Runniversary and 2017

Tomorrow is my “runniversary”.  For those of you that do not speak fluent “Friends” (Annivegasary anyone?) it means that on January 3rd it will be exactly 1 year since I downloaded the couch to 5k app and went for the first run.

2016-to-2017-front-view

Much has changed in the last year.

  • With the exception of 3 weeks, I have run at least twice a week since the first week of January 2016 and often/usually this has been 3 times a week.
  • I have discovered more about my local area in the past year that the whole of the 14 years I have previously lived in my house. I have discovered shortcuts during my runs fuelled by a curiosity of “I wonder what’s down this road” followed by a knowing exclamation of “oh I’m HERE”. It’s been brilliant.
  • I’ve lost 3 and a half stone. That’s 22.2 kilograms or 49 pounds.
  • I have gone from a size 22/24 to a size 16/18.
  • I have slept better over the past 365 days than at any point since I was a teenager and I have more energy that I can ever remember.
  • We are now an active family – enjoying parkrun, cycling, hiking and even climbing together.
  • Sleeping on a camping roll mat is an enjoyable experience – even for a fortnight at a time.
  • I have run the 10k distance 5 times and the furthest I have run ever is 11.2k.
  • I’m strangely addicted to Superhero running leggings.
  • I have totally worn out a pair of trainers from running. They have a hole in them and I need a new pair, but I can’t seem to part with them.
  • I own more running bras than regular everyday ones.
  • According to the health check I had last week, I have a resting heart rate of 53.
  • I consider myself to be a runner.

However, as much as all of the above are achievements (even the Superhero leggings) that need to be celebrated, there is still work to do.

I bought the Joe Wicks DVD as I am aware that I need to strengthen my body as well as run. I don’t want to get injured and as someone who is now quite fit, I felt confident that the 20 minutes “absolute beginners’ workout” would be something that I could handle.

It was 4 exercises, each for 30 seconds as hard as you can go and then 30 seconds rest before heading into the next one. The exercises were running on the spot – fast (yes so far so good), burpees (hideous but manageable), power squats (jumping up from a squat – I decided to moderate this in order to achieve good technique so did normal squats) and then mountain climbers (this is a press up position and you bring your knees to your chest in a “running style”). It was hard but I managed it. But the next day I was in a ridiculous amount of pain around my glutes (bottom – it’s a sizeable bum, so a sizeable muscle group and so it was sizeable pain). This was good, I told myself, as it shows that I had needed to work the muscles. However, the next morning, as I was changing to accompany Curly Sue on a run at the Tyntesfield Estate, my right shoulder went into spasm. It was agony and I panicked a bit. I have struggled with my back for many years and so I knew exactly what to do. 45 minutes later I was at the physio’s for assessment in tears (partially because of the pain and partially because of the genuine fear that I was about to be told that I couldn’t run for a while), but the very helpful and sympathetic Dan, quickly diagnosed the source of the problem – Mountain Climbers. After 30 minutes of torture (or massage as he called it), he assured me that I would be running again after a week or so, as long as I rested in the meantime. I have duly rested and so hope to be back at Park Run next Sunday.

I may be fit but I am not strong. Not at all. In fact weak and feeble is a more accurate description. This is something that I will be working on in 2017. Coach Curly Sue assures me that this is part of the 2017 plan and apparently I will be getting quite well acquainted with something called a “kettlebell” over the coming months as staying injury free is critical if we are to achieve a solid time for the Bristol Half Marathon. I have promised to not do any mountain climbers for the foreseeable future and will go back to watching Joe Wicks exercise whilst drinking cups of tea….

So what are my goals for 2017. This is tricky and I have given it a lot of thought over the last few days.

  • I would like to lose a further 2 stone. Again though, as last year, I’m not interested in dieting and as you burn less calories the less you weigh, I recognise that this will be quite challenging. However, as the mileage will get higher as I train into the Summer, hopefully, as long as I continue to eat healthily, this should naturally take care of itself. I hope so, but we’ll see.
  • I want to run 10k in less than 1 hour 20 minutes and 5k in less than 36 minutes. I don’t yet know if I will be able to do this, but I’m going to give it my best shot.
  • I want to complete a half marathon. In my head I would like to do this in less than 3 hours, but I don’t know if this is realistic. More on this as we progress throughout the year I guess.
  • The final goal is more specific and relates back to my favourite gadget – my fitbit. I am going to do 65000 steps a week – each week. This needs to break down into 5 days of 10000 steps minimum. It sounds easy, but when work is busy it’s hard to get to 10000 steps so I think this will be a tough challenge.

My first ever blog post ended with the question “41 and a runner? We’ll see but I hope so”.

Well I’ll finish this blog entry with, I am 41 and I am a runner.

But will I be a half marathon runner at 42? We’ll see but I hope so.

2016-to-2017-side-view