Sunday, 8 May 2016

From the starting line.......

To say I'm a natural runner is a big, fat, lie. My hands are held high... I admit it. Back in school I was the one coughing and wheezing during cross country or doing anything humanly possible to get out of it (male PE teacher and even the slightest of whispers about PMT seemed to do the trick). Long distance just wasn't my thing, If anything I was more of a sprinter, though this was more of an 'if I put my all into this I can actually win without feeling like I'm about to keel over' kind of thing rather than this devout love for the sport.

I just didn't get it. I didn't get the enjoyment. I didn't see what was so exciting about feeling like I was about to meet my maker, face flat in the mud (to be honest even now that doesn't sound appealing).

It was actually only about 4 years ago that I decided to give it a go and see what the fuss was about. Granted, my first run wasn't successful. I was in the midst of my Masters and trying to run to escape the harsh reality that deadlines were looming, or to brush off anxiety, or to even please the (now ex thankfully) boyfriend who seemed to class anything larger than a twig as fat and anyone doing less than a 20 hour day as lazy. I know right? Bullet. Dodged.

Coursework handed in, exams passed, York was left behind, hearts were broken, weight was lost, and we've just fast forwarded about 8 months. I'd just signed up to do a 10km Race for Life round Tatton Park. Why?! Because one of my lovely friends had just ran the London Marathon as an asthmatic and here was me crying over a mile. I thought it would be wise to aim for something a little shorter-distance whilst I was waiting (aka, training) for the 10km so I signed up for a little fun 5km Color Run (highly recommended by the way - a little pricey but so much fun). It doesn't take a genius to work out that a 5km is very very different to a 10km. had to change my mind set.

So, more determined than ever I had to make a few little changes:

1. Speed. I'm used to sprinting or at least rushing into things head first. I'm quick from the word go. Great for 100m runs, not so good for longer distances. It was always picked up, too, that my starting speed was just too great. I was wanting to reach the finish line before I'd even started, a recipe for disaster if you ask me.

2. Fitness. My heart is terrible. No matter what I do my cardiovascular fitness sucks. My blood pressure drops, my heart rate peaks too high, I go dizzy and clammy, and I'm left on the side retching and trying to get some air in my lungs. Not the prettiest of pictures but I never said I was an artist.

3. Trainers. I overpronate (which in itself isn't a huge issue as there are so many that roll our ankles inwards). My problem was I had no idea I did until I developed a pretty nasty case of post-tib tendonitis. Great job Rachel, great job. I was running in my old Nike Pegasus 29 which as beautiful and comfy as they were they didn't offer the support I needed and, as a result, I ended up with rolling ankles. Many times. And boy it hurt. A lot. I've since upgraded to my Asics Gel Trounce 2 which do the job just nicely and (fingers crossed) no injuries yet!

Rest. Rest was the best thing I could do and now looking back I wish I could've shaken my shoulders a little and give myself a reality check. Pushing through the pain and the injury only set me back and caused more angst and dodgy ankles, was it worth it? No. Did it matter at the time? No. Have I learnt from my mistake? Hell yeah!

So now, timing doesn't matter to me. At all... but yes, sometimes I need to remind myself of this when I'm kicking myself that my 5km runs are now more stop-start than a rush hour M6 carpark, but at the end of the day as long as I'm actually out there doing it and I finish the damn thing, nothing else matters.

Now, back to business. This May I am taking part in a fundraising activity called Outrun May (click the link for more information) powered by Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity close to my heart. I've set myself the target to run between 20-30 miles this month (I'm aiming for 26.2 - that's a marathon in a month) which I'm logging on Strava. Every penny counts - literally - because then I know that someone is backing me every step of the way. There will be tears, sweat, and pain (though hopefully not any blood - I'm aiming to not fall over this time!) and I need that support.

If you'd like to throw a few pennies into the pot, please head over to my Just Giving page (Rachel is running for Macmillan Cancer for Outrun May) and click away. I'm going to keep everyone updated on my progress week-by-week (5 miles completed for the first week) via facebook, twitter, instagram, this blog, word of mouth, by any medium so apologies in advance :-)

Much love, Rachel x

[Image from Pinterest]

Side note: The grammar-freak within is having a meltdown over the image I used but never mind, it's pretty and it's exactly what I needed....

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