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Running

Cold Weather Running

It is seemingly a contradiction, since most runners seem to dread the approach of winter, but I seem to find a strange pleasure in it. I am now in my second season of winter running and I take much more pleasure in it than at any other time of the year. If you are a runner, do you feel the same?

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One Year On : Blog

Running is a sport for the loner. Getting out there all on your own can be cathartic, but for some it is hard to understand. To me it is normally a chance for meditation and solitude, exercise for the mind as well as the body.

Continue reading “One Year On : Blog”

Running 10k – How I Feel

Kilometre Number 1

Starting out with some optimism, but a fair share of trepidation, I take it easy. I need to conserve my energy, I don’t normally run this far. I know I can do it but it is a once a month affair and it takes me a long, long time.

Number 2

My legs are starting to move now, I am getting into my stride. The mental game is the one to avoid, questions arise regarding my sanity. It is too early for that nonsense now I tell myself.

Number 3

It is important to have some distraction, I cannot allow my thoughts to overtake me. A good podcast or audiobook, something inspirational. I need to just keep moving, one foot in front of the other.

Number 4

Now things are starting to get serious, between 5 & 6 kilometres is my usual distance. My mind begins to ask me, “Do you really want to do this? Wouldn’t 5k be enough?”

Number 5

This is it, quite often the end of my run would be approaching but today it will be the halfway mark. I try to tell myself that it is all downhill from here.

Number 6

Things are starting to hurt now, especially on a hot day. Keep checking that watch or I could be running backwards before I know it. It’s too easy to step off the gas and take it too easy.

Number 7

Do people really do this for fun? I need to keep reminding myself that yes they do and I am one of them. I’m in the forest, almost alone, stretching my legs and my lungs. Now I am pushing myself beyond what is my comfort zone.

Number 8

OK, just keep going, you can do it. You’ve come so far, if you stop running now you will still have to walk the rest of the way home anyway. All these things keep going through my mind, podcasts can only be so interesting after all.

Number 9

I am going to do it, there is no doubt now, but my legs are feeling heavy and these knees are feeling like they have another 20 years on them all of a sudden. What do I look like to others? Who cares? I’m doing this not them.

Number 10

Oh, thank god, I’m almost there. I keep imagining how good it will feel to stop in the shade, get my breath back and have a good stretch. Also how the glow of satisfaction will spread throughout my body, even if the grimace will take a while to leave my face.

I did it! The end. When can I go again?

.

.

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

First 5K Run, Against Cancer

I still can’t believe I did it. I really have to cast my mind back to this time last year, and get inside my head back then. The sheer idea of me running in an organised 5K run would have filled me with, I don’t know. Disbelief, laughter, incredulity, bemusement. Take your pick, it would not have seemed to be remotely on my horizon.

But now I have done it and, actually, that first sentence was a lie. Because I can believe I did it, now. But that is because I am a different person now. Now, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched for my next run to be 10K. Well, maybe next year anyway. Because one thing I have learnt from my running experience is that small steps are the way to go. Small steps building slowly to more. If you go from not running at all, to trying to run a 5K, you will probably fail. Similarly with the next step up, don’t try for giant leaps.

As for the run itself, it was a great day. Running for a cause, against cancer, and being part of a large organised event for the first time. Running with my lovely wife, who has been very supportive throughout. But I have to admit to suffering with a bit of a nervous belly in the morning, but once I was in the starting area I was fine. It was a different feeling, running with a large group. People of all different fitness levels were present, but my race was a fun run so there wasn’t too much pressure there.

I was familiar with where we were running but, as I said, running in a pack was different. Before the race, a wise man told me, ‘Don’t run too fast in the first kilometre, everyone does!’ And what did I do? What everyone does, of course. Then I settled into my own pace and started to feel a bit more in control. Slow and steady wins the day, well I won my own race anyway. My own personal race, which is, of course, the most important.

What a great feeling it was to cross that line, get my bottle of water and have ran my personal best 5K. And then to take off the sweatiest headband I have ever seen!

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

5k, I made it!

After finishing the 9-week Couch to 5k program, and being able to run for 30 minutes, I have been continuing to run and slowly built to running 4k. And believe me I was more than happy with that. But 5 kilometres still seemed like a long way away.

Then one day I thought, why not just keep going? Just a little bit further, just another 250 metres, easy. Well it wasn’t so easy but I did it. Now I had run more than 4k for the first time, and my comment on my running app was ‘5k here I come’. Little did I think that it would come with my next run.

When I went for that next run I felt good and thought, why not go for it? So I ran for 2.5k, turned around and started running back. Now, in the back of my mind, I was always thinking that if I didn’t make it there would be no shame. But as I started to visualise the feeling of achievement if I made it, I just knew I had to go for it. And I did it.

Now, there wasn’t an immediate sense of elation, I was too tired for that. But, as I recovered and my legs stopped wobbling, it soon began to dawn on me. I just ran 5 kilometres, me. 47 years old, still overweight, never been running in my life before this spring. And I ran 5 kilometres. Was it really me? I still can’t quite believe it.

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

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