Outside the pub opposite Preston Park station is a sign that says ‘don’t walk past, pop in’. Tempting, but I was on my way to pretend to be sporty and athletic, and alcohol wasn’t on the day’s agenda.
The venue for the RUNSportsShoes event was the Preston Park Velodrome in Brighton and as I was wondering if I was in the right place, I spotted a black van with SAUCONY written on the side in giant red letters. Aha! I thought, mustering up my finely honed detective skills, this must be it. I went over and was greeted by the organiser – Sophie, the PR from Propellernet, and the SportsShoes team.
A run was on the itinerary, but I thought the rest of the day would be us being given advice, followed by lunch, followed by a talk, followed by a BBQ. Oh no, just after I’d got there and changed into my running gear, Neilon Pitamber – a personal trainer based in Brighton – gave us hands-on strength, gait and agility training advice.
Here’s me grabbing hold of Lesley’s (who writes the LilB blog) ankle. I was supposed to grab the other one too but she collapsed in a heap before I could.
After the exercises, the Saucony team analysed my gait, declared it neutral and gave me some Saucony Progrid Ride 5 running shoes, then told me off for being pleased they were pink (yeah yeah, I know it’s not all about the colour but a cool colour is a bonus).
Then it was the bit I wasn’t looking forward to – the group run. I’m not a social runner. I love the atmosphere of races, but running with other people? No thanks. Not wanting to look like a killjoy though, I joined the rest of them.
This was a ‘Kin Run’ (Yes, I did ask if they’d left some letters off) which meant that, theoretically, no one gets left behind as whoever’s in front, turns round and goes to the back so everyone gets a go at being in the front (so much for me skulking at the back on my own then, dammit).
Not looking like a killjoy didn’t last long as, more than I hate running with a group, I hate running on grass and the run consisted of running round in circles on the grass*.
So, I sloped off back to the clubhouse, hoping no one noticed I’d gone (I think I got away with it, yay).
After the runners had finished their kin run, they did some stretching that involved laying on top of each other
and group hugging.
Then we had lunch. Vegetarian sandwiches (as well as meat ones) were provided, including the rather random potato salad sandwiches.
After lunch we went back outside to hear a talk from Lucy McCrickard from LGM Nutrition. Before the talk, she’d given us all a questionnaire to fill in where we had to tick on a scale of 1 to 5 questions like ‘I still feel tired 20 minutes after getting up’, ‘I often have energy slumps during the day or after meals’. The ideal target was 16 and after I’d added mine up, it came to 31. Oops. I felt better though when I peeked at Kim’s (who was there to write about the day for Yahoo Lifestyle) score and saw she had 37. Ha! Even more ha! was Lesley’s score of 39.
Lucy talked about our questionnaires and about keeping our blood sugar levels stable, to ward off any sweet cravings or tiredness. At the end of the talk, she gave us all a booklet full of nutrition advice.
As the sun went in, so did we to meet the expert panel of [left to right in the photo] Mike Scholes (Mike only has 15% vision but this hasn’t stopped him getting a marathon PB of 3:18. I went off him though when he said people who race with MP3 players are selfish), David Bradford (who has a marathon PB of 2:38 but doesn’t think he’s fast), Kevin Betts (who ran 52 marathons in 2011 but didn’t enjoy any of them and with 27 of them being run on a treadmill, I’m not surprised) and John Shippey (an ultrarunner – not pictured).
After a fascinating and inspiring insight into their achievements, there was a Q&A. Then we all headed up to Yellow Wave for some volleyballing. Well, some people volleyballed, I sat down with a mug of hot chocolate. I also bailed out of the BBQ and headed off to get my train after what had a been a long, but fun and interesting day.
For more about the day, SportsShoes have posted a video that I and others appear in.
*The run didn’t consist solely of running round a tree. So I’m told, anyway. I’d buggered off by then.