Oh, the joy of running.... well not all of the time!
Why is it that one-day running is the most exhilarating and inspirational, awesome exercise possible (that is what ii think is called a Running High) and sometimes it’s the devil in disguise?
I veer between the two on a virtually daily basis as sometimes it is all just so easy and I feel I could run forever and other times I just can’t put one foot in front of the other.
Take yesterday for example, a 10 mile run of mainly trail and lots of hills, no issue at all. I pounding away with an incessant dialogue of unnecessary chatter to Chau who I am sure would have rather I just remained quiet and enjoyed the scenery. Got to the end and said I could keep going, maybe a little ambitious but that was how motivated it can get me.
Other days I think running is the worst thing on earth and how can people possibly want to do this form of exercise or any exercise come to think of it? I will be at work and as the clock ticks to 5pm all I can think about is I have to get changed and go for a bloody run before I go home. Believe me I have given all the excuses under the sun to get out of running when I have ‘one of those days’ sometimes I will start and get two miles from the car and literally give up and walk back, frustrated by my lack of will power and that I am really cold and that I wont have made the target amount of steps on my Garmin (that thing rules my life!)
How about when I do a running event? this can be from a 5km Park Run, up to Half Marathons. I say to myself and to everyone else, 'I am not competitive at all I just want to run it at my own pace and enjoy the atmosphere'
Actually it’s not like that at all. I have found out I am extremely competitive and as the adrenalin kicks in so does a steely determination and I turn into someone I don’t know.
Gun goes off, teeth gritted, Garmin switched on and away I go. It’s so hard to go slow at the beginning to save yourself for the end as the legs just want to go. My pace from training runs to events is quicker by about a minute without me even knowing. I am just running for myself but then I aim for a person and just have to overtake them, then another and another. I just cant help it.
I hate to admit this as I know that Park Runs are focused more just for fun and time to be with likeminded people in a relaxed atmosphere. The strap Line is ‘We all run for our own enjoyment. Please come along and join in whatever your pace!’ I actually had to give up the Park Runs as I was too competitive, stressed myself out and forgot to enjoy it. So bad to admit but it is true!
Initially it was fine as I was just happy to get round and then as soon as my fitness started to improve and my times were consistently faster then I started to get too competitive and lost the reason for why I was there. I am slow starter when running and takes me about 3 miles to warm up and get into my stride. Therefore, pushing myself to the limit to improve my time I ended up being a sweaty, asthmatic, stitched, cramped wreck as I pushed myself so hard. I think I would rather save that pleasure for my first Marathon!
I peaked at 21:32 before I retired from the 5m runs and now watch them from the side-lines with my Mum and the dog which is much better for my mental health! I love these events and it got me started with running as with thousands of other people and I thoroughly support them, just not run them!
I now focus on Half Marathons where at least I have time to warm up for the first few miles and enjoy the experience of highs and lows during the distance and hopefully end up on a high with a new PB when I cross the line
(not that I am competitive though ☺)
Thank you to Bracknell Forest Runners who I am a member of the club. Running in a club has made such a difference to me both for training and competitions as the support gives you a fantastic boost and great team spirit!
The dawn of my second Maidenhead Half Marathon and I was up and out of bed before my alarm after being awake on and off for a few hours, a little nervous excitement? Well maybe.
Why am I so jittery? I am not a professional runner with their eye on a gold medal. I run for health and fun. I keep telling myself it’s just another run but with a lots of people around me and nothing to get my knickers in a twist about. A training run to incorporate into my training programme for my first Marathon in the end of October.
I know I can run 13.1 miles pretty easily now so it’s not the distance that I am worried about so why do I have butterflies in my stomach and feeling twitchy? I think it may be that I know what is coming. The previous Maidenhead Half was my first ever half marathon so I was naïve to the experience and however I got around from the start to the finish line would be fine just fine by me – just as long as I got around.
Now today its half marathon No 5 and I know what is coming and I also know that my competitive streak is battling to find its way out and try and to kick in. I like to call it my ‘competitive devil’ and this little devil inside me does not like me to just do an easy run and jog on round having a chat. I sometimes wish it would have a day off but alas I have a feeling it’s not going to happen and the nervous energy is building as I microwave my porridge and have my one cup of extra strong coffee.
My partner Chau, a seasoned Marathon runner is going through a similar thought pattern although he was not admitting it either. ‘so what time do you think you will be running it in today?’ I ask him as I flick through my magazine, not reading a word as my mind is on the 13.1 miles ahead. ‘oh, I’m not really going to bother today’ he replies – ‘yeah, right and is the Pope Catholic?’ I mutter. It appears we were both denying the fact that we apparently were not just going just for fun!
It was a 9.30 start so need to get there for 8.15 so I can get in my pre ritual 5 toilet breaks – yes I know its excessive but I can’t help it. It’s not ideal and I don’t drink much pre-race due this issue and by the time the gun goes off I am probably dehydrated. I know it’s all in the mind as I can’t possibly need to go that much. I did get a little panicky at Maidenhead as it’s the town centre and there are no trees to nip behind if the porter loo queue is excessive!
I love the hour before the race, despite the incessant queuing for the loo. The vibrant colours of running outfits. The babble of pre-race chatter of excitement, excuses, hope and goals. The air smells of a heady combination of deep heat, essence of portaloo and frying bacon – what a combination!
Bladder well and truly drained, pre-race banana peeled but uneaten as feeling a little nauseous and warmed up so it was time to go to the start. Now being ‘just a training run’ it will not matter where I start so I can tag on to the end and gently set off at a moderate pace. Why was I edging my way into the middle of the pack? Bloody ‘competitive devil’ in my head had now taken me prisoner and nothing I could do about it. Admitting defeat, I gave in and pressed start on my Garmin and tried to lower my pulse which was now racing with pre start adrenalin. Might as well set myself a little goal now I’m here. Let’s aim for 1hour 45 mins which would give me a PB of 3 mins. Would be defeatist not to give it a go wouldn’t it?
Cannon goes off and with my ‘competitive devil’ now fully taken over my body I am pounding the pavement with 1,400 other runners. and prepare for the usual first three miles of discomfort as my body adjusts to being pushed rather more than a 45-year-old body would like.
My aim to keep with the 1.45 Pacer, (its great having a pacer an I don’t have the experience of pacing myself) Chau paces me in my training runs but as you can imagine he is running his own competitive battle/race at the front of the field.
At mile 4 I was drew level with the Pacer and having a ‘running high’ where I feel on top of the world and invincible so let’s see how many people I can overtake. This lasted a few miles before I realised I had got carried away have overdone it too soon. The 1.45 Pacer had now caught up with me again. Well that was totally pointless and a waste of energy wasn’t it ?(another learning to write down in my imaginary ‘what not to do while running’ notebook.)
OK just stick with the Pacer and get back into a rhythm again and CALM DOWN, it’s just a run. ‘This is better’ as I get back into rhythm and stalked the Pacer. He was about 6ft 5’’ and he now has this little red faced sweaty person determinedly chasing him. I am sure it looked comical but he was my focus and potential Hero of the Day.
Mile 10 and for some reason he was getting shorter – the reason why he was reducing in height was that he was forging ahead of me. Was I slowing down, bugger, what’s going on? I’m not going to make my goal time now. A wave of negative emotion goes through my mind. I can’t do it, it hurts too much, but what hurts? my legs? No, not really, my feet? no, my breathing, no – all is fine but it just all Hurts!
Stop thinking Lisa and just run. If you don’t come in at 1.45 it’s not the end of the world is it? ‘Yes it bloody is’ says my competitive devil. ‘Sort yourself out and catch up the Pacer’
It’s just a Park Run left – 24 mins if I keep up this pace. Just get on with it! Deep breath, chin up, knees up, eyes up. Think about the motto I have on my running vest to promote British Military Fitness
Legs like Jelly
Lungs on Fire
Heart Like a Lion
I run, the encouragement from the crowds spurs me on and the last 400 metres – I have caught up with my Pacer friend now and bloody hell, I was going to overtake him if it was the last thing I do. Here we go and the finish is getting closer. Done it and remembered to press stop on my Garmin
1 hours 44 mins and 41 seconds – PB and thank you my Competitive Devil – I love you really!!
It was all very well being gung ho and buoyed up by completing the 10km run at Beachy Head last year while the ‘big boys’ did the Marathon. So caught up was I in the atmosphere I could not wait for my partner, Chau, to get back from completing the gruelling 26 miler to tell him I wanted to do it next year.
As per my usual behaviour I made the instant decision that my first Marathon – ever - would be Beachy Head 2016. In my mind running 6 miles of it seemed to have qualified me to think I could tackle an extra 20 miles of trails, cliff and weather. Not to worry- I had ages to go before I needed to think about training so off we went to celebrate Chau’s great run with some Eastbourne fish and chips.
Maybe I should have digested the following words on the marathon description a bit more thoroughly before parting with my entry fee – gruelling – infamous starting hill, long hard slog, 300 steps, running all of the Seven Sisters. Apparently though its scenic and you get flapjacks on the way so maybe that will equalise the pain...
Fast forward a few months that included running club cross country league, Wokingham Half, knee injury, 2 months of being horrible as not being able to run and miraculous recovery.
Basic fitness in place and its was time to focus on training for this marathon I so gaily signed up for. I had a few half marathons under my belt which was a good and a bad thing as I knew I could fairly easily run 13 miles but mentally I could not see how I could possibly run double that distance.
Chau – patient partner and long suffering coach put a plan in place that should get the mileage on my legs without me bending his ear too much.
2 runs of about 6 miles during the week plus one British Military Fitness session and then a long run every weekend that increases in mileage week by week. Sorted. Just needed to do put it into practice now.
First challenge was to get over the feeling that at mile 13 it was time to stop as for me that was the pinnacle of my running so anything over that distance seemed impossible. It was a massive achievement for me to run 14.2 miles, break that barrier and not expecting to be handed a medal, a banana at miles 13 and go retire to the sofa.
Chau planned lovely routes in Busy Park, Richmond Park and it was good not to know where I was going and variety helped me go the distance – well most of the time.
It was becoming routine to forego the end of week glass of wine or two and rise very early on Saturdays mornings to get there by 8am as each run we were adding on a mile or two and the time it took to run was significantly increasing.
It still filled me with trepidation as each run was taking me to a new distance and it a weekly 'out of the comfort zone' experience. The first time I got to 20 miles I thought both knees would give way, I suppose my legs had never experienced that continual pounding for so long.
22 miles was my longest run and it was a 3 plus hours of emotion to very low to total running high. We set off fine, carbed up and ready. By mile one (yes mile one) I started to get niggly and a bit teenage stroppy – ‘don’t run so close to me’ I say to Chau, ‘don’t run behind me either’ poor man could do nothing right.
My mind was playing tricks and all I could think was I can’t do it, how can I possibly run another 21 miles and why on earth did I think I could run a marathon? I am useless and should not call myself a runner. Then I had a Mini Meltdown Moment in a tunnel and all was literally black. I stopped running and cried – Oh what a great start! A couple of minute motivational and get back to reality talk from Chau, a quick loo stop in a bush and I pulled myself together, deep breath and put the Mind Gremlin back in its box and away we went. again.
Looks at bit dark over there’ I said as I observed the black sky. 5 mins later we were squelching down the road and my mascara stinging my eyes (why don’t I learn not to be so vain) It was incessant and was not going to stop. I spotted the Kingston Bridge which would have be a perfect place to turn back to the car. I gave some very strong hints to Chau about maybe it would be best to cut it short. Despite my repeated comments about home and dry and coffee he appeared to have gone deaf. Although I did notice the raised hand which now I realised meant – don’t even think about stopping. We ploughed on.
Thank you Chau for being selectively deaf as I achieved something I did not know I could ever do and ran 22 miles in a pace of 9mins 36 sec per mile. I had to plug myself into my IPod at mile 18 and turbo boosted myself with Sia and Titanium who I played on repeat for 4 miles which were quicker than my first 4 miles. That four miles was the best ever – in the ‘zone’ and invincible. In that moment running was the best thing EVER!
I have learnt a lot from my long running sessions, mostly that the mind is a very powerful tool and these hours of running have helped me use it in a positive way (apart from the odd meltdown!) and realise I am much stronger that I thought. Its helped me in day to day life to feel confident and more worthwhile as well. I do suffer from anxiety and lack of confidence and when I have a wobbler I can look back and think the of the strength I found when everything hurt but I carried on and can draw motivation from it.
I did think that having 3 ½ hours or so of running may mean I had time to think of the deeper and meaningful things in life, be mindful and all of that good stuff – Alas that did not happen and generally I thought of food. Running past cafes, look at menus did not help and I always set myself up with a donkey and carrot scenario of what I was going to have when at the end of the run – I am ruled by my stomach!
So there we go – Two weeks to go and I am distance trained and hill trained and as ready as I will ever be. I just need to keep my mind on track and pray for decent weather and the finish line looks achievable. I have already planned my post-race meal – Fish and Chips!
To inspire myself even more I am running to raise money for an amazing young man I know in Zambia. Please click on this link for more information – every penny donated will make a significant difference to the young generation in Mfuwe – a rural community that really needs support. Thank you!
I have great admiration for people who run in London after my experience today. Personally I can’t think of anything worse and this is why. It was certainly not my finest few hours of running by far!
I am gradually increasing my mileage in preparation for a marathon in October and my partner Chau has been great planning routes to keep the long runs from getting monotonous. Also apparently I don’t talk as much if I’m busy looking at somewhere different so it’s a win win situation!
‘Let’s run in London and sightsee at the same time – that will be fun’ he said. ‘Sounds great’ I replied ‘it will take my mind of the 16 to 17 miles I need to do today. So off we went in the morning. I even put on a bit of make up as going to London always seems to be a special occasion (yes, I know, I don’t get out much these days!)
Parked at St James and I was very much the tourist with Chau being the Tour Guide. Poor Bugger works in London every day and now on his day off he needs to guide me around it.
After 8 years in Africa I am afraid I have l lost my ‘streetwise ways’ in London and get overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of people. Traffic and trying to cross the road is something of a mission with me.
Still a good idea to run in central London?
‘Chau, I need the loo’ I say about 10 mins into the run. Never an issue where we usually run and I am generally seen dipping in and out of bushes like a Benny Hill character. Not so in London. We decided a McDonalds would be a suitable loo stop that does not draw attention of using toilet and not paying for anything. Adding on another mile to find one I popped in for a pit stop and off we went again.
Mile three, feeling pretty good and the novelty of running along the Thames seeing the sights was keeping me motivated, ‘going to be a good one today ‘ I thought and a definite Love on my running ‘Love it or Loathe it’ Scale
I think that lasted until about mile 4 where we turned into Tower Bridge and hit a sea of people. Downhill from there. I was elbowed, hand bagged and Selfie Sticked as we dipped in and out and around the crowds of tourists, I was beginning to feel a little claustrophobic.
Stress and blood pressure levels were rising as I had to stop running to navigate through the crowd, no overtaking as I would have been wiped out by a bus. Bloody hell where had all the people come from?
Generally, at mile four of a run I have got into my stride and rhythm and settle in for the duration. Today it was run, walk, stop, reverse and arghhh – the frustration! No rhythm today and why does it seem harder to run when you stop and start?
Approaching Tower Bridge along with half the population of England and I get the mild panic feeling as my bridge phobia made its way into my mind. Can’t see Chau and the heart starts palpitating and I begin to freeze. Chau finally remembers he is on a bridge and I am not with him so he returns to get me frozen on the spot and I promptly have a teenage tantrum at him. Not his fault the poor bugger but I had to blame someone! Made it over the bridge with a lot of unsavoury language and rants and we set off again.
Under a tube station/ subway which made me feel like a sporty pickpocketer running through the tube with people looking at us strangely.
Now I am actually yearning for big green spaces and even the ‘killer mile hill’ near my house seems like heaven compared to this.
Mile 5,6 and 7 continues with pavement dodging and veering from 8.45 min pace to 14 min plus pace depending on the human and vehicle traffic and how brave I was crossing the road. You have to be a bit courageous in London when stepping off the pavement and I could be dithering about for ages if not for Chau firmly grabbing me by the wrist and pulling me across the scary road. I am such a country bumpkin.
I love London for meandering through the markets, sampling the street food and drink and window shopping. Running past all these temptations is just not the same and I was beginning to get resentful of the shops full of clothes, the smell of coffee and food and far from it distracting me from the mileage I was supposed to be doing it was just making me want to stop and sample all the food I could and swap my trainers for high heels.
Black Friars bridge loomed up and I think due to having a somewhat stressful run I had lost the mind over matter of my bridge fear and a few steps onto it I turned around and sprinted off (fasted I had run all day!)
Chau now had to readjust his internal Sat Nav and take us a different route. I promise you I did apologies to him for having ‘one of those days’ I think he understood and I promise I am making dinner tonight.
A bridge crossing was necessary in order to get back to the car. Westminster Bridge was the chosen one as I thought I would use the crowds to my advantage and squeezing across it shoulder to shoulder feel more secure. Also you will be glad to now I had regained my sense of humour plus strength of mind and ran it with a smile and not clinging onto Chau’s T Shirt. My one and only moment of glory in this run.
Mile 9 and 10 were approaching and in Green Park, thank goodness for that, space, grass, trees and security. Not to be, nice day in London equals every blade of grass covered in picnics and bottoms. Any running Mojo I had left drained from my feet and I ground to a halt.
Time to go home and watch the Olympics on the TV its ‘Super Saturday’ of the Olympics and I will be inspired. Today I will retire at 10 miles and revert to a Sport Sofa Spectator for the day.
So all in all not a great run but every run has it merits and it was 10 miles more on the legs. Now I have no doubt in my mind I am a country girl and running in the peace and quiet where you can hear the birds sing and the leaves rustle in the trees is my type of running environment.
17 miles next Saturday and no excuses for me this time
Never run in London again? Well maybe the London Marathon? ☺
What was the first thing I did after handing in my notice in the middle of the bush in Zambia with 12 weeks’ notice of work? Well you would have thought something sensible like how I could get my luggage shipped back to UK without paying extortionate shipping fees or making arrangements for closing my bank account.
Well, it’s me so no I didn’t! First thing I decided to do (yes, remember I still had 12 weeks to go) was to get onto Google and search for a running club or similar to join when I got back. No idea why this was top of my priority list at this time, maybe I was in shock!
In a previous life (about 25 years ago) I did achieve a couple of half marathons and enjoyed exercise but whilst living in Zambia it was virtually impossible to run. Monkeys and baboons thought it was a wonderful game to chase me which scared the life out of me, I did not wish for their enormous teeth to be sinking into my ankles! What with that and the fear of bumping into an elephant or a leopard dropping out of a tree I think was a viable excuse not to run!
One of the reasons why I was returning to the UK was to find myself a social life again and meet like-minded people. I very much needed to get fit and heathy again as I had what one could politely call it ‘let myself go somewhat!’
It did not take me long to come across The Running Bug website and little did I realise how one click onto this site started a brand new chapter of my life and rescued me in so many ways.
This was the perfect site for me as I could see it had something for every level of runner and not overwhelming as can be with some sites. I could link to other people in the area I was going to move back to and looked like it would be a great way of getting my social life and fitness going on my return.
Profile filled in and I was signed up, one thing ticked off the list so I suppose it was time to do something essential like booking my plane tickets!
As the weeks ticked on I became an avid reader of The Running Bug and could not wait to get started on the actual running rather than reading about it as soon as I returned to the UK. It was encouraging to see that I had already connected with some people in my area and inspired me to see their progress and wanted to log my own Bug Miles!
I connected with a guy called Chau who lived very close to where I was going to return and we started up conversation, explaining to him my convoluted story of actually being local to him however currently halfway around the world. We continued to chat and found we had a lot in common other than running.
Upon my return to UK my first stop was a sports shop for trainers and sports bra (my absolute two essentials!) Then I started…
Painful at the beginning and I wondered why this was such a good idea as I alternated walking and running from lamppost to lamppost but with perseverance the ratio of running to walking to lampposts was improving.
It was time to post my first Bug Miles! About 3 miles in a pace just above a walk but it was great to see those miles logged ☺
‘Nice one for 1st run, is it hotter here than Zambia? ‘
This was Chau’s comment which was very kind of him as his pace is about 7 min miles and I was double that!
As I progressed so did our comments, from one sentence to paragraphs. The miles logged up and I was increasingly looking forward to finishing my run so I could log my miles and wait for Chau’s comments. Was this becoming more than just running?
A couple of times Chau said that we could meet up for a run. I really wanted to but I the thought of running with him terrified me as there would be no way I could keep up and I did not want to embarrass myself trying to keep up with this experience marathon runner. Now I know I should not have worried about that.
A month or so later and a little fitter and lighter Chau asked if he could call me.
That one phone call changed my life had changed for good.
Within a year of meeting him I am now a competent (an addicted runner!) with a number of Half Marathons under my belt and my first Marathon in the horizon (gulp!)
Within a year not only am I a proud owner of a new life, new house, 2 cats – Oh and a partner called Chau to share it all with.
Quick, I know but, the situation just seemed to be so we went with the flow and kept on running!
I could not have asked for a better person to share my life with who is kind, generous and motivating when I don’t think I can run one more step – he has the patience of a Saint!
A total lifestyle change with just one click onto the The Running Bug site...what more can I say!
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‘Make sure you pack the sun lotion’ said my ever positive partner Chau as we were getting our running stuff together before setting off to the New Forest for a 10 mile race.
Turns out that was was actually needed was umbrella, wind cheater and thermals - yes, this event was on July 10th therefore maybe unrealistically I thought there could be a chance of summer type of weather.
I was looking forward to this race as it was my first event since my knee injury in February and having been gradually increasing my milage so I am happy running up to 15 miles now so this should be nice and relaxing shouldn't it? Well not really as although I say I am not remotely competitive apparently I am... Outwardly I am calm and relaxed but inwardly I am winding myself up into competition mode. I have run half marathons but not 10 milers so I was not sure what time I would be aiming at so I was subtly questioning Chau (who is a marathon runner) on when he could expect me to finish. Not that I cared what time I would get back in (honest). I was just there for a relaxing run and enjoy the scenery.
Arriving 2 hours early (as is the case with Chau everywhere we go) we had plenty of time to sit in the car lined up with all of the other early arrivals and look out of the steamed up windows eating banana and peanut sandwiches watching our fellow runners battling against the wind and rain to collect their numbers and do all the necessary preparations. I am an avid people watcher so this was actually as good for me as watching TV! So much to look at, peoples outfits, their race preparations and warm up, I love it. One lady ran past the car so many times I am sure her warm up was as far as the race itself!
I have a problem that starts an hour before the race. I don't fight it any more, I just go with the flow - literally! Every time I go to a race I average going to the loo about 5 times in the pre race hour. This really should not be possible or necessary. I have been known to queue for the porter loo, go, and then join the end of the queue again and repeat until its time to go to the start. I have turned this negative into a positive and make it a social activity and now is part of my pre race warm up chatting with my fellow runners who many have this same problem plus the joys of the British weather and how hilly the course might be.
My warm up for this race consisted braving the elements by getting out of the car, running to the porter loo and running back to the safety of the car and repeat 5 times. (actually I managed 6 as I found a suitable bush for a final empty of the bladder!)
5 minutes to go, wished Chau good luck and left him at the front of the pack as he would be finished in about half and hour (well just over an hour) I go to a suitably appropriate place in the group as I don't want the embarrassing situation of being too far at the front and be flattened as the gun goes off with the stampede of elite runners.
Getting to the right place to start is essential for me. Its my most stressful part of the run and I am sure my heart beats faster than it is when actually running. No indication of timed sections today so I have to judge it by what the runners look like to see if I am in the right spot. Generally about middle is good for me and avoids too much of the initial bottle neck which gets me frustrated (not that I am competitive) not right at the back with the gel bar runners. Each to their own but do you really need 5 gel bars on a 10 mile race? Honestly they will weigh you down in more ways than one. Total calorie intake of 5 gel bars in one race surely must be more energy than you expend in the race? I will save my calories for a bacon sandwich and brown sauce after the race thank you very much.
OK finger poised on the Garmin button and off we go. Really its such a relief to start and get cracking enjoying the beautiful scenic views (that is so not going to happen!)
Mile 1 is all about establishing yourself, not a lot of rhythm as its stop start until the runners draw themselves out. Aways a little bit of ducking and diving to find space and places to overtake (who me? I never do that!)
Mile 2 and 3 - most difficult for me as I never get into a rhythm until mile 4 (therefore no Park Runs for me!) this is my mind over matter miles and believe me there have been many races where I seriously contemplate heading back to the start as my mind thinks that running is just ridiculous and stop it right now.
Mile 4 - now I am ready to roll and get my game face on. Looking at my Garmin I see that I am about a minute quicker than my training pace so I may as well give it all I can and see who I can overtake (not that I am competitive)
Mile 5 - Trying to stay behind a larger man to slip stream the wind which was full force on a very open area of the course. I hope he did not think I was stalking him as I was pretty close but it does work!
Mile 6 - Attack the hills and actually pick up speed I see hills as competition as well. What is wrong with me? Slightly scary moment for some New Forest Ponies who emerged from the bracken to be faced sweaty grunting runners coming to the brow of the hill.
Mile 7 - Having a wardrobe malfunction. I usually wear compression leggings but recently I have been wearing running shorts, cooler and quite impressed that I have managed to get to a weight where I can were shorts although I still do have legs like a weightlifter Problem is that the inner lining rides up and gathers in the buttock area which is irritating and uncomfortable. I call it a 'Buttock Buncher' On training runs I can rectify the issue without the worry of having 300 runners behind me. How do I extract the material from my buttocks without causing undue attention and distress to other runners?
Mile 8 - Legs are feeling the strain of my faster than usual run and now thinking I have overcooked it somewhat with my overambitious 8.20 min miles. Lets look at at mens bums for a bit. Take my mind off the pain I am inflicting on myself. Always helps and I know I’m not the only one so don't gasp in shock!
Mile 9 - Feel a bit like I might vomit a little bit and getting a stitch in my shoulder but I am going to over take that lady if its the last thing I do. I have been tracking her down for the last mile. Overtake her, she passes me, cat and mouse for a while but I am going to get her on the hill, hurrah - did it (not that I am competitive)
Mile 10 - Well I might as well give it a go now I am this far in and see if there is anything left in the tank. I am as purple in the face as my shorts and why was I so vain as to wear mascara which has mingled with sweat and stinging my eyes? I see can see the marquees and crowd in the distance, nearly there and can I manage a sprint ?- OK , here we go! I honestly have no idea where it comes from but I am going for it and God Forbid the embarrassment if I fall over now! Finish line and we are done, although not a pretty sight I do admit!
1hour 22mins, 15 seconds - not that I looked at my Garmin or check to find out I was 9th in my age category as I am not competitive, just was out there for a nice scenic run. That is so never going to happen, who am I kidding!
Time for a bacon sandwich and a non competitive walk around the New Forest after I change out of the Bottom Buncher shorts to something a little more comfortable!
It was one of those runs, I could just feel it in my bones. Saturday morning is our long run. I have been getting up to speed again after my knee injury and my usual plan for the week is…
2 to 3 runs during the week of about 6 mile or so followed by long weekend run to gradually increase my mileage for the half marathons that are looming ahead of me and 'the' marathon in now actually 4 months’ time (why on earth did sign up for that one!)
I do find Saturday morning better as then it’s done and I don’t have it in my mind all over the weekend. I tend to build it up in my mind and then I can’t sleep on Sat eve in anticipation of not having the traditional lie in on Sunday morning!
Anyway, Saturday dawns and long run is due. In my training schedule I was set for doing 13 miles but I was battling with the really heavy duvet and the equally heavy cats who have literally pinned me down to the mattress and God Forbid if I even try and raise my head off the pillow. The way I was not bounding gleefully out of bed means I might have a mental running challenge today.
The usual diversion tactics came into play. Coffee first then breakfast as I can’t run without breakfast. Obviously then I can’t run on a full stomach so that delays the run by half an hour. Now what? I know, lets clean the house first before the run so I can come home and not to have to worry about housework. Can’t find my sports, bra, what trainers should I wear? The route was road and trail so a lot of pondering on which of my increasing amount of trainers would be the most suitable. Actually should I drive to the bit where it starts trail and hide my trail shoes in the hedge? That will put the run of for a bit longer.
Finally, my other half dragged me of the house and then as luck would have it we passed our neighbours who were getting into their car. Nice little chat that lasted longer than what was really necessary.
Then my last diversion tactic before I know I have run out of excuses. My Garmin – takes ages! This means at least I can start at a walk. Chau tell me that it picks up satellite quicker if I put my hand on my head. Is that true or is it just for his and the car driver’s amusement?
No more excuses and we are off. I always struggle the first three miles until I get my rhythm and breathing in tune and its mind over matter to keep going. I know by mile four I change into a different runner and practically gazelle like (we can all dream!)
While running I had planned a few short cuts I could take if the mind could not deal with the matter and call it a bad day for running. Labouring on I had made the pre-planned excuses to Chau and was planning to cut it short and let him carry on.
Mile 4 arrived and I became that different runner – Wow, this is easy and look at me go – what was I wittering on about? Off I went and overtook Chau to show off a bit. Don’t know why I do that as when he runs with me he is practically walking but likes to humour me!
Off I stride and empowered by my new found energy and remembering that I love running we decided to turn right instead of our usual left and do a little diversion. All good so far and enjoying the sunny morning and gaily ‘Good Morning’ to everyone whether they like it or not.
Then I remembered that this route would take us over the Cookham Bridge. Dear God, I totally forgot about that. As you may have read in previous blogs I have an adverse and totally irrational fear of bridges. I can occasionally drive over them with a lot of mental preparation but on two legs it’s virtually impossible. I managed it once in a race but that was adrenalin and competitive spirit which was not quite with me now. Shall I tell Chau now 2 miles before we get there or shall I keep going and see if my lifelong phobia is cured? Doubt it. My constant chit chat stopped and running in silence as I psyched myself up. Bridge approached as did my heart in my mouth and I ground to a halt. ‘Can’t do it’ I gasped.
Chau then realised the issue and did try and reason with me a little and entice my over the bridge a bit like a donkey with a carrot but no, it was not happening and I just made myself get vertigo. Nothing to be done but turn around and back the same way adding on an extra 4 miles of my shortcut run.
Feeling guilty that I have been messing him around (I am a woman) at the source of our diversion I told Chau to resume the normal run and I would go home as I would have actually done my allotted miles with our bridge incident.
‘See you at home’ I say as I would be first back as just 3 miles left. Onward I go, it was trail which I love and striding away dreaming I was in the leading group of some famous trail run. A few styles to negotiate but all good. Not long until a cup of coffee now.
Did not envisage that the heard of cows that are normally in the middle of the field decided to have a little lay down in front of the style I needed to climb across. Now I have no issues with cows if they are in the distance but I would have had to literally step through them. I did tentatively try but it would
have been impossible without touching them and annoying them and then what – so many comedy situations could have come from that little scenario!
The only thing to do was turn round and follow the route that Chau took. Yes, that meant not only had I increased my mileage due to the bridge incident but now I had to do it again. Head down and remembering the mantras to keep me going.
Not sure if I should admit this may I do love singing ‘Nothings going to break my stride’ by Matt Wilder. Embarrassing I know but it works for me.
I ended up running further than ever despite every effort to forego this run. Morale of the story is just get up and do it rather than fart arsing around and procrastinating. I knew right at the beginning I was going to run so why bother with all of the faffing around?
Did I feel better after running and really chuffed I put in the extra miles? – yes ☺
Will I use all methods to delay runs in the future? – Oh, I am sure most definitely!