Last year -when I climbed over the hill and found myself in another decade of life and realised I can’t actually get drunk any more without a three day consequence after half a decade of near abstinence – I bought some running shoes and decided to put some extra oompf into my dog walks. I was quite happy with no particular goals other than move a bit faster than usual for my usual couple of miles and enjoy the nice fresh air in my lungs and the endorphins in my brain. No pressure, just a nice jog through the fields with my four legged friend.
It went in fits and starts, to be honest, and the muddy winter put almost a stop to my activities. In the spring, I heard about the Skafell Pike climb for Refuge and wanted to join in. I figured that if I could run six miles, I’d be fit enough to do the climb, so set myself that target, for the end of August. Anyway, then I suddenly realised (actually my Mum realised for me) that the dreaded School starts this year, and the dates clashed. I was so disappointed.
Somehow, around this time Crazy Running Sister (the one who has run marathons and half marathons and other crazy running activities) managed to somehow (hypnosis? word weaving? catching me on an optimistic day?) get me to say yes to signing up to the Robin Hood Half Marathon.
Yes, you heard right, a full half marathon.
Over a decade ago I ran the run for life and hated it so much that I vowed never to race again. Never say never eh? I joked that my big glutes and small feet made me more suited to sitting than running, as I drove to the corner shop for me fags n wine (way pre Cub, obvs).
Anyway, here’s me, bopping over the fields in my running shoes with my dog in all weathers and I was doing quite well. One mile to six in a little over a month, easy, innit? *ahem* then came eight miles. Oh crikey. I am so totally not loving it now. Eight miles is crazy hard, and the time it takes is soooo long.
So I googled training plans and they suggest not doing a half marathon for your first race. Oh well, too late now! Add to this that the only training days I have are when the Cub is at nursery and the times I have to run are always midday in the full midday sun and you might see why I am thinking that this challenge is working out to be a bit more of an effort than your bog standard everyday race runner.
This week though I got a little self-booster when I hit the 11 minute mile over a short run, and managed a four miler in not much more and in 27 degree heat without actually dying, so I suppose I am making progress. The short runs are the ones I enjoy, though a year ago I would never have said that running four miles was short. The plus side is that my legs and feet are changing shape for the better, and I’ve picked up a lovely tan along the way.
I’ve had no injuries except a lower back pain when I increased to five, but that subsided quickly. The barefoot shoes have meant that I get no shin splints like I used to, although my foot arches and ankles are pretty stiff, and the long runs can be felt inside my hips. I have the remains of one dark grey toenail on one foot and blisters upon blisters upon blisters. Apparently I am now a bona fide runner, with this rather unglamorous foot casualty.
My seven year old running buddy is the same age as me now according to this (older according to others) and is coping marvellously, even in the heat, though he stops for a dip in various rivers or canals we pass. He’s had a stiff back leg for years but since adding glucosamine to his diet it seems to have vanished. There’s life in us oldies yet! He’s great company, and listens to me compassionately when I start complaining, always offering a furry ear to stroke and a look of gentle encouragement.
But I’ve said I will do it and do it I will.
An organisation called Elizabeth Finn Care/Turn2us has been a real godsend to me, so I decided to run for them.
I am not asking for a tenner, or a fiver (though that’d be nice), but if you could spare a quid to sponsor me, that would be so super-cool. My page is here, or, you can text: MUMC73 £1 to 70070.