No pain, no gain?

People say wonderful things to you when you take on any kind of challenge.

I’m proud of the fact that I’m trying hard. I’m trying my HARDEST, in fact. Being told you’re amazing and inspiring is incredible, but I have to say that sometimes it’s undeserved and I feel like a fraud.

Training is hard. Very hard. Sometimes I push myself so hard I throw up. Which is not good. And sometimes, like today, I actually CANNOT do it. All I had to do was run 7.5 miles. That’s fuck all, right?

No. It’s the furthest I’ve ever run in one go. And I couldn’t do it. I got to 5 miles. Maybe it was boredom from treadmill miles. Hopefully that’s what it was. I managed 2 miles after that on the cross trainer but I hurt. And all I wanted to do was cry and give up.

What I want is sometimes just to lie down and say “i CANT do this” and then instead of saying “you don’t have to” someone could maybe say “yes you can”.

Truth is, I’m not even close to two-digit distances yet and the pain in my legs, knees and ankles is killer.

Can you actually run through that shit? I’m pretty much going to HAVE to.

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Finding the Motivation

A wise friend of mine once said “if you think about it, running 26 miles is dumb”.

He’s spot on. You should follow him on twitter for more wisdom: @theriotwright

Many people have died while running a marathon. It puts so much strain on your body and your mind that it’s beginning to freak me out. Don’t get me started on those of you crazy enough to enter UltraMarathons. That’s a whole new level of mental.

One of the things I find I struggle with the most is actually pushing myself to run further through pain and discomfort. I’m hoping this becomes less of a challenge once the evenings get longer and less Baltic and I can go for a run in shorts and a t shirt instead of a ski suit.

The mental barriers I create for myself are sometimes impossible to crack. I find myself getting really emotional about the whole thing. What pushes me forward is the support of my incredible friends and family.

You just have to scroll through the messages on my Just Giving page to see how much this means to them, and in turn, how much this means to me.

I’m only putting myself through a few months of discomfort. The people I am doing this for have to endure so much more.

In the mean time, I shall be taking out shares in Voltarol and Tiger Balm.

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10 lies runners tell

As a runner, who was once a non-runner, I have first hand experience of this.

Take heed. And prepare yourselves.

1. I love it. It makes me feel alive.

This is a lie. It’s horrible. The first 100 metres are amazing and invigorating. Then you realise it’s -2, your lungs are burning and you have a wedgie.

2. Running makes me WANT to eat clean.

Also a lie. Running makes you want cake. All. The. Cake. But you CAN’T HAVE THE CAKE because “proper runners” will judge you.

Just stick with that delicious kale.

3. But Kale leaves mixed with mashed cashews is JUST the same as peanut butter on toast.

You guessed it. This is a Lie. Whoever decided this needs to be beaten up. With loaves of squishy white bread.

4. After a run, I feel like I could conquer the world.

This is what those pesky endorphins make you believe. But don’t be fooled, after a stretch (oh god definitely stretch) you will be glued to the sofa. Because your muscles will not allow you to get up.

5. It gets easier once you find your rhythm.

Not true. It might feel like it’s getting easier. But then it will start raining. Or someone’s Demon dog will chase you. Or you’ll start running into a bitter head wind. Or a group of children will call you “Thunder Thighs”. Or you’ll be overtaken by someone thinner and faster. Or you’ll not see a puddle and get a wet sock.

You get my point.

6. It’s worth it to fit into skinny jeans.

TRUE! At last. Very vain, yes. But my word is it nice to have a thigh gap once more and for people to call you toned and for your boyfriend to comment on how strong your muscles are getting. That makes up for everything.

7. Running in the rain is SO invigorating.

No it isn’t. It’s cold. And wet. And your leggings really start to chafe. And your top sticks to you. And your padded sports bra can no longer disguise how cold you are. And your hair looks even more shit.

8. I love running in the sun.

Just like the rain, this sucks. It’s too hot. You go purple. Your feet sweat. Your ass sweats. You are basically a floppy, sweaty mess. On the plus side the sun is so bright that you cannot see and therefore you can’t tell how shit you look.

Basically running in any weather sucks.

9. Running on a treadmill is so easy it’s practically therapeutic.

No it’s not. You can watch telly on a treadmill. You just ran an extra mile because you were so glued to Come Dine With Me.

10. Running is so relaxing. I just zone out.

Lie. You think about everything. Especially how much it sucks to run in the rain/wind/sun. Why is my ankle sore? What was that cracking noise? My calves are on fire. Oh god you can see my thighs wobbling in these shorts. Yep all those cars passing me can see it too. They’re all looking at my wobbly thighs. Holy crap my top is stuck to my tummy and that is wobbling too.

See? It’s shit.

But you know something? If you can put up with ALL of the above? Don’t let ANYONE call you a “non-runner” My wonderful pal Jeananne once told me “if you run, you’re a runner” and she was right.

seriously though, be prepared for it to suck 80% of the time.

Getting through a run by thinking about sausage sandwiches.

If you’re not a natural runner, sometimes it can be hard to push yourself through once you hit the “holyshitonastick if I run another 100 metres I’m going to die” wall. 

I think about anything other than running. Mostly food. What I’m going to eat when I get home, or what I’m going to make for dinner. Or Modern Family quotes that make me laugh. 

I’ve read plenty of running magazines that tell you to give yourself a mantra. I did. It’s this:

“cake”

I also find people watching an incredibly fun and interesting way to spend a run. Here are some of my latest observations:

1. Groups of runners:

They sprint past, puffing and panting and murmuring breathlessly about their new clean-eating regimen to boost stamina.

Nope. Thinking about cake. 

2. “Vanity runners”

You know the type. Top-to-toe in the latest running gear as recommended by the many running magazines they read. They set off with purpose, soon realising their lack of fitness is making them sweat so they slow down to a walk/jog so as not to dislodge their ponytail. They don’t go red in the face. 

3. Run Keeper/Strava/Endomondo/ Nike+ Junkies (note: this is me)

This group of individuals work under the proviso that if their chosen method of fitness tracking isn’t recording, the run didn’t happen. These people can be spotted stopping periodically to check mileage and speed and throwing hissy fits when their GPS signal isn’t strong enough to record. 

4. The “new shoes for Christmas” crowd (also me)

Shiny new Free-runs not yet covered in leaves. Crisp, clean, flouro running trousers sans mud splatters. Still-white running socks. 

They look like amateurs, but don’t try to overtake. They just use Christmas/Birthdays as an opportunity to re-stock their running kit. They are not to be mistaken for vanity runners. 

 

Choosing a charity.

This was pretty bloody hard. The Kiltwalk was ace. It already had designated charities set. The 10k I ran in November was for Movember. 

This was different. There are HUNDREDS of deserving charities. 

In the end I chose Maggie’s Centres (click there to visit their website). They provide support and care for people living with cancer. Not just the patients, but their families and friends. Amazing stuff. 

If you visit my just-giving page (link below) you can read about WHY I chose them. My x-factor sob story if you like. Just without Louis Walsh’s peculiar smile.

http://www.justgiving.com/ginnie-bean

Once I’d chosen the charity, it gave me a renewed sense of purpose. So now I know I can push myself to achieve my goal. 

Want to run a marathon? Get drunk, register, and tell all your friends.

Following the buzz of the Kiltwalk, I needed a new challenge. I’d started going for little jogs here and there, and decided that, despite my many previous misgivings, I actually didn’t hate it. Well….. much.

I’d been toying with the idea of training for a 10k or a half marathon. So I got a bit pissed one evening and registered for a FULL marathon. Because I’m fucking mental. 

Even worse, I’d already created a just-giving page and posted on Facebook. Here’s a link by the way…. if you want to justify my madness with a donation 🙂

http://www.justgiving.com/ginnie-bean

So it was happening.

I received mixed feedback from various peers and friends, ranging from the incredibly supportive and “you can do it!!!” vibes through to, “you know it won’t be easy, right??”. Really?? No way. I thought I’d hop on a segue at mile 4 and cruise to the finish line…. 

Now let me get something straight… this isn’t something I’m rushing into. My drunken registration madness was back in July 2013. I’ve been in pre-training since and can now run comfortably for 40 minutes. My marathon training schedule has now started and I’m following one created for absolute beginners. 

Because beginners CAN do marathons. You’ve got to start somewhere, no? 

I’ve had a lot of comments about having never run in an event before too. But that’s why I’ve registered for several 10k’s and a couple of 1/2 Marathons before May 25th. 

I cannot give up, I won’t give up. Afterall, once it’s on Facebook, it’s HAPPENING.

 

Replacing sitting for walking.

Back in good old 2012, I was 12 stone and a size 16 (which is not fat, by the way, it’s just not a size I was comfortable being). I needed to get fit. I’d thought about running but that’s for nutters, right? No one should run. Ever. Unless it’s away from something. 

So when a colleague invited me to do the 2013 Edinburgh Kiltwalk with her, I accepted. Albeit reluctantly at first. This turned out to be the best decision of my life. (Thank you Lesley x)

On May 19th 2013, Lesley, Hilary, Helen and I walked/staggered/actually jogged for a bit to relieve the pain in my glute’s 27.2 miles (IT WAS NOT 26) and raised over £2000 for 7 different and AMAZING children’s charities. It was the best day ever. Not at the time, of course, I was in agony. And for 5 miles we were stuck behind a woman wearing a jingly jesters hat. I almost killed her. And when I had to stop at mile 19 to apply blister plasters and she overtook us again, I thought the girls were going to kill me! 

After the hip-ache ceased and my feet forgave me, I made a pledge that every year, I would do one thing to challenge myself physically, and raise money for a charity at the same time.