Working, running, playing…

Princes St Gardens

Week one of June running coincided with the Diamond jubilee and an extra day’s holiday for some but not me. Not that I am employed in the workhouse or anything , but we can use our leave days as we choose and I was not really bothered about taking a long weekend at this time.

Monday I ran alone and because I was trying squeeze a run in after work and before tea, I ran faster than I would have done otherwise. Still seeking the perfect 3 mile door to door circuit without hill finale and failing so far – so instead keep extending the outward leg to avoid an uphill last section . This means my promise to be back in 30 mins is never fulfilled as I end up so far away it takes me  a 10 minute walk to get back up the hill to our house.

Sometimes think just accepting the hill finish would make life much easier – and as a bonus I would rid my hill bogey for ever !!

Day 4: 3.31 miles Total mileage 14.39

Tuesday is a regular running night , after work with Alison or sometimes Alison and Linda . Today as it was a public holiday Lil joined us and weather was quite good for running, we did our usual 3 miles out and back in the Dell. At my request we took it easy and was nice to catch up with Lil and Alison.

Day 5: 3.18 miles Total mileage 17.57

When I thought of running every day in June , I imagined myself springing out of bed with the dawn chorus, then sprightly running in the early hours along deserted streets , or even better in the hills close to where we live. Returning refreshed I would enjoy a healthy breakfast before heading off to work brimming full of endorphins and a smug glow.

Until today I had not tested the morning run, as for whatever reason it seemed to be easier to run after work. Today as I was going to see Oliver the musical with Daughter 2 in the evening I had to get my daily run done early.

Setting out in the morning, I can’t say I felt full of ‘joie de vivre’ , and without a companion to provide distracting chat the run felt very laboured . For some reason I had not even sorted out a way to listen to the radio or a podcast, and although I don’t always need to run with music on this occasion I would have welcomed any distraction as I  was conscious of every laboured breath and heavy step.

You do get runs like that of course, when your legs are heavy and your lungs are gasping and truly if you could just walk for a bit it would all be fine , but it does usually pass. This was day 6 and I had actually run for 7 consecutive days as had also run on May 31, so that might explain my general fatigue.

Regardless of running frequency something I have discovered is what I might call the ‘runners dark secret’ which is that for most regular runners the first 10 minutes of any run you feel like shit (this may not be the case for Ron Hill – see below). Rarely referred to in running training plans or motivational books , but take it from me , many runners dread the first 5/10 mins.

When this happens I  have to remind myself that feeling this bad will pass. I could of course slow down, but for me that is counter intuitive as it will only prolong the bad feeling so to get through this horrible first few minutes  I simply run faster to get it over with. Smart huh ? 🙂

BTW – pacing is not my strong point!

So upshot of day 6 was I found it quite hard – so much so with every step I was willing my Nike plus to whirr round to 3 miles so I could stop, and any romantic vignettes I may have had of early morning summer runs disappeared pretty quickly.

Canal message

Day 6: 3 miles Total mileage 20.57

Oliver the musical was pretty good as was the lovely meal we had before at Cafe Marylayne, but Thursday evening was the hockey social – so as I would  be out again in the evening  – I had to get my run completed during the day or have a frantic turnaround when I got home. I decided to run during my lunch break as I had discovered a nice flat out and back route in Dunfermline during my December running. On the upside it is flat, but it is a very straight route with not much by way of visual interest and I had forgotten to take my headphones , so again had no distractions; this plus trying to slot a run in within working hours meant I ran a faster pace than I intended – a bonus I suppose but not really the plan.

sardine tin

Day 7:3.10 miles Total mileage 23.67

Deciding to try and run every day in theory is no big deal – its only 30 mins, 3 miles etc and how hard can that be? But  trying to  find time to  fit this in around all the other stuff that goes on in my life is not always as easy as it looks. In my job I do have business trips which can take whole days of travel , and although I tend to think I live a pretty quiet life, there can be flurries of social activity that do get in the way of a running schedule.

After 6 days I have  been feeling more tired than I thought I should  be – not really sure why although before June 1st I had completed 2 fairly busy weeks of business travel and weekend socialising , and alas at age 50 burning the candle at both ends does not really work.

I usually run 3 times a week , averaging  between 11 and 13 miles total , so by running 7 days I am pretty much doubling my weekly mileage. Virtually any training plan would tell you NOT to do this , but to increase your mileage by 10% each week – so maybe feeling completely knackered after 7 days of running does not mean I am a lightweight.

Many people run every day – Ron Hill as an example has been running every day since Dec 20 1964, over 47 years of continuous running and at age 73 he still goes out running every day. But  he was also the second man to beat the 2.10 record for a marathon , so I think it is far to say I am NOT Ron Hill and clearly not in his league.

This preamble is to explain how much I was not looking forward to my run on Friday – Day 8 of my challenge. In my short running history it is quite unlike me to be so unenthusiastic about running, but on Friday I can honestly say I was dreading having to complete the required 3 miles. On Fridays I take the bus and train to work, and usually walk along the canal, but I really could not summon up the effort to run, so as a back up I walked briskly for the 1.5 miles it takes to the station, just in case I really could not face running later that day.

The  weather on Friday was pretty mixed, but mostly damp with occasional showers. I was on my way home on the bus and realising that I just needed to get changed into running kit immediately otherwise I might never get this done. On the upside, I could run as slowly as I liked so with that in mind I trotted off.

I ran from my house downhill to the Dell path, and towards the tunnel- I know that is 1 mile and I had planned to turn at that point and then loop back along the Dell.

By the time I was out the damp weather had turned to proper showers , which was quite pleasant and made for a good temperature. I was listening to a Radio 4 podcast of Front Row – featuring an interview with the author P D James.

Although I was running alone, the rainy Dell was not absent of people – running beyond the tunnel I was  behind 3 horsemen ( not of the Apocalypse fortunately ) I  gingerly passed them and kept on running, next passing a couple of dog walkers and then as I got to my planned turning point I a came across a Scout troop out on some nature ramble I guess. So I jogged on past them, then a rabbit scurried across my path and a squirrel scampered up a tree – it was  a ‘full on’ Disney ‘Bambi after the rain’ experience save for no Bambi.

All these lovely distractions , plus the rain and the mellifluous Radio 4 tones had me eating up the miles and soon I was at 1.7, so I turned round and barely noticed that I was now running on a gradual uphill with the rain getting heavier.

With the tunnel in sight I knew I would soon have completed my 3 miles and without any need to schelp up the big hill.  And by way of a bonus running at 7pm on a Friday after work and before wine does give you a disproportionate sense of well being.

green leaves

Day 8: 3.02 miles Total mileage 26.69

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