With over 600 entries and plenty of spectators creating a great atmosphere, the Folkestone Coastal 10k seemed like something I should enter. I signed up at the start of the year with every intention of training hard for it, but then I had two months off with a rib and knee injury so that rather set me back. However, I gave it a go and that’s all that really matters. However, that said, I have done a lot of walking recently up a fair amount of hills, so this being a flat course, I knew I could finish it. I just wanted to be able to run the whole distance without collapsing.
The last time I actually ran 10k was back in September 2012 at the Resolution Run in Mote Park. I really wanted the weather to be slightly more pleasant than then. There was no rain, but jeez it was cold before the run started!
I admit it, I wasn’t really feeling in the mood to run. Photos by Dad.
Just to prove how cold it was at the start… Mum wrapped up nice and warm. However, it was soon time to remove the trusty Carter USM top. I like to run/walk in Buff headbands now – they can be used in various styles, but I just went for a simple ‘wrap it round’ approach.
I started in my usual position – about a third of the way back. I have no delusions that I’m ever going to win a 10k. It’s about proving to myself that I can do it, but, of course, I don’t want to come last either!
I tracked this run with my Garmin 10 – I basically don’t change pace too much and try and stick at something that is comfortable. If I had had any training this might be different, but I’m all self taught so I tend to just go with what I like. Anyway, I got overtaken by a lot of people in the first 2km, but I overtook a lot in the last half of the run, so a steady pace works well for me.
My left ankle started hurting at the 3k marker which wasn’t a good sign and I did contemplate quitting, but I carried on and it eased. At 7k I felt my right groin twinge, but, well, when you’ve gone that far you have to finish. By the second drinks point it was warm, very warm, and that cup of water just got poured all over my head – heaven!
There were no medals on offer, perhaps this is always the case, but, instead, was a really cool trophy! I’m lovin’ that.
Unfortunately, the on-site refreshments were not very vegan friendly, so I quickly tucked into a sarnie I had brought with me.
My aim for this run was to go under the hour. I’ll update this with the chip time when I have it, but my Garmin reckons this: 58:22, so I’m chuffed to bits with that and thinking of signing up for next year as soon as I can.
Now in its 37th year, the Boxing Day Run in Saltwood attracts over 600 mad people that think running around a three mile hilly bog is a good plan the day after Xmas. Some do it for charity, some do it for a giggle, some do it because they have a point to prove to themselves. This year, after watching this run many times, I decided to do it. On Boxing Day 2011, I stood watching the madness as usual, dreaming that I could shift enough weight to give it a go. Well, after dropping seven stone this year it was definitely worth a shot. I was accompanied on this by some friends from work…
Three weeks of heavy rain made this the wettest and muddiest year for a long time and, having never run on anything other than a treadmill or road, I had no idea what to expect. Mud. Lots of mud. Some poo. Lots of poo actually. And water. A river at one point where there used to be a path.
Despite the conditions, this was the most enjoyable run I have done. The atmosphere was great all the way around the course. The decent run-time I hoped for went right out of the window as I had no tactics whatsoever and failed to realise there would be bottlenecks at every gate and stile. Note to self: next year, go off quick and avoid the herd. However, 37:17 with about 8 minutes of stopping in a mud-bath aint too bad for my first attempt at off-road running.
That aside, this was a personal battle for me – to be able to get myself into a decent enough state to do this run and not actually feel tired at the end is very satisfying. To do this as a Vegan makes it even more pleasing. My Dad said he felt very emotional as I ran past towards the finish line, so you can’t ask for more than that… This marked the end of a great year’s transformation in both my body and soul.
Lucky No: 504
A few weeks ago, I joined a running club… This was my first opportunity to wear the Vegan Runners vest! They are Vegan and they run. Perfect.
Even dogs can’t resist watching…
Me, Stano, Sebmeister and Cat – a mixture of nervous tension and the desire to go back to bed.
And we were off…
Dad, waiting expectantly at the finish…
Far less muddy than expected, mainly due to the torrents of water that helped clean me on the way around.
Cat and Sebmeister approaching the finish, after (at least) 3 falls, a shoe-retrieval and a toilet break.
Four very proud people… and no broken legs!
Time to go shower and eat.
Ok, I may have been a bit muddier than previously mentioned.
More stuff for the running scrapbook.
Looking forward to next year already!
(Photos by my Dad, Wife and Me)
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.
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.