The Runner Bean

We’re currently keeping check on this weekend’s weather forecast at Seventeen and Green HQ because this Sunday will see Mark (Mr Seventeen and Green) run The Great Cumbrian Run half marathon for the fifth year in a row (although seven times in total) while I (Caroline) will once again be watching from the sidelines.

It’s starting to become a tradition, every year Mark and my sister take part, while I cheer on with the rest of the family in tow.  I love to go and support them, and I feel a real sense of pride seeing them cross the finish line.  While being in equal parts envious of them, and all the others that have taken part and completed the challenge.

I’ve got a bit of a love hate relationship with running you see.  I love the idea of it, and yet hate the reality.  And have dabbled over the years.  In fact, last year I decided that maybe I could train and work my way up to half marathon distance so I could join them on the Cumbrian run start line.  Training actually went reasonably well, I was increasing my distance every fortnight (although my pace was definitely getting slower) and I was squeezing in 3 runs a week around my other classes.  And by mid May I was up to half way, well on track to be up to those 13 miles by the time October came round.  And then I strained my hip flexor during my furthest run to date (7 miles!), and walking proved difficult let alone running.

While it wasn’t a big injury, it was enough to knock me off course.  I didn’t run for about 10 weeks and my first attempt back was a disaster.  We were holidaying in Canada at the time, and we planned a route all along the seafront of Vancouver, it couldn’t get much better than that.  However, it was hot, my hip wasn’t really fully heeled and my fitness levels had dropped.  I gave up after about a km and walked back to the hotel grumpy and frustrated.

So here we are, over a year later, and while I did and have managed to run again, many times, and further than a kilometre, I’m still not pushing much further than 5.  I actually even downloaded a Couch to 5k app to get my back up and running (pun intended) which was a great help, and I’d hugely recommend for any non-runners.  But now I’ve got that itch again to push it a little further.

We’ve just got home from a week’s holiday in Crete, were I spent my time lying in the sun and reading.  Reading Runner’s World magazine, and Vassos Alexander’s second book, Running Up That Hill (I loved this second book even more than his first). For someone who doesn’t really like running, I certainly like reading about it.  And now I’m listening to running podcasts too.  I’ve become utterly obsessed, I’m fascinated by ultra runners, and yet we’ve been home a week and I still haven’t actually got my trainers on and headed out.


So I’m setting myself a challenge, a challenge to stop fixating on distance and on time, but to learn to enjoy it, and maybe those things will come with that.  And who knows, this time next year, maybe i’ll be joining Mark and my sister and hundreds of others on that Great Cumbrian Run start line.

And of course, I’ll be ‘gifting’ myself one of our very own The Runner Bean hampers to keep me fuelled along the way.


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