Why I’ve not been racing

Why I’ve not been racing

THREE months ago I decided to stop training as much, and instead focus on my writing projects. I set myself the challenge of completing the first draft of my book. I knew my fitness would suffer, but in order to achieve my writing ambitions it had to be done.

That was back in December. Since then, I’ve cobbled together 80,000 words of my book, completed a short story course, and had two pieces of writing accepted for publication in magazines and anthologies.

I have written during my lunch hour at work, in the evenings after work, at weekends, and even used my daily commute to think about scenes. It has been a slow and frustrating process where I regularly doubted myself. But I have done it, and I can’t help but feel a little bit proud. The book is a long way from being published, but I have material that can be re-written, edited, and whipped into shape.

The only problem now is that I am Continue reading

Finding the time and motivation to train

Finding the time and motivation to train

TO reach your running potential you have to train hard, keep motivated and prioritise running. Unfortunately since returning from honeymoon in July I’ve struggled to find the time or motivation necessary to do well. I’ve really not been bothered.

You could say I’ve been coasting, happy to run when I feel like it, happy to have days off. It’s been a choice I’ve made because other things in my life have taken priority including starting a new job, launching a creative writing group, and doing a master’s degree in writing. As well as this I commute for at least ten hours a week (AT LEAST!), have three horses, two dogs and a rabbit to look after, not forgetting the husband, who I’d love to spend more time with if only there were more hours in the day.

Running has plummeted to the bottom of my list of priorities. I’ve still trained, but not in the consistent or hard way that’s necessary to make progress. I knew I’d lost fitness, so I decided to do a few parkruns and a 10k race to assess the damage. I completed a hilly parkrun in 21.44 minutes and a flat 10k in 42.16, both are a long way from my best but I was pleased with them.

That said, I know I can do better. I know that Continue reading

Celebrating my first year of blogging

This weekend it’s a year since I launched my running blog.

A full year. It only seems two minutes since I was writing my first blog post.

I started Champion Running because I love running and writing, and wanted to combine my two hobbies. I’ve certainly enjoyed writing the blog and I’m already looking forward to my second year of blogging. But first I’d like to look back, reflect on the events of the past 12 months and celebrate reaching the one-year blogging milestone.

It’s not been easy. There have been weeks when I just didn’t have the time to focus on my blog. There were times, especially after the death of my grandad where I couldn’t be bothered to write or run. It was like in a race when you’re crawling up the last hill and every muscle in your body is screaming out for you to stop, but somehow you struggle on, you keep going. You know that when you get to the finish line, you will feel fantastic. You know that the effort will have been worth it. After the death of my grandfather that’s how it felt. It was a struggle.

During the dark days of my grandad’s illness and the even darker days after his death, running and writing kept me going. The irony is that although it’s been a very sad 12 months for me and my family, it’s been an amazing year for my running and writing. When you channel all your energy into one thing day after day, you get better, you see results. Running and writing helped me to cope. The process made me happy, seeing results made me happier still.

I gained a place at Sheffield Hallam University and started studying for a Master’s degree in writing, something I’ve wanted to do for many years, but always thought it was a little indulgent. My 35th birthday last year was a turning point in my life. I was no longer young enough to be considered for young writers’ prizes. In running it was even worse. I was a veteran.

If I was going to achieve my running and writing ambitions I knew I had to work hard. It was a case of now or never. Running and writing have been my priority for the past year. I’ve passed modules in novel-writing and contemporary literature, and even combined my interests academically by researching the role that running has in my creative practice. I’ve written 30,000 words of my novel and I’ve almost finished a children’s book. I’ve written some short stories and have just started sending my work out to competitions. I’ve also discovered that I love creative non-fiction, so much so that I’ve started a book about running. I’ve also launched my freelance writing and copywriting business, and my book blog Cosy Corner Books. Writing-wise it’s been a good year.

When it comes to running, I’m still in shock about how far I’ve come. I smashed my personal bests for 5k, 5 miles, 10k, 10 miles and half marathon. I’ve even picked up Yorkshire Veteran Championship medals for 5 miles, 10k and 10 miles, not to mention a few boxes of chocolates at local races. I even won a race. Me? Winning a race! I still can’t believe it, but I did. It even sounds glamorous, the New York Canal Race. I don’t mention that it wasn’t actually in New York, but in Rotherham. My prize was a box of Cadbury’s Miniature Heroes. And just last week I was part of the Kingstone Runners ladies team taking a gold medal at the South Yorkshire Road Relays. It’s been an amazing year.

Losing someone I loved very much made me consider what was important to me. I’d always wanted to be a writer of fiction, and I’d always felt I could be a better runner, so I changed my priorities and worked hard at achieving my ambitions. After the worst 12 months of my life, it’s nice to look back and celebrate how far I’ve come.

Here’s to the next year ahead!