First Time Runner A BLOG by Caroline Carty

28/06/15

Hello readers.

Today is a day of firsts, this is my first ever BLOG and today I completed my first ever 10km race. Thought I would log it for reflection later on during my journey through life. A milestone month all round as I also turned 40 years old.

Some Background Info

On the 19th April 2015 I started running. It was hard and running was never my strong point, especially with knees that are built the wrong way and a Doctor once told me (after my 4th baby was born and I struggled with joint problems) to never run, cycle or exercise again aside from swimming. I could barely run a short distance at all. I then started doing the couch to 5k app and cried many times as I struggled to run for the correct time.

On the 30th April I ran for the first time with Eye Community runners. The week before I had been running on my own, doing week 2 of C25K and the ECR group ran past me. I was later invited to join them after I thanked them on their Facebook page for stopping to check if I was ok. Surely I can’t join a running club, I can barely run for 90 seconds, they won’t want me I thought, I’m far too slow it is foolish nonsense to consider it?

But still I nervously went along, taking my 10yr old with me for moral support as he had been so good at helping me do the c25k app. I barely managed a mile out and a mile back. The patience and support from the runner/trainer from the club was brilliant. Each week when I could I went back to the club, my distances and stamina grew and I gained a whole new circle of friends. My 10yr old joined the juniors section of the club too. Suddenly my Facebook friend suggestions were full of running people. I also joined a Facebook running page RunMummyRun as recommended by a good friend who also encouraged me to give it a go, get out there and see how it goes.

16th May 2015. My first attempt at completing the Peterborough 5k ParkRun! People watching! Walking/running and being extremely slow. I was joined by my 10yr old again (who was chomping at the bit to run on ahead but is not allowed to run alone until age 11) and a lady from ECR kept me company that first nervous week. (Thank you). I did it, ok so it was walking and running but still I did it. I crossed the finish line in 41.15. The second week (23rd May) I shaved a whole SECOND off my time and came in at 41.14! My first PB-woohoo! Third park run was on the 30th May 2015 and I came in at 39.56. May aim was a sub 40 and I was so happy I did it-without stopping to walk! Another PB!

I began to think I could actually do this running stuff and not be a complete disaster at it. So began to ponder further distances, to improve my stamina and then build on improving speed.

13th June 2015. Another ParkRun but this time my 12yr old wanted to join us, it was his first ever proper run and he found it tough. We walked a lot of it, which I found harder than non-stop running but still got ANOTHER PB of 38.44. Eldest son rather pleased he managed it too. In mean time DS2 had found other adults to run with and was flying round the parkrun course in under 30mins. He will no doubt log his own running journey in his own blog.

14th June 2015. I asked my husband if he would run with me. My parents were staying the weekend due to a commitment we needed a babysitter for and I asked him to take me on a long run. He used to do a lot of running with the Army, although had not done much long distance stuff recently. We ended up running to Newborough and back, and it was actually an 11k run. It took me an hour and 30 minutes and it was so hard, I was so slow, and I hit the proverbial wall on the return journey. Just before setting off I saw a notification via the ECR club page for an opportunity to take someone’s place in the Ramsey 10k run. I mentioned this to my husband during our long run and he said to go for it. When I got back, despite being so worn out and parts hurting and knees protesting at all that hard work, I decided to see if the place was still available and it was. So I entered. EEEK!

27th June 2015. ParkRun number 5. No PB this week but wasn’t aiming for one. There was only 4 seconds in it. Crossed the finish line in 38.48! Was a really hot morning so a paused for some water towards the start of the final loop of the lake. Had I not stopped I would have got another PB but it’s reassuring I’m staying a sensible pace given tomorrow is race day. I ran with my 10 year old as he had no faster adult to run with, he was frustrated to be stuck with me
although I tried to sell it to him that it was good to run slower sometimes and it was a test of his endurance to run for twice as long as normal-didn’t really work and he a bit of sulk near the end as I would not allow him to go on ahead. ES being over the age of 12 is allowed to run off on his own if he wishes and he did and he enjoyed it far more this week. We were supported by husband and the two younger children who also walked some of the ParkRun route, just for fun.

Thanks guys, it means a lot when you come to support us, although I’m probably too proud to say it.

It’s great we have something we can do as a family. ParkRun is ideal, you don’t have to zoom round superfast like it’s an Olympic event, its open to all ages and abilities, affiliated to a club or not. A good way to encourage the children to get out there and play/get fit and help the adults keep moving and fit too.

My husband and I have been following calorie counting on MyFitnessPal since January and losing weight slowly and steadily, I’ve lost 3 stone so far and can now fit into some size 10 clothes, all helped by the running/walking etc. It would not be appropriate to comment on my husband’s weight loss journey but needless to say I am super proud of his achievements too.

RACE DAY 28th June 2015.
-Nervous
-Excited
-Feeling sick with nerves
-Knowing I will be last and slow
-Did I mention I was nervous?

Pretty much sums up how I felt today. I was kindly given a lift to the event by another fabulous ECR lady. My husband and I felt it was too long for the boys to hang around and they would be bored so I didn’t think they were coming along to support me. They turned up just as I was about to set off! Thanks guys, meant a lot.

The weather was grim. Rain-lots of fine drizzly rain and some wind! I decided to change out of my shorts (yes I know, I brought shorts-I never wear shorts, I am still a tad shocked that I had shorts on for a while-out in public)! Yet still my amazing family turned out to cheer me on for my first race and a long distance at that. (Long for me)!
The ECR group were brilliant, so good at keeping me focused and not too nervous, with good advice and reassuring me I WOULD finish and I WOULD be ok and I WOULD enjoy it. (They were right).
After a group photo we got ready to go. BANG! And we’re off! I tried to keep up with the #greenarmy but I was too slow, by 1km I was at the back of the group and soon overtaken by everyone else too. I was last. Hello tail runner, guess we better get to know one another. I have to say my tail runner was A-MAZ-ING! Such a good supporter, chatting away when needed, allowing me to reply if I could but no pressure. We had a reasonable chat, she was very inspiring. She even held my water bottle for me when we collected one en-route.
The route was really rather good, off road and rural and not too many people watching to embarrass me. Several soggy Marshals along the way, including children cheering everyone one and guiding the way! Handy as my glasses had been removed early on due to the rain and slipping off. (Must get a proper band to hold them on and a cap to keep the rain off)! Water station at 5k, yippee!
Much needed especially as some small stones had worked into my trainer and began to annoy me. The car that followed us offered me the chance to sit in to sort my shoes out but I know if I sat in the car I’d never get up again! I was on target time wise with my 5k pace and that was a good feeling. 6k, 7k still comfortable but 8k WOW I didn’t see the tiredness coming. I hit the wall so suddenly, tears, pain and feeling I couldn’t do it. Tail runner got me through, made me laugh, and spurred me on.
At some point some of the ECR ladies joined us, they had come to meet me as I got closer to the finish. The 8-9km section seemed to go on forever and I was really tearful now. I asked when we would be at 9k and my tail runner (#newbestfriend) told me we had passed it ages ago and I only had a short distance still to go. WHAT! HOW! WHEN! And OH MY GOSH REALLY! A few more corners and the end really was in sight, more ECR crew, who all ran me into the finishing straight. Sprint-finish time-can I muster anymore? Well I did, my pace increased a teeny bit. In the distance I could hear my family cheering and I waved to them hoping I was waving in right direction, I could hear the support from the ECR crew cheering me on to cross the line. I could just make out the clock ahead without my glasses on.

FINISHED! I crossed the line, big smile on my face, arms in the air in celebration. Yes I was last and No it didn’t matter. I had done it. I didn’t walk and I finished, which were the only 2 things I set out to achieve. I was the LAST WINNER! TIME-1hr, 20mins and 11 seconds. Happy with that!

WOOHOOOO!!!!!!! I can’t describe the feeling of achievement, how good it felt, how tough it was but it was all worth it, and only made possible with the help of such amazing people. My family, the ECR crew, the Ramsey Road Runners, the tail runner, and everyone who has helped along the way…THANK YOU
EVERYONE! XX See you next year. XX

PS-I am already planning my next races. Eye Charity Run 5 miles on Thursday 2nd July followed by a simple children’s fun run of 1.5 miles on the 5th July. St Ives 10k to follow on the 19th July is my next aim, alongside regular parkrun’s and ECR training runs where I hope to improve my times and running style, so I’m less of a plodder and more of a runner.

0-10km in 3 months-I’m rather chuffed with that!

Thank you for reading my first blog, and joining me on this journey. Hope it wasn’t too long.