Ok…. So I’m here

Hello! Ok …. So I’m here. Little old me. I’m actually now a blogger for Run Wales!

So who am I?

I’m Cat Johnson. My full name is Catherine but I’m only called by that if it’s something official or I’m in trouble! I’m a 44 year old mum of two actual men, aged 22 & 18 and I affectionately call them Kevin & Perry (still beyond me how they grew up so quick! Perhaps more physically than mentally at times…….. Any mum of teenage boys will understand this!).
By day I’m an account manager working full time for a print company and by night, I’m a LiRF Run Wales Run Leader for Diva Sport based in Pengam. I’m also a qualified Kettlercise & Vibe Cycle instructor but for these blogs, I’m going to concentrate on my role as Run Leader (for obvious reasons!), bringing you the highs and (hopefully not many) lows of being a run leader.

So why do I run?

I’ve always been a runner, since I was young. I love it. I also love cake and gin, which possibly helps with the motivation of going out for an actual run too. At my age, that slab of cake that I eat drops straight to the hips and bottom!
It helps me de-stress, gives me a sense of calmness and makes me feel a whole lot better about myself, especially if I’ve had one of those days / weeks at work, or the joys of motherhood gets me down.

My fitness is important to me, you see, my father passed away at the age of 47 (I was 19 at the time), after suffering from a heart defect since he was born. He had various heart operations (his first one when he was 18 and he had a big train track looking thick scar running from the middle of his chest to the middle of his back), a pacemaker fitted at 40 and then got referred to Harefield hospital in London when he was 46 to be added to the Heart transplant list. Unfortunately he was too ill to have the heart they had ready for his transplant and he sadly passed away two days after father’s day. But as a child I’d never known any different. My Dad was always unwell, couldn’t do a lot as his heart couldn’t take too much but he always gave it a go. Played cricket with us, took us for walks and was always cheery, which is why I want to stay fit & healthy as long as I can to see my boys grow up (he sadly never met his grandchildren), settle down, possibly give me a few grandchildren in the future…… way into the future please though boys! I’m nowhere near ready to be a Nanny quite yet!

How did I become a run leader?

As I was already teaching at Diva Sport, the opportunity came up of a LiRF course in May. I was with my partner Diz (Darren) who lives in London (yes, it’s a bit of a commute!). He’s wonderfully supportive and by supportive, I mean suffering, bless him. He comes and supports me at all my events that I take part in and never complains when I sign up to something else……. It’s actually him that pushes me. The LiRF course was a bit last minute, Claire (mamma Diva Sport), asked if I wanted to attend the course, so I shot back from London on the Saturday evening to attend the course the next day. Even though I’ve run for years, I found it a really informative course. I learned so many new hints for posture, running style & how to build training programmes, which made it all worthwhile and has made me a better runner in the progress. I was actually on the course with Hannah Phillips, who also blogs for Run Wales, so I was in good company! There were so many different genres of people there. Super fit lycra clad men, middle aged women (ME!), right down to young girls & lads all coming for that qualification.

I started my first Diva Run Group a week later. We had great numbers to start, a few dwindled off as we started to drop the intervals & run further but we stuck with it. Since May, those ladies have now progressed to my advanced running group, who are running 10K plus, that I take out on a Monday evening. I also have an intermediate class (5k+), who were beginners in August and I now have another beginner class that I started 6 weeks ago who are nearly at 5k. We currently have around 80+ women a week attend the run groups, which has totally surprised me! Never did I think we would have this much interest and to see them all progress and run further to reach their goals is amazing! I’m as proud of them as I am my own children. They leave me on such a high when they achieve another goal at run group. They all support each other, no one competes against each other, we cheer each other on and there’s such a great spirit in every group that runs. We chant, we sing, we chat, we have a good laugh and they work SO hard to get to be better runners.

Yes girls, you are all RUNNERS!!!!!

They hate me on ‘hill week’ and ‘sprint interval week’ but hey, it’s part of their progression! I like to keep them surprised…… They never quite know what’s coming next!
To top it off, one of my May beginners Rhianne, asked me to help to get her to Cardiff Half Marathon this year, so with a little bit of extra training and a lot of hard work from her, in 4 months, she achieved her goal and stood on the start line of Cardiff Half, set off with me by her side and I ran it with her, at her pace. She finished in a very respectable 2:20 mins. Absolutely super proud Running mamma (that’s what the run group girls call me), blown away by her total determination to get round the course and since then, Rhianne has also qualified as a LiRF Run Leader and takes a group of beginners on a Saturday morning.

This Sunday, 13th Nov, we are taking 34 of my advanced and intermediate ladies to the Mo Run in Cardiff. This will be for a lot of them, their first official run. We’ve booked a coach to take them all, have some wonderful local companies who have sponsored our Tshirts and we are having an after party back at Diva Sport with cake & lots of prosecco to celebrate their achievement. We’ve got furry pink moustaches and lovely bright pink TShirts that have our mantra printed onto them which is #rundivarun
Keep an eye out for our photos on Facebook (Diva Sport) and Twitter (@divasportuk) ….. I don’t think we will be hard to spot or if you’re at Mo-run, please do give our girls a cheer as they go past!

Look out for the next blog… I have a feeling it will be Mo-tastic!

Cat x

P.s. I'm @runningmammacat – twitter & Instagram – follow me for hopefully some running inspired posts!