Posted on Leave a comment

Race for Life 2016 – Aberdeen – 10K – Done

Well, it came and went, and I finished it, running all the way….  For a new runner, I can’t even begin to say how chuffed I was at the finish line, although the last couple of K were quite tough for me to keep running, especially after pulling a muscle at around the 8k line.

We rocked up around 9am, to see lots of women making their way to the side of the Ice Arena, where there was a stage set up for everyone.  As usual, when I’m doing anything, there’s a complete lack of photographs to show me doing it, as my nearest and dearest aren’t the best at taking photos for me.

Race for life 2016 10k 4

I raised £262 for my run, which I was happy with, given that my circle of real life friends is pretty limited these days.  As a carer, I don’t get out terribly much any more and I really have to thank everyone who donated from the bottom of my heart.  I gave a show of strength against cancer for my mother in law, who was taken too soon, both my mother and father who are cancer survivors and my friend, who is about to start her second fight against the disease.

I’d no idea what to expect, and half thought I’d be the only old huffer on the route, but I had nothing to worry about.  I’d done some training, and although the furthest I’d gone before this was 8k, I was hoping to get to the finish in one piece.

There’s a group warm-up at the beginning, but as an older runner, and one who used to be very unfit, in hindsight, it wasn’t enough for me.   If I do this again, I’ll do my five minute walk beforehand, to ensure my leg muscles are ready for getting feet off the ground.

Race for life 2016 10k 3

Before setting off, nerves gathered in my stomach, but once we were in the starting area, they eased off as he began to hike it up the little hill from the field to the beach boulevard.  It was a fairly easy route, but I’d expected it to be completely flat, which was a little misleading, as at the Bridge of Don end of the route, it’s a slow climb back to the level and flat run for the rest of the way, right to the roundabout beside the Beach Ballroom, and back to the Bridge of Don route for a full second cycle of running.    It’s effectively 2 rounds of the 5k circuit.

Water was handed out at around the 5k mark for us, and with only around 600 entries for the 10k, our route was very pleasant indeed, after the first kilometer, when people began to find their place and the crowd opened out.  There were some cancer uk supporters helping to chivvy us along and it did raise a smile, as in general, running is quite a lonely pursuit.

Starting off, I went too fast for me, but not at all fast for many others.  I think it was the need to find a bit of space to run in, and when that happened, I settled into a steady pace, getting around half way in around 32 minutes, which is ultra good for me.  At that point, I realised I had to do it all again, so I slowed down more and took longer for the second half of my 10k.  I’m new at running, so pushing it would have been daft.

In the second half, I suspect I could have speed walked/partially run in cycles and been faster, but my goal was simple…  Just to finish and still be running, from beginning to end.  And I did it, as my show of strength against cancer.  It affects us all, so if others can go through chemo, pain, uncertainty and misery, surely I could finish a 10k, somehow!

I’ve run at the beach before, but the pavements are definitely easier to run on than the road, which has a fair few stretches of uneven tarmac.   The pavements were reserved for the general public, so running on the road it had to be.  Apparently, I ran past my family and never saw them at all.  With my headphones in and music blaring into my ears, I think I had no idea what anyone else was doing, for almost all the time.

By the end stages, I heard my app get to around 8k, and I signed in relief.  I still felt ok, and my legs were fine, then I landed awkwardly on a rough patch of tarmac and slightly pulled a muscle.  Determined to keep going, I sort of hopped for a few steps until it eased, then slackened off my pace a bit more.  Keeping my legs going was all I cared about at that point.  9k was announced in my ears, and I knew I’d finish it by still running.  It was slightly disheartening to hear 10k announced, and realise I still had to go from the roundabout to the finish line, so in total, my app told me it was 10.44km.

I was about 75-80 minutes, not counting the forgetting to switch off my app when I’d finished, and it added on a few extra minutes where I walked over to meet my sister in law who was running the 5k after me, and my boys.

Race for life 2016 10k

Race for life 2016 10k Dog Tags

I’m chuffed to bits about finishing it.  Time was never a goal for me at this point, but distance was.

ps:  Remind me never to let anyone take a picture of me mid step again!

Posted on 2 Comments

Race for Life Training – A few weeks to go….

Well, what can I say….  I’m pretty rubbish at this running thing.  I’m doing it, but almost everyone else I see, seems to have got it licked, whereas I just plod along, step after step until I’ve had it.

The treadmill, I can do, but I’m struggling getting above 5 + k outside.  I get to around the 5k mark and I seem to have this mental block for actually continuing to run terribly much further without stopping for a good walking break.

I went out with a friend this week, for her first day of couch to 5k.  I really actually enjoyed redoing the walk 2.5 minutes and run for 1 minutes spells.  She struggled, as I did when I started, and I found it quite strange to not even get the slightest bit of change to my breathing while she struggled…  BUT, I was there a few short months ago…..

I’d love to be able to run the whole 10k, I really would, but with only 4 weeks to go, I’m nowhere near ready to manage that distance.  I’m not young, and I’m about a stone away from where I’d like to be.  I tell myself that running will be a whole lot easier when I’m carrying around that 14lb less, but I know that’s only fooling my brain while I’m reaching the end of a run… 🙂


I’m still self conscious outside.  Actually, I find it excruciatingly embarrassing to plod along, as people tend to look up.  I know they don’t give a fig, but hey, we’re only human, and it’s tough to ignore people looking when you’re very self conscious.  I’m ignoring it as much as I can, and persuading myself not to care, although I’m still only very rarely running in our village.

It goes a little like this:

See a car coming towards me, lift my head, speed up a bit till it’s passed, then slow down a bit to get breathing under control.  See someone walking towards me, close my mouth and breathe through my nose till they go out of sight…….

But, it’s for a good cause, right?  Without the race for life, I wouldn’t be outside at all really.  I’d still be plodding on my treadmill, sweating buckets and thinking I was slower than a sleeping tortoise.  At least I know my timings are faster outside now, even if I’ll still struggle to finish the 10k in the alloted time.  I’m practicing speedwalking too, in the attempt to finish my 10k in the hour and a half, even if I have to walk half of it.  I’ll be alone, so I hope to have a bit of a crowd somewhere I can get lost in.  It’s a daunting first public distance outing.  I’m half wishing I’d opted for the 5k.  At least I know I could finish that, but then I wouldn’t be pushing myself, would I?

Raceforlife4Perhaps doubting yourself is common for a new runner who found it tough to get this far.  I love running, I really do, but seem to be taking much longer than other people to build up distance.

There’s no shame in walking though, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed there will be other walkers on the 10k, and they’re not all the local super speedies I see out and about 🙂  I know lots of people walk the 5k, and I wouldn’t mind having walkers on the 10K, but with only 456 people signed up to my local 10k so far this year, I’m starting to worry…..

In the meantime, I’m off out for another run, and intend to walk a 3k afterwards to build the distance to run and walk outside.  Oh, and if anyone has any tips for how to stop myself going scarlet in the face while I’m out running, I’m all ears…….

Sign up for a race for life place yourself at Race for Life – Cancer Research UK

Posted on Leave a comment

Sponsor me for cancer research.

Raceforlife2Ok, you know by now that I’m doing the Race for Life Aberdeen 2016, 10K.  I’ll be walking some, but I’m going to run as much as I can.  I have a slight knee injury, which means I’ve cut back on training this week to let it heal, but hopefully it doesn’t last for too long.

I’d like to raise £150 if at all possible, and if you want to sponsor me, feel free to use my widgets and badges to help you along.

My race for life Just Giving page is lesleysmith001 or click on the image below to take you to my fundraising page.  Cancer Research UK funded my place for running, so I’ll also be donating the entry fee I saved to my account.  If you do sponsor me, and you’re comfortable, leave a wee message so I know who did an awesome thing for me and the future of cancer research.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!
If you’re a text person, and want to sponsor me, even if it’s a pound, simply text in a donation if you’d like to.   You can donate in numbers of £1, £2,£3, £5 or £10.  It takes a little while to show up.

The number to text for Race for Life: 70700



Posted on 1 Comment

Race For Life 2016 and Me

In my eyes, the goal  of Race for Life, is to bring women together and raise sponsorship online.  I don’t have a big circle of real life friends, but you know what, every little thing I can do to help, is a step closer to someone in the future being cancer free.  I don’t have anyone to run/walk with, and I can’t persuade anyone in real life to come with me yet.  Doing anything in public still fills me with a sense of dread, yet, I’ve agreed to run our local 10k, with the kind support of CRUK.

Ladies, if I can do it alone, so can you.  What do we have to lose?  There’s an option for a 5k if you think 10k is too far, and personally, I will be likely to walk as much of the 10K as I run, possibly more, but it’s a little over 6 miles, and I know I can walk that.  5k is only just a little over 3 miles, and with a little walking training from now till then, almost all of us could do it. It really is time to ‘lace up our trainers.’  It’s handy that my trainers have some pink in them….  I suspect I’ll have new ones by then.

Run Trainers

Yes, I can run around 8k, slowly, on a treadmill, at a push, with no wind or hills – but outside, I’m lucky if I can manage half a mile without thinking I’m going to keel over.

I’m Diabetic, I have Fibromyalgia, Costocondritis, feet trouble, and often suffer with back pain too.  Any sort of exercise is a huge challenge for me, but sitting on my backside doing nothing, isn’t an option if I’m to be healthy into my fifties, sixties and more.

For my local event 10k, the questions I wanted answered are given here.  You can find out what your own venue will have by checking the event pages.

Aberdeen 10k Facilities

  • Toilets
  • Refreshments
  • Parking available
  • Suitable for dogs
  • Suitable for pushchairs
  • This event is suitable for wheelchair users with assistance

The Course

The Aberdeen route will take you along the beautiful Beach Esplanade, taking in the amazing view of Aberdeen beach. The double lapped course is completely flat and the terrain consists of tarred roadways, with the exception of the finish straight which is a grassed area.

Meeting Point

The meeting point is within the main grass area of the event site next to Linx Ice arena. Please arrive one hour before the start time of your race.

The Training

Yes, I’m going to have to do some training, most outside.  I can walk the distance easily, but running as much as I can will be difficult, especially if I have a Fibro or Costo flare up on the day.  I’ve accepted that if it does happen, I’ll be walking it all, as no matter how much I want to run on those days, actually getting two feet off the ground makes an attack last for longer than it needs to.  Just the walk on a day like that, is a huge accomplishment.

I’ve downloaded the Race for Life App, and also the 10KIQPLAN.  There’s around 9 weeks to get moving.

Race for Life have a training plan on their website, for beginners and for intermediate runners.  I’m going to try a bit of both, to help me run outside a little.

What to Wear

I have a pink t-shirt that will do the job wonderfully, but I’ve bought the official race for life cap, as I don’t want to risk getting sun on my face.  I burn too easily to take that chance.  I also splashed out on the lightweight rain jacket, and the little wrist wallet for money and my car key.   Apart from that, I’ll have on my trainers and a pair of running trousers.  I don’t do skin tight leggings.   Maybe one day, but not yet.


I’ll be blogging my training, so if you think you’re alone in trying to do this, you can keep me company.

Other Ways to Help

If you can’t walk or run, or you’re a male, there are other ways to help, offline and online, including a Bakesale, Volunteering, Quiz Nights, or even getting your kids and their schools involved.  You don’t have to run on the day to raise money for a good cause.  Personally, I’ll open a Just Giving account and hope I can raise something to help out.  I might not raise a lot, but if I don’t try, it’ll never happen.

Find out More

With Cancer Research UK, and Tesco as their partner, a huge following, that includes thousands of women and young children has been successful across the UK.

They say:

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life is a series of women-only events raising money for research into all 200 types of cancer.

This years campaign has kicked off in earnest, with around 300 events, up and down our little land.

Did you know, that every couple of minutes, someone, somewhere in the UK, is diagnosed with cancer.  I don’t think there can be many of us who have not been touched by cancer at some point in our lives.  Personally, my mother is a breast cancer survivor, and my mother in law fought a brave battle with cancer before she died.  My own experience has been limited to rogue cervical cells which were treated when I as in my twenties.  I am ever thankful of the research done in the past, to allow me to stop those developing into potential cancer cells.

Race for Life events raise money to find new says to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.   There is no Government funding, so it’s all down to us, the people who live with cancer and it’s affects on families.

The success of race for life seems to be stemmed from largely being women, who can walk, jog, run, or amble around the courses, all with the single goal of finishing the distance, and bringing some much needed support for research.  If you want to find out more about how the money is used, check it out here.

Events that might be close enough for you to attend, include.