Storm

Very sad to hear of the news of the passing of Storm. I only met him once but he was a cheeky, funny and friendly little fella. Storm spent the last two years of his life living with lots of animal friends at the FRIEND Animal Sanctuary in Kent. Rest In Peace x

Prisoner

Taken when I thought I liked zoos. The further I venture into the Vegan world, the more I become disillusioned with zoos. Yea, it’s preserving the species, but for what end? Will they ever return to the wild? If not, what’s the point in keeping these beautiful animals in an enclosure that just isn’t big enough?

Big Fun Run Maidstone 5k

When I saw there was a 5k Big Fun Run in Mote Park, I couldn’t resist. Following broadly the same course as the 10k I did a few weeks back (with the last 1.5kms going around the other side of the lake) I knew what to expect at least… and it was only one lap – easy! The weather looked ominous all morning, with rain and gloom expected to be the pattern for the day, so I wasn’t expecting a very good turnout. How wrong I was! There must have been well over a hundred runners. Photos taken by the Missus. It was also the perfect opportunity to try out my new skull cap running hat. Yes, it’s bright… but it kept the cold out.

Excuse the finger, I was so cold and miserable before the start. Carter USM hoodie did a fairly good job though – I love being able to get in this now as I bought it three years ago and I couldn’t get it over my chest then.

My shoe fetish is well documented and it appears it extends to trainers – one of the ladies was sporting this attractive pair of Nikes…

…which rather put mine to shame, especially with the hole over the left big toe. I went for the trusty Nike Air Pegasus 28+ Trail shoes for this run. I wasn’t happy with the Nike Air Alvord 9s I wore for the 10k. Not as comfy at all.

As is customary at these events there was a very good warm-up session.

Today I decided to participate as it was so cold, though I didn’t actually follow the moves as you can see here – totally doing my own thing. I say my own thing, I was sorta copying the guy next to me who I had concluded was a runner. As it happens I beat him by four minutes so it shows I know nothing about runners and I ought not to judge a book by its cover.

Finally it was time to remove the hoodie and reveal my shirt choice – the trusty Nike DryFit Unfair.

Some cute doggies.

And then we were off. Pretty easy to spot me in that hat.

The medals and goodie bags.

More cute dog action.

First place – a good time, just under twenty minutes.

I came in at 28:15 and I am pleased with that on a wet, slippery course. I really need to find a flat 5k and try to improve my PB a bit. Though, that said, I probably need to remember I have only really been running (rather than walking) for about four months. Fortunately the gloom started to brighten by the 3kms mark, so I finished the run in glorious sunshine.

Another medal for the collection! That’s three so far. I don’t have any other organised runs planned until late December and the infamous Boxing Day Run in Saltwood, but I will keep my eyes open if there are any more close by.

Wrinkly

One of my favourite Vegans…

Resolution 10k Run – Mote Park

One of the best things about losing so much weight is the fact that I can now run and do things that I had forgotten I could do. With my newly rediscovered outlook on life I felt I wanted to do something for charity – hopefully this will be the first of many such events.

Like many people I have known loved ones that have suffered from a Stroke and when I saw that the Stroke Association were putting on one of their Resolution Runs in Mote Park I knew I had to do it. They offered the choice of a 5k, 10k or 15k. When I signed up I hadn’t even run a 5k so took a risk and plumped for the 10k… how hard could it be? As it turns out, hard enough!

The weather had been pretty good in the run up to this event – I had managed to do a fair amount of training so I knew I could do the distance (just about), albeit with aching hips. My friend Izzie was traveling down from London to take part, so it was galling when the rain started at about 10am, continued, then proceeded to get worse.

I managed to swap the shirt I had been sent for a smaller one – the XL I ordered back in June was like a tent, so I swapped it for a Medium – I still can’t believe I can actually get in a Medium sized shirt!

This is me, mentally preparing for the start – wearing Mum’s gloves as my hands were frozen. That reminds me, I must wash them and return them… cheers Mum! I must also mention that it was really nice to have Mum, Dad, my Nan, Nic and Nic’s Mum there to support me and spur me on. The photos were taken by Nic and my Dad – nicely done in atrocious conditions!

I chose not to partake in the warm-up session – they always say don’t break your usual running habits, and my usual habit is just get on with it… but quite a few people did take part, whilst many waited in their cars until the start as the rain was getting increasingly bad.

The nerves started just before the warm up session began and got worse – I think I just need to get on with things – all the standing around just gets me anxious.

This is me and Izzie – her pre-start routine involves wearing a bin bag to keep warm. She suggested I did the same. I didn’t listen. I wish I had.

As you can see, the spectators (and my support crew) were suitably dressed for the conditions…

Then suddenly, the time had come and we made our way to the start line – the 15k runners were at the front, then the 10k runners and then the 5k runners. This seemed the wrong way around to me, but hey, I’m new to all this.

And then, we were off…

I won’t lie. The first 5k was harder than I expected. It was a lot more hilly than I had imagined, the rain started coming down quite heavily, and the wind was growing stronger by the minute – plus there was a long uneven stretch on slippery grass which I hadn’t mentally prepared for, but hey, that’s the buzz of these things I suppose.

This shot is taken from the other side of the lake – I was just coming up to the 4k mark or thereabouts…

These were just before the 5k mark when I still had some energy left… not a lot, but some.

It was nice to see the pets were also getting  involved, though I am not sure if this doggy was doing the 5k, 10k or 15k…

I hit a mini mental wall at about 6k and it lasted until about 8k. The rain started chucking down and it was grim – I glanced at my watch and my pace had slowed down, but in a way that was quite liberating – it was all about finishing now and not worrying about the time taken. The rain was still getting heavier and I just wanted to get to the finish line. I found a little bit of energy as the end got closer… I didn’t hear the announcer asking everyone to clap as I approached with my Smurf legs! I see her point – they are rather Smurf-like!

I wanted to go under the hour, but by 45 minutes in I was happy just to finish. The official time was 1:03:48 – 14th out of 36 10k runners! Not bad as I’ve only run that distance three times.

I particularly love this shot as there is Mum, Nic and my Nan in the background!

I quickly shuffled on to get my medal and put my coat on before some warm congratulations from my Nan.

Just in time in fact to watch Izzie come in…

I think the next photo shows just how wet it was – my hair is soaked! And I look ill. That’s what 10k in the rain does to me.

The medal shot! Apologies for the Nora Batty tights – I have lost more weight than I realise and ought to order smaller size…

I can’t say I enjoyed much of the actual run as the weather was so horrible, but I am so pleased that I did it. Firstly I am proud from a personal perspective as this has been a year of change for me on a health level. Secondly I am so proud that I managed to get people to support me and raise money for a great cause -  I am very happy with the following amount indeed. I would like to say a massive thanks to all those that donated – you know who you are – it really is much appreciated.

As I crossed the line I said to myself that I would not do a 10k again, but then a few minutes later all thoughts were gone. There is one I have my eye on next May for sure down in Folkestone, but I think some more will crop up before then. I have a 5k coming up in October and want to do a good time in that… I think I have become addicted to running and medals – not a bad addiction all in all!

Pain is temporary. There is no rest for this Vegan.