My Running Story

I’m a runner.

There, I said it. I’m a runner and I have been for just over a year now. Back in my not very distant at all past, I hated running and would do anything I could to avoid it. I mean, I was active and enjoyed sport but just not running. It was boring, repetitive and I just didn’t enjoy it in the slightest. With that in mind, I did once enter a 5km fun run when I was 17, which involved dressing as Santa Claus. Whilst nowadays 5km isn’t very far to me it was back then and I found myself hating almost every minute of it. Needless to say, I didn’t run for about 3 years after that, barring the occasional jog along the seafront.

So how did that change? Well, in part it was down to parkrun. Yes, if you know me at all, or you follow me on Twitter it’s that thing that I always seem to be talking about. The free, weekly, timed 5km run every Saturday morning was a great motivator that made me keep turning up, week after week and soon enough I was hooked. It’s been over a year since I became a ‘proper’ runner and started to put my trainers to pavement regularly, but how did it all begin? Why did I start parkrunning? What made me go up to Greenham Common on that fateful Saturday morning? Well…

It was a girl. Yep, cliched as hell, but that’s right. I started running to impress a girl. After talking for a while, the girl in question had stated on many occasions that I should start parkrun and on many occasions I hadn’t been bothered to turn up… Until she said she knew I wouldn’t. Now if there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s people telling me that I won’t do something so I laced up my trainers at 8:25 on Saturday 9th June 2012 and made it to the start line with enough time for a quick warm up. Oh jeez, this was going to hurt, wasn’t it? After not running for the best part of 4 years I was about to embark on a 5km jog. Eep.

Shockingly, and against all of my prior expectations, it wasn’t that bad. I was slower than I wanted to be, but faster Thani realistically expected and managed to cross the finish line of my first ever parkrun in a time of 27:27. Not too bad. I decided I might keep this up for a while, do the occasional Saturday but sure enough the bug was in me by this point and I have managed to keep it up, week upon week for what will now be the 50th parkrun in my tally in a little over a year. Not bad…

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Yep, that was me at my first ever parkrun.

So when it came time to leave home again and return to uni, I had managed to find a parkrun fairly near to Portsmouth and decided to keep up this running lark. I even managed to convince my housemates that they should come with me. Of course the idea of getting up to go running at 9am on Saturday was met with more resistance than that of a particularly demonic dictatorship some resistance, they turned up and in time have warmed to the parkrun lifestyle. Kind of. Well, most of them. Sometimes.

At first, Havant parkrun was strange, it wasn’t what I had gotten used to over the summer. Needless to say, that all changed once we started integrating into the group and in time it has come to be more of a family to me than a group of runners. The people there are fantastic and I’ve made some amazing friends in my time running with them. Havant parkrun also saw the creation of my running club, Tea Time Terrace, the origin of which will be explored a little later in another post. The Terrace has been a big motivator and has made the while thing more fun, combined with becoming surrogate members of the Cake Club, a group of runners that enjoy baking too (I know, it sounds like I was made for this club!). All in all, it’s been a fantastic 9 months at Havant and I’m excited to be back there come September for another 9 months at the very least (albeit without The Terrace, but hopefully I’ll manage ;p).

With summer coming back around, I’m about to start back at Newbury for the holiday stint, trying to bring my course PB down from its current state of 22:17 and enjoying myself. A lot has changed since I started – I have proper running shoes now! Ive even done a few longer distance runs, with a 10k and a half marathon under my belt and plans to do a lot more in the future. I’m sure a lot will continue to change as I keep running and I hope you stick with me through it all! Maybe you’ll even start a running journey of your own! If you have any stories to share, please do! Either pop your tale in the comments or better yet, START A BLOG and share it there! 😀

Oh, one more thing. I’m no longer staring things to impress a girl anymore. I guess I’ve finally grown up 😉

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(Well, only a little bit!)

Stop Doing That… In a Fast Food Restaurant!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might think that the topic of Fast Food is a bit played out since I’ve already talked about it a fair few times. If you’re new here or require a catch-up then please click here to learn about OCS (Obnoxious Customer Syndrome) or here to see the first “Stop Doing That” about ordering your fast food.

So where can we go from here? Surely I’ve already covered the most important parts, right? Well today, we’ll be looking at what happens when you move away from the counter and enter the restaurant seating area. There are just oh so many things that you can do here to make yourself one of the most annoying customers ever. So, without further ado let me attempt to help you realize and rectify your mistakes!

STOP: Not clearing your own table
This is something that majorly bugs me. It’s not difficult to do either, so there’s no excuse for you getting up and wandering off WITHOUT taking the tray with all of the rubbish and detritus from your meal and putting it in the bin. Seriously, the bins are out there, in the lobby, for you to use. In most cases you walk past at least one bin to reach the exits! It’s not hard. If you don’t take your tray to the bin then I hope you enjoy the special hell that will be waiting for you. you know, the one reserved for child molesters and people that talk at the theater. (Bonus points for you if you got that reference. If you didn’t, you can educate yourself here: Special Hell)

STOP: Covering the tables in sauce
I mean really, we give you paper plates for a reason so is there any need to cover the entire table in sauce? Do you know how difficult it is to get that stuff off once it’s dried!? It’s like adamantium, you can’t destroy it!

STOP: Getting carried away with the napkins etc.
You know full well you’re not going to use that entire wad of 50 or so napkins for your single burger meal, so how about you just grab a few and not half a forest’s worth of napkins. Save the Earth guys! (And yes, stop me having to sweep up hundreds of unused napkins every shift.)

STOP: Throwing what seems like the entirety of your meal on the floor
I know that occasionally, things fall on the floor. I’m ok with that really. I don’t mind having to sweep the floor, I have to do it anyway. I do take a personal vendetta fueled by my own burning rage against people who do this slight umbrage with those people that seem incapable of using a table and have managed to tip an entire trays worth of food and rubbish over the floor. Table manners do exist guys, please try not to forget them just because you’re not in a fancy restaurant!