Pride and fear!

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Miles this week: 4.83

Running Total: 239.92

Not a massive mileage week this week – I felt quite tired and weak midweek so thought I wouldn’t push it as I really wanted to get the sub 40 minute parkrun on Saturday. On Monday I went along with my mum to the brand new Sweatshop beginners group.  It was so nice to be running towards the front of the pack as we headed out. I have rejoined the beginners in the hope that if I really push myself during the intervals that it may help to improve my speed when out and running the longer sessions.  All I can say is that I was dripping with sweat and breathing hard as I pushed myself as hard as I could when running and quite enjoyed the walking intervals! 

I was directed towards joining the online group “Run Mummy Run” and have found that to be such an amazingly supportive group.  Women of all levels are joined together to help with advice, support and just general running chat that does tend to make some of my friends and my other half glaze over a little once I get going!  Thank you Vashti for recommending it to me!

On Saturday I woke up early filled with fear, trepidation and some excitement I was determined to crack that 40 minute mark on parkrun, having missed it by only 12 seconds the previous week.  I filled my playlist with good “running tunes” (I tend to listen to the radio and think “I could run to that” rather than if I like it or not nowadays) and was ready to rock.  I stated on my FB page “shelleyrunningoutofexcuses” and the “run mummy run” page just what I intended to do with the thought that if I had said that was what I was going to do I did not want to come back and have to say that I hadn’t managed it! I set off with “starships” pumping and felt quite strong at 5 minutes the runkeeper voice kicked in and told me I was running at an 11 minute per mile pace – not good! I can do a mile at this pace but crash and burn not very much after.  I tried to ignore what people around me were doing and run at my pace.  This made me feel like I had gone into reverse as people started surging ahead of me! However I had runkeeper to guide me and knew that if I stayed around the 12.30 mins mark that I would be doing ok.  I felt strong and even managed to push myself hard up the dreaded zig-zag hill!  Once I reached the top I was puffing and blowing, but managed to slow up my pace enough to regain my breath without having to walk.  There was a time I thought it was only possible to do this whilst walking, so I am thrilled that I can now do this whilst still running.  I kept pushing on when feeling really tired with the thought that I didn’t want to admit failure when I got home! I started my “sprint finish” on the last corner seeing that if I really tried I would be able to make it within my goal.  I was ecstatic to see that I have finally broken the elusive sub 40 time!!

I was so so proud of myself and really excited and realised that a bit of fear helps to push you along where determination may start to waver.  I am really hoping that this is true as it is only 3 weeks until I have to crawl through mud, climb over tall things, run through water and crawl through tunnels whilst running a 5K as I tackle “Rock Solid” – this will push me to my limits as I am terrified of heights, water and tunnels to name a few!! I will keep you posted!! 

PB, PMA and PBs!!

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Miles this week:12.23

Running total: 235.09

Please forgive the title filled with acronyms, but I do struggle to come up with a new title each week! This week I have really been trying hard with my nutrition, to make sure that I am eating as cleanly as possible and getting good nutrition.  As I mentioned recently my favourite snack in the world is carrots topped with peanut butter and this has helped me through some snacking pangs this week!  The picture above is of a gorgeous salad that I had yesterday – I had popped up to the City Centre to get some last minute school uniform bits for my son and went to book an appointment for an eye test for him, they said they were able to fit him in an hour and a half later so we decided to go for it.  As it was half past one then I knew that if I tried to wait for lunch when we got home I would be ravenous and at risk of eating either too much, or things that I shouldn’t.  I looked forlornly at all of the fast food restaurants around me and wondered what I could eat without causing myself too much damage.  I then saw a sandwich store that I guessed would have something suitable and was delighted to find this “superfood” salad that was packed to the gills with all of the lovelies that I am trying to make sure that I eat.  It was absolutely delicious and I felt good for having stuck to my healthy eating guns!   I have always enjoyed healthy foods, but have been prone to eating things that are not so good for me too.  I genuinely now get more pleasure from eating foods that I know are going to help nourish me and give me the nutrition that I need.

After the excitement of two PBs last week I did think that this week would be a bit of an anti-climax.  However I agreed to go along to the Sweatshop Wednesday evening 5K social run.  My running buddy assured me that she would run at my pace as I had my usual fears that I would be left running about 15 minutes behind the rest of the pack.  When we turned up and found out that the route that people had voted for was the longer 6K route I was really scared. (Even 10 months after taking up running I still get nervous pangs before any distance run,worried that I’m not up to it!) The group set off at what I can only describe as a gallop and I trotted along behind them trying to find my pace – I do tend to run faster initially when following faster people – which was shown in the time of my first mile when looking at my splits! I felt the usual feeling of “oh I’m so tired I need to walk” by the time we hit the first corner – this happens every week! However, I have learnt to ignore this and try to find my zone.  Once in the zone I trotted on quite happily and was pleased to find that hills that used to make me feel like I had gone into reverse didn’t feel so bad.  I enjoyed the run all the way down to the canal and was feeling quite strong as we ran along beside it.  Then came the return journey to the city centre – unfortunately the old adage “what goes up must come down” also works in reverse and it was uphill all the way!  The very first hill up from the canal threw me into that reverse gear feeling.  It was really hard, but I kept on going – albeit painfully slowly!  I carried on up the hill ignoring my the internal voice that was screaming at me to walk, determined that I was going to run every step of the way.  I am pleased to say that I did and at quite a consistent pace.  I was elated a new distance of 6K running!!

Saturday was parkrun again.  Having knocked nearly 2 minutes off my previous time last week I was thinking try to match that time and I would be doing well.  The run started really promptly this week and we were off and running before I had a chance to really think.  Again I was having to ignore the voice telling me to walk as we hit the first hill up to the canal! I pushed on and found my pace and trotted along whilst listening to my music.  I noticed that I seemed to be running with a different pack of people this week and that they seemed to be a bit faster so I tried to stick with them.  About halfway round I was very tired, but was keeping up with the pack and found that I was running at a pace that was going to be quicker than the previous week. This was quite exciting and helped me to push on and keep going.  When I first started doing the parkrun my time was consistently around the 45 minute mark. I had the dream of going sub 40 minutes, but never really believed that I would achieve this.  Knowing that there are people there that complete it in sub 20 minutes this was not good for my self esteem.  However, as I keep saying, this is a personal battle and I need to focus on how I am improving and I am starting to believe in what I am capable of achieving. When I crossed the finish line in 40.11 I was ecstatic (and a little wobbly in the legs!) – being able to have a 5K time that start with a 3 is within my grasp.  It may not be next week, but I will try with every fibre of my being to make it! 

Back in the swing!

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Miles this week: 7.36

Running total: 222.86

Having had a wonderful holiday that recharged my batteries I am back home and back into the swing of things with a vengeance! I have swum and done a dreaded treadmill session at the gym.  I was delighted to see that my heart rate whilst exercising is now within the optimum range, rather than the alarming flashing lights that warned me that my heart rate was too high that I used to see.  As exciting as the physical changes are and lovely that I can wear clothes that I couldn’t previously I am so very excited about the improvement in my health and fitness.  I made my children a promise that I would get fitter and I am keeping that promise!  I ran on that treadmill grinning like a Cheshire Cat I was so excited!

In recent weeks I have been running little and often and had 2 5k runs planned for this week.  I was nervous about tackling this distance as it had been a while.  On Thursday I did “The Chick Chase” a timed 5K run around  a local lake.  There was a 10K race that was two laps of the course being run simultaneously.  I know that my running is slow, half the pace of good runners so I had set myself some goals.

1. Run as much of the course as you can.

2. Do not get lapped until you reach 4K

3. Complete the course without getting lapped.

4. Run the whole course

5. Get a PB at this distance.

By the second corner of the run I was at the back of the field and could see everyone stretching away ahead of me.  I am of course by now used to being at the back so this did not bother me, but I was worrying that I wouldn’t even manage to get achieve the second of my goals.  About 1.5K into the the run my body was screaming at me to have a little walk, I used a tactic that my friend had shared with me.  I told myself I couldn’t walk until the 2K marker.  When I reached there my breathing was fine and I was in my stride so I told myself I couldn’t walk until 3K.  Again I was ok at 3K so I did the same to the 4K marker.  By the time you have run 4K there is no point in walking on the last one so I am thrilled to say I managed to run the whole course.

When I had hit the 4K mark without being lapped I was elated and this helped to push me on.  I could see the front runner of the 10K in the distance and was determined to finish before she did so pushed hard and even managed a little bit of a sprint finish.  I beat her back by all of about 2 minutes, but I had managed to tick off goals 1-4!  The event was extremely well organised and there was the facility to type in your runner number and get your time on a computer there and then.  I jumped up and down when I realised that I had actually managed to beat my PB by 50 seconds.  Add in the rather lovely medal received for completing the course and it was a rather fab evening!

Saturday was parkrun.  I was a bit sore from Thursday still and very tired.  I was also going to be running it by myself as my lovely running buddy was going to be running at her pace and as this is about 10 minutes faster than mine I had no chance of keeping up with her.  I plugged in my music and set off, my goal on this occasion was to just get around the course, running as much as possible.  I did have to have a little walk on a couple of occasions, but I was pleased with my pace.  I was amazed when I hit the half way point that my pace meant that I was on course to beat my course PB.  This spurred me on, with lots of puffing and panting to push harder.  I hit the 4K mark and was still on course for a PB. I crossed the finish line and my personal timing showed that not only had I beaten my course PB, but I was even faster than Thursday’s run!  The official timing makes me 10 seconds slower than this, but still a course PB so I was delighted!  

At no point did I find either run easy, but finding the grit and determination within myself to keep going and the results that I managed to achieve have left me feeling extremely happy and proud of myself.

A run on the ocean waves


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Miles this holiday: 10

Running total:215.50

This is my blog about my fantastic holiday aboard Aurora as it sailed around the Mediterranean.  People often think about holidays as a chance to totally blow out and eat and drink to excess – especially when it is all inclusive!  I was a bit nervous before I went away that I may cave and undo all of my good work.  I had a plan to make sure that I exercised each day and did not eat something for the sake of eating it and that beyond that I wouldn’t stress too much about what I was doing as it may have made the holiday miserable as there was amazing food and delicious cocktails on offer everywhere you looked!

Anyone who thinks that cruises are boring is definitely wrong – you can fill your days to the point of rushing from one activity to another – which we generally did!  My day started with a run and then a swim or just a swim.  These varied in difficulty depending on the state of the sea or the amount of wind!  Some days I would feel like I was running up and down hills as the decks moved beneath my feet. One of the days I had the hardest run I have ever done – due to the wind we were sailing into and the movement of the ship I was running into a 40mph wind that took my breath away.  On the plus side when it was behind me I got pushed along!  Swimming was also interesting with the ship’s natural wave machine at work on some days – you would be swimming and not getting anywhere, or sometimes even swimming backwards and then suddenly flung forwards the end of the pool – great fun!!

Once showered and breakfasted – generally not too unhealthy – it was then time for a 45 minute dance class.  I always managed to work up a sweat doing this and it was good fun – also interesting on the days that the ship was rocking!

The other daily exercise was at least 30 flights of stairs a day as everything on the ship always seemed to be up 4 flights of stairs….I’m really not sure how that happened!

I had the most amazing holiday and ate some truly delicious food, but am now back home and ready to get back into my healthier ways.  I am currently writing my blog whilst digesting the spinach and mushroom omelette I had for breakfast before I head off to the gym for a swim.  I am definitely going to try and keep up the routine of the daily swim as I loved it. 

Other than the novelty of being inclined to go running whilst on holiday the other “new” thing (well it’s been about 20 years) was walking around in shorts, a sundress or a swimsuit without curling up with embarrassment. Actually wearing clothing appropriate to the weather and not melting in long trousers or a dress that covered up the parts of me that wobble felt so wonderful.  I am under no illusions that I have an amazing figure that I want to show off, but I am proud of the hard work that I have been putting in and the “work in progress” body that shows that marked changes in me. Having that peace of mind to be me and not care what other people are thinking or saying is liberating beyond belief and helped to make my holiday an even happier one!  




More than running

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Miles this week:4.99

Running Total: 205.50

You can see from my miles this week I have not managed to get many miles in – it has been very busy and as you may have noticed it has been very hot! However I am still on target to reach my target of the equivalent of a mile per day for the year so I am not going to panic just yet…I probably needed a bit of a restful week after the ravages of the midnight moo last week!

As you may have noticed from my recent blog posts or my Facebook page I have been looking at the differences I can see in myself since I took up running.  My body is definitely beginning to show some real changes in its shape – I am even considering buying a pair of shorts for my upcoming summer holiday….I have honestly not worn shorts for about 20 years, this is quite a momentous occasion!  The other exciting thing for me is to actually be able to have photographs taken of me without wanting to cringe or cry at the picture.  Don’t worry I won’t be posing left, right and centre and I do still often have to gulp at the picture, but I can actually look at some – such as the one above (taken of my lovely running buddy and me at a recent leaving do) and think “ah I look really happy” or “oh I love that dress” rather than the all too familiar “Oh My God I look so dreadful!”.


What a difference a year makes

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Miles this week – 12.84

Running total – 200.51

This week has been quite a soggy week for running – I have only made it out twice this week and both times managed to get caught in a downpour.  Luckily I adore running in the rain! I only have to think about picking up my trainers and start to sweat, so a shower of rain helps to keep me cool and also disguises how sweaty I am! (well I like to think so anyway!)

Tuesday was my run with mum – she is now up to week 4 of couch to 5K and is making fantastic progress, she was able to run for 4 minutes at a time and still be able to talk afterwards – I am quite sure that I was gasping for breath and unable to communicate at this point.  I am hoping that she will soon be joining me at parkrun as she is nearly covering that distance in her runs already.

Saturday was technically not a run, it was a power walk. This was to be my third year of “The Midnight Moo” a ladies only 10 mile walk around Milton Keynes – at midnight, surprisingly enough. Of all of the events that we will be undertaking as part of our “14 for 2104” this was the one I felt least worried about “it’s only a walk”.  Oh how naive I can be!!  I was full of confidence when getting ready as I put on my t-shirt from the previous year – this had looked pretty much as if it had been spray painted on when I had worn it previously as the largest size barely fitted me.  Putting it on this time it felt much baggier so I had the thought that I would find it easier as I was carrying less weight. I was determined to beat my previous year’s time of 3 hours and 28 minutes and felt quite confident that I would be able to shave about 10-15 minutes off this time.

I was walking with my usual running buddy and we were joined by a friend of one of my friends – she turned out to be a fantastic companion and was such fab encouragement around the course. We set off at a good pace – the  face paints that I had had applied as part of the build up to the walk were sweated right off by the second mile!  In previous years whilst walking I have been passed by a steady stream of walkers, this year I was the one doing the overtaking. Three miles in we found that we had been doing a 15 minute mile pace (I am a bit embarrassed to admit that this is my average running pace when doing the 10k distance) I was amazed and thrilled to be walking at this pace,especially as I was still feeling strong!  

The volunteers around the course were so encouraging and helped to cheer us along.  When we went into a local school for the “halfway sign in” the whole hall clapped us as we walked in it made us all feel very emotional! I managed to keep going strong for the first 7 miles of the course, but on the 8th mile it became one very long uphill, with the knowledge that the last half mile of the course is uphill and I began to feel the pain.  My wonderful companions pretty much talked me through the last 2 miles of the course – thank you ladies I am so amazingly grateful for that!  We managed to finish the walk in 2 hours 49 minutes and 56 seconds – I even broke into a little jog by the finish line to make sure that the clock did not tick over to 50 minutes!! The elation that I felt was amazing and I am so proud of how far I have come in a year – I am quite excited to see where I will be in another year’s time! 😀 



Miles this week:7.17
Running total: 187.67

This week has been one where I have kicked out another of my excuses…no one to run with! I like to run with other people, it helps to keep me going and I really enjoy the social aspect – I have a fabulous network of friends to run with. However, this week due to a school trip and other reasons I have had to run by myself for three out of my four runs.
In previous weeks I would have used the fact that I couldn’t meet up with people as a reason not to run as I was too nervous to run by myself. I have also found that on the rare occasions that I ran by myself (I think I can count on one hand the number of times I have managed to do so) I have not pushed myself as hard as when I am running with other people. I tend to focus more on what hurts and how tired I am feeling! It felt amazing to push myself to run harder all by myself. Although this is not a hugely high mileage week I have managed to keep myself on my target of 7 miles a week they mean a lot to me as I have found grit and determination inside myself!
I am hoping that I have attached another picture (wordpress looks very different today, so I’m not sure it is attached properly!) that shows my progress – “before” pictures are few and far between and they do still make me cringe, but seeing the change is definitely a motivator to pick up my trainers and get out there!

Keeping it in context


Miles this week:7.25

Running total: 180.5

This is another message that may well seem obvious, but is something that I am trying to sort out.  I tend to be of the mindset that once one thing starts to go wrong, that everything is going wrong.  I also seem to work on the principle that once I have eaten something I feel I shouldn’t that I have ruined the whole day and then tend to go a bit crazy and eat other things I shouldn’t!  I have not had the easiest of weeks due to my “real life” and so have not eaten the best that I could or exercised as much as I would like to.  In previous times this would have spiralled to mean weeks of not doing the right things and slipping back down the path that I am travelling along.

I have been firm with myself and told myself this is not going to help reduce any stress, that ultimately it will make me more stressed as I will be upset by any loss in my fitness or any weight that I may regain.  Luckily I listened to myself!

This is an old picture I have used firstly as it helps me to remember the very first time that I pushed myself to do things I honestly believed that I wasn’t capable of.  I have also used it as it helps me to remember just how far I have come both physically and mentally.

I took my stresses today and used them to help me push myself to run the furthest I have ever run in my life.  Out of the 5 mile run we do I ran 4 of the 5 miles, at a good pace!  It felt amazing and I even managed to do more than my running buddy and I had previously thought possible! Not even a year ago I had thought that running a mile was impossible, in October I shocked myself by running every step of a 5K run.  My pace is creeping up by seconds,but after today’s effort I honestly believe that it will not be long before I can run every single step of a 10K!

The good, the bad and the colourful


Miles this week:10.08

Running total: 162.75

This week has been one of mixed feelings, some real highs and some lows.  I have had to remind myself of my mantra “At least I’m doing it”, grit my teeth and get on with it.

Yesterday was definitely a high – I travelled to the beautiful Hereford to meet up with an equally beautiful friend that I have known for a scary number of years.  We were signed up to run “The paint runner” a 5K race where at each kilometre marker you are pelted with different coloured paint.  It was brilliant fun, however I did resemble a Smurf somewhat by the end of it, and even after 2 showers have certain parts of my anatomy that have a slight bluish tinge! I struggled at points on the run due to the heat (again I am not complaining about the lovely weather, it is wonderful to have it, but it does hamper me somewhat) so I did have to walk at points on the run.  However,it was a thoroughly enjoyable day and I would definitely do it again!


Today the weather was not so pleasant as I went for my Sunday running group 5 mile run.  I was pleased about this and decided to use the opportunity to see how far I could run before I needed to walk – the furthest I have run without walking is 3 miles so far and I am working up to being able to run the 5.  Without telling my running buddy (in case she held me to it!) I decided a marker in my head that I was going to try to run to today.  Everyone in my running group has always been so kind and supportive and quelled any fears that I had previously had that they would laugh at me and tell me that I didn’t belong there.  There was only a very small group of us today and I know that the majority of them can run the distance in almost half the time that I take.  The group know this and know that I will run at my pace doing a sterling job of bringing up the rear! I felt really disheartened and embarrassed when someone in the group said very loudly in front of everyone “I’ve never seen you come back at the end, you must be really slow”. It felt like a bit of a slap and I had tears of embarrassment stinging my eyes for the first mile of the run. However as my running buddy will agree I am extremely stubborn and the best way to spur me on is to suggest that I may not be able to do something! (She will suggest that we run for one more lamppost  I will say “no two”!) I gritted my teeth kept telling myself “At least I’m doing it” and kept plodding on.  My running was not faster, but I ran to my marker and a bit further before walking, and added in two extra running intervals than usual into the remainder of the route. I felt fabulous at the end!

I need to keep telling myself that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks – I am not doing this for them.  This is my journey and I have come a long way. I still have a long way to go and I will almost definitely make mistakes along the way, but I am doing it and I am not going to let anyone put me off! 



A bootcamp up the backside!

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Miles this week: 9.58

Running Total: 152.67

It was back to work this week meaning I didn’t have as much time to run as I would have liked- so nowhere near so many miles this week! I only managed to run at the weekend, but I definitely made the most of it! I am due to run the Rock Solid obstacle race in September and when offered free bootcamp sessions to train for this I jumped at the chance.  They start right next to the finish line of parkrun so it made sense to do parkrun first…or so we thought!

We had not pushed too hard doing the parkrun…or so we thought! My finishing time was not wildly different to the week before so I must have pushed a certain amount!  We had been very lucky with the weather during the parkrun with just a light drizzle. This changed pretty much as soon as the bootcamp started!  After a warm up and a jog round the corner I soon found myself lying on a wet hillside doing press-ups in the rain…what was even more surprising was that I was enjoying myself! I loved army crawling up the hill and found that I actually seem to be quite good at this….if I could just find a race that is mostly army crawling that would be fab!  I did not find the bootcamp easy in the slightest but everyone was very encouraging and the instructor was great, pushing just enough to help me achieve way more than I thought I could.

Today was such a different day – clear blue skies, gorgeous sunshine and hot, very hot! It was the Race for Life today and somehow I had managed to be signed up to do the 10K run.  I am not comfortable at this distance yet, it pushes me hard, but I know I can achieve it as I have done it before. I was running not only with my usual running buddy, but also for about the first kilometre with some lovely friends I have known since Secondary School. They are significantly better runners than I am so when I first needed to walk they said their goodbyes and carried on with their very impressive runs (so proud of you ladies!x) I really did struggle with the heat today and with my aching muscles from yesterday I decided to listen to my body and go with a run/walk strategy. We did this all the way round and I even managed a sprint finish at the end.  Although I was a few minutes slower than I had hoped to be, I was a few minutes faster than the last 10K that I did so I was very happy.

I ache in pretty much every muscle that I possess, but I am feeling good!