I’ve had another good, but tough, week of running. On Tuesday, I went to the club track session. As usual, I had to drag myself there. It was oh, so cold and a night tucked up on the sofa wrapped in my blanket looked like a much better alternative. It’s always difficult dragging myself to track as you know it’s going to be at least 40 minutes of pain! Why do I keep going back? The feeling I get when I’ve crossed the finish line after the final rep is unbeatable. It means I’ve survived a punishing session. When I thought I’d used up all my available energy on the 2nd rep and still had 8 reps to go, I’d managed to silence that voice in my head telling me to throw in the towel and made it to the end. How awesome is that! If nothing else, running teaches us that we are capable of so much more than we ever imagined.
Tonight’s session was 2x400m with 400m jog recovery followed by 4x800m, again with 400m recovery. The focus was on even pacing throughout the whole distance ie, no starting off like a Cheetah and finishing like a tortoise!
I was pleased with the consistency of the reps; the first 3x 800m were all within 4 seconds. The final lap, I just wanted the pain to end and blasted it a bit hence the 3min 26! Defeated the purpose of keeping the reps consistent but, the end was in sight and I wanted it to finish as soon as possible!
Thursday’s club session was a little bit different to usual. We had a mile warm up before a tempo session. The idea was to run at 20 seconds slower than race pace. I just ran as fast as I was able for the duration of the tempo session. Those 4 miles at a quick-for-me pace was punishing but I felt good. I often feel a bit of a one pace pony but I felt there was a real difference between my warm up pace, tempo pace and cool down. It’s so much easier to do a tough session when you’re surrounded by others going through the same ordeal. Suffering with you but also reveling in a job done well at the end of a grueling session.
On Saturday morning, I met up with my sister Jacqui at Chance’s Park ready for her first ever parkrun. It was a real family affair as my daughters Shannon and Erin were both keen to run along with us. It was bitterly cold with a biting wind but, as the horn sounded, we soon settled into a steady pace. Due to the ground still being rather wet, it was the winter route that we tackled. 5 laps is hard psychologically but, with a mixture of walk running at a pace to suit the girls, we made it to the final lap. Shannon asked for her barcode so that she could run off ahead and record a faster time than us. Erin stuck with her Auntie Jacqui and guided her to the finish of her first, but certainly not the last, parkrun. It was then over to the cafe for a well earned hot chocolate. The community that parkrun offers makes everyone feel welcome no matter what their ability. It is for this reason that I’m positive that a new parkrunning addict was born today!
Sunday runday, a long run with Ali. Ali is, once again, in training for the London Marathon in April. As part of this schedule, she’d planned a 15 miler. Because this year I have decided not to run a marathon, I’m not going to be doing runs that are over half marathon distance. I do intend to keep my long run to a minimum of 10 miles, though, just because it’s a good base for building up the miles in future, if necessary.
Ali planned to park at Rosley before running the 5 miles to mine. I’d then join her for the remaining 10 miles back to her car. A text off Ali just before 8:25am revealed that she’d be at mine for around 9:10am. At 9:05, I headed out the door in order to give my Garmin time to find a signal. It was so cold and the wind was cutting through me. I decided to start my Garmin off and jog up and down the road until she arrived. Still no sign of her and so I just kept running down the road until I spotted her coming out of a junction. The next 2 miles were into a headwind, an icily strong headwind that Ali had been battling with up to this point. It was a real relief when we turned out of it and for the majority of the remaining route the wind was behind us.
We had cold rain and some hail to contend with but, apart from some severe hills, it was an enjoyable run that was completed at a comfortable pace.