Richmond and Running – Two things that I love…
And these two things came together on Sunday in the form of the Richmond Half Marathon, culminating in me achieving my first goal of 2014 – that elusive Personal Best (PB)!
Sunday’s half marathon was my second half of 2014, with the first being the inaugural Hampton Court Half Marathon on Sunday 23rd February. Sadly the Hampton Court half had a marshalling error which resulted in the course being 0.4 miles shorter than the requisite 13.1 miles, so my official race finishing time of 1:50:34, while a PB by a long shot, was not an official PB in terms of the distance… 😦
So, come Sunday, the pressure was on to post an official PB. And, it feels great that all my training (and hibernating) since January has finally paid off with a time of 1:52:21!
It is only right as a runner first, and a blogger second to summarise my key take-outs from yesterday’s run… which now holds a very special place in my heart for the following five reasons:
- As a BeaRCat Runner – I joined the BeaRCats at the end of last year, and as I’ve mentioned before, they are a really lovely community of like-minded individuals, who all happen to enjoy running. I’ve run for years but have never pushed myself, and in the short space of time that I’ve been running with the BeaRCats, I’ve seen my pace improve week on week, month on month. It might be an individual sport, but running with the BeaRCats is running as part of a team. This is typified by the fact that the mile 11 water station was manned by Caitlin and fellow BCs (such a welcome sight!) and the first person I saw immediately at the end of both the Hampton Court half and the Richmond half was John Reece (a fellow blogger) cheering us all in!
- As a TRObot – I not only ran as part of the BeaRCat team yesterday, but I was also proud to be one of the TRObots, a team of 7 TROers. We work locally, in Old Isleworth, looking out over the tow-path that we ran along yesterday, and as a team we ran for local charity SPEAR – a charity helping homeless people in South West London rebuild their lives. The team all did amazingly well, from posting a top-20 finish dressed as a banana, to achieving PBs. And Nicky who was sadly unable to run, due to injury, was an absolute TROjan on the water station at mile 11. What’s next for the TRObots?
- As a Local – I’ve lived in the area (St Margarets) for a little over 3 years now, and before that was on the other side of Richmond, in East Sheen for 5 years. Richmond is such a special place and I feel so lucky to live here. With its parks, the river running through, its history, and its town centre, it’s the most beautiful of London boroughs. The run (thankfully) took in the flattest part of Richmond, mostly along the Thames tow-path. It was difficult terrain however, and congested at times along the path, but a beautiful route nonetheless.
- As a Goal-Setter – I’ve been following a 9 week training plan on my Nike+ app since January, and while I haven’t religiously stuck to it, I’ve been pretty dedicated. This app has 100% helped me achieve my PB this year – I thoroughly recommend it. The only downside is it’s hard to keep track of your speed when it’s tucked in your pocket and it’s noisy (traffic).
- As a Runner – I’ve now run 6 half marathons – from the West Coast of Scotland (MOKRUN) to the South of England (Brighton) and I’m developing quite a taste for this distance. All have been very different, but all of them hold special memories for me. My first was the Great North Run in 1999, and my previous PB was recorded at Silverstone in 2010. But given my love of Richmond, my new running pals in the form of the BeaRCats and TRObots, and my new PB, the Richmond half now has my heart!
Running has taken over my 2014 so far.
Friday nights come and I find myself looking at my watch at 11pm, thinking I should be home, tucked up in bed, ahead of clocking up the mileage on Saturday mornings. Sunday morning’s early run club means Saturday nights are equally tainted. Monday mornings arrive and when asked how my weekend was, I hear myself wittering on about my “training”… It’s official. I’m a running bore!
But as much as I might be boring others with my training (I’m so sorry) – I am absolutely LOVING it!
I have just started week 4 of a 9 week training plan for the Richmond Half Marathon that takes place on Sunday 23 March. With 6 weeks to go until the big day, and less than 2 to my first half marathon of 2014 (the Hampton Court Half on 23 February), I thought I’d take this opportunity to share 5 reasons why I’m loving my running so much this year – and maybe this will inspire you with your running or other fitness goals.
- Goal setting – at the beginning of 2014, I set myself a number of running challenges, including getting an elusive personal best (PB) time in a half marathon. I’m sure you’ve heard it many times before, but by committing in writing or verbally to friends, this is a sure-fire way to ensure you’re more likely to stick to a goal. It’s then far easier to set yourself a clear plan of how you are going to achieve that goal – for example, downloading a 12 week training programme.
- Running club – another of my New Year’s Resolutions was to join a running club. Just before Christmas, I joined the lovely BeaRCat Running Club, based out of the Turks Head pub in St Margarets. This run club was founded in early 2012 by Caitlin Limmer, an incredibly passionate and motivational leader. Caitlin works tirelessly to ensure the club is welcoming and unintimidating, and this ethos trickles throughout this lovely community. The club meet every Sunday morning at 8.30am and it requires all powers of motivation to drag myself out of bed at such an hour, but it’s more than worth it!
- Running app – I used to train with a Garmin until it broke about a year ago. Since then I have plodded on with my running without any real idea how fast or how far I was going. This was fine when I didn’t really have any goals, but now that speed is the number one thing I’m trying to improve, it’s essential to measure my progress. I’m absolutely obsessed with my Nike + Running app! The coach feature is my training programme, which I’ve been following religiously so far, and fingers crossed it’s going to get me over that finish line in the time I’m aiming for.
- Running buddy – running with others is massively motivating. Just as I love running with the BeaRCat Runners on Sunday mornings, I have found another new running buddy in the form of Nicky from work. I can safely say that I would not be pounding those pavements after work, in the cold, wet, windy, dark evenings, if it wasn’t for Nicky. It really has helped both of us with our training so far and we’ve shared some great runs, in and around the beautiful Richmond area.
- New gear – all the gear and no idea! There is a lot to be said for investing in some new kit. You will run better if you feel confident and comfortable in your running outfit. New trainers are so important – they should be changed every 300-500 miles – so don’t underestimate how vital it is to have a good pair of trainers with the right support for your running style. Sporting Feet in Richmond provide an excellent fitting service – and BeaRCat Runners benefit from a 10% discount!
There you have it… I truly hope these 5 thoughts inspire you rather than bore you 🙂
Good luck with your running and other training goals.
Happy New Year to you all!
I’ve never really been one for New Year’s Resolutions but last year started a tradition of setting myself some goals for 2013, and committing them to writing. It works! While I didn’t achieve all of them (4 out of 5 is not bad?!), it definitely helped to write them down and visualise them…
2013 has been a fabulous year, with wonderful friends, old and new, and family – I have many highlights – in particular, April – I had an amazing trip to Lyon, where I took part in the Beaujolais Village trail with Tori (of Fit Chicks and Fast Women), and then embarked on a freelance career. While this didn’t last very long (all of 3 months!), I then went permanent in my new role at TRO, an events marketing agency. I’ve also enjoyed some other wonderful trips in 2013 – I’ve been to Switzerland skiing, and in the summer, to celebrate my brother’s 40th and my father’s 70th, went to Dubai for some winter sun, and had an awesome break in Moscow for the World Athletics Championships. There have been inevitable lows in 2013, and what I’ve learned most, is how to embrace any set-backs and how to bounce back with a renewed energy and passion for life!
So, it’s now time to focus on the future, and 2014 hopes and dreams…
- Achieve a PB in a half marathon (this has rolled over from last year!) – I have two opportunities to achieve this with the Hampton Court Half Marathon in February and the Richmond Half Marathon in March. But even if (or when :-)) I achieve it (sub 1hr54), I guess a PB will always remain out there!
- Take part in a running challenge every couple of months – or at least 6 over the course of the year. As well as the two half marathons above, I’ve signed up to the Verbier-St Bernard 18 miles trail run in July, the Turks Head 10km in June and planning to take part in the Cabbage Patch 10 miler in October. I’m still looking for another race somewhere, with Fit Chick Tori maybe?
- Start something new – last year I took up Bikram Yoga to complement my running. I’m absolutely going to continue this and I’ve also just joined a local running club – The BeaRCat Runners – to help me with goals #1 and #2.
- Visit a new country – last year I visited Russia for the first time. My 2013 shortlist included India, Indonesia and Lithuania which are still there to be explored, and I’m now adding China to the list of countries I’d like to visit.
- Start a new business venture – in 2013, Luci and I hoped to launch Mr and Mystery, a singles’ event, and while we had a lot of interest, various challenges meant this didn’t go ahead. I am still passionate about getting this off the ground, so adding this (or another business venture??) to my 2014 goals.
There we have it. 2014 promises to be an awesome year – with new challenges and new experiences out there to be grasped!
Whether you want to get fit, find a new job, or learn something new, why don’t you have a go at setting yourself some objectives (and it really does help to write them down) for a New Year, New You?
I wish you all an amazing 2014 and good luck with your goal setting!