Absence makes the heart grow fonder – how to rekindle my running love ?

bit of a story follows so maybe get a cup of tea first ūüôā¬†

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It is 9 years since I started running Рby that I mean it was in 2009 that I started running regularly and called it my hobby Рin May of that year I ran my first race. In the ensuing 9 years my relationship with running has been a good one Рand through running, I have found great friendships both in real life and online. Over the years,  me and my running pastime have had our ups and downs but largely my love of everything to do with running has been an enduring one.

Throughout this time – running for me has been first and foremost a social activity with an exercise bonus. I do enter races – but usually with a level of ambivalence and a love/hate relationship with the training regime. I enjoy having a goal to focus on or a challenge to complete and have done a few run streaks.

Following a few years of running 10ks and half marathons – last year I trained for and completed a marathon and found the experience of training for the distance and the race itself quite a watershed in how I felt about running.

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Devon sunset

During the months leading up to the race, I realised that running could no longer be mainly a social thing – 26.2 miles is a long way for anyone to run and for someone of average fitness and the wrong side of 50, I knew I had to take it seriously and respect the distance.

I had to selfishly focus on my training schedule and sideline the running I enjoyed the most – so I put my social runs on the back burner or when I could I weaved them into my training schedule.

While this was a bit of a blow,  as the weeks passed I did start to appreciate the feeling of gaining in strength and confidence as I followed a progressive training plan and listened to my coach. Over time I saw that I could run distances of 15, 17, 19, 20 miles and feel OK the next day. I started to see it as fairly normal to train 4 or 5 days a week Рand to rattle off a 9 mile session with some speed work ( YUK ) or a hill rep sesh.  I loved how when I went to a Body pump class or Pilates I felt a strength and confidence in my body I had not experienced before.

While adhering to my training schedule was mostly motivated by fear of failure – as the weeks passed it felt good to feel strong. This was a first for me – up till then –¬† I would describe myself as a reluctant sportsperson, and one lacking in any competitive edge. In May of last year –¬† marathon day – I am pleased to report I had a largely storybook ending – completing the 26.2 mile distance in a decent time of 4 hrs 40 minutes and joining the club of marathon runners.

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in my finishers tee shirt

After the months of marathon training – it was lovely to return to running without a purpose and to be back running with friends and without goals.

Freedom to run or freedom to not run – how joyous !

Post marathon – I got back into my regular weekend run routine – but had no desire to enter any races, despite the voices saying – run a half marathon after a marathon and you will get a PB – but the thought of having to push myself to run at pace just held no appeal.

And so it continued – the longer I was from the marathon the less inclined I was to set any goals, and my mileage dropped.

I think there are runners who on completing one challenge immediately look for the next one – whether that be to improve on a time or increase the distance – but not me. Others find the time post marathon to be a tough one, feeling a bit directionless and struggle with motivation and this has been my experience. Not only have I have lost the motivation sometimes to go out for a run but I have no inclination to put myself through any racing challenge or test.

Trying to shake this off, earlier this year I entered the Edinburgh half marathon thinking it would give me the incentive needed to reignite running love – only to bail out the week before.

So a bit late in the day, I am declaring 2018 the year of not racing – and perhaps acknowledging that I am going through something of a 9-year itch with my running relationship.

I do run – just not very far and not nearly as often.

Then about a month ago when on holiday I was out for a  hot, slow run on a stony path and twisted my ankle, spraining it badly enough to mean that running was off the menu for a full 2 weeks.

Well of course when I was not able to run due to injury –¬† I felt bereft and missed my dear old friend. I¬† wondered what I would do if I could no longer run, and of course, there seemed to be runners everywhere and I had a massive dose of runner’s envy and FOMO all rolled into one.

It seems that absence makes the heart grow fonder – even where running is concerned.

Have you experienced a loss of running motivation – and any tips for getting through it ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ice,Ice,baby – December 18 Jings!

December rattles on a pace as it always does Рis it just me or is December the month that goes faster than any other?

Thanks to my new ‘make it up as I go along’ rules for December running¬†– I have, with a wing and prayer, managed to tick off a run every day so far. With my secret weapon of kidology up my sleeve- where I tell myself I will just do 1 mile –¬† that gets me out the door and then once out I usually manage to run a bit further.

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After a few years of shoehorning  3 mile runs around dark mornings, party outings, business meetings not to mention two December birthdays, this year I thought rather than give up the challenge completely Рit was OK to switch it up a bit and maybe cut myself a bit of slack.

Working in London weekdays – fitting in a 40 minute slot to do 3-miles running and a wash before work is a bit of an effort¬† –¬† and when it takes a¬†further hour to get to the office – the thought of getting up earlier than 6 am to squeeze in a dark run in the suburbs of Ealing is a big ask.

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My run dedication is obviously a bit lacking.

That said, running in the dark of December is not the worst, especially as now there are lots of outside lights to cheer you up. Hugely unscientific, but my research indicates that in the past 6 years of running in December Рthere has been a gradual and wonderful shift in the general vibe of illumination and decoration Рcollectively we have embraced the joy of the outdoor flicker and exterior decoration.

So here I am- at December 18 Рcomfortably beyond the halfway point and so far the biggest challenge has been in these past few days when temperatures dropped and pavements turned to ice rinks.

Ice is my big run fear.

Recent runs have been of the stop-start variety Рtentatively slithering along the way Рpeering at pavements for icy patches and tensing up all the time. All said not very enjoyable- save for the uplifting feel of crisp, cold air and strange as it may seem to others Рthe calming, soothing effect that a cold winter run brings.

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Luckily today the temperature was a balmy 6 degrees, the ice had vanished and I did a lovely twilight run for day 18.

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Total mileage 60.08

Days of running 18

Days to go 13 ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

Days 4 to 7 – the London runs and the solidarity of runners

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I am working in London at the moment mid week, travelling from Edinburgh and this means an early start to get me there on a Monday or Tuesday and a late finish on Thursday.

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Knowing I would be in London throughout December is one reason I was a bit tentative about committing to the marcothon Рwhere the challenge rules say 25 minutes or 3 miles running each day of December.  I am following the spirit of marcothon , but unlike in other years I am not running 3 miles every single day.

I am enjoying my time working in London¬†but the weekly commute from Edinburgh then the daily commute from where I stay to the office makes for a long day,¬† so to allow me to tick off year 6 of December running I have adapted the challenge to be –¬† run 100 miles in the month and this to include a¬†minimum of 1 mile run each day.

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All these daily exercise challenges are somewhat arbitrary Рbut the underlying theme is about making a commitment to movement Рand perhaps recognising how easy it is to kick exercise off the daily menu when you have competing demands on your time.

 

While my family find my December running habit a bit irritating – I try to reassure them by suggesting how unbearable I might be to live with if I did not exercise – and without the nudge of this challenge, it would be very easy for me to take a day off.

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Anyhow Рthis makes me sound a bit of a swotty herbert on the running front and truth is Рlast week, in particular, I was more of the class dunce and would very happily have taken a day off when the run ahead was a cold, early morning venture into the dark suburban streets of Ealing.

These midwinter morning or evening runs are the ones that are tough to start but joyous to accomplish.

 

 

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On Tuesday by¬†way¬†of variety, I ran after work before catching the tube home. This run was a loop along the river from Waterloo Bridge to Vauxhall Bridge with lots of¬† London landmarks to pass by and nighttime¬†lights to enjoy – topped off by Tate Britain’s neon 70s style Christmas decorations.

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I had seen this from the other side of the river like a beacon of tackiness, and close up it was quite magical.

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A fellow¬†runner stopped to take pictures and we chatted for a bit. One thing I have found pretty much wherever I run is the friendliness of fellow runners. Sometimes this manifests itself as an imperceptible¬†nod in passing – but occasionally you stop and chat and in a few minutes can swiftly exchange run goals /history and race experiences before heading off with a ‘enjoy your run ‘ salutation.

 

Small confessions of mild obsessions.

Mary Somerville £ 10 note Mary Somerville

Towards the tail end of October, I got caught up in one of my recurring running obsessions Рchasing a target mileage for the month . Although October is blessed with 31 days in which to run, come the last week I was ruing my slacker behaviour of the preceding October weeks when I realised how far behind I was in miles covered to date.
But with five days of October remaining, all was not lost. I had covered a fairly respectable 60 + miles so was confident that I would at least manage to reach a total of more miles than previous months 64 and 70 miles respectively.

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Although¬†not currently training for anything – I am trying to keep up a decent amount of mileage each month because I don’t seem to be managing to fit in any other exercise at the moment. Is very easy to talk myself out¬†of doing any exercise (even when I know how much better¬†I feel when I do), without some sort of way of being accountable.

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And having set off at the beginning of the year with big monthly numbers, I am motivated to keep running and recording miles as I am on track to reach an annual total of 1000 miles by the end of November ( barring injury ) Рa whole month earlier than I did in 2017.

So that is a target of sorts.

I know there are lots of naysayers around tracking exercise, league tables, wearable devices and the like – but my view is that on balance, it is mostly a force for good creating as it does for me anyway, a positive reason to keep going when it may seem pointless otherwise.

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Runners often have stated and secret goals usually where races are concerned¬† – (aka the¬†backup plan when the shit hits the fan) and so it is for me and my ambitions around¬†exercise –¬† I have a stated start of the month goal and as the month progresses and life intervenes I revert to my¬† back up or secret plan of what will ‘do’ for the month.

Throughout the year my graph of exercise ambition would be a jaggy profile characterised each month by an early peak of optimism usually around the first day and then as the month progresses a few more high spots coinciding mostly with weekend days when post-run, I am filled with euphoria and misplaced waves of invincibility.

The contrasting troughs of run reality and dips in the graph would be plotted next to those weekday work mornings when I opt out of a pre-work run in darkness, trading it for more time under the covers and telling myself that I will just run longer at the weekend.

( if I was not so shit at creating graphs – I would ‘insert diagram here’ – but instead here is a nice pic )

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Back to October mileage. For as long as I have¬†been kind of seriously running, and it being¬† my hobby of choice –¬† I have recorded¬†my runs on the Nike+ app. Like other running communities, you can opt to have friends who you share the details of your running¬†achievements with. With Nike+ there is a leaderboard including the stats of your chosen friends – and this provides a degree of competitive edge and encouragement,¬†as I monitor my run chums and their¬†mileage totals.

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While it is not really a contest I do check to see where I am in the standing of my own small league and yes I confess I have sometimes gone out running just to get ahead of a Nike+ ‘friend’ and wallow in the warm glow of satisfaction when I am top of the leaderboard.

So come the last week of October РI set myself the first goal of reaching 90 miles -more than the past 2 months and higher than any month since April. Then on Monday 30th I was at 87 and a bit  miles so if I ran 5 or 6 miles my 90 mile target would be comfortably achieved, and anything more a bonus.

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Monday morning and with a flash of inspiration I realised I could combine the objective of reaching 90 + miles in October with the workaday task of taking clothes back to Zara. So in one swift move combine two of my running loves – ‘running with a purpose’ and ‘running a set number of miles in a month’ – how lovely is that?

As I was running I was thinking about how to achieve one of the following mileage number – 90, 93, 95, 99.

So the run story goes like this – I did the run into town and got myself to Zara and exchanged the clothes – at that point by my calculations I was on track to do 95 miles.

After a meander round Zara – I set off to run far enough for 95 miles then after a run up to Calton Hill and down again and not quite knowing where I was mileage wise –¬† my phone battery died. I just guessed that I was most likely at around 95 miles and that was fine by me.

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Once I was on the bus home and had fired up my phone with back up battery¬† – I discovered my Oct mileage total was at 98.4 – so from a happy with 95 miles I saw that a tantalising 1.6 miles would take me to the magic 100 for the month and while I ‘could’ have done this extra bit the day after- I reckoned getting this done and dusted on this day was the better answer.

I got off the bus 3 stops early and ran the remaining distance home – wishing as I often do that I did not live on top of a hill.

Anyhow – my end of Oct total was 100.1 miles. the running was not always pretty but I did it with a day to spare. And thanks as always to my running challengers for spurring me on ūüôā

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Banish the blues – I love running !

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This past week I have been trying to get back into running more regularly and to rediscover the joy and peace that, until recently, I found that running brings.

2017  has been a year of change for me. On the professional front, I left a job after eight years with the same company. Moving on from the comfort and security of working  where I understood how the business worked,  and with the friendship of good colleagues, to trying to work out what next, navigating job hunting, rebuilding a network and the like has been something of an emotional rollercoaster and a game of snakes & ladders all rolled into one big fat metaphor !

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In family life, our youngest daughter graduated, and with that came the acknowledgment that our job as parents was entering a different chapter. The education years are well and truly over, our girls are all grown up and the fledglings have properly flown the nest.

But beyond work and family – there was running. Running is my thing and as someone who has scampered between a myriad of hobbies and interests over the years, running has been the constant¬†– a touchstone- and my ‘go to’ when the rest of life was a bit chaotic.

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Then post marathon – even the constancy of running seemed to change.

After the elation of finishing a marathon РI  found it harder than I expected to see the point of running and it stopped being something I looked forward to doing.

People talk about the post marathon blues, but during training, I was sure this would not apply to me. Towards the end of marathon training, what kept me going was looking forward to a time when I could say cheerio to prescribed training sessions and hello to running whenever I wanted to. Choosing to run for however long a distance and with friends who were happy to stop and run slow, take pictures – just about everything I was not able to do during training.

But it turned out I did succumb to post marathon blues, just like lots of others before me and kept finding excuses to not bother going out. Briefly, I considered signing up for another race to reignite running love and give me a new goal – but I just could not face it. Having spoken before about my ambivalence over races, competitions and the stress of pushing for PBs, chasing a new target is not the answer for me right now.

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In short РI was not managing to get back into a running groove. The routes I have run for years and even with repetition Рmanaged to enjoy and see something new each time Рhad lost their appeal. When I was running, every yard seemed harder, I was puggled and weary after the first 10 minutes, I cut short planned distances, walked up hills I would have run before and felt every niggle like a heavy weight.

But as I believe in the power of running as a cure all РI persevered, and this week I think I turned a corner. On Tuesday summer arrived in Edinburgh and I did a toasty 5 miles along the canal Рallowing myself the luxury of lots of stops, and even took the bus home. Then on Thursday, an otherwise pedestrian run was enlivened by both a wardrobe malfunction and finding some field mushrooms in passing.

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Friday and Saturday I ran with Alison and rediscovered¬†my favourite¬†kind of running – the stream of consciousness run chat ūüôā

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Then today by way of a grand finale – I joined a visiting friend for a run in a completely different part of town, to run 10 glorious rain drenched miles, and with it, the post marathon blues washed away into the cloudy skies.

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Summer running – having some fun

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I have not been running much this month- truth is since the marathon I have not yet got back into a proper running groove.

It is only 3 weeks since the race, so early days  Рbut knowing of other marathoners who have struggled to find the motivation to run again after training for a big event- I hoped this would not be the case for me.

I thought it unlikely, as one thing that kept me going through the latter stages of marathon training ( aside from the fear of running the marathon ), was the thought of getting back to just running for fun. Running with friends, running punctuated with stops to take pictures, running without the dread of speedwork and just running without it feeling like I was doing my homework!

But it is funny that when the pressure is off and there is no ‘reason’ to run, no plan to tick¬†off, no specific session to complete, how it can be very easy to find lots of reasons to just not bother.

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Late afternoon today, after another day of not running Рwith the sun shining and the bees busy in the garden Р I  heard the running sirens calling.

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Turns out, when running motivation is in short supply the best cure is a run.

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Toasty 10k trail race

IMG_8377With 6 weeks to go until¬†the Stirling marathon, training is continuing and the verdict is so far, mostly so good. But I am discovering that marathon training can be a bit relentless and turn running into a very serious business. Don’t¬†get me wrong – I totally respect the distance, and know I need to put in the miles if I am to have a decent chance of getting round in one piece, but it is still hard some days to find my marathon training mojo.

So with all those miles ( 409 so far) and many weeks of training in wet, cold, windy winter weather behind me – it was nice* to see some sunshine forecast for last weekend when the plan included a 10k trail race.

*Or so I thought!

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I was running in the Winton House 10k – a trail run, also¬†previously known as the Pencaitland fun run and it is a while since I did a 10k race. ¬†From memory, the last 10k I entered was also a ‘fun run’ at Direlton¬†– and it ¬†turned out to be a sunny, hot and hard 6 miles. ¬†Fun runs can be deceptive and sunshine¬†on race day must be an East Lothian thing ūüôā

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As this 10k was part of my training, Sally had given me the race tactics to follow, which were the usual run fast, then run faster ūüėČ ¬†Timing was a 2 pm start – ¬†and with the sun shining it was lovely for spectators but maybe less so for runners.

I do know I go on about the weather – but this is mostly because – I am British and I am always out running in it!

When it comes to the weather I fear most when running Рhot is probably top of the list. As a Scottish native, fair of skin and acclimatised to year-round cool temperatures РI am really not built to move quickly when the sun is splitting the sky and the thermometer reaches into double figures.

But 10k – is only 6+ miles, and a trail must mean we would run through woodland and woods mean shade – yes ?

Alas no.

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Pre race hubub
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Bales, bunting and a bake sale

Yes we did run through woods, but the leaves on the trees were sparse, the sun was high in the sky, and it felt pretty hot and uncomfortable for all 10 of the 10ks ( not to mention a sting in the tail hill finish).

I can’t remember what time I did on my last 10k race, but despite the heat and the trail route, I managed to finish this one in under 1 hour( 57 mins 53 secs ), even though it was not pretty and I did not manage to follow the recommended race tactics.

And now I have new nightmares to add to my marathon worries about how I might survive 26.2 miles if it is as hot as this come marathon day – but I will just have to keep doing a rain dance and if that does not work – deal with the weather closer to race day.

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Get me to the biscuit medal

 

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As to the  Winton House trail race  Рas an event to go to and have fun as a family, it was spot on Рvery well organised with a friendly atmosphere and in beautiful surroundings Рnot to mention the most luxurious toilets I have ever encountered in a race!

My husband and daughter enjoyed soaking up the sunshine, eating ice cream, taking pictures and saying hello to the lambs, while I was racing.

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I bumped into a few familiar faces and met ‘IRL’ for the first time ¬†– ¬†fellow blogger and Stirling marathoner Owain Williams (@Scottish Runner)and his wife Mandy. Check out their blog¬†running beside.me

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Proudly showing off our tasty  biscuit medals !

 

 

Taking part in this marathon is for me, mostly a personal challenge, but I do also hope to raise funds for two charities that support women and girls in different ways. One of these is Smalls for All ¬†– a Scottish based charity that collects and distributes underwear for women and children in Africa¬†and is also hoping to fund an education programme¬†to help girls.You can find out more about the charity’s work at their website¬†Smalls for All

If you would like to make a donation to support this charity, you can do so via my page at  MyDonate

I am also raising funds for Scottish Women’s aid – I had to set up two fundraising pages because of how the charities are set up differently to take donations so here is the link to the¬†Justgiving page¬†if you would prefer to make a donation to that charity.

Any donations will be very much appreciated and will definitely help put a spring in my step come May 21st .

Thank you

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snow, socks and a stitch

img_7656Into week 7 РI  think of marathon training and by now I was expecting it to just be running, running and more running, which of course it is, but the running is punctuated by new discoveries and all sorts of learning that I have to hope will all help me come the big day.

Weather so far this year has been a winter of the unrelenting grey and bleak variety – cold as a given- but with hardly any uplifting crisp, frosty, days to offset the drab – just a shed load of Pantone 442.

And as I am following a training plan of set days – sometimes my run days just don’t¬†coincide with the odd sunny spot.

No matter Рthis training in all weathers is all helping me to develop MENTAL TOUGHNESS.

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This phrase is a recurring one in marathon training, and I imagine any race training Рand I think I get the message. It seems I will need bucketloads of this mental strength come race day. I just can not begin to imagine (and have no intention of finding out) how much mental toughness you might need to develop to do some ultra distance or these races that have you running through the desert or in the depths of Death Valley or across Scottish mountain tops. Respect to all of you guys out there doing that kind of thing, but its a no from me.

To come back to this week and my weather obsession – Thursday was my hill repeat day and snow was forecast. These days storms all have names – and Doris the storm was going to bring winds, rain and for some parts of Scotland a shedload of snow.

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Hearing that forecast – I had the same kind of feeling I used to get during¬†summer when rain was forecast. By way of explanation – ¬†I grew up on a fruit farm and in the summer months worked there during the raspberry harvest. Of course, as a family we did not want it to rain during the raspberry season, but sometimes I did just long for one rainy day to get me out of a day’s work.

And so this week I had much the same feeling when watching the weather forecast on repeat  Рmaybe it would be just too windy/ snowy/ dangerous to train Рyippee! A day off for me

But then unlike getting a day skiving off work, skipping a training session is not really helpful in the long run РI know I have to put in these long cold hours to get me round 26.2 miles come May.

As it turned out storm Doris did bring some very windy weather but in the part of Edinburgh where I live it also brought a welcome snowfall Рby that I mean just enough snow to be pretty but not enough to interrupt things too much.

Was a nice change to run in cold crisp air and amongst a snowy hilly landscape.

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After the previous weeks training when it felt as if it was all coming together, this week I thought it was unravelling. On Tuesday I cut short a planned pace session as I just could not get my legs to move fast enough and could not get warm. I had done a different body pump class the day before and my legs were heavy, but truthfully it was more my head that did not want to play ball.

Mental toughness was in short supply on Tuesday.

My snow hill session was invigorating, but not sure it could really be classed as a genuine example of hill repeats, as I spent quite a bit of recovery time taking pictures. then on the way back from the hills I took a tumble and landed heavily on my knees Рno damage done save for some grazing and technicolor bruising.  Falling and getting up to keep running is a good way to develop mental toughness though !

Then on Saturday, I was to do 10 miles steady on a hilly route but in the afternoon. I am not so good at eating for exercise when the session is later in the day, and as a creature of weekend running habit – it feels a bit weird to be sitting around reading Saturday papers at a time when I usually have my running done and dusted for the day.

But I had a route planned and was also going to try out running in my new compression socks – so I downloaded the podcast of Cerys Matthews R6 show and following what I thought a decent interval after a brunch of poached eggs, bacon and toast – I headed off.

Not far into running, I got a bit of a stitch. This was something new and so I just slowed down but the stitch did not seem to want to budge. I was trying to put it to one side and at the same time try and remember self-cure for stitches. Neither of these mental actions made much difference so  I just kept going Рand made it to the Meadows where there are public toilets.

Even after a comfort break, my tummy was not feeling great but I had completed almost 6 miles, so more than half way. I had opted for a route into town partly to get some hills, but also to have some distraction as I  was running alone. The route I often do is an out and back along a trail path Рand while a favourite run route Рyou are much more on your own.

Is good to have distractions sometimes but the downside of running into the city is knowing that at any given point I could hop on a bus and get myself home – and when I was feeling less than 100% it was tempting.

But of course come marathon day this will not be an option Рso I just did a tried and trusted method of breaking down the miles left into songs Рusually 3+  to a mile. Fortunately, Cerys Matthews Sunday show is just perfect for this as she has a very eclectic music selection and good chat between songs.

So I made it to 10 miles – including 3 uphill return miles that at least took my mind off the stitch, and was pleased to have completed the session even if it was not the most enjoyable.

Later when discussing my stitch and tummy trouble with Sally – she told me I had eaten completely the wrong things before my run ( largely because I ignored what she had told me to eat )! – so that’s a lesson learned. But a run chum was a bit more forgiving saying that finishing a run when you don’t want to and are feeling out of sorts is a great way to develop the necessary MENTAL TOUGHNESS -an essential component of marathon success.

It’s that old chestnut again.

As to the socks – I have no idea if they are making any difference, but at least I know they did not cause the stitch !

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Mid life marathon training tales – with bonus horoscope feature !

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It turns out that those of us with star sign Capricorn are sure-footed late developers. I am definitely given to a bit of pondering and weighing up of options on significant decisions before jumping right in – but whether this is written in the stars or just how I am depends on how much store you may put on astrology and other unscientific interpretations of life.

Astrology aside, in a rare impulsive moment ( following a year-long debate with myself), I signed up for a marathon. I don’t want to fully admit to going through a bit of a mid-life wobble – but how else to explain why I voluntarily forked out ¬£ 55 to let me run for many hours covering a distance of 26.2 miles on my own 2 feet ?

I have no idea !!!

Having running as my hobby of choice for 8 years, I have often thought that a marathon was maybe something I should really do at some point – a natural progression as it were. But when discussing the marathon experience with fellow runners – I can’t say it got a ringing endorsement !

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And unfortunately as a moderately experienced runner and reluctant competitor – when it comes to thinking what taking part in a marathon might entail – I do not have the benefit of blissful ignorance. Not for me that unfettered happiness, or joyful optimism of just setting out to ‘do a marathon’ with no insight as to how shit I might feel before the end.

I have run a few half ¬†marathons – and I know and remember how tough it can be to keep running for a long time in a race and just how much you have to dig deep to find mind tricks to help you cover the distance. Maybe if you are a proper runner who runs a 10 miler daily as a small ‘amuse bouche’ of your running diet , or you are a dedicated competitor who loves winning above pain – then this overrides any negative self talk.

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But as I am neither of these, each time I have completed a half marathon – at around mile 10 or 11- I think ‘I am not doing this EVER again’ followed quickly by the recognition that of course to get to the end ¬†I just need to keep going for about 25 or more minutes or the equivalent of just one ‘December run’ or I try to break it down to how many songs in 3 miles ¬†– 7, 8 ?

Then of course as I cross the finish line, I experience  a level of euphoria that is hard to convey Рbut never at that point have I had a desire to just loop back and do it all again.

But as the most excellent Erica Jong said – Feel the Fear and do it anyway, and so I am ūüôā

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Notes

I am signed up for the inaugural Stirling marathon on May 21st – if I finish it I am guaranteed a PB and if I get the marathon bug ( unlikely ) I could be one of those folk who do it every year until I crumble into a crinkly heap.

To help me make this big leap РI am working with Sally at fitnaturally who is providing a training plan and to be honest she has helped me have the confidence to even contemplate this big challenge.  I will  be writing about my ventures into this new territory.

 

 

 

The new truth of 2016 – running everyday is boring

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Today is Friday December 30 and my penultimate run for December has taken place, without procrastination or delay – and a very enjoyable, companionable and satisfying run it was too. But while December running has been consistent, writing has been less so.

Perhaps by way of improving my writing output, I should try and be a bit more confessional and cast off some of my Scottish reserve. I could write more about the many thoughts I often have while running, but sadly this year in addition to suffering a bit from writers block, I seem to be hit by a loss of run mojo – or a dose of runner’s block, and when out on my daily December run, creativity has been in short supply and far from my runs leading to a well of ideas, it has felt more of a chore than a joy.

This year’s December¬†marcothon has definitely been the hardest to find motivation for.

Whilst undoubtably giving a warm glow of accomplishment – taking part in a running streak challenge can get boring at times – as you have to find your running high from the satisfaction of ticking off a list, rather than the run itself. ¬†And instead of you choosing whether to go for a run, the choice to run or not to run comes from a higher power ūüėČ

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Thoughts around mixing up run route length or what type of run become driven much more by practical considerations of fitting in the mandatory distance than of trying something different. And if like me – you are running every day and a slacker when it comes to stretching , or not doing much else by way of contrasting exercise, there is always a nagging worry about picking up an injury.

BAH HUMBUG

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Of course not ALL my December run streak runs have been boring and I have enjoyed many of the runs I have done this year – so in no particular order :

My regular weekend and holiday runs with Alison and Lil – ¬†trying out new routes to integrate a run into Edinburgh when meeting friends for coffee or lunch, the Pitreavie AAC jingle bell race, some sparkly runs through indifferent weather looking at Christmas lights, a birl round Arthur’s Seat to coincide with reaching my 999 miles for the year milestone, a run with my daughter and of course every single run surrounded by the beauty of the winter skies and feathery silhouetted trees.

And while I pretty much never regret the time spent running – I have decided that this is the year will be the one where I hang up my running streak boots – maybe not for ever – but I do not plan to take part in any run streak challenge in 2017.

I have got a big new running goal for 2017 – so will be focusing all my energies on getting through my first full marathon, and training properly for that.

As a veteran participant¬†of 9 different monthly running streaks over a 6 year period (6 x marcothon, 2 x everydayinmay and 1 self-imposed¬†everyday in June), I think it’s OK to say it’s time for me to try something new.

And I accept I will never match Ron Hill ¬†– but that’s OK by me.

Day 30 3.76 miles  December total  126.7

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