Running For Life

On the 25th September 2016 I did something that I have not done for many years.

I took my first steps on the “Couch To 5K” program. I had downloaded the app, selected my vocal coach, you have a choice of celeb voices to listen to and when Michael Johnson says run you run I can assure you! I had not run for a number of years, however, I figured that as a keen cyclist I would have the leg strength and endurance to complete the course. How wrong I could be! On my first outing I couldn’t manage more than a minute without having to stop. Fortunately, the scheme is designed in such a manner that builds up your running strength gradually – walk a minute then jog a minute…. and so on.

It was the aforementioned cycling that prompted the desire to start running. I don’t cycle a great deal in the winter and was looking for something to do to maintain my leg strength in my close season. I had not ran since 2001 when I completed the Great North Run. That was a bad event for me, I had not prepared properly (with the benefit of hindsight) and had started at too quick a pace resulting in me barely being able to jog after 8 miles. I resolved “never again” at that point and indeed my exercise regime was non existent until I discovered cycling.

The couch to 5k scheme worked well for me all the way up until Week 3. Then I got the first of many calf injuries. This is apparently common for inexperienced runners and the trick is to know when you have recovered enough to resume. Something I didn’t master! Long story short, with repetitive injuries it took me 6 months until I could finally manage to jog for 30 minutes without stopping. So what to do for the next challenge? Well I attempted a 10k run in May and couldn’t complete without stopping. That was my limit I figured, so it was back to the bike for me. However, I then got the opportunity to run in The Great North Run for The Anthony Nolan Trust. After much umming and arring I decided to go for it for two very good reasons.

Firstly, The Great North Run is a race that I have previous history with. Prior to my 2001 effort I had completed the event on a number of occasions as a teenager, my pb was a respectable 1 hour 45 min (in 1987 I believe if memory serves) and having grown up in the North East it is a route and region that has a special place in my heart.

Secondly, I have been inspired by the work of Anthony Nolan. I have been introduced to the charity through a family friend who required a bone marrow transplant. The donor was identified through the Anthony Nolan Trust. It costs the trust over £60 to recruit and match every donor. Effectively the cost of saving a life. My wife Sally has recently joined Linton Jazz Band, a band who plays for charity and who are supporting Anthony Nolan this year. The opportunity to contribute to the fund raising was too good to refuse.

So with a goal for the year established I have reluctantly had to forego the bike temporarily. I attempted to carry on but yet another leg injury (this time to my right Achilles, a recurring problem) meant that I was struggling to keep up with both sports. Finally I have got to a stage where I can hopefully do myself justice, running with the aid of ankle supports. So, providing the ankle holds I will be taking part in the Great North Run this Sunday, almost a year since I had taken my first tentative jogging steps.

To sponsor me, follow this link . Thank you.

About Graeme

Just over 40 and happy hubby/parent with a fondness for saucy British humour, especially Carry On Films. Nickname of Gremlin aquired at school prior to the film of the same name came out and stayed with me ever since, which I'm rather chuffed about.
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