Tag Archives: running

Goals

Today my Act of Kindness is one for your mind. It’s giving yourself a shake, a kick up the backside or a good talking to.

It’s become obvious to me that I work best when I have a set goal.  Through the course of Love Join Me last year we had many goals: to do 60 RAK in a year, to grow my hair without a haircut for over 12 months, to run a marathon in a month to name a few.  Each of these goals was met and with it came an unexpected sense of satisfaction.
Since the project ended I’ve been a bit lax on my own personal goals. I didn’t feel the need to set any. However, in the last few months I was lacking in something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. My life was once again swallowed by work and working-mum guilt and the stresses were starting to get to me.  I’d also read about how sedentary lifestyles are the new smoking, and being sedentary is attributed to an increased risk of many diseases and a shorter life expectancy.  I am far from sedentary, but I decided I wanted to become fitter, to do something that was self-improving . I joined a bootcamp and started going back out for runs. Louise and I decided to do 10,000 steps a day throughout June for no other reason than it was a goal to set and stick to.  Given that we are both active generally, most days it wasn’t hard to stick to. However, it didn’t allow for the odd lazy day that we were used to: those Sundays when it’s raining and you try to stick a film on or do something crafty.  Despite this, I found myself motivated, easily fitting in the steps, choosing to go the long way round when the short way was quicker.

I also made the conscious decision that I would eat better, at least during the week. I have stuck to this also and feel encouraged to keep going and making myself healthier. I didn’t think that any of this was having an impact on me physically but then I ran the park run on Saturday and I found I was motivated and comfortable running.  Don’t get me wrong, it was hard and as I crossed the finish line my hands fell to my knees to prop myself up for a few seconds as the lights flickered due to the heat. But, unexpectedly I had wiped two minutes and 40 seconds from my previous fastest time. I couldn’t believe it.  It has made me realise that activity and eating right have made me do this but also that it’s mostly in the mind.  I wanted to run faster and beat my time and I did.  I really tried.

A few weeks ago, after a similar park run, I was demotivated.  I couldn’t get faster or get a better time. I found it hard and couldn’t see a time when I would be faster. I wanted to stop because I thought there was no point. Now I am spurred on by my time.  I want to get close to that again.  I can’t see me beating it for a long time but who knows?

I’m setting myself goals and I’m sticking to them. I’ve now set myself more goals: to complete a 30-day fitness challenge and to continue with running and eating better.

So, if you’re feeling in a rut for any reason, be kind to yourself and make a goal, however small. Make goals that you are motivated towards achieving and that sense of achievement is a real boost.

46 – Race for Life

A sea of pink came down the hill over the horizon. I had my whistle and my foam hand at the ready.  I was positioned well; I could hear the start so I knew it wouldn’t be long before they approached. Having run a Race for Life before I remember seeing marshals at the side of the route, cheering and clapping and showing the way.  I never really thought about who they were and why they were there until now. Here I was with my own story, my life affected and changed by the terrible disease they were running for. There were thousands of them, I’m not sure exactly how many, but what surprised me was how many different people were doing it. There were older ladies, small children, teenagers, even young babies in slings and prams. One woman had a toddler on her back and a baby on her front! Let’s not forget the dogs!

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Being near the start meant that it wasn’t long before the back markers passed and I was able to wander back to the start and finish line. I was really surprised that the front runner beat me back – now that was a fast time! I managed to watch as the second and third runners came in and was surprised by a young girl who came in the top ten. It was so inspiring.  There were people selling flowers to raise money and the radio was encouraging you to buy them to give to family and friends running the race. I bought one and waited a while until a little girl ran near me and I gave her the flower.

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I decided to wander back to the volunteering tent and on my way went via the board where people were putting their back signs – signs that showed who they were doing it for. It was moving – so many people affected by cancer, so many people whose lives have been changed because of this terrible disease. There was even someone who’d dedicated their run to Caroline Aherne, who had died aged 52 just the previous day.  Many were running simply for “a cure” and I really hope the money raised today helps find just that.

I watched and clapped as the final people crossed the line. One of the final finishers was a young boy aged 8. He is called Kasabian and has been battling cancer since the age of 2. He has just finished 5 days chemotherapy and yet got round the whole 5km course. What an inspiring young man. 

We really need to find a cure! 

My Marathon

Some Random Acts of Kindness are easy, some are scary, some are emotional and some are just plain difficult. I have to say that this has been one of the most difficult for me. It has been a physical challenge as well as a mental one at times.

I didn’t even own a pair of trainers a month ago.  But I have done it. A Marathon in the month of May. 26.2 miles in four weeks. I am sure that many people would find this a walk in the park but for someone who has not done any running since 2007 (except running after small children heading for danger!) it has been a challenge indeed!

I would love to say that I had run every one of those miles, as was my intention, but I have suffered painful ankles and, after doing ten miles in the first week alone, I had to rest my injury and did a couple of short walks the next week instead. My ankles still hurt but I’m hoping that a little bit of a rest this week will sort that out.

Throughout the four weeks I have learned several things:

  • I can run. I may not be fast but I can do it.
  • The place where I live has a lot of very steep hills.
  • I am motivated and determined when I have a set goal. Stubborn some would say! Rain and cold did not faze me.
  • I can run 5 km without stopping
  • I look young when I run!*
  • I actually enjoy it. I enjoy seeing the miles racking up!

Other things that I have noticed:

  • My resting heartrate has dropped to 56-60 bpm from the high 60s-70s a month ago
  • I can run so much more easily now than a month ago. The 5km parkrun that I did yesterday was actually comfortable! Well, except the last half kilometre – that was brutal!
  • I have lost a few pounds in weight completely unintentionally


When I run I think. I thought about mum a lot, what she would make about all this running, what her words of encouragement would be. I thought about the people who I was running for, those with heart problems and how lucky I was to be able to run at all.

I was spurred on by the general public, which surprised me. On one run when I was at my limit (or so I thought) I ran past the church in my town and a frail elderly woman was sitting on the bench outside. She had a Zimmer frame and as I ran past she said with a smile, “I wish I could still run”. How could I stop then?
Another time I ran past a grandmother with her grandson. She spoke to him and asked him to move out of the “young girl’s” way. Young girl!

Finally, at the parkrun yesterday the atmosphere was fantastic. Everyone was so friendly and encouraging, cheering me on, telling me “well done”. I’ve completed my marathon but I am very tempted to continue going to the parkrun! Who would have thought it?!

The most poignant point for me was an older man who was running much faster than me (he beat my time by a lot). I heard him say how he had lost his wife a few days earlier and there he was, running, in his 70s and faster than 30-something me. Wow!

So there you have it: RAK 38 completed and so far £78 raised for the British Heart Foundation.


Now it’s time for a little rest and some celebratory drinks with a couple of friends who were also  doing it. Oh and to cheer on LoveJoinMe2 who is completing her Marathon too!

If you think you won’t be able to run, don’t believe it. This girl can and so can you! Set yourself goals. Being stubborn helps too!

*Whilst running in the parkrun I chatted to people. A lady called Emma was running beside me and we chatted about a small boy completing the race. I commented on how my small boy would be asking for a piggy back and she told me that I didn’t look old enough to have a four year old. She said I looked 19! Ha! When I told her my actual age (let’s just say early 30s) her actual words were too explicit to write here! Running keeps you young!