Cycle Map Run

Hello 2018

We are a week into 2018 and I am just getting round to finishing a blog post I started on New Year’s Day. I am hoping it isn’t too late to reflect on 2017 and the novelty of New Year’s Resolutions hasn’t worn off just yet. First of all, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and weren’t too hungover on NYD. I spent NYE with my family, introducing them to the UK Run Chat hour on twitter and planning races for the upcoming months. 2018 is set to be the year of new challenges and hopefully smashing some PBs but before I get into all that, I will take a look back at 2017…

2017

After the GWR smiling because I surprised myself with a new PB.

I wasn’t running too much at the start of the year as I was finishing my Masters dissertation alongside my full-time job. Looking back, I don’t know how I fitted it in but I completed it, presented a poster on my work at a conference in Vienna, passed with distinction and had a lovely graduation back home. Having free time again in summer meant I could really enjoy getting out running again! The first race of the year was the Jurassic Coast 10K in August, memorable for the hills, heat and my first insight to off-road running. The Great North Run in September was a fantastic experience. I will never forget running across the Tyne Bridge just as the Red Arrows flew overhead and I definitely won’t forget the pain in my quads which forced me to walk a bit at around mile 9 (tip: don’t cycle 50 miles the weekend before a half marathon). With a half marathon PB of 1:56 gained at GNR, I felt relaxed as I lined up for the start of the Great West Run in October. Clearly having a carefree attitude is the way to go as I powered up those hills and achieved a new PB of 1:52! Lastly, I took part in Run Up 2 Christmas with my club UKRC Exeter and collectively we ran nearly 1000km (that’s the target for this year!) and despite having a cold and all the usual Christmas distractions, it was good to have motivation to get outside.

New Year, New Me?

 I like throwing that phrase around to wind people up when discussing resolutions, however I did tweet recently that I am very much pro resolutions because why not try to make some positive changes in your life? Sure you can decide to eat healthier in June or try spin classes in September but the start of the year seems like a good time to start afresh. I do have some personal goals to achieve this year but I know you just want to hear about running so I will get to it!

2018 is the year of the marathon.

I am just a bit terrified. I tell people that I am now officially in marathon training and it tends to sound quite casual and generally in a calm tone. Then this happens:

Friend: Oh a marathon, how far is that again?

Me: twenty six point two miles

Friend: TWENTY SIX MILES?

Me: twenty six POINT TWO

Friend: WHAT! That is so far, how on earth can you run that?!

I know it will be ok. I have very supportive friends and family, no other major commitments (outside of work) and plenty of shorter races to run between now and the end of May including a few 10K races in Exeter and a half marathon in Taunton.

Of course, I will then be running the marathon at the end of May. That’s ages! Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Currently I feel quite motivated and ready to tackle the training but I’m sure that will change over time. I am sure you will all agree that the best thing to do is not get too worried, keep up consistent training and enjoy the challenge. I will try to listen to that (plus any other advice) over the upcoming months.

Before my first run of the year! Smiling on the outside, crying on the inside.

I guess now (finally at time of writing and posting) I have finished week 1. My first run was on New Year’s Day and it was horrific in the rain & hail at a hilly forest at home. Since then, I have been back to my running club (@UKRCExeter), been to the new Exmouth park run & completed everyone’s favourite – the long Sunday run! I ran a total of 38.8km this week (I do not like leaving it so unrounded but I’ll live) and not had a drop of alcohol or a bite of chocolate (chocolate ban only started on the 2nd) so I am feeling pretty pleased.

Just in case you’re a bit nosy like me, my other goals/thoughts for the year ahead are:

  • Read more books. It takes me forever to read a book unless I am lying on a beach in 25 degree heat. I want to read/listen to more this year to stop myself looking at a screen all the time and maybe it will give me something else to talk about other than PBs and negative splits.
  • Drink less alcohol. I am taking part in Dry January just to give myself a bit of a boost and yes I probably will have a glass of wine as soon as February hits but I am going to try to not drink so much this year. I can tell this one might not go to plan…
  • Work hard. I’m currently listening to What Happened by Hillary Clinton (she even reads it herself, it’s fab!) and it has filled me with motivation in nearly all aspects of life but especially my working life. They key thing here is to not doubt yourself and what you can achieve.
  • Save money. Yes another typical one but to be fair this already happens, I just need to maintain it and that’s what direct debits are for.

I’m sure I will come back to these in a few months time and think “How did I think I could give up alcohol, are you mad?!” but at least it’s all written down and that means I will at least try to focus on the list above. I’m going to go drink a nice cup of tea now and read my book (see, I am already a better person).

I hope you all have a productive and successful week ahead!

Here’s to 2018!

Rach x

Exmouth Park Run. It was freezing!!!
Post-long run selfie today. I managed 8 miles in the freezing cold after helping at Junior Park Run.

This week in running (Oct 30th – Nov 4th)

It’s Sunday night and I’m thinking back over my week of running. I usually run 3-4 times a week including a Monday & Tuesday but due to relatives visiting and a friend’s birthday my first run of the week didn’t happen until Thursday. I was more than ready for that run and ended up clocking 10km. You know some nights you just need a run or you might explode? It was one of those. Next up was Parkrun on Saturday morning. Last week I hit my PB bang on (24:56) so this week I thought I’d push myself and try to beat it. I made sure I wasn’t too far back to begin with & kept a good pace to finish at 24:37 – a new PB! I was running into the wind for the last km which was tough but I kept the 25 minute pacer in my sight and ended with the obligatory sprint finish!

This morning, I ran 1 mile (wait for it, there’s more) to Junior Parkrun where I gave out the finish tokens as well as cheering and giving high fives to enthusiastic little kids (and their parents). Once that was over, I set off again and ran an additional 10 miles out and back along the quay. It was cold yet beautifully sunny so once I got going I was pretty warm but able to keep a steady pace. On the return leg of the run I was once again battling with the wind, which meant I had to work hard for the last 4 miles. I rewarded myself with a coffee at the quay afterwards before heading home to eat everything in sight!

I’m pleased with myself for getting out and doing a long run despite not having any races to train for in the next couple of months. I don’t think I have ever kept up the long distance in the weeks after a race but I am determined to maintain it over winter so that I’m not struggling in the new year! I have signed up to Run Up To Christmas to keep me motivated in December so hopefully that will also help balance out all of the chocolate & prosecco I will be consuming!

Anyone else trying to keep motivated now that it’s turning colder & darker?

What, there are other people just as keen as you?!

I moved to Exeter in 2016 and prior to moving I had already looked up running groups and found out that there was a half marathon in October, so of course I wanted to train for that. I had been part of a club at home and I knew it would be a good way to meet new people in a new city, give me something to do in the evenings and keep up my fitness. You might expect a blog post like this to be about someone who thought running clubs were scary & they needed a friend to drag them along only to find out it was amazing and it changed their life. I already knew it was going to be a good decision to along to a club night because runners are very supportive & friendly! I also like meeting new people but I don’t like running in the rain so if there are people out there that can convince me to do that then it can only be a good decision!

When your running group meets Jo Pavey #hero
All about the glutes

I don’t remember when this happened exactly but I started following @UKRunChat on twitter. One day I realised they were advertising a run around the Rhino statues in Exeter. I thought this would be amazing! There would be hundreds of people out for a run, what a great thing to be a part of! I told my friend Pip about this and we decided to go along. After waiting a while at the wrong Rhino statue (typical!) we found our fellow runners – all 6 of them! Turns out this was not the huge event I imagined! This was a run organised by UK Run Chat Exeter, a relatively newly formed running group. It’s now over a year old and there are 26 in the Whatsapp group.

We like to do sessions that you wouldn’t normally do by yourself like banana hill sprints or relay races on the quay. We meet for Parkrun on a Saturday morning followed by coffee & cake and a lot of us help out at Junior Parkrun on a Sunday. Just like UK Run Chat as a whole, it feels like a community rather than a club you go to once a week.

First night with UKRC Exeter
Post run pints – always a good idea

Outside of work, joining UKRC Exeter is probably the best thing I have done since moving here. I have met wonderful people who I think of as family more than friends, pushed myself to achieve new personal bests in races and have co-hosted the UK Run Chat hour on twitter – the account that brought me to the club in the first place. I feel very fortunate to be part of such a supportive, hilarious and welcoming running group.

Of course, I could write lists upon lists on the reasons to join a running club but you have probably heard it all before and trust me, it’s definitely all true! Instead, here’s what some others in UK Run Chat Exeter think about our club (it’s pretty much along the lines of “If Carlsberg did running clubs…”)

“UKRunChat brings a general love of running to one place. UKRCEXETER takes this love and brings a real mix of people together. Old/young, fast/slow but all with a common love for fun and running!” – Matt Upston (run club leader aka the boss!)

“I enjoy going to UKRC Exeter because I have made lots of new friends and my fitness has improved. It’s great to come home and chat to Rachel about our running plans and not just about our work days. It’s great that we can go to the club together and both of us have made a fantastic group of friends. The club is good motivation and an excuse to get away from my desk at a reasonable time!” – Sarah (my flatmate, agony aunt & fellow Netflix-binge-watcher)

“UK run chat is an amazing group of people, who have made running more fun and enjoyable for me and the reason I keep going is that it’s a great chance to talk to people and to keep improving my running….” – Rob (he sneaks in 5 mile runs before the club because he is extra keen)

“The activities at UKRunChat complement my normal running perfectly and the people are so great. Its so much fun and I look forward to it each week. I think I have found some running buddies too” – Darren (as well as being a great running buddy, he helped me move house earlier this year!)

“UKRCExeter is an an inspiring group with a passion for running. Though, as the leader enjoys telling newbies, “we don’t run in this group!” We do the training you probably wouldn’t do on your own, like hills or sprints. The motivation of the other members and the dedication of the run leader make me want to go and do those things. They’re awesome.” – Matt (my voice of reason when I contemplate doing something ridiculous and all round cycling/running buddy)

So there you have it. You might say we enjoy going to our running club and without a doubt you should join one too. If you live near Exeter then join us! Find us on twitter for more information @UKRCExeter

 

Have a good week everyone,
Rach

Parkrun Selfie!
Pre-Parkrun Selfie!
Smiling on the outside, crying because of sprints on the inside

Bitnami