A few weeks ago, I was rudely awakened by my alarm ringing out at 7am on a Sunday morning. It wasn’t going off by mistake either, and as much as I would have liked to have turned it off, turned it over and gone back to sleep, I dragged my sorry backside out of bed. The reason I was leaving my lovely, cosy flat early on a Sunday morning in favour of heading out into the three degree weather was to run my very first 10km.
Let’s just take a second to recap on my running “career”. I was a horrendous runner in school. My anti establishment father used to write me notes to excuse me from taking part in cross country, having sympathetically watched me fear that portion of my education more than any other. I was one of those people who believed I just couldn’t run. I’d tried it and I had decided it wasn’t for me. But then I decided to do that ridiculous 25at25 thing and the gauntlet was laid for me to start running. On Boxing Day 2013, I left Mum and Dad’s and embarked on Couch to 5k. It was miserable. I didn’t enjoy it. Fast forward to October 2015, when I’d found some kind of solace in running and had officially left my 25at25 year behind, I signed up for the Cancer Research 10km before I knew what had happened.
Queue a whole bunch of soul searching, running home on a route that is 75% uphill, doubting myself, nerves and attempting to convince myself that I could do it. February 1st rolled around and I found myself stood alongside 11,000 other runners and Big Ben, ready to Conquer to Cold and run that 10km.
The Cancer Research Winter Run was, dare I say it, pretty fun. With my number pinned to my chest I queued from Horse Guard’s Parade, down onto the river front, and began the race at about 10.10am with Westminster behind me and the sun on my face. The route, which scaled the length of the river down to the Tower of London, looped back around and up to St Paul’s then finished up back where we started was glorious – and to my utter delight, pretty much completely flat. Supported by polar bears and cheerleaders and guaranteed snow on at least two parts of the race, you could feel the atmosphere – especially when the crowd was asked who had been directly affected by cancer, and who was still undergoing treatment. There was one person in my wave who was still undergoing treatment and it was the thought of them and all the people battling cancer and in recovery that pushed me on when I thought my legs wouldn’t carry me any further.
I finished the race in 1 hour 7 minutes and 33 seconds. I’d been aiming for 1 hour 10, so when I crossed the finish line a little tearfully at 11.18am, I knew I’d beaten the time I had set myself and I absolutely couldn’t believe it. It is a long time since I felt that proud of myself.
Running has definitely become a big part of my life now (yeah, I don’t know who I am anymore either). Though I can’t see myself running a marathon anytime soon, I reckon I could take on a half next year. Since that Boxing Day in 2013 though, I’ve definitely become one of those people who likes fitness stuff – fashion and gadgets mainly. My Nike running tights make me feel like an absolute badass as well as keeping me safe on dark, winter runs while my Nike Aeroloft Running Vest keeps the wind off my chest and makes sure I keep warm on those miserable rainy, windy runs in the depths of January.
My new favourite running companion though cropped up on my desk at work the day after the Cancer Research Winter Run. I only wish it had arrived a day or so earlier, because I am ultimately impressed. I’m talking about Runphones. I’m absolutely convinced that this simple little headband can make a massive difference to anyone who leads an active lifestyle.
It might look simple, but actually this little band is home to a couple of wireless speakers that play music straight into your earholes from your phone via a Bluetooth connection. Yeah, I know, sometimes technology blows my mind too.
I hadn’t realised how restricted i was by headphones when I was running until I was completely wireless. Suddenly it was easier to turn my head to check for traffic when I was crossing the road, my headphones weren’t falling out of my ears as I was lolloping along. It was utterly fuss free and ultra safe. Runphones enable you to hear music at a volume that’s still motivational without blocking out the sounds of traffic and what’s more, the speakers are removable and the headband is washable. No gross sweaty bugs lying around near your face. The wireless Runphones I’ve got retail at £69.99 and are available direct from Runphones.
I never thought I would be so impressed with a piece of equipment designed for runners. Namely because I never thought I’d be a runner. Turns out I kind of am.
Here’s a picture of me looking squinty with a polar bear to prove that I am still the same person I was 15 months ago, just a fitter one wearing a medal around her neck.
If you want to donate to Cancer Research, you can text BEAT to 70200
Runphones sent me their wireless headphones to trial but I really am genuinely impressed with them. So much so my parents just bought themselves a set each. If that’s not an accolade, I don’t know what is.