Looking back and moving forward…

TOTAL MILAGE THIS WEEK: Swim 1 mile (!) | Cycle: 50 miles | Run: 20 miles |
Verdict: I made the 1 mile swim mark and got in an LSR!!!!

This week I finally managed to get over my newly found dread of long slow runs with the help of a very good friend who is also an LSR-hating runner. We ran 15 miles at an 8 minute mile pace, although my watch ran out of battery so I only logged 10.5 on Strava so I am not sure if it even counts. I also saw a picture on Facebook from what I think was only my second 10km run just two years ago and it got me thinking about how far I have come since then, and all of the things that have helped me along the way.

  1. Signed up to park run. I started park run in 2013, after a friend from university told me about it. I had just completed a sprint triathlon and absolutely HATED the running part, so it was natural for me to decide that the best way to get around that was to voluntarily run 5km every week. I did my first run in just under 30 minutes, and went back sporadically over the next two years, totting up 33 runs, and using any excuse to avoid dragging myself to the park. Fast forward 4 years and I have just done my 123rd park run, visited 16 courses, and taken my PB down to 21:20. I rarely miss a Saturday, I love running in the rain, and I run every christmas day… so its safe to say I am hooked. Whether you are a runner or a walker, I strongly recommend you to get yourself out of bed on a Saturday morning and give your local park run a go. You can sign up (for free) here.

    Lining up for a park run pacing event with my running club
  2. Joined a running club. Well technically I joined two running clubs, and they were without a doubt the most helpful thing for me. I know that the thought of joining a running club can be intimidating, and that a lot of people think that its not for them because they are not fast enough, or can’t run far enough, but those people are 100% wrong. Believe it or not, it was my mother that persuaded me to join my first club, the South Leeds Lakers because a lot of our friends from park run were part of the club, and she wanted to lose weight. Both of us were able to run together because the club has run backs, as well as different paced groups, and neither of us ever felt under any pressure to keep up with the pack when we didn’t have it in us.  It was the lakers that got me through my first 10km run, and onto my first half marathon, so I owe them a lot! I recently moved to London and the first thing I did was join the Crystal Palace Fun Runners. I made a whole bunch of new friends, a lot of whom were marathon runners, and 6 months after joining I too joined the 1% of people who can run a marathon, by completing Barcelona in 3:35. If I hadn’t joined a club back in the days when I couldn’t run I would NEVER be contemplating my first iron man right now!

    Preparing for a trail run with the lakers
  3. Decided to commute by bike. I’ve owned a bike pretty much my whole life, but I have never been what you would call a cyclist. That is until I started commuting 20 miles each day by bike almost a year ago. When I first started cycling it would take me nearly an hour to get home, but since purchased a nippy little road bike (entry level, of course) I have managed to take 15 minutes off my time! If you are considering commuting I really do think a lighter bike is worth the investment because it really makes all of the difference to me!

    Even when it’s raining I always prefer to ride home than take the tube!
  4. Discovered open water swimming. I might have mentioned it before (I think it features in every blog post so far) but I LOVE OUTDOOR SWIMMING! My pool at work is 18.3m long, and while its really convenient for getting a few lengths in, the constant turning is soul destroying. As a solution, I found the Serpentine Swim Club who swim every day in the Serpentine between 6 and 9:30am. The serpentine lido is 100x40m, is currently around 16-18 degrees, and is full of swans, and its amazing. Having the opportunity to swim outside every day has revolutionised my swimming experience, and I only signed up 1 short week ago!

    One of my fave shots from the Serpentine last week
  5. Found friends that will do all of these crazy things with me! Whatever I decide to do, it is always made a lot easier by the kind of friends that don’t think twice about going for a 15 mile run on a Saturday morning or jumping in a lake for a swim because I have asked them to. We all need more people like this in our lives!

I know that not everyone can commute, and that the open water swim thing isn’t for everyone (although I think everyone should at least try it) but everyone can, and should, set a goal to try something new this month. You never know, you might just find out you like it!

6 thoughts on “Looking back and moving forward…”

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