January 2024

January 2024

Liz Sims

How long have you been Running?

I have been running for just over two years starting in September 2021. I used the NHS App 'Couch to 5K' which was a nine week plan and ran Riverfront Parkrun for the first time on 23rd October 2021. I remember thinking 'what if I can't finish!' Running was not something I was interested in before then. I always thought it was a lonely, boring form of exercise and not for me! I enjoyed team sports, competition and the social aspect that I got from playing netball with Cwmbran and Silurian Clubs. Little did I know how wrong I was back then!

How long have you been with Caerleon Running Club and how did you come to join us?

After building up from 5K to 10K throughout 2022 I entered my first race, the Mic Morris 10K and later in October the Palma 10K. Watching a group of my friends running the Palma Half Marathon motivated me to want to go back there and run the half the following year. So I decided to go and have a few session with Caerleon Running Club. On Tuesday 18th October 2022 I came to CRC for the first time. The route was a very hilly 10K up College Glade! Michelle Clabon was there to keep me company and make sure I didn't get lost! After a few sessions I decided to join in order to improve my performance, distance and endurance and I've certainly done that in all three over the last year!

What inspired you to start running?

Before I started running I became friends with a wonderful group of people, some of whom ran for CRC. They were my inspiration and gave me constant encouragement and support. I am especially grateful to Michelle Clabon for all her help and advice and introducing me to the Newport Female Runners Network at the start of my running journey. I now realised that running is fun, running is social, running is competitive and great for your wellbeing. Running is now a huge part of my life and I can't be without it.

What motivates you to keep running?

Well, I'd have to say Gwyn's cakes and hot coffee are a good carrot on a stick! A chatty run with friends is enjoyable and needs very little motivation. But, maybe for me my motivation is my age. I am very competitive and competing in an age category has helped me to get out there to train, try my hardest and push my pace in races. It’s always worse in the Winter on cold, dark, wet nights! But I feel so proud of myself and glad I made the effort at the end of the run. The Strava weekly challenges motivate me too.

What is your running ambition?

My running ambition keeps changing... it started on the couch, then 5K, next 10K, followed by a Half Marathon
I would like to run a marathon in 2025 if my legs will let me! I've said it now so it'll have to be done!

What do you consider your proudest moment?

Competing in the 'GLCL Road Races' last year and winning First in Age Category was my proudest moment. The 4 races were all new to me and very challenging. Thank you Eddie Mcdaid for supporting me for the last mile on the Severn Bridge final race.
Also, I was proud to represent East Wales along with Gwyn, Liz & Craig in Newtown at the Welsh Inner Regional Cross Country Competitions and would like to try more cross country routes. Gwyn has made me see the light! They are very challenging but great fun and the scenery is beautiful.

Do you have any regrets when it comes to your running journey?

Yes, I should have started running years ago!

What is your favourite race, and why? If you don’t race, what is your favourite run?

My favourite race is the Swansea Half Marathon that I ran in June 2023. I stayed overnight to prepare myself and check out the route. I must have walked 12 miles the day before just wandering around the city and beach, the weather was beautiful and I was so excited. Swansea Market is worth a visit! It was great to see Paul, who was tracking Chalotte and me, cheering us on and taking pictures. The sun was so hot and at nine miles I felt drained of energy. Four more miles seemed a long way. I perked up when I saw Liz & Neil Richards cheering me on. Thanks both, it's amazing what a bit of support can do to lift you. In the last mile I could see the two hour pacer ahead and was able to catch up and just complete the Half in sub two hours. Exhausting but exhilarating!

What is your favourite music to run to? Or if you don’t listen to music, what do you think about while running?

I find running very therapeutic so I don't listen to music. I like to be aware of my surroundings especially when I'm alone. I try to forget all my worries and life's troubles and chill. Sometimes I find myself counting in my head but I’m not sure why!

What is your go-to post-run drink or treat?

I usually have a Magnesium Boost (no, it's not a chocolate bar!) or a black coffee before running.
After a race a cooked breakfast or Sunday Roast go down well depending on the race time.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out running?

For me I found it important to have a five minute warm up before starting and at least ten minute stretching/cool down after runs. Walking on days between runs also helps limber you up and puts the miles in the legs.
There are many apps that will get you started but nothing beats a group of like-minded people all out to get to an end goal enjoying the social side and encouraging each other on. Make a good choice of running trainers to suit you.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I'd just like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and every success in 2024.
It's been a marvelous first year for me at Caerleon Running Club and I've absolutely loved every minute. Thank you everyone for all your help, advice and encouragement. I've learned so much and I'm still learning. Looking forward to the next stage of my running journey so much.

Thank you Liz!

© 2020-2024, Caerleon Running Club.
Photography Credits: Tosh Simpkins & Rob Gale
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