What I discovered about running over 2020-2021

Helen Lane

I’ve run almost my whole life and always found it difficult to make that first step out the door and run. However over the last 2 years I’ve changed and found ways that help me step out the door and run by using routines, making challenges and rewarding myself.

Until the last couple of years I had no running routine at all, except running at parkruns on Saturday’s. Looking back most of the time I rarely initiated a run, I wasn’t particularly self motivated and became accustom to running when my husband ran. It took the decision away from me needing to decide to do a run which I liked. In fact, most of my training runs were done on the treadmill when we went to the gym and if I ran outside, then it was mostly with my husband and he designed a session that fitted in with both our levels. I liked doing that way.

Routine and Goal Setting

Of course I did enter races and I can remember doing a few long run by myself when I was training for a marathon. I didn’t run if it was a little cold, hot, rain or windy I (except of course if it was a parkrun or race). I wouldn’t and still don’t run in the dark, so I certainly didn’t have a routine. But of course you can’t always rely on someone else to motive you. Eventually, my husband got injured and I needed to motivate myself. I seem now to love running more than ever before.

I stared to understand the importance of having a routine and challenging yourself early in Lockdown. I was reading an article by Tim Peake the astronaut about how important routine and goals were to help cope with isolation in space. I thought to myself, “I have no routine at all, no set time to wake up, no set time to eat, to vacuum, to make the bed, to do dishes, to exercise, not one thing!” In fact I hate cleaning and used to just wait until I couldn’t stand the mess any more and have to tidy up.

I also noticed in Lockdown many people were doing Challenges that inspired me e.g. Joe Wicks workouts, Captain Toms walking. I decided to start some of my own tiny challenges that were super achievable and based around routine, some have now formed into habits that I do on most days.

For my running challenge I decided I’d run everyday for a month before breakfast. My rule was “The run didn’t have to be far or fast and but I have to get out that door and run.” The run made me feel good and succeeding at achieving my goal made me feel even better. The running challenge was hard for me for the first 3 weeks. I struggled to get out the door but after about 5 weeks it was better. It definitely was difficult for longer than I expected. I ended up meeting a runner in my local Park who had been doing a Run Streak for almost a year. I thought that’s amazing, I wonder how long I could do it. I started my own running streak. I even brought a Cake to celebrate every 100 days. The Run Streak lasted 261 days which ended when I got injured 5 weeks before I ran the BostonUK Marathon, but everything worked out well. I rested for the 5 weeks from running and completed the marathon with a Personal Best, I learnt so many things from the Run Streak especially the last one…… “DON’T OVERTRAIN BECAUSE YOU MAY GET INJURED!”

As the Run Streak continued, I could feel myself becoming more empowered and confident and I loved the new identity I had. I was a ‘RUN STREAKER’. I was amazed at how happy I became just from something so small. It was something in my life that was good and made me happy whenever I thought about it. At that time it seems everyone and everything was so negative and running, exercising and challenges and succeeding at these things was a my coat of armor which protected me from negative things and it gave me control and a sense of accomplishment. I became fitter and even did the Virtual New York City Marathon and the Virtual Virgin London Marathon. I also enjoyed running outdoors and I felt I and no one else owned and controlled my running. I didn’t feel pressured to run fast, I remember when I was younger that I had to run as fast as I could because I wanted my parents to be proud of me. The feeling that I HAVE TO RUN FAST, seemed to have stayed with me as a adult.

I stopped worrying about the way I looked. I did exactly what I liked. I would listen to different podcast to make it more fun.

One of my favorite Podcast
….and another one of my favorite Podcast
….and another one of my favorite Podcasts

I’d vary sessions, sometimes I would do sprints at my favorite bit of my park, I created segments on Strava. I found more and more ways to make my run special. I saved the really good podcast for my long runs. I started to run in all weathers. In the past I never ran if the weather wasn’t good but I learned that the reason why I got too cold, too hot or too wet was that I didn’t dress appropriately for the weather. I learnt I didn’t have to feel too hot, too cold or even too wet. If I thought I might be cold I put on an extra layer and if I got too hot I slowed down. I invested in a new rain jacket so I didn’t get wet. I decided to when to run, the weather didn’t decide for me which was how it was previously. It felt like I had never been in control of my running until now.

More Rewards

I also start rewarding myself after every run. Most days I used to finish the run at either a bakery or supermarket buy a treat like a cake or just a cappuccino and walked home. Sometime when I really didn’t want to go running I just thought I’d run just to the Supermarket and that’s all, but after 10 minute of running I always felt good and continued running. I made it a habit to give lots of positive self-talk, saying things to myself “the first 10 minutes are the hardest, so you are doing well, you’re tough, you deserve a cake, you are looking good” I treated myself like I was the most important person on earth. On some days the thought of getting an ice cream was they only thing that could get me out. I also Posted my run on Twitter, this was not done to show off but for me, it was confirmation that I had done a run and it was nice that some people said well done. I didn’t mind if people saw it as silly as I was doing the run for myself not anyone else and I found it really did motivate me.

I started making other challenges, one was to do 10 press ups every hour between 9am and 5pm, ok sometimes I had to stop for a minute while out walking and do 10 press ups when everyone wasn’t looking, but I ticked off every hour that I did it and each time I felt good as I was ticking it off, I felt I’d achieved something and felt good, so that was 8 times a day that made me feel good. At the start I could only do about 3 full press up’s before the challenge and now I can do about 25 good full press ups each time.

This developed in to other things, e.g., 10 1 legged squats, 20 sit ups, one minute Planks. For the first time in my life I started to do strengthening exercises. I’ve been saying for over 20 years “I must do some strengthening exercise like sit ups,” but never do. People used to say to me all the time that my running would improve if I strengthened you core. Now I really do have a six pack and of course there were other bonuses, I lost about 10kg in weight over two years and my percentage of muscle mass has increased.

Of course doing something like sit up’s or press up’s every hour is not achievable long term so I decided I’d do them when I get up before I went for a run, so it turned into a mini workout…but then I discovered the world of YouTube workouts. I obviously must have lived in a hole most of my life because the world of YouTube was a revelation to me…you can really find something on everything nowadays. I started to do a YouTube workout every morning. My favorite is Carolina Given. I brought dumbbells, yoga blocks and resistance band and loved it. I was always far too self conscious and unfit to do exercise classes at the gym but now the gyms have opened again I have been to HIIT Classes and I am as good as anyone else. I changed the challenges all the time. I managed to stretch everyday for two weeks and now I do some stretching almost everyday. For over 20 year I used to also say “I should do more stretching, “ but never did.

My favorite YouTube Workout: Caroline Given

I then started looking for more and more challenges or new routines some lasted a little while and some I have kept, other challenges I did did were ‘ten chin ups by my birthday’, ‘vacuum every day between 3-5pm every day even when it’s not dirty (I brought a lovely cordless light vacuum cleaner so I now love Vacuuming), ‘do some Indoor Rowing everyday, again, it doesn’t have to far or fast’. I have a note book with all the things I need to do and the act of ticking them of after I have completed them gives me a boost. For a few days, I thought “I need to drink more, so every time I come into the kitchen I will have a bottle of water sitting there and take 3 gulps and put 1 tick/tally on the notepad beside the bottle”. It was all a bit of fun.

Indoor Rowing & Exercise Area, you can watch Netflix, YouTube etc, while you exercise

My mindset slowly changed for me in lockdown. I know myself very well, if I don’t run or exercise I start feeling down and a bit depressed and that if I do run or do some exercise. It was a difficult time, The more difficult the times the more I knew I needed to run or exercise. Running and exercise is my coping mechanism for life and I absolutely love it. I think I should also add that my improvement in my well being may also be due also to slowly coming off medication that I’d been on for over 30 years. There is an amazing difference, the world through my eyes seem like it was now in colour and I’m no long lethargic, I don’t need to sleep as much, I wake up early and I just wanted to get up and do stuff.

For me, I use routines and challenges and now look forward to positive things. We can’t sit passively and think “life’s shit” and talk all day about how unfair life is, and wait for someone else to fix it or you can take control and improve it yourself.

Race Review Draycote Water 10km Race Series: Race 1; October, Race 2 November 2017 (This will be updated every month as results come in).

This is a great event. It is a series that runs every second Sunday of each month from October to March. It is located in Draycote Water, Warwickshire., which has a large lake and the course goes around the lake. If you live in the Midlands I recommend this series, as it’s a pretty course and it’s a longer distance from most other race series. If you are doing a spring marathon then, free parkruns, this series, 1-2 Half-Marathons and a 20 mile Race will set you up perfectly.

It was a windy but a dry day, so fairy good weather for running. Parking was really easy, and picking up numbers was easy too. We left our clothes in the car which was fine, although they had a bag drop too.

Although they advertise this course as easy, flat, I found it had some hills. It was pretty and traffic-free and encompasses a short run and back along the Farborough Dam followed by a lap of the reservoir, starting and finishing close to the country park.

All result time below are chip time. (Click links for more)

Results: Race 1 Sunday 8th of October 2017:Draycote Water 10km Series: Race 1

Men’s:

1. Paul Andrews 35.02

2. Ryan Smith 35.28

3. Lewis Cherry 37.49

Women’s:

1. Louise Andrews 44.31

2. Rachel Smith 46.12

3. Lisa Robertson 47.13

Results: Race 2 Sunday 12th November 2017: Draycote Water 10km Series Race 2.

November

Men’s

1. Paul Andrews 34.30

2. Ben Plummer 34.50

3. Paul Edwards 37.21

Women’s

1. Jess Orion 44.30

2. Louise Andrews 44.48

3. Chloe Kington 45.00

Worksop Half Marathon: 29th October 2017

By Carl Stone (UKnetRunner)

Worksop Half Marathon is my local event with the start being only a mile from home , always well supported on fully closed roads which also runs through the scenic Clumber Park , many of the runners turn up in Halloween costumes , this years race was run in ideal running weather and I managed to knock 7 Mins off my course PB 😀 , excellent medal And T shirt also makes this a must for your race calendar .

Future Event: The Rutland Spring Half Marathon 8th April 2018

The Rutland Spring Half Marathon, takes place on the 8th April 2018.

The Rutland Spring Half Marathon

The course offers exceptional views of the lake from Hambleton Peninsula. For those who have taken part in our September race, this course covers the section of the route half marathoners miss in our September addition of the race. Its such a lovely part of the course we wanted to give everyone an opportunity to race there.

Entries are limited to 500 so don’t miss out. You can expect the same friendly welcome, beautiful course, great feedstations, medal, t-shirt and amazing experience you’d expect from our September race.

Sunday 29th October 2017: Worksop Half Marathon

By Sam Blease.

If you go down to the woods today don’t be surprised to see about 3000 runners, many of them dressed for Halloween, tackling 13.1 beautiful but undulating miles. Worksop half marathon is a road race but it takes you through the picturesque Clumber Park. There were plenty of PB’s achieved – maybe this was due to runners being chased by ghosts & ghouls, witches and evil spirits? Even Jason’s from Friday 13th put in an appearance (photo above). You’d have to be fast to beat him to the line though, he finished the run in 1:41! A lovely morning out, chilly but dry & fairly light winds. This run is a lot of fun & worth doing just to see the fancy dress.

To see a video event tap link below.

Worksop Half Marathon

Interesting Person of the Week: Mike Edwards

We all meet so many interesting people through our running and other activities and sometimes don’t share their stories, so in this section there will be stories and an an “Interesting Person of the Week”. Mike Edwards is the first, with many more to come.

Mike is now in the 70-74 age group. Mike has been a good club runner for over 30 years. He has a fast P.B., for a marathon of 3.01 which also must be frustrating as it’s so close to sub 3 hours. It did make me laugh as I read this because he is another runner with dodgy knee’s who took up cycling. It seems that most cyclists are ex runners with running injuries. Anyway here’s his story,

“I gave up running for a while about twelve years ago because of a dodgy knee and after an arthroscopy got into mountain biking which strengthened my leg muscles supporting the knee thus enabled me to start running again. I actually suffered a heart attack in 2011 whilst mountain biking, but had a procedure called angioplasty(stents fitted) at Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital. The consultant who carried out the angioplasty, Nick Palmer cleared me to return to whatever I was doing previously. I got fit again at Lion Quays Leisure Club under the guidance of Michelle Bowen who was cardio rehab trained which involved gym work and swimming. In 2012 I went to watch my eldest son complete a Sprint Triathlon in Nantwich, became inspired and the following year took part myself.

I found triathlon very satisfying doing the three disciplines, although I am not the best of swimmers(self taught front crawl or freestyle as they now call it). I have completed about a dozen Sprints since then, the last on the 24th September 2017 at Ludlow. I swim at Chirk Leisure Centre two or three times a week and also ride road, cycle-cross and mountain bike and have recently introduced a gym programme to strengthen my upper body and core which has improved my running, although I am a great deal slower than I used to be. What I find is that entering a Triathlon gives me incentive to train and I am already entered for Chirk Sprint Tri next April.

Over the last eighteen months or so I have been going to the Park Run at Erddig Hall, Wrexham(NT) and am enjoying running one week and volunteering the alternate week. I also run on a Thursday morning with my long time running buddy, Les Leech and have been to Park Runs at Delamere, Congeleton and Braunstone Leicester as a PR tourist.

I completed my second Braunstone, Leicester Park Run on Saturday and recorded a PB of 29:41 and was third in my age group 70-74. I run, cycle(road, cyclo-cross and mountain bike) and swim. Entered Chirk Sprint Triathlon 2018 last night to motivate myself to train across the winter.”

Race Report: Hardmoors 26.2 Series – Osmotherley Half Marathon Sunday 22 October 2017.

By Sam Blease.

I originally signed up for this race during the spring – the weather was warming up, I had started to develop a passion for trail running, and someone had told me that the Yorkshire Moors was a beautiful place to run. Fast-forward to a wet, windy, wild and chilly October weekend and suddenly an off road run in a rather exposed and hilly environment didn’t seem quite so appealing!

After an incredibly early start to get to the event, and having passed the kit inspection (waterproofs, hat, gloves, route description, 500ml minimum fluid, emergency food – check…) and picked up our race numbers, we saw the hardy marathoners set off & awaited our starting time of 10am with a little trepidation. At least storm Brian had mostly disappeared overnight and the winds and rain had abated a little bit. The half marathon race briefing gleefully announced to us that it was a little bit breezy at the trig point just before half way, the stones on parts of the course were wet and slippery, there was quite a bit of mud on the course due to the recent rainfall, and oh… we did mention that the half marathon route is about 16.5 miles long, right?

Just before our starting time we trekked up the hill from Osmotherley village hall and assembled in the start area. At exactly 10am on the dot, the race commenced! It was everything I thought it would be – challenging terrain, difficult weather – being blown sideways at the top of a mountain is certainly interesting – but absolutely stunning views (“I can see the sea from here!”), wonderful friendly marshals, the checkpoints were well stocked with jaffa cakes, sweets, salted nuts, water & pepsi, and the other runners were chatty, supportive and thoroughly enjoying themselves – this was an adventure, not a race!

At just after 11 miles, I started suffering quite badly with a foot injury that had been niggling away for a couple of weeks beforehand and had somewhat hampered my training. I struggled on for a couple more miles (I had actually run a half marathon by this point) but the pain was just getting worse. I thought I would get to the next checkpoint and maybe that would be race over for me. However, a group of ladies caught up with me and stopped to check I was ok. After offering me painkillers, to get a marshal for me, or to walk with me the last mile or two with me – less than a parkrun to go now!! – I managed to pull myself together, grit my teeth and plough on. Fortunately the last part of the race was not too technical or overly hilly so I did manage to hobble my way to the end where my hard earned t-shirt, medal and a veritable banquet of food awaited.

So in summary, this is an excellently organised race in a stunning location & I would recommend anyone who enjoys trail running to give it a go, but… don’t try this with an injury – it’s tough, that’s why it’s called “Hardmoors”, don’t expect the weather to be perfect, enjoy the scenery on the way round and, most importantly, relish the bonus free mileage that a Hardmoors race invariably gives you. Oh, and don’t worry about how long it takes you, the cut off for the half marathon was 5 hours & I managed to do it in 3 hours and 50 minutes – which apparently is perfectly acceptable and I was a long way from being last. A really memorable experience and I’m sure I’ll be back next year!

Great Birmingham Marathon 15th October 2017: A first time Marathoner’s Experience

by Helen Brookes

I’d like to run a marathon……’

I have said this to Pete several times during our marriage. The idea of completing one, knowing that he has completed 7, seemed a reasonable wish. His (perfectly reasonable) reply was always to point out the commitment of training and how it becomes all consuming. With a family and work I guess he was thinking that it was probably not practical. Three years ago we joined KHRC and that was to be the turning point. After last years half marathon where I knocked 20 minutes off my PB I knew that I could consider entering the Birmingham International Marathon. I continued with my usual training/running/races up until May and then joined Greg’s LSR (Long Sunday Runs) These runs gave me such a massive boost of confidence. Running with the group was just fantastic and such fun as well as teaching me so many things. I learnt about rehydrating and refuelling. I bought a Camelbak and learnt to run with it. After a few weeks I did my long runs on my own. My reasoning was that on the day I probably would be on my own. I needed to know that I could spend 5 plus hours with myself and my thoughts. I needed to know that I could fight those demons.I trained up to 20 miles. The last month of training was dogged by illness and a horrible virus the week before.Sunday October 15th loomed large and I was very nervous.This is the background to what happened over the next 12 hours.
4:30am Alarm. Snooze until 4:45am
4:45am Breakfast. Porridge.Banana. Bagal. Coffee.
6:10am Get ready and leave home at to drive Joss to the 7am shuttle bus.
7:30am Found a portaloo.#1 toilet trip.My bus was at 8am. Got to shuttle bus and it left at 7:35! I was on my way sitting next to a lovely lady from Devon called Sam. We had a lovely chat.
8am Arrived at Alexander Stadium. Met up with other KHRC peeps and we made our way towards the baggage points.
8:30am Cheered Joss out of the stadium as he started his race. Went to queue for the toilet. #2 toilet trip. Then went down to the track to start the long wait.
9:00am Sat with a chap in the stands….we both looked as if we were about to go to the gallows. I was shaking so much.
9:15am Met up with lots of KHRC folk.Lined up with Liz and Trudie. Enjoyed some photos and realised I need to improve my wearing of lipstick to look even half as glamorous as Trudie. I also felt a little under dressed in the hair department compared to Liz!! We waved and called to other KHRC folk as they made their way to their particular time section. Hugs and best wishes all round.
9:30am We were off.
I settled into a steady pace. Pete had drilled me about not going off too fast and paying for it later on.
I felt good all the way into Digbeth and out to Cannon Hill. It felt comfortable. No problems. The refuelling went well. The Camelbak was working well too. Thankfully the hot weather did not really materialise during those early miles. Cannon Hill was amazing. Seeing friends and family and the cheer station. Just incredible. I bounced out of the park and found the next section equally fine. Seeing friends and family at Maryvale, Linden Rd and Bournville. A huge lift. But I felt really good. And then back out for the loop. Still feeling fine. A gel every hour as well as a small Mars and some Malt Loaf. Cannon Hill the second time. Lovely to run with Alison and to see my family again and KHRC cheerers. At 18.5 I started to feel a little tired. Nothing major but I knew that I was approaching the 20 mile point where my training had stopped. Seeing Jenni and Kevin on Maryvale was very emotional. They were brilliant and ran with me until the corner of Linden. I turned into the hill and saw Sarah and Benn I I actually heard Benn first!) The emotion overcame me again and we had a hug. I couldn’t really say very much. Halfway down Bournville Lane my right leg started to cause some discomfort. The area behind my knee was so painful and I couldn’t relieve the pain. From there until 22 miles I started to struggle. I had my final gel. Made myself eat some malt loaf. Rebecca ran with for a bit. But my moment of darkness was very close. At about 22.5 miles my body just seemed to stop. I tried every strategy…thinking of Pete and the boys…my charities…..all the people who had sponsored me….but nothing seemed to make my legs do anything differently. In the end I had to say out loud ‘one step, one step’ over and over again. It was at this point that Trudie and Sam (?) arrived behind me. Quite simply they were my marathon angels. They would not let me stop…they talked to me and tried to distract me. I urged them to continue without me but they wouldn’t leave me. Sam produced some Ibruprofen Gel and I applied it to my leg. We continued to try to keep the pace. Trudie shouted out miles 24 and 25 and then we were into the finish. The crowds were amazing. We crossed the finish line hands held – 3 lionesses together. 5 hours 49mins.Despite the dark 4 miles I loved every minute of my first marathon. I have learnt alot about myself . the challenge is definitely more mental than physical.But most importantly the love that I felt from my supporters will stay with me forever. Thank you to you all. Helen Brooke’s
The photo at the top of the page is Helen Brooke’s with her two friends.