It’s on! What started as a drink-fulled ‘yeah, we can do this’ in December has finally got underway, and 30-odd days in, the team are focused on raising money for the Lincoln City Foundation.
Gary, our editor (and the writer of this, oddly writing in the third-person), has run the 10k a couple of times, raising cash along the way for the Foundation. Running for charity in October, he achieved 5km every day for Prostrate Cancer UK as well. That means this 10k wouldn’t have been much of a fundraiser done alone. On the SW Podcast night out in December, it was drunkenly suggested that the whole team do it, and the uptake was universal. They all signed up.
So, four different people with four very different challenges have started on a journey to fitness and supporting the Foundation. There have already been some injuries, doubtless regrets at agreeing to do it, but also a huge amount of progress. We’re all at different stages of a fitness journey-we all have personal challenges to overcome and different motivations.
With that in mind, we wanted to give you an update from each member of the team, but not before you popped by our JUST GIVING PAGE HERE to drop a cheeky donation in the pot. We will explore some of the good work the Foundation does over the next few weeks as we build up to the race in April, but we’ll also let you into our journey.
Hopefully, if you have barriers to fitness, you’ll see that you can overcome them, just like these three warriors and Gary, who is basically a (slow) runner anyway.
“I knew this would be tough. I didn’t think I’d be sitting at the beginning of February nursing a newly discovered injury problem though. I’ve tried to be as honest as I can with where my fitness level was at, but I think it’s even lower than my already basement-level expectations.
“I’ve been doing the Couch to 5k, and aside from a newly-found disdain for Jo Whiley for making me ache, it’s been really good, when my body has decided to play ball. The bite-sized increments in training have been key to recognising an incremental achievement every week, and I’m now running in 5-minute bursts. To some, that’ll sound pathetic. To me, that’s a major milestone. I’ve shed half a stone in this journey already, and the hope is that by April, I’ll be a fraction of the man I was last year.
“However, 3 years of sitting at a desk for 10+ hours a day has taken its toll on my calves and Achilles’. Feeling the unfamiliar tightness creeping in half way through a treadmill session has become the new fear, and it’s been a harsh reality for the past 9 days. It’s been a tough week, and my genuine worry is that I’m going to let people down. This is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and at times it sucks. When it’s going well, however, the achievement and feeling of accomplishment is all too real. I’ve yet to hit the runners high, but I’ll get there, and have more good days than bad in the process.”
“I’m not going to lie and pretend the start of this process has been easy, but I’ve been able to put a positive spin on it by having this milestone target to work towards. Day by day and week by week so far I’m feeling an improvement. It’s not huge, nowhere near it. But small little targets I’m hitting; I didn’t expect it to be this rewarding.
“I’ve run before, used to run home from the gym over the summers, 5k roughly and used to do park runs semi-regularly a few years back. But not enough recently, I knew I was out of shape. But I’ve built it back up to the point now where it’s now more focused training. 3k quick (ish) run on Monday this week, 6k pace setting today. I’m not enjoying the running, who does, let’s be honest, but I’m feeling great afterwards (ok, not immediately afterwards, give me three hours to catch my breath!)”
“It feels odd, being described as the ‘runner’ in any group. I don’t see myself as a natural runner – the reduced flexibility in my back, courtesy of the rods and screws placed in there in 2018, gives me an awkward stance, and I don’t find running comfortable or particularly enjoyable.
“Everyone has different motivations for going out; mine is goal setting. I challenge myself to beat times I’ve set previously, as that helps keep me focused. I am also looking to shift a few pounds – I was back up to 15 stone in January, and I’m within touching distance of 14 now. I want to look good in nice clothes or on the beach for my honeymoon, so that is my driving motivation. At the start of Jan, I puffed my way through 3km at a pace of around 6:00 /km, whereas my run on Monday was 5:36 /km, and I did 6km. I’m due to go out now, but I wrote this instead!
“I’m proud to be a part of this team, and seeing a little of where they are now where I was back in January 2022. Hopefully, we can raise a bit more money for the Foundation, who do such an excellent job.”
“The biggest obstacle I’ve faced so far with this challenge is getting started. Historically, I had been reasonably fit and could quite comfortably complete a 10km run if I had to, though I’d never choose to do so for fun, even back then! After a career change and the start of lockdown, my activity levels and fitness plummeted to the point that I could barely run a mile without needing a rest. For someone who was quite fit previously, it was a heartbreaking realisation of quite how far I had fallen.
From that point, I did manage to run regularly on my lunch breaks during lockdown and felt the benefit. But, since the world opened back up again, my activity levels have been inconsistent.
“So, I must admit that I delayed getting started with training for this challenge due to not knowing my starting point. The fear of another heartbreaking realisation of how far I had dropped was a real barrier that was holding me back from taking that first step.
“Then, a couple of weeks later than initially intended, I created a new running playlist and finally set off on my first “test run”. I planned to run just 2km but inadvertently ran 2 miles instead due to having the settings in imperial on my watch. When I realised that I had actually completed 3.7km, I was delighted. Although I know I still have quite a way to go, my starting point isn’t as far back as I had feared.
“Since then, I have built up to 6km. Again, accidentally, as I hoped to run 5km but got my route wrong, adding an additional kilometre to my route. That last kilometre felt like purgatory, but I now know I’ve got that distance in the tank. Just another 40% to go, and I’ll be there.
“Bring it on!”