Kathrine Switzer

Something new I have decided to try it’s blogging about other runners who inspire me. There are a few I would like to talk about but I cannot think of a better person to start with than Katherine Switzer.

ks

As a 19 year old journalism student Katherine started running unofficially  with the men’s Syracuse Uni­versity cross country team as there were no women’s running teams. Inspired by her coach, Arnie Briggs, she said she would like to run the Boston Marathon even though no woman had ever officially run the distance and many people at the time didn’t think it was possible. In fact women were actively discouraged from running long distances as it was believed it would make them less feminine, or even that their uteruses might fall out!

Arnie said he would support her if she could do the distance and in training she managed to run 31 miles. With the support of herd mentor she checked the rule book, it said nothing about gender, and sent off her form under the name K V Switzer.

I wasn’t running Boston to prove anything; I was just a kid who wanted to run her first marathon.

On the day of the race other competitors noticed she was a girl at the start line and even said how great it was to see her competing with them. She started the race with no problems, never hiding who she was but it is possible that no one realised she was a girl under her baggy sweatshirt.

At mile 4 she was passed by a press truck, who were all very excited to see a woman competing. It was then that a race official grabbed her shoulders and started shouting at her whilst trying to rip the numbers off her vest. Arnie and her boyfriend, Tom, blocked her from his attack and told her to keep running which she did.

katherine switzer

Despite being shaken she went on to finish the race in 4 hours 20. Thus proving to everyone that girls could run if they wanted to. It still took until 1984 for women to be allowed to compete at the marathon distance in the Olympics.

ks finishing

The press were of course waiting for her when she finished and I for one love her responses to their questions;

“What made you do it?” (I like to run, the longer the better.) “Oh come on, why Boston, why wear numbers?” (Women deserve to run, too. Equal rights and all that, you know.) “Will you come back to run again?” (Yes.) “They will ban your club.” (Then we’ll change the name of our club.) “Are you a suffragette?” (Huh? I thought we got the right to vote in 1920!)

If you would like to read more about this amazing woman who has inspired generations of women to lace up their shoes and run you can read the whole story in her own words here.

Where I have been

Some of you are probably wondering why I seemed to drop off the face of the Earth for the best part of a year. If I’m honest I stopped posting Juneathon updates because I just wasn’t feeling the same motivation I had in Janathon. I wanted to exercise but I was struggling to actually get out the door. The added pressure of blogging about it just didn’t help.

As we went from June through to August I slowly started to get my running Mojo back. I was signed up for the ZSL 10k Stampede, a run that started and ended in London Zoo, an one I was really looking forward to. I had a really nice run round 4 Royal Parks in London, following the Diana memorial walk route. I was signed up for the Brighton marathon in April on the assumption that I would be unsuccessful in the London Marathon ballot. It was still a struggle to get out and run some days but I had some things to look forward to.

That was all well and good but then in early September I stumbled crossing the road on my way to work. A stupid thing that I have done hundreds of times before. However this time as I staggered forward to try to regain my balance my foot connected solidly and very painfully with the curb.

I am very impressed that I managed to not swear in front of the kids on their way to school and hobbled into work and up a flight of stairs to my office. To cut a long story short I was taken to A&E and told I had broken my toe.

It took me a while to get back into running but here I am. I have had to start over from scratch, pretty much, though I suspect my body will adapt to what I am asking of it a little quicker than before. Hopefully in 4-5 weeks I’ll be back up to 5Ks and doing parkrun again and then the fun will really start.

Little Stoke parkrun

So I haven’t blogged in ages and I will do a proper update post soon to explain why and where I have been but first I wanted to talk about this while it is still relevent.

Print

I love parkrun. I think it is a great concept. I love the idea that as long as I can get up early enough on a Saturday I can have some company for what is usually a fairly solitary hobby. I have a means to measure my progress and encouragement to push myself to see if I can shave a few seconds off my PB. (Chasing a 10 year old round a park seems to work wonders for getting my speed up, behaviour that I would not repeat outside of parkrun.) Most importantly it’s a chance to catch up with some lovely like-minded people.

This is why it makes me sad that the very concept is being threatened. Don’t get me wrong I can see both sides of this argument. As parkrun becomes more popular it will have an impact on the upkeep of the paths. On the other hand if they do charge for the use of this particular park it sets a precedent for other councils to do the same.

I just hope they can come to a conclusion that works for everyone as I would hate to see this disappear.

parkrun’s official statement on this can be found here and if you want to read about my previous parkrun adventures click here

Audiofuel and Yoga

LAst night I ran this weeks Audiofuel session. I did say last Tuesday that I was going to do it once a week until I could run the whole thing. Well I didn’t succeed with that but I did do better than last week.

After the warm up section the first sprint went really well and I was feeling good. On my second sprint I was starting to feel the effort but still kept it up. In fact I kept running until I got to the top of the pyramid. I only managed to run about half of the hardest sprint before I had to walk and continued to walk until the next sprint. Other than that I ran the whole thing though so I am clearly getting better. Also did 2.1 miles compared to last weeks 2 so must be getting there.

My shoulder has still been a bit stiff and I am holding a lot of tension in my upper back so I have decided to try to work through the 30 day yoga challenge to see if that will help. When I got home I worked through day 1 and as it was mostly focused on the legs and hips it made a great cool down session. Apparently today’s challenge will focus on the upper body so I will see if that helps at all. Though I am liking the opportunity to try different things.

Worth the Weight

It was a bit cold and overcast when I got home from work today and as my shoulder was feeling a lot better I decided to try the weights session I had planned for last Monday.

I used 2kg dumbbells for everything. I know that doesn’t seem a lot but I have weedy little arms and didn’t want to over do it. Most things were done in sets of 10 and then I did 2 reps of each. I was supposed to do more crunches but I really don’t like them so just did the one rep.

So I completed;

  • 20 bent over rows
  • 20 girly press-ups
  • 20 upright rows
  • 20 shoulder presses
  • 20 tricep kickbacks
  • 20 bicep curls
  • 2 30 second superman poses on each side
  • 20 crunches
  • 20 side crunches on each side

It was hard but I do feel better for it. I guess the real test will come when I see how achey I am tomorrow.

A Dinosaur Adventure

Juneathon day 7 and the weather was so nice that we couldn’t not go out. So we jumped on a train and headed off in the direction of Crystal Palace, somewhere that despite living in London our whole lives neither of us had visited before.

At Liverpool Street we stopped in the Wetherspoons for some lunch where there were a number of people in Colour Run t-shirts. Well they certainly had a nice day for it.

Two more trains later and we were in Crystal Palace Park. We had a nice time wandering round looking at the dinosaur statues. They were first built in 1854 and are the oldest dinosaur statues in the world. Even pre-dating ‘On the Origin of Species’ by Charles Darwin.

Dinosars

After this we headed back to Granary Square, round the back of Kings Cross station. Passing several more colourful Colour Run participants on the way. A few hours were spent playing in fountains before we headed back. I did run up and down in one of them for a bit. Even though Laura said I ran ‘like a 2 year old,’ I had fun and that is all that matters.

Granary_Square_fountain,_London

Juneathon totals for the day; Walking round Crystal Palace Park and running up and down a fountain 3 times.

All pictures in this post found on Wikipedia

I Will Get Better

I really need to get better at updating my blog on the day I do the run not the morning after, but at least I am blogging.

I also need to get better at running again. Yesterdays parkrun was finished in an awful time for me. I think the main contributing factors to that were that it was really hot and I am now doing a lot less running than I was when I set my PB.

Then in the afternoon I went on a nice walk along the river from Twickenham to Richmond with Laura. Oh alright it was a pub crawl, but we still walked along the Thames path and them and back to the station. Not sure what exercise I will be doing today but it looks like it is going to be another hot day so I will be waiting til it cools down a bit first.

Sports Day

Yesterday afternoon was the dreaded school sports day. Well I say dreaded I actually quite enjoyed it this year. The weather was nice and the girls who were competing really gave it their all. Made for quite a nice afternoon out.

When I got home I was feeling inspired to run, though it was rather warm. I put some shorts on and headed over to the park. I only did 2 miles in the end but that was all I wanted to do with that much sun.

Juneathon total so far: 9 miles

Not running for once

Yes there was no blog yesterday but the rules of Juneathon say within 24 hours so this counts. Last night I was so tired when I got in from work and the weather so warm that I really didn’t fancy going for a run. Even a short one seemed beyond me.

But don’t fret I didn’t slack on my Juneathon duties, instead I did some lunges, 20 on each leg, and 15 hip extensions. My thighs ache a bit this morning so it obviously did me some good. Then later when I found myself in the pub I did some bar press-ups on the way out. 4 or 5 I think. I will try better today.

Back on the roads

Tonight I went back to running on the roads.I have pretty much been sticking to laps of the park since Hackney Half. Tonight I completed my 2 mile lap round the block.

I suppose I could have gone further but it was really warm and I was tired. Though I have decided on another goal for Juneathon. I’m going to aim to increase my mileage each week throughout June. I don’t know if I will actually achieve this but I like having something to aim for.