Parkrun: where we all run our own race…

I do so love Parkrun. I’ve completed 43 on 3 different courses and all of which have had the same thing in common – they’re all about people trying to achieve their own personal goals and feel good. They are always full of happy positive encouraging people, from the runners to the marshals and supporters who cheer everyone on.

No one comes last at a Parkrun as there’s always a Tailwalker and no one is ever told they can’t join in. Run, walk, crawl – sprint it like Usain Bolt or plod along with your dog in tow, everyone is welcome.

  • Are you trying to get a PB? Good luck to you, let’s hope you smash that target!
  • Is your focus on trying to get physically fit? Good on you, keep on going!
  • Are you participating to help your mental health and feel better about yourself? We think you’re great, welcome welcome!
  • Are you meeting up with friends and enjoying the experience together? Perfect, have fun!
  • Is this something you’re doing with your family to give you quality time? What a great idea, enjoy!

Last week I went to my local Parkrun and it was such a jolly affair. It’s going to be a few weeks before I can go again so in the meantime I wrote a little ditty…

Parkrun

Happy chatter fills the air, colourful t-shirts everywhere;

Let’s limber up, jog on the spot, muscles loose, we’re ready to trot;

The hooter sounds and off we go, watches set, faces a glow;

Some legs are fast, they really Race, others take a more leisurely pace;

Are you quick or are you slow? No one cares just GO GO GO!

Marshals cheer as we run by, “You can do it!” They all cry;

We reach the finish, cross the line, grins all round and feeling fine 😃

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Learn to rest not quit…

I was SO tired, SO fed up and just, well… bleurgh!!☹️ The mojo had disappeared along with my energy, my body was aching and I’d forgotten how to enjoy running – too busy worrying about times and distances!

I’m not a quitter, but I definitely needed a little rest – to recharge and refocus; so a week off, some quality time with family and friends, abit of pampering, refuelling with some tasty healthy food and taking time to just breathe…

Today I felt ready to start again…gently! So a run home from work was spent just pootling along, smelling the bonfires, watching the fireworks going off in the gardens and seeing the stars starting to peek out in the night sky…🎇✨

I have no idea what the distance was, it wasn’t far, but it doesn’t matter; I have no idea what the time was, it wasn’t quick, but it doesn’t matter; what matters is that I went for a run and remembered to smile 😊

I’ve done it…don’t know whether to laugh or cry!

So this morning at 6:15am (oh my Lordy just getting out of bed that early was a challenge in itself!😳😄) I set off to complete Day31 of this RED January malarkey!

2miles later I finished with a sprint home, spring in my step and the biggest grin on my face ever!! 😁 I also wanted to cry 😭 … it was such an emotional moment – I have achieved something I didn’t know I could do and, when you can say that and know you’ve really worked hard to do it, well…it seems that tears as well as laughter must follow!

70miles/112km run, 40miles/64km walked, 2xRugby & 1xZumba and £100+ for the Charity MIND and that was it – the challenge is complete!!

My fabulous friends and family have put up with my daily posts and with my endless natterings about running and have been unfailingly supportive and encouraging – they’ve helped me more than they’ll ever know 💕💕

My fellow REDders have made me laugh, made me cry and have inspired me to really push myself and I am proud to be part of this positive and friendly community.

I have loved every moment and can’t wait to do it all again next year ❤️😊❤️😊❤️

In the meantime…what’snext??😉

It’s a new dawn…

It’s a new dawn

It’s a new day

It’s a new life

For me

And I’m feeling good…

I’ve always loved these lyrics and when sung by the amazing Nina Simone I am filled with an overwhelming feeling of hopeful joy.

As one year floats into another it’s a time that most of us reflect and make promises to ourselves to improve our lives, often that of others as well and generally look to the future with hope and aspiration.

Sometimes it’s quite hard to do this, especially if you’re in the throes of depression and/or anxiety; if you suffer with self doubt, lack of self esteem you can find yourself crippled with negative thoughts which crowd your space and prevent you from seeing the light.

The mental health issues that we can experience are complex and I don’t understand even half of 1% of it all, I do know that there’s no simple ‘cure’; there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solves depression, no ‘xyz’ fixes anxiety…so as we are individuals so as we have different needs and experiences.

I do know, however, that there is something that can help everyone – in fact two things:

1. Talking. Even peeps that say they don’t like to talk, especially about themselves, can find specialist listening ears and advice to be healing.

2. Exercise. Don’t get me wrong, sports men and women are susceptible to mental health issues as much as anyone, I’m not saying get fit and all your troubles disappear! But there are proven links between regular exercise and improved mental health and wellbeing; so doing exercise, anything that gets your endorphins pumping, is definitely a good thing!

I work with incredible men and women who provide advice and support to young people experiencing difficulties. I see the difference they make in the lives that they touch and it’s value cannot be overstated.

So thinking about all of this made me decide to start this new dawn with a challenge to myself but which also helps to shine that light for those who maybe aren’t able to see the new day and feel good at the moment.

I’m taking part in REDJanuary – I shall attempt to Run Every Day in January and raise awareness of the importance of exercise for mental wellbeing and some funds for the charity MIND.

MIND is a great charity which helps anyone with a mental health issues- they provide invaluable support, advice even advocacy. They’re website can be found here and it’s well worth a look:

https://www.mind.org.uk

I like running although I’m not a natural that’s for sure! I wibble wobble along, often puffing like a steam train, all red faced after 10metres and I often look very ‘stern’ when I’m doing it but actually I find it therapeutic, rewarding and dare I say fun?! I try to complete the local ParkRun when I can, I often run home from work and recently completed the Great South Run in October which was 10miles; back in 2016 I did a very slow London Marathon – so I know I can run…This REDJanuary is a challenge for me because I’ve never run more than three days in a row so running 31 days straight does fill me with some trepidation!

However, I’m SO excited at the same time! I’ve already met so many other REDRunners online and been part of sharing positive thoughts and encouragement – and I only signed up a few days ago!

I shall be blogging every now and again on how it’s going – I hope you won’t mind too much.

In the meantime, I leave you with this beautiful song and wish you a wonderful new dawn, positive new day and a happy life in 2018

Feel Good xx

Where’s my mojo? I had it around here somewhere I swear…

I’m amazed and a little bit terrified at how easily I have lost my form in the short time I’ve been unable run – yeah I know it’s coincided with the holidays and that means too much food and drink (and yes I admit to failing miserably on the healthy eating today but oh man that Big Tasty was delish today!!) not to mention my tendency on holidays for being lazy but even so, it’s quite shocking how quickly things can go down hill – it’s like my fitness hopped on a bike, whizzed off down the track and the brakes failed!!

It’s quite disheartening when you realise all that hard work you’ve put in has just ‘poof!’ disappeared…and I think my mojo has had enough and gone into hiding.

The euphoria of the first run wore off quick but I will not be deterred – there’s worse things that happen to people all the time and so I’m trying to stay upbeat and find where that mojo hiding place is…

Today I found myself in the New Forest at silly o’clock so I thought – hmmm? The sun is shining, I’ve nothing else to do this morning and it’s all rather pretty out there, so let’s lace up those trainers and see how far I can go in half hour…well, it actually took me 40 mins but I managed 5km – which is not setting any records but you know what? It’ll do for me for today!

Through the heather, up & down the tracks, past the horses (they snorted at me but I forgive them as they clearly just don’t recognise a sophisticated running style when they see one) and all in the warm morning sunshine.

I think I can see my mojo peeping round the corner at me…

Taking a running selfie is a dangerous thing…

Today I went for a run, well I say a run whereas if you saw me you'd think I was mildly jogging or possibly even fast walking (with less of the wiggle and more of the wobble)…but I can assure you that it was a 'run' for me!

I haven't run for nearly 6 weeks – it definitely showed!! To be fair I've not been running for a while because I hurt my back and have only just had the 'go ahead' from the Osteopath to try running again…it's been soooo frustrating not being able to run, not being able to get out there and participate in something that makes me feel good – that raises my spirits and makes me feel like me – so although my time and the distance are absolutely nothing to write home about, they are a personal achievement none the less.

I am most definitely not a natural runner; I've participated in quite a few races, events etc. and my sole aim in most of them is just to finish. The only distance I really try to improve my time in is the 5km. I don't know why but I kinda feel that is the distance where I have a chance for me to show ME that I'm getting better. The rest of the time I'm trying to enjoy the experience and get to the finish line without collapsing!

My lovely friend Dana first got me started with all this running malarkey (I tried to work out how many years ago but it made me feel old so I stopped) by encouraging me to join her in a 5km Race for Life and after that I was, as they say, hooked!!

Which is strange because I hated running at school – we used to have to do roughly 1.5miles round the block; my legs would cramp, my lungs would be fit to burst, it was just torture! I much preferred Lacrosse (something about having a big stick to run around with was much more appealing but I try not to analyse that as I might scare myself!!) Anyhow, Dana tempted me and I succumbed to the running bug and I've been trying my best ever since!

I've completed two Great South Runs (10miles), run a couple of local 5milers and the Race for Life 10km several times. Last year I managed the London Marathon which was such great fun! I had to walk some of it which was annoying and let's not linger on the time (I was asked by a colleague who regularly runs marathons what time I completed it in and he laughed when I said 6:32 – charmed I'm sure!!) but I'm happy as at least I did it, I crossed that finish line and I have my medal to prove it too!

Despite all of this though I'm not sure I'd call myself a 'runner' – I don't feel I do races/events often enough to qualify for that title – I'm probably more what would be called a 'woman who runs'. Well, today this 'woman who runs' got back out there to start again.

The sky was beautiful and I was running through a pretty local park – it was a lovely…

I was feeling SO good I thought 'let's take a running selfie'
yeah…great idea…hmmmm…in the history of me taking running selfies this has never gone well…

Example A

Example B

Example C

None are great pics are they??!!

Whilst taking Pic A I tripped over a dog who appeared from nowhere, when taking Pic B I nearly fell in a ditch and today taking Pic C I nearly ran into a tree…taking running selfies is most certainly hazardous to my health!!

So, I think perhaps it's wise that, as my body is just starting to let me start running again, I should just stick to taking scenery pics and concentrate on not falling over!!

Just found this… hmmm, maybe I am a runner after all??