Yesterday I was ridiculously pleased with myself. Today, I’m still ridiculously pleased. And while this buzz keeps going, I’m planning my campaign of races and challenges before I remember the pain. If we are Facebook friends then you will know from my constant Strava updates (sorry about that), that I have been doing the Kingsway beginners couch to 5k, or as they term it Slipper to Trainer.
When I started, I hated running. In fact, I have always hated running. When I was at school, I hated cross-country, when I was in the Army, I hated running (a condition that got worse the more anyone shouted at me) and it was with huge amounts of fear and trepidation that I decided that I needed to make some changes and to join the Kingsway Runners beginners course.
Now, for someone who hates running, and a couple of years ago messed up my ACL in my Knee, then its sounds a bit of a silly thing to do, but I do know that running is a good way of intensive exercise that would help me be more active. And perhaps i might learn to enjoy it too. Unlikely, but stranger things have happened.
So, I started my journey, and now, 10 weeks later, I graduated. From not being able to run for more than a minute or so without stopping, I have been doing 5k runs in about 36/40 minutes. My knee has held up well and whilst I ache most of the time, it is that good sort of ache, the one that tells you that you have been working. And, don’t tell anyone, but I’m actually enjoying it. Don;t get me wrong, I still find it hard, but that’s because I’m pushing myself, and I’m pushing because I want to, not because I have to (if you see what i mean).
I want to say a huge thank you to Jane Morgan and Andy Jones for being amazing course leaders, great at motivating without being pushy and being there to support us. And a massive thank you to the rest of our beginners group, they have been brilliant in supporting what we have been doing, we have really got through this as a team and already there is talk about how we are now going to get to 10k.
So what is next? Well I’ve signed up to two races, the Tewkesbury Wine Run, a 5k race with wine (what could go wrong), and (this is where you come in) I will be doing the virtual 5K to raise money for the British Legion. In the longer term, I would love to get to a 10k, but my immediate sights are on doing a Tough Mudder type event next year, so hopefully we will see where that gets up to.
So what do I mean in the title about 5 minutes? When I first started, I did the Kingsway Parkrun and my time (mostly walking) was around 38 hateful and hard minutes. On Saturday, with the help and motivation from another Kingsway leader, Steve Riegler who buddied up with me, I came in at around 33 minutes. A 5 minute improvement that I would never have dreamed of 10 weeks ago. (To be fair, 10 weeks ago I wasn’t convinced I would finish the course)
So I guess my takeaway message is this. I’m an overweight largely desk bound bloke who likes to drink and eat. It’s easy to make lots of excuses about why not to do it. But, I’m hoping this is the start of me realising that you can enjoy this stuff, make new friends and get fitter and healthier. Maybe running isn’t for you, but then again, with a fantastic team behind the Kingsway Runners group, maybe it could be?
Oh and finally, apologies for the Lycra and luminous clothing.