Sunday, June 15, 2014

Run Roses, Run!

On Saturday, I ran with Norwich parkrun. For those not in the know, parkrun is an international movement to encourage people of all ages and abilities to run 5k against the clock. It's held in parks all around the world, is free to runners and supported by volunteers. All a runner needs to do is to register, print off their barcode and show up Saturday morning.

I was nervous. I felt underprepared and unfit and really was not up for it. The week's running had been hard going. The temperatures were in high 20s when I made it out the door and the pollen count...the least said about that the better. My definition of hell is running without a tissue, a streaming nose and proper running gear. My heart rate monitor warned me that I was about 30 bpm faster than normal, which could have been down to the heat and the fact I taking hardcore decongestants at the moment. But it did mean I had to be careful. In my training sessions I walked far more than I would have liked. 

Saturday dawned cool and gloomy. It's probably the first time I've ever gone out my door and said with genuine enthusiasm "it's drizzling!"

There were 402 runners gathered for the run. And they really were all shapes, sizes and ages, squeezed into lycra. There were mums and dads running with buggies, parents running with small children, people running with dogs. Because this is Norwich, I recognised quite a few faces. I was greeted by a good friend of Dave's who took up running a year ago. She's been so encouraging and so sweet. She said I looked petrified. Yes. That's because I really was. 

The 5k has been carefully measured out in the park. I figured I'd be following everyone, so I wouldn't get lost. The newbies and I had our instructions and then we went down to the starting point. I made sure I started at the back, I didn't want to be in anyone's way. I had a great view of everyone's backside as they disappeared from my view. 

I focused on 3 people who seemed to be of a similar ability to me and I paced myself with them. Occasionally, I'd pass them, occasionally they'd pass me. I reckon I ran about 75% of it. I did my best not to get in anyone's way. It was hard. It was really hard. I got passed by everyone. I saw a lot of peoples' butts. Doing the run in laps was quite good because it broke the field up into portions that I could count my way through. Once I had done the 2nd lap, I knew I was half way done. I knew I had another 20 minutes to go and that I was on the count-down to the end. I found myself counting in 8s in my head. I have no idea why. I just kept counting up to 8 and starting over again. 

When I was on the home straight, there was me and an older guy who I'd been pacing to and we encouraged each other over the park bridge and then he sprinted off down to finish. I honestly don't know where he got it from, I was done. That was it. There was no more.

According to my heart rate monitor, I had done it in 39:06, but I had been slow switching it on. My final result was: 39:20! In a field of 402, I was runner 400! I am so pleased. It's my first ever 5k run. This run sets the marker. 

A year ago, if you'd have said I would be running regularly and would run 5k, I would have laughed at you. But I did it! Tomorrow morning I've got my recovery run all planned and as long as it isn't chucking it down, I will be out there.

The best bit of Saturday was yet to come: Zoe's BLOG PARTY! (but that's another blog post)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dusting Myself Off

Hi! Remember me? I used to blog here regularly. Well, I think I've fallen off so many horses recently it's got beyond a joke. Last week, I had to take some time out and have a proper think about things. Not small things like laundry or shoes or eyeliner. But big things - what do I want to do when I grow up?

That was not the first time I have asked myself that particular question. I suspect I will ask it again many times before I leave this earth. Again, I found myself coming back to my place of creativity, of writing. I haven't written anything since last summer that hasn't been work related; and my intermittent blogging...well, it became more and more intermittent.

I had put my head down, put all thoughts of writing to one side and went to work. The problem is simply, it's not who I am. I can do it in short bursts. Certainly, I am so blessed that the people I work with are actually prepared to put up with me. I must be the world's biggest pain in the arse for them - wafting in and around. But the fact of the matter is, I am never going to manage being a full time anything. I require flexibility and creativity.

I have come to terms with the fact I am going to die a very poor woman. I console myself with the fact that I will have a lot of fun along the way.

Getting back on the Exercise Horse, has not been so painless (if you can call the process of giving up 2 days work to write, painless). My physical activities in May petered out to the point of disappearing. All of my previous physical niggles started to creep in again. My back, my knee, my shoulders. I got myself moving again.

Let me tell you, the biggest lesson I've learnt in the last 6 weeks is: it is much harder to start up again, than to notch the intensity down.

I am not beating myself up about it; there would be no benefit in doing so. I know why I paused and I've learnt my lesson. I am going to take every step I can, not make that mistake again.

Part of the mistake I made was to 'exercise'. I bailed out of doing the City of Norwich Half Marathon in November because I wasn't at all confident I would be fit or strong enough to run it, without serious risk of injury. It seems I am more motivated to 'train'. I need a reason to exercise beyond the 'it's good for me'. Over the weekend, I signed up to run the Wroxham 5k in the middle of July. This Saturday, I will take part in the Norwich parkrun to set my first bench mark. I know my time will be rubbish. I know it'll be a miracle if I don't kill myself. I will be walking bits of it. It doesn't matter.

If I am to eat regularly, I have to rethink my writing activities. That's what today is all about. I'm getting back on this horse and I'm going to ride this sucker until we both drop dead from exhaustion. 

The difference now is the exercise has taught me self-discipline and to put my motivation in action. Perhaps I am still unable to set clear goals as per NLP structures, but I'm all about the moving in the general direction. 

I really do hope I'm moving in the general direction of Financial Sustainability...