TMR Yearbook: Class of 2016 – Charlie Pitts

-Each time I go out, I feel myself getting more confident that I can do this.- (2)

It’s week 3 of #MoreMumsRunning, and we know some of you might start getting cold feet around now. Whilst we here at TMR could talk about why you should stick at it till the cows come home, we thought you might like to hear it from a TMR Mama who’s been a victim of the week 3 fear, and smashed through it.

Just remember: if you’re a mum then you’re already a superhuman. A running course is nothing in comparison. So don’t give up…You. Can. Do. It!

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When it comes to exercise, I am a 3-hit wonder. No matter what new fitness regime I try, the same pattern emerges:

Week 1 – I turn up terrified, but survive with a rush of endorphins when I realise it wasn’t as bad as I feared.

Week 2 – decide this is it – this is the thing that will get me fit.

Week 3 – realise it’s actually quite hard work, that I haven’t immediately lost 2 stone and that I don’t feel any fitter than when I started. And so I give up.

So it’s no surprise that the first two times I tried a couch to 5k, I gave up after the 3rd week. My first attempt was a “Beginner’s running course” on the Downs. The instructor decided on week one that we should all “just run as far as we all can, to see how we get on”. As the majority of the “beginners” shot off into the distance, I transformed back into the 16 year old girl I had once been, at the back of the weekly school cross-country run, being yelled at by an unforgiving PE teacher in a badly-fitting tracksuit. To be honest, it’s a miracle I made it to week 3.

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My second effort was through TMR. I joined a lovely group of ladies, with two encouraging run makers on a chilly September evening. And as we got to the end of the first session, I felt the expected high; the “well, that wasn’t so bad”. I diligently did my homework runs and excitedly turned up for week 2. But the demons aren’t ever far away. For me, exercise is a burden, a chore. The thing I know I have to do, but the thing that I have struggled with more than anything else in my adult life. Since adolescence, exercise has been the last resort. I will use any excuse to get out of it. So, in October, excuses came up. I couldn’t do the homework runs. Then I stopped going to the weekly runs because I knew I was getting further behind. I told myself I’d catch up. I knew I was lying to myself.

So..attempt 3: 8 weeks of 8:30 Saturday morning sessions through TMR. My expectations of myself by this point were so low that I told my partner not to worry about being on the early parenting shift every Saturday, because I wouldn’t last the whole course. Except I did. A small group of like-minded, fabulously supportive mums, a fantastically encouraging run-maker in Vanessa MC and an exceptionally persistent Mel Bound who threatened to come to my house on week 4 and drag me to the park if I didn’t turn up voluntarily(!) proved to be the combination I needed to break my 3-week course. 3 weeks ago we finished the course. 1 week after that we met up at the same time again to hit the magic 5k.

So, where am I now? Completing the course is not the magic bullet for me. I jealously read the posts of people who see running as a delight, rather than a burden. But then, I’m dealing with a lifetime of insecurities around fitness. It is inevitable that I still have to talk myself into every single run. But each time I go out, I feel myself getting more confident that I can do this. It isn’t fast, it isn’t pretty, my legs ache, my lungs burn. And yet…occasionally…I get that moment…my stride, my breathing, the weather, the music I’m listening to..it all comes together and I feel…well…like a runner. And therein lies the growing glimmer of hope, that I’m heading towards enjoying this. And that makes the perseverance, the breaking of the 3-week course, all worthwhile.

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TMR Yearbook: Class of 2016 – Naomi Trentham

My name is Naomi and I have recently started the This Mum Runs Couch to 5K Absolute Beginners course at Royal Victoria Park, Bath.

Naomi, TMR Mum

I am married to James and have three children, Susannah (10), Judah (7) & Lois (4). I am a self-employed business administrator, working mainly for a church in Bath and looking forward to taking on new clients when my youngest starts school this year. My favourite day of the week is Thursday, mainly because I meet with friends for a full English, knowing I can burn it off with TMR in the evening!

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TMR Yearbook: Class of 2016 – Laura Wu

My name is Laura, and I recently completed the This Mum Runs Couch to 5K Absolute Beginners course on Clifton Down.

-I never knew that running can be fun-

I’m a stay-at-home mum to my daughter aged 3.5 and my son aged 1.5. My running experience before TMR consisted of training for and then running a half marathon when my daughter was 13 months old. The day of the race was the last day I ran until this March, almost 2.5 years later! Let’s just say that I endured rather than enjoyed that time of my running career! When I started the C25K course this March, I could probably run no more than 5 minutes without stopping.

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TMR Yearbook: Class of 2016: Harriet Hartley

My Name is Harriet and I have just completed the This Mum Runs Couch to 5K course at Clifton Down.

Harriet Hartley, TMR Mum (1)

I have 2 children, 1 2.9 months and 1, 7 month old. I am used to being fit but this has waned and I was struggling to get back to pre-pregnancy size and shape due to a slight like for chocolate. Otherwise my diet is pretty healthy. I’m a Social Worker but currently on maternity leave and dreaming of not having to go back, but sadly think that is not going to become a reality.

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September Mum of the Month – Amy Kate

Ever since she attended TMR’s first ever Social Run in Bath last November, Amy Kate has been a running machine with a near faultless attendance to our Social Runs. Here at TMR HQ we thought it was about time we recognised Amy’s role as a cornerstone of our Bath community, and after speaking on the phone it was clear she totally deserved to fly the TMR flag this month.

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Not only has Amy given back to the TMR community through training as a Run Angel and leading weekly runs, but she’s even inadvertently started an additional weekly run with fellow Mamas on Friday mornings. This all started when Amy was training for the Bath Half Marathon last autumn, and began running 5K before work on Friday mornings. This weekly run grew organically when Janice Tissington decided to join her through winter. By spring more and more TMR Mamas were braving the early starts to run with them too. Now Amy’s Friday 5K’s are a regular feature of TMR Bath, which we at HQ love to see!

On top of all of this, since gaining confidence in her running with TMR, Amy now also manages to squeeze in two or three solo runs a week. When I asked Amy what she has planned in her running diary over the next few months, we could see why these are needed! Between the Royal Half Park in October (which she is running to raise money for The Anna Lewis Brighter Future Fund), the Skyline Winter series of 10k’s (which entails competing in four 10k races over winter), the Bath Half in March and the Bristol to Bath marathon next October, you can safely say that this is one mum that definitely runs.

You may be reading this and feeling a little intimidated by Amy’s running success, but like everyone, Amy has been on a running journey. At many points, she’s felt inadequate and overwhelmed just like many of our Mamas. Amy tells me that before TMR she had run on and off for about 10 years. However, she always stopped when insecurities about her running abilities would resurface. This she largely blamed on trying to run with clubs; often finding herself the slowest in a club whose member’s view each other competitively, she would leave the sessions on a low.

In contrast, the supportive and empowering approach taken on TMR runs finally convinced Amy that she was good enough. She tells us that TMR taught her that everyone has to start somewhere, and that people can only improve.  Through such an encouraging community she is now in a position where running is a constant and integral part of her life.

And as our phone call continues, it’s crystal clear that Amy’s the perfect person to represent TMR this September. In a nutshell, she just gets us. She understands that running with TMR is about so much more than just exercise. She tells us enthusiastically about the supportive social network and strong friendships she has made within TMR, and about the essential perspective and headspace she gets from running.  If ever things start to get on top of her in life or if she’s had a bad day at work, she knows she can always strap on some trainers and run it out.

And whilst we believe running is about doing something just for you, we appreciate that our runners are still first and foremost all Mamas. That’s why when Amy tells us that her favourite thing to do is to run next to her 5 year old son as he cycles, it makes us melt a little.

So thank you Amy, for making sure our TMR torch shines bright in Bath! Each week with your help we’re getting #MoreMumsRunning.

TMR Yearbook: Class of 2016 -Anna Parlour

My name is Anna and I have just completed the C25K Absolute Beginners course on The Downs.

Anna Parlour, TMR Mum
I’m just like most Mums I think, knackered most of the time, suffocated with constant guilt about what I should and should not be doing at home, at work and everywhere, I crave wine and wish I could eat limitless amounts of chocolate.

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TMR Yearbook: Class of 2016 – Anna Beeton

My name is Anna and I have recently started the This Mum Runs Couch to 5K Absolute Beginners course at Royal Victoria Park, Bath.

Anna Beeton, TMR Mum

I have two children, a 3.5 year old and a 10 month old.  I’m definitely in the lazy camp and don’t do any real kind of exercise apart from running after the kids.  I have got into the habit of eating too much and doing very little so I am carrying some extra weight!

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TMR Yearbook: Class of 2016 – Abi Corboy

 

My name is Abi, I completed the This Mum Runs C25k in January, have done the Technique Masterclass and also recently the 5k plus course, all in Keynsham.

Abi Corboy, TMR Mum 1

I’m a busy mum of two beautiful kids; Noah who is 4, and Ruby who is now 9 months. I’m currently off on maternity leave but am normally self-employed working in Sales, which involves a lot of driving (ie sitting still)!

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August Mum Of The Month – Kathy Rogers

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With a few 10Ks under her belt and plans for more in the future, there’s no question that Kathy Rogers is now a runner.

Yet she still seems surprised by that fact herself, this woman who summed up her attitude to sport pre-TMR in the simple phrase ‘‘eughhh exercise’’.  Thus it was with a mix of pride and disbelief that she told me on the phone how she has now been known to head out for a solo 10K run on a Friday night. When, she wondered, did she become one of those people who exercise, by choice, on a weekend?!

In fact, her surprise at her running success is more understandable when you’re aware of her journey up to this point with TMR. Kathy’s path into running has not been easy, and where she is now is a testament to her determination in the face of the many hurdles the world sent her way.

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First there came the shin splints, which ultimately forced her to stop running in 2014 and to drop out of the original Couch to 5K course the following January. Things continued to go wrong for Kathy in 2015 and a combination of injuries and personal issues led to 8 months when she didn’t have the headspace or time to be running. Eventually, determined to get back into running she enrolled on the Tyntesfield couch to 10K course in September 2015. This went well until week 4, when injuries once again forced her to drop out. These complications were followed by illness, which eventually developed into pneumonia and left her bed-bound for the majority of autumn. Running was once again strictly out of the question.

However, Kathy wasn’t ready to give up (not that Mel would ever let her!). Jump forward to January this year and she was back, once again on the Tynesfield couch to 10K course, a last attempt on her behalf to prove that she could actually run. She jokes about the tough love shown by her Run Maker Gemma Davis that helped push her outside her comfort zone and improve with each week until suddenly there were no weeks left. 3 courses and 18 months later, Kathy ran the Tyntesfield 10K! An achievement made all the sweeter for Kathy by having her friend and fellow TMR Mama Rachael James running by her side.

Following her course she joined the social and then the training runs. She has gone from strength to strength with the support and encouragement of the TMR community, which she describes as somewhere where women “build each other up” rather than being in competition. And she has also decided to give back to this community that has helped her so much, through training as a Run Angel and pledging to lead community runs.

Kathy’s now surpassed her original goal – to be able to run a 10K without totally stressing out about it – and has set her sights on getting faster at 10K and getting involved with more races. Inspired by her brothers efforts running the London marathon for charity this year, Kathy herself managed to raise £450 for St Peter’s Hospice through running the Bristol 10K. She recently even managed to get her husband in on the running hype, completing the Two Tunnels race with him earlier this year.

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Despite her modest amusement at being called inspirational, there’s no denying that’s what her story is. Ending the phone call with a question about her plans for the future, it’s hard not to feel moved when she tells me (amidst exclamations of “and I can’t quite believe I’m saying this”) that this Autumn she’s booked a family day out running at the Dyrham Park Family fun runs. Not only has she overcome barriers to be able to run personally, but her children seem to be following suit. She tells me proudly that her 5 year old son completed his first race, running one mile for sport relief, and that her daughter tries to join in with her warm ups in the hallway before she heads out.

So if this isn’t a story that proves you should never give up, we don’t know what is.

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Look out for updates and videos from Kathy on our Facebook page in the next few weeks.

 

All about the Girl

 

portishead triathlon

Guest Blog by Corinne Ribbons

A few weeks ago on Twitter I shared an article about the new Always #LikeAGirl advert campaign

That got me thinking. With a similar feisty feminist message as the This Girl Can campaign tries to get across, it’s the latest in a push to empower girls to excel in sport and exercise (hallelujah!).

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