Sunday, 13 January 2013

10 (T-E-N!!) Kilometres!

Today was the day!  I ran 10km today.  That, a very happy Jo, does make :-)

I hadn't set out to run that far today.  I went out unexpectedly on Friday evening with Lucy and Ang, and we ran a nice 6km together.  My legs were still feeling stiff though when I woke up this morning (I don't usually run on Fridays), and I set my target as 6-7km instead of my planned 9km. 

I got out there and it was a cold, crisp and sunny morning.  My left foot felt a bit odd; a bit warm and tingly, a little like lactic acid building but not quite as painful.  I was feeling a bit disappointed because as soon as I felt the sun on my face, I felt like smiling and just going for it.  I decided to give myself until 3km and if it felt no better, I would turn back and call it 6km.  At 3km it was feeling much better and I opted for a route I knew was roughly 9-10km, and I knew was lovely country lanes with lots of blue sky to view (part of one of my favourite cycling routes).   There were a few uphills and I had a few issues with aching feet again due to the lane having a steep camber (no pavement), plus there was ice on the road. 

But I was plugged into my music and at 5km, I was feeling great, looking out at North and West Yorkshire, almost shimmering in the sunlight, great BIG blue skies and nothing but me out there!  I had a bit of moment, when an old song came on and made me want to raise me hands and skip around.... but I resisted and grinned instead (♫♫BASS IN THE PLACE LONDON!  PUBLIC DOMAIN KICKING IT TO YER, MAN!♫♫) and paced onwards and onwards!

This is a picture I took while I was out, of my lovely downhill:
Jo's First 10km Run!
You can just about see in the distance this road has a serious uphill as it approaches the A1 and the road follows a steep ascent to cross the dual carriageway.  By the time I got to the bridge I had ran about 7km and although the incline was pretty short, it was incredibly steep and I thought my legs might give way.

The track then runs through a pig farm and as I tried not to breathe the stench in through my nose, I grinned at the HUGE pigs there that were peering out at me from their dark sheds.

I then joined the old A1 road which takes me back to my village and I realised then that it would be a 10km route if I wanted to just keep running home.

At 9km, I was almost there, but I was feeling stiff and my legs were aching.  It was very tempting to just stop and walk the rest of the way home to cool down.  But I remembered how cold it actually was and I didn't fancy shivering my way home.. and then, House of Pain's Jump Around was played :-D  Perfect timing, I got a good rush of endorphins to see me through the last kilometre (though I assure you, there was NO jumping going on...) and I was able to pick it up and power through to 10km.

My time was 1 hour 09 minutes, which I am very pleased with but really, 10km has been a focus for a while now, so there is nothing coming close to having a great run, in a great place, feeling great and hitting that 10km distance!

I took a short 360 panoramic on my phone, which perfectly captured the beautiful weather and the peaceful place I was in:


 It seems like a good time to look back at my running journey so far:
  • I started running 16 weeks ago in the middle of September 2012.  
  • In that time, I have ran 209km (or 130miles).
  • All 209 of those kms have been run using a mid/fore-foot strike (aka barefoot running), in my Inov8 Bare X-180s (very minimalist running shoes!) and I have been completely injury-free so far.
  • I ran my first 5km distance on 31st October 2012.
  • I ran my first 10km distance on 13 January 2013.
  • My average pace hasn't varied a great deal since I started running and averages at just under 7 minutes per kilometre. 
0-10km in 16 weeks.  I never thought I could do that.  What's more, I can really say I have enjoyed every single kilometre.  

I had set myself a target of running 10km by the end of January, so I guess I need a tougher target for February! 

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Bye 2012, why, HELLO 2013!

Last year was an amazing year for me in terms of reaching personal fitness goals, improving my overall health and realising I can push myself far further than I previously thought.  As expected, the focus was mostly on swimming (until September...) and I did everything I set out to do and thoroughly enjoyed every moment.  The highlight for me was swimming in Loch Ness, feeling fearless in open water and realising I can overcome the things that frighten me AND enjoy them!

I tend to take a step down from exercise in October as the nights start to draw in and it gets darker and colder.  Most people move inside to gyms, turbos and pools.  I shut down, eat food and get fat :-)

Well not this time, I finally found an activity that keeps me outside whatever the weather and keeps my activity levels UP!

So inspired by the Leeds Triathlon in September, I set out learning how to run, mid September and I have not looked back since.  I never dreamt I would fall in love with running, but it has taken up many, many hours of my life in the last 14 weeks!   I have gone from a complete non-runner to someone who is capable of running around 15km per week and I have my sights set firmly on running my first 10km in the next few weeks. 

It has been a fabulous way to end the year.  As ever I wish I could find whatever it is I need to continue to cycle throughout the winter, or to keep me motivated to keep going to the pool every week.  But this year, I may have ended it by gaining a few festive lbs, but I have never felt fitter or more capable.   I have lots of support around me, from my parents who look after my children when I go for some of my runs and my husband who inspires me with his own incredible levels of commitment to his own goals.  I also have MANY friends, both close to me and over the 'net who regularly run, who help, support and inspire me.  Thank you, you lot. 

I have recently ran a couple of 9km distances and the question everyone keeps asking me is:  When will you enter your first 10km race?

I am still not overly inspired to enter a race.  I like to run alone, to my own pace, with my own thoughts.  I DO know how amazing it can feel to be a part of something bigger (thinking about my swimming events), but I just don't feel that urge with running.  I keep reading about a few crazy/wacky events, such as a Rat Race or Night Terror, which I think sound like fun... but they are pretty expensive and although they would be a good test of what I have learnt so far AND fun, I still like running, just running for sake of running. 

I have decided to take 2013 one month at a time when thinking about what I want to achieve from running, cycling and swimming.  So here's January:

  • By the end of the month, run a 10km distance.  
  • Throughout the month of January, I want to cover the equivalent of running a marathon (ie 26.2 miles or 42km).  I plan to achieve this by doing long runs on Sundays (8 or 9km until the last Sunday of the month which will be my 10km) and a few shorter runs mid-week. 
  • Not really planning to cycle anywhere just yet, but I shall look out for a nice dry, warm day and maybe, just maybe go for a short ride, to remind myself how to!
  • Back to once-weekly swims for now, aiming to swim for either 30 minutes, or 1km at a time.  
Dylan and I have some vague plans for entering a couple of events this year, although this is will scaled down a lot from last year.  I do plan to join a triathlon club though which should give me access to a few coached open water sessions, more to follow on this as the weather warms up!

But for now.. bring on that 10km!!!