My name is Julie Creffield, I am a runner… but it has been weeks since my last race.
As we entered 2020 just 4 months ago I was busy training for my 6th marathon ... and although a little late I was running a strong 10k and had walked 13 miles several times ... plus I did CrossFit twice a week.
I was convinced that I would be ready for the race today… to run the London Marathon for the 4th time… but this time with a team of 50 women from my community.
And then Corona Virus hit and the execution just got a little trickier.
During the first two weeks of lockdown, I was still getting the occasional crash, and we were going on bike rides, and doing things around the house to maintain my fitness level.
Then fear and overcoming set in.
I started having panic attacks at the supermarket, I started choosing not to leave the house just because it was easier, I also didn't want to do yoga in my room before, and even the idea of riding a bike with my daughter which I enjoy was now too difficult.
The last hike we did ended with her screaming at me in the Olympic Park that she was scared, and we were both sitting on a step crying, before cycling home.
Within a week of the lockdown to keep me and my clients motivated, and together I had devised a program called Flourish inside… A pay-as-you-go, donation-based service with regular fitness and wellness sessions, ranging from laughter yoga to foam rolling, nutrition to circuit training.
This week we have the hula hoop, chair dancing and a FittoGlow glow stick party on Fridays that I can't wait for… and we have our daily 3pm dance.
I say that, but who knows if I will have the motivation or the strength to participate in anything this week.
It's just the truth of how I feel these days.
That's a lot, juggling parenting, homeschooling, running 2 businesses and trying to administer self-care .... memes about getting fat while on lockdown don't help.
Today, however, I have taken a stand.
I decided that I had to mark the date of the marathon that I was not going to run somehow.
I had this idea that I could run a marathon in my underground parking lot… but to be honest, that would never happen. For starters, my 7 year old was never going to give me 6 or 7 hours of running… my legs probably wouldn't have been able to cope either.
So I decided to do 5K instead.
Rose, my 7 year old daughter was the race director… she was in charge of the start line, the snacks and the scoreboard of the number of laps I had covered.
We started around 9:30 am and I think I finished just after 10:20 am.
I didn't know how much walking there would be, I've gained weight since the lockdown ... partly because of my fear of the supermarket and not being able to get fresh produce, but partly because I use red wine and dark chocolate as a coping strategy.
I broadcast the race live on my Facebook page (you can watch it here) and more than 3000 women listening.
My daughter was great… she entertained my audience, she counted the turns, she handed me treats and toilet paper for my nose… she even did a few laps with me.
She was bored for about 20 minutes and sat in my car for a while.
The scorecard wasn't very accurate in the end, but my Garmin kept me on track… and in the end I think it was around 56 or 57 laps, out and back.
If I didn't have Rose with me, I might have considered doing loops rather than shuttles.
I didn't want to run.
I wanted to stay in bed.
I didn't want to run in my parking lot.
I wanted to run along the towpaths and my routes through the Olympic Park.
But we all have to do things we don't want to do. We all need to find ways to creatively go through what are possibly the most difficult times in our lives.
I did my run for me.
But I also did it for all the others who are struggling.
I didn't do this for any charity, not because I didn't want to, I just couldn't get my deed.
I spent the afternoon on my balcony, on the hammock I just set up, we ate popsicles and mocktails (ok squash in a fancy cup) and he got me Took up to 11pm to write this report ... but I'm glad I did.
Congratulations to everyone who ran today or who took part in challenge 26.2 today
A huge good done to all who came out
And if you haven't, if you can't, if you haven't chosen too much… I also send you love.
This year marks ten years of the Fat Girls Guide to Running blog, a decade of supporting plus-size women to thrive in the world of running, a decade of showing what's possible. We had so many exciting projects, meeting at events, a massive event in September… and now the future of the company is uncertain.
I know there are probably bigger things going on in the world, but it's the thing with feelings, you still feel them even when you probably shouldn't.
Anger, regret, disappointment, frustration, shame and guilt.
These are all valid feelings… and the worst thing we can do is hold them back.
I also try to remember how lucky I am to have such a wonderful community of women behind me, a gorgeous and sassy girl (who announced on the live stream "sorry that's so boring" ha ha) and a roof over my head.
Day after day… is that all we can do right?
Check out this week's Thrive Inside schedule, and if you'd like to support the TFTR team (and myself) to keep the business running during this time ... buy us a cup of tea here
If you haven't yet subscribed to our FREE community… you can do so here
Lots of love
click here to discover more
Most people think of running as a solo venture. And while runners appreciate ( read : need ) quality “me time, ” there’s something quite powerful about running in a pack.
“Most of the time people join groups for the social experience, but the cool thing about a course group is that you can be a part of it without saying a word, ” says Scott Miller, founder of the Boulder Trail Running Breakfast Club. “It’s a great opportunity to connect. ”
Here, Miller plus five other course club founders, share tips for building—and sustaining—your own course club.
Jessamy Little, who founded the Cass Runners Club, a 100-plus person course group in London comprised of her business school classmates, suggests asking potential members what days, times, and locations work best with their schedules. Some groups may favor an early morning sweat sesh, while others may prefer meeting after work. “A recommendation for a newer club is to have two set running days, ” Little says. “One during the week that is more focused on ‘getting it done’ and one on weekends that can have a more ‘fun and footloose’ vibe. ” For Little’s group, the weekend runs were geared toward exploring new areas of the city.
“Don’t get discouraged if not a lot of people show up at first, ” says Marnie Kunz, founder of Runstreet, an NYC-based company that leads art runs—urban runs that pass by street art in cities across the U. S. When Kunz held her first art run in 2015, just one person came : a guy on a bike. Kunz was disappointed, embarrassed, and considered canceling the whole thing. But the next week a few more people showed up, and then a few more. Soon, word got out. Runstreet has since hosted more than 200 runs in cities around the country “Realizing that everyone starts from scratch really helps, ” Kunz says.
Kunz stresses the importance of having your own website that houses all information about your runs along with photos. “Social media platforms can change—and not everyone is on every platform—so it helps to have everything in one place. ” Keep your communication consistent across platforms to help create a streamlined brand.
Let people know what they are getting themselves into, Miller says. His Boulder, Colorado-based group of 100-plus members meets every Saturday for a long trail run ( anywhere between two to six hours ) followed by a group breakfast. Because the group’s runs cover a wide range of terrain, he wrote several articles explaining the general types of conditions runners can expect and the group’s approximate pace along with safety tips.
The articles are published on the group’s MeetUp page, and when a new person signs up, Miller sends them the reading material. “If your group is not a beginner group, you need to make that clear, ” Miller says. “You don’t want people to show up and have a bad time. I try to be really descriptive about the time, en ligne, and elevation of our runs so people know what they are in for. ”
Many members of Miller’s group take photos during the runs and post them to the group’s page. He says it helps draw new members. “When people are looking for a course group and they see pictures of runs in amazing areas, people smiling—both men and women—they see that it’s a mixed group that likes to be social and have fun. ”
Frankie Ruiz, cofounder of the Miami Marathon and founder of the Baptist Health South Florida Brickell Run Club, a free, once-a-week, Miami-based group of about 400 runners, can count on one hand the number of times he’s cancelled runs throughout the program’s nine-year tenure.
“Our main message is that we don’t cancel, ” he says. “If it’s really rough out, we’ll go to a parking garage or go indoors and do a core séance. ” He says this has helped build the club’s reputation as a consistent amenity offered by the city. “Even if a runner doesn’t show up, I think there’s a comfort knowing that there is something in your city that doesn’t stop. ”
“If you have new people coming in, you can’t assume that they know the rules and guidelines, ” Ruiz says. “Communication needs to be all the time. ” Even though the group’s “weather-proof policy” may be well understood among current members, every time the skies get gloomy, the club blasts their social channels with reminders that the runs are still on. It also helps to communicate the planned route, en ligne, and pace in advance so that new members can plan their fuel and attire accordingly.