This year, as regular readers will be aware, I’ve taken on my biggest running challenge ever with a multi-marathon challenge to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. Macmillan do a wonderful job of supporting those affected by cancer and for a variety of reasons I was keen to raise as much as I could to help make a difference. I set out with the modest target of raising £750, but as I write this my total stands in excess of £2500! Much of this is due to the efforts of my friend and keen supporter Ian who has been helping to boost the fundraising pot via his business Flybox. I am utterly indebted to Ian and his customers for their overwhelming generosity and wanted to devote a post to thanking him, but rather than write about it myself, I asked Ian if he would write the first ever guest post on The Running Princess. So today, I’m handing over to Ian to tell you all about it in his own words…
The Unlikely Runner
Hi my name’s Ian Christie and I’m a runner. Gosh, I sound like someone confessing to an addiction! But in a way, it’s true – I am addicted to running! (my wife would say I’m also addicted to buying running gear….but let’s not talk about that!)
Anyhow, it’s a great honour to be invited to write a guest blog for The Running Princess! So here’s a little about my short running journey so far…
I started running 1 year ago, when I decided to try and get back into shape. For years I had done little or no exercise and had put on a lot of weight to the point where I was fast becoming the shape of a beach ball…things had to change!
My wife, who runs a marketing company, had just started work with Scotland’s largest chain of running stores “Run-4-It” and had said she was interested in starting running, so I figured why not give it a try too. Just weeks before she’d expressed an interest in running, I was caught out by a rain cloud one Spring day while walking my dogs up one of Perth’s local hills with no jacket on. With a looming thunderstorm approaching me at speed and with 1km of hill stretching beneath me to my car, I decided I had a choice: Get very wet or try and ‘run’ to the car! So I ran! (I made it to the car in the nick of time). To my amazement, I had not collapsed with a heart attack. I was alive! This glimmer of hope made me think to myself “Maybe I could actually be a runner”. When I returned to the office, albeit a bit sweaty, I said to my wife, “I am going to buy running shoes this weekend. We will go to a Run-4-it store and buy all I need to run!” She laughed heartily in disbelief!
That weekend we ventured to Bridge of Allan to Run-4-It where I bought a pair of trail shoes. I love the countryside and I just knew that I’d feel most comfortable running in that environment. Having no running clothes, I immediately made a trip to TK MAXX to buy some shorts and tops. One thing I learned quickly, is that when you’re 16stone and have a big belly, wearing a solid fluorescent orange running top makes you look like a giant orange – not a good look! I have since stuck to darker colours!
To cut a long story short, I think I experienced all the usual problems beginner runners suffer from in the first month: shin splints, near cardiac arrest moments from trying to run too far, too soon or too fast etc. All I really remember from those early weeks is a lot of pain! Luckily a friend and local Personal Trainer Steve Bonthrone had recently moved into our office block and we got chatting. He was setting up a running club for beginners wanting to do “couch to 5k” – so I enrolled on that, and within 4weeks I was running 5km. That course was hugely helpful and I still use the techniques I learned on that course today when I run. A few weeks later, with the skills I’d learned on the 0-5km course, I managed to do my first 10km which was another milestone.
I still had a lot of weight to lose which would help improve my running, or at least make it easier! So, I signed up for TRX suspension training classes twice a week and also for weekly 1-1 training runs – the latter was my next episode in pain!! I will never forget how badly or close to death I felt on that first training run! Nor could I believe I was actually paying money to feel so bad!! It’s always worrying when your personal trainer brings their mobile phone with them on a run. I think he was carrying it in case he needed to phone 999!
Several months later I was to experience another near death experience – My first Metafit class! I survived it and now I actually find myself enjoying Metafit. For the remainder of 2013 up until Christmas I followed quite an intense schedule which went something like this:
Mon: Metafit, Tue: TRX, Wed: Training Run, Thu: TRX , Fri: light run, Sat: Rest, Sun: Long run.
Looking back it was probably right, given I needed to lose a lot of weight, however, I don’t think I rested enough. During Christmas I came down with Shingles which sidelined me for a few weeks. To be honest I probably needed the rest anyway. After Christmas I reduced my schedule and concentrated on “quality rather than quantity” of exercise which has worked really well for me this year. My new schedule goes like this:
Mon: Rest, Tue: TRX, Wed: Training Metarun, Thur: Rest, Fri: light run, Sat: Rest, Sun: Long Run
My next target was a half marathon. I was told by my trainer Steve that there was a “multi-terrain” half marathon at Forfar in February which would be ideally suited to me. My furthest distance to date had been 14km. I was quite confident I could get round 13miles and I did so on the day in 2hr 02min. In the process I also clocked an unofficial PB in the first 10km at 52:45min which I was pleased with.
So that sums up my running adventure to date. Apart from a minor injury which has now healed, I’m still enjoying my running and this year I’d love to try and get my 10k time sub50 and also to do a half marathon in under 2hrs.
Outwith running, I also enjoy fundraising for Charity via my company www.flybox.co.uk Every month we try to raise £1000 for different good causes by running monthly charity auctions. For the past few months, I’ve regularly driven past The Running Princess on many of her training runs in all sorts of foul weather and found her dedication and discipline towards her multi-marathon challenge inspiring. I felt my company could help boost her fundraising total for MacMillan and also that she really deserved our support for the tireless work she’s put in. One thing I’ve learned from fundraising is that it’s not easy and the more people you get involved the more money you’ll raise! As my company has a very large following on Facebook of 26,000, I enrolled the help of everyone to try and support Allison and help increase her fundraising total. Their response so far has been overwhelming and the generosity of people never ceases to amaze me. Asides from raising a lot of money for charity, both Steve & Allison do so much to help others start running and encourage runners of all abilities – and that’s a great thing. If it weren’t for them, I don’t think I’d be running today. So thanks!
And a massive thank you from me to Ian and his Facebook following who have helped raise around £1500 and counting. Every penny will help make a difference to those affected by cancer and in turn help motivate me to keep going during the toughest times in my challenge. Never in a million years did I expect to have such massive support and I am incredibly grateful.