Race: Sale Sizzler series
Distance: 4 x 5ks
Date: Various – July/August
Supporting Runners: Phil Clare, Emma Clare, Tom Kharchi, Peter Jones, Sarah Ferris-Jones, James Foster, Shabir Hussain, Tim Gough, Abby Kay
Fundraising to date: £4,496
Finishing Time: Various
This time last year, I had decided to do the 30for30 challenge – starting in the November on what would have been Adam’s 29th birthday.
That same Summer, a couple of people from work were taking part in these ‘Sale Sizzler’ races, not far from where I live and close to the office. They were 4 x 5k races every other Thursday evening across July and August. It was the 3rd race by the time I had heard of the series, so I signed up for that particular one.
I remember turning up on the day and being amazed by the packs of runners walking around in their club vests. There’s something about the running club vest look that instantly turns someone from an amateur runner, to an athlete in my eyes. I wanted to be in a running pack.
I completed that race in 2017 and got my 5k PB that night. I was drawn in and started looking into which running club I could join.
After much deliberation (who was close, when did they train and what colours did they wear), I got in touch with Sale Harriers Manchester and went down to their endurance training on a Tuesday eve.
It didn’t take me long to realise that these guys were pretty big time. They were fast, they were fit, but most of all they were friendly. I spent my first few months there at the back – and despite feeling frustrated at times, it didn’t matter.
Adam’s friend (now my friend), Ste, started coming to training with me which was a nice thing to do. We’d do our warm up run together and chat; sometimes about Adam – sometimes just about life…and then he would do his thing and I’d be at the back again.
At the beginning of 2018, I felt ready to get my club vest and wear for 2 local races; Trafford 10k and Wilmslow Half Marathon. Both were postponed due to the snow and ice, to which I felt a bit relieved.
I’m quite a confident person overall. I’m loud, I make decisions quite quickly, I love meeting new people and I stand up for myself when I need to – I’m writing this whole blog for everyone to read about a part of my life that was quite traumatic..that’s quite confident, isn’t it?
But in some scenarios, something comes over me that tells me I’m not good enough. [I think a lot of people get this from time to time..?]
I don’t know where this comes from, I don’t have a troubled childhood or anything – my Mum has always built my confidence.
But, in this instance, there’s been something holding me back over wearing the club vest.
“Can’t wear that”..
- Too slow
- Not good enough
- Will embarrass yourself
No one has made me feel like this other than myself – but why?
Fast forward to this year’s Sale Sizzlers – what better time to make my running club vest debut?
The series has now been completed in 4 parts to make up race number 21 and it took me until the final race to wear my vest.
Ridiculous, I know… But once I did, I got my fastest 5k time yet and loved the supporters shouting ‘Go Sale!’.
No one cared – no one thought I was rubbish – In reality, I got quite a good time for a 5k!
Although I don’t class myself as having a ‘Mental Health problem’, I guess that this counts as a mental challenge for me – To talk myself down about something I don’t feel good enough for.
But don’t feel good enough for who? I doubt that the runners of Sale Harriers are sat there thinking that I am too slow to represent them in my running vest? And even if someone did think that, what really are the implications?
My advice – if you feel like you are not good enough for something/have feelings like:
- Can’t do that
- Can’t wear that
- Shouldn’t say that
- I don’t feel like I can do it
- Too embarrassed
Ask yourself why? And if you did do it – what would be the worst thing that can happen?
Try to be confident, and have the confidence to do things you want to do. Don’t be a barrier to yourself. Because confidence is attractive – and life is too short to be the person to hold yourself back.
I do worry about what people think, it’s in my nature – and starting this challenge and blog was a big thing for me. However, if I cared too much about what people thought about the words I write, or sweaty running pictures that I post, then I wouldn’t have started this. And doing this challenge has actually been one of the biggest boosts to my confidence and mental health since Adam died.
So, who cares what anyone else thinks?
2018 Sale Sizzlers kicked off slap bang in the middle of the heatwave / World Cup extravaganza that now seems like a distant memory. I was on my own for this one and saw some of the Sale runners at the end.
My PB stood at 00:26:10 and I was desperate to get under 26mins. Not this time though, but still 3 more attempts!
Supporting runners: Phil Clare, Emma Clare, James Foster, Tom Kharci, Peter Jones, Sarah Ferris-Jones, Abby Kay
I managed to gather a crowd of work friends to sign up for the races after the lonely first 5k.
On the warm up lap, Abby felt a pain in her leg and had to drop out which was gutting for her. She stayed on the sidelines and cheered us on with Andy and Mr Chips.
The race lived up to its name as a proper sizzler – it was boiling. Everyone did very well. No luck on getting under my 26mins goal.
Supporting runners: Phil Clare & Emma Clare
I knew the course, and knew what I needed to do – just 2 more attempts at getting under 26mins. Mum and Andy were there this time and (from memory), it was a little bit cooler? Emma and Phil were back for the second time and we were ready to smash it and collect the delicious flapjacks at the end.
Getting closer to the 26min mark. Can you tell I just have one running pace and struggle to get faster?!
Race winner: under 15 mins!
Supporting runners: Phil Clare, Emma Clare, Tim Gough, Tom Kharchi, Peter Jones, Shabir Hussain
This was it – I was getting desperate. It was time to find my inner confidence and pull out the Sale Harriers vest. The inner voice telling me not to look rubbish wearing it, would surely push me under 26mins.
James at work told me to just “run as fast as you can until you feel sick”. Which turned out to be OK advice.
There was also a bit of competition between Tim and Tom and I had a sneaky financial incentive that if I beat the both of them, I would be donated a tenner. I didn’t…BUT – I did get under 26mins. A whole 1min, 1 second faster than the previous week – a happy result!
Thanks to everyone who took on the 2018 Sale Sizzlers – particularly Shabir who was calling his ‘the marathon’ on the lead up. Well done on your first marathon 🤣
Under 25mins next year?!
Now the weather is a bit cooler and on the lead up to the New York marathon, I will be returning to my Sale endurance training and pulling out the vest for the final few races of 30for30.
If you would like to sponsor, please visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/EmmaBramwell2