I've continued running all through the year, it may be that as with many things this was a bit of a fad at first - I'll freely admit I'm a bit obsessive about new things, perhaps a bit of compulsive disorder combined with my innate geekiness going on, but, running takes so much more effort, and I seem to be getting so much more back from it that I hope it is going to be a long term thing for me.
I have discovered some level of competitiveness within me that I previously didn't know I had. I've always been happy to mostly coast along with things, to take part and have a laugh rather than try to excel and win, but with running something inside me wakes up and wants to do better, to go further, and faster.
|Harewood 10k Dash|
When I started running again this year following the stroke I found it incredibly hard. The initial carpark action session was fun, and as it didn't involve any great distance or hills I thought I was doing quite well. The first Out And Back run to Rawdon Crematorium disabused of that. I ran out ok on the downhill sections but coming back I was in trouble, breathless, tired, falling off the back of the peloton in a sleet filled January night. The one thing that made the run alright for me, and which convinced me to come back to the Airecentre Pacers the next week was a club member called Emma. Emma isn't a Run Leader, she isn't a Blue Bib helper, but she is entirely typical of what I've come to see in this club. Emma was friendly and helpful, she'd seen me in trouble and came back to talk to me. I couldn't even properly talk back, the uphills had taken all my breath so that I could only grunt answers back to her.
After running the Out And Back I went running with the Sunday crew, and there I got into a different running ethos, for while Monday and Wednesday club runs were mostly timed to an hour, or a set distance, Sundays were just about the freedom of running, the beauty of the Yorkshire landscape and the chance to really stretch your legs. Rhona, Ash and Margaret began to teach me that Strava marked distance isn't everything, and that often you can run much further than you think you can when you're not app watching. When I'd improved a little Tony helped me even more, because I think you get better faster by chasing at the back of a fast group than you do from leading a slower group. I don't mean any disrespect to any of my Pacer family reading this. Everybody goes out and does the best they can, but chasing the runners who are faster than you is going to make you one of the faster runners. I once chased Tony down a two mile downhill stretch, and every time I got close enough so that Tony could hear me behind him he put on another burst of pace. Tony is 12 years older than me, he's not a lifetime runner, he's been running for around 8 years, he's an absolute inspiration.
I joined the '12 In 12' group withing the Pacers, the idea being to run, at least, one timed race per month throughout the year, I have run 13 races so far with the Vale of York Half Marathon being the longest, and the John Carrr 5k series being my fastest.
|John Carr Series|
A couple of months ago the opportunity came to give a little back to the club in the form of becoming a Blue Bib helper. I jumped at the chance to join Rachel, Amanda, Joe, Tess, Jane and all the other leaders who have helped me out so much. To help pass on the ethos of never leaving a runner on their own, getting people fitter and faster, and encouraging people to race. I'm not the best of the Blues, I can't remember all of the routes, I forget half of the stretching routines, but even if I'm running at the front, (assuming Matt, Andy (G or B), Cathy, Rebecca, Nick, Simon N and a host of other faster / better runners are not at the front) then I will loop back for you. I love this bit of the club, looping and helping, it's the ethos of the club in a nutshell.
|Prosecco and Pork Pies at the Solstice Saunter|
The club's magnificent 'all for one' ethos was really nailed in two recent events. In the Vale of York Half Marathon Layla fell off the pace. We've all done it in races, something pulls and pains, a tear or a twist and we're switched from running to hobbling in an instant. Those #OrangeArmy girls, Sue, Bernie and Natalie, noticed that their compatriot was in trouble and incredibly, in the latter stages of a 13 mile race, looped back to pick up their friend. During the Kielder Marathon Nick fell and twisted his ankle, he hobbled on for a while in freezing conditions, and though details are a bit sketchy here as Tess is such a humble bloke, I gather Tess fairly rescued Nick and got him to a marshall point. It's great that in this club we have runners who can do pound out marathons (and more) like Carole, Sarah, Jane and Nick J, but but when those same runners are willing to sacrifice their own time and finish to help a friend in need, that's when you know you've joined something greater than the sum of its parts.
Airecentre Pacers, Yorkshire's Friendliest Running Club.