Today would be running streak day 372 of running at least a mile every day, but I’ve decided to stop!! Purely because my husband is leaving the country for a month and I can’t drag my girlies out at 6pm at night, just so “Mummy” can go for a run.
The reason I started running everyday was because I read a blog about a lady who had completed a year of running everyday, so I am sharing my experiences with you, incase you feel the urge.
I have absolutely no regrets about running everyday for a year and although I can’t say I wanted to step out of the door for every single run. I have learned a lot from it.
There is always a reason to not go out for a run. It’s too cold, it’s too hot, it’s raining, it’s dark, I’m too tired, I haven’t got enough time, Well that’s a load of rubbish!! I have ran every single mile outside, I have ran in minus degrees, I have ran in nearly 30 degrees, I have ran in a dark village with a head torch on, I have run after 12 hour shifts, most of them being night shifts and time……….. there is always time, you just have to make it.
I would have never chose to run after a night shift. Those of you who have ever worked them, will understand why. You feel hungover, without the perk of the good night out. So when I braved my first post night shift run, I really wasn’t feeling it, but I loved it. Sometimes after a night shift I would run my best runs and feel so much better when I got home.
My ideal temperature is about 10 degrees, I’m ok in the cold, and terrible in the heat. I love running in the rain, getting completely soaked and grinning inanely when cars drive passed and soak me even more.
Time was going to be my biggest hurdle though and I remember grumping at my husband in the first 2 weeks. I work shifts, my husband works shifts and also disappears out of the country for weeks/months at time. The early days were hard to fit those 10 minutes into my day, the longest part would be putting my running kit on. Some runs I would have to get up silly early or go stupid late. Soon I found I could squeeze a mile into my day though. I realised I would just go a bit slower if I had a tummy full of Roast dinner. Wine made me go faster, but would sober me up.
When I walked in from work my husband would be cooking tea and smile at me “you’ve got 15 minutes” I must have driven him mad, going for a run everyday, but he never moaned about it, it just became part of our day. My 2 daughters got used to it to, and would often ask if they could come with me. My 8 year old is fab at running, but gets bored and grumpy after 2k. My 4 year old loves it, but can’t run very far at the moment. They love putting their running leggings on.
Aches, Pains and Ailments
So some of you might want to skip this part because I am going to be very honest!!!
Poo – Oh my word, there is a thing called Runners Trots. So I suffer a little with constipation (I did warn you) but as soon as I’d start running I would need to go. An amazing cure!! I would often plan routes so I could pop back home and carry on. I haven’t found the cure and it is the only thing that I worry about on any race day!!
Chaffage – I have boobs and when they get hot and sweaty I get a rash between them. Again I don’t have a cure.
Anxiety – I don’t like sick!! Before some races I would be absolutely terrified of being sick and even ended up wretching against a tree on my first park run. No cure, apart from my trusty polos in my pocket.
Weight – I’m a skinny minnie anyway, but I lost half a stone last year, because unlike many runners I struggle with appetite when I run long distances. After I ran a half marathon, I couldn’t eat for hours.
My hip – I was born with congenital hip dysplasia. Basically that means I have a clicky hip that doesn’t sit in the joint quite right. When I was doing my longer runs, this gave me a lot of grief. Some runs I would have shooting pains of sciatica going all the way down to my foot. Stretching massively improved this, also running less miles did too.
My knee – after running my first and only half marathon, I was elated, but I also thought, excuse the language “I am never doing a marathon, my knees are f*cked) That half marathon was in September and although I recovered ok, I had a niggle in my left knee after, when I go up the stairs, it makes a strange creaking noise. I couldn’t kneel for particularly long. Then in the middle of October I looked down to find a big old lump.
Initially I self diagnosed runners knee, then my team leader at work suggested bursitis. I ignored it and carried on running anyway. I gave in and saw an osteopath who suggested it may be a cyst or ganglion. Gross, whatever it is. They’re still not sure, and currently waiting results of an MRI. Sadly, I had to significantly drop my mileage down as anything over a couple of miles would really cause me bother. The osteopath did however tell me, he didn’t think it was related to running and told me to carry on.
Runny noses, headaches etc – At the beginning of the year, I had some stinking colds where my nose would be pouring. I still went for a run though and I found it actually helped a huge amount of everyday ailments.
Mental health – I think running massively helps anybody suffering from low mood. When my Mum was taken poorly in Norway and I had to jump on several planes to get to her. The first thing I packed was my trainers. Those days in Norway were particularly challenging, but those minutes of the days when I went out and ran, grounded me!!
Races, Distances and Times
I completed my first sub 30 min 5k, best 5k – 27 mins and 39 seconds
I completed my first sub 60 min 10k, best 10k – 58 mins and 21 seconds
I completed my first half marathon, 2 hours and 24 minutes.
Best mile – 8 mins and 7 seconds
I won’t tell you about every race, but my favourite one was when I randomly signed up for the Great North Run in Newcastle. The atmosphere was incredible and what a first half marathon to pick, don’t think I’ll be able to top it. There was a chap running a similar pace who kept shouting “Oggy, oggy, oggy” to which we’d all reply “Ai, ai, ai” The crowds were huge and so supportive. I lost count of how many cheered me on by shouting “Come on Jemma” makes me feel teary just writing it. So many people were offering sweets and on mile 12 there was a local ale stand handing out free alcohol!! Just under 50,000 people run it. Wow!!
My second favourite was a local race, the Worstead 5 mile which starts the Worstead Festival off. It was a small run, I felt sick to begin with and got a headache halfway round, but still I really enjoyed it. I think it was because it was an evening race and it was all windy country lanes. The local villagers were standing outside their houses cheering us on. I managed a good time too.
Friends and Family
Most peoples reactions to me running everyday is a look of astonishment, some people have thought I’m completely bonkers, others have told me they have found me inspirational. At the end of the year I was all set for stopping on day 366, but my neighbour told me we were going for a run, and my current feed on strava is full of my friends setting themselves the challenge of running every day in January.
I can’t thank my little family enough for supporting me. They had a particularly long day when I did the Great North Run, but look back with fond memories of it. They have ran with me and generally been amazing.
I have also ran with lots of my friends – thank you Hayley, Gemma, Peter, Chrissie, Jenny, Jess T, Jess W, Smith, Lori. Sometimes you guys really helped me get out there. P.s, sorry if I forget any of you.
What have I learned. Running is awesome. It doesn’t suit everybody, but it suits me. I love challenging myself to go faster or longer. Equally I love going out and just plodding, taking my surroundings and just loving life, sounds corny I know, but I have seen some beautiful sights from running last year. Huge moons, beautiful sunsets, hot air balloons landing, plenty of countryside views and running in Norway! Barefoot beach running is just the most amazing feeling too. It makes your calfs ache, but so worth it.
So…….. I’m done. But I’m not really. I’ve got a 10k in February with a load of midwives and the London Landmarks Half Marathon in March to tackle. Hope I’ve given some of you the inspiration to get out there, I hear the couch to 5k app is amazing!!