These crazy legs got serious

I must apologise for being a tad disconnected the last week – I have been in a “pre race relax week” which translated for me as “try to go to bed early, keep a calm head, don’t over do it & ‘oh, let’s make the work week as busy as possible’ the latter was not intended as pre-race preparation”.

You see yesterday was the Bath Half Marathon, the race I had been training for with a scary personal goal.  A goal I have to say that I thought almost unachievable when it was conceived last July.  It was a goal to run it in under 2 hours which meant hacking 17 minutes off my personal best (2011) & almost 25 minutes off last year’s time.  When it was conceived I was almost too scared to dream that I could achieve it, since that would elevate me (in my mind) to being a different kind of runner – one that chases a time as opposed to a survivor, enduring the 13.2 miles (or is it 13.1 miles – I get confused), getting round in as few pieces as possible (this has been my previous experience!).   I knew though that I would be so proud to get in under 2 hours.  And so it became my target & I became a driven obsessive: elevating races & runs at weekends above the opportunity to socialise; worrying about the impact of the Christmas break on my training; cutting out booze after Christmas except for birthdays (yes- it’s true!!)

I have never been so nervous in the lead up to a race.  In some ways a busy work week helped distract me, because every time it was mentioned, I got huge wobbles in the pit of my stomach.  Even though my training gave me every indication that I was on track, I had not ran further than 11 miles at my “target” speed.  And at the end of the 11 miles I was wasted.  Could I pull out the stops on the day?  Would adrenaline, crowds & atmosphere pull me through?  I just didn’t know.

My confidence waned.  I’d found due to the finish time I predicted when I entered (pre July, not realising I would improve so much) I could not start in the same pen & run with my buddies I’d been training with & I’d have to run on my own.   So many mental challenges that I had to overcome (& that’s a big part of running for me, my head)

2013 Bath Half Marathon Winnie

But I did it!  I came in at 1:58:42!  I was so emotional when I finished I was on the verge of a blub.

So what was my secret?  (I write this in case it can help anyone else, if anyone recognises themselves & any scrap of my experience can give them a lift)

  • I invested in a personal trainer (twice a week) – one that focused on the mechanics of running & gave me exercises to strengthen key muscle groups, identify my imbalances & work on them, core strength & balance being key.  He has never seen me run.  He is the one that set my sub 2 hour goal with me in July.  He was/ is as committed to my goal as I was myself- here’s to Simon at Vibe Fitness.  I reorganised my expenditure & habits to be able to afford it.
  • Having invested financially in a personal trainer & having such a motivational goal really lined up my commitment.  It was a case of just how good can I be?  And all the things I did fell in behind that.
  • For my longer runs I trained with faster people that ran at the pace I wanted to run at – sounds obvious, but training with people slightly faster than you helps get you faster!
  • This being a local race, our long training runs often incorporated the last mile and a half – it’s a notorious energy sapper, slightly uphill & always that bit farther than you think.  It became more familiar to us & therefore decreased its negativity.
  • I entered races as part of my training – helped me to get faster, because oddly (or not ;-s ) there’s something about the atmosphere at a race, no matter how small, that raises your own personal game.  Entering a 10 mile race three weeks before the Half was a great test of whether I was on track.

2013 Bath Half Marathon  Winnie

  • You can probably tell that all of this helped me to get my head sorted out & take it seriously, however for the race itself, since I had done it three times before & knew the route & where it is I would be challenged I created an awesome playlist.  (This year we were allowed music with one headphone, previous years it had not been allowed).  I spent Saturday working through how long tracks lasted, where I wanted to listen to them, where I needed certain tracks.  I had tracks to prepare myself while I waited for the start (Skyfall by Adele was most effective  at creating a goosebumpy expectation if you’re curious).  I ran up the last mile to “Gonna Fly Now” (theme from Rocky) & “More” by Bobby Darin was playing as I reached the finish line. (Tracks can be found on my running page)

There.  By writing about this I feel a sense of completion.  What will be my next goal?  Not sure yet.  I have another Half (a place in the Great North Run no less – excitement or what?) In September, & a number of local 10ks to enter.  Today is a day off.  I shall now head to the sewing room.  I’m sorry I have got behind with some of my intended posts – they exist in my mind, & I have lots to catch up on – a few new garments to show & some desert island sewing – but this might explain where my head has been.

92 thoughts on “These crazy legs got serious

  1. Annabel Vita

    Congratulations! How wonderful to have set a challenging goal and then achieved it! I go for infrequent runs but I wouldn’t call myself a runner (yet) but I’ll come back to this post if I get more serious.

    Once again, congratulations and well done!

    Reply
  2. didyoumakethat

    Phew, Winnie, you’ve definitely gone up to the next level! I haven’t run since before Christmas and am terrified to even contemplate it. Very interesting to hear about your experiences with a personal trainer. You’ve got the bug, girlfriend! Very well done, this is an amazing achievement. You deserve to feel very proud of yourself.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thanks Karen, & for you good luck messages! They all helped :-)
      You’ve got Ella, how to fit in running as well? That’s a challenge and a half – at least you’re getting your outdoor fixes with your beautiful furry friend :-)

      Reply
  3. Steph

    Congratulations!!! Fantastic time – I remember doing my first half last year and being so proud to have completed at all that I got a bit weepy!

    thanks for the tips – they’re really helpful. I’m doing my second half in 6 weeks time and aiming for 2 hours. I think I’m on track, but these tips will help. Never thought about getting a personal trainer, but it sounds like it really helped you.

    Gxxood luck for the next run!

    Reply
        1. scruffybadgertime Post author

          You must be doing the Brighton half then, hope your training continues well, sounds like you’re confident, Steph, good on you!! My leggings are from sweaty Betty ( sale!!)

          Reply
  4. karine

    This.Is.Awesome. Congratulations ! Félicitations ! You do give me ideas to try to improve my practise and consider more challenging goals. Indeed, having the help of a professional trainer must be valuable. And I love how you chose your playlist according to the route !
    Thank you for sharing this great moment.

    Reply
  5. Sabs

    Well done Scrufster! (can i call you that?!) That’s an amazing achievement, you must be all head-in-the-clouds today. Really inspiring too – I’ve picked up running again and am trying to increase the distance – I’m currently doing about 20k a week in 5 to 6k blocks but hoping to up that by the summer. Setting targets is def the way to go (altho I’m not sure I’ll be at your level anytime soon!) Enjoy your day off!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Of course you can ;-)

      It’s great to hear about other people’s training routines, especially with the summer coming. I enjoy running in the winter and find it helps me through the long cold season. But summer, I’m need to get better running in the warm and resist temptation ( bbqs and beer!!)

      Hope your training carries on so well as it is now

      Reply
  6. Alexandra

    Congratulations! There’s nothing more amazing than setting yourself a challenge that scares you, and totally knocking it out of the park!

    I do a lot of exercise, but running scares the crap out of me (I’m prone to shin splints, and when I starting running when I lived in Paris, I ended up totally crippling myself!) and am so impressed with people that can run for any length of time at all!

    I really love this post, because just the way you describe it all gives me butterflies in my stomach! Totally totally impressed and chuffed for you!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      That’s such a lovely thing to say Alexandra, I’m glad it’s had a positive effect and wasn’t too boring! Shame about shin splints and injuries, but if you’ve found something else that makes you feel good that works for you, that’s good. My friend got shin splints through training and she persevered, got physio, and wouldn’t let anyone talk her out of it. She is my running hero! ( and she knows it!)

      Reply
  7. Sam

    Wow! What an amazing achievement. Huge congratulations to you.
    I used to run, but gave it up due to a combination of it giving me quite bad pain in my hip and laziness. When I read of achievements such as yours I’m almost tempted to give it another try.

    Reply
  8. Elizabeth

    Wow, that is so impressive. I have only ever run 2.5 miles at the most. I just can’t seem to break that barrier. I would love to be able to run races like you do. Well done!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thank you Elizabeth. You never know, it might fall into place if you want it later. I hadn’t run, certainly not at school, it just seemed to be the right thing at this time in my life. And didn’t start running with races or a half marathon in mind!

      Reply
  9. sylkotwist

    Congratulations Winnie, that’s amazing! You put me to shame, I am soooo lazy! I did the GNR about ten years ago (not at your speed though!) and it was an amazing experience. The hardest part for me was the walk back to the station afterwards, but the atmosphere is priceless, well done!

    Reply
  10. Andrea

    Winnie, huge congratulations! Since I’m not a runner (bad knees and all that) I don’t often comment on your running posts but I always feel inspired by them. Good for you for staying focused and achieving your goal and all the best on your future races.

    Reply
  11. Tamsin W-P

    Wow, that’s a lot to fit in one head!! Well done on your time and reaching your goal. You deserve a bit of time off… I look forward to seeing your recent makes.

    Reply
  12. Vicki Kate

    Winnie, I am in awe! That is incredible; running the race and taking that much off your time! Hurrah and hip hip to you!

    Reply
  13. Adrienne

    Wow Winnie, I’m so proud of you! I’m so glad you shared your journey with us, because a lot of us sewists are also runners. It’s really inspirational to hear that you’ve worked so hard and ultimately achieved your goal! I really appreciated your running tips, too. I’m running with a faster group right now and it really does help, although it can be hard sometimes because it’s not comfortable. Right now, my goal is running Stockholm marathon in 4 hour 30 min. If one day I’m able to break the two hour mark for the half marathon, I will also consider myself a different kind of runner. Definitely. Maybe in the fall, you’ve inspired me…

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Gosh adrienne, your the one I’m in awe of, training for a whole marathon is a whole different ball game!!!
      If anything I’ve written helps you I’d be so glad, even if it is reading about running and being motivated in other ways. I find I like reading about runners and their stories, it all fuels my thirst for running inspiration. I hope your training carries on going well. I truly am inspired by you ! (4.5 hours too! Wow thats a great target)

      Reply
  14. Christine

    Reading this and looking at your photos I could only think how happy you looked. What could be better.
    Christine

    Reply
  15. LinB

    Oh, good on you, Scruffy B! I know this was a big commitment of time and energy. I am proud of you, and hope you are proud of yourself for such a good finish.

    Reply
  16. MrsC (Maryanne)

    Gosh that is so fantastic and inspiring to read! I couldn’t run between two lampposts and I get a huge kick out of reading about your achievements. Well done you!!! xo

    Reply
  17. Jenny

    My goodness, that is just an astounding accomplishment. I cannot for the life of me fathom how someone could run for TWO HOURS! (Sorry, I mean 1:58:42!) Unbelieveable.

    Btw, how far into the race were you when that 2nd photo was taken? Running and grinning from ear to ear? I thought they would have been mutually exclusive activities :s

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Jenny, that last photo is right near the finish line! That is pure relief you see! Thank you for your lovely comment, you’re right, the 78 seconds are very important !

      Reply
  18. Philippa

    Wow! Your attitude and commitment are inspiring. I will remember this post as I struggle to reach my own much smaller fitness goals! Many congrats on reaching one of yours!

    Reply
  19. Becky

    I am officially awed! How stupendous to set an ambitious goal, strive for it, and then meet it! You deserved to meet your goal. Hard work and perseverance are truly to be admired. You are an inspiration in so many ways!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Coo, thank you Becky, that’s so kind. I think it’s great to have the chance that makes you feel good about something you’ve done, whatever it is. Lots of positive energy is good!

      Reply
  20. Kbenco

    How fabulous. That is an excellent time. I have run in 2 x 1/2 marathons, and am definitely in the “will I survive this” group so my awe of your achievement comes with true knowledge of how darned difficult it would be to get there. Wow! Go Winnie! How did you fit any sewing in with all that training?

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Aww, thank you!! Yes, the running and sewing balance is often at odds, since they use the same non work time, and too much of one reduces the likelihood of the other in terms of energy and will!

      Reply
  21. Kerry

    Well done Winnie! What a fab achievement. Very satisfying to have all your hard work pay off. Good luck with your training for the Great North Run too x

    Reply
  22. Lauren

    Had to de-lurk myself to congratulate you on setting your new PB! I am just getting into training for a half marathon in May – I walk, so my goal is 2:55-or-less for this one (as it’s off-road – through autumnal (southern-hemisphere) vineyards in fact, and instead of a medal, finishers receive a bottle of bubbly from the winery that sponsors the race!). I like the idea of a personal trainer to work on the muscle mechanics: that’s got me thinking and plotting….

    (also, I love your wide leg trousers in the next post: v stylish!)

    Reply
  23. Jayne

    I have read and admired your blog for a long time ,I just wanted to say in response to your post that as a sewist a runner and a personal trainer I feel a lot “yay! ” for your recent half glory !!!! I am also doing the great north and may well add bows to my shoes….so if you see me wave :)

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Yay Jayne !! Thank you for leaving me such an encouraging comment!! I hope you do wear speed bows, it could be a sewing running movement!! I shall keep my eyes peeled …. Good luck with the training :-)

      Reply
  24. Pingback: Great North Run: Run scruffy, run!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>