Football Fun

I had my second session of football training this evening. The first was two weeks ago but I missed last week due to a neck/shoulder injury which was earned while watching my team win 5-1 – I really must be more careful with my goal celebrations!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I joined a football club for ‘older’ women who have never played before or who haven’t played for a while. They have three levels so, having not kicked a football for 30 years, I joined the beginners session.

I have to admit that I was a bit nervous about it, but I figured that since there were no expectations in terms of ability, I should be just about ok.

The first session was a lot of fun. Everyone was really nice and made us newbies feel welcome and, most importantly, it didn’t matter if we didn’t know what we were doing – which is just as well.

The first half of the session involved basic skills, so passing, shooting, dribbling and taking throw-ins, which went pretty well as I discovered that I could still kick the ball at least.

For the second half, we played a 30 minute match, which was pretty exhausting! I was playing left-wing, which involved a lot of running to get the ball and then not having a clue what to do with it! But it was a good work out and I did manage to get a header and a few good tackles in.

This week, we were practising free kicks and corners, which really helped when it came to playing the match at the end. This time, I decided to play defence (right back), which suited me much better. I was still fairly hopeless but it meant that I didn’t have to run so much and could think more about what I was doing. I even managed to win a few tackles and pass the ball to the right team a couple of times!

I know I still have a lot to learn about pretty much every aspect of the game, but it is a lot of fun and a great workout. The thing I like about it most though, is that while we all want to learn and improve, no-one takes it too seriously.

So, after years of thinking that I was too old to play the sport that I loved as a kid, I’ve finally realised that age is no excuse – if you want to do something, you should just go ahead and do it. Life is too short not to.

Do you do any sports other than running? Is there a sport that you used to do or always wanted to do but never got around to it? Please share your thoughts in the comments and, once you’ve done that, go and find out how you can get involved in whatever it is you’d like to do.

 

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Still Here…

I realise that it has been a long time since I’ve written anything in the old blog, but I’m still here and still very much enjoying this running lark.

Admittedly, it has been tough getting back into running again. That C25K drive to strive and push myself to hit targets has finally run out of steam, but in its place has emerged something far more powerful, fulfilling and probably healthier in the long run – the realisation that I don’t have anything to prove any more, not even to myself.

My running is slow and sporadic these days, but it’s fun. I no longer feel the need to get a run in when I don’t really want to, or beat myself up because I’ve picked up yet another injury. In fact, with this new mind set, my injuries and niggles have significantly reduced and my enjoyment of running had increased.

Of course, I do still like to give myself little targets and goals, but it’s not the end of the world if I don’t reach them. Every run is an achievement in itself and a reminder that 44 is not as old as I once thought.

In fact, 44 is not that old at all, as I recently discovered when I joined a local football team for ‘older’ women. But more about that another time. For now, here’s my splits for this morning’s run.

How’s your running going? Are you training for a race or running for fun? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

C210K Week 13

This past week, I planned to get at least one Week 13 run in and then do parkrun on Staurday. However, after the previous week’s exertions, I wasn’t feeling up to it.

Apart from general tiredness, which is to be expected, I noticed a few familiar twinges in my left leg – nothing serious, but with my history of injuries, I wasn’t taking any chances. So I took it easy.

Rule number one: Listen To Your Body!

This morning though, it felt ok so I decided to head out for my Week 13 run. Unlike most of the C210K weeks, this week had different sessions for each day; and as I’m only doing one a week, this meant I had a bit of choice.

I had planned to do the session with 2 x 25 minute runs and a 1 minute walk break, but depending on how I felt, I might extend at least one of the runs to 30 minutes.

As usual I started out very slowly. When working improving endurance, I try to start of at a slow comfortable pace, and then slow down to my lazy relaxed pace. It doesn’t always work, but this morning I had no problem feeling lazy and completed the first kilometre in 8:21.

Having managed that without any problems, I allowed myself to gradually increase the pace for the next couple of kilometres which meant that after 25 minutes I was quite happy to do another 5 before my walk break.

For the second running section, I kept the pace fairly consistent and then pushed myself a bit for the final kilometre, picking up the pace and even adding a few minutes on to the end so that I could complete a nice round 8K.

My next C210K session will be 60 minutes with no walk breaks, so I will probably leave that until next weekend. Depending on how I’m feeling mid-week though, I might try to slot a cheeky 5K in there, just to get a bit of pace going again.

How is your training going? Did you get a run in this weekend? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Hove Prom Parkrun

As it’s the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend, there really was no excuse to not run this morning, so I decided to pop down to the seafront for today’s Hove Prom parkrun.

I was looking forward to doing a nice flat 5K as I wanted to see how my pace was. As a general rule, I know that if I can run 5K on the seafront (no walk breaks) in around 33 minutes, then I’ve reached a decent level of fitness that I can start to train from.

It was a bit breezy down on the prom, with the wind coming in from the south west, but it wasn’t too bad and the temperature was just about right for me – a bit chilly for standing around but not freezing.

I started right at the back of the pack and reminded myself not to get carried away with the pace. This turned out to be a good strategy as my end of the pack thinned out quite quickly and I had plenty of space in front to stop me from following anyone else’s pace.

My plan was to keep it slow and easy for at least the first 2.5K, which I managed without too much trouble. For the second half, I tried to pick things up a bit, but the wind held me back more than I would have liked.

As I turned and headed to the finish line, I knew that I was going to be well over 33 minutes, but I did my best to keep a reasonable pace against the wind and even managed a sprint finish across the line.

My final result was 35.11, which was a little bit disappointing. However, I did follow my plan and got close enough to negative splits, so it’s all good. I’ll just have to go back again next week and have another go at it.

How’s your running going? Did you get a run in this weekend? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

C210K Week 12

Now that the clocks have gone back and it’s much lighter in the evening for running after work, I decided to ramp up my Couch to 10K efforts with a mid-week run.

I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to do the run. The program said 3 x 18 minute runs with 1 minute walk breaks; but I also thought that maybe I could just add a kilometre each week, so 7K tonight; or even just increase the time each week, which would mean a 50 minute run… or I could just do a 5K…

Anyway, I really wasn’t sure so I didn’t think about it too much before going out. I just got changed, went out and headed to the seafront in the rain.

By the time I got to the promenade, the rain was easing off and there was a lovely rainbow. As before, I wished I’d taken my phone so that I could have got a picture, as it looked like the rainbow was pushing the dirty great cloud over Brighton and Hove from the lovely clear blue sky over the sea.

I was feeling pretty good and the rainbow lifted my spirits even more, so I decided that I would stick to the program and do the 3 x 18 minute runs with 1 minute walk breaks. The trick, as I learned last time, was to run as slowly as I possibly could – which wasn’t too hard!

There were quite a few other runners out on the prom, all of whom were much speedier than me. In the past this would have given me a bit of an itch in my competitive brain to try to go faster, but this evening I was quite happy plodding along.

5K came and went just as I approached my final 18 minutes and I realised that if I kept my pace going I would be closer to 8K than 7K, so I decided that I would try to extend the final 18 minutes to see if I could manage the full 8.

When I reached the end of my planned run, at 56 minutes, I found that I still had quite a bit of energy left so I picked up my pace to see if I could hit 8K within the hour.

check out the kick at the end!

In the end, my 8K time was 59:57. As is the trend at the moment, not the fastest, but I was more than happy with it.

Almost negative splits

How’s your training going? Are you running in the evening now that it’s not so dark after work? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

A Parkrun Adventure

Living in Brighton and Hove, I’m very lucky to have four parkruns in my town, each with its own unique atmosphere, route type and various quirks.

Having completed three of the four over the last few years, this weekend I had agreed to join a friend for what promised to be the toughest of the four – Bevendean Down… but you do have to go up before you can go down!

The only reason that I had never completed the Bevendean parkrun was that it isn’t within easily walking distance. However, the promise to meet up there with a friend was good motivation to get myself up and out a little bit earlier than usual.

I had to get the 8:00 train from Hove and then change at Brighton for the 8:14 to Moulsecoomb and then walk for about 0.7 miles to get to the start line. It should have been easy enough, but not knowing the streets around that part of town, I managed to get myself a little bit lost.

I took a wrong turn down a trail that I thought would lead to the start line, but ended up leading me to load of brambles. Fortunately when I turned back into the street I spotted someone who looked like he was heading somewhere for a run and decided to follow him.

Within a few minutes, I found the parkrunners waiting in the field and went to join them with about 5-10 minutes to spare.

The route itself is two laps of a field, with a long slow uphill section, followed by a nice downhill. Knowing that I would be very slow and would probably have to walk a fair bit, I went to the back for the start.

The first part of the run was nice and flat, but with soft ground underfoot and a slight camber, I found it took a bit of getting used to. As we started the first climb, I knew that despite my already slow pace I was going to struggle, so I suggested to my friend that she run on ahead and I would walk some of the uphill.

I didn’t mind being at the back and it was nice to chat to the tail runner during my walk breaks – which were many and long!

When it came to the downhill though, I made sure than I ran and enjoyed being able to pick up the pace a bit. It was weird running downhill on grass as the ground was soft but pretty even for the most part, unlike trails where you have to watch out for stones and bits of tree.

The second lap was much the same as the first, but with a bit more walking. However, I did make the effort to try to pick up the pace a bit more on the run to the finish.

My official finish time was 39:10, which I was very pleased with. Plus, I achieved my highest position ever coming in 26th place overall… ok, so there were only 27 runners and the tail runner always finishes last, but it’s a statistic that made me smile!

After the run, most of the runners and volunteers went for breakfast at The Bevy, a community owned and run pub just down the road. The food was amazing and everyone was very friendly (we all got a free bag of spinach for some reason!), although next time I will remember to take my muddy shoes off at the door!

(I found an article about the Bevy, which explains what it is all about much better than I can, so click here of you want to read a truly inspiring story!)

As parkruns go, this is definitely my favourite. Even though the route is much more challenging than any of the others, the fact that there are fewer runners makes it feel much more welcoming and everyone was very friendly.

I’ll definitely be going back for more, although I doubt I could handle the hill every week!

Did you get a run in this weekend? Please share your thoughts and comments below.

 

 

C210K Week 11

Now that I’ve moved on to Couch to 10K, I need to do some longer runs and, after Saturday’s parkrun, I realised that I need to start getting out more than once a week. So this evening seemed like the perfect time to start.

Despite the weekend’s snow, the temperature was lovely and mild when I got home from work, so I dropped my bag, got changed and headed straight out. I can’t remember the last time I did that!

It was still light at 5:45pm, so I headed to the seafront where I knew it would be nice, flat and fairly safe if it started to get dark before I was done. My plan, if I had a plan, was to try to run 5K without stopping. After Saturday’s parkrun I needed to know that I could go the distance without walk breaks.

With the Burgess Hill 10K coming up in a few weeks though, I also had in mind that I needed to try to work on my endurance and start building up some distance. I wasn’t going to push it, but I figured that if I went slowly enough then I would try to hit 40 or 45 minutes, depending on how I was feeling.

With all of this in mind, I set off at a nice slow steady pace, heading East towards Hove Lawns and the Peace Statue. There were quite a few runners, dog walkers, and dog runners around, but it wasn’t so busy that you had to dodge around people.

I hit the first kilometre in 7:30 flat, which I figured should be slow enough to make sure I got my distance done, and managed to maintain that same pace through kilometres 2 and 3.

As I turned and headed West towards the lagoon, I noticed for the first time that there is a wind farm in the sea just off of Hove beach. I know it’s a while since I’ve trained along that stretch, but I had no idea they were putting in wind turbines – makes sense I guess as it can be pretty windy down there.

This evening though, there wasn’t much of a breeze and the sea itself was calm and flat. It looked lovely in the twilight with a beautiful orange sunset over the sea beyond Shoreham. I really should take my phone out with me when I run so that I can share these things.

Anyway, the run was going well. I felt happy and relaxed as I shuffled along at my 7:30 pace. 4K came and went and I knew that I had the 5K in the bag so I decided to run to the end of the promenade by the lagoon, turn round, and see if I could keep going all the way back to my starting point.

I had no idea what the distance would be, but I reckoned it would be about 6K, which with my steady pace should bring me in at about 45 minutes. As it turned out, it was 6.16K in 45:57, so close enough to the mark.

But the best part about this evening’s run was that, even though it was slow, it gave me the confidence to know that I can run at least 5K and that I’ve still got a good chance of achieving 10K by the beginning of May.

Also, the clocks go forward this weekend, which means an extra hour of light in the evenings to get some more mid week runs in after work. I can’t wait!

How’s your running going? What time of day do you like run or train? Does your routine change when the clocks change? Please share your thoughts in the comments.