SoberMe

My Not So Secret Diary

Feeling Inspired by Kipchoge!

Feeling Inspired By Kipchoge
Finishing a Half Marathon at The Eden Project last weekend. I can do so much more than I ever thought I could!

Yesterday I was listening to a programme on the Radio about Eliud Kipchoge and his amazing feat of running a sub 2 hour marathon. I was listening to it because my lovely husband heard it, thought I might be interested and text me to tell me to turn it on. With the power of catch up I didn’t miss it. I had only managed to catch bits of the race itself, but from what I did see I was amazed. What an inspiration Kipchoge is, and how lovely to see someone who looks like he is truly enjoying himself while achieving such amazing things.

I couldn’t believe that running the time of 1:59:40 didn’t earn Kipchoge a world record, but I was interested while listening to Jeremy Vine on Radio 2, to find out some of the reasons why. I hadn’t appreciated that a car leading Kipchoge and his pacer team provided a laser target on the road which allowed them to provide a form of wind break for him, allowing him to attain maximum speed without expending excess energy. It’s interesting, as listening I realised I often slide in behind other runners, slip streaming, but when I do, it doesn’t have the same effect!

I know the choice of venue was questioned as Vienna apparently had optimal weather conditions, in that it wasn’t too hot or cold, but also it was dry and relatively wind free. Also, the course seems to be an ideal track for the target time. Again, I can see why he and his team would choose this though, as I know I’d hope or maybe expect to PB on a flat road course over some of the trails I run. Now out of choice given the scenery I love a trail, I love the technicality of it, it keeps my mind focused, but I also love the adrenalin rush of sprinting along a road and achieving a time I wouldn’t be able to elsewhere. Given the choice, I know where I’d choose to run if I want a good time, so surely he was doing the same?

The programme also spoke of another runner who has been close to the previous best time of Kipchoge. It was suggested that if in a true marathon event, the two runners were to both enter, they could provide a welcome challenge for each other, being of similar pace but with a competitive element. Imagine what that race would look like!

What really struck me is the inspiration it gave me. I won’t ever be a professional athlete, but I’m not trying to be. I do think though, that I can be better than I am. Kipchoge, although a professional athlete now, wasn’t always one and in fact only began formal training with a coach at 16. Now, at 34, while not old by any means, he is also not a spring chicken. It makes me question my limitations, or the limitations I put on myself. We all limit ourselves by social expectations of age, gender and ability amongst other things. Perhaps we should instead be thinking like the hash tag #nohumanislimited it gives me a lot of hope.

Thanks for reading!

💖💖💖

Apple Juice at Eden

Apple Juice at Eden
Celebrating with my kiddie juice after Eden Half!

Today was The Eden Project Half Marathon. I’ve been training for it for a while, it’s my fourth half marathon this year, but nothing could have prepared me for the weather.

It has rained almost constantly down here in Cornwall this week, and it has been proper heavy wet rain. My heart sunk a little each time I checked the forecast. But, I don’t like to give up before I’ve tried something so I went, as did hundreds of other people. We were drenched before we started!

One mile down and we entered the woods. I was grateful to get off the leaf covered lanes, I was so scared of slipping, that is until I saw where we were going. The trail turned into a mud bath for about two miles then, as we ran alongside the river, it was hard to get going and when I did I couldn’t stop!

It was such a fun race. I can’t say I’ve ever had such a good time while running over 13 miles. My time wasn’t the fastest, but under the circumstances I was really pleased with it. It felt such an achievement to be able to run that sort of distance and come out of it smiling, even if I was covered in mud.

When I got back to Eden all the finishers collected their medals, shirts and vouchers for a free pasty and a beer. I was even given some tea bags! When I mentioned to the lady handing things out that I’d prefer the tea she was surprised, so I told her I didn’t drink. She kindly told me I could get a cider instead of a beer! It takes a minute for my brain to catch up with me when I’ve been for a long run, so I just followed the other runners into the queue and waited for my free pasty.

I was lucky though, as I got to the front of the queue I saw that amongst the stacks of cans of beer, there were half a dozen bottles of kids juice. I was so pleased to get a cold drink that it didn’t matter so much that the alcohol free runners seemed to be a bit of an after thought in the eyes of the organisers. It made me laugh, kids juice for those who didn’t want a ‘proper’ drink? What sort of message does that send out?!

All in all though, a great race! I think I’ll be back next year!

How has everyone’s weekend’s been? Who else has been running and where have you been?

💖💖💖

Bitten by the Running Bug! (again!)

Bitten By the Running Bug (Again)
After run yoga!

It’s funny, recently I have really struggled to be motivated to run, even though I know how much I enjoy it once I am out. First I think the weather got hotter and that made it harder. Then we were on holiday, and that was an excuse (I did run 2 miles while we were away but it was ridiculously hot!) Then I just found other reasons to make it hard work and less fun. It became a chore to go out, something I had to do, and I almost ruined it for myself.

When I first started running I noticed improvements straight away, I could run further, faster, I toned up, even if the scales didn’t change. After a while it was less noticeable and that made it harder to get the same buzz from it. When I get out of the habit of doing something I find it really difficult to motivate myself to get going again. Those little doubts starting to creep in again, making me think I couldn’t do it and that I was silly for even thinking I could.

Next Sunday I am running a half marathon, so between doubts I have been trying to train for it. In preparation, I signed up for Plymouth 10k as I enjoyed last years event and ended up booking the 5k just after as support for my daughter. Right up until the moment before I was full of doubt, luckily I ended up chatting to another Lonely Goat from my running club on the start line, which helped keep me calm. Once the starting gun went off I just started running and before I knew it I was on my way.

When I finished I was so happy with myself, the year before I had run/walked the 5k in the same place. This year I ran every step of the 10k and that was a massive improvement for me. It really reinforced that I actually could do it, no matter what my mind told me.

Ten minutes later we went off on the 5k. I ran with my daughter, totally at her pace, and it was so much fun! We chatted all the way round. I knew what to expect so could forewarn her of hills and encourage her. It was brilliant. Especially when another runner ran into the bus lane (closed roads) and shouted very loudly, “I’m a bus!”

The thing is, it inspired me again. It showed me what I can do when I stop worrying, or overthinking. I actually feel excited to go out and run again! It gave me back that running bug, although I am sure when it is time for me to go out later, that little nagging doubt will also crawl back in. Hopefully I’ll be able to quieten it down this time!

As always, thanks for reading. It means a lot to me!

💖💖💖

The Ballot

The Ballot
Me and Katie half way through her first road race.

Like many others when I first started running I thought getting to 5k would be a huge achievement and it was. Like many people, I thought it would be enough to go from a non-runner to one that could do 5k without walking. It was for a time, and then I decided to tackle a 10k. Then a half. I never wanted to run a half marathon, or so I thought. They were for serious runners, but the idea took hold and I just wanted to see if I could. It gave me something to focus my training on, an end goal to work towards. Once I’d done it I was amazed that I could do something like that. Me, a runner for only a year could run 13.1 miles. That was pretty cool and it was enough. But then a few weeks later I watched the London Marathon on TV. It was inspiring, the runners at the front moving like machines, covering double the distance in less time than I had run my half. I was watching as Hayley Carruthers fell at the end, and willed her to make it over the line. A professional runner, but one who still worked and had a life outside of training, she made me wonder if I could do it.

That feeling didn’t go away and as soon as it opened I entered the ballot. I didn’t even wait to get home, I was out in a carpark waiting to pick my son up from the end of a Duke of Edinburgh expedition on a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon. I just knew I had to get my name down. I didn’t realise I’d have to wait over five months to know if I was successful.

I’ve been waiting patiently to find out the ballot results as I know so many other people have, but it has made me question why exactly the ballot is done in this way. I know it is a successful event and so many people want to run it, but why not make it a little more available to the average runners out there too? If I don’t get a place, I can run for a charity, but because they have to pay so much for their places they want thousands of pounds raised in return. I understand that they need to maximise their return, but when these charities are chosen from a list and not one close to my heart, it doesn’t seem genuine, it seems like a means to an end. Putting so much effort into fundraising would take time too, and like many, I find it hard to fit training around life, work and family, so to put more demands on my time would be difficult, as would the stress of having to reach a target or lose my place. I don’t think that would help my anxiety at all.

It seems that a fairer option would be to have so many places open on a first come first served basis, and after that maybe open the ballot? At least then the early birds would get a chance. Even if the tickets cost more, I’ve heard of other marathons that actually give people a place when they have been unsuccessful on so many previous occasions. This seems like a fairer option. I know many people would like to run on several occasions, but for many, once would be enough.

So it brings me to the question, do I actually want to support this ballot, which I think is actually quite unfair, or do I want to find a marathon that I can just buy a place for and run, and enjoy the experience. What do you think?

Today the results begin to go out. Some already know if they are in or not. I don’t. As soon as I find out, I’ll let you know. Happy running!

Thanks for reading! Xxx

Two Race Sunday

Two Race Sunday
Finish photo with my two runners.

Today is the first anniversary of my first ever race - the Plymouth 5k. It was the first official run I had done, and I was nervous! I wasn’t sure how well I’d do, having only ever done parkruns. I wasn’t sure how it would be running on a road in a race as I hadn’t done anything like it before. I worried I would be last. I worried that people would laugh at me. I was mainly afraid I’d embarrass myself. I ran with my son, Barn. He was 13 then and had also just started running. We ran together, slowing down at the hills and walking where we needed to. Towards the end I encouraged him to go off, and eventually he did, after a lot of persuasion and sprinted off towards the end. It was the first time we had a glimpse of how fast he might be. Running down the last straight to the finish people called my name, it was an amazing feeling. And I didn’t come last!


This year I decided to run the same race again, but as I’ve upped my distance over the last year, I signed up for the 10k instead of the 5k. I am not the fastest, but I am a lot faster than I was (at times), so I was looking forward to it. My lovely daughter Katie has started running this year and is getting much more confident, but is not keen on running further than 4 miles, so the 10k was out of the question for her, despite me trying to convince her. Knowing how much I’d enjoyed it last year I signed them both up for the 5k. Barn knew what to expect and was just planning on smashing his time from last year, while Katie was more nervous, as like me, she didn’t know what to expect from the event and wondered whether it would be overwhelming. So, in the spirit of encouragement, I signed up for the 5k too.

In my head I thought it would be a good plan. I’ve got a half marathon coming up, so I thought I’d use these two races as training, but in practice it made me more than a little nervous. Until now, I hadn’t run the same race twice and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do both, when really I should be more confident. I have run further before. It’s just nerve wracking running on closed streets when people are watching!

Well, to cut the story short, I am super proud of all of us. I was really happy with my 10k time and once finished I had enough time to change my race number over before going out again on the 5k. Katie and I ran together the whole way. It was lovely. She slowed down a couple of times, but considering she has a stinking cold, I am not surprised! I would have done the same! Barn started with us but that was the last time we saw him, until the lead car passed us with the front runners coming back the other way, giving us an opportunity for a quick high five and a few words of encouragement.

A lot of people can do more, but for someone who didn’t think they could run 5k not so long ago, running two races in one day is a great feeling! I’m looking forward to next year!

What races have you all done this weekend?

Thanks for reading!
xx