Saturday, 24 May 2014

No pain no gain!

I’ve had another busy couple of weeks but have still managed to fit some running in! At the recommendation of my coach I went for a longer run last Saturday. I planned to get up early and go out running (as I am usually up early on a Saturday for the parkrun anyway, so thought this was a logical thing to do!) However, once I was up I really did not want to go running. I felt that 7 miles seemed so much further than my previous runs and I felt defeated before I even had my trainers on.

If you haven’t already noticed yet, I am a pretty determined person and I know that I need to put the training in to enable me to run a half marathon. I got my running clothes on and decided that even if I just went out for a little run it would be better than no run. This made me feel better about running so I got my trainers on, set my Garmin, and put on my nice new running cap (a lovely birthday gift from my sister).

My lovely new running cap!

It was a sunny day last Saturday and it was rather warm to run, even though I did go out quite early (about 9am). I decided I would try and run 3.5 miles away from home before turning around, as I wasn’t really sure where I could run for 7 miles.

As I was nearing 3.5 miles, I was enjoying the scenery and decided to keep running. I ran along the bridge at Sheepwash, stopping to take a few photos as the river was very pretty in the sunshine. There were quite a few hills from here back home, and I walked some of it. I was also starting to overheat, though my new keep cool cap was helping, both prevent my head getting too hot from the sun as well as keeping it out of my eyes!

My legs were quite heavy again and I had to keep walking it out. All the time, I kept telling myself I was doing well for being out there and running….though part of me thought I should be sat in the garden with a cold drink!

Finally, after what felt like hours of running in the sunshine, I arrived back home. Surprisingly I was still able to walk and breathe…though talking was a little more difficult (not for long though!) I was bursting with pride that I actually managed to run 7.1 miles! I walked some of it but it was definitely mostly running. It took just over an hour and a half, which is the longest time I have been out running!

My brother-in-law pointed out that my run last Saturday is more than half the Great North Run! I’m well on my way with training! I never would have dreamed of this a year ago!

All week I have been buzzing with the sense of achievement from running in general and was looking forward to my first parkrun in a few weeks this morning. I was going to go to Saltwell and meet fellow Great North Run Beer Tenters but my sister and brother-in-law were both at work and asked if I could pick my niece up. As they live in South Shields, and not wanting to miss doing a Parkrun altogether, I decided to go and do that one. All week I was hoping that today might get me closer to my sub 30 (pb currently at 30.28) but after a late night last night I knew I was too tired this morning.

There was a small part of me that was tempted to snooze my alarm, miss the parkrun and just go and get Toni but I knew if I did this, I’d regret it by 9am.

Running conditions were good this morning, if slightly on the cold side, and I was feeling positive. I think I started off too fast though and my legs quickly became tired and heavy. My right knee also began to hurt again and I had to walk for a few seconds on two occasions. I knew then that I wouldn’t be getting a new pb today, but rather than give in (as much as I wanted to) I decided to see if I could get it as close to my previous pb as possible.

Usually I know that Joanne and Rachael, are just up ahead and will be waiting for me at the end, but today this wasn’t the case. I found this harder than I thought I would but just kept plodding along. Someone, had written messages such as ‘keep going’ in coloured chalk along the way. This is the first time this has happened (at least when I have been running it) and it really helped me. The volunteers were brilliant as always. The last one before the finish, pointed a camera at me so I forced my Jolly smile and thumbs up. He said I didn’t look tired enough and needed to start sprinting. I really appreciated the encouragement and am pleased that my smile hides how much my legs are suffering!

When I had just under 1km to go my legs really felt like giving up (I really shouldn’t wear heels the night before I run!) and that’s all I seemed able to think about. The Jolly part of my brain told me to think about something else to take my mind off it. I’m a great believer in positive thinking. I began to mutter ‘I love running’ over and over (and hoped no one was around too close to hear me!).  I certainly did not feel like I loved running at this point and once again was left wondering why I even bother. I then remember the reason I started (to fundraise for the North East Trust for Aphasia) and the progress I have actually made over the last few months and just kept chanting away to myself.

I also tried to focus on what my shoulders were doing rather than my legs, as my coach said there was a bit of extra, unnecessary movement in them, on Monday and this is something I can try and work on.

I was ever so pleased when I crossed the finish, the volunteers cheering me for the final stretch. I was really pleased with my time of 32.26, considering I was finding it so difficult. My knee is still a bit sore now and my legs are aching. Hopefully I will get out for a gentle run once I get back from my little trip to London to visit my cousin.

I also need to focus on my core strength to improve my running even more. I have attempted to do some planking this week (boy does that hurt - but no pain no gain!) and Rachael and I have done some exercises together.

 I talk so passionately about running between runs that it still surprises me a little bit just how hard I actually find it once I start to run again! The power of positive thinking!

Hope you all have a lovely Bank Holiday Weekend!

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