Tag Archives: Race for Life

A mountain bike without the mountain, please!

Race for Life 2011

Yes, my face goes that colour every time I run!

38 minutes 6 seconds is never going to gain me entry into the Olympics, but last Sunday I finished the St Albans Race for Life 5k, six and a half minutes faster than last year.

As proud as I felt at that moment for raising money for charity and not giving up, I also hated every minute of running round that course, so I’m officially switching from being a ‘runner’ to being a ‘biker’.

Yes, that’s right, Other Half and I have invested our pennies in two brand new mountain bikes that arrived this week – I say pennies when in fact it was many pounds; I cannot believe how expensive it is to get a decent mountain bike! After many, many, many hours of research (“By me!” shouts Other Half in the background), we did get a great web deal on two 2011 Merida Matts 20-MD mountain bikes that were £200 cheaper than their usual selling price. There are a few reasons we are trying out the bike route:

  • Biking has GOT to be easier than running for no other reason than I find running really hard!
  • My sister’s Other Half got a bike 2 months ago and has totally transformed into a ‘Slim Jim’ – we want it to be our magic weight loss bullet too!
  • We have lots of cycle paths near to where we live that don’t involve big hills – I’m a fan of flat paths/gentle slopes (as a beginner!)

It’s just a case now of literally getting on our bikes, in our padded shorts… (more on that after the first ride!)

My current mountain biking kit for beginners: 2011 Merida Matts 20-MD Bike

Running 5k (away from peanut butter!)

Since coming back from holiday in April half a stone heavier, (all that lovely American food was worth it!), my fitness regime has taken a bit of a nosedive. I haven’t had the desire to get back on the Weight Watchers bandwagon yet, so I’ve been relying on sporadic gym visits to get me back on track.

Peanut butter on toastAlas, I’m only human, and I’m not working out enough to combat the speed I can eat peanut butter on toast! To spur me on, I’ve signed up again this year for the St Albans Race for Life. The thought of running a 5k where I MUST BEAT last year’s time, is enough pressure to get my trainers back on!

Being a great fan of ‘The Biggest Loser USA’ and MTV’s ‘I Used To Be Fat’, I’m mortified to see people weighing twice as much as I do, running 5K in half the time it takes me! Ok, so these people work out for 6 hours every day with a personal trainer by their side but even so, I was feeling pretty inadequate.

For all you treadmill junkies out there, I usually run on a 7.2km speed and build up slowly to 8.5km by the end. If I complete the 5k (because sometimes I haven’t got the stamina to run more than 3k), it takes around 45 minutes. To up the ante, my speed is now 8.5km for most of the run with a quick sprint right at the end, in desperation to get finished! This takes about 35 minutes.

I’m never going to break any Olympic speed records at this rate, but as long as I can run the whole way AND beat last year’s time, it will be a great achievement for me! Why not donate the cost of one cup of coffee to a great cause? £2.50 can help to make a world of difference in cancer research… If you’d like to sponsor me, follow this link http://www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/charlottemoore3103

Thanks to boozebagbettygoestorehab.blogspot.com for the image!

I ran the Race for Life…

On 18th July 2010, I ran 5km non-stop in the Race for Life! It was an amazing experience to be part of such a great atmosphere, with thousands of excited and inspiring women all around me.

Waiting for the race to start

Waiting for the race to start...

At the start of the race, we split ourselves into running, jogging and walking groups and I optimistically plumped for jogging. Plugging into my iPod and GetRunning app, I quickly realised that many others in this group jogged for the first 300m or so and then started to walk, so it was a case of weaving in and out to keep up my own constant pace. The first kilometre felt good and I started to feel confident that I could comfortably run the whole way, that was until I encountered the first set of hills. It’s true to say that during my last few successful 5km runs in the gym, the treadmill gradient started at 1, but I kept wimping out part-way as I got tired and was lowering it back to the flat. I regretted this previous laziness every time I encountered another steep part of the course, but the few downhills section were a welcome relief!

Running with a smile...

Running with a smile...

I had wonderful support from Other Half and the in-laws, they were there at the start line and to my surprise, popped up in 3 different places along the way to cheer me on. They also documented the changing colour of my progressively rosy cheeks through the medium of photography!

Still running but the smile is waning a little...

Still running but the smile is waning a little...

Despite all of the pre-race training, I still found the distance tough. There was no miraculous floaty feeling to get me round the course however, the thought of having to tell people that I didn’t run all the way was a constant mental boost to keep my legs moving!

At 4km I was feeling really tired and the next 500m seemed to take forever. I was jogging really slowly when suddenly, I turned the corner to see the finish line up ahead. From nowhere, a burst of energy appeared and I sprinted all the way to the finish line. My time was 41 minutes 52 seconds, no record breaker I know, but actually quicker than my best ever time in the gym, despite all the hills and lack of air conditioning!!

I completed the Race for life!

I completed the Race for life with rosy cheeks and a jubilant smile!

I collected my medal, goodie bag and hugs and kisses from Other Half and the in-laws. It was a great feeling to have run the whole way, as well as raising close to £100 for Cancer Research.

Would I do it again? Absolutely!

Is it the first step towards running a marathon? Absolutely not! 😮

Race for Life is coming…

I haven’t blogged for a few weeks about my 5k training as I’ve encountered a few interruptions! During the month of the house move, training was cut down from four times to twice a week and, one week was missed altogether. The Race for Life is less than a week away and I’m feeling nervous that I wont be able to run non stop the whole way because;  

  • I can consistently run for 30-35 mins at 8km an hour in the air-conditioned gym but this only equates to about 3 1\2k
  • I consistently run at a slower speed than 8km an hour outside!
  • The weather is currently lovely and I’ve never run in 11am strong sunshine
  • I still manage to get the DREADED STITCH or a sugar crash during random runs, and I never know why as I eat pretty much the same every week!

If I’m honest, a big part of me hopes to find some sort of inner strength to overcome any of these niggles on race day. In reality, when I run out of energy by 3km at the gym, I stop running and start walking..!

Overcoming the 5k barrier…

I’m faithfully following my 5k running plan and at the gym last night, I bumped into Nick the Trainer. He asked how it was going and I proudly told him that I had my first outdoor jog under my belt! I also told him I felt that I wasn’t really improving very much as I get to 3k and, can’t wait to stop. (Thinking about it objectively of course, I have improved as I didn’t use to be able to run 1k without stopping, but that’s the perfectionist in me!) Nick the Trainer suggested it was time I got over the psychological barrier of never having completed a 5k and, should come in and do an exclusive session on the treadmill, jogging and walking as needed to complete a full 5k. With this idea firmly planted in my head, we parted company and despite having already done my weights, I decided I would have a go at the full distance.

I had previously been running 3 x 1k with a 2 minute walk in between each km, so I thought I would see how far I could stretch that. I did a warm up walk for 0.2k, ran the first km and walked for 0.2k, repeated this a second time, ran the third km and walked for 0.25, ran the fourth km and walked for the final 0.15k – in 40 minutes I had walked and jogged my first 5k!

It turns out that Nick the Trainer knows his stuff! Although my plan is to be able to run the whole Race for Life 5k without stopping, just knowing that I can complete it in one gym session was another huge confidence boost. Tonight, I went for my second ever outdoors jog and the 20 minutes constant running wasn’t quite as painful as the first time round. As I completed my 5 minute walking cool down, a strange thought entered my head: I think I might actually start to ENJOY running in the very near future..!

Final 5k training programmes…

So, feeling invigorated at the start of each new workout and shattered by the end, I tried out programme 3 on my 5k training schedule:

Treadmill  20 mins of hill intervals at a constant speed

Weighted Lunges  2 x 20

Swiss Ball Alternate Leg Raises  3 x 20

Seated Row Machine  3 x 12

V-sit Twists  3 x 20

Rower  400 metres

Hmmm, rolling hills on the treadmill?!? That’s seemed a bit adventurous when I am only just managing to jog any sort of distance on the flat, so I approached this with much trepidation. I only put the hill programme on level 1 which meant the incline didn’t rise any higher than 3.5 (3.5 what, I’m not sure but it was enough for me to cope with at this early stage!) I wish I could tell you it wasn’t as bad as I feared but, I found it tough and got the dreaded stitch earlier than usual. I managed to do a bit of mind of matter and spurred myself on to get to the end, even though I kept wondering why on earth I’m doing something that doesn’t come naturally to me at all…

Programme 4 is simply this;

Outdoor Running for a minimum of 30 mins, including 8-10 x 30 second sprints every few minutes, building up to being able to maintain a constant run for 40 mins.

So far, I have done this outdoor running programme once, in the gym! I know, I know, it appears as if I’m slightly crazy because;

a) Race for Life is outside in a park

b) The park is not completely flat (mores the pity!) and I need to be able to run up gentle gradients

But what can I tell you? I’m a beginner and taking all this running stuff 1 training day at a time, this includes only exposing my tomato coloured jogging face within the safe confines of the gym for now..!

Training for my first 5k run…

Well, after much pondering about whether to sign up for a 5k run or not, I decided to just get on and do it! I’m all signed up for the Cancer Research Race for Life on 18th July and, full of nervous enthusiasm, started the first of my 4 new gym training programmes – Programme 1;

Swiss Ball Squats  3 x 15 reps

Hip Bridges (Alt Leg Extensions)  3 x 20 reps

Swiss Ball Roll-Outs  3 x 5 reps

Chest Press Machine  3 x 12 reps

Diverging Pulldown Machine  3 x 12 reps

Treadmill  20 min run inc 5 x 1 min sprints

Wave Machine  5 mins

Nick the Trainer was on hand to check my posture during each exercise although thankfully, he left me alone when it came to the treadmill. My face gets redder with every minute I’m on there and, I resemble a very ripe tomato at the end of 20 minutes! I was worried about the sprinting element as I cannot emphasise enough that I ONLY JOG, I DON’T RUN, but it turns out that 1 minute sprints are just about manageable for a beginner. Although I spent a good 10 minutes stretching at the end, the next day I ached in places I didn’t even know existed! 

Ah, the pleasure and the pain of a brand new gym routine… I’ll let you know how the training progresses!