Tag Archives: Running

2019 Wasn’t My Running Year But That’s Okay.

Copy of I Never Want To Run A Marathon... And That’s Okay

It’s safe to say that sometimes we’re not always on our game; whether that’s for a day, a few weeks, a few months or even a year and that’s how I have felt this year with running. I want to deep dive today into why I think that is and why ultimately, it’s okay to have those moments.

I normally try and be pretty honest about my emotions because if you know me in real life, you know it’s very hard for me to hide how I feel. I have resting bitch face that can not be hidden and because I am so sensitive, that often shows itself very fast too. When it comes to most activities, I have to be careful on how I push myself. If you read one of my firsts posts about running (linked here), I talked about feeling horrible before, during and after a run because I wasn’t in the right headspace before and it was actually made worse going out for that run. I’m all for the benefits of exercise and the endorphins, and if that works for you, that’s perfect but for some of us, it doesn’t and that’s okay too. If I stress myself out too much, it tends to affect everything around me including my fitness amongst other things so I’ve learned over time that sometimes when I’m stressed, it’s like a domino effect and one of the first priorities that is affected, is my fitness.

IMG-20171110-WA0005-01.jpeg(My first ever 10K was “dress like you’re going to a wedding” theme and running in tights and a dress was definitely something new!)

Scott and I have dropped out of a number of races this year; one was in Canada and I was devastated over it but it wasn’t a lack of training that stopped us and that’s why I don’t feel terrible about it. I had an accident the day before the day and I had really hurt myself; I described it as belly flopping the ground when I tripped walking across a road. I have never been in so much pain in all my life and it does still affect me to this day so while I hate the fact that I couldn’t run the next day, it would have been impossible.

The other races were simply due to lack of training and not running enough beforehand. We have signed up for one or two 10K’s and one 10 mile race which I actually blogged about (which is linked here) and that one was the biggest disappointment for me. I had built it up in my head but when it came down to it, I didn’t put in the work and I was left with a decision; do I try and run and potentially hurt myself or do I not run, lose the money but understand the reason why I didn’t do it. I made the right decision completely and I’m still gutted that I didn’t do it, but there will always be other races and it’s not something I want to make myself feel guilty about forever.

IMG-20180620-WA0004-01.jpeg(Back when I set my 10K personal best at the Lisburn 10K in 2018)

2018 was such a fantastic running year for me and I couldn’t be prouder of that despite having a few iffy months emotionally so while I really don’t like the fact that I wasn’t as good this year as I was last year, that’s totally okay. If we’re really being honest, it actually gives me the drive to be even better next year. I know that we don’t have to wait until Monday or the start of the month to start our goals but I’m making an exception with this one. Sure, I’m still going to be running the rest of the year as much as I can, but the real work begins in January. I’m working towards the longer distances, my timings are going to be much faster and I’m going to set myself challenges along the way which will be as motivating as they were back in 2018.

Thank you so much for giving this post a few minutes of your time, it really means a lot to me. If you have any related content you’d like to share (because I love reading other’s running experience) please let me know either down in the comments or over on my Instagram or Twitter. Have a great week! 

Taking On My Biggest Challenge Yet: Ten Mile Race.

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It’s been a while since I posted about an upcoming race isn’t it? Well, that’s what I’ll be talking about in today’s post and it’s my biggest challenge yet! *cue the sweats* 

If you’ve been a reader of the blog for a while, you’ll know that I have been absolutely in love with running and other times, I’ve found myself at a low point with it. I also talked recently about my running confidence (which I’ll link you to here) so when they tell you that running isn’t linear, it’s one hundred percent true. I’ve been feeling more motivated with my running recently when I set myself a challenge of running twenty miles in June and July, and I smashed that goal. I’m very aware that for a runner, that is a very small goal but what I think is more important is that I start small and work my way up. For example, in August and September, I’m aiming for twenty-five miles. Again, slow but simple steps. 

I realise the irony in that last paragraph when I talk about small steps and taking it easy when I’ve just signed up for a ten-mile race that takes place in less than two months. Yes, two months! To give a little more context; I have ran nine miles twice; both times were last year, once in May and once in October so I know I have the physically capability to do it, but it’s just the mental capability I will need to battle with now. I told myself I needed a challenge; I had wanted to train for a half marathon but not necessarily sign up for one but thirteen miles just seemed far too much for the later stages of this year. When I came across ten miles, I knew that was something that I was going to have to work hard for but in the few months, I knew I could do it. With the motivation I have been getting back recently with running; I knew that if I kept that up while increasing my mileage and building my speed back up again, I would be fine. It’s that initial stage of those first thoughts, “Okay, so how do I get my head in the right space for running this distance?” 

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The race itself is the Armagh 10 Mile and 4 Mile Fun Run challenge that takes place on Sunday 13th October that starts and finishes at the Navan Centre in Armagh. It’s actually the 20th anniversary of this race this year so I’m sure it’ll be exciting to be a part of that celebration as a whole. I’ll be running it with Scott as always, so I’ll have company with me if I hit a mental block (but fingers crossed I won’t, with the right training). If you fancy reading more about it (and potentially signing up to it) I’ll leave it linked here. 

My plan is over the next few weeks to keep the blog updated with my training runs, how I’m feeling, about the highs and lows, and the overall build up to the race. I’m genuinely so nervous so if you have any tips or advice for me, I’d absolutely love to hear them either down below in the comments, over on my Twitter or on my Instagram. Thank you so much for reading, I really do appreciate it! 

I Never Want To Run A Marathon… And That’s Okay.

I Never Want To Run A Marathon... And That’s Okay (1)

How often do you read or hear about someone training for a marathon and think to yourself, I would love to be able to run a marathon. It’s a thought I had before I began running, but it’s something over time that I haven’t been keen on and that’s what I wanted to break down in today’s post. 

Now, don’t get me wrong; choosing to run a marathon is absolutely incredible and it’s such a time and body commitment to do so. I am in awe of anyone who completes or even trains for such a distance and I know for me, the time does not matter in this situation. If it took you four hours or twenty-four hours, I would still be as impressed no matter what. Originally, my boyfriend got me into running and I’m so thankful that he did, because it’s amazing what it can do for you, physically and mentally. When I was being consistent, I was in the best shape of my life both with my body, and I can’t wait to get back there. He’s a runner and has been for quite a few years and he’s in the double digits of marathons now, which I think is absolutely incredible. I went to see him finish at his last marathon and I couldn’t have been prouder if I tried; he was disappointed in himself time wise but he just ran a marathon! I had seen the work he had put in beforehand and it was so lovely to see it all come together at the end. He absolutely loves running and he loves the build-up to a marathon and he has my upmost respect for that. 

IMG-20180908-WA0013-01.jpeg(Scott and I after the Larne 10K with our medals!)

Ever since I started running, and I’ve spoken about this before, I have a real mental struggle and from others I have spoken to, it seems like I’m not the only one. It seems very normal for runners to doubt themselves, to have a bad run, to want to stop when they’ve just started; so I know that this isn’t just me. I obviously take into consideration my mental health issues, and I’m always very careful of that because I know how I feel if I push myself too much. That’s where the real line is for me; I’m not sure I could push myself mentally for twentysix miles, no matter how hard I trained. I truly believe that if I trained for it, I could physically do it, but mentally is something I can never expect to get to. You can see that as giving up on myself before I even start, but I don’t see it as that at all. I’m taking care of myself first and foremost and while it would be such a huge achievement, I worry about what the cost would be. Would I suddenly hate running? Would I have pushed myself too far that I wouldn’t be able to take another step outside to go for a run? That’s not something I’m willing to risk and that’s okay, because I’ve made that decision for me. 

However, I have been thinking over the past six months, if a half marathon is within my reach. Thirteen miles seems a lot more achievable than twenty six, and since I have hit the nine mile marker twice back in 2018, I know I can run further than my usual 5K or 10K distance. I have it in me, and of course that came with a lot of training and build up which I would be willing to put the work into again. I spoke recently in my “I Lost My Running Confidence… But I’m Getting It Back” post that my timings have went down, I’m not running as much and I really have lost a lot of confidence when it comes to running, but again, I’m willing to work on that again. So while I won’t ever promise to compete in a half marathon, I know I could do it if I was to put the time and effort into it but equally, being okay with not putting pressure on myself if it was too much.

Thank you so much for reading today’s post, hopefully it sparked a thought or two around an alternative view point. Let me know your thoughts and if you have read or wrote similar posts to this, please let me know either in the comments, on my Instagram or on my Twitter. Have a great day! ☀️

What Happened To My Goals? Re-Focusing With June and July Goals.

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At the beginning of the year, I set myself a challenge of focusing on two goals every two months and because the year before, I had been working on three goals every three months, I thought this would work out more positively for me because I was focusing on less. However, because I went away in March and then it took me a while to get myself back up on the blog again, I never went back to reassessing those goals so that’s what I’ll be discussing today. 

I could talk about goals until all the cows come home; I’m a very goal-oriented person and I believe you need to have at least one goal to keep you motivated. I don’t think it necessarily matters what your goal is, everyone is different when it comes to their goals like I have spoken about before but it has to be something that you want to do, or else, what’s the point? Because I hadn’t got back on track with setting goals, I had to sit down and think about what I wanted to do, so I’m still sticking with the two goals for two months because I feel like that particular plan hasn’t had enough time to really work yet. 

Run twenty miles. 

If you read my “Running Confidence” post, you’ll know that my running for the last year isn’t at the level that I want to be, and while there has been quite a lot of factors in this, it’s something that I know I need to change, because if I don’t change it, no-one else will. That’s why I’m committing to running twenty miles altogether in June and July; now the seasoned runners, that might not seem like a lot, but to me, it’s the perfect starting point to get myself back on track, and staying on that track. Plus, we’re coming into nicer weather (hopefully) so that should help with the motivation. 

Start learning Polish again. 

At the beginning of the year, Scott and I started learning Polish on Duolingo; we were quite proud of the fact that we had done it every single day continuously for three months and until we went away, we didn’t miss a day. However, we didn’t pick it back up once we came back, and we still haven’t! We really enjoyed doing that because it was something we could do together and it was so simple that it didn’t feel like a chore. It’s so simple that we really have no excuse not to continue doing it so we’re going to start it back up again. 

It can be hard to set goals for yourself if you’re not sure what you want to do, I’ve been there so I know how it feels. I decided to focus on something that I enjoy; learning a new language and continuing to enjoy a sport that I had been used to getting my teeth stuck into. For you, it could be career goals, hobby goals, relationship goals or something completely new, but just make sure it’s something that you absolutely want to do or you might find yourself not sticking to it because it’s not calling to you. 

Thank you so much for reading today’s post; it was a short one this week but sometimes I need posts like this to re-focus my mind for a little while. If you have any feedback, please let me know in the usual places. 

I Lost My Running Confidence… But I’m Getting It Back.

I Lost My Running Confidence... But I’m Getting It Back

Losing your running confidence is really quite difficult to deal with, but it’s even worse when you don’t necessarily want to admit it to yourself. I’ve finally came to terms with not running as much and as well as I once used to, so that’s what I wanted to focus on for today’s post. 

Running has been a real relationship for me in terms of having a great time with it but not knowing if I could continue with it. I would get so frustrated with it, I would feel defeated and not think I was progressing with it. On the other hand; I felt so proud of myself getting a personal best time or distance, I felt great afterwards (Thanks to that cheeky post-workout glow!) and when I did feel like I was progressing, it was fantastic.

As sad as it is to say, when the cold weather came in again, I think that’s when I started to feel the slump. I’m not great with cold weather at the best of times, but having to force myself out for a run was not something I was very good at, and it didn’t just make an impact on me. Scott ran less too and he can say that it wasn’t my fault, but I know that I was part of the reason for his lack of running. That’s just part of being in a relationship; finding out that you sacrifice something for your partner and there’s always a lesson in that, isn’t there? I know for me, I’m more conscience about exercise and because I feel cosier inside than outside; if I still feel okay to go out, I will do because it’s important for me and Scott.

IMG-20180908-WA0013-01.jpeg(This was at the Larne 10K and I would say that I was at the top of my running game; it was such a great race and I felt great afterwards despite it not being my PB time, although it was my second best.)

It’s disheartening for both of us to see our progress go down and I’m sure it will be something that Scott discusses at some point on his blog, but it was tough to see my learning curves build up and for them not to be so apparent anymore. I’m not as fast as I once was, I have to walk more than I used to and sometimes you can feel a little useless.

Towards the beginning of the year, I was running regular park runs which I really enjoyed but something was missing and I didn’t know what it was. Was it knowing that I used to be better? Was it the pressure I was putting on myself?

Yesterday (Saturday 4th May) was the first time in a month I had been running and I’ve been putting it off for a while, so instead of going to our usual spot by the beach, we went up to our local park where all my running really started. We done a two lap route of the top of the park and a couple of sprints so it wasn’t a very long session, but it was more than enough to get our hearts pumping. I’m glad that I’ve got a little piece of running confidence back but I don’t think I’ll truly get it back fully until I’m back where I was when I was at my best. That will take time and patience but it’s worth it one hundred percent.

strava3065251963898333238.jpg(This was our first gentle run yesterday. We decided not to go to the full 5K because we knew we were doing sprints afterwards.)

strava7792303457139840561.jpg(Sprints were fun! We only managed to do three altogether because we tired ourselves out a little too much on the first go, but it’s something we’re going to incorporate them into future sessions.)

I’m the type of person who needs to aim for a goal in order to move forward with something like this, and this is one of those times so I’m planning over the next week or so on what I should do, what do I need to aim for? It might be a time or a distance but as long as it gives me the motivation to move forward, that’s all that matters.

If you have any blog posts or videos you think would be a good recommendation for me to have a quick look at when it comes to motivation or getting back on track; let me know either down below, on Twitter or on Instagram. Thank you so much for reading today’s post, I really appreciate it! 

Mo Running (2018) Race.

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As with most of my races, I love posting about them on the blog so today’s blog is about my most recent race with Mo Running that took place at Stormont in Belfast. 

If you read my post about the Mo Running race last month, you’ll know that I kindly got asked to take part to cover it on the blog. Having done it two years ago, I was thrilled to be asked again because running posts are one of my favourites to write about. This time however, I decided to go for the 10K rather than the 5K, because I had been used to 10K distances. 

Scott and I were doing the race together which is always lovely to have someone with you while racing, so we were training in the gym as well as getting out on the odd run together. In the middle of October however, I acquired an injury in my foot when I went on a longer distance run. I was so proud of the run but it came with consequences. My foot was really painful to walk on for weeks and we narrowed it down to my trainers being past their “best before” date and it was impacting my foot. Unfortunately, I was out from running for over a month and with a 10K coming up, I was worried about the lack of training. There was clearly nothing I could do about it and thankfully Scott was very nice and bought me new trainers for when I was able to run. We continued to go to the gym though, so I wasn’t completely out, but walking was pretty painful. 

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The day before the race was wanted to see where we would be running; Scott has ran up and down Stormont many times but I have only ever walked it. We thought it would be a great idea to go to the Stormont parkrun on the Saturday morning to see where part of the route would take us. I didn’t expect it to be quite a trail run, because I’ve never done anything like that before so it was a new experience for me. I really loved that particular parkrun and even though it’s a little further than our local one, we’re hoping to keep it up for a while. This run on the Saturday morning was the first time I had ran in over a month and while it might seem odd to run the day before, I wasn’t willing to go into a 10K race without having run beforehand.  

Before the race, I posted on my Instagram stories that we made the decision to change from the 10K to the 5K. This was because my foot started to play up again and I had hurt my hip from the run the day before. We think my hip acted up because it was my right foot that was sore so the left hip was taking the impact from that. These things happen of course to every runner but I was very disappointed having to go down to the lower distance. I’ve learned since becoming a runner that your health and body comes before your pride, always!

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The day itself was really fantastic, there was a good turnout despite the cold weather and there was a great atmosphere. Three races were taking place on the day; the Mini, 5K and the 10K. The mini one happened at around 9:30am, 5K at 10:00am and 10K at around 10:10am. It was quite accessible for the get-go, the grass was pretty wet so I was worried about slipping down the hill to registration but it was grand. We were able to change over the distance very easily and I was so glad that it wasn’t a hassle for the team because I would have felt terrible.  

My foot and hip was getting worse towards the start of the race and I was starting to think would I not be able to run but I told myself I didn’t have a choice in the matter. Ten seconds after we start, my shoe lace becomes undone and I thought “is this what’s to come?” It didn’t hold me back too much but it was a little annoying because we had JUST started. We had to run up part of Stormont hill and I didn’t find it too challenging, it was more about taking smaller steps like Scott has told me but I eventually got into the rhythm of the smaller steps.

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Having grown up in Dundonald, I didn’t live too far from Stormont Park but I had never been through the trails around it. I don’t know why but I soon discovered that there were hills longer and steeper than the one up to Parliament Buildings. It was then when I was thankfully that we changed to the 5K because if I had have known we had to run up them again, I would have cried. Lack of training is a huge factor in this but it also give me the momentum to start running through more trail areas rather on my regular clear paths. Of course, being around the Autumn season with the wet weather and the leaves being on the ground, it’s important to keep a look out on the ground at all times because a fall can be too common without even realising it. 

For the rest of the run, I generally felt okay. My hips weren’t giving me much bother and I was really surprised by it. My foot was still quite sore but when you’re putting weight on it, it’s not that big of a surprise. What I was really surprised about what the variety in the route; we had the long clear hill at the beginning, the twisty trails in the middle and then we were able to run down the hill at the end. It was quite different to the route we had ran the previous day but I still really enjoyed it. I was exhausted by the end but I know that that was the lack of training that I wasn’t able to control. 

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I finished with a time of 37:07 which is in no way my best time, far from it in fact but I’ve had a massive mindset change when it comes to judging myself with timings. I was still injured and I still ran, and that’s the most important thing to me at the end of the day. I know I’m capable of being faster and I do plan to be at some point.  

I had such a great time and thank you so much to the Mo Running team for inviting me along to take part along with Scott, we can’t wait to do it next year (and actually do the 10K this time!) Thank you for reading today’s post, I really do appreciate it! 

Run for Movember with MoRunning (2018).

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You all know that I love a good running race so when MoRunning got in contact with me to tell me about their upcoming race in Belfast towards the end of November, I was over the moon to be involved so let me tell you all about the charity itself, the race and all the details you need. (Disclaimer: I have been given the race entry as part of my coverage for the event but I have donated money to the charity regardless of this and as always, opinions are one hundred percent my own.) 

Before I get into the race itself, I want to tell you more about the charity if you’ve never heard of them before. We’ve all heard of Movember where many men around the globe don’t shave for the month of November to raise awareness for the unfortunate diseases and cancers that men can be diagnosed with. It’s a fabulous initiative that is growing year on year and it’s great to see it getting more media coverage. MoRunning raise money alongside their charity partner, the Movember Foundation who have three main priorities they are working towards; prostate cancer, testicular cancer alongside mental health and suicide prevention. I’ll leave you with a link to the Movember Foundation UK website if you’d like to find out more about what they do. 

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For those who have been a long reader of the blog, you’ll know that I took part in the race two years ago when it was at Ormeau Park. I wrote about taking part pre-race (which I’ll link here) but I never wrote about it afterwards which is a shame because it would be great to do a comparison for this year. However, they do have a past results page and I found my time from then; my chip time was 39:08 and my finish time was 39:25. That year, I took part in the 5K and considering I only started seriously running last Summer, I remember 5K was quite a struggle for me so a 10K would not have been an option for me. 

This year I’ll be taking part in the 10K race and with the addition of another 10K race at the beginning of November, it’ll be a great note to start AND end the month on. This race will be different for me from a route perspective; it’s something I have worried about doing hence never doing it, but I have never ran up a hill like Stormont. If you’re unfamiliar with Stormont, it starts as a mile-long hill (if you go from the bottom right to the top of the steps of Parliament Buildings) but it’s a gradual incline that doesn’t look too bad until you are on it. There is a regular parkrun at Stormont every week but the thought of the hill put me off the notion of ever doing it. I would say this will be the biggest challenge for me but it’s always good to challenge yourself, isn’t it? I can’t expect to run on flat surfaces for the rest of my life so I know at the time, it will probably be tough but long term, it will be worth it. 

Mo Running Belfast

As you can see from the route, this is the route for the 5K and the 10K route. The 10K route is simply two laps of the 5K so easy enough to work out. Now thankfully, we’re not running up the entirety of the hill but it’s a good chunk. One of the biggest mistakes I normally make that Scott tries to drill out of me is taking it slow up the hills. Sounds simple doesn’t it? It’s incredibly simple but when you’re on a hill and especially if you’re a new runner like me, it can be hard to track your pace when you’re not on a flat.  

Now for the information on the race taking place. It’s happening on Sunday 25th November on the Stormont Hill with the first race leaving at 9:30am. There are three races within the event; the Mini Mo Run for all the children who want to take part is 1.5K, that begins at 9:30am. The 5K starts at 10am and the 10K starts at 10:10am. There’s a fun warm up planned and even a fancy dress competition so it’s not your ordinary race. In terms of parking, there is parking available at the event up at the main Parliament Buildings but it is very limited so it’s ideal to turn up early in case you need to find somewhere else (but it’s common to be early for a race regardless). Race packs will be collected from the starting line so another reason to be there a little early and registration closes at 9:45am. MoRunning have a fantastic page with all your queries on it (which I’ll link here) if you need any more information. 

Finally, MoRunning have kindly given me a discount code for anyone interested in taking part, so enter “MR18_BlogBelfast” on the website and you’ll get 10% off your running price. Another disclaimer: I don’t get any money from this code, it’s simply a way for you to get a little money off for the race. If you want to follow along with the MoRunning journey, make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too.

Let me know if you’re planning on taking part in the race this November and I’ll be back in December to show off my special medal and to let you know how it all went. Thank you so much for reading, I really appreciate it. (All photographs used in today’s post are credited to MoRunning.)