The Down Side To Running….

Now, I hate to be negative especially on our second post but I would like to address a common point of view which has been expressed to me quite a lot recently.  It’s the “running is bad for your joints”  “you’re better off just going for a brisk walk”  attitude.  I have to say that having packed in quite a lot of miles over the last few months, possibly overdoing it a bit, I have sustained an injury to my left shin.  Nothing serious but seriously annoying.  It has meant i have had to take several weeks, six to be precise, off running.  When training for a marathon this is quite a set back.  I have tried to keep fitness up by replacing running for cycling or walking but really there is no substitute.  It was the beginning of December when I started to get this reoccurring pain in my shin.  Rather that stopping and listening to my body I decided to ignore it and hope it would just go away.  We then did an 18 mile road run.  It was such a good day.  The weather was cold but clear, we had a stunning route along the coast road between Applecross and Shieldaig.  This, as far as my leg was concerned, was the final straw.

Several weeks later things seem to be back on track.  But I am sure there will be other injuries along the way.  Hopefully not before we head off to London.  Whilst running recently, we have started to discuss what times we would like to make in the London Marathon and plan for how best we can achieve this.  Will we be disappointed if we don’t make those times? probably.  But what I have realized is that it is what we are doing now, here in Applecross that is important.  It’s the training, the consistent exercise, the getting out there what ever the weather that matters most.  Yes we could just go out for a walk but there is something addictive about running.  Getting a P.B. in an everyday run.   The races planned are really just for motivation to keep you going.  London is just one stage of what I hope to be a lifelong running journey.  It may cause some wear and tear for your limbs but it is unarguably good for the heart and soul.

A crazy idea…

It all started with a crazy idea to enter the Glencoe Mountain Gathering Half Marathon. From there Applecross Running Club was born with the simple idea that we wanted to keep running in the wilds of Scotland and that others might want to as well.

We all live and work in Applecross: Jon owns the Walled Garden Potting Shed Restaurant and catches all his own seafood. Tery runs Clement Design; Sarah does the accounts and paperwork for her husband’s business; and I work at Venture Mor, adventure holiday company and hostel. Gerry is a retired doctor and also on-call doctor for Mountain Rescue. Everyone has children: little ones and big ones, some of which have also joined the running club. Friends help with childcare, hot coffee after long runs and even free baths in the recent event of power cuts!

What we have discovered is that anyone can run. Everyone is pushed for time; everyone has commitments and constraints and insecurities, someone who is slower than them, and someone who is faster. It turns out it really doesn’t matter.

We all started out a few months ago, petrified of running with each other because we thought we wouldn’t be able to keep up. None of us had shiny new kit (I believe Jon ran in his crocs the very first time!) or knew what we were doing. But we started having such fun running around the trails of Applecross, chatting about everything from what our running theme tune should be – Chariots of Fire – to the benefits of Botox.  We learnt that running without eating means you run out of energy, and running when you have just eaten is definitely not to be recommended.

We have learnt so much about each other and made so many running and social plans along the way. We have gone from turning up in jersey jogging pants to buying running tights and trail shoes, reading running magazines, and searching the internet for tips on training.

So now we have goals, dreamt up during particularly good runs. Three of us got places in the Virgin Money London Marathon on 26 April. Another two are entering the Tiree Half Marathon in May. Five of us are planning to do the Great Wilderness Challenge, a 25 mile run over mountainous terrain, in August. And then, after watching the BMC Running Wild video of four women running the TNF Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, we felt inspired (especially by Milly Voice). We now have a far off goal of doing it too – something we never really even knew was a possibility.

So, although not yet achieved, we are taking our first steps. And this blog is our way of making sure we get there. By putting it in print, sharing our training ups and downs, how we overcome injuries and set backs, when we reach milestones (quite literally), anything we learn along the way, kit we couldn’t do without, and how that first crazy idea has changed our lives.

Please share with anyone who is embarking on an adventure of their own, training for something, or just starting out. Or just someone you think might be interested.