Backpedalling and Backwards Running

Earlier today I clicked the ‘reblog’ button above an article I published last June. The ‘reblog’ button has never worked before so I didn’t expect it to work today either. I’ve tried it a couple of times and nothing has ever happened. So why should it work today?

At best I thought it would send something to my ‘drafts’ folder so I could add an introduction later explaining why it was relevant again.

But no:

The ‘reblog’ button distributed the outdated unedited 2011 article directly to all my subscribers.

How very embarrassing.

Perhaps I should explain…

FOREVER MANCHESTER

Forever Manchester (the Mancunian charity that puts money back into our communities) is once again holding the Backwards Running Championships at Heaton Park.

There is a £10.00 registration fee, for which you’ll receive a t-shirt, medal, refreshment and a donation to Forever Manchester. Any other money you raise will go to your charity / voluntary group of choice. (Registration is free if you raise money for Forever Manchester).

The Backwards Running race is this Sunday, 27th May 2012 at 10 am. You can register in advance on the website or sign up on the day near the Heaton Park duck-pond café.

So now I’ve backpedalled and explained, here is the ‘repost’ I wanted to share:

BACKWARDS RUNNING

Have you ever fancied becoming a UK Sporting Champion with little or no effort?

Last year I did: I discovered that the European Running Backwards Championships were taking place in Austria on the 7 & 8th of August. The UK only had 2 people competing so it was probably my one and only chance to represent the UK in something, anything, and to become a ‘UK Sporting Champion’ despite being not particularly good at anything physically challenging.

Backwards RunningI reaaallly wanted to enter. I toyed with the idea for weeks but in the end I just couldn’t justify a weekend away in Austria, especially after my friends pointed out I should probably try it in England first, before attempting to represent the UK in a sport which [some] Europeans take seriously.

Hmmm, so running backwards is a serious sport, is it? (Shrugs) Well yes it is… apparently. At least, that’s what I’ve been told.

BACKWARDS HAS BENEFITS

Running backwards has lots of benefits: It gives you an intense cardiovascular workout, reduces the risk of leg and back injuries, helps create a stronger more balanced lower body and is a speedy aid to losing weight. 

People claim that running backwards for just one lap could be equivalent to up to six laps of forward running and burns a third more calories too. (Think of the time you could save exercising!)

I didn’t go to the European Championships. Instead I entered the inaugural UK Championships.  

And I came fifth. FIFTH! Hurray!

UK CHAMPION!

2010 winners at Heaton Park, Manchester

Admittedly I only came fifth out of the female contestants and even then only about eleven women entered that first year, but none of that is relevant really…

The fact of the matter is, as it currently stands, I SammyDee, am the fifth fasted Female Backwards Running Champion in the UK. And I have a medal to prove it!

It’s surprisingly difficult. Yes it’s easy to go a few dozen meters. Anyone can ‘run’ backwards a few steps, but believe me; your calves start to burn very quickly when you don’t stop… I probably should have practiced at least once prior to the race.

MIND THE MANURE!

One memory that still makes me giggle is when I looked down to see I’d just stepped in horse manure. I continued running, naturally, but with every step I waded deeper and deeper into more manure. I had too much momentum to stop or swerve. Instead I just doubled over laughing and continued to run. Thank goodness I didn’t slip or trip at that point.

As the manure shrunk into the distance I noted it was several meters long in one fairly narrow path. One step to either my left or right would have spared me the mucky trainers. Perhaps I should have made a cap with mirrors at the sides, or at least looked behind me once in a while.

Back to present day: A BBC article about the event is still live on their website but if you wanted to play ‘Where’s Wally’ for me on the clip published on ITVs Granada Report, I’m sorry but the link has been broken.

If you don’t already have plans for this Sunday I recommend going to the race at Heaton Park. It’s going to be a scorching day and it’s a great excuse to feed the ducks and have a picnic.

The course is only 1 mile long… Anyone can walk or run 1 mile! 

Go on, give it a go… then you too can boast about being a UK Sporting Champion.

All comments are welcome 🙂

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The Next Step

BECOMING ME

I was painfully shy as a child. I didn’t start out that way. I was always quite happy playing make-believe, building teepees and minding my own business. It wasn’t that I was afraid to be in the limelight I just wasn’t interested in it.

I remember hearing people commiserate saying “ooh, she’s very shy and quiet”. I also remember chastising them in my mind, growling “No I’m not! I’m just quiet! Why can’t adults tell the difference?!” At some point I must have started to believe them. I did indeed become very shy.

And quiet.

As I got older it started to hold me back. It wasn’t just that I didn’t talk much, I stopped doing things too. When you do things people pay attention and I didn’t want attention.

I realised the ‘shyness’ was holding me back. I deliberately put myself into situations where all eyes were on me and tried to convince myself that I wasn’t uncomfortable. It was difficult but it helped.

As I got older and more independent I developed new relationships, free from the judgments and disapproval I had endured as a child. That helped more. Each year I came out of my shell a little further but even then I missed out on activities I should have done at college or University.

ALL GROWN UP

About 18 months ago I decided I was old enough to do whatever I want. I no longer care when people stare. I laugh at myself and people laugh with me.

“We do not stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing!” – Benjamin Franklin

With this realisation my life took a turn I hadn’t envisioned: Freed from the shackles of self-doubt and peer-pressure I began a spate of silly and challenging activities I hadn’t known I wanted to do.

Trees for Cities Winners, Official PhotographEARLY CHALLENGES

The first challenge was fairly mundane: I registered to run a 5 km Tree-athlon for Trees for Cities in Heaton Park. The first time I put on my trainers I expected to run for at least 10 minutes without stopping. I managed to run for 1 minute then gasped for 6.

I persevered, followed a fitness plan and completed the race in less than 30 minutes; planted a tree, had a picnic and watched a falconry display. (Heaton Park doesn’t do festivals by halves).

Next I set my sights on 10 km, but something else came up instead: Manchester was to host a new event called Shine, a Shine Night Marathonhalf and full marathon running / walking / skipping through the night. I approached a friend and asked if he would join me in a half marathon. He refused. He said “If you’re going to do something, do it properly.” So I did. I did the full marathon.

UrbanathlonTOUGHER CHALLENGES

I’d learned that I could run, albeit not particularly quickly. I decided distance wasn’t a challenge anymore so I needed a new type of challenge:

Have you heard of the Hardman contest? It’s ludicrous! They have you walking through fire and swimming in ice. I deliberated over it for a month but settled instead for a unique multidisciplinary urban obstacle course: the Manchester Urbanathlon.

If you read about the Urbanathlon on my Events Page you’ll know that “competitors run, wade, climb, crawl, slip, slide, scramble and dangle to the finish line, ensuring they complete the race in sweaty, soaking, mud-splattered splendour.”

Hardman aside, where else can you vault over derelict cars, scrambled up a giant haystack or inch your way through concrete pipes? I finished the race battered and bruised but I loved every minute. I would happily have clawed my way up the climbing wall again this year if I wasn’t attending a wedding on the same day.

Reverse Running, The Daily MailNext up was the 1 mile Reverse Running event, also known as retro-running. You can read about my experience in my earlier post here. If my description inspires you to try it yourself there is still time to enter: The race is taking place at Heaton Park on Sunday 14th August. You can register online or sign up on the day between 9 and 10 am.

THE NEXT CHALLENGE

You might wonder where I’m going with all this. To tell you the truth, I’ve gone off on a tangent somewhat. You see, when I sat down and started to type, my aim was to write an introduction to the Day Zero Project, otherwise known at 101/1001.

I have completely failed to do that haven’t I?101 in 1001 Logo

OK, I’ll be quick: My next challenge is to complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days. The tasks must be specific with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined.

As you may have guessed my list is filled with things I probably should have done when I was a bit younger. Meh! I won’t let that stop me.

Rather than ramble on any longer I will save my list launch for another day. Sorry for the false alarm. Please continue to watch this space! :p

UK Backwards Running Championships

Heaton Park, Sunday 14th August, 2011

Have you ever fancied becoming a UK Sporting Champion with little or no effort?

Last year I did. I discovered that the European Running Backwards Championships were taking place in Austria on the 7 & 8th of August. The UK only had 2 people competing so it was probably my one and only chance to represent the UK in something, anything, and to become a ‘UK Sporting Champion’ despite being not particularly good at anything physically challenging.

Reverse Running - Manchester 2010

I reaaallly wanted to enter. I toyed with the idea for weeks. In the end I just couldn’t justify a weekend away in Austria, especially after my friends pointed out I should probably try it in the UK before attempting to represent our country in a sport which is taken seriously in Europe.

Running backwards is a serious sport? (Shrugs) Well yes, apparently. Or so I’m told.

It has lots of benefits: Running backwards gives you an intense cardiovascular workout, reduces the risk of leg and back injuries, helps create a stronger more balanced lower body and is a speedy aid to losing weight. 

People claim that running backwards for just one lap could be equivalent to up to six laps of forward running and burns a third more calories too. Think of the time you could save!

I didn’t go to the European Championships. I entered into the inaugural UK Championships instead.  

I came fifth.

Hurray!

Ok, ok, so I was only fifth out of the female contestants. And alright, alright, only about eleven women entered. But none of that is relevant. The fact is, as it currently stands, I am the fifth fasted Female Backwards Running Champion in the UK. And I have a medal to prove it.

2010 winner at Heaton Park, Manchester

It’s surprisingly difficult. Yes it’s easy to go a few dozen meters. Anyone can ‘run’ backwards a few steps, but believe me; your calves start to burn very quickly when you don’t stop. I probably should have practiced at least once prior to the day.

One memory that still makes me giggle is when I looked down to see I’d just stepped in horse manure. I continued running, naturally, but with every step I waded deeper and deeper into more manure. I had too much momentum to stop or swerve. Instead I just doubled over laughing and continued to run. Thank goodness I didn’t slip or trip at that point.

As the manure shrunk into the distance I noted it was several meters long in one fairly narrow path. One step to either my left or right would have spared me the mucky trainers. Perhaps I should have made a cap with mirrors at the sides, or at least looked behind me once in a while.

You can still watch a clip from last year’s race on ITVs Granada Reports. I am in the clip but I’m not saying where. You can play ‘Where’s Wally’ for me instead.

A BBC article about the event is still live on their website too.

Our Manchester Race in the Metro newspaper

Manchester is hosting their second UK Championships at Heaton Park on Sunday 14th August, 2011. It’s only £15 to enter online and the race is only 1 mile long.

Anyone can run or walk a mile. Go on, give it a go.

The official website can be found here. Online applications close in about a months time so you’d better get in there quickly, then you too can BOAST about being a UK Sporting Champion.