Challenge 15 – Colour Me Happy

Today marks the day another challenge got crossed of the list. I’ve had a bit of downtime lately (I’ve still got a blog post all about Ghyll Scrambling to write up for you – I promise it’s a good one! But you’ll have to wait a little longer), which meant it was actually really nice to get out and actually do something today. This was a challenge I’d been really looking forward to.

Today, I ran in my first organised run. It was just a 5k, completely untimed and concentrating mostly on fun rather than run, it was the “Happiest 5k on the planet” – The Color Run.

Inspired by the likes of India’s Holi Festival celebrating all things colourful, runners start dressed entirely in white. At every kilometre on the course, Colour Throwers chuck a paint powder over you – first pink, then blue, followed by yellow and topped off with orange. By the time the race is done, runners are covered from head to toe in a rainbow of painty, powdery goodness.

Now as you all know, I’m not much of a runner, but I absolutely loved The Color Run today. There’s no way I would have signed up for a run, or even discovered that I actually kind of enjoy it, had it not been for #25at25 and this Challenge (thanks Alison!). And had I not taken part in The Color Run today, I wouldn’t have spent the afternoon jogging round Wembley Stadium and I wouldn’t have these awesome pictures to prove that I was there. I also wouldn’t have had purple shower water this afternoon either.



And I managed to snap a super quick video blog before washing away the day’s work!

I had such a great day today! Thanks so much to Chris, Sophie and AB for coming along to share the fun!


Challenge 15 – A Bad Run


On Friday night, I went out at around 6pm for one of my Couch to 5k “run walks”. It’s getting to the stage now where I’m predominantly running, with only short recovery breaks. I was so proud of myself on Friday. I felt like I really smashed the run, and ran for an extra seven or eight minutes than the program directed and I clocked a full 5.5km. I pushed really hard. It was a good run. I never thought I’d say that.

On Saturday morning at about 11am, I tried to go out and run another run. I was still kind of on a high after Friday night’s trip out and I was feeling good that I could do something to make me equally as proud of myself. But as soon as I started running, my body got cross with me. My shins hurt. My legs didn’t want to move. Chris reassured me that it’d get easier and I’d start to loosen up a bit as we carried on. I didn’t. It just got harder.

It was raining. It was incredibly windy. It was cold. It was a struggle. My six minute interval run seemed like an eternity (which I know sounds ridiculous to many). I was frustrated. I was angry with myself. I hadn’t had enough breakfast, I was running on empty and I knew about it. But still I finished the run, despite a few momentary pauses and missing the last memo that it was time to walk because the wind was howling too loud.

I spent quite a bit of Saturday mulling over the fact that I’d had my first bad run, but after a while, I started to realise that despite the fact it was a bad run, I hadn’t given up. Yes I was slow and yes I got annoyed with myself but I carried on until I finished. And that’s something that I can be proud of. A friend Tash said to me that the weather was so bad I had to “feel pleased and virtuous — not nice weather to do anything in, let alone run.” And she was right.

So I decided that I would go swimming yesterday and do a KM to give myself something to be proud of again. And on Wednesday, I’ll get back to it, and push as hard as I can and just keep running until that 5k is MINE.

Challenge 15: My Couch to 5k Challenge

ImageWhen I was younger, Dad used to write me notes to get out of Cross Country – not because there was any kind of medical reason for it, he just took pity on me because he knew I hated it. And I mean, really hated it.

I remember when I was in primary school, I decided I would run the Grassam Trophy – a simple 800m run but I remember what a big deal it was for me to sign up. I ummed and ahh’d about it for ages and eventually found the courage to do it. It was a big deal for me, despite the fact it was only 800m. And while I was running it quite slowly, one of the teachers told me he didn’t know I was bothering, because I obviously wasn’t trying.

Since then, I pretty much went on strike when it came to running, refusing to even jog across the road and convincing myself that I couldn’t run. “I’m not built for running,” “I have a dicky hip,” “I’d rather swim” are all things I’ve said in the past, along with “do I look like the sort of girl that runs?” (The answer to this is still no).

But as part of #25at25, my good friend Alison set me the challenge of running the 5k Color Run when it hits the UK later this year. Dubbed the world’s happiest 5k, I thought this sounded like the sort of run I could probably get on board with. The premise is simple. You start dressed in all white, and as you’re running powder paint is thrown at you, a bit like the Hindu religious Holi Festival of Colour in India an Nepal, the idea being that by the time you’ve finished the run, you’re covered from head to toe in bright colours. Amazing right? I’ve always wanted to go to the Holi festival, and this seemed like a great introduction.


So on Boxing Day, before I was struck down with a sickness bug that massively hindered my visit home, I went out for a run. Having downloaded the Couch to 5k app, as recommended by a colleague and friend, and having picked up a pretty basic pair of running trousers from Sports Direct, I headed out for the first voluntary run of my entire life. And do you know what? It wasn’t hideous. If I’m being honest with myself, I actually kind of enjoyed it. Since that first run, I’ve been out a few times since, and I’ve enjoyed those too.

Couch to 5K is a super simple app. It walks you through a running program that gradually builds up as your fitness increases. It’s a steady increase too, instructing you through phases of warming up, walking, running  and cooling down at various intervals until you can run 5k in around 35 minutes, after about 9 weeks. For the first time in my life, I really feel like that 5k is achievable. Maybe even enjoyable. And I’m tempted to keep going and run a 10k later in the year too.

Surprisingly, I quite like the solitude of running. Maybe I’m still in the Honeymoon period, but I enjoy putting my headphones in and getting my mind elsewhere for a while, so music is key for me. I’m currently really enjoying The Workout Mix 2013 which I also listen to when I’m swimming. Part of the appeal of this album for me, other than the awesome tunes that I’d probably avoid when not exercising, is the continuous mix. No skipping tracks, no fumbling around with my iPod when something I don’t like comes on. It’s just straight music.

As far as kit goes, I’m keeping things pretty simple with a pair of running leggings (with a trusty back pocket for my phone), a solid pair of trainers and a cracking sports bra, the benefits of which are inestimable. I picked up a running pocket from Sweastshop too (£5) to keep my phone in on my arm if I feel that way inclined.

At the moment, I’m covering about 2 miles in 30 minutes, which I’m pleasantly surprised with, but I’m really hoping that this is something that’s going to improve.

Thanks for the challenge Alison – I think you’ve sparked a new passion for me, and afterall, isn’t that kind of what this whole debacle is about?