During the last week of May 2020, RSE held it’s first ever Physical and Mental Well-being Week. This aim of this week was not to damage ourselves chasing the miles but to enjoy our running and improve both our physical & mental wellbeing. We hoped that during the week we would all be able to learn something from or about each other that we could take forward into our future running and relationships.
We had over 50 members who took part, split into 5 manageable teams and each co-ordinated by one of our coaching team.
The first task was for each participant to set themselves a challenging but manageable mileage pledge for the week. So that we could make this as inclusive as possible we were happy to accept miles completed in any format be that running, cycling or walking. Once all the pledges were in we were then able to inform the teams of their target mileage for the week…
To give the week some structure Nadine produced a calendar of tasks based on the PERMA Model of Well-being which then gave us our ‘Focus for the day’.
Each morning one of the coaching team gave their thoughts for the day, based on the structure above, which acted as the conversation starter.
Below is a round up of the weeks activity day by day…
Positive emotions are an essential part of our Well-being. Happy people look back on the past with gladness, look into the future with hope and they enjoy & cherish the present.
Today Elaine Appleby shares her thoughts on positive emotions and lockdown moments (Grab a cuppa, in true Elaine style she’s a lot to say!)
Time in lockdown can be a rollercoaster. I’ve had good days and bad days, sometimes it can really get to me. But it is really important to find ways to be positive, think about the good things and more importantly focus on what you can control.
For example, we are all missing loved ones, but while we are not seeing them, we are keeping them safe.
Some of us might not be working, but it could be the opportunity to learn something new. Those of us who are working are lucky that we have our jobs.
I am grateful for many things in lockdown, for the opportunity to have all our meals as a family, for the fact the boys have got the fittest they have ever been, and I am also running more than I ever have. These things wouldn’t have happened if we had not been in lockdown.
One of the first things I’ll do when things start returning to normality will be to see my mum, who i am missing like mad. I look forward to having a chat with her over a glass of fizz (and annoying Ben).
Finally my boys keep me smiling every day, whether it be listening to them having one of their chats, or when I see them working on their school work and realise what they can achieve, or just listening to some of Matthew’s crazy antics. If we focus on the good things, things might not seem so bad.
And here are just a few of the positive comments shared by our members…
My highlight of lockdown has been my first attempt at growing veg! Ate the first radishes yesterday.
I have 3 grown up sons that all live at home, usually all of our lives are lived at a 100 miles an hour with everyone going in different directions at different times. I am thankful for lockdown because I have spent quality time with my boys, we’ve had curry nights, quiz nights, movie nights, played games, chatted, baked (albeit hit and miss sometimes ), 2 of them have had birthdays too so also a couple of drunken nights! and of course lots of laughs!
So today’s challenge to share with my team is that I don’t cook, never cooked – let alone baked. Lived the single life for 15 years eating pot noodles. Got married and turned into my dad with the wife cooking. I now bake 3x a week. I put it down to enforced lockdown changing habits we’ve become conditioned to – no long commutes; no long hours at work. I now speak to my friends weekly; my parents daily; my kids are at home with me 24/7… I’m taking the positives and shutting out the negatives.
Set the alarm for 6am. Out for 6.30. Early sun burning off the morning mist . My fabulous Spotify running playlist my grandson set up. Different tracks inspire my pace or moves me to tears. Faith Hill ‘There you’ll be’… Gets me every time. Saw one of my fab running girls in the woods. Won’t say who but we laughed and then dissolved into tears. So needed to hug but that will come. As will hugging my adult children and my precious grandchildren, oh how I ache to hold them. 13.1 miles achieved today – no great pace but a glorious feeling that can still get those trainers on and experience my own runners high.
Highlight during lockdown, getting my garden sorted and appreciating it.
Looking forward to seeing my nieces and nephews in the flesh.
What has made me smile? The bees in my garden already taking to the plants I’ve put in there yesterday!
It’s the simple things !!
What I’ve been grateful for in lockdown:
Discovering lots of new running routes and amazing views! My housemate and her amazing company. Growing sunflowers, lettuce, herbs and anything else that will grow!
What I’m looking forward to after lockdown:
Having some fun with family, friends and people from club!
What has made me smile:
Someone’s windows display for Hope and peace…
Positive things from lockdown. 3 rooms decorated, I can change a wheel on a 7.5 tonne truck (I hadn’t even changed one on a car before this), I have learnt that I can play YouTube on my TV (never knew I could do this) so Joe Wicks is now on a big screen, I can now do mountain climbers (I used to find them impossible), also I can do a plank for longer than 15 seconds! I now know strength and core is not a waste of time and I have my very own PT.
I am looking forward to being annoyed at being forced to watching “Junk yard rescue” my great niece loves watching it when she comes. Also a little man (her brother) asking for more pasta more pasta (he loves Kevs homemade pasta sauce). Not having to plan runs around Social Distancing.
What’s made me smile today? I went for a walk with my mum, we saw 2 of her friends and had a long chat so that made her happy which in turn makes me happy.
The best things in life are free.
My positive thoughts 1) we’ve enjoyed our time together as a family 2) my work remains, albeit with a small paycut 3) not travelling with work is fabulous. I’ve gone from 3-5 hours per day to nil.
My positive thoughts for today:
1) The highlight of lockdown for me has been being able to spend quality time with my husband and little dog Tish. My husband is a Head Chef and I work 9-5 so we spend most our lives as ships who pass in the night. I will always be grateful for this time and the memories we have made throughout lockdown.
2) I’m most looking forward to hugging my family and friends again. Meeting people socially distant, although I am extremely grateful for this, is not the same.
3) What has made me smile the most today is seeing the joy and sheer happiness in two little girls faces who were playing in the river. My little Westie decides she is going to join them and runs out and shakes. These girls then shouted “again, again” and demonstrated their own “dog shake”.
I’ve always believed and been taught that the best things in life are free and I think lockdown has made everyone start to realise this. People (relationships in many forms) and Nature are what matters. Nature is magnificent, it costs nothing and provides hours and hours of joy and entertainment and us as runners know this all too well. I love the way the leaves change on the trees between seasons and the different sounds the ground makes underfoot. Sometimes it’s nice to just kill the pace, stop and look (or if you are me, take a quick photo) at the scenery in front of you. It’s nice to see more people appreciating the little things in life, because really, these are the big things and are what matters most.
I’m not running today as my legs are still tired after yesterdays run. Instead I’ve spent the day (and much of lockdown) revisiting my love for painting – thankfully Dave let me turn one of our spare rooms into an art studio! After putting lots of pressure on myself to run, which resulted in a knee injury for most of my marathon training, lockdown has been a good opportunity to relax and actually enjoy my runs.
What have been my highlights of lockdown? Well on a personal note I’ve certainly ran alot more but I’ve also ate alot more. I’ve got loads of jobs done around the house that would have taken me all year – now I have nothing do around the house which is great.
Also I’ve felt a togetherness in this lockdown not just from our running club but the whole country conning together at a difficult time.
What am I looking forward to after lockdown? Well hoping that I can fulfil my dream I set out when I was just 13 years old I said I wanted do 2 things in life a black belt in a martial art and run the London marathon I’ve done the first (twice kickboxing and judo).
What’s made me smile today? Well I saw Sue and her husband so that was nice but what really made me smile more was the amount of runners out there on my 6.2 mile route today – over 40 runners hitting the streets, brilliant!
My positive thoughts for today: 1) no one big highlight from lockdown for me but throughout the last couple of months I’ve just been feeling really thankful that I live Cirencester and have access to all the amazing countryside to run (Bathurst Estate especially) and cycle in. I haven’t really felt a huge urge to want to go anywhere else. 2) like most people I’m really looking forward to seeing family and friends. (I’m also looking forward to the pubs reopening…). 3) had a great bike ride with my 6 yr old on quiet country lanes round the waterpark this morning. Lovely to take in all the different vibrant colours of the trees, verges, lakes and sky.
My positive thoughts for today are that I feel lucky to have outside space to spend time in and great weather as a massive bonus. Like most I am very much looking forward to seeing family and friends in more normal circumstances whatever that looks like! And especially missing seeing my sons but grateful we have the IT available to keep in touch and that my skills have improved in using it!
When we focus on doing the things we truly enjoy and care about we can begin to engage completely with the present moment and enter a state known as ‘Flow’
Thank you to Gareth Roberts for today’s words…
Tuesdays theme is engagement, we are happiest when we do activities that require skill and concentration. running is an inherently enjoyable activity when done for its own sake and one of the oldest that humans enjoy. Running flow is complete absorption in the experience of running, often when time seems to stand still.
We all experience flow in different ways, I have come to recognise it as a slight light headiness, a tingling sensation and a state of inner calm. For me it is when I am running at a pace that my body is really comfortable with that allows my mind to wonder. I don’t get it every time I run in fact it is rare, but I do look out for it.
These are things you can try to elicit the flow experience, really focus on something while you run, it could be your footfall, your breath, the sounds of the wildlife around you, or simply the feeling of the air on your hands as you swing your arms. Another great one for me is to simply smile, the action of smiling releases endorphins, boosts positivity, relaxes the body and, in turn, makes you more self-aware.
Our challenge today is to try and engage with your surroundings and with that thought in mind maybe share a picture your favourite route and / or view that you’ve discovered during lock-down. Just to remind you how blessed we are to be running in such a beautiful part of the country here is one of my favourite photos.
With this in mind many members sent us images of their favourite ‘Routes with a view’
Everyone needs someone. We enhance our wellbeing and share it with others by building strong relationships with the people around us – family, friends, colleagues and neighbours.
Laughter is also hugely important as it builds rapport and actually boosts the immune system…
Thank you Paul Coates for your lovely words today on the importance of relationships…
Relationships everyone needs someone.
The current situation has challenged many of our existing relationships with family, friends and work colleagues.
For me it has been specially challenging as a Grandad and have been missing giving my grandaughter Florence a cuddle and being able to see one to one her transition from baby to walking toddler. However, my son and daughter in law have kept in touch via whats app video. Every moment of video and shared photo’s makes me smile. Thoughtful connections day to day count and bridge the gap of distance.
So use today to connect to someone in the club.
Let them know you are thinking of them via whatsapp, Strava, FB, text. Share a thoughful message, maybe a joke or a lovely picture.
The thought of sending someone a message was felt so strongly within one team they all clubbed together to send a message to all of the other teams.
Nadine and Kevin also decided to send their own message of thanks to the coaching team, not only for their efforts this week but all their hard work since the lockdown began.
We are at our best when we dedicate time to something greater than ourselves. This might be religious faith, community work, family, politics, a charity, a profession or a creative goal.
Thursdays wonderful message from Carol Sworn …..
Today’s theme is ‘meaning.’ ‘We are at our best when we dedicate time to something greater than ourselves’
As I am not currently working, I am using my free time to give life more meaning by volunteering within the community. In particular I am currently working with a local charity, The Churn Project. They are a small charity based in Cirencester offering ‘belonging, purpose and hope to all that come through the door’. My role with the charity has changed in recent weeks to helping elderly and vulnerable people with the simple task of shopping, a simple task for me to do but obviously very difficult for them in the current times. For some it’s not just about bringing the groceries to their door but I am often the only person they actually see face-to-face from one week to the next so a few minutes to chat about anything from politics to how the garden is looking is hugely important. Finding time to help others it is so rewarding and often something that may only take a few minutes for you to do can make such a difference to someone’s life.
Do something meaningful for you, someone you really care about or one for your community. Share ideas with your team.
On the theme of giving Kevin decided it was time to work on the Physical Well-being by ‘giving’ members his ‘Top five core stability moves’…
Everyone needs to win sometimes. To achieve happiness and wellbeing, we must be able to look back on our lives with a sense of accomplishment ‘I did it, and I did well
Here are Dave Witnall’s thoughts…
When thinking about this I could have gone for the easy option and just said Paris marathon 2019, because I ran my best race and for a Personal best time.
But, one race sticks in my mind that started the PB journey to Paris ‘19 and it happened in very early January. It was the Gloucestershire cross country race at Rendcomb school. A very cold day, bitter wind and ice on the ground and the prospect of over 6 miles of hills, woods, mud and the matter of 6 river crossings! To add on top the fact it was also the County Championships!
I was very anxious by the thought of running. I was just coming back from a long term injury, not knowing what to expect. Would I get round without aggravating the injury, would I get lapped by the super fast elite club runners and would I fall in the river?! I didn’t want to let men’s team down as we had a full complement of runners.
Well, to cut the long story short! None of those things happened and I actually loved every second of it. Yes it was hard, it was out of my comfort zone but that is why we race, isn’t it? I didn’t need a medal around my neck to show I had completed it. I had the inner satisfaction that I did my best, in challenging conditions and I could share it with both the men’s and ladies teams at the end who had gone through the same experiences on the day. The photo’s below may not show it but i did have fun!
Today we want you to share your favourite race ‘win’. “What did you enjoy about it, why did it go so well, what did you learn from it?
This of course sparked a deluge of stories from members about their own ‘Race Win’. Here’s just a selection…
Manchester Marathon 2019 was without a doubt my favourite race of all time. I can honestly say I loved every single second of this race, the atmosphere was incredible, I felt on top form and the support was just amazing. Although not my fastest marathon time (I went on to beat this in York 2019, but hated every second of it!) it was by far my most enjoyable race. So those doing Manchester- I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Favourite race? One of these (1) Marlborough Downs – first time in 2013. Fit but staggeringly unprepared. Did ok (2) SDW100 – first time (2014). Hadn’t run over 42 miles before but paced by Nick Duncan and crewed by my mate, Mike Ward, I got home in just under 23 1/2 hours (3) Western States in 2015. You have to see it to believe it. My running career is about going back there. Just got to run qualifiers and hope luck shines on me in the lottery
My best win has to be Hope24, running 87 miles in 24 hours was enough of an achievement, I didn’t even find out I had come second till I was in the car on the way home. What I really learnt from that race was the importance of having a plan and pacing. One more thing is having a great running club to back you up.
This was the Seven Bridge half. My favourite win because of how good it made me feel. I loved the route but most of all this was the day I properly started talking to Martin.
I haven’t done many races. My first ever was the great West run in Exeter which I did about 15 years ago! I was at uni there and each year wish I’d done it so finally I got a last minute charity place but no time to train. I had no idea how far 20 km was, or whether I could manage. But it was great fun!
I plucked up courage to join RSE nearly two years ago now, I’m not really into races and times as I can’t stand the pressure, but every run I do now feels like a win, as I wasn’t going out at all before!
Sorry, this is a bit of a novel…
Choosing my favourite race took me a while, as there have been many races that have been favourites for me. For example, the first cross country race that I did when I arrived with two minutes to spare (ran to the start line and basically just kept running ). Or maybe London Marathon 2017 – my first (and so far only) marathon, where I actually enjoyed the solo training, paced it perfectly on race day and snuck under my personal target of four hours by just four minutes. It could’ve been the first Cotswold Way Relay, that took me on gorgeous routes I’d never have known about otherwise, and have since walked some of with my mum.
However the one that has been my stand out race has to be the inaugural Hope 24 Trail Relay in 2014.
Elaine really wanted to do it but I almost didn’t sign up at all, as I thought “I’ve never run 20 miles in a day – I’ll never get round!”, but she convinced me – each lap was “only” 5 miles and there’s around 5 hours break between each lap. “Oh go on then”, I said.
When we arrived, late at night with two small boys in tow and rushed to put our 4 man tent up (it was dark and we were all tired), I hadn’t really had a chance to take it all in. Once the tent was done and we were “in”, I realised the atmosphere was so relaxed. There was music, drinks were flowing, and so much laughter. The whole site was like one big family – everyone was there for the same reason.
Still, I was very nervous on race day (as I always am actually – and *how* many races have I done!?). I started my first lap, and almost immediately the biggest hill ever appeared. “What have I done!?” I thought. But as soon as I got to the top I looked round at the most amazing view of the Devon countryside. A huge grin appeared on my face – at that moment I fell in love with trail running. As I finished my lap, still beaming, I couldn’t wait for the next 5 mile stint in a few hours.
On completing the 24 hour event I was just so, so pleased; I’d loved the route, loved the friendliness of all the other runners and marshals en-route – I just felt fantastic! I really enjoyed being with our RSE family, and I was proud of myself that I had done what I had previously thought impossible.
For me, that is what running is all about.
Sep 2017 I came off my bike and did some damage to my knee. While sat in a hospital cubicle in Jan 2018 being told that my knee is ok I asked the doc when can I go back to running he paused and said “slowly and short runs”. I told him I had Swindon half marathon in Sep “I’d be ok for that wouldn’t I ?” He then sucked in his breath like when a plumber when you ask is the job going to take long he said “doubtful”.
I proved him wrong.
My Berlin Marathon (29/9/19) was and probably always will be the race of my life, but my most inspiring and meaningful run ever was actually on 26/9/19. It was a 4-mile prep run ahead of Berlin, with my running coach (aka my son Christian). He lead the way and kept me between 2 paces all the way to keep me at my optimum condition for Berlin. This run and the conversations we had during stayed with me throughout my entire marathon, kept me strong and inspired me during every single mile. He doesn’t just inspire me with my running but with everything I do, he has that gift, incredibly powerful stuff
I have 2: One which I look back with pride when I ran in memory of my uncle raising £1200 towards Macmillan. It was gruelling running into a headwind but family and friends pushed me through The Great Welsh marathon.
The second, my favourite and most enjoyable was Loch Ness when Gareth mentioned flow this is where I had it. It was a painful flow but stunning scenery, amazing camaraderie and my beautiful friend Fatima egging me on, wiping away my tears and running with me. A memorable race that I will cherish and am tempted to run again in memory of Rochelle .
Running brings out healing, pain, blisters, pushing you beyond where you’ve been before but also is a special community where lifelong friendships are made
This is a photo from mine. Bristol to Bath marathon 2015. It was 2 weeks after my Dad had passed away. It was such a tough 2 weeks before, i didn’t even know if I’d get round, the previous weekend, i ran a park run with Ben to take my mind off things, i was so emotionally exhausted i struggled to finish it. On the day, club coach at the time Matt ran with me. This put mind at ease (my mum was certainly relieved to hear this!) He was great support, but didn’t actually need to do much. On the day, something clicked. It is the only marathon where i have achieved flow. There were some brutal hills, but i just kept going, i started to really struggle on the last 2 miles, then at mile 25 one of my best friends turned up in the crowd, i wasn’t expecting her there so it gave me such a boost. Even though it was most definitely not a PB course – the second half was wall to wall hills – it still remains my PB. I have never felt such a mixture of emotions crossing a finish line! It’s a shame it was the only year they ran that race, it was a lovely course
I think my best running achievement has to be the back garden marathon during Lockdown. It was a bit different, and tested me in a way mentally that I’d never been tested before.
Also, I didn’t know I was definitely going to do it until the day before. The charity I’d hoped to raise money for during Manchester marathon had sent out a plea for funds, so I wanted to do something. Then after watching a video of someone doing one on their balcony in Spain I wondered if I might be able to do one in my garden!
I’d never done a marathon before, and although I felt I’d done the training, I wasn’t sure if I was capable of running around in circles for hours on end, let alone cover the distance of a marathon without the buzz of the crowds to spur me on!
I took a video of my plan and once I’d pressed the “send” button to the charity, RSE, friends and family I thought “Oh no, what have I done?”. I had very little sleep that night thinking “what if I cant do it?” By the morning I had entered a different head space and was ready for what ever the day would bring!
The marathon was a challenge, not just physically and mentally, but also because of practical issues I was having with my watch recording the miles. I learnt a lot about myself that day and where to dig deep.
The things that kept me going were my goal to raise money, and the constant messages of support and encouragement that were read out to me during the day (that included some great jokes from Rory and Nadine!). I also split it into 3 mile chunks and rewarded myself with jelly babies after each section!
There were moments when I wondered if my body could keep going however, I felt I’d been running for a long time, and didnt seem to be getting very far! I think my neighbour giving birth while I was still running around in circles also helped. I figured her marathon was worse than mine!
I’ll never forget that run, and the wonderful support I received! but I won’t be doing it again!
My greatest achievement to date is the Wiltshire 10 Road Race last year. Never did I think I would ever be able to run 10 miles without stopping…. but I did! I couldn’t have done it without the support of this wonderful duo – Kevin & Caroline. Thank you
This has probably been the hardest challenge of the week. . How to choose a favourite when each and every event has its own incredible memories . 2006 time nervously pinned on a race number Ciren 10k . Before that Tetbury hill “ efforts “ was mainly a power walk !! 2010 entered my first half marathon GNR. , oh my ! with RSWE team we’ve been all over Europe for some fab Halfs but that first GNR !! So nervous and yet soo excited to be a runner in this mass of humanity. . Laughter and tears when connected with other runners why and who they were running for. ,the thousands of people cheering us all the way. . Red arrows willing me on ,through the finish line and wrapped in a foil blanket. . I was a runner !! Sharing my elation and achievement as always were my running buddies , to whom I owe so much. , These past years I discovered the absolute joy of trail and cross country but will always treasure that experience in South Shields
This is a picture of a photo, so not great quality. This was my first ever race, Longest Day last year in June. I’d only ran around 4 acres field and did 3 miles before. My friend said I should try running and he’d get me round. I wasn’t even sure how far 10k was. Anyway, I did it without stopping and was proud. I hope to get to a decent level , but you guys are in another league with marathons etc! I joined RSE in September not knowing anyone and being so scared. But now I feel happy to run with RSE and look forward to when we can meet again!
I’m looking forward to when I’ve got lots of races but I’ve only done a handful so far. My greatest run I think was my first ever 5k. To give the context, it was a difficult period of my life in my early 20s, I’d never been a sporty person and if you’d told me age 15 running would become my favourite hobby I would have laughed so hard. I’d paused a phd as I felt overwhelmed with that and a long distance relationship. I was having trouble sleeping and generally burning out with poor mental health. To keep some money in and to give myself a routine I got a temp job on an army base. Serendipity meant I ended up working with a marathon runner and with a team where both civilian and military personnel were encouraged to work out during the working week. I was so unfit I couldn’t run down the drive. But with his encouragement I kept at it and gradually over the next few months built up. When I entered the local race for life i thought I’d walk most of it. I ran the whole 5k and it marked a turning point back to health for me. I still can’t believe the impact running has on my wellbeing endorphins are the most powerful drug. The sense of achievement was so strong and still feel so thankful fate led me to take up running all those years ago. I stopped for quite a while in my early 30s whilst kids were young and with the encouragement of you lovely lot have got back into it and now thriving and training for my first half in September and starting to feel like a real runner… (One way or another I’m running one the weekend of the Swindon half ). There it’s out there for accountability.
I haven’t completed as many races as some but reflecting I have two memorable races, both trail Half’s. The first the Broadway trail half, despite it being November and starting off foggy, it turned into the perfect running conditions. With the most elevation Id attempted in a race and the terrain it was a challenge but heading out with two amazing club members and no time pressure on myself I enjoyed every minute of it. The second was the Trail Monkey El Classici Half in Jersey, which is my all time favourite place to run, my parents live in jersey do were lucky to visit most years and last year’s trip coincided with this race. It was along cliff tops, across beaches and went downhill just to bring you straight back up. My husband also ran and even though we didn’t run together, knowing he was out on the course (somewhere ahead of me) was fab as it was our first race together. Both races reinforced my enjoyment of running, times don’t always matter and it is a personal challenge.
I probably have 3 races that stick in my memory for different reasons. First was a 24 hr event when I was about 25. I was fit but hadn’t run more than 12 miles. Managed 84 with a daysack, sandwiches and water. Next was my first marathon in Edinburgh which was also Janet’s first marathon and only 7 days before we got married. Finally a 24 hr event 2 years ago (30 years older than my first one) when I managed 81 miles. Not as fit but more knowledge and a hatred of failing kept me going.
For me I think my biggest accomplishment was just over a year ago at my favourite race, The Grizzly. I have been doing this race for about 8 years since gradually moving away from road running and absolutely love everything about it. Unfortunately I had knee surgery in 2017 and was told that I really shouldn’t run again and consider doing other sports instead, me being me I was not willing to accept this (from a rather overweight and unfit consultant!) and wanted to at least get back to some running, all be it less than before. Taking it gradually at first I realised that with crosstraining and being cautious with my mileage I could get back to a decent level and set myself the target to complete the Grizzly again in 2019. Getting round it feeling strong and pain free was the best feeling in the world and to run with Andy, Katy (different daughter!) and some very good friends made it all the more special.
Got too many ‘moments’ from my adventures to bore everyone with … you’ll have to read the book… but instead I’ll put an amusing twist in that my adventures have involved being attacked by buzzard that drew blood, chased by a cow and hiding in a thicket/ wading through lake/ jumping gate to get away, jumped at by a spooked deer, no turning back when faced by a creek in (alligator state) Florida, spooked myself by a coyote at 02:30 in Golden Gate park during the ultra.
My favourite was my 1st marathon, Stratford. I had only run 1 half before, so a marathon was a far off goal… then I lost a bet and had no choice thankfully, the coaches at RSE were amazing and so so supportive.
They gave so many great pieces of advice (break down the race into sections, give yourself a gold, silver and bronze target etc). By about 3 months in it all started clicking. By the time the race rolled round, I was just so excited to be taking part. I ran the 1st 10 miles with my brother (Ryo) who did the half and Dave met me at the end to cross the line together.
Plus I had some surprise spectators (Thanks Nadine and Eden!). For the whole race I was just on top of the world
My favourite race? Well I can’t choose between two it’s too hard for 2 very different reasons.
The first on the left is me running torbay half marathon 2018 it was 23 deg at the start and 28 deg when I finished 2 hours later.
I had my mum n sister come down from Stoke to surprise me also my partner her mum and her sisters I surprised them by wearing a photo of their dad’s face in my vest whom not long passed away of prostate cancer. They didn’t have a clue what I was wearing until moments before I lined up to race needless to say lots of tears from all the sisters and the mum whom had lost her husband.
The second is glos 20 this year after joining running somewhere else in Nov hoping I could learn to get my legs do a full 13 mile run was my only goal in a 6 month period however many of you said don’t worry you’ll easy do it you’ll easy get to 13 miles I laughed and thought well you don’t know me I been running for years and have never ran 13 miles without stopping. Had you said to me look in March you will run a full 20 miles without stopping I’d have asked you what you been drinking no chance no way impossible. But thanks to the help of everyone at this club I ran it and ran it brilliantly in under 3 hours making the impossible possible.
2 races 2 different reasons love them both equally
Choosing my favourite race was easy, Royal Parks Half Marathon 2014, and it would be also easy to sit here and give you all the reasons why.
What seemed the harder choice was to talk about the race that became a huge turning point and ultimately changed my life.
Many of you will probably already know in 2013 I was almost 20 stone, unbelievably unfit and boarder-line diabetic. Inspired by Roger running the London Marathon that year I decided in May to enter the Swindon Half Marathon in October (and for those that know, that was the hilly route).
When I announced this in public for the first time there was a real tumbleweed moment as everyone stopped and soaked up what I’d just said. One person then replied ‘you’ll never be able to do that’.
Thank you very much – that was the fuel the spark needed to ignite the fire…
It’s safe to say I completed the Half in October. It was freezing cold, hammering it down with rain and blowing a hoolie. I’m not going to lie, it was probably the most miserable two and a bit hours of my life but I finished it.
That was the start of the journey to where I am today, fitter than I’ve ever been, stronger than I’ve ever been, and if I’m honest, happier than I’ve ever been.
When I took my coaching qualifications in 2018 I was asked what inspired me to become a coach. I told the story above and said ‘Running has changed my life, hopefully through becoming a coach I can help someone else achieve the positive changes I have experienced. If I can it will all have been worthwhile’
To reinforce those changes below are two photos.
One from my first race and one from my last…
Those cold days of the cross country seem like a distant memory but they’ll be with us again before we know it!! My favourite race is a complete contrast to that- the Angkor Wat half marathon in Cambodia in 2015. It started at 6.30am but it was still 35C+. I’d been living there for 6 months and got used to the heat (ish) but rarely ran after 7am! It was my slowest ever half but running through jungle, past ancient temples, monkeys, and enthusiastic local supporters made it very memorable!
The Tiny Temple trail race is one of my favourite races, the win came from running a race pain free after months of struggling with bursitis and other niggles.
As those of you who have kindly come back out to find me once you’ve finished racing will know, I am never going to win an actual race but it doesn’t stop me from turning up.
Easy to identify my favourite race London 2019; however my biggest ‘win’ would have probably been my first ultra – 33 miles around Lulworth Cove in July 2018.
It was hot, it was hilly and I fell over twisting my ankle pretty bad. A couple of runners stopped and bandaged me up with some equine tape they were carrying and then I was scooped up by two chaps and offered some very good painkiller! Usually I wouldn’t take drugs from strangers but I was desperate and they had kind faces! We ran together for a number of miles following that and eventually I found some inner strength to push on eventually latching onto a very experienced ultra-runner who was training for UTMB. She was so inspiring and guided me through different breathing techniques to help me battle the heat and hills. She also took this photo of me standing with my head above the clouds – truly breath-taking!
I somehow made the cut offs enroute and it took roughly 8 ½ hours to complete the race. I was greeted by Rob and the kids at the finish line. I cried, a lot, a mixture of happy tears mixed with pain/ exhaustion!
I often pull on my experience from this race when I feel up against it – it certainly showed me the power of supportive people, confirmed my love for the miles and I realised as long as I believe, I can achieve.
The importance of physical activity…
Nadine gave us her thoughts on why physical activity is important to her.
I’ve never been a confident person but in late 2015, following Eden’s arrival I found myself feeling quite low too and was referred to a PND support group. This course was pivotal in me recognising the importance of taking care of yourself and the benefits of exercise and I started running regularly. Having never been a natural runner my only experience was jogging a few 5ks on my own for weight loss or Race for Life events prior to this.
I put on a brave face and subsequently joined RSE in early April 2016 and ran my first race, Highworth 5miles, later that month. I was a bag of nerves but the support I received from all at RSE was life-changing and needless to say I was hooked! Fast forward 4 years and those that know me well, know I still have good days and bad days (as I’m sure we all do) but ultimately I know there’s always someone to talk to and run alongside.
I’ve learnt there isn’t one giant step that helps you find happiness, it’s alot of little steps … Especially when you’re only 5ft2!
With that in mind – use today / tomorrow to encourage each other to hit those targets and enjoy your physical activity.
Back at the start of the week you’ll remember we asked our members to set themselves a mileage pledge for the week.
In total the miles pledged across the 5 teams added up to a grand total of 1414…
Although this week was about far more than covering the miles we wouldn’t be a running club if we didn’t track them and add them up so for those of you who are interested. By the close of play on Sunday evening the total miles covered was well in excess of 1800…
Alongside our main events we also ran a junior challenge so families could get involved.
Our juniors managed to cover an impressive total of 385 miles between them. That’s enough to get them from Ciren to Ben Nevis…
The Final Words…
When the coaching team held one of our regular virtual meetings on Zoom a few weeks ago we thought a wellbeing week could be a good idea to try. We hoped we would engage a few members and provoke a few discussions. Never did we imagine it would have the positive effect of pulling an already close club even tighter together.
Since lockdown began the coaching team have been busy finding various ways to keep everyone involved and engaged. At this point it seems right to share what our members have said both in reflection of the week but also in support of our coaches…
What I’ve taken from this week is that although my target was low and my pace was slow, I have fallen back in love with running again. Having something to work towards and being part of a group really does make a positive difference in my life. Thank you all.
Go team RSE! Thanks again coaches and everyone for sharing their stories and for inspiring me to get out when it’s sometimes felt tough to do so.
Have loved this challenge thank you and great that I could take part even though not running at moment. Please thanks all the coaches you guys are brilliant!
Thank you for welcoming me into your team, it’s been a great week Glad to see we smashed our target. Well done all!!
Thanks for being a great captain! And thanks dream team for being a great team! We did brilliantly!
Thanks for coordinating the team this week. It looks like some great achievements have been made. The physical and mental health commentaries were also very good, identifying the improvements that running have brought to individuals. Cheers.
It was a great challenge and I think the way the coaches have kept pulling the club together has been exemplary. Thanks and well done.
I mean it. It’s been quite humbling to watch goodness when the worlds gone to hell in a handcart.
Every Sunday I go oh *** another challenge – can’t I have a week off as I can resist saying yes. But every Sunday I’m also pleased it’s got me off my backside.
I genuinely think you have made a real difference to a very many in the club whose running has helped them in tricky times.
Thank you everyone who has taken part in this weeks and any previous challenges. We are already looking forward to next weeks!
But the final final words goes to one of our most respected members who’s reflection on the week sums up the current situation perfectly…
In life before ”lockdown” Sunday’s traditionally was an early start, a long drive, nervous excitement on the way to a Race/Event and leaving the family to fend for themselves !!
These strange times has enabled me to press the Pause button on life generally and open up space and time for the loveliest early morning runs, solo runs til this week when happily and legally we can see our running buddies again!
I try and keep up with new terminology forgive me if I’m wrong but believe the definition of Tribe is a group of people having a common character, occupation or interest.
Within a Tribe there always leaders and so to all who have put so much time and effort, not just these virtual weeks, but who encourage and support throughout the year. A sincere thank you.
Circumstances in my life has taught me not to waste precious time on what problems have gone before or may come in the future. The here and now is what matters and so…
In a couple of weeks a birthday will push me ever nearer to mid 70s!! and who knows when a dip in health or injury may happen so I’ll take today and these weeks that have given me confidence that of my own level of fitness and ability will hopefully keep me running for some years yet.
Thoroughly enjoyed reflecting on these past weeks and being a part of this very special and unique Tribe!
Fingers on the Reset button…