Running III – Runway Run 2018

November 3, 2018 Leave a comment

I’ve been involved with this event in previous years, as it is a charity event, raising funds not only for Crimestoppers but also Channel Islands Air Search. This year however, now being a runner, I was going to take part!

Being involved, I was lucky enough to get my T-shirt before the run – runners are not given their T-shirts until they arrive for the event, as it is a way of managing the numbers of people to ensure they are all registered to take part and allowed on the runway. Like all airports these days, Guernsey has to be very security conscious.

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Flat runner

Unfortunately, due to weather conditions, the original date in September had to be postponed, but the event went ahead on 15 October and the weather was perfect.

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It was a bit of a family affair – the photo above is my daughter (running her first 5k), my husband who works at the airport as operations supervisor, and me.  Also in the picture is Air Search Ted who is the mascot for Channel Islands Air Search. Ted has all sorts of adventures and travels – he is on Facebook and Twitter if you would like to give him a follow! [Photo above by Chris George].

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In the C I Air Search hangar before the start

Running on the airport runway is quite surreal – I have been out on the runway before in one of the airport operations vehicles, but never on foot. It’s also very quiet at that time of night (11pm) as the airport is obviously closed – just the sound of runners’ feet on the tarmac. Lauren and I ran most of the way together, and finished in a time of 35 minutes. I was pleased with this, as was Lauren given that it was her first 5k.

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[Photo by Chris George]

A great event, raising funds for two great charities. Roll on next year…and a quicker time 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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Categories: running Tags: ,

Moraira – Spain

October 7, 2018 Leave a comment
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Castillo de Moraira

We lived in Moraira for a couple of years, and loved it. We had not been back for about 6 years so decided it was time….

We spent the Friday night at Gatwick and flew out early on Saturday morning, flying through clear skies over the Pyrenees and landing at Alicante airport. Picked up the hire car (a Mercedes B Class which was unexpected) and got on the motorway for a very familiar drive of about 45 minutes.

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Villa Algesemi

As our villa wasn’t available until later in the day, we went into Moraira to get some lunch and ate at La Boheme. As I’d missed out on my Friday night pizza, guess what I had?! Not very Spanish but lovely nonetheless. Lunch was followed by the obligatory ice cream from Tutto Frutto, then we headed up the road to the Mercadona supermarket for provisions before finding our villa. We availed ourselves of the swimming pool 🙂 then fired up the barbecue for a leisurely dinner. Early night, as we’d been up since 4.30am.

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Pool view

Sunday was a lazy day. We went to another local supermarket, Pepe Le Sal, for a couple of things that we couldn’t get the day before, then went into Moraira for a stroll around. Back to the villa for a swim and relax. We went to Arenal (part of Xabia) for dinner on the beachfront, eating at Posidonia which was first class in every respect. Our best meal of the holiday.

Monday dawned very cloudy (as it was for much of the week unfortunately) so we decided to go to Ondara’s Portal de la Marina for some shopping. Another custom for us is lunch at Eddie Rockets – an American style diner. We relaxed back at the villa with a BBQ for tea.

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Xabia old town

On Tuesday we decided to be tourists for the day and go to Xabia old town – a picturesque, typically Spanish, town. Usual timetable of back to the villa, swim, then out for dinner – tonight we went into Moraira and ate at Vista Ifach, which was lovely. And when in Moraira, eat ice cream after dinner (just my motto obviously).

We had intended to go to Terra Mitica theme park close to Benidorm, but discovered that once the schools go back after the summer break, they only open at weekends 😦 We decided to go into Benidorm anyway for a change of scenery, and a bit more shopping. On the way back, Bob suggested visiting Fonts d’Algar. These are natural springs that come down from the mountains, culminating in waterfalls, and you can swim there. I was official photographer (not a huge fan of the water myself) and we spent a lovely couple of hours there. Highly recommended as something a bit different!

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Fonts d’Algar

Another leisurely evening in Moraira, where we ate at Wok Extra – we call them ‘Wok Bucket’ as it’s an all you can eat for a set price: starter, main which you choose what you want and they cook it for you, and dessert. And yes, we still went and got ice cream after that!

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Views over the Montgo from the top of Cumbre del Sol

Thursday dawned – with sun! Our best day so we didn’t do much other than sit around the pool. We drove up to Cumbre del Sol to see the fabulous views before heading back to the villa via the supermarket for lunch provisions. A leisurely afternoon followed and we drove to Xabia Port in the evening, although decided that places were a bit expensive, so went back to Arenal and ate at La Fontana – another superb meal. Followed by…..yes you guessed 🙂

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Xabia Port

Friday was our last day, and also market day in Moraira. This means one thing in particular – fresh churros! After the market we went and bought Euro Millions tickets (you never know, but sadly not this time….) and went in the OpenCor supermarket to get fresh bread for lunch. Our last swim before heading back into Moraira to meet up with a good friend Maria, and her son Robbie.  Rob, Maria’s husband, was away working unfortunately. A couple of hours chatting and catching up flew by, and when we went our separate ways, we headed for the kart track up the road as the guys wanted to do this. Final dinner at Cap d’Or in Moraira (lovely meal, shame about the miserable waitress!) which could only be following by a final ice-cream from Tutto Frutto.

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Helado de Tutto Frutto (mango is the best!)

A lovely relaxing week, despite the weather, and we will return in a couple of years, not least to catch up with our friend Rob, but because it was lovely to be somewhere so familiar.

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Belfast

August 30, 2018 Leave a comment

 

City Hall

City Hall

We made a last minute decision to go away for a few days in July, and decided  to visit this city, having never been to Northern Ireland.

We stayed in the heart of the city, at the Ten Square Hotel which was at the back of City Hall (of which more later), and we would highly recommend it – its location was perfect, our room gorgeous, and the staff and the food were first class.

We arrived early afternoon and, after checking in, went for a wander around the shops before returning to the hotel and venturing up to the top floor to the Loft Bar for a drink. Stunning views, with an outside area too, and we relaxed for an hour before heading back out to look for somewhere to eat.  After a couple of options didn’t inspire us, we returned to the hotel to eat in Jospers where the food was lovely.

The next day (after a superb breakfast buffet) we had 48 hour tickets for the open top bus tour bus, so hopped onto that and saw the majority of the route before getting off at Crumlin Road Gaol where we had pre-booked tickets for the tour. We were fascinated by the derelict building opposite, which we later discovered was the former court house which had been the subject of arson and vandalism in recent years. A great shame as it was obviously a beautiful building in its time.  The tour of the gaol was fascinating, and reminded us of Kilmainham Gaol which we had visited in Dublin a couple of years ago.

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The Big Fish

After a drink and snack in the little cafe, we got back on the tour bus and headed back into the city.  We walked down to the River Lagan – to see the Big Fish! – and then went to McHugh’s for dinner. The building was very old and the food was wonderful traditional Irish fayre. A stroll back to the hotel, and we decided we couldn’t resist a nightcap in the Loft Bar. We were familiar faces to the bar staff already, and Bob was slowly working his way through the gin menu with their recommendations!

City Hall inside

City Hall foyer

The following day started with rain, so we decided to do the free tour of City Hall, only a few minutes walk from the hotel. The inside of this building is as beautiful as the outside, and the tour was interesting, lasting about an hour. We saw a couple who were obviously just married posing for pictures at the bottom of the ornate staircase.

From there we walked to the nearby Victoria Square shopping centre, where there was a viewing platform at the top.  This was a huge glass dome, which had been closed the previous day as it was so hot! The views over the city were wonderful.  We continued to walk through the town to the bus stop for the open top bus as we wanted to see CS Lewis Square which was on the route.  Unfortunately it had started to rain but it was quite light so we had a wander around the square and looked at the wonderful statues, before getting back on the bus.

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Mr Tumnus

Once back in the city centre, we had a walk around before going to the Kitchen Bar for dinner. It was ok but no more than that, so wouldn’t recommend unless we were just unlucky. As we didn’t linger there, we decided (it would be rude not to!) to go back to the Loft Bar and sit in comfort with the wonderful views.

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View from the Loft Bar overlooking City Hall

Our last day was 12 July, which we had only discovered when we arrived was the N Irish equivalent of Liberation Day in Guernsey, with lots of marching bands. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see any of these as we had booked our Titanic tickets for this day, so we walked down across the river in time for our tour. We would definitely recommend visiting this if you have the slightest interest in the story of Titanic.  We have been to museums before, which focus on the sinking of the vessel but understandably this is all about the building of the ship and its voyage before the iceberg got in the way…. As they say in Belfast, she was alright when she left here! We had bought the White Star Premium pass which gave us the ‘Titanic Experience’ where you walk through various galleries which tell the story of the ship; the guided tour (an hour – really interesting and entertaining) around the site as a whole, both inside and outside where the ship was launched; and access to SS Nomadic – the only White Star Line ship that still exists today. We spent about five hours there before making our way back to the hotel for our taxi to the airport.

Titanic view

View over SS Nomadic to the Titanic building

We loved Belfast and its people, and would love to see more of Northern Ireland.

Link to the rest of my photos: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmnYSkYq

 

 

Categories: Around the world Tags:

Cardiff

We spent a weekend in Cardiff last month, brought about by me buying tickets to see the Stereophonics for my husband for Christmas (he’s always wanted to see them).

20180608_201407This was our first time in Cardiff. Although there are direct flights from Guernsey, the timings didn’t work for us, so we flew to Bristol on the Friday and hired a car. The route between the two cities took us past Celtic Manor Resort – and as Bob is an avid golfer, we had to stop and have a look. Beautiful hotel, and golf course, and we had a browse around the pro shop too. Back on the road, we reached our hotel and after checking in, headed back out to a nearby Ducati dealership. As you can tell, this was Bob’s day! In the evening, we walked up into Cardiff City Centre, and found a Pizza Hut for tea. It was Friday, so that means pizza!

20180609_221650Saturday was my day – shopping! I managed to do a bit of damage to the credit card before we headed back to the hotel then we walked to Cardiff City Football Stadium where the Stereophonics gig was. One of the support acts was Jake Bugg whom we like too – he was great. The band themselves did not disappoint – they did 2 1/2 hours on stage and were amazing.

The sun was shining on Sunday which was our last day, and we were tourists, starting out at Cardiff Castle which was beautiful. After that we walked through the nearby park to the river, and picked up the water taxi to take us down to ‘the Bay’. This is where the famous Millennium Centre is – the building with all the Welsh writing on it! It was a lovely area, with shops and restaurants. We walked down the headland where there was a boat show on that weekend. My only disappointment is that the Doctor Who Experience no longer exists 😦 After struggling slightly to get back into the city (the boats stop at 4.30!) we eventually walked back into the city centre for dinner – Wagamama!

 

Cardiff CastleMillennium Centre

We loved Cardiff – the city is lovely with some beautiful buildings, and the people were so nice. Would recommend a weekend there.

My photos on Flickr

Categories: Around the world Tags:

Running II – trying again

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Walk to Run group (I’m second left)

 

I started 2018 with three health-related resolutions to achieve before June :

 

  1. Stop taking sugar in my tea
  2. Lose a stone in weight
  3. Complete a 5k run

As I write this in early March, I have already achieved 1, close to reaching 2, and have just started a 12 week programme Walk to Run with Lou of New Waves so I can complete 3. My husband is on board with the food aspect of my new regime as he also wants to lose some weight. He can’t run, but is going to the gym.

Walk to Run - First Session 3 March 2018We met in Saumarez Park – 12 of us in the group (photo above, Chantal on the right is helping Lou) – and did some warm up exercises, followed by brisk walking for 30 minutes, then our stretching. The weather wasn’t great, but at least it didn’t rain!

We have two ‘homework’ runs (or brisk walks as they are initially!) each week, gradually building up to running the 5k. All our activity is recorded on Strava so Lou can see what we’re doing.

Tomorrow, I am doing a homework walk with three of the group in our lunch hour. I can already see that we will be supporting each other. I know two of my group but have already included a new friend in our lunchtime session. The accountability of our activity, and the support, is key – as I have said previously, I tried C25K on an app last summer and got disheartened as I was doing it alone.20180303_135137

I’m looking forward to wearing my Walk to Run t-shirt (right) as the weather gets warmer. I will continue to update this page with my progress, culminating in the Guernsey Parkrun on Saturday 19 May.  There’s a big circle around that date on the calendar….

UPDATE (30 March 2018)

4 weeks in to this programme and going well so far.   We have run for 2 minutes which is now easy, and just started 3 minutes (I know it doesn’t sound much but it is!) My first session of the latter was a couple of days ago, and it went ok (3 minutes run, 3 minutes walk) although I did get one rather wet foot when I ran through a puddle that was deeper than I expected! The 3 minute walks seemed quite long which I suppose is a good thing. I’ve been doing my homework runs early in the morning before work, which suits me. I tend to drive to my nearest park – which gives me views over the east coast of Guernsey like the below picture.

Running view

Tomorrow is the start of week 5, when the walking intervals get shorter…..wish me luck!

UPDATE (19 May 2018)

Today was the day – the one circled on the calendar. My first Parkrun.

Looking back, I cannot believe how far I’ve come in terms of running.  I never really thought I would be able to run any distance – not for any particular reason, although I can always use the age card 🙂

Up until Week 10, we were doing walk/run intervals to some degree.  Week 10 we were just running, with a 5 minute walk before. Week 11 we ran – and we ran 5k around the Parkrun route. I managed to run the whole way and finished in 37 minutes which I was pleased with.

Parkrun day dawned fine and bright – thank goodness! I was awake before the alarm and decided against breakfast as I’ve always run on an empty stomach (more or less) and didn’t want to jinx it! We listened carefully to our ‘new runners briefing’ and the Race Director’s information before setting off. I was really conscious of not starting too quick but actually there were so many people – and I was near the back – that I didn’t have to worry. The Guernsey Parkrun route is a double loop around the common. Some tarmac, some pathway, some grass with a couple of small inclines. I gained huge confidence from not only knowing that I’d done this the previous week, but also from the marshalls who encouraged us, and my own ‘team’ of ladies who were ‘high 5-ing’ when we passed one of the group (all in our blue T-shirts) on a loop. Both my husband and my daughter came to cheer me on and I was thrilled to complete it in 37 minutes again (according to my Strava, although my official time is 38 minutes).

Parkrun finish

Proudly showing my medal – and my Parkrun token!

I can highly recommend undertaking a walk to run programme as it gives you the support and the accountability. If you’re in Guernsey I would definitely recommend Lou at New Waves – you even get a medal! My first of may be not ‘many’ but at least ‘several’ 🙂

Parkrun medal

I have every intention of continuing to run – it’s free, all you need are decent trainers and I feel so much better for it. And I enjoy it which I never really expected to do. (and I’ve lost over a stone in weight now, so New Year resolutions done!)

#thisgirlcan

 

 

 

Categories: running, Sport Tags: , , ,

London/Algarve

December 30, 2017 Leave a comment

This holiday was in October 2017 – it’s taken me a while to write this!

Our trip started in London, with the highlight being the NFL game at Wembley on the Sunday – a first for us.

20170930_160508We first visited the V&A Museum as we had tickets to see the Pink Floyd exhibition.  This was fascinating – although too crowded despite you being given a timed ticket – and there were all sorts of memorabilia such as guitars and mock-ups of famous album covers.  The tour finished with a large room playing a Pink Floyd concert on all the walls – it was like actually being there.

From there, we headed to Regent Street where it was NFL Saturday.  We got there quite late but there was still lots to see, including games being shown on a big screen, and many photo opportunities.

NFL on Regent Street

Sunday was game day – our first visit to Wembley and our first NFL game.  My husband is a Miami Dolphins fan and they were playing the New Orleans Saints.  We arrived early to spend time in the Tailgate which is a huge car park filled with food stalls, experience stalls and a shop where you can buy pretty much any NFL merchandise.  We bought a Dolphins shirt and an event shirt (showing the team logos and the date) respectively.  Lots of photo opportunities again, including the Vince Lombardi trophy, and we got to see Osi Umenyiora and Jason Bell too!  We had a brilliant day – everyone was so friendly and you could see all the NFL team shirts being worn.  People just have a love of the game, not only supporting one team.  Sadly the Dolphins lost (0-20) so the game wasn’t great but still a fabulous day out.

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Monday morning did not go to plan.  This was 2 October and you may recall that Monarch went into receivership.  Guess who we were flying with….. We managed to re-book flights with Ryanair later that day (returning the same day as planned) but via Stansted.  We had some time to kill, so wandered down to the Thames via Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, went to the Natural History Museum to see the whale (Dippy’s replacement) then walked to the Royal Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial before going back to the hotel to pick up our bags and make our way to Stansted.  We eventually arrived at our hotel in Albufeira at 12:30am, about 8 hours later than we should have done….

Our first day in the Algarve and the sun is shining – thank goodness!  We stayed at the Vile Gale Cerro Alagoa which we would highly recommend.  The breakfast buffet was amazing, with just about anything you would want to eat at that time of the day.  We sat outside every day which was lovely.

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Albufeira

After breakfast, we walked down into Albufeira town, which took us about 10 minutes.  After admiring the view from the top, we took the escalator down to the beach – yes, an outdoor escalator!

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Outdoor escalator!

We wandered around the town for an hour or so, then walked back to the hotel to get the car.  We decided to drive to nearby Portimao and visit the shopping centre there.  After a pleasant couple of hours, we drove back to the hotel and walked up the road to Pizza Hut – well, these things have to be done when you’re on holiday!

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Beautiful – if derelict – buildings in Loulé

The following day we decided to explore a bit further afield.  We headed east to Vilamoura where we knew there was a mini golf course – one of our favourite holiday pastimes!  After a leisurely 18 holes, we drove down to Vilamoura itself and walked around the stunning marina.  After the obligatory ice cream, we headed inland to Loulé which was a lovely old town with beautiful old buildings, many of which were derelict sadly.  By the end of the day we were ready for a swim at the hotel, and then walked down to Albufeira for dinner.  We then discovered that parts of the town are unfortunately over-run with loud karaoke and sports bars, mostly full of British people.  We found a nice Portuguese restaurant in the quiet part of town…..

Continuing our explorations the next day, we drove to the village of Estoi, inland from Faro.  Firstly, there were the Milreu ruins which were fascinating, although not a huge site, and a small museum. We then drove into the village itself – there was a palace which I’d discovered in my pre-holiday research that looked stunning and I was keen to see it.

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Palacio de Estoi

We found somewhere to park, having passed gates to the palace on the way.  We walked around the village – and I mean we did a complete circuit of the village! – returning to where we parked the car.

We then realised that the Palacio de Estoi is now a Pousada – i.e. a top class hotel – so it wasn’t possible to see any more of the palace than we had seen as we walked.  Note to self – do more research before holidays….

We weren’t far from Faro so decided to drive down to the coast to see the main town.  We discovered that it was a bank holiday which unfortunately meant that a lot of the shops and tourist attractions were closed.  On the positive side, the parking was free!  Faro has a small marina and the typical tiled streets with the canopies creating shade.

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The view from O Cabaz de Praia

 

Back to Albufeira and the usual walk into the town from the hotel, and we found the best restaurant with stunning views over the beach.  The Beach Basket or O Cabaz de Praia was first class – excellent service, delicious food and the wonderful view.  It was so good, we booked a window table for the following evening.

Friday already – and Bob’s birthday.  We went for our second game of mini golf, then went to Algarve Shopping centre (where there was also a Nike Factory store – our favourite!) We got back to the hotel, laden with our bags, to find a bottle of sparkling wine in our room, as well as chocolate covered strawberries and hotel robes and slippers to use!  A nice touch, and very much appreciated.  After a leisurely hour sitting on our balcony drinking and eating, we walked down to the pool in our robes for a swim.  Another pleasant evening spent in Albufeira with another first class meal at the Beach Basket.

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The next day was Saturday, and we drove west to Lagos, where there was a market taking place that morning.  After wandering round – and finding churros which I was thrilled about! – we drove into the town, which has a lovely marina and harbour area.  We found an indoor fruit and veg market, then a fresh meat/fish market in a lovely old building overlooking the water.  Then we walked through the old town and back along the waterfront to see the castle and the maritime fort which we went into.  The views were beautiful.  After a lovely day, we decided to walk the few yards from the hotel and go to Pizza Hut again for our tea.  Sometimes it just has to be done…..

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Lagos

Our last day dawned and we were headed inland to Silves. Another picturesque village, overlooked by a stunning castle.  The castle covered a huge area and we spent a good couple of hours walking around it.  We had a drink in the outside café, and watching the birds of prey display which was fascinating, before strolling down into the village.

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Silves Castle

Heading back to Albufeira, we stopped off at Sand City – a huge display of large sand sculptures.  It was a bit expensive to get in, but worth it as we were there for more than an hour, walking around looking at all the different sculptures.

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Olaf and Sven – made of sand

A final swim then a stroll down into the town and our last fabulous meal at the Beach Basket.  We thoroughly enjoyed our week in the Algarve (despite ‘Brits-ville’ in Albufeira at night!) and would recommend it if you want a relaxing week in the sun.

We’re just not people who sit on the beach for days on end, as we like to see as much as possible of where we are – and we get bored easily!

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Around the world, Sport

Running I

Cambridge Park 2

Cambridge Park

Never did I think I would write a blog about running.  Not least because it was something I’d never even considered doing.  Running was something that other people did – usually younger fitter people.

I actually started thinking about it as one of my New Year’s resolutions.  Yes, it took me four months of thinking before actually running! I wanted to do something to increase my fitness levels and lose a bit of weight.  I have developed a habit of putting any aches, pains, tiredness, etc etc down to my age.  Two recent television programmes made me really think about this.

Firstly I watched the BBC programme Mind over Marathon (watch here, if it’s still available on iPlayer when you read this).  It’s about ten people, of varying ages and backgrounds, all with mental health issues, who took on the challenge of running the 2017 London Marathon.  It was two one-hour programmes, shown on consecutive weeks before and after the Marathon itself. It was the most inspiring programme I’ve ever seen, showing how running helped people and gave them the strength, both mental and physical, to push on and achieve their goal.  I cried with every one of them when they crossed the finish line and were presented with their medal.

Secondly, I watched some of the London Marathon coverage, as I do every year.  One lady in particular stood out for me when she was interviewed on the course.  An attractive lady who, I was stunned to learn, was 70 years old. What was even more astounding to me was that this was her third marathon. She did the first one aged 60, and the second one aged 65!  That was my light bulb moment – if she can do it, why am I saying ‘I can’t because I’m too old’.

Running bookSo, I bought a book. I figured that if I was going to do this properly – and succeed – then I needed information. Let me say at this point that I have no intention of running a marathon! As I said earlier, I simply want to increase my level of fitness, and lose a few pounds.

The final push was talking to someone at work, who showed me the app she had for 10k running. It has a weekly programme with running and walking intervals,  gradually increasing.

So when I got home that night, I found a 5k running app and downloaded it. It was all in place now – I just had to start.

My first run was on a Sunday evening around a local park (pictured top) and, dare I say it, it was easier than I expected.  The app shows blocks of colour for running and walking which gradually count down.  I looked at it, and was trying to swipe it across to see how much more I had to do, then realised I was done!  I got up early for my second run and went to the same park.  I felt really motivated for the rest of day, and as it gets warmer (hopefully!) I will probably do the majority of my sessions early, not least because it’s often my only free time in the day.  For my third session at the end of the first week, I got up early on Saturday morning and went to a different park.  By the time I got back to the car, I felt I was part of a running community – so many people were running, or walking their dog, and almost everyone said good morning. I laughed to myself as I ran past Lee Merrien, Guernsey’s Olympic runner – needless to say he was stationary, talking to his running group 🙂

Screenshot_20170526-064012So far so good, and I intend to continue.  Our local Race for Life took place today, which I had decided was a bit too early for me.  I know I could have walked it, but that’s not much of a challenge!  We have a Guernsey parkrun so I want to aim for that when I’ve completed the eight weeks on my app.

I post my progress on Instagram – amongst my usual posts – more for accountability than anything else!

Categories: running, Sport Tags: , , ,