My 2011 Running Statistics

Here’s a few random stats for me to reflect and look upon approvingly:

In 2011 I ran a grand total of 1058 miles!

This was completed in 202 separate sessions which is almost 5.25 miles for each run on average.

24 of these runs were races.

In 2011 I have run:

  • One 100m Sprint
  • One Timed Mile
  • Two Santa Fun Runs
  • Five 5k’s
  • Two Croxby 1-Laps (4.44 miles)
  • Three 5 Mile Races
  • Four 10k’s
  • One Croxby 2-Lap (8.88 miles)
  • Two 10 Mile Races
  • Three Half Marathons

My PB’s on standard distances to date are as follows (PB = “Personal Best”):

  • 5k: 23.19
  • 10k: 55.24 (This one is rather frustrating, the 10k doesn’t seem to be my best distance and I’m yet to run one I’m happy with the result of…)
  • Half Marathon: 2.05.42

My goals for 2012 were originally a set of PB’s similar to the above listed with a minute or so shaved off each one but since unexpectedly getting a spot in the London Marathon I have had to re-evaluate my running goals for 2012, they are now simply as follows:

  • To get the training done to the best of my ability.
  • To finish my first ever Marathon in London on 22nd April

I’m not interested in the time or pace of anything until I have got this big one under my belt.

My high points have been knocking almost 30 minutes off my half marathon time from last year at Retford in March and achieving my best race pace up to that point in the Colin Moody 5 mile race which was unexpected but brilliant.

My low point was having to drop out and getting a DNF at the Sleaford Half Marathon due to a nasty dizzy spell which had me on the deck. Needless to say Sleaford half and I have unfinished business and I’ll be back to finish the job in 2012!

Happy New year and Happy Running Everyone! xxx

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Zumba for me is fantastic, between running and Zumba I really do have the best of both worlds. Running is when I get down and dirty – it’s about sweat, grit and determination. Zumba is a laugh, it’s fun a time to cut loose and shed some inhibitions. We all need that from time to time.

At the beginning of each class where I have new clients I always tell them the same thing… Zumba is not a dance class, it’s a fitness class. So the most important thing to remember is to not get bogged down in the moves, as long as your arms and legs are moving you’re burning calories and boosting your cardio system and fitness levels then we’re cooking on gas!

Anyone that is worried about don’t being the best at throwing some shapes or being completely uncoordinated should not let that put you off. No one is going to make you feel bad for going the wrong way or forgetting a move. We’re just there to have fun and we happen to be getting a fantastic workout in the process!

My Classes start again in January – I know many of my Zumba guys and gals are following this blog so I’ll take this opportunity to remind them of the returning dates, venues and times (or stick a shameless plug into my blog šŸ˜€ )

  • Monday 2nd January: Old Clee Church Hall: 8pm
  • This is Claire’s Class but I often get up on stage with her to bust some moves – it’s rapidly becoming the Claire and Gemma extravaganza on a Monday nights.
  • Tuesday 3rd January: Park Congregational Church, Durban Rd: 8pm
  • Please Note: New start time for this Tuesday class, we will now be starting at 8pm
  • The Wednesday class at Clee Young People’s Centre on Ladysmith Rd will not be back until the 11th January.
  • On Thursday 5th January we’ll be back at Old Clee Church Hall again at 8pm

In addition to my own classes as outlined above, Claire does a wide compliment of classes across the Grimsby area and even further in Scotter, Healing and Messingham. We also work in conjunction with Bobbie Tilby who is a Zumba Gold instructor, Zumba Gold is intended for anyone whom is recently returning to exercise, for more mature clients or people that are overweight and just starting a weight-loss programme. It is a much lower impact form of what Claire and I do.

If anyone would like anymore details about any of the classes outlined above or would like information regarding Claire or Bobbie’s classes please do not hesitate to get in touch.

  • Zumba Information and Booking Hotline: 07974282950

While we welcome walk-ins where we are able January is a very busy time for the fitness industry so booking in advance is highly advisable to avoid disappointment – you can book your space by calling, sending a text or leaving a message on Facebook. Classes ar Ā£4 each for the hour, bring a drink.

(you will need to request to be added to this group – please hit the request button and an admin will approve your request as soon as possible.)

More details about Zumba coming soon, in the meantime, here’s some pictures!

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The order of things…

I am aware that my article will be in the paper soon so I thought if anyone who is not massivly familier with the concept of blogging stumbles onto this page I would offer soem assistance. The order of this blog is backwards – each new post goes on top of the last one so if you were to read this from here and then down you’d be reading my story in the reverse order. Confused? I am…

To keep things simple I have added a link to each blog post in the correct order – these links are like mini chapters, if you want the back story, this is a good way of accessing it…

So hopefully that will make all this a litle easier – thanks x



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Getting Back on Track

Finally theres light at the end of the tunnel and I am starting to wake up in the mornings not looking like I’ve just done 6 rounds with Sugar Ray Robinson and sounding like an eighty year old bloke with a 40-a-day habit. I’m not 100% yet, but definitely feeling much better and ready to crank things into second gear.

On Wednesday evening after I’d popped the kiddies down in bed I managed a steady 5 miles at an 9.11 pace on the treadmill while watching the Final of America’s Next Top Model (a guilty pleasure of mine). I’m going to be honest, it was tough, I wanted to get off at 2 miles and my chest was pretty wheezy when I’d finished. My throat still feels like someone has given it a heavy going over with industrial grade sandpaper. It was for that reason I thought it best not to push it and didn’t run my planned 3 miles of speedwork on Thursday.

I did however back up my run with some weight work, the living room was set up like my own personal gym with the dreadmill out, my weight bench, exercise mat and weights. I use very girly weights, only one 5lb dumbbell on each arm (and it’s taken me some time to build up to that). I’m no expert, but I feel that’s enough for my purposes. I went through a 30 minute programme which included one set of bench presses and crunches, leg curls, lateral raises, triceps dips and many more, names of which I am still learning. Running doesn’t do much for upper body, I’m fortunate I do so much Zumba as that is great for upper body toning but I still feel that a little extra strength work will help with my running form and help keep me tight when I dance.

A typical session goes like this:

Bench Press x 8 – 12

dumbbell Fly x 8 – 12

One Arm Row x 8 – 12

Leg extension x 12 – 16 (I don’t have a leg attachment on my weight bench unfortunately so I use a 2kg sandbag strapped to each leg to do these leg ones)

Leg Curl x 12 – 16

dumbbell Press x 8 – 12

Lateral Raise x 8 – 12

Shoulder Rolls x 8 – 12

Upright Row (with 1 dumbbell) x 8 – 12

Tricep Press x 8 – 12 (with one dumbbell)

Bicep Curls (I’m pretty sure we don’t need a picture for this one) x 8 – 12 on each arm

Pull Over x 8 – 12 (this one is tough)

Bench Crunches x 10 – 30+

Reverse Sit-Ups x 10 – 30+

I like to finish off these sessions with some dynamic stretching –Ā  often use a Pilates style set of stretches which I find loosens things up nicely. I am a fan of Caroline Sandry’s “Shape Up” and “Core Body” workouts. Which can be found here:

Actually, while I’m on the subject, these core workouts I personally find are great for stretching out after a run too – sometimes when I stretch after running it can all get a little vague and rushed. Doing one of these really helps to remind me of proper form and to spend enough time on stretching out.

This is all fantastic of course, or at least it would be if I could keep my diet in check right now. Which seems to be completely failing me. I have too many excuses, it’s Christmas blah blah, I’ve been poorly and vulnerable blah blah. I’ve been enabling myself to overeat and it doesn’t feel good knowing that I have. Yesterday I stuck to my eating plan perfectly all day, then at about 8pm I spoiled it by munching my way through a large bowl of muesli with extra raisins and a couple of rounds of extra cheesy toast. You may have noticed that at least when I did overeat my food choices were still good ones but excess calories are excess calories regardless of where they came from so I’m annoyed at myself.

I’m hoping that this very public confession will motivate me to get back on track with the food aswell as the exercise. You can run everyday and attend as many exercise classes as you like but simple fact is this, if you eat more calories than you burn you’ll still be fat. It’s a common mistake people make to think they are owed extra food since they have just attended an aerobics class for example. The problem is that people greatly overestimate the calories they burned and can actually end up gaining weight as a result. I however know the facts on that score and so don’t have that excuse, I’m just being greedy!

Today is Friday and I’ve got a nice steady 5 miles planned for this afternoon, my husband is off work for the Christmas holidays now so I may even be able to get outside which I would much prefer, my blog entry for a discussion on treadmill verses outdoor running will be up soon I’m sure…

Tomorrow, Saturday is Christmas Eve and I’m filling up my ipod for enough motivational music to last me 12 miles for my weekly long run. That will definitely be outside, I think 12 miles on the treadmill would officially drive me insane!

Sunday is of course Christmas Day – I think I’ll take it off šŸ™‚

Merry Christmas everyone xxx

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5 More Sleeps!

Firstly apologies for the lack of blog in this last week or so. Anyone with kids will understand that the week or two leading up to Christmas is one long tinsle coated and glitter filled blur of parties, nativities, decorating trees, staff work do’s, last-minute shopping, carol concerts, random visits to and from family members, Christmas fayres, pantos (oh yes it is…), visits to Father Christmas the big man himself and generally steaming around with your stress levels off the meter resembling something that looks like a fly with a blue backside! On top of all the madness, I have not been in the best of health at all. Since that sickness bug that had the whole house in its grip over a week ago I have not been right. Additionally I now seem to have gained a nasty cold to complete my misery – I’m not sure where the sickness bug ends and the cold starts, but either way I feel ropey to say the least. Husband doesn’t seem to mind the fact I’m loosing my voice but to be fair I could really do without all this right now.

Since taking up running I’m hardly ever ill and anything I do get seems really mild compared to everyone else and very short-lived. I’ve not been so lucky this time however. I seem to be having all of 2011’s illnesses in a week – of course it would have to be the busiest one! My husband thinks it’s because I’ve allowed my body to relax since finishing work last Thursday – my last Zumba class until the new year now. He’s probably onto something.

It’s fair to say my marathon training has slipped, it’s playing on my mind but I have to remind myself that it’s only been a week and that to train when my body is already under so much stress trying to get better would in the long-term be detrimental to my marathon training plan. I’m following a simple “WWLD” approach right now (“What Would Lesley Do” – Lesley being the lady that wrote my marathon plan in the first instance). Everytime I feel that I might miss a run I consider sending Lesley a message asking for advice, 9 times of out ten I already know what she would say so that makes life easier. I know what I need to do without actually having to pester her. Better to focus on getting better and to train when I am fit and healthy. Hopefully that will be sooner rather than later, I’m itching for a good run right now – first day in a few I’ve felt like that actually, so lets’ hope that’s a good sign.

As far as marathon training goes, it’s still early days and I have every faith that the symbolism of January and the fresh starty goodness that it brings about with appropriate amounts of standard new year style motivation will give me the kick up the backside I need to start taking all this seriously.

I do in the meantime however have a couple of bits of super exciting news to impart…

Firstly, tonight as a few of you already know I’m sure, will be attending the Cleethorpes Athletics Club Presentation Evening to collect my trophy for 2nd place in my age category in this years road league, which I am not ashamed to say I am rather proud of. I also have many friends who have earned a variety of trophies for this years efforts aswell and I can’t wait to cheer them all on!

Secondly, I’ve been approached by a reporter from my local newspaper who has been reading this blog – this fact alone blew me away a touch. She’s only bringing a photographer on Thursday for an interview and pics about my journey (now I’m regretting that McDonalds and strawberry trifle last night (cringe)… but in my defense I’ve been poorly and was in desperate need of comfort food). I’m rather excited but very nervous about that but I’ll let you know how both events go in a few days.

Right now I have to dash (as usual), as the kids break up for Christmas today and finish earlier than usual. They are like tightly wound elastic bands right now with Christmas a mere matter of days away and are driving me round the bend – what a magical time of year!

5 more sleeps everyone x

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Cut Down in The Prime of Life!

The start of this week was a great one – Unable to get my 11 mile official day one of marathon training on the Sunday in the morning as I’d been called in to cover a Zumba class I was very proud that I still managed to find the time to get it in the evening – even fitting it around a trip to town to take the girls to see Father Christmas and get lunch and the a birthday party my eldest they had been invited to. It meant I didn’t get off the treadmill until just gone nine at night and I was absolutely shattered, but I still did it!

Day one, training session one (11 mile long run) – complete!

Monday was of course my rest day, I was glad of my evening Zumba class to loosen things up a bit although I ate for England – I think my run the night before had built up quite an appetite – talk about carb craving!

Tuesday I got my 5 miles in – by this time I was really tired and struggled with this run if I’m going to be honest – all the more reason to be chuffed I still got the job done.

Day three, training session two (5 miles at steady pace) – complete!

By Wednesday I’d woken up with a renewed sense of vigor, the exhaustion from yesterday had evaporated and even though I’d finished last night off with a double Zumba session I bounced out of bed rearing to go and todays 5 miles just flew by. Before official marathon training Wednesday was a run rest day so I thought this would be the hardest run of the week but it really wasn’t at all.

Day four, training session three (5 miles at an easy pace) – complete.

  • Miles this week: 21
  • Zumba classes this week: 5

(and it’s only Wednesday!)

Needless to say, I’m feeling good motivated and strong – I’ve started as I mean to go, followed the training plan to the letter and loving it so far!

Thursday, intervals! I completed 10 x 1 minute intervals at a 5k race pace with 1 minute jogs in between and managed almost three and a half miles in 30 minutes, pretty chuffed with that performance. Double Zumba again that evening and still going strong!

Day five, training session four (10 x 1 minute intervals) – complete.

And then bam… Got home from double Zumba Thursday evening feeling decidedly not hungry – this is very unusual for me – I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and since then had completed 2 and a half hours of intense exercise in addition to my usual daily business and a shopping trip in town. I managed to eat a round of toast and a handful of blueberries thinking it would be best to have something inside me.

I went to bed feeling pretty nauseous – I soon found out what that was all about. Turns out I’d caught the nasty little tummy bug my daughter has had, she was sent home from school after being sick with it on Wednesday and now it was my turn. I was up until 5am being sick and can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever been that poorly in such a short space of time in all my life! My daughter was most certainly not this bad with it at all. Out of interest I weighed myself the next morning and I had lost 6 lbs overnight!

The next day was what you might call a duvet day, I wasn’t sick again after that but couldn’t eat and my stomach was red raw. I was very tired and nauseous and every muscle in my body felt like it was a big bruise. I spent the best part of the day either sleeping or feeling very sorry for myself.

That was my Friday 5 mile run out the window and even worse I had a night in with some girlfriends from running club planned which I had to cancel. When I was fat I had isolated myself from other people and basically had no social life. It’s taken time to build back up my confidence to get out there and meet people – that was to be one of my first Christmas celebrations with other people in years and I was too sick to go. Gutted šŸ˜¦

Day six, training session five (5 miles at an easy pace) – cancelled due to illness.

Today is Saturday, I’m still feeling delicate but had a more productive day bleaching everything in sight in a bid to rid the house of sick germs so I don’t have to paint a red cross on the door after all. I’ve decided not to be stupid and attempt to catch up on yesterdays missed 5 miles and just let myself recover properly. I have another girls night in planned tonight and looks like I’ll be well enough to attend that one. I doubt I’ll be drinking or eating very much which is probably not a bad thing considering I have an 11 mile long run and a 3 mile Father Christmas Fun Run planned for tomorrow!

Marathon Training Week One Breakdown: 24.46 miles bagged

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Member of an Athletics Club… Me?

By October 2010 I had a few races under my belt, one of them being a half marathon but that’s a story for another day. I’d seen plenty of the club runners in their colours representing their teams proudly. My typical perception was of the guys you seen itching for the gun along the front couple of rows at a start-line. Lean, tall, fit, strong and when the gun finally did go – fast! They all looked like, well… members of an Athletics Club!

One thing I was starting to discover to my fascination however was that every now and then, as I was plodding along at the back of any given race. Was that I’d see a runner close to me, running at something near my pace and they were wearing the vest of their club. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of that.

I’d decided however that running with a club wasn’t for me – I was a lone wolf, a solitary runner, at peace with my own thoughts on those long dark runs. I didn’t need other people to support me in my bid to be something near decent at this…

I entered a 10k that happened to fall on Halloween in 2010 in Scarborough, I wore devil horns and safety pinned a red forked tail to my butt in honour of the occasion. Nice opportunity for the family to come along and enjoy a day out so it worked all round. I’d mapped out a training route that was roughly 10k and felt confident I would get well under the hour on the day. I had been completing the route in around 57 to 58 minutes and so felt that when push came to shove that I’d find a little extra and really be able to get a time I would be proud of. I was so confident that I even stood in the 55 – 60 minutes zone at the start-line.

It didn’t quite go to plan however. I finished at a frustrating 1 hour and 3 minutes – how had I taken a whole 5 minutes longer? I found running alongside other people immensely distracting. The sound of their laboured breaths, the monotonous thud thud of their footfall – neither of which ever matched mine. I found myself falling into sync with whoever was around me at the time and running at a very unnatural gait for me as a result. I’d also taken off far too fast in a bid to keep up with some of the people I had assumed would be at a similar level to me and had burned myself out. Big mistake and it cost me. I was much more annoyed with myself that I thought I would be. I was embarrassed I was still yet to crack the under the hour 10k target I’d set myself in an official race when I’d told everyone I had done it in training several times.

I decided that if running alongside other people was putting me off then the answer was to run more races so I’d get used to it, and promptly entered another 10k. The 2011 New Years Day 10k run by my local Athletics Club, Cleethorpes.

My sub 60 minutes for a 10k was still to elude me by 44 seconds on that day (I’ve since smashed that several times I’m delighted to say though.) but instead I gained something much more important. I’d got introduced to the members of Cleethorpes AC while doing that race, I’d been surprised to see that I was just as fast as some of the runners there. The members came in all different shapes and sizes and all clearly had different motivations for being there. Suddenly I didn’t feel that the prospect of me actually becoming a member of an Athletics club was completely outrageous!

Turns out not all the members are as fit and athletic as you might think šŸ˜‰

I was told about a 5k race along the prom that they were holding a few days later and thought I might turn up and see what it was all about. I did turn up, I was in my running gear just in case and before I knew it I’d joined the club and had run by first race as a member! From there on in I don’t think wild horses could have stopped me turning up at club training runs. Because I work most evenings as a Zumba Fitness Instructor, I generally only run on the Friday nights which is beginners night. safe to say however that many runners there are far from beginners, it’s a nice even and steady pace and a great bunch of people to put the world to rights with.

Joining Cleethorpes Athletics Club was one of the best things I ever did. Not only has it significantly improved my running technique, times, pace etc significantly but I’ve gained in the last year some of the most wonderful friends I could have ever imagined meeting. There are a small handful I would go as far to say I am now extremely close to. When you run together for sometimes an hour or more at a time with solely each other to talk to and no other distractions, no door bells, no phones, no kids kicking off and killing each other week in and week out you find you get to know these people rather intimately. Additionally I am no longer distracted by other runners, I can happily faze everyone else out and concentrate on doing my own thing. I have experienced the biggest running highs and lows while racing and wearing my club colours in the past year.

Me as featured in the local newspaper running for Cleethorpes AC!

I am privileged to be part of a team and to receive the levels of friendship, support and encouragement from that participation. I’m very proud to be able to tell people I’m a member of Clee AC.

Additionally (and rather amusingly), you’re never going to believe it but somehow I actually managed to come second place in my age category in the club’s road league this year and will be getting a trophy at the club presentation night on the 20th December. I’ve got plenty of running medals but that’s not the same, everyone gets those. This will be all mine though and I’m secretly pretty delighted that I’ve actually won something running related – but don’t tell anyone, I’ve got to pretend to be all cool about it so no one thinks I’m a complete sad act!

Thank you to everyone at Clee AC that has made 2011 a pretty awesome year for me, I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings! xxx

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