The month of March can now be ticked off the 2021 countdown (although what I am counting down to, I am not entirely sure…!) Looking back, it seems hard to distinguish the past 31 days for many notable reasons, with life seeming to adopt that continuous cycle of working from home, running, walking, and finding things to paint in my house… as has been the case for much of the last year!
March did in fact see us past the year milestone of entering the first lockdown in March 2020, and I will admit, it felt a strange day, with the realisation of how much life has changed. The lockdowns have given positives to my life, a space to reflect on past ways of living and an appreciation for the small things that truly matter; so, it’s not all been horrendous! However, there is still a lot of time spent with people and memories which have not been possible during the last year, and I personally can now feel the change a year of almost isolation has on my sense of wellbeing and how I am now almost naturally choosing to spend my time.
The 29th March did however bring the most significant change to my living in recent months, with the Government roadmap allowing the return of organised outdoor sport, as well as being able to meet outdoors socially following the ‘rule of six.’ I very much welcomed this change, and I felt ready to get out of my four walls and my own company a little more. The rule of six opens up a few more options for some of my work to resume, so the relief in knowing I won’t be chained to my kitchen chair all day whilst starting at a Teams video screen feels positive. Outdoor organised sport also allows my Run Club to return, and the first session back was just an amazing feeling, to be amongst everyone again I just felt so happy (as my beaming smile in the photo taken probably shows!)
March 2021 did offer some running achievements in the form of virtual events. I took on the Lincs Inter Club 10k Virtual Race which gave me a chance to test the speed in my legs for the first time in a while over a sustained distance. It hurt, I won’t lie! I started strong but around mile 4 I was questioning if I could actually keep going. I think some of that is the mental side of remembering the discomfort you feel is ok and telling your brain you can indeed keep going. Which I did, and by mile 5 I felt strong again, speeding to the finish. My time was 43:33 which I was pleased with as a marker, and especially with the majority of my running in the lead up being a mix of steady runs, sociable miles with friends, and longer, slower runs.
My second test was the virtual Ashby 20. I had not been training hard for this, but I had been making sure to include some longer runs in my running weeks to ensure I didn’t just try and bust out a 20 mile run from nowhere! I really enjoyed this run, which I planned to navigate around Lincoln. I fell into a very natural running rhythm which, whilst I was working a little harder than my easy pace to stick to, at the same time it felt comfortable. I had to divert past my house at 15 miles for a drink and some fuel (why I thought I could run 20 miles without either I am not sure!) but after that pitstop I felt renewed and ran the final 5 miles very strongly. I finished in 2:47:10 and with an average pace of 8:21 min/mile. When I finally stopped, I felt done in, but at the time of running I felt I could have kept going, and the feeling of strength over distance ignited my marathon dream desires again. I was proud what my body did without following an arduous training plan, and I think I can learn from building a good, strong base of miles/fitness and what this can allow me to achieve when I really need to perform.
Onwards into April now – and at the moment there appears to be nothing too significant running wise on the cards. My aim however will be to continue with a solid base of miles and fitness, whilst relishing Run Club sessions again. The future does look brighter, so my other aim will be to try to keep looking forward.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...