This week has felt like a long week; which on reflection I think is due to the fact the past seven days have featured a few varied emotions (often self inflicted!), in addition to managing my training around winter weather conditions. I have also attempted to maintain a bit of a life outside of running - believe it or not I do try and have one!
MONDAY: Body Pump class
TUESDAY: this morning began the start of a cold snap of weather, and as I headed out for my early miles I was quick to identify the slight ice patches on the pavements. I had 6 miles with 12 x 400m intervals and 200m recoveries planned; conditions were not ideal but with a bit of caution it was possible. My splits were therefor not quite as fast as I would have liked, and I had to try really hard not to be harsh on myself post run and ignore the voice in my head telling me I should have pushed myself more. Logging my runs and keeping this blog helps me keep things in perspective though, and I now know in the conditions I did do my best.
WEDNESDAY: as I left work Tuesday evening it was snowing and it was also harshly cold. I was anxious about what the weather would bring overnight, as my only chance to run today was in the early morning before work. It did cause me worry and a lot of time spent analysing weather apps - again on reflection I needed to just accept I could not control mother nature! It was -6 when I woke, so I layered up and braced myself for a true winter run. The pavements were very icy, and I tentatively began running, assessing virtually every piece of pavement I placed my feet on. I had 7 miles to run, which thankfully were only 'easy' paced, so I at least had no pace pressure. I would say the paths were probably my absolute limit on which I would be willing to run on, I managed my miles, but I had to keep my pace very easy, around 9 min/mile. To be honest, I was more relieved just to make it home in one piece! In the evening I had a taster session for the next block of Strength and Conditioning for Runners sessions I have signed up to, and with a focus on endurance, I am very excited to begin this alongside my marathon training.
THURSDAY: Rest Day - the ice remained today and after yesterday's run I knew there was no way I was attempting tempo miles on slippery pavements. My vague aim was to go out running after work when the ice should have melted. However, I finished work late, was hungry, tired, and deep down I just knew I was not going to log quality miles if I forced myself out. It took some convincing in my mind, but I told myself a rest day was best.
FRIDAY: I woke up ready to attack my tempo miles today. The weather was a somewhat tropical 3 degrees, and with no ice, I could run stress free. I ran a strong 6 miles, with the middle 4 miles aiming for 7.20-7.30 min/mile pace, and was so happy I had - eventually! - decided to switch things around.
SATURDAY: on Friday evening personal things had cropped up again; but rather than let this upset me to the point of tears, as it probably would have done last year, I woke today with a sense of determination and strength. I am not saying this is the sole reason why, after many months of trying to go sub 21 minutes again for a parkrun, that I finally did it today, but I think having that personal self confidence rather than feelings of self doubt certainly helped. Wearing my shiny new pair of Nike Pegasus running shoes, I lined up on the Lincoln parkrun start and as soon as the 'go' signal was given, found myself running alongside a fellow female runner. We had been running near each other for a number weeks now and chatting afterwards at the finish, and in recent weeks she had begun striding ahead of me and setting some great new PBs. I slotted beside her and instantly my aim was to simply stick with her; I never looked at my watch, just trusted her pacing. As the final mile hit we shared a few words, pushing each other to keep going, which we did. Crossing into the finish funnel I was incredibly happy to read 20:50 on my watch face, with my new run buddy setting another new PB a second ahead of me (see image). I thanked her enthusiastically and extended a hand for a shake, which somehow turned into a spontaneous and joyful shared hug as we shuffled to collect our finish tokens. I loved sharing that feeling with someone else, a magic parkrun moment to add to the collection.
SUNDAY: to add more to an already quite complex week, Saturday night had involved drinking gin and dancing until the early hours with my work colleague. It was not ideal long run prep, but my colleague is also a good friend of mine, and we had this occasion arranged for a while and to be honest probably both needed a bit of an unwind. As much as I love running, I did not want my long run to become an issue. So today's long run happened a little later than normal, by which point the already strong wind had become incredibly powerful - typical! I had an easy 16 miles on my plan, so headed out with no pressure on pace and just to log the distance. The first 8 miles were really comfortable; I felt fine and knew I was running much better than my 'easy' pace. The final 8 miles however were pretty much all into an often brutal headwind (see image); it literally stopped me in my tracks at times. I kept my legs steadily moving, actually laughing sometimes when gusts would almost throw me off balance. It was a challenging finish, but it was a test I felt my body was able to handle - even when probably not at 100%! For gin fuelled, wind battered miles, my average pace was 8.11 min/mile, which whilst a very good result, is probably not something I would want to repeat frequently!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...