Another couple of weeks of running have passed in my journey to the Great North Run. When I am not running I can’t stop telling everyone how much I love it. Then when I go out running again it always shocks me how difficult I still find it. I talk about it so positively between runs that I almost forget how hard it is until I start running again.
By the time I blog, the pain has gone, the endorphins have kicked in, and I’ve had time to reflect on the whole run, therefore it usually results in a positive blog about how great running is. I love how much running has changed my life and how much fitter and healthier I feel, but there is no denying that I still find it extremely difficult. Just as it begins to get a little easier, I am pushing myself harder, and further out of my comfort zone, in order to keep improving, therefore it never gets to a point where it is actually easy. I started running as I wanted a challenge (and to raise money for a very worthy cause) – and a challenge is certainly what I got! My daily calendar really resonated with me today as it says ‘Nothing worth doing is easy’ and I couldn’t agree more.
I’ve had a few difficult runs since I last blogged (and some good ones too!) and I think it is just as important to reflect on both, as every run teaches me something, even if it’s just that (even when I think I can’t) I CAN do it.
Last week my Running Coach Steve set me a 7.5 mile run. This was scheduled for the same day as my best friend Rachael’s run so we decided to go out together. Rach arrived at my house straight from work and I was excited to run with her as it has been a good few months since we went out running together. The aim was a slow and steady run, as I was still recovering from the Great North 10k and I didn’t want to overdo it.
That morning I saw my lovely friend Katie (a physio) and was telling her about my painful legs. She offered to give them a little massage for me and afterwards told me that there is nothing to be concerned about (no injuries etc) but that a new pair of trainers would probably help the pain I have been getting. My legs felt much lighter after the massage – the best they’ve felt in ages!
When Rach and I first set out on our run it was raining pretty heavy, but this didn’t put us off! In fact, we were glad of the rain to keep us cool. You can imagine our disappointment when the rain dried up and the sun came out! (Actually, you may only be able to imagine this if you are a runner yourself, as the non-runner part of me still can’t believe that I sometimes complain that the sun is shining!)
I already had my 7.5 mile route planned (as I had done it previously) so we decided to go with this. Rach was looking forward to trying a new route and I was looking forward to having some company.
As always the first couple of miles were difficult but having Rachael with me to chatter to really helped. It’s a nice route and the scenery is pretty, which always makes a run more enjoyable. It didn’t take long for the sun to feel uncomfortably hot and I began to wish I had put a vest on rather than a t-shirt.
I’ve been having trouble with pain in my calves and shins for the last few weeks and I could feel it in every step I took (although not as bad as previous runs due to the massage). The route we chose wasn’t flat and it was difficult in the heat. The view of the river at Sheepwash was a pleasant reprieve (and was also about half way through our run!). When I was running downhill I felt like someone was kicking me in the glutes (butt cheeks) and I began to wonder if I needed new trainers more than I previously thought. I wondered if this could be an indication of the cushioning in my trainers being worn out (coupled with Katie’s and Steve’s advice about new trainers too). Not one to give up though, I kept plodding along.
About 5 miles into the run, I was really beginning to suffer with the heat. As we approached the shops in Stakeford, I told Rachael that it was typical that the first time I would have stopped to buy a drink was the first time I didn’t run with a pound in my pocket. Rachael told me she had a pound and suggested we go in to the shop to buy a cold drink (stopping our Garmin’s first of course!)
She bought a bottle of Raspberry Lucozade Sport, and never have I felt like I needed a drink so much! I don’t normally like to run with a bottle, but I was extremely grateful for this one. Once feeling (a little more!) refreshed, we started our Garmin’s again and began running again.
When we got to Stakeford bank, I managed to run down it ok (still feeling like someone was kicking me though!) but my knee began to hurt on the upward bank so I decided to walk rather than risk hurting my knee further. Rach did brilliantly and ran all the way up the hill (and waited for me at the top).
With just a mile or so to go, I was still struggling in the heat, and my legs began to feel heavy again. At 7.2 miles I could not run another step and told Rachael I would just walk home from here. I told her she could run ahead and I would catch up with her at my house, by she told me that as we’d started together, we would finish together and she walked home with me. *True Friends*
Once home, we stretched and had some more Lucozade before tucking in to a large portion of homemade lasagne!
It was definitely made more bearable running with Rach, and her raspberry Lucozade was very welcome on the hot run!
I was booked in for a deep tissue leg massage the day after this (from the lady who does my monthly Indian Head Massages). Even though I’d had a massage the previous day I decided to keep my booking. This was just what I needed, although slightly painful in parts, it made my legs feel much better. She said the same as Katie about there being nothing to worry about in terms of injury, just that there’s a little fluid around my ankles which could be attributed to needing new trainers. I went home and had a cold bath and put ice on my ankles for 20 minutes afterwards and my legs felt as good as new!