Heavenly Seven?

So here I am, finally at week seven of Couch to 5K. After this, just one more week to go in order to complete the programme. I have a mixture of feelings about this – I’m proud of the progress I’ve made (especially when I look back at those first few weeks when I could barely manage 90 seconds of non-stop running), I’m glad that I’m doing this as I can feel the benefits already, but also apprehension. I’ve yet to reach the magical distance of 5k and knowing how the programme can present you with big step-changes that completely kick your bum, who knows what’s in store?

Well lemme tell you what was in store! I’ve done two of my three runs for week seven now and I needn’t have worried. Both of my completed runs comprised a five minute warm up walk, a 20 minute run (yes TWENTY minutes!), and a five minute cool down walk. When I clocked this as I started my first week seven run, I had my usual reaction (“I’M GOING TO DIE!!!”) but by now, I have learned how to deal with that initial reaction. I know exactly what to do to quell that panic and those fears. I know how to ignore those brain demons and get RUNNING. I simply put my headphones on, hit shuffle on my running playlist, and get going. I barely look at my app and I hardly clock watch now. Instead I’m listening to songs and inventing dance routines to them. I’m thinking about the park runs I can join when I complete the programme. I’m looking forward to the virtual races I’ve signed up to in June and July and earning the blingy medals that come with them. I’m contemplating taking part in actual runs, with other people, that take place all in one go. There are so many plans I can make. So many things I can do, now that I am running. Now that I know I can do it! And I did do it. I ran for the full 20 minutes without stopping and I did exactly the same again for the second run of the week. My apprehension was completely unfounded. The only obstacle or difficulty was the thought that I couldn’t do it. Yet here I am, having done The Thing I Thought I Couldn’t Do. Again. There’s a lesson in there, isn’t there.

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This is me at the end of my second run of week seven. It rained A LOT, which is why this is easily the worst I’ve ever looked in a photo but also one where I’m feeling the best. Why? Because I thought it would be rubbish to run in the rain. I thought I’d hate being cold and wet through and having my hair soaked. I imagined all those lorries and vans speeding past me and spraying me with dirty water. I considered putting my run back a day so that I could do it in dry weather. But then I went out and ran. Yes I was cold (only at first) and wet through, and yes I looked like a drowned rat, and yes I did get sprayed by passing traffic but the weird thing was that I didn’t care. In fact I enjoyed it. Running in the pouring rain made me feel like an invincible badass! Does that make me a runner now? I think it might. So here’s my giant red but beaming face at the end of my run.

At the time of writing, I have one more run to do before moving on to the final week. I have been thinking more about my distance and pace, specifically how I’ll hit the magical distance of 5k. So far, my runs have all had total distances of either just over or just below 4k (mostly just below). I can see that my splits are improving and I can see that my pace is also getting faster but I’m still worrying slightly about whether I’ll be able to finally reach 5k. Even though I’m running non-stop for the required lengths of time, am I too slow? Should I be covering more distance? Will I find myself completing the programme but NOT getting to 5k? What on earth do I do then?! Luckily, my C25K app has a little feature that is meant to motivate and reward you – it presents you with badges you’ve earned as you’ve progressed through the programme. For example, you get a Lionheart badge after your first run because you’ve been brave and you’ve taken that first big step (I think that might be my favourite badge). So after my second run of week seven, I earned a new badge and I would really like to think that the app developers applied some clever and enlightened psychology to this one because I could not have received a better badge at this point. Here it is:

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Why is it the best badge I could earn right now? Because it tells me that at this point, I should be a 3k runner, that I should be hitting the distance of 3k by now. In other words, I am spot on for where I am in the programme. In fact, there are some runs now where I am even ahead of where I should expect to be in terms of distance. That what I am doing is an achievement in itself, even if I’m not at my final destination yet. YET. This was an opportunity to remind myself of what I have achieved so far, what I have been able to do, instead of worrying about getting to where I want to be or think I should be. This must be what they mean when they say ‘Live in the Now’…..

Week seven has both reinforced old lessons and taught me new ones. In summary:

  • You are capable of more than you know. The only way to find out what you can do is to try doing it. I know now that I can run non-stop for a much longer time than I would ever have thought I could. I know now that I actually like running in the rain. I know now what it’s like to feel like an invincible badass. And so can you.
  • Don’t second guess yourself. Don’t assume that you’re not progressing as far as you think you should have. EVERYTHING is progress – you’re always moving towards your goal, whether it’s a straight route, or a meandering road, or you encounter a few roundabouts and obstacles in your path. It’s all progress. Chances are you’re doing better than you think you are anyway. But it doesn’t matter – look only at your own journey and how far you’ve come since you started it and  know that you will get to where to where you want to be. And then some.

Happy running! x

Week Six of Couch to 5K…

…and day two is in the bag!

Week Six is here already and as you’d expect from an eight week programme, it’s kicking my behind. There have been moments where I’ve sounded like a set of spectacularly discordant bagpipes as I’ve wheezed towards the end of my running sections. But I’m still here, my lungs are still intact and my legs still work.

So far, warm up has been followed by two 10 minute runs (the runs on day one were separated by a five minute walk and on day two, a three minute walk). As I’ve been finding so far, the first day of each new week seems to take me by surprise a little bit. This week is no exception. Ten minutes of non-stop running is easily the longest I’ve managed for MANY years. Seeing that section pop up on my screen for the first time caused a thought process along the lines of “WHAT? OH NO I’M GONNA DIE! ……….But hold on, you can totally do this. Come on, DO IT!” And I did. It’s the second run of each week’s first day that gets me! After five minutes of walking, it was time for another 10 minute run. I’d already done it, right? So I could do it again, right? With only 30 seconds to go, my legs did that old trick of just stopping all by themselves, regardless of what my brain was telling them to do. It’s quite the phenomenon! I repeated my mantra of No Blame, No Shame – I’d pushed myself further than I’d been before and I kept going and going. Next time 10 minutes, next time.

Back home and post run, I thought about why those 30 seconds had eluded me. I decided that it would be worth trying a little mind trick – a distraction. Something to make me think about anything other than how long I’d been running for. I realised that looking down at the screen and seeing what my app had in store wasn’t helpful. The first thought that pops into my head is “OH NO” and no matter how much I tell myself to keep going, my brain is still counting down and making me check the app as I run, telling me things like “There’s still six minutes to go – but you’ve been running for AGES! AGH!”

I needed to stop looking at my app as I ran, I needed to stop clock watching. I needed to think about something other than how out of breath I was or how tired my legs were. The solution was simple. I created my own running playlist and invested in Bluetooth headphones to listen to it on. Worth a go, right? I spent a couple of hours ploughing through my iTunes and picking out all of those songs that I knew would power me along, get me pumping, make me think about dancing and jumping around rather than running.

Day Two saw me hitting my route, playlist on shuffle, with a spring in my step. You know what? It only worked. Instead of thinking “Agh! Ten minutes of running non-stop!” I was thinking “that’s only two and a half songs – I wonder what they’ll be….” The distraction technique totally worked. I found myself listening to songs that fired me up, and like any true RuPaul’s Drag Race fan, I started imagining lip syncing to them. Whole routines with high kicks and hair whips and perfect lyrical renditions. Suddenly, the Nice American Lady’s voice was be telling me to slow down and walk again. I managed to complete BOTH ten minute runs and I didn’t even think about it, really. The highlight of today’s playlist was Deap Vally’s Gonna Make My Own Money. An absolute anthem and if that doesn’t get your blood pumping, nothing will! You can listen to it here:

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Above is the Map My Run analysis of Week 6 Day 2’s run. Strangely, I’m back under 4km, even though I ran non-stop for 20 minutes in total. I’m guessing that as the walking interval was shorter (at three minutes instead of five) less distance was covered overall. I’m beginning to see an improvement in my split times though! I know they are still a snail’s pace for most people – especially experienced runners – but as long as I see those times getting faster, albeit slowly, that’s progress. My progress is my own and I don’t compare it to anyone else’s.

So I continue to learn and discover new techniques and ways of handling things that I would have considered an obstacle previously:

  • No Blame, No Shame! Yep, still this! It’s my mantra – I know that I’m pushing myself, that I’ve taken on a challenge, and each time I do it I’m doing it better. If I don’t nail it first time – that’s okay. There will be another chance to, and another. If I have to have an extra 30 seconds of walking, that’s fine – I’m still out there doing The Thing and improving every time I do. It’s all progress and it’s all onwards and upwards.
  • Distractify yourself!! Yes, I know that’s not actually a word. I like the way it jingles in my mind. If you’re an over-thinker like me, if you fixate on potential hurdles or difficulties before they even look like they might be a possibility, find a way to get out of that habit. Find a way to take yourself off that train of thought by replacing it with something much more productive and enjoyable. For me that’s music. For you it could be an audio-book, a podcast, anything. Just don’t clock watch or constantly check your app.
  • Once I master running, I’m going to take dance lessons. Fun street dance style ones. Specifically so that I can actually put my lip syncing fantasies into action. Strictly within the comfort and privacy of my own home, obvs. ; )

Happy running! x

Back in Black

….or bright yellow, to be more precise. As that’s the colour of my awesome new running jacket.

After ten full days of resting, my calf was finally fully healed and I was ready to put my running shoes back on after what seemed an interminable lifetime of being cooped up indoors (that’s something I never thought I’d find myself typing). Lo and behold, a new quandary arrives in my brain!

My first run in ten days – will I have lost the progress I’ve made so far? Would it be wise to redo week four of C25K? Should I at least go back to the last run I did and do that again? Or do I just go full pelt into week five? This was one of those occasions when I found myself seeking the advice of more experienced runners.

One of the good things about Facebook (there aren’t many, I know) is that sometimes you will find a group set up for people with a shared interest or pastime and depending on how well that group is set up and the ethos it adheres to, it can be the most supportive and motivating source of advice and information you will ever come across. I’m lucky to have found such a group that shares my burgeoning enthusiasm for running. It’s a group for women runner who are primarily (but not limited to) parents based in the UK. The group comprises of runners of all levels and ability. There are many like me who are starting their running journey with C25K, and the membership goes all the way up to seasoned marathon runners, triathletes and beyond. Considering the huge range of members the group has, with all of their different backgrounds and life experiences and personalities, the group is *incredible*. There is nothing but genuine support and encouragement for all members – so much positivity in one place, it’s hard not to get carried away by it all and start signing yourself up to many, many races.

Naturally I turned to this group for advice on how to get back in to C25K and they didn’t let me down! The consensus overall was to just get straight back into it where I left off – that there was no sense in going backwards unless you *really* have to following a serious injury or similar. To go at a steady pace and not push myself, to listen to my body, and if my calf started to hurt again – slow it right down and walk more than planned. All excellent advice which may seem simplistic but for me, it gave me clarity and almost permission to say “yeah, I can still do it – I don’t need to go backwards!”

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So off I went, calf firmly enveloped in a Tubigrip bandage (which I think will become my new best friend) and a calm sense of “it’s all going to be okay”. As you can see from the pic above, I did it! Not only did I do it, I got back to over 4k again, my split times have decreased (even to below eight minutes, which is a PB for little ole me!), and I completed every running section in full. I don’t know what I was so worried about….

This experience (which I will force myself to remember and will read this post should I pick up more injuries in the future) taught me the following:

  • Be patient. Resting an injury may seem like a total drag and a complete ball-ache but it’s necessary. Especially if you want to get back out there without further complications, which will only serve to hinder your healing and lengthen your wait even more.
  • Listen to your body and support it! Do what you need to do to help yourself, whether it’s wearing an unflattering compression bandage or slowing your pace right down in order to make your run more manageable, just do it. No blame, no shame! Look after your body and it will look after you. It doesn’t matter if every other runner you see is bounding along with their hair flying free in the breeze like a majestic horse or something – you are on your own journey and you make it the best journey for you.
  • You can do the thing! Let others tell you that you can do the thing too! Don’t be afraid to take advice from others. You’ll most likely pick up some very useful tips that will serve you well. Learn from both your own experience and that of others. One day it will be you passing your tips on to someone starting their journey.
  • Bright yellow running jackets are the best for making you feel positive and energetic. You’ll have to take my word for it.

Happy running! x

DISASTUH!!

Such a melodramatic title for a subject that’s probably small potatoes to most runners but nonetheless, it’s stopped me in my tracks (and running shoes). Whilst I joyfully reached the halfway point of my C25K programme, I also hit upon another, much less popular, milestone – an injury.

As I completed one of the five minute non-stop runs of that day’s programme, I felt a stiff ache in my left hip. I ignored it – I have weird sensations in my hips all of the time, thanks to having SPD in each of my pregnancies. The left side in particular will do things like pop in and out of the socket all of the time. It doesn’t cause any pain or problems elsewhere and I just carry on doing whatever it is I was doing. Which is what I did during this run. I expected it to ease off as usual but this time it stopped abruptly as soon as I felt a cramping pain in my left calf, as though the stiff ache had transferred from my hip to my calf.

Although it was sore, it wasn’t painful – I stopped for a few minutes to stretch it out and then continued on my run. Admittedly the ache was enough to slow me down and give me a hobbling sort of gait but I could still run and walk, which was a relief as it meant that it wasn’t a calf tear or a higher grade calf strain. I’ve torn a calf muscle before (the same one) it was a *completely* different experience – much more painful, unable to even walk, trip to A&E required and using crutches afterwards.

Run collage

I finished my run and got back home. Naturally I immediately looked at the stats for my run and compared them to the previous one, which had been my best so far (this is a sign of my burgeoning running obsession, I think!) and felt so disappointed. I had covered less distance, falling below 4k again, and my split times were slower. You can see from the picture above – on the left is my ‘best run’ and on the right is my ‘injury run’. Now ignore how rubbish the stats are! I know that they are going to look ridiculous in comparison to the stats of experienced runners with higher levels of fitness, strength, and endurance – but they are *my* stats and I’m proud of them! They improve every time I run and they are better than the stats of every person who’s still sitting on their couch….remember, don’t let anything dim your shine!

Once back home, I looked up all the information I could about what was happening to my calf. I’d already ruled out a significant strain or tear, and I was also able to rule out sciatica. I was looking at a calf strain, and a fairly minor grade 1 strain too. I was so relieved as I researched stretches and treatments for calf strains UNTIL I read that even a minor grade 1 strain could take 7-10 days to heal, and that running should not be undertaken again until the strain had fully healed. Not a bit better, or better enough to run slowly, but FULLY healed.

Now I know that it could have been a lot worse and that many, many people have injuries that require extensive rehabilitation and lengthy periods of resting but I still reacted like a big baby. “I wanna do my runs! It’s not fair! I was just starting to like it! Wah wah wah!” Luckily, my adult inner self appeared and reasoned that okay, this is bad luck and sucky timing *but* if you want the injury to go away completely, you have to let it heal completely before you run again. Attempting to run again too soon will either land you right back at square one or make the injury significantly worse. And you’ll be out of those running shoes for a lot longer than 10 days, missus!

So here I am, moping at home, doing my stretches and taking ibuprofen, and using heat lotion, and digging out compression bandages for later. It does suck but it’s the right thing to do. After a few days and once my calf had improved noticeably, I tasked myself with another activity; it would get me out and about, raise my heart rate, keep me active, and is quite important to me. I volunteered to deliver campaign leaflets for the Labour Party in my local area. We have a local election on 4th May ahead of the general election in June and as a dues paying Party member, I wanted to do my bit. So check me out below – I’ve put my favourite trainers on and I’m ready to hit the streets! I’ve clocked up three hours of walking so far, up many many hills and steep driveways. My calf isn’t complaining at all so I’m hopeful that it will have healed completely by ten days. Which will be on Monday. Monday 1st May. Not that I’m counting the days on the calendar or anything.

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So then, what have I learned from this experience?

  • patience really is a virtue, especially where injuries are concerned. As frustrating as the short term may be, think long term – what’s going to be much better for you usually involves a bit of a wait.
  • don’t let anything dim your shine (again)! Your achievements are yours to be celebrated by you, no matter how they compare to other people’s performances or even your own performance previously – today you went out there and you did the thing. YOU DID IT.
  • I might be becoming obsessed with running. Just a bit.

Happy running!

WOAH We’re halfway there….WOAAHH!

Yes I did just quote a Bon Jovi song and no, I’m not even sorry about it. This is something of a triumphant post and so deserves a fist pumping kind of introduction. I finally made it to the halfway point of the Couch to 5K programme! Not only that but the amount of times where I think I’m going to die have decreased – it only happens once on a run now, instead of every two minutes. I’ve also noticed that I’m not wheezing and panting quite as much as I used to – that feeling of my lungs being stuck in my throat is beginning to fade away.

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I am actually enjoying running now. I can feel and see progress. Check out the picture above – that’s how much further I was running up that hill and away from the village where I live. To look back at that view was hella rewarding, I think about when I first started the programme and all the doubts I would have – “you’re never going to be fit enough to do this! You can’t even run for two minutes straight – what the hell are you doing? You’re too old to be doing this!” etc etc. Yes, those lovely little head demons really like to pop up and give things a stir. In the past, this would have been enough to floor me and cause me to give up (I make no secret of the fact that I have struggled with severe depression and anxiety in the past, and I’m aware of it’s ever lurking presence) but not this time. Not Today Satan! To quote one of idols, Ms Bianca Del Rio. I tackled my head demons and I refused to listen.

When I found my running sections tough and thoughts about stopping or giving up popped into my head, I told myself over and over “you CAN do this!” I reminded myself that I’ve given birth and been in labour for hours with no pain relief and I did that. I got through it. “You CAN do this!” I distracted myself with more pleasant thoughts, things like what kind of dress I will wear for an upcoming family event, how I’ll probably have to buy a new one if I keep running because I’ll have lost weight and will have a bum and legs to be proud of. I designed the dress in my head and thought about colour schemes and what would go with my fancy posh shoes that I’ve yet to wear. Before I knew it, the nice American lady was telling me to slow down and walk.

It probably sounds daft to most people but that was a little breakthrough for me. Self-belief isn’t something that comes easily to me but when I can do it, it works wonders. I also found that distracting myself from negative thoughts was very helpful. Just silly little things like counting how many lampposts I passed during each running section and comparing the totals, or looking for a landmark in the distance and telling myself to keep heading for it (“get to the chopper!!”). This is probably stuff that other people do *all* of the time but it was new for me. And it got me through it. The days of battling with myself over whether I could run non-stop for a minute and a half were over – now I was running for a whole five minutes non-stop and LIKING it.

Admittedly, there was a setback during my final run of week four but that’s for another post and I’m not going to let it dim the shine of something I view as a personal achievement. Never let anything dim your shine! Instead I will summarise what I’ve learned as follows:

  • you are capable of doing more than you think
  • your head demons only take up space and control if you let them
  • focusing on a positive goal that works for you personally will help, whether it’s a nice new frock or a big tasty dinner or a luxurious soak in the bath when you get home…
  • this is YOUR time to do something YOU love and you DESERVE it so be kind to yourself

Happy running!

Couch to 5K – this is how it starts…

Right then! I’ve installed a C25K app on my phone along with Map My Run, and I’ve dug out my old pair of ‘outdoor trainers’. I live in a rural area surrounded by farmland, so you don’t have to go far before you encounter a lump of manure in the middle of the path. So it seemed sensible to wear my tatty old trainers rather than a nice, newer pair. Right? Wrong! More about that later, as it wasn’t even my first hurdle…

My first hurdle hit me straight away, as I stood in my open doorway with my trainers on and my phone in my hand – where was I going to run? Where could I go? How could I avoid being seen? How could I successfully negate the perils of receiving shouted abuse from white vans (this is an actual thing, believe me)? I know I’m not alone in this. Lots of people, especially women, feel very self-conscious when they first start running or doing any form of exercise outdoors. You feel exposed and vulnerable, and on display. You worry that you’re going to look awful as you pant and stagger your way along your chosen route. You fear the judgement of those you pass – the looks, the stares, and the comments. It has happened to me and to many people I know. What one person might think is a witty little aside, a bit of humourous badinage, a spot of ‘banter’ perhaps (side note: using the word ‘banter’ to excuse something you’ve said is a sure-fire sign that you are an utter cock womble) will actually be a knife to the heart of the person who is putting themselves out there and doing something challenging and difficult. That kind of bravery deserves a bit of respect, not an insult shouted from the window of your vehicle as you drive past.

I didn’t yet feel confident enough to risk open public areas. So I chose to begin my running along the little country lanes that exist around my home. Most of them are flat and even but the longest one is actually up a very steep and high hill. As C25K always begins with a five minute brisk walk as a warm-up, I decided to begin with ascending the hill for my warm up. After which, the programme alternates between running for 1 minute and walking for 1.5 minutes six times. I knew it might be a challenge but I reasoned that it would give me a kick start where building a bit of stamina was concerned. And it did! I wheezed and I panted and I stomped my way up that hill as far as I could. I aimed to get to the point where the app would notify me that I was halfway through my run, and then I would turn and begin my descent and getting back home. I did it! I pushed myself and made myself keep going until that little ping sounded and the nice American lady’s voice told me I was now halfway through. I turned, ready to start going the other way, and then I saw the view. From the point I had reached on the hill, I could see the village where I live way in the distance – the houses looking like tiny square specks. I was shocked and also pleased by how far I’d come. I had to take a picture, obvs, and have shared it here for you. Through those trees and all the way down the hill and around the houses and a little more to the right, was where I started my run. I felt a burst of pride in my chest and forgot about how much I was wheezing. It felt *good*.

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Oh yeah, back to that other hurdle – my knacked old trainers. They felt fine to run in and weren’t uncomfortable at all but after my second run I noticed a strange dark bruise that went along the outside of my big toe. I didn’t know how it got there – I hadn’t bumped or banged my foot into anything. It had to be my trainers. I had originally intended to get all the way through C25K before investing in decent running shoes; I now realised that my plan was a bit silly. Decent running shoes are a must – at least as decent a pair as you can afford. I gathered lots of advice and information and identified my way forward as visiting a good sports shop, having my gait analysed, and then investing in the best pair of running shoes that I could afford. But that would have to wait for a little while, as funds couldn’t quite permit that just yet. Instead I read a lot about pronation and stride and what types of shoe cater for which kinds of feet and I settled on a stop-gap until I could get my gait analysed. Two days later, I was lovingly cradling a brand new pair of Mizuno running shoes. I felt the difference immediately during my very first run wearing them – they were light, springy, comfortable, and I felt like I was running on air. And my old tattered ‘outdoor trainers’ went straight into the bin.

So, the moral of this post should be:

  • start out with doing what you feel comfortable doing and run where you feel comfortable running;
  • set yourself a little challenge and allow yourself to feel proud when you achieve it;
  • look after your feet! You only get one pair and if you destroy them, how will you run? D’oh!

 

As I was saying……

How many first blog posts have this title? Thousands I bet. My beginning might go back a little further than most, however. After all, this blog is about my journey as an older woman with four children rediscovering her love of running. Because I did it once before.

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Back when I was 17, my uncle got me into running. That’s him in the photo, with me on the left. Note the authentic working class wallpaper in the background. He was a running fanatic – he regularly ran marathons, started up a running club at his place of work (the world renowned Dunlop’s Aerospace; he even designed their logo), and organised heaps of events to raise money for charity – the 24 hour relay-a-thon sticks in my memory. So it was only a matter of time before he passed the running bug on to me.

We would run along the canal system of inner city Birmingham, which could be surprisingly beautiful and serene in places, with wildflowers sprouting up and holidaymakers taking canal boats along the water. Of course there was also plenty of broken glass and other hazards to keep an eye out for but overall it was straight and flat and even and good to run along.

I became quite fit and strong and developed something of an endurance level. My legs took on muscle definition and became toned and lithe – something that was new to me, having always had a thunder thighs kind of physique. I found myself being able to run for long distances and enjoying it – no longer feeling like my lungs were in my throat and I was about to die. The bright red face calmed down. The panting and wheezing eased off. I actually really enjoyed going out and just….running.

Then a couple of things happened. Firstly a knee injury. My right knee just decided it didn’t want to work any more. It was swollen and painful and made a worrying crunching sound. At the time, the only medical advice and treatment available was resting it and wearing a tubi-grip bandage. So that’s what I did. Then the second thing happened – I discovered cider and boys. That pretty much distracted me from ever getting back into running properly, something I’ve always regretted. I especially regret my uncle’s obvious disappointment – I think he had had hopes for me as a runner.

During the years that have passed since then, I’ve had a recurring dream. In my dream, I’m running through a field on a bright sunny day. I’m running fast but I’m not out of breath. My legs are slim but strong again and they carry me effortlessly past groups of people who all smile and wave hello as I run by. I wave back and shout greetings (yep, I’m definitely not out of breath in my dreams). The sun is warm and I am happy and all seems right with the world. I always wake from this dream with a pang of longing. Really longing to be that fit woman again, who could run in the sunshine and smile. Whilst wearing shorts!

So now, all these years and four children later, I’ve decided to try again. I don’t have the confidence or certainly the fitness that I had when I was 17 but I will find both again. I am slightly more risk averse than I was, so I will be taking it gently to begin with by starting with the Couch to 5k running programme. I say gently because I am ever the optimist! This is where I start my journey from puffing red faced tortoise to smiling lithe-limbed hare.

In the beginning…..

How many first blog posts have this title? Thousands I bet. My beginning might go back a little further than most, however. After all, this blog is about my journey as an older woman with four children rediscovering her love of running. Because I did it once before.