Eat. Sleep. RUN RUN RUN. Repeat.

I’m pleased to announce that Sam’s 18 in 2018 has well and truly begun, with the first two events in the bag over the course of this weekend. I’m feeling a tad depressed/guilty about the fact that I seemed to spend most of my weekend away from my family, running mostly in muddy situations, but I know they understand and I’ve got their full support. Thanks to Mike for looking after our poorly boy today whilst I slipped and slid around in mud for an hour.

I’ve had some major personal running achievements this week, so before I dive into the fun that was NightRun and my first ever taste of proper Cross Country racing at the East Midlands XC at Colwick Woods, I’ll go back a few days..

  1. Let’s start at last Saturday (20th Jan) where despite it being utterly freezing, and raining, and the fact that I was in an area I’d never run in before – I proved to myself how much I have changed by going out for a 5k on my own in Littleport, Ely. What was I doing in Littleport? Well, it’s where my mother in law and her partner, Mick live and we were visiting for a bit of a get together to celebrate his birthday. I could have decided to stay in where it was warm, but no – I had packed my running stuff and I was going for a run no matter how cold/windy/wet it was. So I put on my big girl pants (and my running gear) and headed out of the door with a rough idea of where I was going. Not the most enjoyable 5k, but glad I did it. I got back in one piece, and was rather smug for the rest of the day.
  2. My next achievement came along on Wednesday night when I ran home from work. I posted on Instagram about this at the time – this is a MAJOR deal for me. I’ve been banging on about it at work for ages – “oooh I could run home one day”  I’d say, 100% knowing that I absolutely wouldn’t. This time I did. I went into work with all my running gear, and at 5pm I set off home. I knew exactly where I was going, but I did not realise quite how tough it was going to be. I was about to tackle Carlton Hill. People who live in Nottingham will know Carlton Hill, people who don’t live in Nottingham – just trust me, its a beast. The first thing I noticed was that the hill actually starts a lot sooner than I’d thought. When you are on the bus or in a car, you really don’t notice the gradual start of the hill which must go on for a good mile and a half. It was a killer. Then the hill gets a life of its own and you really feel like you are running up! I was glad to have my tunes ringing in my ears, they distracted me from the utter hell my legs were going through. And the best part about a hill? There’s a down! Running down was a lot more fun, and fast. I know many runners who do Carlton Hill regularly, but for me this was a big thing and another hill for me to tick off my list, along with Foxhill (aaah!), the nasty one at Gedling Country park (aaah!) and Arnold lane (aaah!).
  3. I got home from my Carlton Hill endeavour, and then went out for a run. Yes, you read that right, I went out for a gentle 2 miles with my good friend Karen. I was on such a high from my run home that I think it was 100% adrenaline and endorphins which got me round.
  4. Not having done enough hills, on Thursday night I cracked some mental hills with my friend Janet. I’m such a glutton for punishment, but I think I want to do it again. Could it be that Sam – the lover of all the flat runs might be converting to hills? Surely not! It’s a reoccurring theme here though, so be warned.
  5. Last night was the NightRun. My first event for my 18 in 2018. A wonderful little 7km (6.5k technically) at Clumber Park after dark. Its a really great idea and normally a fab atmosphere. There were lots of hills but definitely not as much mud as there was last year, which made the hills slightly more bearable. Unfortunately, one of my running pals, Angela, hurt her ankle whilst running. She still managed to finish the run though before hobbling over to the ambulance for a check over. I hope she’s OK today.
  6. Not content with ALL THE HILLS so far, today I took on event number 2 for my 18 in 2018; my first taste of Cross Country racing at the East Midlands Cross Country at Colwick Woods. I’d spoken to a few ladies I know who have done this before, and they all warned me that it would be really tough, and really muddy but that I’d feel great at the end. They were right. I’m not sure I’m ready to say that I would do that exact race again, but I’m definitely up for trying more cross country. The hills were long and arduous slogs up, and we all know what goes up must come down. Just think mud slides. I walked a LOT of it – but ran the bits that I could; jumping over tree stumps, climbing muddy steps, slip sliding around all over the place. It was just over 2 miles, but took me around the same time it normally takes me to do about 5 miles on the road. I was shattered at the end, but really glad to have some fellow Notts Women’s Runners there to greet me at the finish. It was also a really lovely morning and I’m glad it didn’t rain.

Things I learnt from my first go at Cross Country:

  • What goes up must come down. And then it goes back up again.
  • There is mud everywhere.
  • Embrace the mud, do not be scared of it.
  • Runners are ALWAYS friendly. Even the super duper speedy ones.
  • I love being part of a club, and the running community.
  • I like hills a bit more than I did, but I still don’t like them.
  • Give me a road race any day of the week.
  • I’m never taking my trainers in the shower with me again. Next time I’ll use the hose.

I’m still continuing to raise money for my 18 in 2018. If you fancy dropping a bit of cash my way to go towards a fabulous cause you can do so here: Sam’s 18 in 2018

I’m also going to have a stab at organising a coffee morning. Hopefully my mum will be able to help me with baking some cakes (not asked her yet) and we’ll sell them to try to raise a bit of cash. I’m also planning a raffle, I’m on the look out for some cool prizes so if anyone has any ideas for prizes then please contact me. Maybe if you know someone who wants to donate a prize? I’d really appreciate it. Failing that, it may be a gift vouchers and bubbly kind of raffle, which is just as good in my opinion! Also, if anyone has any ideas at all on ways I could raise some extra cash, please do get in touch with me on FB.  

So that’s me. Feeling shattered, but so proud of my most immense week of running. I’m really hoping I can keep this up now. I’ve got goals, and I will hit them!

Sam x



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