It’s been a while and in my absence I’ve won two medals. The first came for taking part in the London to Reading Bike Ride to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. It was good fun, but, the same as any sportive, I hit a hilly bit and wondered why on earth I was bothering! It never fails to make me giggle. In my head I can do these events gracefully and without effort, without breaking a sweat. Haha! They’re hard, they’re a challenge, my legs were killing me and I was freezing cold. That’s why they give you a medal! The Inner Critic kicks in every single time telling me I’m not fit enough, I shouldn’t be there and that’s why it’s so hard. No, it’s hard because it’s meant to be hard!
Funnily enough, this sportive was pretty much spot on one year after my first sportive, The Black Legend. Clearly they were very different courses, with this one featuring nowhere near as many hills, but I have definitely developed as a cyclist in the interim which is great.
So after the 72.4km ride on the Saturday, I went and did 200 lengths of my local pool for Swimathon, which is part of Sport Relief. I found this less of a challenge that the ride, and it was great to be in an event in which I didn’t feel any real pressure. No Inner Critic on this one, I just enjoyed the experience. I learned on the morning of the event that there was a 3 hour cut off time, and I didn’t know if I’d make the distance.
Even that didn’t bother me, which is a great sign of improvement over last year. I completed the event in 2 hours 57 minutes, so really pleased that I scraped in under the cut off time!
In the most exciting news of all though, I am starting a “learn to run” course with Elite Conditioning this week. This is a massive step for me. Whilst I’ve taken on and won a whole load of things in the past couple of years, running has remained a bit of an enigma. Fair enough, I’m very flat footed with overpronation so severe that my podiatrist said he hadn’t really seen anything much worse, and I’m hypermobile so my joints can bend into positions that isn’t normal – I can bite my own toenails! All of this, along with the fact that I’m still overweight and on the less fit side of fit, means that running is a challenge for me. Thanks to an attempt at Couch to 5k in 2015 that resulted in a very painful knee after 3 weeks, running has been off limits for some time. Even The Trainer, the king of “You can do it…”, banned me from running. All of this, along with the usual Inner Critic unhelpfulness, has meant that I have never believed that I can run.
All of my challenges are real so I’m working with the lovely Karen at Elite Conditioning, who is a running specialist. She’s going to help with specialist exercises to strengthen my feet, plus advice on technique. And I’ve joined a 6 week long class that aims to get us from where we are now (read: walking!) to being able to run 5k. It starts on Tuesday and just signing up is a massive step for me.
What with changing jobs and getting used to HRT and being menopausal and doing a Masters degree, I’ve really struggled to get into a good routine around exercise this year, as my amazing PT Kim can testify (Bless her). Whilst I’m a firm believer that clean eating and exercise should just be one part of a healthy lifestyle, I felt I really needed a more structured program to follow to help me establish a routine. I’ve been loving my lifting with Kim, and replacing fat with muscle is a great way to tone up and get the metabolism revving, so I’m getting a lifting program that will work on all the major muscle groups in a sensible way.
And I’ve got this running program to follow. 2 runs a week plus the group class. All in all, it should give me plenty to get stuck into and I’m really excited about having the structure of being told what to do for a little while. After 8 weeks I’m hoping to see some great results in terms of body measurements and weight loss, but most of all I’m hoping that I’ll be more confident in the free weights area and also proud of being a 5k runner!
I’m intending on blogging regularly about my experience with the Elite Conditioning running group. It’s a 6 week program and at the end of it I will be attempting to complete my first Park Run – so, fingers crossed, by the 21st May I shall be a Park Runner!
So here’s my thoughts before I start. Now, I trust Karen and her instructors as they come highly recommended – but I want to lay out the journey here to help others in a similar boat and I cannot pretend that I am not pretty nervous, sceptical and anxious about the whole thing. Some of these thoughts I realise are entirely irrational, but I’m going to note them anyway and then as the program progresses we’ll see how my attitudes change.
- What if I can’t keep up with the rest of the class?
- What if the instructors decide I’m a lost cause and advise me to stick to swimming
- I’m pretty sure that “conversational pace” is just called ‘walking’ for me!
- I’m not fit enough to run 5k, 2k or even 1k. I can manage 100m today and that early kills me
- I will jiggle in all the wrong places (are there any right places to jiggle?!)
On the other hand, I’m really looking forward to:
- Just being able to pull on my trainers and go for a run to clear my head
- Have a cheap (free!) way of exercising on holidays, etc
- Endorphins – love ’em and I’ll get them wherever I can
- The pride of knowing that I took on something that seems impossible and did it
I’ll be posting my training runs etc on here. I think it’ll be cool to look back on to see when, where and how progress was made.
So, bring on Lady Bugs!