Monday, 5 May 2014

My First 5K!

It took 12 weeks but I did it!

I finally finished couch to 5k! As I say above, it took 12 weeks instead of the 9 in the plan, but I got there in the end. It was a massive achievement to finally finish it and I was very proud of myself. I have to say that this plan had its frustrating moments, and if I had written it I would have added maybe 1 or 2 extra weeks to make the transition from interval to straight running smoother. Overall I found it challenging but achievable and would definitely recommend it to people who haven't ran before but would like to start. It breaks you in gently and builds your confidence so before you know it you're hitting a 20 minute run!

In the last week of the plan where you are running for 30 minutes, I was using my Noom app, which I use to track my calories, to also track the distance I was running. It turned out I that while I was now running for 30 minutes, I wasn't quite hitting the 5k mark, I was at about 4.7k including warm up walk. The couch to 5k plan only gives you timings, not distances, and I needed something a little more specific to running than Noom to help guide me to the next stage. 

I discovered the Nike Running App which will track your run, play your own music and give you updates every kilometer in your ear as to how far you have run, how long you have been running, and your average pace. I had finished the couch to 5k on the Sunday, done Zumba Monday, planned a day of rest on the Tuesday, and then my next run was the Wednesday to try out the new app.

I had no idea how I was going to do. I knew I could run for 30 minutes but at the pace I had been running, this wasn't quite 5k. I was doing the run after a day of work so I had to allow for that as well. However, I was pleasantly surprised! I managed 4.4k in 32 minutes but had an average pace of 7 minutes 30 seconds. When I set myself the challenge to run the Race for Life, I knew I could walk that in 50 minutes as that was our time the last time we did it. Therefore, I wanted to be able to run it in less that 40 minutes. According to that average pace, I was on track to do that so I was really pleased.

My regular running route has been in my local park and of a weekend I had noticed what seemed to be an organised running group, usually because I was running in the opposite direction to them! I had heard about the fun runs from various sources and thought they would be good practice for my Race for Life. I wasn't really sure I was ready but after that Wednesday run I felt more confident and decided to give it a go. I signed up using the Great Run Local website and also joined my local organizers facebook page. After I posted and people responded in a friendly way, I was all fired up and ready to go! 

I set myself the goal of running it in 35-40 minutes. Typically I couldn't set the app up right and was already off and running before it was tracking me (which is why it says 4,91k in the pic left). Once I settled into the run though I found it hard work but achievable. I tracked myself against a group just ahead of me and just focused on pacing myself. I was amazed when the app repeatedly told me my average pace was just over 6 minutes! At one point I did think I would be the last to finish as the people in front of me started to pull ahead, but a quick glance over my shoulder reassured me that whilst I was near the back, I wasn't last. 

I crossed the finish line in an official time of 33 minutes 33 seconds. I was amazed! The competitive atmosphere really made a difference to how much I pushed myself, and this was only a practice!

The Race For Life is now only 2 weeks away. My plan is to fit in at least another 2 runs this week with another fun run on Sunday, another 2 runs if possible the following week with the main event on that Sunday! My aim now is to at least maintain my time but to try and get as close to 30 minutes as I can. Wish me luck!!

If you area reading this and would like to say 'Well done!' for my achievements, I would be so grateful if you could support the cause that started the journey for me. Just a £1 donation to our Race For Life sponsorship fund would be massive 'Go On Girl!' to me and would have the added bonus of going to the very worthy cause of Cancer Research UK. You can donate securely online here or text PNKS84 £1 to 70070 from a UK mobile.

Ok, sales pitch out of the way! Other than my running, it has not been a great diet week for me. I have had a naughty eating weekend for various reasons and my running has been my only exercise this week. I haven't weighed myself yet this week but I doubt I will have lost anything. I'm staying positive though as we all have off days, I will be back on the bandwagon tomorrow and will give it another good try. I do feel those old thoughts of giving up coming back and some old habits seem to be rearing their ugly heads. It is a constant battle to keep them at bay and some weeks are easier than others. 

Recently it has been tough, ironically not helped by the fact that I am comfortable with my size at the moment. While I would like to be smaller, I'm currently the smallest I have been for many, many years and its hard to find the same drive I had at the beginning. I'm determined at the very least to not get back there so I know I won't put on all the weight again, but it is still a fight. That fat girl inside me is doing her best to take control, but right now she's not winning and hopefully she won't.