14. Just another manic Monday

It’s been a bit of a manic week this week, and running hasn’t quite felt as organised and structured as previous weeks. It’s bound to happen many times through this whole training process – in fact, there will probably be more ‘manic’ than ‘normal’ weeks. The rhythm of work and social life continues, in whatever capacity that is, and running has to fit around it; it won’t be taking over my life until it either becomes necessary (to find enough time for longer runs) or an enjoyable benefit (carb-loading – always comes back to food). Life goes on.

Run 22 – Tuesday’s run was only a mile long. It was the first time I was totally gonna bail from running due to rainy weather, but then realised for the first time in my life that I literally HAD to go for a run. Even if it was just 10 mins down the road, I had to get out and do it. I never thought this would happen. Oh, how things have changed. Because of my indecisiveness, I left the house late and so only had time to fit in a mile. And it’s a good job (or because) I ran a flat route that my time seemed considerably quicker than the first mile I ran all those weeks back in September. 9min 59 secs. Come on! A great encouragement in the miserable weather.

Run 23 – Nice standard run on Thursday. 2.5m, who’d have thought I’d call that a standard run a few weeks ago? Pace was good, especially considering for the next few weeks Thurs mornings will be extra early because of a work commitment – and I’m not amazing at getting my brain in gear in the mornings.

Run 24 – This had to happen on Saturday due to being away over the weekend and when I had free time. I was in beautiful East Sussex countryside, joined by Guest Runner 3. We looked at a sketch map of possible paths around the area and just headed off out ready to make up a route. We began heading slightly downhill and along a nice flat path, and all seemed dandy. But not for long. I am eternally grateful to GR3 for being there, otherwise I would definitely have walked up the epic hill we encountered after half a mile. Looking at the stats on Run Keeper, we made a total elevation of 381 ft in this 4.25 mile run, with 167 ft of it being climbed in half a mile. I thought I was going to collapse – the only thing that kept me going was knowing that GR3 was behind me and if I stopped I would end up on the floor rolling back down the hill, taking her with me. Not cool. We ran  nearly all of the route along roads with no paths, hoping for the best and praying we could run quick enough round bends that we wouldn’t cause an accident (don’t worry mum, all was fine). We somehow clawed back an average of 12 min miles which was what kept me going in the second half – even with all my moaning, we had a great run and were rewarded on the way back with a gorgeous sunset over the hills. I’m still convinced we ran way more up than down. We’ll be back there in March, and will probably run again – though I refuse to do that ridiculous hill. GR3  called it ‘good hill training’, I called it ‘heart attack hill’. Not happening.

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Making the longer run on Saturday meant Sunday was a rest day, and to sync with my training, so was today. Tomorrow I’m back on it. And I can’t wait.

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12. The good, the bad and the ugly

Okay, so there’s a variety of the good, bad and ugly that feature in this post…pick and choose as you wish which you most want to hear about.

Run 18 – Bad (and potentially ugly) – Running on Tuesday was interesting; like no other run. Well, I say running, I honestly don’t know if you can call it that. I sincerely apologise to anyone who saw me – especially the poor lady waiting at the bus stop who I passed on my way out and back again (looking distinctly worse on the way back). I had literally forgotten how to run. Even now I have no idea a) how I looked that morning, b) if I was actually running and c) how I managed to complete it. Genuinely no clue. It was the strangest thing. I got out the car, walked round the car park then went to run. Nothing. I couldn’t work out what to do to make myself run. I couldn’t work out if I was uber slow or mega fast compared to normal. I suppose I eventually managed to put one foot in front of the other and get going, but it is all a bit of a blur. My poor colleagues are getting great amusement out of my bizarre training antics. Well I’m glad someone benefits from it, even if it’s not me. Needless to say, it was a shorter run (2.5 miles) than planned as I was so confused by the whole thing and just wanted to stop! (Annoyingly, it turned out to be a good pace for me…maybe I should forget how to run more often?)

Run 19 – Ugly – Thursday’s morning run wasn’t good. Thank goodness I had remembered how to run, but man my legs felt dead. It was a real hard run, having to push through to get started, as well as keep it going. Guest runner 1 (lets name her GR1 from now on, I think she may be a regular feature) joined me again and boy am I glad she did; and just to clarify, she is also in no way being referred to as the ‘ugly’ part here, she is beautiful, even when running :). A stitch took over my right side half way round, and it wasn’t a good look. Gripping my side, I was determined not to stop running. Slow down, yes, but not walk. Push through. The singing I mentioned in a previous post ceased, giving way to groans and moaning as the pain didn’t ease up. The whole situation wasn’t helped by the fact that we were running alongside a huge queue of traffic and it felt like everyone was watching as we passed their vehicles. It wasn’t a pretty sight. 5km later I have never been so glad to stop.

Run 20 – Good – BIG NEWS! I got trial contact lenses on Friday to use when running. As I had them in, I thought I’d leave them in and run later in the afternoon. Good: I don’t need to make wipers for my glasses to be able to run in the rain. Bad: Sadly they in no way aid night-vision (well, ‘getting-dark’ vision). Being slightly odd as I am, when I went to start the run I put my old trainers on as it had rained a lot and if I was going to get wet feet it was not in my new running shoes. Probably not quite the idea, but I don’t care. Turns out it was a good move as I stumbled my way through muddy patches and got a wet big toe. It was also a bit of an adventure as I started from my house for the first time and thus had to make up a new running route. It turned out to be a bit random, but I somehow managed it. And even better,  I made it 3.5 miles – the longest so far. The plan now is to increase the Friday/Saturday run by 0.5 miles each week between now and Christmas to make it to 10km by the end of 2013. The only down side to running from home is that we live on a hill – that means that turning either way out of the house means a hill/incline/mountain/ascent/upwards bit at the start or end of the run…and quite often throughout. Yes, up-hill also means descents feature too, but you don’t tend to notice them so much. I basically ended up just running and trying to listen out for my left arm (technically Run Keeper on my phone, attached to my left arm) to tell me how far I’d gone. A bit of guess work later, and I got through it – having remembered how to run the whole way – it’s all going well.

Extra Good – Having got the contact lenses, I now have no excuse not to do even a short run in the rain. Thankfully the clouds stayed shut the whole way until I was 2 minutes from my house, on my cool down walking back. I felt a few drops of rain, and a slight smugness as I’d managed to avoid it. This turned into a big grin as I shut the door behind me, walked through to the kitchen and heard pelting rain against the window. It won’t be long before I find myself out in it, but every time I manage to avoid the rain, it feels like another win for me 🙂

Run 21 – Good – Today’s run was fun. I never imagined saying ‘run’ and ‘fun’ in the same sentence, but there, I have. I made it a bit shorter (2.5 miles) but went quicker from the start, averaging 11 min 26 secs miles which was quite exciting. Not sure how maintainable it would have been if I kept going, but it felt good. Maybe I can start to shift the ‘comfortable pace’ gear up a notch.

I’ve been reading more of my ‘Marathon Running for Mortals’ book. Definately should have read it sooner. One of the things that stood out for me this week was the point that you can be fit and not necessarily naturally fast –  it’s about endurance not speed. Which is a great reminder when you only ever hear of friends going quicker than you! I’m not ever going to be super speedy, but I can build up the endurance level to maintain a good constant pace and finish. And all I actually want to do is finish.

Plenty of good with a bit of bad and ugly thrown in. I can cope with that.