My running journey started about three years ago, it was not something I’d really done outside of school, I did participate in a couple of cross-country events whilst at Leighton Middle but that was quite some time ago! My sister Emma is the sporty one in the family she did all the sports, but it did not appeal to me. The reason I decide to start was a work trip to Big Rock climbing in Milton Keynes. We were paired up, one would belay the other as he climbed and then lower him to the floor, problem was when I reached the top of the wall and let go, my colleague Dave took off. At that point, I thought I could probably do with losing a few pounds, so I signed up for parkrun that weekend. I headed over on my bike and remember not knowing where to leave my bag so ran with it and finished that run in just under 35 minutes.
I kept returning to parkrun and was starting to enjoy it, My Mum (Janet Langdon, run leader) tried to encourage me to come down to LFR but I was reluctant at first as running clubs are for proper runners (ridiculously fast people who do crazy training regiments and run races), I was just trying to lose a few pounds. However, as I was enjoying parkrun, I thought I would give LFR a go as it might help me get faster times around Rushmere.
My first night at LFR was the Chilli night (yet another LFR event we will sadly be missing due to lockdown), I enjoyed the run and had a bowl of chilli, what’s not to like? I started going more frequently on Tuesdays, tried fartlek on a Wednesday and improvers on a Thursday. As I got to know more people, it gave me more people to race around parkrun with (I know, it’s not a race but it is really). I would see who finished just ahead of me and then try to stick with them. In the new year I started signing up for races and I went a bit race crazy to begin with, a 10K at the start of January, then immediately decided I was ready for a half. I ran Watford at the beginning of February, James Bassil ran the whole thing with me and gave me pointers throughout, I still use them when I run. After Watford I signed up for half a dozen more halves and several other events that year. It was great fun, turning up in some field looking around for the familiar black, white and red kit then cheering each other on. Unfortunately, I think I was running before I could walk and over doing it a bit and I started to get leg pains. I had to take time off from running but I didn’t want to lose the momentum I had built up or the routine, so I started volunteering at the Parkruns, helping serve on cake night or turning up at events with my camera. This way I could still see all my friends from the club and it would keep me motivated, made all the easier because I had someone to specifically cheer on in Dawn. I kept trying to get back to running but then injury would strike again so I was on and off again with the running for a while.
When lockdown hit and all our events got cancelled I decided to properly rest, something I had not really done since I started running. I had always tried to get back to running as soon as I could and was always trying to pick up from where I had left off. This time though I decided to take 3 months off and then start back with a couch to 5k program, rebuilding from the basics. It was quite slow going to begin with, but Dawn and I started off with the run walk around Parsons close and built up slowly to the full 5k. Since the end of the summer I’ve been building up my distance and have gone on some of the brilliant evening runs and weekend trail runs the club has put on. The Seven Parishes and Ashridge boundary were two of my favourites, just running and chatting with the club.
I ran a 5k and half marathon PBs last week, so I think I’m ready to start looking at running more races and longer races. The sub 1:30 half no longer seems as ridiculous as it once did so I will look at that, I want to tackle a marathon, in the current climate it will probably be just about me running the distance rather than an event, I also want to run Oakley, I have 2 hoodies and I’ve never run the thing, I think I should!
I was wrong LFR isn’t just for ridiculously fast people with crazy training routines, you can do as little or as much as you like, some weeks you want to go flat out, others just to run and a chat. I’ve run with LFR to lose weight, I’ve for fun and I’ve run to improve my running. It’s reassuring to know there is a wealth of knowledge and experience in the club so someone will always be able to offer advice or guidance if I ask.