Last Updated on March 20, 2015 by Fiona Maclean
Joining the Pink Army – Cancer Research Race for Life:
Those of you who follow London-Unattached because of an interest in diet (I am still doing the 5:2 diet, albeit intermittently) or fitness (the occasional boot-camp or spa event is about all I have managed), may be aware that running is not really my thing. I haven’t tried mid to long distance running since I was at school. Even then, some 35 years ago, I remember being something of an expert at escaping cross country on the pretext of a music lesson, practice or orchestra rehearsal. So, I was just a little surprised to be asked to join the so called ‘Pink Army’ and take part in one of the Race for Life events this summer. On the phone I asked politely if they realised just how unfit I was. Apparently that was no excuse. It felt like bad karma to say no…
Like everyone my age I have lost friends and family to cancer. My grandma died of liver cancer. One friend of a rare type of adult leukemia. Another of a cancer which started as breast cancer, which she left untreated because she was pregnant with her first child. She died so that her child could live. I have several friends and relatives who are cancer survivors. And, I have one friend who is terminally ill at the moment. It is a disease which touches everyone at some point in their life. So I’m happy to be involved. Fundraising of course, but also making other women aware that we can all make a difference.
I’m attempting the 5k run in Hyde Park. I’ve picked that particular event to give myself the longest possible time to get fit. I want to try my best to run the whole way – though I know I should finish the event without too much problem because even I can walk 5k! If you were thinking of getting involved, there are plenty of other runs around the UK and there’s the option to pick a longer distance or a ‘Muddy’ event. You can join by yourself or team up with friends and family to run together. I’ve been told by those friends who have already had a go that in addition to raising money for Cancer Research and raising awareness, it’s actually a fun day out. That doesn’t stop me feeling VERY apprehensive. Will I actually make the finish line?
As a bit of a fitness numpty, how am I planning to get to the stage where I can run? Well I’m doing the NHS Couch to 5k programme. I’m impressed both with the app and with myself. I’ve just finished week 2 now and so far I’m coping! Mind you, it hasn’t rained on a running morning yet. It works by downloading an app onto any smart phone and then using that while you are out training. You can play your own music ‘behind’ the coaching voice, but every so often ‘Laura’ will interrupt with more instructions. Week one – well, you walk briskly for 5 minutes and then train by running and walking for one minute/90 seconds for a total of 20 minutes. Then cool down by walking briskly for the last 5 minutes. Week two is much the same format, but you run for 90 seconds, then walk for 2 minutes.
Week three…OMG….you have to run for 3 minutes at a go.
Watch this spot, I’m scared of week three…and even more scared that by the end of week five the podcast thinks I will be running for 20 minutes without stopping! But the good news is that if I struggle, I have plenty of time to repeat a week, until I CAN run for 30 minutes without stopping. I’ll be blogging regularly to let you know how I am doing – it’s my way of helping myself keep going!
I’m already quite proud of myself; my personal barriers to running are mostly to do with not wanting to look silly in public. And, I’ve now run around Pasley Park at least 30 times, albeit as early in the morning as possible so no one gets to see me in my lycra!
Back to the underlying reason for doing all this. I’m raising money for Cancer Research and hope that you’ll encourage me on AND give to a worthy cause by visiting my Just Giving page. If you want to join in yourself, I have a discount code for London Unattached readers that will save you £2.00 from the entrance fee. Pop over to the Race for Life page and find the race that works best for you, then use the discount code RFLUna when you sign up.