Last week I took part in the Leeds Dock Relay. It was a fantastic event, with more than 300 local people participating – that’s 90 teams! Huge thanks to Leeds Council and Recovery Runners, who clearly put in a lot of graft to make sure it ran smoothly.
The event showcased everything that’s great about the running community, from the diversity to the genuine enjoyment of running and team spirit. We made quite a racket cheering each other on from our meeting place outside the Royal Armouries and I loved the excitement of waiting for my turn to do a lap with all the other runners. It was a pretty short route, just less than a mile, but that didn’t change the fact that I was absolutely knackered afterwards! I made the classic mistake of setting off way too quickly to do a heroic time for my team, then cringed as I got overtaken by everyone else as I involuntarily slowed down.
Being part of an event like that, with a team of brilliant runners and fab people, reminded me that after half-heartedly running for several years with fleeting bursts of motivation amidst plenty of long pauses, joining a club is the best thing I could have done.
In my early 40s, searching for the things that lit me up and made me happy felt like doing a treasure hunt with the shittest map ever, and no one was more than surprised than me to find running was near the top of my list. But it’s provided me with the sense of belonging and enjoyment I think I was worried I might never find.
If you're feeling that something is missing, you WILL find it if you keep trying. For you it might be photography, writing, running or volunteering. Whatever your 'thing' is, you'll know when you find
it. And when you do, I'd wholeheartedly recommend you do more of it and see how your life changes for the better.
I went to club intervals training for the first time in ages on Tuesday night. I used to be a diehard intervals fan and even preferred it to my club’s Wednesday night social run, but it started to feel a bit hardcore so I had a break.
My return was a real baptism of fire and thenerves set in when I realised I was the only ‘average’ runner who’d turned up. The session was centred around a series of 60-second sprints with 45 seconds of recovery in between. Not only was I knackered after just the warm-up; within seconds of sprinting I becameacutely aware of how much my cardio had faded since last year - I honestly felt like I was going to collapse!
As usual,the run leaders from my club were absolutely brilliant and I had one on one training and encouragement for each sprint. This is obviously great, but the downside was there was absolutely no slacking!
It was quite a session. I can really see inhindsight the impact intervals had on my form and my fitness and I'm going to
try once again to make it a part of my weekly routine.
Finally, today is International Dog Day, so I can’t sign off without mentioning my beautiful rescue greyhound Ozzy. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved greyhounds, and I never pass up an opportunity to dispel some of the myths around their suitability as pets. So if you’re thinking about welcoming a dog into your home, please remember that greyhounds:
- Don’t need loads of exercise! They’re bone idle and spend a huge amount of time asleep if they have a comfy bed or sofa
- Are mega affectionate and wonderful with children as long as they’re treated with respect
- Are exceptionally quiet and laid back,although they do sometimes make a strange singing noise when they’re
particularly excited (something Ozzy only does in the company of other sighthounds)
My hope is that more people will consider homing one of these wonderful creatures. If you do, you’ll get a beautiful, elegant and kind animal that expects very little and will flourish in return for any love you give.
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