It has been a great couple of weeks of running with the Boathouse Runners and elsewhere. All topped off by news of the entries opening for the Pete Hayes Handsworth 10k Fun Run in September. You can enter by clicking here and registering on the British Heart Foundation website.
The first Sunday we met up was International Women's Day and we were proving ThisGirlCan in the park while the Saheli women took on a bike ride from Cannon Hill Park to the Bull Ring. It was great to see them achieve this together but it was of course a shame to not see them and say hello as we ran.
The 8.30 group had a good crowd, with Dennis and granddaughter joining in early for a few laps until he did the very sensible thing and went off. He wasn't feeling right so he left early rather than do himself in by battling on. Sometimes we feel better running on some days rather than others and although there is the balance that we are often pushing our physical boundaries when running, it is important to be aware that sometimes the right thing to do is stop and respect how you are feeling. We have all been there at some time. The highlight of the session was the presidential guard formed around Kathleen when there were dogs ahead on the path.
In both groups there was lots of talking to go with the running as usual, which helped us all to go further than we anticipated. The quick group was boosted by three very brave runners, who joined us on the other side of the park and indeed stretched their own boundaries. We all finished together and stretched as usual.
I'm happy to report that the midweek groups were stronger than ever, especially the Thursday group where more people than ever got together and runners were even being brought into the group.
The runs on Mothering Sunday were special. We were joined by Saroj at 8.30 and took in a great deal of the park on a slightly colder morning. Great to hear that John Clinton has signed up for the Birmingham 10k and is considering the half marathon. It is looking like we will have small teams of Boathouse Runners at the runs listed below so check them out if you want to be involved too.
We were joined by a new member of the boathouse runners when Roy joined us at 10. I knew his face was familiar and it turns out that we have seen him before at the Perry Hall Parkrun. There was bravery in the air because everyone took the plunge this week; the whole group crossing the railway bridge and running on the other side of the park! We all made it around a short circuit and while boundaries had been stretched, nobody hit a barrier they couldn't get through. However, the nearly 2.5 miles completed in the end felt like a lot more for most of us. We are all very proud of how far everyone has come and how open to a little push and change you all are.
So I'll be running in Handsworth Park on Sunday again. Looking forward to it already.
Well it has been a slightly different couple of weeks. It started with the Parkrun that most of us did not make on the Saturday, but Lorna and Michael went along. Lorna managing the first 5k that Michael had braved the week before, and he managed to take almost 4 minutes off the PB he had set the previous week.
The Sunday saw Tony and myself abandoning the group. I was running a 10k in Huddersfield and Tony was marshalling a run in Bristol. All I can say is that it will be a welcome break to be back running in the park, after the 3km climb at the start that led onto at least 3 more shorter but sharper climbs before the end. It was a beautiful setting for a run but very gruelling.
It was great to hear that everything went well. John took the 8.30 group and everyone worked together to help Sarah run her first 10k. It is great to see that milestones and achievements don't end at that point, after doing the same thing herself only a few weeks ago, Wendy was around to support her into the same achievement. We can all be there for each other, and just because we are new doesn't mean we can't help others. So we will see how soon Sarah will be passing on the knowledge too.
Another great 10am group followed with Tonia. Another great week ahead of running including our Tuesday and Thursday groups.
It was great to be back on Sunday to catch up with Wendy and Lucy, who told me the Tuesday group is going very well, with Hina, Balbir and Dennis often joining them for a run. Talking to Dennis as well this week I found that the Thursday group continues to draw in some of our regular runners for a social run.
The 8.30 group met up in a chill wind. A good group of us ran together, even Wendy with Molly who managed a good few laps of the lake despite having a very energetic weekend already. The rest of us continued and managed the best part of a 3 mile run, managing to dodge the works vehicles parked around the lake. We also welcomed the return of a boathouse runner who hadn't been with us for a while, Kathleen. It was great to have you back with us.
The 10am group borough lots of familiar faces and lots of runners challenging themselves. Dav came along hoping to manage a couple of hills while running around the lake and managed 4. Dennis and Merlin pushed themselves in the quick group and got around even when it got painful. We all stretched together as usual by the boathouse, Tonia was recognised and we discussed putting together some extra training for anyone thinking of doing the Sutton Fun Run or the Birmingham Half Marathon. If that is you, stay tuned to find out about possible Saturday sessions that might happen soon, maybe once a month, taking in a longer distance.
We look forward to seeing you this weekend or the following week. If you are able, come and join us in the park this Saturday for a lantern parade, starting at 6.30 from the Sons Of Rest building. Should be atmospheric!
I seem to have forgotten how long this journey back into running has been, but it's only really been a few months since April, so much has happened it warps the time.
This evening I met my nemesis.
I went on my second rambling run this evening, with no real idea of where I was going or where I would end up apart from it being, hopefully, home. The navigation in between was a beautiful mystery. The last time took me up the Soho Road and various vaguely familiar side roads leading to and away from it. Tonight though took me away from any good knowledge of direction and terrain, up through Sandwell Valley towards West Bromwich, ending up at the farm and heading back through Hamstead. And there it was, Hamstead Hill. Does every runner have their own local nemesis of a hill? Well if they do, this is mine. I can remember fearing this being the next turn running with Dad, as he knew where he was going and I never did. I only remember how painful it was.
So I met it and conquered it, ha! At the top I was able to carry on and had a big, stupid grin on. I think it was because it hadn't beaten me. I had made it up the hill even towards the end of a 6 mile run, I had kept putting one foot in front of the other. It may have been being pain free again after a rest week from the knees again. Partly it was because the GPS had finally worked on my app to track the run, but mainly I was grinning because I was able to be out there, it had been beautiful being lost in the valley, and in all these runs seeing places and being in places I would be missing out on if this 10k run hadn't come around.
All of these experiences I am grateful for. Meeting up with Hector and his Dojo running group, it just wouldn't have happened without the events of the last two years. I would not have received Hector's masterclass in real handshakes, nor how he introduces himself as "Mr. Handsworth, MBE" or the SAS style warm ups and warm downs. I would not have met all the wonderful people from Handsworth and nearby through the Boathouse Runners and Hector's group.
Thank you for all of the encouragement and everyone who has run with me. Thank you to everyone who has entered the run, or volunteered, or everyone who has donated to support others. It's not long until 14th September, I think I'm more or less there. It will be great to join everyone else and help everyone else through it.
It has been a long, strong and busy month since I last posted. I was about to mention my knees at that point, which I think I must have mentioned every Sunday with the Boathouse Runners through June. What started as a dull pain during one run turned into acute pain and an inability to move my left leg effectively.
Advise was sought, especially on Sunday mornings. One mention of knees sent Dennis into memories of the pain that had sounded familiar, and the running shoe advice I looked into. The next week's knee fixation was met with Viv recommending Up and Running in Birmingham, one of the 'film you while running' specialist shops aimed at City workers in inadvisable running attire (not that the rolled up tracksuit leg looked any better than I imagine a suit trouser would). New, supportive and bouncy running shoes in hand, I looked forward to getting rid of the horrid bone ache.
Well, we can all dream.
What I found is that good shoes do not fix everything. Patience and good shoes, well they stand you a chance. I have spent the last 3 weeks resting until the Sunday run, knowing that the last one I could barely manage with the knee pain. This Sunday gave a magic feeling, no pain! Really no pain? I had to keep checking I wasn't just thinking positively and ignoring the pain. No...I can't actually kick my leg back without wincing. The 8.30 run was a great chat with John and Lucy; had I just forgotten the pain being distracted in chat? No, I can stretch after the run.
Such a great feeling. All I have to do now is retain the patience...don't get carried away. I just want to run now, but I know it might bring the pain back if I overdo it. So this week will be one midweek run and then the Sunday. See how I get on after that.
The good feeling was tempered though when Tonia arrived for the 10am group. Not her usual free-flowing express train cycling down the hill to join us. What's up? Knee pain, you guessed it. Being able to empathise does not help when you think you've transferred your woes.
Hope you get through the pain quickly Tonia. We all look forward to your guidance and support on Sunday mornings.
Thank you all of the Boathouse Runners for keeping me motivated during the hard times, and for your practical help and support. Even more, thank you for your positivity and enthusiasm every week. It is truly inspiring to see how happy and confident people are by getting together, not just in running, it is somehow more than that in many cases. June has been difficult in stages, not just for the reasons I mentioned, but it is also the month in which my brother Peter died, and this year signalled two years following his passing. It is the feeling I get when people get together in such positivity that helps me to think of him, of his positivity with and endearment with people, to get so many people together. I feel I am doing something he would have enjoyed, he would enjoy the feeling. When I am doing something to help others, especially our group in the community, I feel like he is doing it. He has caused me to wish to do this for other people. I love it that this is happening and that I feel this way about it.
Thank you, and see you on Sunday.
Now that I have resumed running after a long time, I have been thinking about how I am going to keep running, when I have found every other time that I usually give up after a few months. This is on my mind because of my motivation to start running, which is to stay healthy so I can contribute actively in my family life and in my professional life. I have often joked about teaching PE when I'm in my late 60's, the real joke is that I would probably be as useless in the same situation in my late 30's if I didn't get active again. The truth is that I can feel that the natural fitness that I have been getting from everyday activity has been getting less and less as the years have passed. So I am glad that I have acted, but now I have to keep it going and not give up at the first cold.
I have already considered routine, and my weekday running is happily taking place after the kids are asleep. I can keep this going, my everyday routine is unlikely to change much from where it is, so I should be able to keep this up wherever possible.
My motivation is also higher at this point in running. Obviously, a lot of this comes from the target to run the 10k race and remember Pete, all of which gets me through the aches and pains that would have stopped me in the past, aches and pains are all relatively smaller now.
But if that is the case, will all of my motivation disappear when the race is run? If one thing is certain, September 14th will come along and then it will be gone. When I face the following day, I am back to motivating and answering to myself. That hasn't quite worked out so far. I have run in a 10k race before, while studying at Aberystwyth. I did the run, felt great and I can't really remember how long I continued to run afterwards. It can't have been long enough to be memorable. I definitely didn't sign up for another run after the event.
Which brings me to a couple of new aspects of running. I am now motivated to be in Handsworth Park on Sunday mornings. There are plenty of people there that I want to see and speak to and run with, and I don't want to let them down by not being there or not being able to face it because of missing my own weekday runs. The biggest change here is that it is not just one other person, it is a group, a community. I have run many times with and got into running because of my dad. But when routines or circumstances change over time it means the whole link-up falls apart, even between close family. I trained up for the Aber 10k with my good friend, Paul. But of course those days are finite and no longer live in the same town or city. Being part of the running group means that new people are joining every week and the returning runners can attend some weeks and not others. If I was not able to run on a Sunday here or there, the whole group will not fall apart and it will be there again when I am able to return. If it is still there when I need it, then the motivation to keep running will still be there. So however informal the group of runners, it really is a case of the more the merrier, at least for that reason.
Linked in with the running group, another motivating factor came from a recommendation made by a member of the running group last week. I have downloaded the MapMyRun app and have been using it for my last few midweek runs. I am often a slave to the tech I keep putting around myself, but at least when my phone is harassing me to do something in this case, it is for a good cause. If you, like me, are a bit silly about gadgets etc. it can't really harm to get hold of a running app to keep you going. Other apps are available in case anyone is reading!
Finally, now that I am getting the bug for social running, I am going to look into running a Parkrun sometime soon. I know there are a couple nearby, one in Walsall and another in Cannon Hill Park. I can't really recommend these as I have not done one yet, but I heard great things about how many people were running in Cannon Hill Park on Saturday. They certainly look like a great idea, they are free and they look like they are here to stay. If you have not heard about the Parkruns, find out more at www.parkrun.com.
So if you are looking at your own motivation to keep running, this is what I am learning this time round: Enter runs and raise money for charity along the way. Make sure at least one of your weekly runs is with one or more people. Make your tech bully you to run more. Find your local Parkrun.
It's early days but I think this will keep me going. Unlike my knees, b
It has been 3 weeks since I decided to get back out running. After surprising myself by getting round the long block without stopping on the first run, I have been trying to work out the barriers to continuing. I seem to have retained some fitness even though I feel like I am carrying a fair bit of weight and get out of breath getting up the stairs.
The greatest challenge so far then has been fitting it time to run. The most reasonable time so far has been late at night. Getting back from work and getting the eldest to sleep about 8.30 means 9pm onwards for a run. Not the most popular of times given the quiet pavements, but I'm very glad to have no eyes on me. I don't look very elegant right now!
However, the lesson I have learned by running this time round is that speed is unnecessary. I think I'm running at the cusp just over the point where walking becomes running. I have no intention of going any quicker, yet if I have the time I will try to run further when I can, all at the same, slow pace. At the end of each run I feel like I have been running, although not in the pain I used to. Most importantly, I look forward to the next run now, as I write this. In the past it was a chore I was reluctant to fit in.
It is much more problematic to fit in a run these days, but I'm already more inclined to do so.
It has been very inspiring to have helped in the start of the process to set up the run this year. I have used Twitter for the first time and have found out about all of the informally set up and incredibly supportive running groups that are forming up and down the country. I have found out about all of the organisations out there providing support for people who are looking to get fit, and the mostly voluntary workers out there trying to make the most of the public places and parks in Birmingham for open air fitness.
Most of all I was inspired by the runners who have signed up for the run already, many of whom have not run a 10k distance before. I was at the first meeting of the Handsworth Park running group a fortnight ago, and felt a little strange standing by the clipboards when everyone was running.
Then I thought about my health and fitness. Well, what there is of it. The hours I put into teaching and the valuable time I set aside for my family when away from the workplace; well I thought getting exercise would be a good time sacrifice. Basically - I don't have time to get fit, I would have to take that away from the time with my kids and Emma.
But time for fitness I suppose is time that must be made. Time is the most finite resource we all have and our health is only ever there while it lasts. I can already feel myself becoming slow and useless.
So I am going to set aside the time I have after the kids have gone to bed, my static watching telly leisure time to get fit to be healthy FOR my family.
Most importantly, I am going to commit to it as far as I can. To run at all is better than not getting any exercise ever.
So I am going to use this year's run as my fitness goal like some of the people who have entered, and who have inspired me. So if you are one of those people, thank you for the wake up call.
See you on the 14th September.
Running for Pete and for you all.
I am Peter's brother and I am helping to organise the 10k run. I have ran for fitness in the past but have fell out of it very much with time pressures with my young family. However, helping out new runners has inspired me to get back out running.