Saturday 21st April 2012 – I miss my mojo.

The long run

Having completed a couple of strong runs already this week I was quite determined to get 15 or 16 miles under my belt today.

In my mind I had my pace all sorted out, my route was roughly mapped out. I was good to go.

It didn’t happen though.

I’m not sure why either, which makes it more frustrating. My stride was out, my pace was all over the show, this didn’t help my mental state.

‘Sod it, turn around and go home’ I thought several times during mile 3. As you know I hate to give in, I fought through the mental ‘white flag’ moments and kept going. I dug in as much as I could, but something wasn’t right.

No fun for me.

I simply wasn’t enjoying myself. I wasn’t motivated enough to run. Something that had been affecting me a fair bit lately. I couldn’t get my head straight for long enough to get into my stride.

I listen to motivational audiobooks on running on most of my runs, I listen to other runner’s stories and how they cope with mental blocks and their own ‘white flag’ moments, and I tried to incorporate their tips and techniques into my own run.

I could of listened to those motivational stories all day today and they wouldn’t of helped.

I desperately need to get me my running mojo back!

The run.

I managed to limp to just over 6 miles. Limp is probably too harsh a word. My ‘hit and miss’ run lasted just over 6 miles. That sounds a little better.

Here’s the run.

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Sunday 26th February 2012 – a 10K triumph.

Tiredness caught up with me

I haven’t been out for a run since Wednesday.

I couldn’t get out of bed Thursday morning, for some reason I have been so damn tired lately, and trying to motivate myself Thursday morning was hard work. The alarm went off at half 5 and I just thought ‘you know what..I can’t be f*cked!’

I know it’s the wrong attitude, and it’s not like me to be like that, but I have been seriously struggling lately.

Friday is rest day.

Saturday I normally get up and try to do 8-10 miles. But yesterday I was up early and picking up a rental van to go and shift furniture from my Mum’s house back to home. I had planned a run in the afternoon, but got caught up in tidying a load of crap out of our house and getting it ready to take to the dump today.

So today then!

Can I be arsed?

Well today I wanted to do a minimum of 5 miles. Getting out of bed was a mission, my back was aching from humping stuff around yesterday, the ‘can I be arsed?’ thought went through my head a couple of times.

I got up, got changed. went down stairs and stretched and went out.

10K run

Seeing as how during last week the temperature had risen, I went out with just a single layer, and no hat.

Typically we had a slight frost last night, so the initial chill to hit me was quite a shock, but I soon warmed up.

The first mile was mental, couldn’t get into my stride, shoe lace came undone twice and I was thinking ‘a quick couple of miles and I’m done’, by mile 2 I was enjoying it, I knew I had missed it, I’d had 3 days off, struggled with motivation and drive, and now I was back. Just as well really seeing as I have got a big plan for March!

Miles 3 and 4 were a breeze, I was heading back towards home after the 4th mile and aiming for a 6-7 mile run (10K run), keeping it manageable and sensible considering lack of running this week.

Happily I clocked a 6.86 mile run, if you want to see it, here it is.

Saturday 4th February 2012 – the whole 9 miles!

The weekend has landed

I lay in bed last night thinking about what route I would run today. I wanted to break the 10 mile barrier, desperately.

I recalled the 8.42 mile run from a couple of weeks ago. Remember last week? I didn’t run due to wine over indulgence, and if I am honest, I had to test a few of Wifey’s cakes too.

I had an idea of a few extra roads I could incorporate, hopefully it was a mile and a half plus! and it would take me beyond that 10 mile barrier.

No pain, no gain and all that!

Normally my longer run starts out as a bit of a mission, the first mile or so bore me if I am honest. The same route, the same streets, the same houses, occasionally the same dog walkers.

Mile 3-5 are a little more interesting. Mile 4-5 I hit a mental barrier, I struggle a bit, my running style goes a bit wonky, my breathing is all over the show. Mile 5-6 back in the zone and heading home.

This morning was cold, as it has been all week, at least minus 2 or 3, a bit of a brisk wind and dark. I did a lot more stretching than normal, the last thing I wanted was to cramp up or something more serious. This played on my mind a little.

Keep on running

I have learnt that once you get into a decent pace you can pretty much keep on running until your legs fall off. Not quite literally obviously. But if I didn’t finish at my house, or if there was no finish line, I think I could keep running.

Not like Forest Gump. But I think mentally I could run and run. Not sure what  my legs would say to that mind!

The run.

I incorporated the additional parts of the route, I felt good, my legs were stinging (my thoughts frequently moved on to lycra shorts), and finished my run in 1h 23m 10s. A whole minute slower than the run a couple of weeks ago. The difference was that run two weeks ago was only 8.42 miles, this morning was 9.28 miles.

My pace was quicker, the distance was longer. I had done it again. This was the furthest I had ever run. Part of me was very happy, the other half of me was gutted that I hadn’t broken the 10 mile barrier.

Gotta do it next time!

Post run notes

My legs are quite achy, more so than they have been after previous long runs. Not sure if it’s the pace or the weather, or maybe I didn’t warm down properly.

You can see the route here.

My first proper race!

The Saucony 10k – Chelmsford

How on earth did I get to enter my first race? Well, it was quite easy really. I had been running for a year or so, and had not long attempted and completed my first 10k run/jog. And I remember thinking “that was easy enough”. (Seriously, sometimes I am my own worst enemy).

I looked online for local races, and found that in 3 weeks time there was the Chelmsford Saucony 10k – all runners welcome. Brilliant. I printed off the registration form and sent it off with my cheque!

Remember I had only run 10k once, and I had 3 weeks until the race, less than 3 weeks now.

Training

I continued my regular training, hitting the roads 3 mornings per week with a 5k and I ran a 10k on the Saturdays with a quick 5k on the Sundays.

The thing was, the race was on a Sunday, so I didn’t train on the Saturday before as I was reserving energy. My last run before the race was on the Thursday, I was concerned I would injure myself and therefor not be able to compete, and I was determined to run.

All in all I had ran 10k a grand total of 3 times before entering a 10k race. In hindsight probably not enough.

Before the race.

I remember the morning of the race, I was fidgety, I kept looking at the time (the race started at 2pm), I was ready to go at 12pm. My wife said to me, “why don’t you just go, get there and relax a bit?” Wise words. So off I went.

My palms were clammy, was I actually ready for this? I knew I was. Only an hour of my life,  perhaps less, perhaps? Hopefully less, I didn’t want to finish last, what if I finished last? Would everyone laugh at me? Did I have the right kit on, had I remembered to put pants on? (It was a road race, and the roads were not shut off to traffic, what if I got hit by a car, always wear clean pants right?)….god I hadn’t even got in the car yet and I was bloody nervous.

I arrived at the venue and there were lots of people milling about, talking, laughing, stretching all looking relaxed. I was alone and bricking myself. I went to register, then walked to the changing rooms. Loads of others getting changed, I got my kit on, pinned my number on (number 74), at that point I felt really really nervous. I had a number, as did everyone around me. This was race day. 300-400 people in a race. Nervous. So very nervous.

Take your marks.

We all started walking to the start line (about a ten minute walk away). I joined a friendly couple and their daughter in nervous chat and laughter, it was her first race too (I had to beat her – bloody competitive edge in me).

Wifey and the boys arrived at the start line to see me off, this helped a lot, I calmed down and kissed them all goodbye, and took my place amongst the masses. Only an hour (or less) right? I needed the loo…

Now then, my best time for running 10k was 58 minutes 25 seconds – and that was my target for today, under an hour.

The gun went off, I heard “good luck daddy” from wifey and the boys and off I ran.

The course.

Hmm how best to describe the course? Country lanes, tight bends, cold, sunny, oh and hilly. Bloody hilly. And no music. This would be my first run without my music to listen to, no pace setting music, nothing to help me focus. That’s Health and Safety for you.

The race.

I started OK I think. I felt alright, tried to settle in a bit. Just after the first mile marker the chap I had been talking to before the race ran past and said “good start, 8 minutes for the first mile” and off he went.

Hang on. 8 minutes? I was going too fast. My average pace was about 9 minutes 30. I tried to slow a little, but each time I did, I saw someone else to overtake (I told you I was competitive). I was annoying myself.

All I could hear was breathing, panting and gasping (not just me). It was terribly distracting. Coming up to 2 miles I wanted stop and go home. Fact.

Just before 3 miles my calf muscles decided enough was enough and they didn’t want to play anymore, they seized up a bit. I stopped running and walked for 20 seconds, got overtaken by 3 people and began running again. The fact I had been overtaken spurred me on to keep going.

At 4 miles I checked my watch for the first time, it read 30 minutes 14 seconds. What the f…? I had been running at break neck speed (for me anyway). No wonder my calves had left me and gone home! That worked out roughly at 7 minutes 30 seconds per mile. I was way too quick for my own good.

I stopped running. I walked for a bit and did a quick calculation. I wanted to finish in under an hour. My calves were killing me. I had done 4 miles in half an hour, I had about 2 and a bit miles to go, and I had half hour to do it. I was going to achieve my goal.

I started running again, at a slower pace. The hills were agony, I was overtaken by quite a few people, but I was now enjoying it. My legs stopped aching, and I was really enjoying it. I noticed people along the road were cheering and waving at all the runners – had they been doing that the whole race?

The 6 mile marker was lovely, I nearly stopped to give it a great big hug, but kept on going. People who had finished already were walking past me heading home, I didn’t have far to go. I kept on.

Round a little bend up into the athletics stadium onto the running track and there was the finish line, and bugger me, there was Wifey and the boys clapping and cheering me on. God it was wonderful to see them, I was very emotional at that part, fortunately they never got to see me wipe away a little tear after I had crossed the line.

Crossed the line. Did you read that bit? I crossed the line. I finished the race and in a pretty good time too, I did it in 53 minutes and 43 seconds. I knocked 5 minutes off of my personal best.

I was elated. I was pumped. I wanted to run it again. I wanted to give wifey and the boys a big hug. What an amazing feeling, those of you who have done it will know what I am talking about.

You can see all the results here. I was position 230 out of 329.

Not bad for my first race.

I wonder what it feels like to complete a Marathon..?