can. She was lovely. Encouraging, supportive, on hand with a tissue and hugs as well as the more practical “stop being a d***” and “man the f*** up” advice – which honestly works better on me than the namby pamby stuff. She also told me a brilliant story involving her arriving at a hockey match having forgotten to pack her hockey skirt, which made me laugh a lot. Laughter is very powerful medicine.

Fitbit Sister also called me up this evening and offered (more gentle!) support which was nonetheless equally gratefully received. Bad days happen and I need to draw a line under them. I have a run booked in already with Red Lady on Sunday morning and I am sure it will be a better day. I can’t imagine it being worse than today.

Also, Husband and I have agreed that although we will go out and run at the same time, we will plot loops and one start at one end and the other at the other.  This way we can high five as we pass each other, but I won’t have to watch him run away from me in the distance. No wife ever wants to see that…

3k for the first time