Eva Shaw – diary 1
Well believe it or not I am one of the 12 women chosen in the Czech Republic to take part in the Women’s PIM Challenge!
My initial reaction was of course elation and then my second feeling was the heavy pull in my stomach and my brain screaming “What have you done”?
A little background on my relationship with running. As a child / young teenager I ran for my school 1500m and cross country runs and then subsequently ran for Imperial Athletics Club in Harrogate but at the age of 17 gave it up as there were very few girls training three times a week. My family are Czech and running was a huge part of my father’s side and my cousins still compete in the Czech Republic at top level in sprinting but I’m definitely not a sprinter and running did not seem important enough when I was at University or really in my 20’s.
My husband and I lived in Prague from 1996 – 2000 had a great time and then started to settle down, married and had our first baby (Toby) in 2000, which is when we returned to the UK and lived in London. Now that is where the running adventure begins. As many women know the euphoria of having your first child passes and then you realise you have other responsibilities and all of a sudden your time is no longer your own. I suddenly realised I was exhausted, unable to keep on top of everything and putting on weight. That does not bode well to you inner mental state..... so in 2001 I decided to apply for the London Marathon which takes place every April. The first time I did not get in – did it stop me from applying again?.... no! We moved from London to Harrogate in Yorkshire and I reapplied and was accepted in December 2002 for the 2003 Marathon. Shock, horror how was I possibly going to manage a 26.2 mile or 42km run. So I joined a running club. We met every Tuesday and Thursday and I loved it. I trained as much as I could, having no experience but prepared as much as I could.
The Big Day came and the nerves were immense. I was lucky as my sister Zuzana who lived in London was running too. It was an amazing experience, the atmosphere, the people. It was so overwhelming. It was a beautiful day and then first 6 miles were smooth until my sister and I lost each other...terrible. Anyway the next 10 miles were OK but around the 14mile mark it started getting tough especially when I heard that Paula Radcliffe had finished and I still had almost half to go! Anyway bizarrely enough at mile 16 my sister and I met up and she was just in front, which was so lucky as then came the tough part. Mile 19 was when I hit my " wall” and what a brick wall it was. However to cut a long story short we kept going helping each other until we turned into Parliament Square and I have to say I cried. There were so many people and all were cheering and the music was playing! One of my best achievements in my whole life! It’s such an overwhelming feeling. However what happens next. You’re still on a high and then two days later the anti climax hits you hard.... Well I continued running a little however it was time then to think about expanding the family and soon after I became pregnant again and my second son Sasa was born on April 1st 2004.
I still did some running but not as much as I had and to be honest when there is nothing you have to work for, finding time seems much harder and certainly managing two lively boys and a job, husband and household took up most of my time. In 2006 my husband was lucky and got a job in Prague working for Honeywell so I moved with the children in December 2006 and that lead us to the next major Chapter of our life.
I love Prague and the city and the outskirts and the country side and as the weather was so much nicer than in the UK it suddenly seemed so much easier to get fit again. I would drop the children off at school and skolka and then by 08:00 I was running in Letna Park or along the river or through the Castle. Beautiful!
Then a friend of ours ran the Prague Marathon and we went to cheer him on. It was a hot day and to be honest I could not believe there were not that many people. Of course in the centre but for such a long way it’s not enough support. So unfortunately I vowed then I could not run Prague Marathon – the big thing about running marathons for me is that you have the support of people, but it did make me think maybe I could try another Marathon and so I decided to try for Berlin. So I trained in the summer and at the end of September 2007 I completed the Berlin Marathon. Another great Marathon, flat, busy, lively and very well organised!
Well since then I have been running off and on and it’s all to do with time and life in general however the year before last I ran the Tesco Run for life with both of my boys and they loved it and I loved it and so vowed that I have to run more. A lot of our friends who live here and are all different nationalities including Czech of course decided they were going to run the Half Marathon last year. This gave me the motivation I needed and it was fun. The great thing is that the publicity has grown and so many more people actually get involved and it’s great. Who wouldn’t want to run in Prague it’s probably one of the most beautiful cities in the world!
Anyway I completed the Half Marathon after a number of gruelling months of training on a treadmill due to the long winter in 2hrs and 11 mins. I felt great......and thought to myself mmm 11 minutes could I not run it under 2 hours? So I have now been bitten by the bug and during the January blues I decided I needed another goal. So kept looking on the website and decided to apply for the Half Marathon again and the Women’s Challenge as I thought it was fantastic motivational event that really does bring women together. I truly believe everyone can run and should run it as it helps the body and soul and everything seems so much clearer and better after a run. It clears out the cobwebs!
So after such a long story I come back to the beginning – I was chosen as one of the twelve women to take part in this Challenge and I am so honoured and pleased that I was. I feel reenergised! I have also funnily enough applied to do New York Marathon in November this year, however I do not know whether I will be accepted but I seem to follow a pattern – every four years a Marathon so if not New York should I try Prague – the jury is still out. Not bad!
Week 1 (7-13/2):
I received my training plan this week and realised I would be running five times a week. How would I be able to manage that? I am however the type of person who functions well with a timetable or a list and enjoy crossing things off and so this plan is good for me!
I did my first 50 minutes today and ran 6.5k which was OK. Next run this week not until Friday so that works nicely.
Coopers Test – Friday
Amazing. Met 10 out of the 11 other women today up at Strahov. They are women with varied backgrounds from all over the Czech Republic, each one with their special story as to why they run. What is great is we all understand the spell running has over us. We all use it to enjoy the beauty around us, to clear our heads and overall to have that ‘me’ time which as a woman is so important! I think we all had “butterflies in our tummies” but once we started running then it all seemed OK again except for the unnerving snap of the camera at every lap
Anyway after that we all went on to one of the Conference rooms at Strahov where we all introduced ourselves and met the PIM team our coach and motivator of course not forgetting Jan who so kindly measured us, weighed us and let us know how fit or not we actually are ........
All in all a great day and really gave me a buzz. My family and I drove to Spindleruv Mlyn that evening with some friends to ski for the weekend and all I kept thinking about was my training plan.
What can I say it was one of the most soul destroying runs I have done for a long time. I had to run 75 mins in total. On the face of it that doesn’t seem like too much. However I was in Spindl where it was very icy outside and so I thought it would be easier if I send everyone off to ski and I find a hotel with a treadmill in a gym. I did....Hotel Harmony very small gym with one treadmill in the basement. High windows where I could some of the blue sky and sunshine but the gym was painted green and it was empty. I also forgot my music so listened to the Czech radio. I have to say the first 35 minutes was a battle in my mind! " I cannot go any further.”..... " I have to continue”, " I cannot stop”, “STOP”, “NO”, “STOP”. As you can imagine not a positive start. However as I got to 40 minutes I started planning my 40th birthday next year and it became easier. I completed it and ran 11.5k. However that run will remain in my mind as one of the worst runs ever.
I could not bear another gym run so decided I would wait until we returned to Prague and so enjoyed a lovely morning skiing and a wonderful lunch with our friends! We set off around 15:00 and arrived in Prague around 17:30. Did I feel like running no not at all. However I got myself together and decided to go. I suddenly realised why I love running! It was evening, quiet and I ran through the streets of Prague and along the river. Beautiful! I felt great, my body felt great and actually I could have run further than 50 minutes. All worth it! This run will remain in my mind as the beautiful one after the worst........ Good night all!
Week 2 (14-20/2):
15 mins, then fartlek for 16 mins so 4x 2 fast and 2 slow and then 10 mins – great running weather – went up to Letna Park where it was windy. My body felt tired and the 2 minute intervals were really tough especially as I was on my own – I hope it gets easier is all I can say.
Ran 20 mins with my two good friends once we dropped children off at school; they then finished and I had to continue to complete my 50 minutes. Again quite tough and made me think I must plan my running routes better and actually then I will know where to run.
Thursday – Day Off!
So excited and felt great. This afternoon it was time to try some Adidas running gear on. I loved it. The shop Assistant Jana was so lovely and really helpful and it really gave me a spring in my step. They had the PIM Women’s Challenge leaflets in the shop so I told her that I was one of the women chosen. I couldn’t help myself and then she said she liked to run too so I told her I would hope to see her there running and that I would keep coming in to see how she was getting on!
Lovely feeling sharing the same thoughts on running. It’s amazing how running really helps people! Came home and was really excited to tell my family about it all.
Tim took children to school and so I was ready for my run at 07:45 and decided to run my usual route through town and along the river, crossing at Palackeho and down through Mala Strana. It was trying to snow today, however it wasn’t too cold and I really love Prague when it’s quiet. The mist makes the place look romantic but at the same time quite eerie. Ran 50 mins and really enjoyed it. We’re packed ready to go up to Spindl again but this time for 4 days. I have done a little research and have hopefully found another hotel where the gym may be a little bigger. Have got my music and I will manage my runs, I promise! I would even consider running outside if it’s not too icy but I don’t know Spindl well enough to explore so we’ll see.
We’re in Spindleruv Mlyn again this weekend well actually four days this time. However I did my research and have found another Hotel with a treadmill – Hotel Bedrichov. So on Saturday morning I left my lovely boys and husband to go and ski to their hearts content and I went off to run! I was supposed to run 15 mins, 70 mins and then 10 mins however once I arrived at the Hotel I was told that I had to be gone by 12:00 so the Gym Manager could go for his lunch
Oh no that messed up my plan. Anyway I decided to run as far as I could. I listened to John Grisham on the ipod realising after a while that it really wasn’t helping the motivation! So music, music and more music. Luckily the treadmill faced a glass door which looked out onto the trees, snow and hills which made it so much more agreeable! I managed to run 67.33 mins but only 10k. That’s my problem. I should just stick to 10km per hour and then I would get my time. How am I possibly ever going to manage 21k in 2 hrs?? Anyway had to finish quite abruptly and I think the Gym Manager wasn’t too happy as he didn’t get off for lunch until 12:10. Oops!
Today I felt very tired and wasn’t sure what I was going to be able to manage but I was determined to catch up the minutes I hadn’t run and the 50 minutes I was supposed to run today. So in total I ran 77.3 mins and managed 11.6k. This time I even managed to finish in time for the Gym Manager to be able to lock up and have his full hour for lunch! I felt really good running today even though I think I need to stick to the same speed if training on the treadmill. I had blisters though which were painful
Anyway in the afternoon met up with my family and they went swimming whilst I enjoyed a 1h sports massage. Very pleasant!