My Sporty Beauty Favourites

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited by TheeMiddleSis to a blogger event at L’Occitane Cambridge in partnership with beautiful accessories company Stella and Dot. It was brilliant to be able to meet some other bloggers from the area, but I did think that I wouldn’t really be able to blog about the event itself as it didn’t really align with my blogger “brand” (such as it is. Hi mum!).

But then I was preparing for a run with Ely Runners and I realised that there are actually some beauty items that as a runner / cyclist / general sporty type – with the constant exposure to the elements that I have to deal with day after day – I would be lost without. So here are my top 10 “sporty” (ish) beauty items.

Estee Lauder DayWear Moisturiser

First things first – my face moisturiser has to have SPF. This is something I won’t scrimp on under any circumstances, but luckily Estee Lauder’s DayWear Oil Free SPF25 moisturiser is spot on. Not only does it tick the usual box of reducing the first signs of ageing such as dullness and fine lines, but it also helps to create a barrier against pollutants which is ideal for city-centre cyclists, as well as offering their “best UVA defence”. From a user point of view it’s super light so sinks into the skin really quickly, and it has a fresh cucumber scent which is lovely first thing in the morning. Whether this will be enough to protect my skin against the elements in winter remains to be seen, but it’s been perfect for me this summer.

Body Moisturiser

With all the cycling and running I do the skin on my legs and arms is exposed to the elements a lot, which means attractively dry and sometimes even scaly skin. Delightful. I have never found a body moisturiser that I’ve been faithful to as there has always been something I didn’t like about it, whether it’s the smell or the fact that it takes an AGE to soak into the skin. Typically, the one I really fell for was one my mum brought back from the US for me, which means I can’t easily get my mitts on it in the UK. It’s by Bath and Body Works and it’s their Cashmere Glow Ultra Shea Body Cream. I loved everything about it, from the smell to the texture to its incredible ability to keep my skin hydrated for hours. But until they open a shop in the UK (please please please please please!) I need an alternative, so I was pretty impressed with the L’Occitane Almond Milk Concentrate samples I received at the blogger event. I’ve used them for three days now and my skin seems to be happier as a result so I’m planning to invest in a full size version. Whether or not I’ll like it enough to become loyal to it remains to be seen.

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Estee Lauder DayWear, £42  *  L’Occitane Milk Concentrate, £38

Insect Repellent

The first time I went running with Ely Runners I got attacked by what can only have been an invisible, poison-filled dinosaur. Or it was possibly a horsefly. Either way, my bite became infected and my ankle swelled up so much you couldn’t make out the ankle bone any more. This led to about 8 days of no running, an interaction with Louis de Bernieres where he charmingly informed me that Rupert Brooke died from an infected insect bite, and left me with a lovely scar to add to my already large collection on my right leg (I’m somewhat accident-prone). Needless to say I swiftly invested in some Ben’s Insect repellent which smells faintly of citrus and is only a little bit greasy, and I’ve been bite free on my evening runs ever since.

Suntan Lotion

This is an absolute no brainer. If you’re going to be out in the sun, whether it’s in summer or winter, you need to protect your skin. I never wear anything lower than SPF25 (my go-to is SPF30) because I have pasty Irish skin and burn ridiculously easily. However there is obviously a big problem with vitamin D deficiency in the sunlight-sparse UK at the moment, so you need to try and strike a balance between getting enough sunlight for your bones but not too much for your skin. Generally I don’t wear suntan lotion on my cycle into work in the morning when the sun is lower and I can get a bit of vitamin D goodness on my arms and parts of my back (I have a cracking racer back tan thanks to my obsession with Sweaty Betty Athlete Vests) but I slather it on before a running session. At the moment I’m favouring Ambre Solaire Clear Protect.

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Ben’s Insect Repellent, Approx £7  *  Ambre Solaire Clear Protect £7.50

Elemis Sp@Home Aching Muscle Super Soak

The name of this product pretty much tells you everything you need to know, but basically you dump three capfuls of this under running water for your bath, and the extracts of birch, juniper, clove, alpine lavender, wild thyme and blue chamomile, combined with sea salt, warm the muscles and recharge the body. As you can probably tell I copied and pasted that directly from their own description, but only because it explains how good it is far better than I ever could. If this is a little bit pricey for you Waitrose do a decent alternative as part of their SenSpa range.

Compeed

The ONLY thing to use on a post-race blister if you’re unlucky enough to get one (or more likely in may case, if you get one from wearing stupid heels on a night out and then have to run the next day).

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SenSpa Detox Muscle Soak, £5.95  *  Compeed, from £4.25

Batiste Dry Shampoo

Forget your Nike Flyknits or your TomTom watches. The best thing ever to happen to runners is dry shampoo. I get my hair dyed pink by Gemma at Salon 46 four times a year, and to protect the colour I have to wash it as little as I can socially get away with. Cue the miracle that is dry shampoo. When I’ve done a weights session, badminton or yoga I can spritz this on the roots and I’m good to go in a matter of seconds. Obviously if I’ve done an epic sprint or hill session I’m going to have to wash my hair properly, but dry shampoo means I can get away with washing it three times a week instead of six or seven. I usually pick a volume one because I have fine hair, but I’m a sucker for nice-smelling products so am partial to the cherry and oriental ones too.

Mama Mio Lucky Legs

I seriously love this stuff. Mama Mio are experts in pregnancy skincare, and I’m not sure I remember how I stumbled across this product but I’ve been hooked for some time. The cooling gel with energising oils and spearmint is meant to ease that heavy feeling (a third more blood in your circulation system when pregnant + water retention = leaden legs) so I find it AWESOME slathered on after a long run or hill session.

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Batiste Dry Shampoo, £3.99  *  Mama Mio Lucky Legs, £19.50

Lip Balm

I’m constantly fighting with my dry, chapped lips, and at the moment I’m obsessed with Maybelline’s Baby Lips. I love it when lip balms have a bit of colour to them, and the one I’m most taken with is Pink Shock from their Electro Range. I have about four of that colour chucked into different bags but of course I can never find one when I really need to.

Deodorant

Of any kind. Seriously, if I have to explain this one to you I don’t want to be friends with you.

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Maybelline Baby Lips, £2.99  *  Dove Invisible Dry, £2.30

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Why you should Volunteer at a Parkrun

If you’ve read some of my blog posts before, you’ll know I’m a big fan of the Parkrun movement. Anything that gives people the opportunity to get fit for free in a positive and welcoming environment gets a big thumbs up from me.

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See? Thumbs up!

But hang on a second. It’s not completely free is it? At each Milton Parkrun (the one I attend most often) a minimum of 22 volunteers are needed to ensure the that the run happens efficiently and – most importantly – safely. People are donating their time to make sure that 400+ people get to enjoy their timed 5k for free each Saturday morning.

Now I’ve only recently become a super keen Parkrunner after trying it once in 2012 and for reasons unknown to me only returning again in April this year. I think my dislike of early mornings (especially at the weekend) combined with the thought of having to schlep 14 miles for a run I could do around Ely just seemed like too much hassle. But after being drawn back in by Pete, I’ve now realised just what a fantastic concept Parkrun really is, and how great it is for measuring how much I’m improving at my running.

Parkrun MapJust look how many Parkruns there are! This makes me happy.

To give you some data on the Milton Parkrun, there have been 283 runs to date, and it celebrated it’s 5th birthday on the 31st January this year. On average it has 283 runners each week, but I suspect this number isn’t a fair representation of the “current” average as I usually see finishers in the low 400s each time I run. Last week saw 440 finishers cross the line (the highest ever has been 500).

In addition to this, as of today, 9994 unique people have run the Milton Parkrun, so how on earth should they ever find themselves in a position where they’re struggling for volunteers? Fiona English, who was Run Director last weekend, was the ONLY Run Director out of 7 on Cambridge Parkrun’s books who was available. Without her, the run simply wouldn’t have happened. Fiona is a keen runner who gives up her runs to allow others to enjoy theirs (and she’s already back on the roster for the run on the 4th September). Many people like Fiona are committed to playing their part in making Parkrun happen.

So I decided that after 8 runs (7 at Milton) it was my turn to do my bit, so I thought I would try to cycle from Waterbeach station (something I’ve been meaning to do for a while so that I know how to get to Parkrun should driving not be an option) and I opted for barcode scanning, so that if my train were badly delayed it wouldn’t be a major disaster as I wouldn’t really be needed until 9:15 at the earliest (to scan the super speedy runners).

wpid-img_20150822_110310.jpgLovely morning for a bike ride.

As I cycled along the river past Horningsea I realised that it was actually pretty flipping warm for 8:30am on a Saturday, so I was ever so slightly smug that I had picked this Saturday to volunteer. I hate running in the heat – I struggle MASSIVELY with it and generally avoid it whenever possible (roll on winter). When I arrived at Milton Country Park I realised I was on the opposite side to where the run starts, and the place is quite frankly a flipping maze, so I just belted around on my bike, imagining myself pelting into poor unsuspecting Parkrunners. Luckily I suddenly found myself by the 2k marker and finally arrived at the start with 8 minutes to spare, hot and just a little bit bothered.

Getting myself set up with what I needed to volunteer couldn’t have been easier. I just got my name ticked off the list and was handed a high vis vest, a barcode scanner and a print out of position barcodes for the odd few finish tokens that don’t have a barcode to scan. I then got to chat to a few other volunteers before Fiona conducted the usual pre-race briefing to all the runners, which this time included a pretty serious plea for volunteers for future runs.

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Next came the fun bit. As my volunteering role wouldn’t start for another fifteen minutes at least, I got to stand with many of the other volunteers to cheer on the runners. Watching people run is one of the best feelings, from seeing those who will be finishing in sub 20 minutes belting out from the trees after the first lap, to those with dogs and pushchairs and first timers pushing themselves through the heat. Whether they will be finishing in 16, 25 or 45 minutes, everyone seemed to enjoy hearing us whistle and clap and shout “well done!” or “keep going!”. Getting a smile or wave or even a return clap in acknowledgement was fully cockle-warming.

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The joy of Parkrun summed up by one runner.

After the majority of runners started hitting the 3k mark, I saw the front runners appear for their final 200m sprint to the finish and so took up my place at my little station ready to start scanning, muttering over and over to myself “person then position” in the hope that I wouldn’t actually muck it up and scan everyone’s barcodes in the wrong order. Getting to congratulate tired, hot and sweaty runners who were (mostly!) grinning ear to ear was so much fun, and it was utterly lovely when someone thanked me for volunteering. I got to see a few familiar faces too, scanning the codes of Ely Runners Rich and John and seeing my sister’s friend Anne who told me that Stacy was considering coming along to one (come on Stace)!

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By about 10:10 my work was done, and I handed over my kit before using the Google Maps on my phone (!) to navigate my way out of the park again. I had had such a brilliant time, and getting a text from Parkrun thanking me for volunteering in place of my usual results text was a really lovely touch. Not even my late train home could affect my mood.

So, if you’re someone who goes to Parkrun pretty much every week, you should be looking at volunteering every 15 runs or so. And if you’re unlucky enough to be injured, find the positive in the situation and use it as a reason to finally volunteer and keep connected to the running world. Parkrun is a community of utter awesomeness, but it needs people to be generous with their time. So don’t be that person who just takes but never gives anything back. No one likes that guy.

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Nice work everyone.

Throwing a Wobbly at Wandlebury

Today Alan said “what happens on Wandlebury stays on Wandlebury”, but I feel like you’re all part of my running journey now so I’m going to share what happened today. But good grief, I hardly know where to start. I had an absolute shocker of a training session. I mean I cried. A lot. Isn’t running meant to be fun?

It all started off ok. Alan drove me over to Wandlebury where we met Mary who was fresh from winning her category at the World Masters Championships Half Marathon in Lyon (she finished in a crazy time of 90:49)! I think this now puts her something insane like 4th in the world in her category.

We were set to do 12 sprints up a hill in 3 sets of 4. The recovery during sprints was just a jog down to the beginning, but we had a 5 minute recovery between each of the 3 sets.

The first set of 4 was OK. I was staying ahead of Mary on the final sprint but during the long recovery I realised I’d gone off too fast. AGAIN. Seriously, pigeons learn faster than me. I started to panic about the fact that I had 8 more sprints to go.

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5 and 6 were passable, but at the end of sprint 7 I cracked. I just found myself doubled over, gulping for air in-between sobs. I felt utterly embarrassed and don’t know what it was about this session that was having such an extreme effect on me. I’ve struggled physically before but this was epic. Alan gave me a talking to (I can’t really remember what he said) and I took some deep breaths and jogged back down to the start, but sadly the worst was yet to come.

Halfway up lap 8 I buckled, sat down in the dirt and started sobbing AGAIN. I told Mary to go on but she came back, grabbed me by the wrist and hauled me to my feet, forcing me to finish the lap and set 2. It was not dissimilar to a toddler having a tantrum in Tesco before being dragged away by a frustrated adult.

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By some miracle I got through the last set of 4 with Mary shouting encouragements over her shoulder. But it hurt and was miserable and I felt like I’d let Alan AND Mary down despite Mary trying to buoy my spirits by telling me it was nice to run against someone so fast. Ridiculously Alan even offered me his arm afterwards, making me wonder who it was who was less than three weeks out from a heart attack. FFS. I then trudged back to the car, my head pounding and generally feeling like I was a bit drunk.

After a super quick turnaround at the Sports Centre I bombed it back to the city centre on my bike to catch up with Theemiddlesis at Novi. This cheered me up no end as I managed to see the funny side (bolstered no doubt by my amazing rhubarb cocktail) of what was essentially a full-on emotional strop, something Ally could fully sympathise with after her (now infamous) ski-based tantrum.

When I got home I realised that I’m still just putting too much pressure on myself. I’ve been running for 5 years and only had serious training for 4 months, whereas Mary has been running for about 30 years and is quite honestly jaw-droppingly good. The fact that I can even come close to keeping up with her is incredible, but I always feel like I’m lacking.

Mary also made an interesting point when we walked back to the car. She said that part of my problem may be that I take my running for granted. What she meant by this was that she has had times where she couldn’t run, including a really rough 4 year period. This means that when she runs she enjoys every minute because she’s just so grateful she can. Although I did mess up my IT band which took me out of running for 8 months it happened when I was nowhere near as serious about my running. It’s a really interesting point and one I’m going to take on board while I try and sort my stupid, crazy head out.

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Back on Track with the Coach – Literally

So last Thursday I was planning to drag myself down to the track for my first sprint session since Alan’s heart had done its little “cry for help” and given us all a stark reminder that regardless of how active you are, the fuel you take on board has got to be good too. Despite being in hospital Alan had been regularly texting me tips and training plans in between watching episodes of Emmerdale, so I knew I needed to do 300m sprints. I had brilliantly forgotten my Nike Sportswatch so it was going to be interesting measuring my times anyway, but I admit I was a bit taken aback when I got a text from Alan:

wpid-screenshot_2015-08-17-23-34-13-1.pngAlan then went quiet for an hour, so being the rational person I am (I once thought my mum had died when she didn’t answer the phone when in fact her phone line had gone down), I assumed texting me had taxed Alan so much he’d been carted back off to Papworth to have another stent put in. But then this happened:

wpid-screenshot_2015-08-17-23-35-23-1.pngFor those of you who know Alan, he’s a stubborn as anything, so if he’s decided he wants a coaching session, that’s what’s going to happen. But I have to admit that when I cycled into Wilberforce Road and saw him leaning against a steeplechase barrier, watching Goldie Sayers hurling javelins across the site in her last practice there before flying to Beijing for the IAAF World Championships, a big smile spread across my face. it was like he’d never been away. After a bear hug it was down to business as usual.

Sprinting sessions are never my favourite, as I’m simply not built for short bursts of extreme speeds, and five years of running long distances means my sprinting technique was non-existent before I met Alan. He told me he wanted me to aim for 62-63 seconds per 300m since I was at 65-66 the last time we did this (for context, the women’s record at this distance is 35.30 seconds, set by Ana Guevara in 2003), so it was a reasonable aim over such a short distance. So I did the first one in 56 seconds, leading Alan to say “Blimey girl, what’s got into you?”

While this might sound like a good thing, I knew I had gone off too fast. It’s like I forget I have to do it 7 more times. Sprints 2 and 3 were ok (58 seconds ish), but on sprint 4 (60 seconds) my quads were burning and I was gasping “I’ve lost it!” as I went over the line. Way to keep a positive mental attitude there Thomas.

It was raining so Alan and I spent my recovery under the Pavilion balcony in the dry, and he did that infuriating (but also fair) thing of tapping his head and saying “it’s all up here”. And although there was no denying that my legs hurt, a 4 minute recovery should be more than enough for me. I don’t have to try and beat myself (or anyone else for that matter) on every lap. The whole point of this training is consistency and pacing. Alan also decided that now was the time to tell me that if he collapsed, I had to spray the drug he had in his pocket under his tongue. So it’s a good job he didn’t keel over at the start of the session then.

So somehow, I managed to get a hold of myself. I think it was partly managing to control my head and partly wanting to do Alan proud after everything that had happened over the last fortnight, to show him how much I appreciated his schlepping out to see me 6 days after his operation (not that I had much choice in the matter). I managed to do the last lap exactly how I’d started – in 56 seconds. Boom. Alan told me it was the best I’d ever run, which has got to be one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.

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So all in all it was a fantastic session, and as we said goodbye to Goldie and wished her luck in Beijing, I felt like I’d left the last 2 weeks of stress pummeled into the track where it belongs. It felt flipping awesome. And then on Saturday I managed a new 5k PB at the Milton Parkrun:

wpid-screenshot_2015-08-18-11-54-24-1.pngAnd that’s what this is all about. Working hard and seeing the pay off. Come on sub-21.

Kevin Henry League vs. Parkrun – the Ups and Downs of the Good Old 5k

So after I decided to sign up for the Ely Runners it came as a bit of a shock to find out that their next league race would be just 10 days later. Having taken 5 years to decide to join a club it’s pretty clear that it’s not in my nature to rush into anything running-wise. But I also know from Pete that as a small club ER need as many runners as they can to take part in these races.

The Kevin Henry league is made up of 6 nearby clubs: ER, the Saffron Striders, Haverhill Running Club, the Newmarket Joggers, Cambridge & Coleridge and the Cambridge Tri Club. Between April and September, each club hosts a Thursday night 5k run which is open to anyone aged 14 and over. Previously, ER had been part of the league as a guest club, but in order to continue participating in the league, they had to host their own race, the first of which was last Thursday.

Anyone who knows Ely will know that there is nowhere suitable to run a 5k that doesn’t either involve roads or mind-numbing multiple laps that can be difficult to monitor in a race situation, so we headed out to Witchford to run 5k on the disused WWII airfield concrete tracks.

When I arrived (courtesy of Ely Runner Andy who gave me a lift), there was a real buzz in the air amongst club members. But that did little to settle my nerves. Now anyone who knows me (hello Andrew Caines!) knows I am a NIGHTMARE pre-race, and that I find myself standing on the start line wondering why on EARTH I continue to do this to myself. The fact that I didn’t manage to locate Emily who had my club vest until about 5 minutes before the start (how we had managed to miss each other neither of us could work out) meant that I was panicking that I would run only to be disqualified at the end.

But I was mostly worried that I would embarrass myself and disgrace my newly acquired vest. I really just didn’t want to let anyone down.

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As it turns out I didn’t embarrass myself, but I was disappointed with how much I struggled. The trouble with running on an airfield is that there is no shade on a hot summer evening, and the track itself was somewhat uneven with tractor tyres leaving behind large grooves in the ground. By 2.5k my throat was completely dry, a sensation that always makes me slightly panicky. By 4k, after failing to raise even a hint of a smile for Andrew and his waiting camera, I was seriously contemplating walking. But I kept telling myself that I couldn’t do that on my first ever run for the club, and when I saw the finish line flags I don’t think I have ever been so relieved and sprinted to the end. At least I still had that left in the tank.

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Andrew caught my better running side anyway. Love the sun flare.

I ended up finishing in 21:49, which is a decent improvement on the last hot summer evening run I did (Girton 5k in 22:08). I was also the 2nd Ely female finisher, which I’m really proud of. I just hope I can try and get a handle on my nerves and fear of the heat in time for C&C’s race on the 10th September, the final one of the season.

Also this seems like a good moment to say huge thanks to the Ely Runners who sacrificed their run to marshal at this brilliant event.

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Both feet off the ground! Proof I actually run!

And so on to Saturday morning’s Milton Parkrun, where I quite frankly thought I would struggle to even get going thanks to a restless week that had affected my sleep and stress levels. I teamed up with Pete and Rich from ER, and after a cool Friday I was hacked off that it was warm again. But Pete is excellent at talking me off the proverbial ledge and told me to give it a go because – horror of horrors – I might actually enjoy it.

And you know what? I really did. When Rich had told me he had run his best Parkrun 2 days after a KH league race I thought it must have been a fluke. But as I did the first 1k, I realised Rich was just in front of me. Knowing that he can be a bit of a speedster, I decided to see if I could try and keep him in sight. And by some miracle, I did.

Then at about 3k, another girl overtook me, but didn’t pull away. I decided to just sit on her shoulder and use her as a pacer, enjoying letting someone else almost control my speed so that I didn’t have to think about it too much. And the genius thing is, she was wearing headphones, so I don’t think she realised that I stuck to her the whole way round. At 400m from the finish I thought “it’s hers. I’m going to have to let her take this.” At 300m I thought “Hmm, she’s still not pulling away.” At about 150m I thought “screw this I’m going to give it a shot”, so I heard Alan’s voice booming in my ears to bring my arms back and knees up and I SPRINTED. At the end she came up to me and congratulated me, saying she just didn’t have enough left to keep up.

Waiting for those results was agonising. According to Rich’s watch, I had a shout at a PB (even though in the last Milton Parkrun I did I placed 51st, and this time I was 75th, there were a lot of speedy juniors). The results usually come through around 11:30, but by 12:30 I was losing my mind. Then a text from Pete came:

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I have never been more giddy. Looks like Rich was on to something! After a physically and emotionally draining KH 5k, everything just went right on Saturday morning. I ended up beating that girl by 4 seconds, and I was 1st in my age category. What an amazing sensation.

Now without making a HUGE deal about this because he will kill me if I do, there is a reason why I wanted to give my all to these two runs. My awesome and inspiring coach Alan had a heart attack last weekend, and I quite simply wanted to do him proud. Before you all worry, he’s doing fine and is back home after having a procedure in Papworth and a telling off by just about everyone who knows him to stop doing so blinking much. But it might be a little while (try telling him that) before he’s making me swear/cry/nearly vomit again, so in the meantime I’m going to keep working my arse off and keep making the “old bastard very happy” (his words, not mine).

And before I go, can we all take a moment to appreciate the size of my new running vest? Beats a 4 year old’s dinosaur gilet I suppose.

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The Start of Something New – Joining Ely Runners

You know what? When people asked me why I wasn’t part of a Running Club, I never really had a decent answer. I think most of my reticence was based around people having expectations of me that I couldn’t possibly meet, or being forced to run in a way I simply wasn’t comfortable with, but I’m not even sure that’s true. I think I just always saw myself as a lone runner since that was how I had started out. But a lot has changed since I started training with Alan.

My friend Pete (he of the super speedy Parkrun time and awesome running nickname of Bearded Ferret – he may or may not like being called that), has been a member of Ely Runners for a couple of years now, and seems to have really benefited from it. His running times have steadily decreased, so much so that he did a 5:59 mile, coming 9th overall, in their Club 1 Mile Handicap run just a couple of weeks ago. Plus he has spoken so highly of the club, and since going to a few Parkruns with him I’ve met some of the other members, and they’ve all seemed like such a lovely, friendly bunch.

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Bearded Ferret and Lightning Midget. A good reason to post this awesome photo again.

But even that wasn’t enough to convince me. Being able to commit to yet another thing in my schedule seemed extremely difficult, and I also thought it simply wouldn’t fit alongside my training with Alan. But then the Girton 5k happened, and I met Laura Hill, another Ely Runner who asked me straight out why I wasn’t a member of a Club and I just rambled at her. She then looked at me in a confused way and simply said “You do realise that a 21:27 5k is really fast right?”.

Then just five minutes later Alan – who hadn’t heard my conversation with Laura – said to me “You should think about joining Ely Runners.” That came like a bolt out of the blue – this was the first time he had mentioned joining a club to me. He introduced me to some other members of Ely Runners (of course he knew them – he probably knew 75% of the runners there) and told me that I could really benefit from a group mentality and of course, from the competitive edge of having people to pace against.

So, a couple of weeks ago I bit the bullet and went to a Tuesday evening session with Pete. By some genius fluke I managed to attend the night of their notorious super-difficult “30 Tree” session in Cherry Hill Park, where you run from one central tree to each of the 30 trees around the edge of the park, running back to the centre tree each time. Think of it like running up and down the spokes of a bike wheel. And you know what? I flipping loved it. I just fell into the zone and managed to drag my little legs out to those 30 trees and back without stopping. Everything just worked. I did of course manage to pick up a whopping great insect bite that then got infected so that my leg swelled up so much that my ankle bone pretty much disappeared, but I just felt like I had truly earned my place in the club. I signed up to be a member that night.

Ely Runners

My new home.

I’ve since attended three sessions, and found number two (a figure of 8 around one of King’s School’s fields) the toughest, thanks to the slightly overlong grass that forced me to lift my feet higher than I’m used to and resulted in pretty sore hips. My biggest challenge will be tomorrow night, where I’m taking part in the Kevin Henry League Race (5k) as a fully fledged member of the Club. I just hope I don’t trip over my own feet and break my nose – yes I’ve actually done that before. Needless to say I’ll be smothering myself in insect repellent. Just try it bugs.